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News Wrap: Disputed airstrike in Iraq under investigation

March 29, 2017 at 6:45 PM EDT
In our news wrap Wednesday, the U.S. military announced that its review of a disputed airstrike in Iraq, which reportedly killed at least 100 civilians, is now a formal investigation. Also, China and the European Union stood by their commitments to the Paris Accord on climate change, following President Trump's actions aimed at rolling back efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: The U.S. military announced that its review of a disputed airstrike in Iraq is now a formal investigation. Local officials in Mosul say the March 17 strike killed at least 100 civilians.

Today, the top U.S. American commander for the Middle East, General Joseph Votel, appeared at a congressional hearing. He said the investigation will examine a number of factors.

GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL, Commander, U.S. Central Command: This was a very dynamic situation, so this wasn’t a deliberate target or anything else. This was an evolving combat situation, so we will take a look at the intelligence that was provided to us by the Iraqis that we had. We will look at the enemy’s reaction here, and we will try to understand exactly their role in this.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Votel also said the Islamic State is using human shields in Mosul, in an effort to exploit American concerns about killing civilians.

Still, President Trump told lawmakers last night — and I quote — “We are doing really well in Iraq.”

China and the European Union today stood by their commitments to the Paris accord on climate change. That follows President Trump’s actions aimed at rolling back the push for deep cuts in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

In Beijing, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that his government is not changing its stance.

LU KANG, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman (through interpreter): We still believe the Paris agreement was hard-won. The international community, including China and the United States, made positive contributions. All sides should move with the times, grasp the opportunities, fulfill their promises and earnestly take proactive steps to jointly push the enforcement of this agreement.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, the European Union voiced regret about President Trump’s move.

The president formally launched a new commission on opioid abuse today. He heard from recovering addicts and others. The group included New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who will chair the commission.

Meanwhile, in Newark, two former aides to Christie were sentenced to prison for causing huge traffic jams on a major bridge. The move was aimed at a Democratic mayor who’d refused to endorse Christie.

The president’s daughter Ivanka said today that she will serve as an unpaid federal employee. In a statement, Ivanka Trump said she’s taking that step to address ethics questions that were raised after an earlier announcement that she’d be an informal adviser to her father, with an office in the White House. As a federal employee, she’s obliged to comply with government ethics rules.

And, on Wall Street, energy stocks were up, banks stocks were down, and the indexes were mixed. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 42 points to close at 20659. The Nasdaq rose 22 points, and the S&P 500 added two.

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