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News Wrap: Deadly attack wreaks havoc outside London Parliament

March 22, 2017 at 6:45 PM EDT
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JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: Chaos erupted outside Britain’s Parliament Building, and when it was over, at least four people were dead. They included an attacker who drove into a crowd, a policeman he stabbed before being shot dead, and two civilians hit by the car.

Paul Davies of Independent Television News reports from London.

PAUL DAVIES: Parliament in lock down. Emergency vehicles block all roads. An air ambulance arrives to collect the casualties.

The security services have warned there’d been many close calls before, but this was the day the terror threat arrived at Westminster, and even entered the grounds of the mother of parliaments. Here, a police officer throws a bag of emergency supplies over the fence. Inside the grounds, medics are desperately trying to help a colleague who has been stabbed.

A second person seen here being treated on the left of this picture is believed to be the attacker who’s been shot by police. As news spreads, so does panic. Tourists run away, and then we hear the sound of gunshots.

While armed officers enter Parliament, M.P.s are briefed on what’s happening outside.

DAVID LIDINGTON, Leader of the House of Commons: What I am able to say to the House is that there has been a serious incident within the estate.

PAUL DAVIES: But there was more to this horrifying event, much more. On Westminster Bridge, a trail of carnage. A car had mounted the pavement, deliberately mowing down pedestrians as it headed for the houses of Parliament.

The injured are scattered where they were knocked down. There are multiple casualties. The car reached the perimeter of Parliament before crashing into railings. In this image, there’s still smoke coming from its engine. Tourists mill around it. Police say the man on this stretcher is the one who was shot by their officers.

MARK ROWLEY, Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police: And whilst we currently believe there was only one attacker, I’m sure the public will understand us taking every precaution in locking down and searching the area as thoroughly and exhaustively as possible.

PAUL DAVIES: At this stage, police are not speculating about the motive of the attacker, the man they are calling a terrorist.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The incident came one year after Islamist militants killed 32 people in Brussels, Belgium.

Turkey’s president issued a stark warning to European states today. Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that they stop barring Turkish government officials from rallies of Turkish emigres. They’re meant to drum up support for expanding Erdogan’s powers.

In Ankara today, the Turkish leader said that Europe has to change its ways, or face the consequences.

PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkey (through interpreter): These incidents are closely followed. If you continue this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets. If you stay on this dangerous path, you will sustain the biggest damage.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Turkey holds a referendum on expanding Erdogan’s powers next month.

There’s word tonight that U.S. agencies may have intercepted communications by Trump transition officials. The chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, says it happened during legal surveillance of foreign nationals. Nunes briefed the president at the White House today, and said the information is not related to any contacts with the Russians.

REP. DEVIN NUNES, R-Calif.: What I saw has nothing to do with Russia and nothing to do with the Russian investigation, has everything to do with possible surveillance activities. And the president needs to know that these intelligence reports are out there. And I have a duty to tell him that.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Nunes says he believes the intercepts may have been improperly included in intelligence reports. The chairman did share the information with the ranking Democrat on the intelligence panel before going public. That is representative — or, rather, he didn’t share it with him. And that is Representative Adam Schiff of California.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-Calif.: The chairman will need to decide whether he is the chairman of an independent investigation into conduct which includes allegations of potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians, or he’s going to act as a surrogate of the White House, because he cannot do both.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Chairman Nunes repeated today that there’s still no evidence for the president’s claim that he was wiretapped. But Mr. Trump said he feels — quote — “somewhat vindicated” by this disclosure.

This was day three of the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, and he again declined to divulge his views on a host of legal issues. Republicans gave him glowing reviews, but Democrats complained that he’s concealing his views to win confirmation. We will have excerpts from today’s testimony and analysis later in the program.

Representatives of 68 nations gathered in Washington today to assess the fight against the Islamic State group.

John Yang has our report.

JOHN YANG: The full 68-nation anti-ISIS coalition convened at a moment of major gains.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson:

REX TILLERSON, U.S. Secretary of State: Hard-fought victories in Iraq and Syria have swung the momentum in our coalition’s favor. Defeating ISIS is the United States’ number one goal in the region.

JOHN YANG: Tillerson called for other nations to step up their own efforts, and he said the focus of the ISIS fight will soon shift to stabilization. That would involve creating conditions so refugees can return home.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi appealed for new attempts to bring peace.

HAIDER AL-ABADI, Prime Minister, Iraq (through interpreter): I call for containing the regional differences and regional conflicts because these are the main reasons these terrorist groups rise.

JOHN YANG: In Iraq, government forces pressed the now-five-month battle to retake Mosul from Islamic State fighters.

MAN (through interpreter): The security forces are continuing to help move civilians. ISIS is done. I swear they are running. They have nothing left in Iraq, I swear.

JOHN YANG: Some of the fiercest fighting is unfolding around the al-Nuri Mosque. That’s where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in July 2014. The ISIS militants are also steadily losing ground in Syria. Today, U.S. aircraft dropped Syrian Kurdish fighters and allied forces near the town of Tabqa, about 30 miles from Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of ISIS.

If the operation is successful, it would essentially cut off the militants’ Western approach to the city.

For the PBS NewsHour, I’m John Yang.

JUDY WOODRUFF: North Korea test-fired another missile today. But, this time, the U.S. military says it blew up just after launch. Hours later, an American B-1B bomber joined South Korean fighter jets in a show of deterrence. Less than a month ago, the North had test-fired four ballistic missiles that landed in Japanese waters.

An urgent new appeal today about famine in four war-torn countries. The International Committee of the Red Cross says that it needs $300 million in emergency aid in the next three to four months. Otherwise, it says mass starvation looms across Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Northeastern Nigeria.

DOMINIK STILLHART, International Committee of the Red Cross: This is not business as usual; 20 million people facing starvation is not something that we are dealing with every day. And, therefore, we really need to act now. And, if we act now, especially in Yemen and in Somalia, famine can be averted.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The United Nations has also warned of the famine danger.

Back in this country, the governor of Arkansas signed a law allowing concealed handguns at state colleges, other government sites and some bars. Gun owners would have up to eight hours of active shooter training — have to have. Supporters said it will let law-abiding people defend themselves. Opponents said it will make everyday life more dangerous.

Police in Los Angeles say fear of deportation is now discouraging Latinos from reporting crimes. Chief Charlie Beck says there’s been a 25 percent drop in Latinos reporting sexual assaults since January. Reports of domestic violence are down 10 percent. Beck says that people are afraid of contacting police or appearing in court.

And Wall Street had a quiet day. The Dow Jones industrial average lost six points to close at 20661. The Nasdaq rose 27 points, and the S&P 500 added four.

Still to come on the NewsHour: the Russia file, allegations that a former Trump campaign manager worked on behalf of Russia — one on one with Susan Rice in her first interview since leaving public office; the Gorsuch hearings, more questions for the Supreme Court nominee; and much more.

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