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News Wrap: Alberta wildfire forces nearly 90,000 to flee

In our news wrap Wednesday, a wildfire burning since Sunday in Canada’s main oil sands city forced nearly 90,000 people to flee their homes, the province’s largest evacuation ever. Also, President Obama made a long-awaited visit to Flint, Michigan, to address the controversy over the city’s contaminated drinking water.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Good evening. I'm Judy Woodruff.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    And I'm Hari Sreenivasan.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    On the "NewsHour" tonight: Then there were three. Donald Trump is now the Republican Party's presumptive nominee for president, as Bernie Sanders scores a win against Hillary Clinton in Indiana.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Also ahead this Wednesday: on the ground in Iraq after ISIS fighters kill a member of the U.S. Navy SEALs in a large-scale attack near Mosul.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Plus: Are today's kids addicted to their digital devices? We hear from the creator of the new documentary "Screenagers."

    DR. DELANEY RUSTON, Filmmaker, "Screenagers": I knew, as a mom, that, every day, there was tension in the house, and I felt completely out of control on what to do, what kind of limits to set, how this was affecting them.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."

    (BREAK)

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In the day's other news: A wildfire burned its way into Canada's main oil sands city and forced almost 90,000 people to flee. Everyone was ordered out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, and the province declared a state of emergency. The fire has raged across tinder-dry woodlands and consumed entire suburbs.

    Many people headed south. Others sheltered in nearby camps, and some criticized the way it was handled.

  • JOAN BATES, Fort McMurray Resident:

    Well, it's a disaster, and I find that it is not fair. They didn't even let us take our things when we asked them, so we lost everything now.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today the country's military stands ready to help if needed.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    From fire to water, President Obama made a long-awaited visit to Flint, Michigan today, where the drinking water has been contaminated with lead.

    William Brangham has the story.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM:

    The president was greeted by gray skies and a line of Michigan officials, including Republican Governor Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. He urged parents in Flint to have their kids tested for lead exposure and to use filters on their tap water. Then, he took a drink himself.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    Generally, I have not been doing stunts here, but — and this used a filter.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM:

    His visit was prompted in part by a letter from Mari Copeny, an 8-year-old girl in Flint.

  • MARI COPENY, Flint Resident:

    I am one of the children that is affected by this water, and I have been doing my best to march in protest and speak out for all the kids that live here in Flint.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM:

    Known as Little Miss Flint, she and other residents had the chance to meet with the president today.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    You should be angry, but channel that anger. You should be hurt, but don't sink into despair. And most of all, do not somehow communicate to our children here in this city that they're going to be saddled with problems for the rest of their lives, because they will not. They will do just fine.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM:

    All of this comes two years after the city's water source was switched to the Flint River to save money. After months of complaints of tainted water, officials acknowledged the river water wasn't treated properly and had leached lead from old pipes into people's water supply.

    The city has stopped using the river, and lead levels are gradually falling. But questions persist about who knew what and when about the lead contamination.

    Julie Mack is a reporter at Michigan-Live, a state newspaper consortium. She was part of an investigative team looking into e-mails and documents from Governor Snyder and his inner circle.

  • JULIE MACK, MLive Media Group:

    There was something obviously seriously wrong with the water. People are coming to showing off jugs of brown water for a year, you know, 17 months, before they did anything. And that remains a puzzle of, why did it take so long for there to be action?

    (BOOING)

    GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), Michigan: Good afternoon.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM:

    Snyder himself was heckled and booed today at his speech in Flint, and he apologized again, saying — quote — "Your government failed you."

    Looking ahead, the mayor of Flint estimates it will cost $55 million to remove and replace Flint's old lead pipes. The Michigan legislature has approved $67 million since October, but, so far, the money has been slow to reach residents.

    A congressional package of $100 million for the water system and $50 million for health care needs associated with lead poisoning is still awaiting action.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm William Brangham.

    How Gov. Rick Snyder's inaction contributed to the Flint crisis

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The U.S. Justice Department warned North Carolina today not to enforce a new LGBT law. The statute limits protections for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people. The Justice Department said it violates federal civil rights laws. The department notified Republican Governor Pat McCrory that the state could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    The biggest automotive recall in U.S. history will get even bigger. Japan's Takata Corporation is adding up to 40 million additional air bag inflators on top of almost 30 million already recalled. In some cases, the devices can fire metal shards when they go off. But federal regulators acknowledged today that replacing all of them is a huge job.

  • MARK ROSEKIND, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

    There is already concern about supply being available. Part of the issue here is to make sure we accelerate and as quickly as possible get the replacements, but we do not want to introduce new safety risks by pushing too fast too hard.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    The Takata air bags have been linked to at least 11 deaths.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In Syria, the government and moderate rebel factions have agreed to restore a fragile cease-fire in Aleppo, after days of fierce fighting. The U.S. and Russia worked out the agreement, on the heels of similar deals in Damascus and Latakia province. The Syrian military said later that the Aleppo truce is good for only 48 hours.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    The global tobacco industry was dealt a double blow today. The European Union's highest court upheld requirements that cigarettes be sold in plain packages. The rules also limit advertising for e-cigarettes. Separately, India's Supreme Court ordered that health warnings cover 85 percent of a cigarette pack's surface.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Back in this country, the federal Transportation Security Administration is moving to address long lines at the busiest U.S. airports.

    Officials said today they're adding more screeners and bomb-sniffing dogs to expedite screening. Airlines have voiced concerns that growing wait times will affect the peak summer travel season.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    And on Wall Street, stocks sagged after a private survey of job creation turned in disappointing numbers. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 99 points to close at 17651. The Nasdaq fell 37 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 12.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": will the GOP finally rally around Donald Trump? We get takes from political reporters and former presidential candidate Ben Carson; the U.S. role in fighting ISIS under fire after a Navy seal is killed in Iraq; why half of all teenagers say they're addicted to their phones; and much more.

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