What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

News Wrap: Fast-moving Greek wildfires kill dozens

In our news wrap Tuesday, Greece is in mourning after wildfires killed at least 74 people near Athens. Also, a heat wave over Asia is taking a growing toll. Officials in Japan said record temperatures have claimed at least 80 lives over the past two weeks.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Greece is a nation in mourning tonight, after wildfires killed at least 74 people near Athens. They died Monday when the flames, fanned by gale-force winds, swept through sea-side resorts; 200 other people were hurt.

    James Mates of Independent Television News has our report from Mati.

  • James Mates:

    As so often happens in these tragedies, it wasn't the intensity of the flames that killed, but the speed at which they traveled. Wildfires are a normal part of summer in the hills around Athens. Locals tend to take little notice and only rarely have to leave their homes.

    What wasn't normal last night was a wind pushing the flames directly toward seaside resorts perched on the edge of the Aegean. Many realized too late the mortal danger that was racing towards them.

    One group of 26 people raced for the sea, but just a few dozen meters short were cut off. Reports suggest they died in a huddle hugging each other.

    In the aftermath this morning, we found Panagiotis Dagalos hunting for any clue as to what happened to his wife, Kaliope. He told me how they and their child were caught in their car, surrounded by flames.

  • Panagiotis Dagalos:

    The fire came here very quickly. So we lost the chance to take the car and run away, because all the cars, you know, one car behind the other. And the road is blocked.

  • James Mates:

    Seven hundred people are believed to have escaped the flames by jumping into the sea. It is truly tragic just how close some of the victims were to safety.

    They have cleared this now to the side of the road, but this is the aftermath of the gridlock as people fled in panic looking for the safety of the sea. And despite the fact that the water's no more than 30 meters away, some didn't make it.

    Outside his house today, Harris told us how concern for his dogs had almost made him wait too long.

  • Man:

    I was staying with my dogs until the smoke got in the house. We were starting to — suffocating. And then we left the house with my dogs. But even this 100 meters that I had to do to reach to the sea, it was a very difficult task for me at that moment because the cars were burning.

  • James Mates:

    There will three days of national mourning at an almost unimaginable death toll from a fire like this. And even then, Greeks are thankful that this didn't happen on a weekend, when the resort of Mati would have been jam-packed with Athenians escaping the city heat, one very small mercy.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    That report from James Mates of Independent Television News.

    A heat wave over Asia is taking a growing toll. Officials in Japan said today that record temperatures have claimed at least 80 lives over the past two weeks. Thousands have been sent to hospitals. Meanwhile, yet another heat wave is broiling the Western U.S. and helping to feed fires, including one near Yosemite National Park in California. Today, officials shut down the heart of the park in a bid to help fire crews.

    In Laos, hundreds of people are missing after part of a hydroelectric dam collapsed last night. Officials confirmed at least two deaths. The dam complex was being built in Southeastern Laos, and was hit by days of monsoon rains. The resulting deluge engulfed whole villages and forced more than 6,600 people to flee. Rescue efforts continued into the night.

    President Trump toned down the tough talk on Iran today. He had tweeted Sunday night that, if Iran's leader threaten the U.S., they could face, "Consequences the likes of which few have ever suffered."

    Today, he addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, and seemed to tout prospects for peace.

  • President Donald Trump:

    And Iran is not the same country anymore. That, I can say. And we will see what happens. But we're ready to make a real deal, not the deal that was done by the previous administration, which was a disaster.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Mr. Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in May. The U.S. will begin reimposing sanctions on the country in less than two weeks.

    On North Korea, the president welcomed word that Pyongyang may be dismantling its main satellite launch site. He said it shows his summit with Kim Jong-un made a difference. The Web site 38 North released new satellite images of the site. They show demolition of various facilities.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the issue as he and Defense Secretary Mattis met with their Australian counterparts in Palo Alto, California.

  • Mike Pompeo:

    It'd be entirely consistent with the commitment that Chairman Kim made to President Trump when the two of them were in Singapore together, made that commitment to them orally. We have been pressing for there to be inspectors on the ground when that engine test facility is dismantled, consistent with Chairman Kim's commitment.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    On a related issue, President Trump also said today he hopes that the North will soon hand over more remains of Americans who were killed during the Korean War. He gave no timetable.

    Israel shot down a Syrian fighter jet today, and said the plane had breached its airspace. Social media video showed contrails from two Patriot missiles fired at the jet. The Israelis said they first tried to warn the pilot off. Syrian officials said the warplane was flying inside Syrian territory. They said one crewman was killed, and a second was missing.

    Turkey and Israel had a fiery exchange today over a new statute that defines Israel as a Jewish nation-state. In Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the law in provocative terms.

  • Recep Tayyip Erdogan (through translator):

    With this legislation, it is proved without doubt that Israel is the world's most Zionist, fascist, racist state. There's no difference between Hitler's obsession with a pure race and the belief that these ancient lands are just for the Jews. The soul of Hitler, who led the world to a great catastrophe, has risen again within some of Israel's officials.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired back in a tweet that accused Erdogan of, "massacring Syrians and Kurds."

    Back in this country, Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and senior adviser, is shutting down her namesake fashion company. She cited the need to focus on her work at the White house. Her brand had come under fire for manufacturing clothes in China. She also faced ethical questions about winning trademarks in China since her father took office.

    And on Wall Street, blue-chip stocks advanced on upbeat earnings reports. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 197 points to close near 25242. The Nasdaq fell one point, and the S&P 500 added 13.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour," plans to prop up farmers hurt by the U.S. trade war; the White House threat to take away security clearances from former top officials; the underestimated risks of drinking while pregnant; and much more.

Listen to this Segment