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News Wrap: Indonesia earthquake rescue crews wrap up search

In our news wrap Wednesday, rescue workers in Indonesia spent a final day looking for tsunami victims. The death toll has topped more than 2,000, but authorities say thousands of bodies could be buried under the mud. Also, 55 people were killed in Kenya when a bus plummeted off a road.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    In the day's other news, rescue crews in Indonesia spent a final day searching for earthquake and tsunami victims before that effort officially ends on Thursday. The confirmed death toll now stands at 2,045. But authorities say thousands more could be buried under tons of mud.

    Some 10,000 workers, with the help of excavators, have been digging through mounds of debris and earth. And some say they will keep going up there.

  • Rahman Al-Farisi (through translator):

    We are hoping that we can find more bodies that are buried underground. There are many more victims that are buried. But what can we do? The rubble makes the job complicated even with the aid of heavy machinery. We will try our best every day to find all the victims.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Meanwhile, the Indonesian government said it's turning attention to rebuilding those communities. More than 82,000 people lost their homes in the quake and tsunami.

    In Kenya, 55 people were killed early this morning when their bus plunged off a road and down a slope. Police officials said the bus wasn't licensed to operate at night and the driver lost control. Nine children were among the dead.

    Pope Francis condemned abortion today, comparing it to a hired killing. He spoke during his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square and insisted there's no excuse for taking a life.

  • Pope Francis (through translator):

    A contradictory approach also allows the suppression of human life in the mother's womb in the name of safeguarding other rights. I ask you, is it right to hire a hit man to solve a problem? You cannot. It is not right to kill a human being, regardless of how small it is, to solve a problem.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    When he first became pope, Francis argued that Roman Catholic teaching against abortion was clear without him speaking about it. But church conservatives have urged him to be more vocal.

    Back in this country, the secretary of homeland security warned that China is waging an intensive campaign to sway U.S. public opinion ahead of the midterm elections.

    Kirstjen Nielsen testified at a Senate hearing today and echoed claims made by President Trump last month. But she also said there's no evidence yet that the Chinese have tried to compromise registration rolls or voting machines.

    At that same hearing, the director of the FBI confirmed that a supplemental background check of Brett Kavanaugh was limited. Its focus was on sexual assault allegations against the U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

    Wray testified today that the White House set the limit, but he suggested that wasn't unusual.

  • Christopher Wray:

    Our supplemental update to the previous background investigation was limited in scope. And that is consistent with the standard process for such investigations going back quite a long ways.

    And I have spoken with our background investigation specialists and they have assured me that this was handled in the way that is consistent with their experience and the standard process.

    Wray declines to give specifics or say if the FBI had investigated whether Kavanaugh lied under oath.

    The Supreme Court heard arguments today over detaining immigrants convicted of crimes. The case centers on people given green cards and allowed to live and work in the U.S. permanently. The U.S. government says, if they break U.S. laws, they can be held indefinitely pending deportation. The green card holders say they deserve hearings to argue for their release while their deportation cases proceed.

    President Trump is stepping up attacks on Democrats over a universal health care proposal known as Medicare for all. He wrote in "USA Today" that it would — quote — "eviscerate" existing benefits for seniors. Democrats argue it would increase coverage. The president also signed legislation aimed at cutting prescription drug prices.

    And the Justice Department gave initial approval to letting pharmacy giant CVS Health merge with health insurer Aetna. The move is valued at $69 billion. The companies say the deal will cut costs by encouraging patients to visit walk-in clinics that CVS outlets. Some consumer groups warn it could limit choice and drive up prices. Under the deal, Aetna will sell its Medicare drug plan business.

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