JUDY WOODRUFF: Heavy fighting raged for a third day, as government troops fought to retake Palmyra from ISIS. The army and its militia allies seized an ancient citadel, backed by Russian air support. Capturing Palmyra could open much of Eastern Syria to government forces, but large parts of the town remain under the militants’ control.
Meanwhile, in Iraq a suicide bomber killed 29 people at a soccer match south of Baghdad. At least 60 others were wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
A Korean-American arrested in North Korea confessed today to stealing military secrets. State television showed Kim Dong Chul at a news conference in Pyongyang. The 62-year-old was arrested last October. Today, he tearfully admitted to spying for the U.S. and South Korea.
KIM DONG CHUL, Detained Korean-American (through interpreter): The extraordinary crime I committed was defaming and insulting the republic’s highest dignity and its system, and spreading false propaganda aimed at breaking down its solidarity.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Earlier this month, North Korea sentenced Otto Warmbier, an American college student, to 15 years for trying to steal a propaganda banner.
Much of the Christian world marked Good Friday today. In Jerusalem’s Old City, thousands walked the Way of the Cross. It’s the route that, according to tradition, Jesus took to his crucifixion. Later, Pope Francis led Good Friday services at the Vatican. Hundreds of worshipers filled St. Peter’s Basilica.
And in the Philippines, some of the faithful had themselves nailed to crosses, including one who did it for the 30th year. Thousands of tourists looked on and took pictures.
And TV writer Earl Hamner Jr. has died of pneumonia in Los Angeles. He was best known for creating “The Waltons,” based on his own upbringing in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. It ran for nine seasons, starting in 1972, and won 12 Emmys. Earl Hamner Jr. was 92 years old.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: how the U.S. is fighting ISIS; Mark Shields and David Brooks take on this week’s news; beating cancer in one of America’s poorest communities; from groups of white supremacists to lone wolves, exploring a racist undercurrent in the United States; and much more.