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News Wrap: Pentagon confirms March airstrike killed civilians in Mosul

May 25, 2017 at 6:45 PM EDT
In our news wrap Thursday, the Pentagon has concluded that a U.S. airstrike that was originally intended to kill two Islamic State snipers led to the death of at least 105 civilians in Mosul, Iraq. Also, a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, upheld a lower court ruling that blocked President Trump's revised travel ban.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: A federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, upheld a lower court ruling that blocked President Trump’s revised travel ban. The appellate judges of the Fourth Circuit said the policy, targeting six mostly Muslim nations — quote — “drips with religious intolerance.”

It’s the first appeals court to rule on the revised ban. The Justice Department says that it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Pentagon has concluded that a U.S. airstrike in Iraq last March led to the death of at least 105 civilians. It happened in Mosul, where government forces are fighting to retake the city from the Islamic State group. Investigators say they found that a U.S. bomb dropped on a building set off explosives that ISIS fighters had planted inside. The airstrike was originally intended to kill two snipers.

China’s government is protesting after a U.S. warship sailed close to manmade islands in the South China Sea today. The guided missile destroyer Dewey came within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, which the Chinese now claim.

In Beijing, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said the U.S. challenge hurts efforts to resolve disputes.

LU KANG, Spokesman, Chinese Foreign Ministry (through interpreter): The U.S.’ actions bring severe disruptions to the process of negotiations, and can only bring harm and not benefits. China’s resolve to protect its sovereign territory, security and maritime interests is resolute.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. disputes China’s claim and says that it will continue to conduct freedom of navigation exercises in the area. This was the first one since President Trump took office.

Government troops in the Philippines launched a new operation today to retake control of a southern city from Islamist militants. Soldiers arrived in Marawi backed by tanks and attack helicopters. The rebels have sealed off much of the city, and thousands of people have fled.

In Brazil, President Michel Temer has canceled a decree that deployed the military last night, after violent protests. An estimated 45,000 people marched in the capital, Brasilia, demanding that Temer resign over corruption allegations. Police fired tear gas and pepper spray when some protesters set fires and vandalized government buildings.

ROBERT KENNEDY, Brazilian Resident (through interpreter): It doesn’t represent the people. It is a movement created by unions, because to protest is correct, but vandalism is totally wrong. What they did is an example of savagery.

MANOEL SOUSA, Brazilian Resident (through interpreter): I approve demonstrations, but I thought it was absurd on both sides. Military police also made a serious mistake in targeting demonstrators.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Temer initially said he called out troops in a bid to restore order. He retreated after widespread criticism that it was a power grab.

The FBI has declined, for now, to hand over to Congress documents on former Director James Comey’s communications with the president. The House Oversight Committee wanted the material.

Meanwhile, former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman withdrew from consideration to be the next FBI director. He cited a potential conflict of interests, now that one of his law partners is representing the president in the probe of ties between his campaign and the Russians.

OPEC today extended an agreement to cut output for another nine months in an effort to shore up prices. The agreement includes the 14 members of the oil cartel, plus 10 other nations. Despite the deal, oil prices fell today back under $50 a barrel.

And long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week, to the lowest levels of the year. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said that the benchmark 30-year-rate dipped below 4 percent.

And Wall Street scored new gains, as big retailers reported strong earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 70 points to close near 21083. The Nasdaq rose 42, and the S&P 500 added 10, both of those indexes closing at record highs.

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