In our news wrap Thursday, the death toll from a powerful earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok soared to over 300 people. Also, Puerto Rico’s government now estimates Hurricane Maria killed least 1,400 people after it hit the island in September 2017 -- far more than the official death toll.
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The death toll from a powerful earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok has now soared to over 300 people. As rescuers dug out more bodies today, the island was shaken by a third strong quake in just over a week.
People jumped out of their cars as the aftershock rocked the island. Some tourists said they were almost getting used to the repeated quakes.
Woman (through translator):
We don’t want anybody to panic. This was a smaller earthquake than the one before. So we’re just going to go back to our hotel because we need to tell them that we’re still OK. We were out at lunch when it happened and we were walking back.
The Red Cross is still trying to get aid to about 20,000 people who are in desperate need of help.
Puerto Rico’s going to now estimates Hurricane Maria killed at least 1,400 people after it hit the island in September 2017. That’s far more than the official death toll of just 64. The acknowledgement came in a report from the U.S. territory asking Congress for more funds to rebuild.
The storm caused widespread outages of electricity and water, which prevented many sick and elderly people from getting lifesaving medical care.
In Yemen, Shiite rebels say at least 50 people were killed today by an airstrike from the Saudi coalition in the Northwest of the country. More than 70 others were wounded. The attack hit a busy market in Saada province. Many of the victims were schoolchildren. They were rushed to a nearby hospital, bloodied, bandaged and crying.
Moussa Abudullah (through translator):
The strike happened in the middle of the market, and it targeted a bus carrying children. Our shops were open. And shoppers were walking around as usual. All of those who died were residents, children and shop owners.
The U.S. State Department today called for Saudi Arabia’s government to investigate the attack. The Saudis said they were targeting rebels who had fired a missile into Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, which killed one person.
The Saudi coalition of Sunni Muslim countries, with U.S. support, has been fighting the Shiite rebels in Yemen since 2015. But there’s widespread criticism that those airstrikes often kill civilians.
Back in this country, new testimony today in the trial of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort shed new light on his alleged bank fraud. A mortgage loan assistant from Citizen Bank testified that Manafort lied to secure millions of dollars in loans on properties he owned in New York.
The charges of bank and tax fraud against Manafort occurred in the years before he led the Trump campaign.
A U.S. appeals court in San Francisco has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the widely used pesticide chlorpyrifos. The EPA’s own research found exposure to the pesticide, which is routinely sprayed on apples and citrus, could cause developmental and brain disorders in children. The court ruled that the EPA and then its Chief Scott Pruitt had endangered public health by reversing an Obama era ban on the pesticide.
In media news, it’s no deal for Tribune Media and the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Their would-be mega-merger, worth an estimated $9.3 billion, is over. Tribune has withdrawn, and is now suing for breach of contract. It claims the conservative-leaning Sinclair failed to sell off some TV stations, as required to satisfy federal regulators.
Sinclair had wanted the merger to help create a rival to FOX News.
And the Trump administration unveiled new details today about establishing a so-called Space Force by the year 2020. If approved by Congress, it would be the sixth branch of the military, and led by a four-star general. The Defense Department hasn’t yet calculated the cost.
Stocks were mixed on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 74 points to close at 25509. The Nasdaq rose three points, and the S&P 500 slipped four.
Still to come on the “NewsHour,” on the ground in California, where raging wildfires have displaced thousands; an apparent truce in Gaza tonight follows a recent escalation of attacks; the Kremlin responds to the latest U.S. sanctions; and much more.