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News Wrap: Al-Qaida seizes airport, oil terminal in Yemen

In our news wrap Thursday, al-Qaida militants in Yemen took over a major airport, seaport and oil terminal in the country’s south today. The militants clashed with military forces before seizing control. Also, Russian President Vladimir Putin adamantly denied that Russian forces are in Ukraine during his annual television call-in show.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    Lawmakers struck a bipartisan deal to let President Obama fast-track trade deals. It comes just as negotiations with 11 Pacific nations are ramping up. Under fast-track authority, Congress could give any deal a yes or no vote, but it could not make any changes. The deal faces hurdles, many from within President Obama’s own party.

    Every major labor union has vowed to fight it, but, late today, the president issued a statement of support for the compromise.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Al-Qaida militants in Yemen took over a major airport, seaport and oil terminal in the country’s south today. Officials said the militants clashed with military forces outside Mukalla before seizing control. Al-Qaida militants overran the city earlier this month, and have been fighting with the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and with Saudi-backed government forces across the country.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual televised call-in show today, and addressed pre-screened questions from an audience on a range of subjects. He was adamant that Russian military forces are not in Ukraine. And he defended his decision to deliver an S-300 missile defense system to Iran, even as world powers negotiate a final nuclear deal.

  • PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter):

    There is absolutely no threat to Israel. It’s exclusively defensive weapons. Moreover, we think that given the conditions in the region, particularly in relation with events in Yemen, the supplies of this type of weaponry are a deterrent factor.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Putin also accused Washington of prohibiting world leaders from attending a military parade in Russia next month. The celebration marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    More than 40 people seeking to migrate from Africa are feared dead in the latest tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea. Italian media reported a small inflatable boat left Libya Saturday and sank while making the perilous crossing from Libya to Europe. More than 10,000 people have tried to make the trip this week alone.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    South Korea observed a day of mourning on the one-year anniversary of a ferry disaster that killed 304 people. Ceremonies were held across the country to pay tribute to the victims. But relatives canceled one memorial service in protest, over the government’s failure to improve safety standards and hold high-level officials accountable.

    South Korea’s president assured families they’re working to raise the submerged vessel soon.

  • PRESIDENT PARK GEUN-HYE, South Korea (through interpreter):

    There are still nine missing victims in the sunken waters. The government will take all measures, so that those victims can return to their families. Recently, there was an announcement that it is technically possible to salvage the ship. We will quickly take necessary measures so that we can salvage the ship as soon as possible.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Raising the sunken ferry is expected to take as long as a year-and-a-half and cost as much as $137 million.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    A new study on smoking found teens are lighting up less, but using electronic cigarettes at triple the rate they were a year earlier. The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was based on a national survey of 22,000 students at middle and high schools. It found, in 2014, that 13 percent of high schoolers tried e-cigarettes. A year ago, the government proposed regulating e-cigarettes, including banning sales to minors.

    The entertainment giant Sony is facing a new round of problems over last year’s cyber-attack. WikiLeaks has created a searchable online archive of thousands of leaked e-mails and documents from the hack. WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, asserted the material is public. Sony officials say it’s stolen information that has cost the company millions of dollars in damage.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    General Motors will be shielded from some lawsuits over its faulty ignition switches and potentially $10 billion in damages. A bankruptcy judge upheld a legal shield yesterday that protected the new GM from claims that originated before it declared bankruptcy and restructured in 2009. About 150 lawsuits contend GM concealed a defect in ignition switches that led to the recall of 2.6 million vehicles.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    On Wall Street, stocks finished the day nearly in line with where they started. The Dow Jones industrial average lost almost seven points to close at 18100. The Nasdaq fell three points. The S&P 500 lost more than a point.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    And a first for the U.S. record books. A woman in Houston gave birth to quintuplet sisters. Danielle Busby delivered all five girls last week, in four minutes, by C-section, after a 28-week pregnancy. In a video posted on YouTube, the parents said all five sisters are doing well, and require only modest breathing support. The last known quintuplet sisters were born in London in 1969.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    That’s going to be a handful.

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