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News Wrap: Police unsure why attacker set deadly fire in Manila casino

June 2, 2017 at 6:45 PM EDT
In our news wrap Friday, police in the Philippines are trying to figure out what drove a lone attacker who set fire to a Manila casino, killing 36 people. The gunman was found dead elsewhere in the complex. Also, there's word that special counsel Robert Mueller is taking over an ongoing criminal investigation involving former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: U.S. employers pulled back a bit on hiring last month, but the unemployment rate still dropped, to its lowest point in 16 years. The Labor Department’s monthly report showed a net gain of 138,000 jobs in May. And it posted a loss of one-tenth of a point in the unemployment rate to 4.3 percent. We will explore the numbers and what they mean a little later in the program.

There is word tonight that special counsel Robert Mueller’s special investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign may be growing. The Associated Press reports that Mueller is taking over an ongoing criminal investigation involving former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. The probe reportedly may also expand to look into the role of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the deputy attorney general in the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

In the Philippines, police are still trying to figure out what motivated a lone attacker who set fire to a Manila casino, resulting in the deaths of 36 people. They suffocated in the heavy smoke, their bodies not discovered until hours later. The gunman was found dead elsewhere in the complex.

STEPHEN REILLY, Chief Operating Officer, Resorts World Manila: We are still investigating and trying to ascertain why somebody will be so senseless and have such a motive. That is still to be determined.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Police say they have ruled out terror as a motive, despite the Islamic State group claiming responsibility.

A protest over security in Afghanistan’s capital turned violent today, and several demonstrators were killed. It happened in Kabul, just days after 90 people died in a huge truck bombing. More than 1,000 people marched today. Some threw rocks as they charged police. Officers fired into the air at first and also used tear gas and water cannons.

The U.N. Security Council has voted to slap more sanctions on North Korea over its continued missile testing. The U.S. and China backed the resolution today. It blacklists more than a dozen North Korean individuals and other entities, including a bank and part of the North Korean military.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is appealing for improved ties with the United States, and again denying any improper actions by his government. He spoke today at a forum with other leaders in Saint Petersburg, and said relations are at their lowest point since the Cold War.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter): Therefore, I think it is necessary to stop this useless and unhelpful chatter. I want to stress it once again: It is an attempt to bring internal political squabbling in the United States to the international arena. It is an attempt to solve internal political problems using foreign policy instruments. It is harmful.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Putin also dismissed the focus on the Russian ambassador’s meetings with Trump aides as — quote — “catastrophic nonsense.” Separately, the Russian president denied that his ally President Bashar al-Assad of Syria used chemical weapons on his own people in April. He said others carried out the attack as a — quote — “provocation.”

In South Sudan, at least 15 young children have died after a botched measles vaccination campaign. It happened early last month. The World Health Organization said that untrained workers used a single syringe for all the children, and that the vaccine was stored without refrigeration for days.

Back in this country, the Trump administration has formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries. Lower courts have so far blocked the ban from taking effect. Last night, the Justice Department asked the high court to decide if it will hear the government’s appeal, and to reinstate the ban in the meantime.

The former president of Penn State University will serve time behind bars for his role in covering up child sexual abuse by an ex-assistant football coach. Graham Spanier will spend two months in jail, and up to 10 months under house arrest. Two other former university officials also received jail time. Jerry Sandusky is serving a prison sentence of 30 to 60 years for sexually abusing 10 boys.

And on Wall Street today, stocks shook off the lukewarm jobs report to again close at all-time highs. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 62 points to close at 21206. The Nasdaq rose 59 points to close at 6305, and the S&P 500 added nine. For the week, the Dow and the S&P each gained a fraction of 1 percent. The Nasdaq added about 1.5 percent.

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