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News Wrap: White House urges businesses, states to mandate vaccines

In our news wrap Tuesday, U.S. public health leaders urged businesses and governments to impose vaccination mandates. The Paralympics opened in Tokyo despite Japan's worst COVID surge yet. The death toll in Tennessee's flood disaster was revised down to 18, with three people still listed as missing. New fighting has broken out between Israel and Hamas — the worst since their 11-day war in May.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    In the day's other news: U.S. public health leaders urged businesses and governments to impose vaccination mandates. They pointed to the FDA's fully approving the Pfizer vaccine.

    White House COVID coordinator Jeffrey Zients said people who've resisted the shots no longer have an excuse, and employers have no more reason to delay.

  • Jeffrey Zients:

    If you're a business, a nonprofit, a state or local leader who has been waiting for full and final FDA approval before you put vaccination requirements in place, now is the time. You have the power to protect your communities and help end the pandemic through vaccination requirements.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    COVID infections and deaths in the U.S. have continued to rise since last week, despite a rise in vaccinations.

    In Tokyo, the Paralympics opened amid the pandemic's worst surge yet in Japan. Ceremonies featured a nighttime fireworks display in a nearly empty stadium due to pandemic restrictions. Instead, spectators watched from outside.

    Majority Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives struck a deal today advancing President Biden's sweeping budget plan. It contains $3.5 trillion in social and environmental spending. Party moderates wanted to vote first on a bipartisan infrastructure bill, but they agreed to wait until next month.

    Democratic leaders hailed the agreement, while Republicans uniformly opposed it.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):

    Today is a great day of pride for our country and for Democrats. We have a president with a big, bold vision for our country and an unprecedented opportunity to keep our promises for the people.

  • Rep. Michelle Fischbauch (R-MN):

    Our country's infrastructure should not be tied to the Democrats' partisan spending spree, especially during a pandemic. But here we are.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    House Democrats also moved to pass a bill that they said would bolster voting rights. It faces uncertain prospects in the evenly divided Senate.

    We'll have more on these partisan battles later in the program.

    The death toll in Middle Tennessee's flood disaster was revised down today to 18. Three people were still listed as missing. That came as local officials reported around 120 homes were washed off their foundations on Saturday. Hundreds more were damaged. Scores of flood victims are now relying on donated clothes and food.

    Vice President Harris today accused China of using coercion and intimidation to enforce territorial claims in the South China Sea. She was in Singapore meeting with business leaders during a Southeast Asian tour.

    In a speech, she said the U.S. is committed to opposing China's moves.

  • Vice President Kamala Harris:

    Beijing's actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations. The United States stands with our allies and partners in the face of these threats.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    China shot back that the accusation is a smear tactic, and that the U.S. has lost its credibility over the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    Separately, Vice President Harris was delayed several hours in flying to Hanoi in Vietnam. Ahead of her arrival, officials there were investigating a possible case of so-called Havana Syndrome. It refers to an unexplained ailment first reported by U.S. diplomats in Cuba back in 2016.

    In the Middle East, meanwhile, new fighting has broken out between Israel and Hamas, the worst since their 11-day war in may. Today, Hamas-backed militants in Gaza sent balloon bombs into Southern Israel. Overnight, Israeli airstrikes hit targets in Gaza after a previous round of balloon bombs and cross-border machine gun fire. Also today, Israeli troops killed a Palestinian teenager during clashes in the West Bank.

    And on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 30 points to close at 35366. The Nasdaq rose 77 points to finish above 15000 for the first time. And the S&P 500 added six.

    And legendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts died today in London. He joined the band in 1963, remained for nearly 60 years, and then played with the group again years later.

    Charlie Watts was 80 years old, and he will be missed.

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