In our news wrap Monday, fighting in Ethiopia has escalated. The capital of the Tigray region was reportedly bombed after firing rockets into neighboring Eritrea -- an ally of Ethiopia. Some 25,000 refugees have fled to Sudan. Also, Hurricane Iota developed into a Category 5 storm, with winds of 160 miles per hour. It threatens the same Central American regions recently battered by Hurricane Eta.
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In the day's other news: Hurricane Iota blew up into a Category 5 storm, with winds of 160 miles an hour, threatening catastrophe in Central America. The storm closed in on the same parts of Nicaragua and Honduras already battered by Hurricane Eta.
The Nicaraguan army has evacuated hundreds of people from low-lying areas. The storm could dump 30 inches of rain and trigger floods and landslides.
The U.S. military is set to cut troop numbers in Afghanistan by half, to 2,500, by mid-January. Pentagon officials confirmed today that President Trump is issuing an executive order. It would also reduce troops in Iraq by 500 down to 2,500. The plan goes against the advice of top American commanders.
Fighting in Ethiopia has escalated again. Various reports say that the Ethiopian military bombed the capital of the Tigray region today, after Tigray fired rockets into neighboring Eritrea, which is an ally of Ethiopia. In two weeks of fighting, hundreds of people have died and some 25,000 refugees have fled into Sudan.
Burhan Males (through translator):
A bomb came from the Eritrean direction, and an attack from the direction of the Ethiopian federal government in the city. A lot of people died there. I fled on foot. I was afraid of the bombs and the strikes. A lot of buildings were blown up.
The Ethiopian government has resisted international calls to start peace talks.
In Paris, an Islamic State suspect went on trial today, accused of attacking a high-speed train in 2015. The heavily armed Moroccan man allegedly opened fire, before he was overpowered by three Americans. Their story was later made into a movie. If convicted, the accused attacker could face life in prison.
Three Americans and one Japanese astronaut are due to dock at the International Space Station tonight on a history-making SpaceX flight. They blasted off Sunday from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It's the first time that a private spacecraft has carried out a full-scale human ferry flight for NASA.
The deadline passed today for filing sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America. Some 92,000 people have come forward, saying that they were assaulted by scout leaders. The claimants are seeking damages in federal bankruptcy court, after The scouts filed for Chapter 11 protection.
The Trump administration is moving to sell oil and gas drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before leaving office. The federal Bureau of Land Management served notice today on opening 1.5 million acres of the Alaskan wilderness. President-elect Biden could block any leases after taking office.
And on Wall Street, stocks rallied on news of a second possible COVID vaccine. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 470 points to close at a record 29950. It has now erased all of its pandemic losses. The Nasdaq rose nearly 95 points, and the S&P 500 added 41, also a new high.