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In our news wrap Monday, the pandemic's official worldwide death toll surpassed 6 million including 960,000 deaths in the U.S., Florida becomes the first state in the nation to recommend against vaccinations for healthy children, efforts to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal hit a new obstacle over the war in Ukraine, and the Biden administration is injecting $3.7 billion into public transit.
In the day's other news: The spike in oil and gasoline prices triggered a sell-off on Wall Street.
Major indexes were off 2 percent to more than 3.5 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 800 points to close at 32817. It's down more than 10 percent from its peak, officially a market correction. The Nasdaq fell 482 points and is now in bear market territory, down 20 percent since November. The S&P 500 gave up 127 points.
The pandemic's official worldwide death toll surpassed six million today. Johns Hopkins University says that includes nearly 960,000 deaths in the U.S., but it comes as COVID's latest surge is abating in much of the country.
Meanwhile, the state of Florida announced today it will be the first in the nation to recommend against vaccinations for healthy children.
Efforts to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have hit a new obstacle, the war in Ukraine. Russia is a party to the deal, and it is now demanding guarantees that Western sanctions over Ukraine will not hinder its trade with Iran. In turn, Tehran agreed today with the Russian position.
Saeed Khatibzadeh, Spokesman, Iranian Foreign Ministry (through translator),:
What is important is that the relations or peaceful nuclear cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Iran with other countries, such as Russia, should naturally not be limited to any sanctions, especially if the sanctions are self-made and without the permission of the United Nations.
The U.S. said the Russian demands are unrelated to the nuclear deal. Washington withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and is not directly involved in the talks involving Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Republican efforts to block court-ordered congressional maps in two more states. State supreme courts rejected Republican-drawn districts in North Carolina and Pennsylvania crafted after the latest census. Instead, the courts will draw the maps, giving Democrats a better chance of adding seats.
The High Court also declined to consider reinstating Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction. That means that his release from prison stands. He went free last June after Pennsylvania's Supreme Court overturned his conviction based on due process violations. Cosby is now 84. He served part of a three-to-10-year sentence.
The Pentagon today ordered that a leaking fuel storage site in Hawaii be closed and drained. The Red Hill facility dates from World War II, but now, leaking fuel has contaminated water supplies and made nearly 6,000 people sick. The problem also display some 4,000 military families.
And the Biden administration is injecting $3.7 billion into public transit. Today's announcement said, in part, it's an effort to shore up cash-strapped transit agencies. So far, only about 55 percent of pre-pandemic ridership has come back. The money will also fund grants to buy electric and low-emission buses.
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