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News Wrap: Pentagon asks Russia to avoid bombing near U.S. forces in Syria

February 18, 2016 at 6:45 PM EST
The Pentagon
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The Pentagon said today it has asked Russia to steer clear of bombing near U.S. special forces in Northern Syria. It said the Russian military was given broad areas to avoid, but not the exact locations of American troops. And a spokesman said the Russians have honored the request so far.

Turkey is blaming Kurdish militants at home and in Syria for a suicide bombing in Ankara. Yesterday’s blast killed 28 people and wounded dozens more. The Turks answered today with air raids in Northern Iraq on the outlawed Kurdish rebel group PKK, and they insisted again the group is linked to Syrian Kurds backed by the U.S.

PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkey (through interpreter): We have not been able to convince the international community, and in particular our friends, of the strong ties between Kurdish militias in Northern Syria and the PKK. In the face of this bombing, they will probably be conducive to a better understanding.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, the leader of a Kurdish umbrella organization said it’s possible that rogue militants carried out the bombing.

In Uganda, delays and protests plagued presidential and parliamentary elections today. And, at one point, the main opposition candidate was briefly arrested. Some voters waited more than five hours because ballots had not been delivered. That sent protesters into the streets claiming the delays were deliberate to help keep the country’s president in office. Yoweri Museveni has been in power for 30 years and is seeking reelection.

Leaders of the European Union have opened a crucial summit in Brussels that could determine whether Britain stays or goes as a member. Prime minister David Cameron arrived today, calling for a deal that safeguards British sovereignty, and helps him win a summer referendum on keeping London in the E.U.

DAVID CAMERON, Prime Minister, United Kingdom: We have got some important work to do today and tomorrow. And it’s going to be hard. I will be battling for Britain. If we can get a good deal, I will take that deal. But I will not take a deal that doesn’t meet what we need. I think it’s much more important to get this right than to do anything in a rush.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Britain already opts out of the unified euro currency and it wants the freedom to curb various benefits for immigrants from elsewhere in Europe.

Back in this country, a Los Angeles area hospital confirms that it paid $17,000 in ransom to hackers who seized control of its computer network. Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center says it happened earlier this month. It regained access to its network by paying the ransom in Bitcoins, an online currency. The FBI said there have been numerous similar attacks.

And Wall Street’s rally ran out of gas today, after advancing since Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 40 points to close at 16413. The Nasdaq fell 46 points, and the S&P 500 shed nine.

Still to come on the “NewsHour”: Pope Francis’ surprising remarks on contraceptives and on Donald Trump; the first presidential visit to Cuba in nearly 90 years; who’s taking bets on the presidential election; and much more.

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