News Wrap: UN Reports Surge of Syrian Refugees Into Iraq
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KWAME HOLMAN: The number of Syrians streaming into Iraq has grown dramatically in the last five days. The U.N. reported some 30,000 refugees have entered the Kurdish region of Iraq. They mostly are Syrian Kurds believed to be fleeing attacks by al-Qaida fighters involved in the Syrian civil war. The U.N. set up an emergency transit camp in the Iraqi town of Irbil to house the new arrivals. They bring the overall number of Syrian refugees in Iraq to nearly 200,000.
SUHA SHAMO, Syrian refugee (through interpreter): We left Syria because the situation is getting worse, and my young brothers who are here had sent after us, telling us to come to the Kurdish region. We came three or four times before, but we couldn’t cross because each time, they told us the borders were closed. I only just made it.
KWAME HOLMAN: The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has requested thousands of tents and other supplies from Jordan that are due to arrive by the end of the week.
Heavy monsoon rains spawned severe flooding across parts of the Philippines today. The downpours drenched the capital city, Manila, and several nearby provinces, killing at least three people. The torrential rain, strengthened by a passing tropical storm, turned Manila’s streets into waist-deep rivers. The flooding forced the closing of schools, businesses, and embassies.
In the U.S., a wildfire raged across central Idaho today. Some 2,300 homeowners near the resort communities of Sun Valley and Ketchum were forced to evacuate. The blaze, which was sparked by lightening nearly two weeks ago, now has scorched about 160 square miles; 1,200 firefighters are battling the fire. It is eight percent contained. Even as the Idaho fire burned, so far, 2013 is shaping up to be the second mildest fire season of the last decade.
Lyme disease is ten times more common than previously thought, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors report about 20,000 to 30,000 illnesses a year, but a CDC survey shows as many as 300,000 Americans actually are diagnosed annually. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria transmitted through the bites of infected deer ticks. If diagnosed early, it can be cleared by antibiotics, avoiding potentially severe symptoms.
Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee Olympian, was indicted in a South African courtroom today on a charge of murdering his girlfriend a year ago. In court for the indictment, he wept openly before the proceeding. Prosecutors say witnesses heard a woman screaming before shots were fired, which contradicts Pistorius’ account. He said he believed he was shooting at an intruder. His trial is to begin in March.
Same-sex weddings took place across New Zealand today, as it became the 15th country to allow them. About three dozen couples exchanged vows in both traditional and nontraditional ceremonies. One couple was married on an airplane at 39,000 feet after winning an airline promotion. New Zealand’s same-sex marriage law was enacted in April and took effect today.
Gary Knell, the president and CEO of NPR, formerly National Public Radio, is moving on after less than two years on the job. Knell succeeded Vivian Schiller, who resigned after a former NPR fund-raising executive was caught on camera accusing the Tea Party of being racist. Knell plans to leave in late fall to run the National Geographic Society.
Trading was light on Wall Street today, as investors await clues about the Federal Reserve’s future bond-buying plans. The Dow Jones industrial average logged its first four-day losing streak of the year, dropping more than 70 points to close at 15,010. The NASDAQ fell 13 points to close at 3,589.
Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Jeff.