In our news wrap Wednesday, President Trump departed the World Economic Forum after urging European countries to liberalize trade. Trump complained that the European Union is “more difficult to do business with than China.” Also, high winds and sweltering temperatures have returned to Australia, increasing the risk of fire. A huge dust storm also engulfed several towns in New South Wales.
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In the day's other news: President Trump issued new threats of tariffs on imported European cars before departing the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
U.S. officials met with world leaders and CEOs at the conference in Davos. Afterward, the president warned Europe to agree to liberalized trade.
President Donald Trump:
They have trade barriers were you can't trade. They have tariffs all over the place. They make it impossible.
They are, frankly, more difficult to do business with than China.
Separately, France announced that it will delay imposing a new tax on big tech companies, and the U.S. has let it be known that it will hold off imposing retaliatory sanctions.
In China, the death toll rose to at least 17 people from a new respiratory illness that is rapidly spreading. Chinese officials said more than 540 cases of the flu-like coronavirus have been confirmed. That is more than double the number from a day earlier.
We will get much more after the news summary.
High winds and sweltering temperatures have returned in Australia, and the fire danger there is surging again. People in the eastern suburbs of Canberra, the capital, were briefly forced to evacuate today after a fire flared near the airport.
Meanwhile, a huge dust storm engulfed several outback towns in New South Wales state, painting the skies orange and adding to smoke fouling the skies.
The president of Iran insisted today that his country is still committed to the 2015 nuclear deal. Just last week, Hassan Rouhani declared that Iran would no longer abide by limits on enriching uranium. Today, in Tehran, he said the nuclear deal, officially the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is not dead, and he disavowed interest in a nuclear arsenal.
President Hassan Rouhani (through translator):
We are not seeking nuclear weapons. Even if the JCPOA collapses, we won't seek nuclear weapons. If the safeguard agreement is destroyed, we won't seek nuclear weapons.
Rouhani also said that the United States made a mistake pulling out of the nuclear agreement.
Back in this country, Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard has filed a defamation lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, the party's 2016 nominee. It comes after Clinton suggested that the Hawaii congresswoman was — quote — "the favorite of the Russians." A spokesman for Clinton said that Gabbard's claims are ridiculous.
A landmark legal moment for the MeToo movement played out today with opening statements in Harvey Weinstein's rape and sexual assault trial. Prosecutors in New York called the former movie producer a rapist. The defense said that evidence shows any sexual encounters were consensual. The trial could last more than a month.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost nine points to close at 29186. The Nasdaq rose 13 points, and the S&P 500 added one point.
And Terry Jones of Monty Python fame has died, after battling a rare form of dementia. Jones played everything from a nude organist and a Spanish inquisitor, Cardinal Biggles, to the ravenous restaurant patron Mr. Creosote.
He wrote and directed the films "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and "Life of Brian."
In that one, he played the mother of Brian, who is mistaken for Jesus.
He is not the messiah. He is a very naughty boy. Now go away.
Who are you?
I'm his mother, that's who.
Terry Jones was 77 years old.