Friday morning news – April 30, 2021

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: U.S. economy shows more signs of strength as Washington debates big spending » The U.S. economy continues to bounce back as more American companies get back to business as usual—or at least closer to it.

The government said Thursday that the economy grew last
quarter at a vigorous 6.4 percent annual rate. And new jobless claims
fell last week by 13,000 to just over 550,000. That’s the lowest level
since the start of the pandemic.

The rebounding economy is the backdrop for a renewed debate over Washington spending.

PELOSI: The bold investments of the American Jobs Plan, the American Families Plan invest in the foundations of our strength.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoing the president’s sales pitch one day earlier in front of a joint session of Congress.

Democrats say the government must keep spending big to keep the economy on track.

Republicans say with the economy getting back to its feet,
it’s time for the government to get out of the way. Senate Minority
Leader Mitch McConnell:

MCCONNELL: We heard about the so-called jobs
plan packed with punitive tax hikes at exactly the time our nation needs
a recovery. Lower wages at the end of the day. Experts say that it
would leave American workers with lower wages at the end of the day.

Senate Democrats could pass the proposed $4 trillion
dollars in additional spending without any Republican votes using a
process called budget reconciliation. They used the same process last
month to pass the nearly $2 trillion dollar American Rescue Plan.

U.S. indicts 3 on hate crime charges in death of Ahmaud Arbery » The
Justice Department brought federal hate crimes charges this week in the
death of a 25-year-old black man in south Georgia. WORLD’s Leigh Jones
has more.

LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: The Dept. of Justice has charged three men with hate crimes in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

Prosecutors charged Travis McMichael
and his father, Gregory, as well as William “Roddie” Bryan, with one
count of interference with civil rights and attempted kidnapping.

The McMichaels are also charged with
using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
The father and son armed themselves, chased, and fatally shot Arbery in
February of last year. They claimed he matched the description of a
burglary suspect.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation
took over the case the next day and swiftly arrested all three men, who
remain jailed on state murder charges. They are due back in court next

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.

U.S. vows again to ban menthol flavor in cigarettes, cigars » The FDA is renewing its push to ban menthol cigarettes.

Acting Administrator Dr. Janet Woodcock said the agency will propose regulations banning the flavor in the coming year.

She said such a ban would help prevent many Americans from ever starting smoking and …

WOODCOCK: Increase the chances of smoking
cessation among current smokers, and address health disparities
experienced by communities of color, low-income populations.

The Food and Drug Administration has attempted several
times to get rid of menthol but faced political pushback. African
American groups have been pushing the agency to try again as they say
the mint flavor is especially popular among black smokers.

Thursday’s announcement is the result of a lawsuit filed by
anti-smoking and medical groups last summer to force the FDA’s hand.

Any menthol ban will take years to implement and will likely face legal challenges from tobacco companies.

WV gov. signs bill protecting female school athletics » West
Virginia’s governor signed a bill this week that bars male athletes who
identify as female from competing in girls’ and womens’ sports. WORLD’s
Anna Johansen Brown reports.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice signed the bill into law protecting female
sports in middle schools, high schools, and colleges.

The bill narrowly passed the state
Senate, which had added the college component. The House of Delegates
then overwhelmingly approved it.

Some lawmakers warned against the bill,
noting that the NCAA could retaliate and decide not to hold college
tournaments in the state.

LGBT activists are currently pressuring
the NCAA Board of Governors to refuse to schedule championships in
states that limit women’s sports to biologically female athletes.

GOP lawmakers in Florida have just sent a similar bill to the desk of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.

India sets another global record amid virus surge » India set another global record in new COVID-19 cases Thursday.

The country has set a global record for seven of the past eight days with a rolling average of nearly 350,000 infections.

The Health Ministry also reported more than 3,600 deaths in only 24 hours. But those numbers are likely vastly underreported.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the White House has been in touch with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

SHRINGLA: President Biden spoke to prime minister. He offered extensive assistance.

Beginning today, the United States is sending more than
$100 million worth of items, including 1,000 oxygen cylinders, 15
million N95 masks and 1 million rapid COVID-19 tests.

Australia and several European countries have also promised help, and Russia sent two aircraft carrying oxygen machines.

All adults in India are now allowed to register on a
government app for vaccinations. But social media were flooded with
complaints the app had crashed and that appointments were available.

I’m Kent Covington.

Culture Friday is up next.

And then a special sendoff for one of our own.

This is The World and Everything in It.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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