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News Wrap: Obama calls for progress on veterans’ services

In our news wrap Wednesday, President Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown in observance of Veterans Day, and used the occasion to call for more progress on speeding up medical services and disability claims. Also, Myanmar’s military government promised a peaceful transition in the wake of an election victory in favor of the opposition party.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    It began as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I. Now it's commemorated as Veterans Day, honoring all those who have worn the uniform of the United States, living and dead.

    Today, the annual observances were mixed in with new pledges of reform. It was a day for keeping with traditions, including the president laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.

    Afterward, Mr. Obama used the occasion to call for more progress on speeding up medical services and disability claims for military veterans.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    If tomorrow, after the parades and the ceremonies, we roll up the banners and sweep the veterans halls and go back to our daily lives forgetting the bond between the service of our veterans and our obligations as citizens, then we will be doing a profound disservice to our veterans and to the very cause for which they serve.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    At the World War II Memorial on the National Mall, former Republican Senator and Army veteran Bob Dole paid his own tribute to those who've served.

  • BOB DOLE, Former Senator:

    It's a day to remember all the sacrifices made in American history by people who stood up for their country.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And across the Atlantic, Britain observed Remembrance Day with moments of silence and other somber ceremonies, while other European nations marked it as Armistice Day, honoring the millions who lost their lives during the First World War.

    Elsewhere, NATO troops in Afghanistan held observances to pay tribute to their fallen comrades.

  • PADRE COLIN MACLEOD, Chaplain:

    So many have lost their lives. And it would be unforgivable of us to forget.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    That sentiment also resonated at Australia's rain-soaked remembrance ceremony in Canberra with Britain's Prince Charles and his wife in attendance.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    In Myanmar today, the military-backed government promised a peaceful transition, as the democratic opposition headed toward a sweeping election victory. The party led by Aung San Suu Kyi has won the overwhelming majority of Parliament races decided since Sunday's vote. Her party won a similar triumph in 1990, but the military refused to give way.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    At least 10,000 people marched in Afghanistan's capital today, protesting the beheading of seven Shiite Hazaras. Their bodies were found in Zabul province on Saturday. One of the victims was a child.

    Today, angry demonstrators carried the coffins through Kabul, and some tried to force their way into the presidential palace. Police opened fire, wounding at least 10 people.

    And President Ashraf Ghani called for calm.

  • PRESIDENT ASHRAF GHANI, Afghanistan (through interpreter):

    We are committed to taking revenge for our countrymen's blood. In this way, we will not spare any effort. But you have to remember that anything can happen if we don't control our feelings. We should avoid reactions that could result in anarchy.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Protesters demanded that President Ghani step down if he can't ensure security.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The European Union pressed African leaders today to help curb the flow of migrants. The two sides met on Malta, where the Europeans offered incentives, as we hear from Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News.

  • JONATHAN RUGMAN:

    Emerging from a building which once housed medieval knights tasked with protecting the holy land, a new champions league, the E.U.'s leaders still finding their way in the dark, though, facing an unprecedented wave of migration and trying to square the circle of helping the desperate and protecting themselves.

    Their focus tonight is not Syria, but Africa, with 1.8 billion euros now at the ready to buy the cooperation of African leaders, some of it to make sure migrants turned down for asylum really do go home.

    Africans account for 14 percent of this year's arrival. But it's much further east off Turkey that the packed boats are still coming, 6,000 people reaching Greece every day. It's thought a trafficker dived off this dinghy this morning, no doubt hoping to cash in on the next.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Back in Malta, you need a ladder to reach the uppermost files of asylum seekers. And the more new arrivals, the more the tide is beginning to turn, many in Germany are ruing the day Angela Merkel flung her country's door wide open, the Greeks not prepared to take back those who arrived there first, and African leaders demanding more visas so Africans can visit Europe legally, rather than risking their lives to get here instead. Back in this country, a Missouri man is in jail, suspected of posting online threats against blacks at the University of Missouri at Columbia; 19-year-old Hunter Park was arrested at a separate campus. He had allegedly said he planned to open fire today in Columbia.

    Earlier this week, protests over racial tensions led the university system's president to resign. Police are still investigating other threats and have stepped up patrols.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    A Texas grand jury has indicted 106 bikers arrested in last may's deadly gang shoot-out in Waco. Nine people died in the confrontation between rival motorcycle clubs. Those indicted face charges of organized criminal gang activity. The grand jury is still considering charges against another 71 bikers.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 56 points to close back near 17700. The Nasdaq fell 16 points, and the S&P 500 dropped six.

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