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News Wrap: Trump names Kirstjen Nielsen to lead Homeland Security

October 11, 2017 at 6:45 PM EDT
In our news wrap Wednesday, President Trump is nominating Kirstjen Nielsen, current deputy chief of staff in the White House, to be the next secretary of Homeland Security. Also, North Korea's foreign minister fired off a new verbal assault against Trump and told a Russian news agency that “we need to settle the final score, only with a hail of fire, not words.”
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JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: The White House announced President Trump has nominated Kirstjen Nielsen for secretary of homeland security. She is currently deputy chief of staff at the White House. Nielsen worked for then Secretary John Kelly at Homeland Security, and then moved with him when he became White House chief of staff.

North Korea fired off a new verbal assault against President Trump today. The country’s foreign minister charged that the president has — quote — “lit the wick of war.”

Ri Yong-Ho told a Russian news agency: “We need to settle the final score, only with a hail of fire, not words.”

Meanwhile, U.S. B-1 bombers flew new drills with South Korean warplanes over the Korean Peninsula.

China is vowing to protect its territorial claims in the South China Sea, after a U.S. warship sailed near disputed islands. The destroyer USS Chafee passed close to the Paracel Islands yesterday to assert freedom-of-navigation rights.

In Beijing, the Foreign Ministry denounced the move as a violation of China’s sovereignty.

HUA CHUNYING, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, China (through interpreter): The relevant U.S. warship’s actions violated Chinese laws and related international laws, seriously undermined China’s security interest, and endangered the lives and safety of the personnel of both countries on the front line. The Chinese government will continue to defend its interest with firm measures.

JUDY WOODRUFF: China claims almost all of the South China Sea and the islands there as its territory.

A scandal engulfing Japan’s Kobe Steel deepened today. The company has admitted falsifying data about the quality of its aluminum and copper products, which it sells to hundreds of manufacturing companies. Now the Japanese government is urging Kobe to clarify just how far the problem went. General Motors, Nissan, Toyota and Boeing, among others, say they’re investigating if the materials pose a safety risk.

The prime minister of Spain demanded today to know if the region of Catalonia has proclaimed its independence. Last night, Catalan officials signed what they called a declaration of independence, but the Catalan president said that it won’t take effect for several weeks.

Today, addressing Spain’s Parliament, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy again rejected any talk of secession.

MARIANO RAJOY, Prime Minister, Spain (through interpreter): Ladies and gentlemen, on October 1, the government of Catalonia wanted to carry out an illegal referendum. It was the last chapter in a political strategy devised to impose on Catalan society and all Spaniards an independence that few want and is good for nobody.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Rajoy went on to say, there’s no constitution in the world that recognizes the right to self-determination.

In Kenya, new confusion, and protests, over a rerun of the presidential election. Police in Nairobi fired tear gas today to disperse more than 1,000 opposition supporters. They were demanding election reforms. Opposition leader Raila Odinga is boycotting the election unless he is guaranteed a fair count. But Parliament today declared President Uhuru Kenyatta the winner.

Back in this country, police in Baton Rouge have arrested 10 people in a fraternity death at Louisiana State University; 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver died last month after a night of drinking. His blood-alcohol level was more than six times the legal limit. Eight of the suspects are LSU students. All of them face misdemeanor hazing charges. One is also charged with negligent homicide.

President Trump today threatened TV broadcast networks over their news coverage. It came as he denied an NBC report that he’d wanted a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also denied the report. The president condemned what he called fake news and suggested it is time to challenge the networks’ licenses for broadcast stations.

On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 42 points to close near 22873. The Nasdaq rose 16, and the S&P 500 added four.

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