In our news wrap Wednesday, delayed results from Monday’s Democratic presidential caucuses in Iowa are still trickling in -- and Pete Buttigieg appears to be keeping his lead. With 75 percent of precincts reporting, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has nearly 27 percent support. Also, China’s death toll from an outbreak of novel coronavirus is nearing 490, with more than 24,000 infections.
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In the day's other news: Delayed results from Monday's presidential caucuses in Iowa keep trickling in, and Pete Buttigieg is holding on to his narrow lead; 86 percent of precincts have reported, and the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has more than 26 percent support.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is running second in the caucuses just behind him with 25 percent, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Vice President Joe Biden running third and fourth.
Biden said today he is counting on New Hampshire's primary next Tuesday, but he acknowledged that — quote — "We took a gut punch in Iowa."
The last 24 hours have seen the most cases yet in the coronavirus outbreak in China. The death toll there topped 550 today with more than 27,000 cases.
In the U.S., officials confirmed a 12th case.
And, in Geneva, the head of the World Health Organization appealed for $675 million to fight the virus.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:
This is not a time for panic. It's a time for rational, evidence-based action and investment, while we still have a window of opportunity to bring this outbreak under control.
Meanwhile, nearly 3,700 people are quarantined on a cruise ship at Yokohama, Japan, for two weeks. Some 3,600 others are being screened on a cruise liner in Hong Kong; 350 Americans were flown from China to California today to be quarantined, and officials confirmed a 12th case in the U.S.
There's word that 130 Salvadorans were killed in after being deported from the U.S. between 2012 and 2017. Human Rights Watch says that it also found at least 70 cases of sexual assault or other violence. The Trump administration has taken a number of steps to bar Central Americans from seeking refuge in the United States.
Israeli forces today killed a Palestinian teenager, the first death amid protests over a U.S. peace plan. The 17-year-old was shot in the West Bank city of Hebron. Israel said that troops fired at a demonstrator who threw a firebomb.
Earlier, Israeli planes struck Hamas militants in Gaza, after rockets were fired into Israel.
In Turkey, dozens of rescuers searching for survivors of an avalanche were themselves killed in a second deadly snow-slide. The overall toll has reached 38. It happened on a mountain road near Turkey's eastern border with Iran. Soldiers and residents climbed to the site to dig victims out of the snow.
They included the local emergency operations chief.
Osman Ucar (through translator):
We wanted to move the minibus to rescue the last two people, thinking they could be under the minibus or near it. As we worked to pave a path, we were trying to direct the excavator to help, and then we heard a noise. And then I was half-buried under snow. I managed to get out on my own.
At least 53 emergency workers were injured, and officials said some are still trapped.
The top U.S. military commander in the Middle East traveled to Iraq today, amid calls for American forces to withdraw. Marine General Frank McKenzie arrived as news accounts said the Iraqis have cut cooperation with the U.S. coalition. That follows the U.S. killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani outside Baghdad.
The clock began running today on the last remaining arms deal between the U.S. and Russia. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty expires one year from now. It limits long-range nuclear warheads. The U.S. withdrew from a treaty on medium-range weapons last year, and has also begun deploying low-yield nuclear missiles.
The governor of California has pardoned the late civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, who was jailed for homosexual activity in 1953. Rustin died in 1987. And the state law that he was convicted under is no longer on the books. Governor Gavin Newsom says that he also wants to pardon others who were prosecuted under the statute.
In economic news, the U.S. trade deficit fell last year for the first time in six years, due largely to the ongoing tariff war with China.
And, today, Wall Street shot higher on strong earnings reports. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 483 points to finish at 29290. The Nasdaq rose 40 points to a record close, a new one, and the S&P 500 added 37, also hitting a new high.