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In our news wrap Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy urged social media platforms to take action against vaccine misinformation arguing false claims are feeding vaccine resistance. President Biden met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House and faced questions about the U.S. support for security in Haiti.
The U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, is appealing to the nation to fight misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines.
At the White House today, he charged that bogus online claims are feeding vaccine resistance, and he said social media companies must do more.
Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General:
We are asking them to step up. We know they have taken some steps to address misinformation, but much, much more has to be done. And we can't wait longer for them to take aggressive action, because it's costing people their lives.
Also today, Los Angeles County, California, ordered everyone, even the vaccinated, to resume wearing masks indoors, as infections spike.
And the head of the World Health Organization pressed China to stop withholding raw data on the origins of COVID-19. He also said it may have been premature to rule out that the virus escaped from a Chinese government lab.
A major effort to address child poverty in America has begun. Millions of parents today received initial monthly payments averaging $420. It's a one-year expansion of the child tax credit, under President Biden's pandemic relief plan.
We will talk with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about this and more after the news summary.
The United States will not be sending large numbers of troops to Haiti. Haitian officials had requested a U.S. force, after the country's president was assassinated, but President Biden rejected it today.
He spoke at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House.
President Joe Biden:
We're only sending American Marines to our embassy to make sure that they're secure and nothing is out of whack at all. The idea of sending American forces into Haiti is not on the agenda at this moment.
As Chancellor Merkel was in Washington, her country faced a flood disaster. More than 60 people have died after record rainfall sent rivers pouring across Western Germany and Belgium.
Torrents swept through towns, leaving whole neighborhoods in ruins. People had to be airlifted from rooftops, and more than 200,000 people — or, rather, homes lost power.
In the Western U.S., firefighters spent another day battling dozens of wildfires. One, in Southern Oregon, covers an area larger than New York City. It has burned 21 homes and threatens nearly 2,000 more. And in Eastern Washington state, forecasters issued a day-long warning for extreme winds that could whip flames into firestorms.
Cuba's president has partially acknowledged that government failings fueled protests over food shortages, power cuts and communist rule. Miguel Diaz-Canel spoke in a televised address last night. He called for careful analysis of Cuba's problems, but warned against any violence.
Back in this country, President Biden's nominee to run Immigration and Customs Enforcement promised a new way of doing business. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez of Harris County, Texas, has criticized ICE policies under President Trump. He told a Senate hearing today that he'd uphold the rule of law, and insist on humane treatment of migrants.
Ed Gonzalez, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Nominee: It's important that ICE does not work in a manner that in any way intentionally just seeks to terrorize communities or anything of the sort. I think it's important for us to be a professional agency that can take care it's done effectively.
In the past, Gonzalez opposed a voluntary program of local cooperation with federal deportation efforts. Today, he said he would not seek to end that program.
A jury in Annapolis, Maryland, has found that a gunman who killed five people at a newspaper office was criminally responsible. Jarrod Ramos pleaded guilty to the 2018 attack at The Capital Gazette, but contended that he was not sane. Today's verdict means that he will go to prison, and not a mental health facility.
The Biden administration announced rewards of up to $10 million today to fight ransomware attacks on critical U.S. infrastructure. The effort seeks to identify hackers linked to foreign governments. President Biden has already warned Russia over harboring ransomware gangs.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 53 points to close at 34987. The Nasdaq fell 101 points. The S&P 500 slipped 14.
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