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News Wrap: Deadly car bomb in Ankara; Amtrak train derails in Kansas

In our news wrap Monday, Turkey blamed Kurdish separatists for a car bombing in Ankara Sunday that killed at least 37; the Turkish military arrested 11 people and carried out airstrikes in retaliation. Also, an Amtrak train derailed early Monday morning in southwestern Kansas, injuring 32 people.

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    Good evening. I'm Judy Woodruff.


    And I'm Gwen Ifill.


    On the "NewsHour" tonight: Candidates race toward a critical day of primaries tomorrow, with eyes on Ohio and Florida as potential campaign game-changers.


    Also ahead this Monday, we sit down with the new head of the U.N. Refugee Agency, Filippo Grandi, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Syrian civil war.


    And with public media partners Marketplace and "Frontline," we launch a new series, How the Deck Is Stacked, reported by Kai Ryssdal, on why many Americans feel they can't get ahead.

  • KAI RYSSDAL, Marketplace:

    We have added a million jobs in this economy since the last time we went out in the field in September, and yet people aren't feeling it. And that to me is the most interesting thing, that what's going on here is not being widely shared down at the middle and bottom ranges of this economy.


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



    In the day's other news: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his armed forces to begin pulling out of Syria. He said it's because Russia's military intervention has achieved its objectives, as a new round of Syrian peace talks got under way in Geneva.

    Putin discussed his decision today by phone with President Obama, who welcomed the move. Syria's President Bashar Assad said the action was coordinated, and France's defense minister said Russia has — quote — "practically stopped hitting" moderate Syrian rebels.

    For more on Putin's announcement, I spoke late this afternoon with Nathan Hodge, Moscow bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal.

    Welcome, Nathan.

    So, U.S. officials say they have seen no evidence yet of any movement by Russian forces. Is President Putin believed to be serious about this?

  • NATHAN HODGE, The Wall Street Journal:

    Well there, didn't seem to be much evidence, according to the U.S. officials that we had spoken to, that Russians were ever planning to stay for the long haul.

    But this announcement certainly comes as a surprise, as much of a surprise in many ways as Russia's decision to commence this military operation back at the end of September, although it was preceded by a speech that President Putin delivered at the U.N. where he said that Russia wanted to create an alliance against terrorism.

    And he's cast this campaign as supporting the Assad regime as the best bulwark against Islamic State and other extremist groups.


    Well, what is it exactly that it's believed Putin's forces have accomplished in Syria? Because, as you said, I mean, he said this was intended to go after terrorists, but we know that civilians, Syrian civilians have been targeted. Hundreds, if not thousands of them have been killed.


    Right, and there have been accusations leveled against the Russians of the indiscriminate use of force and the use of weaponry that has displaced lots of people and caused civilian harm, allegations, of course, that the Russians have pushed back quite hard against.

    But what this actually the campaign did, in many ways, the introduction of Russian airpower in many ways reversed the momentum. Back last summer, even President Assad had conceded that he was having a difficult time, because of defections, holding ground in Syria.

    So this, in many ways, they have — it's hard to say if this is really Putin's mission accomplished moment yet, but they did succeed, Russian airpower did succeed in changing the momentum on the ground in Syria. And in recent weeks, they have been pressing a very strong offensive in the north of the country.


    So, what is this pullout, what effect is it expected to have on the course of the war there?


    Well, what Syrian opposition groups are telling us is, we're waiting to see.

    Doesn't necessarily mean that Putin is withdrawing all of his support entirely. Putin's spokesman said that Russia intends to actually keep the base or keep bases in Syria. But what does seem to be happening is that maybe Russia could be exerting a little bit more pressure on Bashar al-Assad to negotiate in earnest.

    So, once again, Putin has managed to insert himself quite forcefully into global affairs and in many ways set the agenda here.


    Nathan Hodge of The Wall Street Journal reporting from Moscow, we thank you.


    Thank you.


    Also today, Turkey struck back at Kurdish rebel groups they believe were responsible for yesterday's deadly suicide bombing in Ankara. Authorities detained 11 people, and Turkish warplanes pounded Kurdish military sites in Northern Iraq. Sunday's blast rocked a busy thoroughfare in the capital, killing 37 people and wounding more than 100.

    Today, Turkey's prime minister pledged further retaliation.

  • AHMET DAVUTOGLU, Prime Minister, Turkey (through interpreter):

    I am calling on terrorist organizations and the forces behind them. You cannot weaken our will. Last night, after this incident, our armed forces carried out comprehensive operations. Our fight against these terrorist organizations continue with resolve.


    Yesterday's attack comes just one month after another suicide bombing targeted Ankara, killing 29 people. Kurdish rebels claimed responsibility for that blast.


    An Amtrak passenger train derailed early this morning in rural Southwestern Kansas, injuring 32 people. None of their wounds were life-threatening. A government official told the Associated Press the train's engineer noticed a bend in the rail and hit the emergency brakes shortly before it went off the tracks. Emergency crews rushed to rescue the more than 140 people on board.

    REX BEEMER, Asst. Emergency Manager, Grey County, Kansas: Upon arrival, we found Amtrak had overturned about 2.5 miles west of Cimarron. We have about seven cars that are laying on their sides. We have taken and evacuated all the patients and personnel out of the train at this time.


    Federal investigators are on the scene to try to determine the cause of the derailment. The county's sheriff said they're looking into whether an earlier unreported vehicle accident could have damaged the rails.


    Southern states braced for a new round of flooding today that threatened to damage hundreds more homes. Officials warned the swollen Pearl River along the Louisiana and Mississippi border could reach 21 feet, the highest level in over three decades.

    Since last week, the flooding has killed four people, and damaged nearly 5,000 homes in Louisiana. President Obama signed a disaster declaration for the state yesterday.

    Stocks finished flat on Wall Street today, as investors awaited the outcome of the Federal Reserve's meeting later this week. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 16 points to close at 17229. The Nasdaq rose almost two points, and the S&P 500 slipped two.


    Still to come on the "NewsHour": John Kasich tries to thwart Donald Trump in Ohio, and why Florida could be a big win or bust for Marco Rubio; the head of the U.N. Refugee Agency, as Syria marks five years into its civil war; plus, we launch a new series exploring Americans' views on the economy.

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