In our news wrap Thursday, the Congressional Black Caucus called for censuring President Trump over crude remarks about African nations and Haiti. While 130 House Democrats are reportedly supporting the resolution, there was no immediate indication the Republicans will allow a vote. Also, the death toll from a winter storm and deep freeze in the South rose to 15.
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In the day’s other news- the Congressional Black Caucus called, as you just heard, for censuring President Trump over crude remarks he made about African nations and Haiti.
They said 130 House Democrats are supporting the resolution. The chair of the Black Caucus, Cedric Richmond, urged House Speaker Paul Ryan to allow a vote.
Rep. Cedric Richmond:
The speaker should bring it up, because if he doesn’t, then he is enabling and continuing to allow the president to perpetuate this hateful rhetoric. And we’re going to force this body to either associate themselves with the remarks of the president, or condemn them.
There was no immediate indication that Republicans will allow a vote on the resolution.
The death toll rose to 15 today, as the Southern U.S. tried to recover from a winter storm and deep freeze. In North Carolina, 2,000 trucks were out salting roads and plowing snow.
Elsewhere, the problem was record cold. People in New Orleans said they have struggled to cope.
It’s crazy for us in the Deep South because we don’t have any, you know — anything that’s prepared for this kind of weather, and our pipes are freezing. Yes, it’s just — it’s just crazy. The sun feels good. That’s the redeeming thing right now.
City officials in New Orleans asked people to stop using water after widespread damage to pipes.
Meanwhile, another powerful storm battered Northern Europe today. Officials reported at least seven deaths in three countries. Wind gusting to nearly 90 miles an hour blew down trees and flipped trucks. And it forced Germany to suspend long-distance train service. In the Netherlands, the wind even blew people off bicycles as they tried to cross streets.
That’s a sight you don’t see often.
Syria warned Turkey today against attacking U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in Northwest Syria. Turkey claims that the Kurdish fighters are linked to rebels inside Turkey. But Syria’s deputy foreign minister said that their air defenses will shoot down Turkish planes that enter Syrian airspace.
Faisal Meqdad (through interpreter):
The presence of any Turkish forces on Syrian lands is totally rejected. We warn the Turkish leadership that if they initiate combat operations, that will be considered an act of aggression by the Turkish army. The Syrian air defenses have restored their full force and they are ready to destroy Turkish aviation targets.
Meanwhile, Turkey rejected assurances by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the U.S. is not creating a Kurdish security force in Syria.
There’s word that Myanmar’s military is continuing assaults on Rohingya Muslims. That comes a day after neighboring Bangladesh agreed to begin returning Rohingya refugees to Myanmar next week. Refugees arriving in Bangladesh today said that their homes had been burned in recent attacks. More than 655,000 Rohingya have fled there since August.
In Kazakstan, at least 52 people died today when fire engulfed a bus. It was traveling through the northwestern part of the country, on a route often used by migrant workers heading to Russia. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Back in this country, a California couple, David and Louise Turpin, were formally charged with torture and other crimes for allegedly imprisoning their 13 children. The Turpins pleaded not guilty in their first court appearance. The district attorney accused them of — quote — “severe emotional, physical abuse.”
The victims were often not released from their chains to go to the bathroom. None of the victims have seen a doctor in more than four years. None of the victims have ever seen a dentist. The children were, when they were not chained up, locked in different rooms and fed very little on a schedule.
In addition to the other charges, David Turpin is accused of performing a lewd act on a child.
The U.S. Senate gave final approval today to renewing FISA, the foreign intelligence collection program. It now goes to President Trump. FISA focuses on targets abroad, but privacy advocates warn that it also sweeps up Americans’ calls and e-mails. Supporters say the program is crucial to national security.
And Wall Street backed off today after a record run-up. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 98 points to close at 26,017. The Nasdaq was down two points, and the S&P 500 slipped four.