News Wrap: No criminal charges for officer who fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott
HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day's other news: The North Carolina police officer who fatally shot a black man in September will not face criminal charges. The shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, whose family at first insisted he was not armed, sparked days of protests across Charlotte.
Today, the county prosecutor said there was evidence Scott was holding a gun, and ignored repeated requests to drop it.
ANDREW MURRAY, Mecklenburg County District Attorney: The central issue is whether Officer Vinson was lawful in using deadly force against Mr. Scott. Anyone is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believed, and, in fact, believed that he or someone else was in imminent danger of great bodily injury or death.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Scott's family insisted today's decision will not end their inquiry.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The death toll from the wildfires that swept through Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains rose to seven today. Dozens of people have been injured and more than 700 buildings were damaged or destroyed.
Heavy rain brought some relief today, but, at points, more than 200 firefighters were still fighting the flames.
GREG MILLER, Chief, Gatlinburg Fire Department: We have all seen how fires rekindle. And whatever rain we got, and these structures may dry out and they could start back. But we have crews that are monitoring those and going back in those areas. They are driving through and they're checking and looking for hot spots.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Officials are still investigating what started the fires, but they believe they were likely caused by humans.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Powerful storms soaked the tinder-dry South overnight, spawning tornadoes that left five people dead. The twisters tore through Northeastern Alabama, damaging buildings and killing three people. Across the border in southern Tennessee, two others died, and dozens more were injured. Some roads in the South were drenched with up to two feet of water, after two months without rain.
JUDY WOODRUFF: There is word today that the pilot of the charter plane that slammed into Colombia's Andes Mountains told air traffic controllers that he ran out of fuel moments before the crash. That is according to a leaked recording of the flight's final minutes. All but six of the 77 people on board died. Most were members of a Brazilian soccer team.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In Syria, opposition activists claimed nearly 50 civilians were killed by regime forces today as they fled rebel-held Eastern Aleppo. Most of the victims were women and children. Activists estimate more than 50,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in the past four days.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The director of the CIA has decried President-elect Donald Trump's plan to scrap the nuclear deal with Iran. In a BBC interview, John Brennan said — quote — "I think it would be disastrous. I think it would be the height of folly if the next administration were to tear up that agreement." Brennan argued such a move would open the door for still other countries to pursue nuclear weapons.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The United Nations Security Council slapped new sanctions on North Korea today, in response to its fifth, and largest, nuclear test in September. The council unanimously approved the resolution, which will slash North Korea's biggest export, coal, by at least 62 percent. It also bans the regime from exporting metals like copper, nickel, and silver.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives reelected California's Nancy Pelosi as their leader today. The congresswoman has led the party in the House since 2002. Pelosi survived a challenge from Ohio Representative Tim Ryan in a 134-63 vote. Her win came despite disenchantment from some in her caucus after a disappointing showing in this month's elections.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, Minority Leader: We have a responsibility, and we embrace the opportunity that is presented. We know how to win elections. We have done it in the past. We will do it again.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer was also reelected as House Democratic whip.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The oil cartel OPEC is decreasing oil production for the first time in eight years. Member nations agreed to a deal that will cut production by more than a million barrels a day, from its current daily output of over 33 million barrels. It's all part of an effort to boost lagging oil prices.
JUDY WOODRUFF: That news sent energy stocks soaring on Wall Street today, but markets ended the day mixed. The Dow Jones industrial average gained two points to close at 19123. The Nasdaq tumbled 56, and the S&P 500 slipped nearly six.