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News Wrap: Fire erupts at Beirut port a month after blast

In our news wrap Thursday, a huge fire erupted at the port in Beirut, Lebanon, a month after a catastrophic explosion there that killed 190 people and injured 6,500. Black smoke billowed over the port’s ruins. The military said the blaze began at a warehouse full of tires, oil and other materials. Also, nearly all 12,000 refugees at the Moria migrant camp in Greece are now homeless due to fires.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: A huge fire erupted at the port in Beirut, Lebanon, a month after a catastrophic explosion that killed 190 people and injured 6,500.

    Black smoke billowed over the port's ruins, as fire teams worked. The military said it started at a warehouse that was full of tires, oil and other material.

    A sprawling migrant camp in Greece lay in ruins today, after a second fire in as many nights. Nearly all of the 12,000 refugees at the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos are now homeless. Today, they searched through debris for what was left of their belongings.

    But a Greek government spokesman accused the migrants of starting the fire.

  • Stelios Petsas (through translator):

    They did this because they think that, if they torch Moria, they will indiscriminately leave the island. We told them they did not understand. They will not leave because of the fire, except for the unaccompanied minors who have already been transferred.

    Therefore, they can forget whatever they had in mind when they set the fires.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    France and Germany have offered to take in children left homeless by the fires.

    Peace talks for Afghanistan are finally set to begin on Saturday in Qatar. The Taliban announced it today, and Afghan officials confirmed it. The two sides squabbled for months before agreeing on a prisoner exchange as a prerequisite for talks.

    Back in this country, new claims for jobless benefits stayed stuck at 884,000 last week, fresh evidence that the recovery from pandemic damage may be slowing.

    Meanwhile, Senate Republican efforts to pass a new pandemic relief bill stalled again. A slimmed-down bill failed on a procedural vote.

    We will take a closer look at all of this after the news summary.

    President Trump faced more fallout today over charges that he misled the country about COVID-19. A new book by journalist Bob Woodward, including audio recordings of their conversations, show the president knew the gravity of the virus early on, but played it down.

    At the White House today, he insisted he acted properly.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I didn't lie.

    What I said is, we have to be calm, we can't be panicked. Outwardly, I said, it's a very serious problem. And it's always a serious problem. That doesn't mean I'm going to jump up and down in the air and start saying, people are going to die, people are going to die.

    No, no, I'm not going to do that. We're going to get through this.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Top Democrats kept up strong criticism of the president's words today.

    The party's vice presidential nominee, Kamala Harris, spoke in Miami.

  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.:

    We need leadership that sees and recognizes the suffering and is prompted then to be guided by truth and fact, and not what is in their political self-interest, which is what we have seen in Donald Trump.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Mr. Trump campaigned tonight in Michigan, where the Democratic governor warned that the rally could help spread the virus.

    Twitter says that it will start labeling or removing misleading claims that could undermine public confidence in elections. That includes false claims about ballot tampering or election results. Last May, the company began labeling some of President Trump's tweets with fact-checks.

    Grave new numbers tonight show global wildlife population are down nearly 70 percent since 1970. The World Wildlife Fund points to human population growth and resource consumption as causes.

    In a "NewsHour" interview, the famed naturalist Sir David Attenborough said that this study and ongoing U.S. natural disasters are a wakeup call.

  • Sir David Attenborough:

    You have got rising sea levels. You had cyclones, hurricanes moving through with greater ferocity and frequency than ever before. We see on our television newsreel coverage of appalling things that happened in your country, devastation.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The study says that the loss of biodiversity directly threatens the global food supply.

    Citigroup today became the first major Wall Street bank to name a woman as its next CEO. Jane Fraser is currently head of Citi's global consumer banking division.

    And on Wall Street, Wednesday's rally evaporated today, as tech stocks sank again. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 405 points to close at 27534. The Nasdaq fell 222 points, or 2 percent, and the S&P 500 dropped 59.

    And actress Diana Rigg has died today in London, after fighting cancer. She came to fame on the 1960s TV series "The Avengers" playing secret agent Emma Peel. Later, she played the only woman ever to marry James Bond in the 1969 thriller "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." And, more recently, Rigg had a recurring role on "Game of Thrones," gaining a new generation of fans.

    Diana Rigg was 82 years old.

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