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News Wrap: Suicide bombing blasts market in eastern Afghanistan, kills at least 89

July 15, 2014 at 8:16 PM EST
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JUDY WOODRUFF: In Eastern Afghanistan, at least 89 people died in a suicide car bombing today. Scores more were wounded. The powerful blast rocked a crowded market in Paktika Province near the Pakistani border. More than 20 shops and dozens of nearby vehicles were destroyed. No one claimed responsibility. The Taliban put out a statement denying any involvement.

GWEN IFILL: The parliament in Iraq has finally taken the first step toward forming a unity government, in the face of a Sunni insurgency. Lawmakers today chose a Sunni moderate, Salim al-Jubouri, to be the new speaker. It’s unclear whether Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds can reach a larger deal on naming a new president and prime minister.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Secretary of State John Kerry returned to Washington for consultations today, claiming tangible progress on curtailing Iran’s nuclear program. But he also acknowledged Iran and six world powers remain far apart on reaching a long-term agreement by a July 20 deadline.

JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: We had extensive conversations, in which we moved on certain things. However, there are also very real gaps on other key issues. And what we are trying to do is to find a way for Iran to have an exclusively peaceful nuclear program, while giving the world all the assurances required to know that Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapon.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Iran’s foreign minister suggested his country is open to extending the talks for another six months.

GWEN IFILL: A fast-moving typhoon hit the northeastern Philippines today, forcing 300,000 people to evacuate. The storm made landfall with sustained winds of 80 miles an hour and a storm surge of 10 feet. Local officials warned thousands of homes may have been damaged or destroyed. Another typhoon, Haiyan, ravaged the Philippines last November, killing at least 6,300 people.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In Russia, Moscow’s morning rush hour turned deadly when a subway train derailed, killing 21 people. More than 130 others were injured, as three cars ran off their tracks in a tunnel. Investigators initially blamed a power surge, but later said that wasn’t the case. Several officials ruled out terrorism as the cause.

GWEN IFILL: A bill to shore up the federal highway fund won approval in the House of Representatives today. It would cost $10.8 billion, and keep the fund solvent through next May, while lawmakers work on a longer-term fix. A similar bill is pending in the Senate.

A federal appeals court has ruled again that the University of Texas may continue considering race in undergraduate admissions. A white student who was denied admission, Abigail Fisher, had sued over the practice. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the appeals court to take another look at the case, which led to today’s ruling. Fisher said she will appeal again.

JUDY WOODRUFF: A big merger is in the works in the world of big tobacco. Reynolds American today announced a deal to buy Lorillard for $25 billion. They’d create the second largest tobacco company in the U.S., behind Altria. The deal is subject to approval by federal regulators.

GWEN IFILL: Wall Street failed to make much headway today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained five points to close at 1,760. But the Nasdaq fell 24 points to close at 4,416. And the S&P was down nearly four points to close at 1,973.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The Ebola outbreak in Western Africa has now killed more than 600 people. The World Health Organization reported the new toll today. It said 68 people died in the last week alone in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Health workers also confirmed 85 new cases in that same period.

GWEN IFILL: More Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia than ever, 5.4 million. But Boston University researchers reported today, the overall incidence of dementia in the population has actually dropped 44 percent in the last 30 years. They credit better education and health care.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author James MacGregor Burns died today at his home in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He was active in liberal Democratic politics and wrote biographies of then-Senator John F. Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt. His second volume on Roosevelt won the Pulitzer for history. James MacGregor Burns was 95 years old.