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News Wrap: Obama warns Putin of further sanctions

July 17, 2014 at 6:12 PM EDT
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JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama used his phone call with Russian President Putin today to warn of even more economic sanctions. Yesterday, the U.S. imposed new measures as punishment for Moscow’s support of Ukrainian rebels. The sanctions target major Russian banks, energy and defense companies.

Putin lashed out at the U.S. earlier in the day during a trip to Brazil.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter): Sanctions have a boomerang effect, and without any doubt they will push U.S.-Russian relations to a dead end, and cause very serious damage. I am sure that this also damages national long-term strategic interests of the U.S. government and the U.S. people.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Last night, for the first time, European leaders signaled they are now willing to target Russian companies with their own sanctions.

But the new tensions unsettled Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 161 points to close at 16,976; the Nasdaq fell 62 points to close at 4,363; and the S&P 500 dropped 23 to 1,958.

GWEN IFILL: Microsoft announced plans today for its biggest layoffs ever. The company will trim 18,000 jobs, 14 percent of its staff, over the next year. The move is part of Microsoft’s streamlining since it acquired Nokia’s cell phone business in April. The software giant is also shifting from traditional personal computer software to mobile and cloud-based products.

JUDY WOODRUFF: It turns out a search at the National Institutes of Health found more than 300 unrecorded vials of highly contagious viruses and bacteria. The Food and Drug Administration says they were in a building it’s used for decades at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. It was already known that six vials of decades-old smallpox virus turned up at the same site.

GWEN IFILL: Congress now appears increasingly unlikely to act soon on the surge of migrant children crossing the U.S. border from Central America. Republicans say they won’t approve the president’s request for emergency funding without also changing a 2008 law in order to speed up deportations.

House Speaker John Boehner said today he’s not optimistic.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, Speaker of the House: I don’t know how you can address the problem down there without looking at the ’08 law. I don’t know how Congress can send more money to the border to begin to mitigate the problem if you don’t do something about the ’08 law that’s being abused. And it is being abused.

GWEN IFILL: Democrats oppose speeding up the deportation process. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had suggested last week that changing the law might be possible. But, today, she ruled it out, and warned Republicans they will be blamed if Congress does nothing.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, Minority Leader: What they have said in their public statements is, they don’t want to do all that much money, and they want to have legislation in there that is harmful to some of the children that we’re dealing with at the border. That sounds like an all-Republican bill to me.

GWEN IFILL: Time is getting short to get anything done this summer. Congress leaves in two weeks for its month-long August recess.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Australia has become the first country to repeal a carbon tax on greenhouse gas polluters. The Australian Senate today voted to axe the 2012 law that roused heavy public opposition. The ruling conservative coalition government took power last year, promising to end the tax and lower electricity bills as a result.

GWEN IFILL: Famed Broadway performer Elaine Stritch died today at her home in Birmingham, Michigan. She had a long list of stage, movie and TV credits, and won a Tony and three Emmys over more than 60 years in the business. But she may be best known for her show-stopping signature number, “The Ladies Who Lunch,” from the 1970 musical “Company.”

She performed it more recently in her one woman show, “At Liberty.”

ELAINE STRITCH, Actress/Musician (singing): Here’s to the ladies who lunch. Everybody, laugh. Lounging in their caftans and planning a brunch on their own behalf.

GWEN IFILL: Elaine Stritch was 89 years old.