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News Wrap: Obama and Cameron threaten Russia with new sanctions

June 5, 2014 at 6:02 PM EDT
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GWEN IFILL: Two senior senators agreed today on a bipartisan bill to address long delays for veterans seeking medical care.  Those who wait longer than 30 days for appointments or live more than 40 miles from a VA facility could use private doctors enrolled in Medicare or other federal programs.

Republican John McCain of Arizona and independent Bernard Sanders of Vermont sponsored the legislation.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I, Vt.: You will be able to go to the doctor of your choice, under the strict supervision of the VA.  This is mostly a bill mostly for people in very rural areas who now have to travel long distances to get the health care.  This will make their lives easier.

GWEN IFILL: Also today, Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson visited the Phoenix Medical Center, where reports of falsifying data first surfaced.  He said 18 veterans there died while awaiting treatment, but he’s not sure if that’s because they were kept off wait lists.

And the nominee for the VA’s top health care position withdrew today.  Jeffrey Murawsky says he feared a long Senate confirmation fight.

JUDY WOODRUFF: There is no fight over Sylvia Burwell.  The Senate confirmed her today as the new secretary of health and human services.  She had been the president’s budget director.  Burwell takes over from Kathleen Sebelius, who oversaw the difficult rollout of the healthcare.gov Web site last year.

GWEN IFILL: In Iraq, Sunni fighters stepped up attacks in the north against forces of the Shiite-dominated government.  Dozens of gunmen ambushed security checkpoints and police stations in Samarra, starting a daylong battle.  Seven police and soldiers were killed.  The militants have already seized parts of Ramadi and most of Fallujah.

JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron had a new warning for Russia today: Block weapons from entering Ukraine, recognize the new leader in Kiev, and stop supporting pro-Russian separatists, or face new sanctions.  The leaders met as part of a Group of Seven summit in Brussels, without Russian President Vladimir Putin.

President Obama said Putin can choose to rebuild trust or not.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We will have a chance to see what Mr. Putin does over the next two, three, four weeks.  And if he remains on the current course, then we have already indicated the kinds of actions that we’re prepared to take.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Putin answered by wishing the G7 leaders — quote — “bon appetit” before flying from St. Petersburg to France for tomorrow’s D-Day commemorations.

GWEN IFILL: There’s word of more mass killings in Nigeria by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram.  Witnesses said militants dressed as soldiers slaughtered at least 200 people in the country’s northeast on Monday.  Later, police said 42 more people were killed early today.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Chinese courts sentenced 81 people today on terror charges in an ongoing crackdown in the Western region of Xinjiang.  State media said they planned terrorist activities and carried out murder and arson.  They are among scores of people who’ve been arrested after a series of deadly attacks blamed on ethnic Uighurs.

GWEN IFILL: Vietnam has released new video to prove its claims of Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.  The footage shows a Chinese ship chasing and then ramming a Vietnamese fishing boat on May 26.  The fishing boat then tipped over and sank, but all 10 people aboard were rescued.  It happened near a huge oil rig that China deployed last month in disputed waters.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The latest probe of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico concludes that a giant machine that could have prevented the 2010 disaster was riddled with defects.  The U.S. Chemical Safety Board said today the blowout preventer on the Macondo well failed because it had faulty wiring, a dead battery and a bent pipe.  It said similar devices are still being used worldwide.

GWEN IFILL: In economic news, European banks will start paying fees on deposits with the European Central Bank.  The negative interest rate could push them to lend the money instead and stave off deflation.  The chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Jo White, proposed new rules to rein in high-speed trading.

And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 98 points to close at 16,836; the Nasdaq rose 44 points to close at 4,296; and the S&P 500 added 12 to finish at 1,940.