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News Wrap: Iraqis killed at ‘staggering’ rate since rise of ISIS, says UN

January 19, 2016 at 6:50 PM EDT
Iraqi security forces help wounded civilians as they flee the violence in the city of Ramadi, Iraq, January 16, 2016. Picture taken January 16, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani - RTX22X4T

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. Gwen Ifill is away.

On the “NewsHour” tonight: The U.S. Supreme Court will take up a challenge to President Obama’s immigration orders, which shield more than four million immigrants from deportation.

Then, we will get a behind-the-scenes look at the Iran prisoner swap from Brett McGurk, the lead American negotiator.

And the first in our series on Understanding Autism, a history of how it was discovered, and why it may be more prevalent today.

STEVE SILBERMAN, Author, “NeuroTribes”: I spoke to older parents who had been told by their psychiatrists to quietly remove the pictures of their children from the family album and never speak of them again.

JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”


JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. Supreme Court has set the stage for a major election-year decision on immigration policy. The justices announced today they will consider whether President Obama overstepped his authority when he allowed millions of people to avoid deportation. We will explore this in full right after the news summary.

There’s word that three Americans who disappeared in Baghdad last week were kidnapped by a Shiite militia. Reuters reported that today, citing Iraqi and U.S. sources. It said the group is backed by Iran, but that U.S. officials don’t think Iran’s government was involved in the abduction.

Iraqi civilians are being killed at a — quote — “staggering rate” since the rise of the Islamic State group. A U.N. report now says that at least 18,800 Iraqis died from violence between the start of 2014 and last October.

And, in Geneva, the U.N. human rights office said today the toll is even higher when you count other factors.

RAVINA SHAMSADANI, Spokeswoman, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: It doesn’t include those people who have died as a result of malnutrition, as a result of lack of access to medical care, and as a result of lack of access to the basic facilities that they need for the vulnerable population, for people with disabilities, for the elderly. So, this is really the tip of the iceberg.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.N. agency also said that Islamic State militants are holding some 3,500 Iraqis as slaves, many of them women and children.

In economic news, China announced today that its economy met fourth-quarter projections, but, for the year, it grew at the lowest rate since 1990, 6.9 percent. In turn, the International Monetary Fund announced in London that it’s revising its global forecast down again.

MAURICE OBSTFELD, International Monetary Fund: Turbulence in financial markets has returned amid renewed concern about risks to global economic growth. China’s slower growth and rising financial market risks, the fall in commodity prices, notably the price of oil, and asynchronous trends in monetary policy mainly between the U.S. and most other advanced economies.

JUDY WOODRUFF: We will take a closer look at the Chinese economy later in the program.

New estimates have growth in the U.S. slowing, too, as federal deficits start rising again. The Congressional Budget Office said today that it expects this year’s deficit will top $540 billion, $100 billion more than last year. The main cause is Congress’ recent decision to make a number of tax cuts permanent and to increase spending. At the same time, the economy will grow 2.7 percent, down from an earlier estimate.

In the presidential race, Republican Donald Trump has won the backing of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. She was the party’s vice presidential nominee in 2008, and has since become a major voice in the Tea Party movement.

And Wall Street struggled today. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 28 points to close at 16016. The Nasdaq was down 11 points, and the S&P 500 added just one point.

Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the Supreme Court to review President Obama’s actions to block deportations; the lead U.S. negotiator on the Iranian prisoner swap; dark clouds on the horizon for the global economy; and much more.