10 things you need to know today: March 6, 2023
Biden says in Selma that voting rights are "under assault," German leader says China has promised not to send Russia weapons, and more
Biden in Selma: Voting rights still 'under assault'
President Biden on Sunday renewed his call for new voting protections as he visited Selma, Alabama, to mark the 58th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when state troopers beat peaceful civil rights marchers as they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Biden joined in the yearly walk across the bridge, and said voting rights remained "under assault." "The right to vote and to have your vote counted is the threshold of democracy and liberty," Biden said. He urged Congress to pass laws to make Election Day a holiday, register new voters, and bolster Justice Department oversight of elections in jurisdictions with a history of discrimination.
German leader says China claims it doesn't plan to send Russia arms
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday said China had promised it wouldn't deliver arms to Russia for Moscow's war in Ukraine. "We all agree that there should be no arms deliveries, and the Chinese government has declared that it will not deliver any either," Scholz said during a press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. "We insist on this and we are monitoring it." The United States has warned that Beijing was considering supplying Russia with weapons, but Scholz said Germany had seen "no evidence" of this yet. China has touted its close ties with Russia, and has stopped short of rejecting the possibility it could provide arms.
Protests intensify over deadly Greece train wreck
Protests continued in Greece on Sunday as anger intensified over the deadliest train wreck in the country's history. Fifty-seven people were killed last week when passenger and freight trains crashed head-on. Authorities on Sunday jailed a Greek railway employee who served as Larissa station master along the Athens-Thessaloniki route the trains were on when they collided. The rail worker, who can't be publicly identified under Greek law, was charged with negligent homicide. "For about 20 cursed minutes he was responsible for the safety of the whole of central Greece," his lawyer said. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has blamed the crash on human error but acknowledged that cost-cutting had left the nation's rail network in bad shape and might have been a contributing factor.
Larry Hogan won't run for 2024 GOP presidential nomination
Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Sunday he would not run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Hogan has tried to draw members of his party away from former President Donald Trump, who was the first Republican to launch a 2024 campaign. Trump's former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, who previously served as South Carolina's governor, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy have since joined the race. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence are among the other likely candidates. Hogan said on CBS News' Face the Nation that he "did give it serious consideration," but after eight years as governor had "no desire to put my family through another grueling campaign just for the experience."
House Democratic leader: Capitol Police didn't vet video Carlson plans to air
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the Democratic leader in the House, said Sunday said he had "no indication" the footage of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack that Fox News host Tucker Carlson received from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and plans to air has been vetted by Capitol Police. McCarthy gave Carlson access to 41,000 hours of footage last month, over the objections of Democrats. Jeffries said he hoped Capitol Police would be able to review the material before Carlson airs it. "The Jan. 6 insurrection was violent. Approximately 140 officers were seriously injured. A handful of officers died as a result of the events, of the Jan. 6 violent insurrection. There are serious security concerns," Jeffries said.
Pakistani police try to arrest former PM Imran Khan
Pakistani police on Sunday served arrest warrants to former Prime Minister Imran Khan on charges that he misused his office by selling gifts from foreign dignitaries that belonged to the state. Khan evaded arrest. Pakistan's media regulator banned the broadcast of his speeches, accusing him of spreading hate. The Federal Investigation Agency filed charges against Khan in an anti-corruption court, which issued the warrants last week after he failed to show up in court. The country's election commission found Khan, 70, guilty of selling the state gifts. The former cricket star has called for a snap election since he was ousted from office last year. He led rallies demanding elections, and was shot and wounded during one of them.
Iran acknowledges suspected poisoning attacks on schoolgirls
Iranian authorities acknowledged Sunday that suspected poisonings had targeted girls in at least 52 schools. The alleged poisonings started in November in the Shiite holy city of Qom as anti-government protests, many of them involving female students, spread across the country. Cases have now been reported in 21 of Iran's 30 provinces. The government of hardline President Ebrahim Raisi didn't announce an investigation until last week after foreign media started reporting about the poisonings. Videos of upset parents and schoolgirls in emergency rooms have spread via social media. Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi over the weekend called for calm and said the "enemy's media terrorism" was inciting panic.
Storms knock out power to 500,000
Nearly 500,000 Americans were left without power on Sunday after a massive storm front swept across much of the nation, dumping heavy snow on northern states and blasting parts of the South with thunderstorms and tornadoes. The violent weather killed at least 13 people, including five who died in Kentucky as wind gusts of more than 70 miles per hour knocked down trees and power lines, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said. More than 224,000 homes and businesses lost power in the state, according to tracking website poweroutage.us. Another 117,000 lost power in Michigan. Mountainous areas in California, which got hammered last week, are expected to get more snow Monday.
China announces its lowest economic growth target in a quarter-century
China Premier Li Keqiang announced Sunday at the start of the country's annual legislative session that Beijing has set an economic growth target of 5 percent this year. It is Beijing's lowest growth target in more than a quarter-century. "This year, it is essential to prioritize economic stability and pursue progress while ensuring stability," Li said in a government work report. Last year's target was 5.5 percent, and the world's second biggest economy fell far short. China is struggling to bounce back from the devastating effects of three years of strict restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19. During this week's legislative session, President Xi Jinping is expected to continue solidifying his grip on power.
Protests intensify against France pension reform proposal
French protests against the government's controversial pension reform plan are intensifying this week with strikes and other operations organizers say will bring the country "to a standstill." Truckers are blocking roads on Monday to slow traffic in "escargot" (snail) operations on major highways. Unions plan to start an open-ended national rail service strike on Monday night, followed by bigger disruptions on Tuesday, when workers in several sectors plan to go on strike. The government of President Emmanuel Macron has proposed pension reform that would raise the official pension age from 62 to 64.