News Wrap: Silicon Valley comes to Trump Tower
JUDY WOODRUFF: Short-term interest rates are moving up, for the first time in a year. The Federal Reserve Board's decision today affects credit cards, home equity loans and adjustable-rate mortgages. Fed policy-makers announced they have increased the benchmark rate by a quarter-point. Several big banks followed suit, raising their prime lending rates to 3.75 percent.
At a news conference, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the Central Bank now expects to raise rates three more times next year, instead of two.
JANET YELLEN, Chair, Federal Reserve: Our decision to raise rates should certainly be understood as a reflection of the confidence we have in the progress the economy has made and our judgment that that progress will continue, and the economy has proven to be remarkably resilient.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We will take a closer look at the Fed's decision and its potential effects later in the program.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Silicon Valley comes to Manhattan. Donald Trump received the biggest names in the U.S. tech world today, and praised their innovation. It came after most of the digital leaders invited had backed Hillary Clinton in the campaign.
John Yang has our report.
DONALD TRUMP (R), President-Elect: This is a truly amazing group of people.
JOHN YANG: Today, President-elect Trump reached out to executives from tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook.
DONALD TRUMP: We're going to be there for you. And you will call my people, you will call me. It doesn't make any difference. We have no formal chain of command around here.
JOHN YANG: During the campaign, he had a different message, scolding the industry for sending jobs overseas.
DONALD TRUMP: We're going to get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries.
JOHN YANG: Earlier, Mr. Trump officially said he wanted Rick Perry to be energy secretary. He was the longest-serving governor of Texas, a leading oil and gas producer. He twice ran for president. During his 2012 bid, Perry called for eliminating the Energy Department, but famously couldn't name it during a debate.
FORMER GOV. RICK PERRY (R-Texas): It's three agencies of government that, when I get there, that are gone, commerce, Education, and the — what's the third one there? Let's see.
QUESTION: You can't name the third one?
RICK PERRY: I can't. The third one, I can't. Oops.
JOHN YANG: Last night, at a rally in Wisconsin, the president-elect defended his choice of ExxonMobil chairman Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state. Critics say Tillerson's too close to Russia.
DONALD TRUMP (R): A great diplomat. A strong man. A tough man. A man who's already earned an avalanche of endorsements and growing praise from our nation's top leaders. Rex will be a fierce advocate for America's interests around the world, and has the insights and talents necessary to help reverse years of foreign policy blunders and disasters.
JOHN YANG: Of the fourteen Cabinet-level picks Mr. Trump has announced since the election, 10 of them are white men. So far, the president-elect has selected three women of color for top positions, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley for U.N. ambassador, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to be transportation secretary, and Seema Verma to oversee Medicare and Medicaid. The lone African-American choice is housing secretary-designee Dr. Ben Carson.
Yet to be announced by Mr. Trump, his choices for the secretaries of agriculture, interior and veterans affairs.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.
HARI SREENIVASAN: This evening, the president-elect announced he's chosen Ronna McDaniel to chair the Republican National Committee. She's the niece of Mitt Romney, and currently chairs the Michigan Republican Party.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day's other news: The United Nations Human Rights Commission warned that South Sudan is on the brink of — quote — "all-out ethnic civil war." The African nation has suffered years of brutal fighting, with tens of thousands killed and more than a million people displaced.
Today, in Geneva, U.N. officials reported widespread atrocities and rapes, with some victims as young as 2 years old.
YASMIN SOOKA, UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan: A U.N. survey found that 70 percent of women in the camp had been raped since the conflict erupted, the vast majority of them not by unarmed, unknown men, but by police or soldiers. And a staggering 78 percent of them had been forced to watch someone else being sexually violated.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The commission chief urged immediate deployment of another 4,000 U.N. peacekeepers to South Sudan.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In Syria, there's word that a truce is back on in Aleppo, after it failed to take effect this morning. Instead, there was a long day of recriminations and fierce new attacks.
From early morning on, gunfire and shelling blasted Eastern Aleppo. The cease-fire brokered yesterday by Russia and Turkey was supposed to allow rebels and civilians safe passage to Northern Syria. The first buses even arrived to ferry them away, but they left empty. U.N. officials, rebel groups and activists blamed Syria's ally Iran for imposing new conditions, including a simultaneous evacuation of two villages being shelled by rebels.
SALAH ASHKAR: Aleppo Activist: A missile just fell on the roof of my building.
LINA SHAMY, Aleppo Activist: Criminal Assad regime and the Iranians have broke the cease-fire, and they are back to attack the civilians and continue the genocide.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faulted Syrian forces for breaking the cease-fire.
PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkey (through translator): We were hoping to evacuate civilians and opposition forces from East Aleppo, but, unfortunately, once again, rockets were fired.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Syrian state TV blamed rebel shelling. And President Bashar al-Assad rejected any criticism of his military in a Russian TV interview.
PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, Syria (through translator): It doesn't matter what they ask. The translation of their statement is for Russia: Please, stop the advancement of the Syrian army against the terrorists. That is the meaning of their statement. Forget about the rest. You went too far in defeating the terrorists. That shouldn't happen.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Late today, the U.N. Human Rights Office warned the Syrian government and its allies have almost certainly committed war crimes with the renewed assault on Aleppo.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov predicted thousands will be able to leave Eastern Aleppo once it falls.
SERGEI LAVROV, Foreign Minister, Russia (through translator): I expect that the rebels will cease resistance in the next two to three days. And the minority that declines to do so, it will be their own choice.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And in Washington, the White House charged that Russia could have prevented all this carnage by enforcing a truce last month.
JOSH EARNEST, White House Spokesman: The Russia couldn't hold up their end of the bargain. I know they have got all kinds of explanations for why that may be the case. Most of them are rooted in the fact that they're either unable or unwilling to control their client government.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Tonight came new statements from rebels and the pro-Assad alliance that the latest cease-fire is back on. They say evacuations will begin tomorrow at dawn.
This evening, Turkey announced it will join Russia and Iran in a summit on Syria later this month.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in this country, it was anything but a warm Wednesday across parts of the Plains and the Midwest. Arctic air triggered windchill advisories for 10 states, from North Dakota to Ohio. Commuters in Chicago bundled up to brave the colder-than-usual conditions, as windchills in that city plunged to minus-15 degrees. The cold wave is moving eastward, followed by snow.
HARI SREENIVASAN: There's word of a huge new data breach at Yahoo. The company now says hackers stole information from more than one billion user accounts back in August of 2013. It's separate from a 2014 breach at Yahoo involving 500 million accounts.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And the rally on Wall Street stalled today, as the Federal Reserve forecast more rate hikes than expected next year. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 118 points to close at 19792. The Nasdaq fell 27, and the S&P 500 slipped 18.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And the Library of Congress is out with this year's 25 additions to the National Film Registry. They include the 1980s hits "The Breakfast Club," "The Princess Bride," and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." Also added, Disney's "The Lion King" and "Thelma and Louise."
The movies are chosen for special preservation based on their cultural, historic or artistic importance.