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News Wrap: Kenyan military troops destroy al-Shabab training camp in air strike

October 31, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Israel has launched new airstrikes into Syria. U.S. security officials say the attack came after nightfall in the Syrian port city of Latakia. The target was said to be Russian-made surface-to-air missiles. It’s at least the third time this year that Israel has carried out airstrikes inside Syria.

Syria has met a deadline to destroy all of its declared chemical weapons-making equipment. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons verified it today. It’s part of Syria’s agreement with the U.N. to destroy all chemical facilities and weapons by mid-2014. We will have more on Syria later in the program.

China demanded an explanation today after reports that U.S. and Australian embassies are being used as hubs for electronic spying. An account in The Sydney Morning Herald said the intelligence collection is happening across Southeast Asia. In Beijing, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman delivered her government’s reaction.

HUA CHUNYING, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (through interpreter): China is severely concerned overt reports and demands clarification and an explanation from the U.S. We demand that foreign institutions and nationals in China abide by international conventions and that they do not engage in actions that hurt China’s national security and interests.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Separately, the union representing German journalists advised its members to stop using Google and Yahoo! after reports that U.S. and British intelligence have tapped their data centers. We will have more on the ongoing storm over surveillance right after the news summary.

Kenya struck back today at militants in Somalia who attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi last month. The Kenyan military said warplanes bombed and destroyed a training camp used by the Islamist group Al-Shabab. There was no word on casualties. The mall attack left at least 67 people dead.

In the North African nation of Niger, rescuers have recovered the bodies of nearly 100 migrants weeks after they died of thirst in the Sahara Desert. Most were women and children. They were found not far from the Algerian border. Many of the bodies were badly decomposed. Others had been eaten by jackals. Northern Niger lies on a major corridor for illegal migration.

A federal appeals court today upheld New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy by blocking a lower court ruling against it. In August, federal district Judge Shira Scheindlin found that police have illegally targeted minorities, and she ordered major changes. The appeals court stayed that ruling, and removed the judge from the case for giving press interviews that answered her critics.

Airline passengers will soon be allowed to use tablet computers, e-readers and other electronic devices throughout their flights. Talking on cell phones will still be prohibited. The Federal Aviation Administration issued the new guidelines today. Administrator Michael Huerta said most airliners can handle the electronic interference.

MICHAEL HUERTA, Federal Aviation Administration Administrator: It’s safe to read downloaded materials, like e-books and calendars and also to play games. But the committee found that in some instances of low visibility, about 1 percent of all flights, some landing systems may not be proven to tolerate the interference. In those cases, passengers may be asked to turn off devices.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The FAA has limited in-flight use of electronic devices since 1966. The new rules won’t be implemented until airlines show how they plan to comply.

Federal authorities have discovered another sophisticated drug-smuggling tunnel between Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego. Officials said today the secret passage was recently completed. It was equipped with electricity, ventilation and even a rail system. Agents seized eight tons of marijuana and 325 pounds of cocaine and arrested three people.

Senate Republicans today blocked action on two key presidential nominees. Democratic Congressman Melvin Watt of North Carolina is the president’s choice to run the Federal Housing Finance Agency overseeing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Patricia Millett has been nominated for the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. The action left both nominees short of the 60 votes needed for confirmation.

Wall Street had a down day. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 73 points to close at 15,545. The Nasdaq fell nearly 11 points to close at 3,919.

And, in Boston, Red Sox fans are pointing toward a Saturday parade to celebrate their latest World Series win. The Sox beat the Saint Louis Cardinals last night to take the title in six games. Jeffrey Brown will have more on the Red Sox’s victory later in the program.