DAVID MARQUES, NEWSCASTER: For Columbia Radio News, I'm David Marques.
Battle of Mariupol Intensifies
Russian forces have breached the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine. The factory is the last part of the besieged city held by Ukraine. Intense fighting has broken out inside the complex. The Ukrainian government estimates that 200 civilians remain trapped inside the factory. Hundreds of civilians have been evacuated from southern Ukraine in recent days. Analysts say Russia could escalate hostilities on May 9th. That day is the anniversary of Nazi surrender in 1945, known as Victory Day in Russia.
WHO: 15 Million Deaths Due to Pandemic
The World Health Organization says 15 million people have died because of the pandemic. That global number is 10 million higher than previously thought. Almost one third of the uncounted deaths were in India. A severe early oubreak of the Delta variant occurred there last spring. The WHO estimates that the pandemic killed 4.7 million people in India in 2020 and 2021. New Delhi has disputed those findings, putting the death toll at about 480,000. Most experts say that the government’s numbers are a significant undercount. The WHO figures include Covid-19 deaths and indirect deaths due to pandemic disruption.
Roe v. Wade Overturned:
Senate Democrats said they will bring forward legislation to secure abortion rights at the federal level. A leaked Supreme Court decision draft revealed that Roe v. Wade is likely to be overturned. The decision could trigger blanket abortion bans in several states, and heavy restrictions in others. The bill is almost certain to fail, since it’s unlikely to overcome a Republican filibuster.
Fed Announcements Rattle Market:
Stocks tumbled today, one day after the market’s best session since 2020. The S&P 500 dropped by more than 3 percent, and the Dow is down more than 1300 points. The Fed said yesterday that it would raise its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point, the largest increase since 2000. Markets rallied after news broke that the interest rate hike would not be as steep as feared. But continuing uncertainty erased those gains today. High consumer demand and supply chain shocks have brought inflation to a 40 year high. The latest inflation data is expected next week.
David Marques, Columbia Radio News.