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In our news wrap Tuesday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to make his first overseas visit since the war began to meet with President Biden and address Congress on Wednesday, the Taliban in Afghanistan banned women from public and private universities and Palestinians staged a general strike in the occupied West Bank after a former leader died of cancer in an Israeli prison.
The U.S. Congress has finally begun moving tonight toward funding the government through next September, the rest of this fiscal year.
The bill unveiled early today in the Senate totals $1.7 trillion. It includes record military spending and it bans Chinese-owned TikTok on government devices, among many other things.
Senate Democrats and some Republicans are supporting it, while other Republicans are opposed.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY):
The sooner we pass the omnibus, the better. We have until Friday before funding runs out. But we ought to get it done well before then. I hope no senator will stand in the way of us finishing our work. We cannot afford a shutdown.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY):
I brought with me the omni, 4,155 pages. When was it produced? In the dead of the night, 1:30 in the morning, when it was released. Now, people argue that it's conservatives' fault. It's you don't have a Christmas spirit. Somehow, you're holding up government.
The bill's opponents did say they will not prevent the Senate from acting before the Friday night deadline. Well get into the details after the news summary.
Ukraine — the Biden administration, that is, asked the Supreme Court this evening to end asylum restrictions on the Southern border, but not until after Christmas. The pandemic era expulsions under Title 42, it's called, were to cease tomorrow. But Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocks that from happening; 19 states have challenged letting the policy lapse.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy may be coming to Washington tomorrow for his first overseas visit since the Russian invasion, if security allows. The "NewsHour" has confirmed that plans call for him to meet with President Biden and to address Congress.
Earlier, Zelenskyy made an unannounced visit to Bakhmut in Eastern Ukraine, where his fighters have held off months of ferocious Russian assaults.
In Moscow, Russia's President Putin met with leaders of areas that his country has illegally annexed. And he addressed security forces in a video message.
Vladimir Putin, Russian President (through translator):
The situation in Donetsk and Luhansk and in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions is extremely difficult. But people living there, Russian citizens, hold out hope for you, for your protection. It is your duty to do everything necessary to ensure their safety.
Putin also called for stepped-up efforts to root out those he called traitors and spies.
The Taliban government in Afghanistan has now banned women from public and private universities. That announcement today marked the latest move curbing rights and education for Afghan women. Also today, the Taliban released two Americans they had detained. The U.S. State Department said that it was not a prisoner swap.
A German court today convicted a 97-year-old woman as an accessory to more than 10,000 murders during World War II. She received a two-year suspended sentence. Irmgard Furchner entered court in a wheelchair. She had been 18 years old when she worked as a secretary at a concentration camp, but prosecutors said she knew of systematic killings.
Maxi Wantzen, German State Prosecutor (through translator):
I believe that it's very important for the survivors, but also for everyone today, that this trial ended with a verdict. I believe the sentence is adequate, but what's important is that there was a sentence in the first place, which ruled that she is guilty.
In court, Furchner apologized and said that she regretted working at the camp.
Palestinians staged a general strike in the occupied West Bank today, after a former leader died of lung cancer in an Israeli prison. Protesters marched through city streets in Ramallah amid shuttered store fronts. Militants called for confronting Israeli troops, but there were no serious clashes.
Back in this country, an earthquake rattled Northern California this morning. It was centered offshore near Ferndale. That's roughly 210 miles northwest of San Francisco. The shock caused minimal damage to homes, buildings and roads. More than 70,000 customers lost electricity, and two people were injured.
Banking giant Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $3.7 billion for a string of federal violations. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says the company charged illegal fees and interest for mortgages and auto loans and levied improper overdraft fees.
And, on Wall Street, stocks managed tiny gains after days of losses. The Dow Jones gained — added 92 points to close at 32849. The Nasdaq rose a single point. The S&P 500 was up four points.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": drag queen Eureka O'Hara discusses the threats faced by the transgender community; legendary soccer announcer Andres Cantor recounts his native Argentina's World Cup victory; a Nebraska sculptor becomes the first African American to have his work displayed in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall; plus much more.
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