News Wrap: U.S. to increase military presence in Europe
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GWEN IFILL: The U.S. is set to increase its military presence in Europe to counter Russian actions in Ukraine. President Obama arrived today in Warsaw, Poland, and announced he will ask Congress for up to a billion dollars for the effort. The money would pay for sending more troops and equipment to the continent.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The ability for people to make their own determinations about their country’s future is the cornerstone of the peace and security that we have seen in Europe over the last several decades. And that is threatened by Russian actions in Crimea and now Russian activity in Eastern Ukraine.
GWEN IFILL: The president remains in Warsaw tomorrow to meet with Petro Poroshenko, the president-elect of Ukraine.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The Ukrainian government reported new advances today against pro-Russian rebels in the east. Kiev claimed its forces broke through rebel positions on the outskirts of Slavyansk, with help from warplanes, helicopter gunships and artillery fire. The Interior Ministry warned people to stay indoors. And civilians took refuge in basements and makeshift shelters while the fighting raged.
GWEN IFILL: In Nigeria, a leading newspaper reported 10 generals and five other top military officers have been convicted of aiding Boko Haram. They were found guilty of providing guns and information to the Islamist group that’s holding more than 200 schoolgirls captive. Meanwhile, in the capital, Abuja, demonstrators defied an apparent ban on protests to demand the government get the girls back.
AISHA YESUFU, Activist: All we are saying to the government is just wake up and do what you are supposed to do. We are in this together. We are working together. All we want are these girls back home. If they don’t want me to protest, all they can simply do is to bring back the girls now and alive.
GWEN IFILL: Later, police said protesters were free to march after all.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Former Egyptian Army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was officially declared the winner today in that country’s presidential election. The election commission reported that he won nearly 97 percent of the votes last month. Turnout was only 47 percent. Al-Sisi led the military move to topple Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last summer.
GWEN IFILL: Back in this country, this was the biggest voting day yet this year. Eight states held primary elections, including Alabama, California, Iowa, Montana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota.
Senate and gubernatorial races topped the ballot. In California, Democrat Jerry Brown was seeking renomination for a fourth term as governor.
GOV. JERRY BROWN, D, Calif.: I don’t know what number election this is, but it’s 40 years since I first voted in the primary in 1974. So, it’s been a long journey. I have learned a lot, and I hope, if the people give me another four years, that I can deserve their confidence and trust and lead California in so many different ways.
GWEN IFILL: Nominations for a number of seats in the House of Representatives are also being decided.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The former mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, Democrat Patrick Cannon, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud. He was arrested in a public corruption sting last March, after less than six months in office. The FBI recorded him accepting thousands of dollars and airline tickets. Cannon could get up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
GWEN IFILL: In economic news, U.S. auto sales hit a seven-year high last month. Chrysler, Nissan and Toyota reported double-digit gains, and so did General Motors. It had its best month since August of 2008, with sales up 13 percent, despite an onslaught of recalls. Ford sales rose just 3 percent, but that was better than expected.
JUDY WOODRUFF: On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 21 points to close at 16,722. The Nasdaq fell three points to close at 4,234. And the S&P 500 dipped a fraction of a point to finish at 1,924.