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News Wrap: Deadly tornadoes rip across the Midwest

March 1, 2017 at 6:50 PM EDT
In our news wrap Wednesday, three people died due to damaging tornadoes overnight, with some of the worst damage striking Illinois and Missouri. Also, there's word that President Trump's travel ban will no longer include citizens from Iraq, no bar indefinitely Syrian refugees.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump is looking to move ahead, in the wake of his address to Congress. He won praise today from Republicans, while Democrats warned that his more moderate sound belies his real intentions.

Wall Street’s reaction to the president’s business-friendly tone was euphoric. The Dow Jones industrial average shot up 300 points to close above 21000 for the first time. The Nasdaq rose 78 points, and the S&P 500 added 32. We will take a closer look at what the president said and what comes next after the news summary.

HARI SREENIVASAN: There’s word the president’s revised travel ban will no longer include citizens from Iraq. It had been one of seven nations included in the initial ban that’s still tied up in federal court.

The Associated Press also reports Syrian refugees will no longer be barred indefinitely under the revised order. And it drops any explicit exception for Christian and other religious minorities in Muslim nations. The White House now says the new order will come in the next few days.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Tornadoes ripped across part of the Midwest last night, killing three people and damaging more than 100 homes. The National Weather Service says it had reports of more than 20 twisters. Some of the worst damage came in Illinois and Missouri.

This morning, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner surveyed extensive damage in the town of Ottawa.

GOV. BRUCE RAUNER, R-Ill.: We got to count our blessings. This could have been way worse. The warnings systems worked well. People were notified. And it’s wonderful the way the residents in the community helped each other. They got to elderly residents, gave them a warning that tornadoes were coming. People got into their basements.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Forecasters say about 95 million people are in the path of the same storm system as it moves east.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Meanwhile, a staggering statistic out of Chicago: The Windy City had no measurable snow during January and February for the first time in 146 years, while, in California, there’s been so much snow, that a five-year-long drought may finally be over. Crews already measured the state’s snowpack once, and did so again today, after one of California’s wettest winters on record.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In Afghanistan, twin Taliban bombings, and a lengthy shoot-out, killed at least 16 people in the capital, Kabul. More than 100 others were wounded.

In the first attack, a suicide car bomber targeted a police station, touching off a gun battle that lasted hours. Later, an attacker on foot blew himself up outside the Afghan intelligence service.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The United States today delivered a sharp rebuke to the U.N. Human Rights Council over Israel. Washington has long argued the 47-nation body unjustly focuses on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

In Geneva today, U.S. envoy Erin Barclay said the council has — quote — “an obsession with Israel” that undermines the group’s credibility.

ERIN BARCLAY, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Assistant: The United States will oppose any effort to delegitimize or isolate Israel, not just in the HRC, but wherever it occurs. When it comes to human rights, no country should be free from scrutiny, but neither should any democratic country be regularly subjected to unfair, unbalanced and unfounded bias.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The critique comes amid reports the Trump administration is considering quitting the council altogether.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in this country, the U.S. Senate easily confirmed Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke as secretary of the interior. The 55-year-old Republican and former Navy SEAL has pledged to revitalize the country’s national parks. He has also said he will resist efforts to sell or transfer federal lands.

HARI SREENIVASAN: And Danish toymaker LEGO has announced plans for a new set honoring five women who were pioneers at NASA. The collection will feature computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, mathematician Katherine Johnson of “Hidden Figures” fame, astronauts Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, and astronomer Nancy Grace Roman. The set will be released later this year or early 2018.

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