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In our news wrap: a Texas state senator said panicked 911 calls from children in Uvalde never got to the police commander at the scene of last week's school attack, President Zelenskyy says Russia controls one-fifth of Ukraine, a truce in Yemen is extended for another two months, and the Education Department will forgive all remaining student debt for former students of Corinthian Colleges.
In the day's other news: A Texas state senator said panicked 911 calls from children never got to the police commander at the scene of last week's school attack.
Senator Roland Gutierrez called it a — quote — "system failure," and said everyone, from the governor on down shared the blame. State officials say the school district police chief, Pete Arredondo, kept officers from storming the site for roughly an hour. The gunman killed 19 children and two teachers before police ultimately killed him.
In Ukraine, government forces struggled today to slow Russia's grueling war of attrition in the east. Street-to-street battles raged in Severodonetsk, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia now controls about a fifth of Ukraine's territory, largely in the east and south.
In an overnight TV address, Zelenskyy also accused Russian forces of abducting more than 200,000 Ukrainian children since the war began.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian President (through translator):
The Russian state disperses these people on its territory and settles our citizens, in particular, in remote regions. The purpose of this criminal policy is not just to steal people, but to make deportees forget about Ukraine and not be able to return.
Also today, Britain pledged to send sophisticated rocket systems to Ukraine following similar agreements by the U.S. and Germany.
The U.N. has announced that a truce in Yemen is being extended for another two months. The April cease-fire was the first in six years and had been set to expire today. The war there began in 2014. Parties to the truce are the Yemeni government, backed by a Saudi Arabian coalition, fighting Shiite rebels with links to Iran. President Biden praised the announcement, amid reports that he will soon visit Saudi Arabia.
On the pandemic, coving vaccinations for children under 5 in the U.S. may begin as early as June 21. White House coordinator Ashish Jha said today that 10 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be ready once the FDA and CDC give the green light. He acknowledged the frustration of parents of young children.
Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator:
We don't have an estimate of timelines of when most kids will be vaccinated. What we know is that, obviously, there are a lot of parents who are eager to get their kids vaccinated right away, and they will get vaccinated right away.
At the end of the day, we all want to move fast, but we want to get it right.
Jha also joined other experts in warning of a possible new surge of COVID infections in the fall or winter.
A national four-day party kicked off in Britain today, celebrating Queen Elizabeth's jubilee. That's 70 years on the throne. She was crowned on this day in 1953 and is now increasingly frail. But she managed a brief appearance at the day's events.
Chris Ship of Independent Television News reports.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
There were times in recent months when many had wondered if this moment would be possible for the queen.
Today, the 96-year-old showed the world that it was, a jubilee balcony appearance watched by tens of thousands on the Mall marking a moment in British history none of her predecessors has ever achieved.
The trooping the color ceremony began this morning when carriages carrying the royal family, some for the very first time, made their way from Buckingham Palace. It was the prince of Wales who took the salute today on behalf of the queen, who did not come to the parade ground.
Back at Buckingham Palace, as the household cavalry returned, the queen, for her comfort, took the salute from there. And then it was time for the people.
So, the carriages have come down. The military have come down. It's now the turn for everybody else.
They have come to see the one British monarch, the only British monarch, who's reigned for 70 years.
And they came not just from the British Isles, but from all over the world.
We are representing Portugal, Portugal.
So, you're Portugal. Paris.
And where are you?
All the way from the U.S. for you?
Excited. All the way from the U.S.
Is it worth it?
Yes, it is.
She's not even your queen.
Oh, she's our queen, not on paper, but she's our queen.
A tribute to the queen's 70 years flew overhead. The queen enjoyed it, her great-grandson Louis a little less so, but, in the skies above Buckingham Palace and on the streets below, celebrations for a platinum jubilee the country will not see again for many, many years to come.
That report from Chris Ship of Independent Television News.
Buckingham Palace said later that the queen experienced what it called some discomfort today, and will skip tomorrow's thanksgiving church service.
Back in this country, there's word that strong economic recovery has delayed the dates when Social Security and Medicare both run out of money. An annual report today says Social Security will go broke in 2035. That's one year later than expected. And Medicare's trust fund will be exhausted in 2028, two years later than the last forecast. The programs are benefiting from a sharp increase in payroll tax receipts.
And the Biden administration is forgiving all remaining student debt for former students of Corinthian colleges. Today's announcement erases nearly $6 billion owed by half-a-million students. They attended Corinthian schools between 1995 and 2015. The for-profit college chain was once the nation's largest, but it shut down in 2015 amid widespread fraud allegations.
And on Wall Street, stocks were broadly higher led by tech shares. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 435 points, 1 percent, to close at 33248. And the Nasdaq rose 322 points, 2.7 percent. The S&P 500 was up nearly 2 percent.
And still to come on the "NewsHour": the decision in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial highlights ongoing issues of domestic violence; and persistent drought causes dangerously low water levels at Lake Mead; plus much more.
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