In our news wrap Wednesday, heavily armed gunmen who were disguised in white lab coats stormed a military hospital in Kabul. At least 30 people were killed. Also, the U.S. military accused Russia of deploying a land-based cruise missile that violates a nuclear arms treaty.
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In the day’s other news: Heavily armed gunmen disguised in white lab coats stormed a military hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, and killed at least 30 people. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility. Footage from the scene showed Afghan soldiers rushing to the complex as helicopters landed on the roof to rescue trapped victims. The fighting lasted for hours.
Meanwhile, two suicide bombers in Iraq killed at least 23 people at a wedding party.
The U.S. military publicly accused Russia today of deploying a land-based cruise missile that violates a nuclear arms treaty. Air Force General Paul Selva is vice chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff. He told a House hearing that Moscow broke the spirit and intent of a 1987 agreement, in a bid to pressure the U.S. and its allies.
GEN. PAUL SELVA, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff:
The system itself presents a risk to most of our facilities in Europe, and we believe that the Russians have deliberately deployed it in order to pose a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility.
The Obama administration had previously accused Russia of breaking the treaty. The Kremlin has rejected the U.S. complaints.
This was International Women’s Day, and, in the United States, A Day Without a Woman. Organizers called for women to stay off the job and protest for pay equity and against a ban on funding international groups that offer abortions. It is a follow-up to the mass marches after President Trump took office. We will have a full report later in the program.
Crews battling wildfires in the Plains states made some headway today as winds eased slightly. The fires have been burning this week across Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado. They have killed at least six people so far, and scorched more than a million acres of land.
In Guatemala, at least 19 girls died today in a fire at a shelter for abused teenagers. Police said some of the teens set fires to protest overcrowding. In the aftermath, relatives gathered outside the government-run center near Guatemala City, demanding answers.
CORINA CRUZ DE PAZ (through interpreter):
It was lit. I don’t know what it was, but mattresses were lit, since last night. There are many children who have burns; 19 are dead. They haven’t given us an explanation, and they don’t let us go in.
The facility has been criticized for overcrowding and other problems.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is moving to offer mental health care to vets that receive less-than-honorable discharges. VA Secretary David Shulkin made the announcement at a congressional hearing last night. It is part of a new effort to prevent suicides. Thousands of former service members could be affected.
In the city of Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has won a second term, easily beating 10 rivals in Tuesday’s election. Just 250,000 voters turned out in the nation’s second largest city. Garcetti, a Democrat, claimed 81 percent of the vote, and said it’s a victory for an all-inclusive ideal.
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI, Los Angeles:
Everybody, regardless of their religion, regardless of their race or ethnicity, regardless of their legal status, regardless of whom they love, regardless of where they come from, is a part of this Los Angeles dream and always will be as long as I am your mayor.
Under Garcetti, downtown Los Angeles has seen a rebirth, but the city’s poverty and homeless rates remain high, and violent crime has risen for three years running.
FBI Director James Comey served notice today that he means to finish out his 10-year term. In a Boston speech, he joked, “You’re stuck with me for about another six-and-a-half years.” Comey became a lightning rod over his handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation last year. And last weekend, he urged the Justice Department to reject President Trump’s claim that President Obama tapped his phones.
China has approved 38 new trademarks for the Trump family company. The announcement today covers an array of potential enterprises, from hotels, to golf clubs, to a class of businesses that includes escort services. Trump Organization lawyers applied for the Trump trademarks last April.
China also reports that it ran a trade deficit last month, for the first time in three years. It could signal improving economic growth.
Meanwhile, Wall Street mostly gave ground today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 69 points to close at 20855. The Nasdaq rose three points, and the S&P 500 dropped five.