10 things you need to know today: May 13, 2022
Biden calls for more COVID funding as U.S. toll reaches 1 million, the Jan. 6 committee subpoenas five GOP lawmakers, and more
Biden calls for more COVID funding at summit
President Biden urged world leaders at a COVID-19 summit Thursday to renew their commitments to act aggressively against the coronavirus pandemic. Biden warned against complacency, and ordered flags flown at half-staff as the United States reached the "tragic milestone" of a million coronavirus deaths. "This pandemic isn't over," Biden said. "One million empty chairs around the family dinner table." Official estimates put the death toll at more than 999,000 in the U.S. and 6.2 million or more globally. Biden called on Congress to approve $22.5 billion more in funding for testing, vaccines, and COVID-19 treatments, but lawmakers are balking at the cost. COVID infections and deaths are rising but remain far lower than in the winter surge.
Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 5 GOP lawmakers
Five Republican lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), have been subpoenaed by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, the panel announced Thursday. All five of the GOP lawmakers are closely allied with former President Donald Trump, whose supporters stormed the Capitol. McCarthy and the other Republicans — Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), and Scott Perry (Pa.) — are the first sitting lawmakers to be summoned to testify before the bipartisan committee. All five previously refused requests to testify voluntarily. Days after the riot, McCarthy was recorded telling colleagues he would ask Trump to step down.
Russia pulls back from Kharkiv
Russian forces have started withdrawing from around Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, after Ukraine regained control of several towns near the northeastern city in a counteroffensive. Moscow appears to be shifting resources toward the southeast to the city of Izium, which it has turned into an operations center since capturing it last month. Russia has been making slow gains in the eastern Donbas region, where it concentrated forces last month after its first major withdrawal, from areas around the capital, Kyiv. Finland's leaders said Thursday they will join the NATO alliance, and Sweden is expected to do the same. Russia responded by saying it would consider any such expansion a security threat and respond accordingly.
At least 6 die as fever spreads 'explosively' in North Korea
North Korean state media said Friday that six people had died and 350,000 were treated for a fever spreading "explosively" across the country. The news came a day after North Korea acknowledged a COVID-19 outbreak for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic started more than two years ago. Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency said 162,200 of the 350,000 people hit with fevers since late April have recovered, with 18,000 new cases on Thursday. North Korea likely lacks the COVID-19 tests to confirm the cause of the fevers. "But a big outbreak of the coronavirus could be devastating in a country with a broken health care system and an unvaccinated, malnourished population," The Associated Press says.
Grand jury investigates handling of classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago
Federal prosecutors have launched a grand jury investigation into the handling of classified White House documents that wound up at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing two people briefed on the matter. The grand jury has issued a subpoena, The Washington Post reported. The National Archives discovered in January that 15 boxes containing documents, letters, mementos, and gifts were taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago at the end of Trump's presidency in January 2021. The National Archives told Congress in February that archivists had found "items marked as classified national security information" in the boxes. The Justice Department declined to comment.
Senate confirms Fed Chair Jerome Powell to 2nd term
The Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to a second four-year term on Thursday. Powell this spring started a campaign of raising interest rates and trimming Fed asset holdings to slow growth and bring down the highest inflation in 40 years. The central bank has faced criticism for not taking action against rising prices sooner, but senators still backed Powell in a bipartisan 80-19 vote. Senate Banking Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) praised Powell and the three other new Fed leaders nominated by President Biden: Lael Brainard, named as the Fed's No. 2; Lisa Cook, who will be the first Black woman to serve on the board; and economist Philip Jefferson. All have been confirmed.
Israel reportedly investigating whether soldier killed journalist
The Israeli military is investigating whether one of its soldiers killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was fatally shot Wednesday during an Israeli raid in the West Bank, The Washington Post reports, citing an Israel Defense Forces official. The investigation concerns three different shooting incidents by Israeli soldiers, including one that possibly caused the death of Abu Akleh, a longtime correspondent for the Qatar-based Al Jazeera news channel, and "the wounding of her producer in the Jenin Refugee Camp on Wednesday," the Post writes. Israel initially said Abu Akleh was most likely hit by Palestinian fire. Al Jazeera and Palestinian authorities blamed Israel in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
Migrant boat capsizes near Puerto Rico, killing at least 11
A boat carrying migrants capsized near Puerto Rico on Thursday, killing at least 11 people. Thirty-one others were rescued by Coast Guard vessels about 10 miles north of Puerto Rico's Desecheo Island. It was not immediately clear whether everyone who had been on the boat was accounted for. "We're looking to rescue as many people as we can and find as many survivors as we can," said Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad. Most of the people on the boat appeared to be from Haiti. At least two of those rescued were from the Dominican Republic. The shipwreck was the latest in a string of incidents involving boats carrying people fleeing violence and poverty in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Powell says Fed might not be able to guarantee 'soft landing'
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged for the first time Thursday that high inflation and global economic problems might thwart the central bank's efforts to prevent a recession. The Fed has started raising interest rates and plans to reduce its balance sheet after months of purchasing assets to boost the recovery from the coronavirus crisis. But those moves to curb inflation and keep the economy from overheating might be undercut by economic slowdowns in Europe and China, Powell said in an interview on NPR's Marketplace on the day he was confirmed to a second term. "The question whether we can execute a soft landing or not — it may actually depend on factors that we don't control," Powell said.
Ashley Judd discloses details of Naomi Judd's suicide
Actress Ashley Judd told Diane Sawyer in an interview that aired Thursday on Good Morning America that the family wants to be open about how her mother, singer Naomi Judd, killed herself at the end of April. "She used a weapon," Ashley Judd said. "A firearm. So that's the piece of information we are very uncomfortable sharing." She and her sister Wynonna Judd previously disclosed that they lost their mother "to the disease of mental illness," without offering further details. Naomi Judd died the day before she and Wynonna Judd, as the country music duo The Judds, were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Naomi Judd was 76.