News Wrap: Colorado Wildfire Forces Thousands to Evacuate
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KWAME HOLMAN: A Colorado wildfire forced evacuations of more than 7,000 people today, as it burned out of control in record heat and high wind. Officials said the big blaze may have destroyed 100 homes so far, with hundreds more in jeopardy near Colorado Springs. As the flames spread, more than 900 prisoners had to be moved from a state prison. The fire is burning in an area near last year’s Waldo Canyon fire that wiped out nearly 350 homes.
Forecasters are keeping an anxious watch on a huge storm system that could affect 75 million Americans in 19 states over the next two days. The National Weather Service issued its highest alert today for Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. The system could bring heavy thunderstorms, tornadoes and even a rare straight-line wind storm known as a derecho.
The U.S. Senate wrangled today over how secure the Mexican border has to be before immigration reform kicks in. Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa called for full border control for six months before anyone in the country illegally moves toward citizenship. Democrats, including Patrick Leahy of Vermont, objected. It was part of the debate on an immigration bill authored by the so-called “Gang of Eight” senators.
SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY, R-Iowa: The “Group of Eight” say that they’re open to improving the bill. Well, my amendment, now before the Senate, does just that. My amendment improves the trigger that jump-starts the legalization program. It ensures that the border is secure before one person gets legal status under this act.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, D-Vt.: I will oppose efforts that impose unrealistic, excessively costly, overly rigid, inhumane, or ineffective border security measures. And I will oppose efforts to modify the triggers in ways that would — could unduly delay or prevent the earned legalization path. We have waited too long already.
KWAME HOLMAN: Currently, the bill calls for improvements to the border fence and other triggers before immigrants are granted new status.
In Moscow, as many as 15,000 protesters marched today to denounce Russian President Putin. The demonstrators, including opposition leaders, criticized Putin for authoritarian rule and demanded freedom for dissidents arrested at Putin’s inauguration. The turnout was far below the 100,000 who protested against Putin before he won his third term as president last year.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela reportedly is responding better to medical treatment today. The 94-year-old Mandela has been hospitalized five days with a recurring lung infection.
South Africa’s current president, Jacob Zuma, shared news of the improvement in a parliamentary address.
PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA, South Africa: We are very happy with the progress that he is now making following a difficult few days. We appreciate the messages of support from all over the world.
KWAME HOLMAN: Mandela spent 27 years in prison under South Africa’s apartheid regime. In 1994, he became the country’s first black president.
A 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl with cystic fibrosis received a lung transplant today from an adult donor. Sarah Murnaghan’s case drew national attention when a federal judge last week ordered her placed on the adult transplant list, overruling hospital procedures. The judge also added an 11-year-old boy to the list.
On Wall Street, stocks tumbled again over renewed worries over whether the Federal Reserve will rein in its stimulus efforts. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped back under 15,000, losing 126 points to close at 14,995. The Nasdaq fell 36 points to close at 3,400.
Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Judy.