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News Wrap: FEMA’s Long denies ‘unethical’ use of government vehicles

In our news wrap Thursday, the head of FEMA denied he intentionally misused government vehicles, but acknowledged an investigation by the inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security. Also, mass evacuations are underway in the Philippines ahead of the most powerful typhoon to target the country this year.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, denied that he intentionally misused government vehicles. Long acknowledged that he's under investigation by the inspector general at the Department of Homeland security.

    But he said — quote — "Doing something unethical is not part of my DNA."

    In the Philippines, mass evacuations are under way, ahead of the most powerful typhoon to target the country this year. The storm today had sustained winds of more than 125 miles an hour. It could hit Cagayan province on Saturday. Filipinos living there and in nearby areas boarded up their homes today, before heading to shelters. More than four million people are at risk.

    A Roman Catholic bishop in West Virginia resigned today over allegations that he sexually harassed adults. Pope Francis accepted Michael Bransfield's resignation and approved an investigation. Bransfield has denied abusing anyone. The news broke as Francis met with U.S. cardinals and bishops at the Vatican to discuss the abuse crisis in the church.

    For the first time, Myanmar's civilian leader has acknowledged problems with the expulsion of 700,000 Rohingya Muslims. The Buddhist nation's military is accused of mass rapes, killings and burning Rohingya villages last year. Aung San Suu Kyi spoke today during a conference in Vietnam. She voiced regrets, but also defended her security forces.

  • Aung San Suu Kyi:

    There are, of course, ways in which we, with hindsight, might think that the situation could have been handled better. But we believe that, for the sake long-term stability and security, we have to be fair to all sides, that rule of law must apply to everybody.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Suu Kyi said that Myanmar is prepared to take back Muslims who fled to neighboring Bangladesh.

    Turkey is stepping up its efforts to head off a Syrian government offensive aimed at rebels near the Turkish border. Activist video today showed a Turkish convoy inside Northwestern Syria's Idlib province. It came during a pause in Syrian and Russian bombing raids. Turkey fears new fighting there will send another wave of refugees into its territory.

    Two Russians accused of poisoning a former spy in Great Britain proclaimed their innocence today. British police say that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov work for Russian military intelligence. They were seen in Salisbury, England, in Sergei Skripal's neighborhood in early March. That's when Skripal was poisoned with a nerve agent. He later recovered.

    Today, on Russian TV, the two men claimed that they were just tourists and were falsely accused.

  • Ruslan Boshirov (through translator):

    Every day, two photos full screen. You turn on the radio, Boshirov and Petrov. You turn on the TV, Boshirov and Petrov. How would you live? I'm really scared and frightened. I don't know what comes tomorrow. That's why we came to you.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Britain dismissed the interview as a — quote — "obfuscation and lies."

    Back in this country, a new twist in the Senate fight over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. California's U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein said today that she's given the FBI a complaint about Kavanaugh from someone who didn't wish to be named. The Washington Post reported the FBI declined to investigate, apparently due to the age of the information, which dates from high school. Feinstein is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. It votes next Thursday on the nomination.

    And on Wall Street, a tech rally led the broader market higher. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 147 points to close at 26145. The Nasdaq rose 59 points and the S&P 500 added 15.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour", President Trump casts doubt on the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico; why the number of migrant children detained in the U.S. is at a record level; the fight to save the Amazon rain forest; and much more.

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