News Wrap: Indiana Gov. Pence declares HIV public health emergency

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Closer to home, communities across Oklahoma and Arkansas are cleaning up today after being hit by this season's first round of tornadoes. Twisters ripped through both states yesterday, killing at least one person in Tulsa. The storms flattened homes and businesses, toppled power lines, and caused multiple injuries.

    Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin toured the damage in Moore, a town hit hard in 2013 by a powerful twister that killed 24 people.

    GOV. MARY FALLIN, (R) Oklahoma: We have been down this road before. We know what to do. And I'm just very grateful that we have so many people that worked so hard over the night to make sure that people were safe, to make sure they weren't injured, and then to certainly make sure that we keep our roads and highways blocked off from power lines that were down and make sure that the traveling public was also safe.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Fallin declared a state of emergency in 25 Oklahoma counties. Tens of thousands of residents are still without power.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The governor of Indiana declared a public health emergency today to help contain an HIV epidemic. Rural Scott County near the border with Kentucky has recorded 79 new HIV cases since January. All were tied to intravenous drug use of the prescription painkiller Opana.

    Republican Mike Pence is against needle exchange programs, but made an exception and authorized a short-term program.

    GOV. MIKE PENCE, (R) Indiana: This is all hands on deck. This is a very serious situation. We will not only contain the spread of this virus, but we are going to speed relief and medication to people that have been affected by it. And we're going to arrest its exposure. And, through an aggressive law enforcement effort, we're going to find the people that are responsible.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended needle exchange to help keep the number of HIV infections at bay. But state health officials still expect the number of cases to increase as more people are contacted.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Department of Justice officials have arrested two Illinois cousins, both of them National Guardsmen, on charges they were joining Islamic State fighters. One man was arrested at a Chicago airport last night, and was allegedly leaving for Egypt to join the militant organization. The cousins allegedly told an undercover FBI agent they had plans to attack an Illinois military facility. GWEN IFILL: In Iraq, the battle to take back the city of Tikrit from Islamic State militants lost the support of Shiite militias today. But it comes a day after the U.S. joined airstrikes on the city.

    In Washington, General Lloyd Austin, the head of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate committee the U.S. demanded the Iranian-backed militias leave before the U.S. got involved.

  • GEN. LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. Commander, U.S. Central Command:

    And I would like to just highlight, sir, that three tours in Iraq commanding troops who were brutalized by some of these Shia militias, I will not and I hope we never coordinate or cooperate with Shia militias.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Austin went on to say there are now about 4,000 Iraqi forces, commandos and police fighting for the city, with American help.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    U.S. and Iranian officials went back to the negotiating table in Switzerland today, with a nuclear agreement deadline looming.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, have significant gaps to overcome before March 31. Negotiations have already been extended twice over the past two years.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    More than 1,000 civilians have been killed by the militant group Boko Haram this year. Human Rights Watch said they died in attacks from Northeast Nigeria, to neighboring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. Ahead of this weekend's elections, the Nigerian government has brought in mercenaries from South Africa and the former Soviet Union to push the militants back.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Back in the U.S., stocks on Wall Street extended their losses for a fourth day. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 40 points to close at 17678. The Nasdaq fell 13 points, and the S&P 500 slipped nearly five.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The 15th century monarch King Richard III received a proper burial today in Leicester, England. Royalty, religious leaders and the archaeologists who discovered Richard's remains in a parking lot in 2012 were all in attendance. The long-lost king died in battle in 1485, and was buried without a coffin in a church that was later destroyed. Scientists identified his remains by his distinctively curved spine, radiocarbon dating and DNA tests.

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