AMNA NAWAZ: Good evening, and welcome to the "NewsHour."
It's been a day of dueling diplomacy in Russia and Ukraine.
At the Kremlin, China's President Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a second day, as the two nations appeared to strengthen ties.
GEOFF BENNETT: The state visit by the Chinese leader featured all the ceremony and trappings that Moscow could muster.
Xi and Putin attended a lavish ceremony and presented a united front against the West.
Later, Putin talked up China's 12-point peace proposal for Ukraine.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russian President (through translator): We believe many points of China's peace plan are in sync with Russian approaches and could form a basis for a peaceful settlement, when the West and Kyiv are ready for it.
But, so far, we see no such readiness on their side.
GEOFF BENNETT: Putin accused Western powers of prolonging the war, saying -- quote -- "The West intends to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian."
AMNA NAWAZ: Meanwhile, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made a surprise visit to Kyiv, meeting with President Zelenskyy and offering what he called unwavering support for Ukraine.
His trip also included laying flowers at the site of a massacre in Bucha.
The town outside the capital has become a symbol of Russian atrocities.
Russia's military appeared to respond by flying two strategic bombers over the Sea of Japan for more than seven hours.
The U.S. is playing down plans for Taiwan's president to stop in the U.S. during an upcoming visit to Central America.
Tsai Ing-wen will transit through New York and Los Angeles, but mainland China is already condemning the plan.
At the White House today, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, in effect, it's much ado about nothing.
JOHN KIRBY, NSC Coordinator For Strategic Communications: There's no reason for China to overreact.
Heck, there's no reason for them to react.
I mean, this is something that, as I said, is commonplace.
It's happened before.
It'll likely happen again.
There should be no reason for Beijing to react in any way to this.
AMNA NAWAZ: During her stopovers, Tsai is expected to hold unofficial meetings with U.S. officials and lawmakers.
In Haiti, U.N. officials say rampant gang violence killed at least 187 people from late February into early March.
More than 150 others were hurt.
Video out today showed people fleeing their homes in the capital, Port-au-Prince, on Monday.
Farmers have also had to abandon their fields.
Gangs have increasingly taken over Haiti since the president was assassinated in 2021.
Back in this country, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the turmoil in banking is stabilizing, but that regulators will do more to guarantee bank deposits if need be.
They have covered all deposits for Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, eclipsing the previous $250,000 limit.
In Washington, Yellen told the American Bankers Association that it's critical to ensure public confidence.
JANET YELLEN, U.S. Treasury Secretary: Our intervention was necessary to protect the broader U.S. banking system.
And similar actions could be warranted if smaller institutions suffer deposit runs that pose the risk of contagion.
AMNA NAWAZ: Also today, leaders of the nation's major banks began a two-day regularly scheduled meeting in Washington.
They're expected to discuss their $30 billion rescue of First Republic Bank, based in San Francisco.
On Wall Street, Yellen's comments helped lower tensions and boost stocks.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 316 points, or 1 percent, to close at 32560.
The Nasdaq rose 1.5 percent.
The S&P 500 added 1.3 percent.
The basketball world is in mourning tonight for NBA Hall of Famer Willis Reed.
He led the New York Knicks to their first title in 1970, playing injured in game seven to beat the Los Angeles Lakers.
Today, the Knicks tweeted the iconic image of Reed walking on to the court moments before tip-off for that game.
He won another title in 1973 and was also a seven-time All-Star.
Willis Reed was 80 years old.
And the White House hosted some of the nation's leading musicians, actors, and writers today.
President Biden presented Bruce Springsteen with the National Medal of the Arts.
He also honored Julia Louis-Dreyfus and fellow actor Mindy Kaling, among others.
And National Humanities Medals went to 10 writers, historians and more.
JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: The work of our honorees is as diverse as the nation that celebrates with them today.
But common threads weave them together in many ways in the very fabric of America, the pursuit of excellence, the drive to create, the yearning to connect, and the boldness to be truth-tellers, bridge-builders, and change-seekers.
AMNA NAWAZ: The honors were actually for 2021, but had been delayed by the pandemic.
And there's lots more about the medal recipients on our Web site.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": the U.S. and South Korea hold military exercises, while the North ramps up missile testing; the outgoing director of the World Food Program on how to address growing global hunger; actor Randall Park discusses his directorial debut and Asian American representation in Hollywood; plus much more.