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News Wrap: Germany reels from shooting rampage that killed nine

In our news wrap Thursday, Germany is reeling after a shooting rampage killed nine people overnight. The gunman, suspected to have far-right ties, opened fire in an immigrant neighborhood near Frankfurt. Also, while the novel coronavirus appears to be spreading at a slower rate in China, Japan reported its first deaths from the illness: two elderly passengers from a quarantined cruise ship.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: There is word that intelligence officials warned congressional lawmakers last week that Russia was trying to interfere in the 2020 presidential campaign in a bid to get President Trump reelected. According to The Washington Post and to The New York Times, that drove President Trump to lash out at his then acting director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.

    Yesterday, the president replaced Maguire with Richard Grenell, who is a longtime ally of the president.

    The coronavirus appears to be spreading at a slower rate in China, as the number of new cases there fell for another day. In all, the country has recorded nearly 75,000 cases and more than 2,100 deaths.

    Meanwhile, Japan reported its first deaths from a quarantined cruise ship, an elderly Japanese couple.

    World Health Organization officials said that, while the number of cases outside China is small, it is still a concern.

  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:

    It doesn't mean that all the number of cases in the rest of the world will stay the same for long. It's only a window of opportunity, and that's why we say this is the time to attack the virus, while it is actually manageable.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Meanwhile, South Korea reported its first death from the virus. Workers sprayed disinfectant in the city of Daegu after dozens of new cases were confirmed; 2.5 million residents there are now on lockdown.

    Germany is reeling after a shooting rampage left nine people dead overnight. The gunman, suspected to have far-right ties, opened fire on two hookah bars in an immigrant neighborhood near Frankfurt. He was later found dead in his apartment. The attacks come amid a surge in extremism in Germany.

    Richard Pallot of Independent Television News has our report.

  • Richard Pallot:

    In a small German city, homegrown extremism rears its ugly face again, nine people shot dead, all believed to be of a migrant background.

    Kadir Kose was running the bar next door to the first attack.

  • Kadir Kose:

    I heard much shoots, and I saw a gunman running. And I was in shock. Five, six minutes later, I heard much shoots.

  • Richard Pallot:

    The shootings took place at around 10:00 p.m. last night, in the city of Hanau, 20 miles to the east of Frankfurt.

    The gunman has been named as Tobias Rathjen. He had shared his racist views on social media beforehand, as well as in a written manifesto of hate, saying certain people should be exterminated.

    The authorities admit that they didn't have the suspect on their radar at all. It is the most deadly of recent right-wing attacks here in Germany, and comes just days after a plot to blow up mosques around the country was spoiled.

    The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has pledged to fight those who are trying to divide her country.

    "Racism is a poison," she said. "Hate is a poison, and this poison exists in our society, and it is responsible for far too many crimes."

    The gunman killed himself and his mother in their house as police closed in. The federal prosecutor is now investigating whether Rathjen had accomplices or if anyone else knew about his plan.

    The country's open-door policy on immigration in recent years is still fueling anger. But, tonight, at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, at the place that once signified division, Germans stand unified.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    That report from Richard Pallot of Independent Television News.

    Turkey said that two of its soldiers were killed in a Syrian government airstrike in Idlib province today. The Turkish Defense Ministry said more than 50 Syrian government soldiers were killed in retaliation. Syrian forces, backed by Russia's air force, are engaged in an offensive to recapture the region.

    The intensified fighting in Syria's last rebel-held bastion has displaced nearly a million Syrians since early December.

  • Ruqqyah Omar (through translator):

    We suffered a lot on the road, because displacement was difficult and there are problems.

    We want the whole world to see us and learn about our conditions, the children and these camps. Turkey will either resolve our situation or make us return to our lands. We want one of these two solutions. It is really a difficult situation.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The fresh clashes in Idlib came a day after Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to attack Syrian forces if any more Turkish soldiers were hurt.

    Rival leaders in South Sudan have agreed to form a long-delayed coalition government. The president and opposition leader met in the capital of Juba today to discuss their power-sharing deal ahead of a deadline Saturday. It is a major breakthrough, as the country recovers from a five-year civil war that has claimed nearly 400,000 lives.

    Back in this country, the investment bank Morgan Stanley is buying online discount broker E-Trade Financial for $13 billion. The deal is the biggest takeover by a major U.S. bank since the 2008 financial crisis. The move will give Morgan Stanley a bigger share of the market for online trading and over five million more clients.

    And stocks closed lower on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 128 points to close just under 29220. The Nasdaq fell 66 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 13.

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