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News Wrap: Israel’s government in limbo after close election

In our news wrap Wednesday, the government of Israel remains in political limbo after two main parties deadlocked in Tuesday’s do-over election. A smaller party led by former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman may now be critical to forming a coalition in parliament. Also, the European Parliament approved another extension to the deadline for Brexit, if the United Kingdom seeks one.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The Federal Reserve board has voted to cut short-term interest rates by a quarter-point for the second time in three months. But the central bank held back today from promising any further money moves this year.

    Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said it all depends on where the economy seems to be headed.

  • Jerome Powell:

    What we think we're facing here is a situation which can be addressed and should be addressed with moderate adjustments to the Federal Funds Rate.

    As I mentioned, we are watching carefully to see whether that is the case. If in fact the economy weakens more, then we're prepared to be aggressive, and we will do so if it turns out to be appropriate.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    President Trump took to Twitter to criticize the Fed and Powell for not approving a larger rate cut. He said — quote — "No guts, no sense, no vision."

    We will take a closer look at the Fed's moves right after the news summary.

    The president today tapped Robert O'Brien to be his new national security adviser, his fourth in that post to date. O'Brien had been special envoy for hostage negotiations. Mr. Trump removed John Bolton as national security adviser just last week over policy disputes.

    Saudi Arabia says it has mounting evidence that Iran was behind weekend attacks on its key oil facilities. Saudi officials today displayed remnants of drones and a cruise missile. They said the weapons were Iranian-made, but Iran again denied any role.

    U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia today. He said the attacks were — quote — "an act of war."

    We will talk about all of this, and the naming of the new national security adviser, later in the program.

    The government of Israel was in political limbo today, after two main parties deadlocked in Tuesday's elections. Neither Likud nor the Blue and White Party won enough seats for a majority in Parliament. Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman leads a smaller party that could become the kingmaker. He underscored his position today.

  • Avigdor Lieberman (through translator):

    The conclusion is clear. All that we have said during the election campaign is coming true. There is only one option, a national unity government, a liberal broad government. And we will indeed say again we will not join any other option.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud insisted today that he will still try to form a ruling coalition anyway.

    The European Parliament has approved another extension to the Brexit deadline, but with conditions. It would have to be used to prevent a no-deal British departure from the European Union, or to allow for new elections or even a new referendum on Brexit. Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted on leaving the E.U. by the current deadline, October 31, with or without a deal.

    The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, is offering bounties of nearly $20,000 each for hundreds of convicted criminals. They include killers and rapists mistakenly freed under a good-behavior program. Duterte said today they are wanted dead or alive, but that he prefers them dead.

    The justice minister for the Philippines said later that he shouldn't be taken literally.

    In Bermuda, schools, transportation and government offices closed today with Hurricane Humberto bearing down. The storm is on track to pass north of the island tonight, with sustained winds of 120 miles an hour.

    Meanwhile, the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda were dumping up to 18 inches of rain in Southeastern Texas and parts of Louisiana.

    President Trump has confirmed that his administration is revoking California's power to set its own car mileage standards. He argued today that the move will lead to cheaper and safer cars. But California's attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said that it will actually mean more pollution, and he vowed to file suit.

  • Xavier Becerra:

    Our communities are screaming for help to address the climate crisis. Unlike the Trump administration, we don't run scared. And so whether it is climate change or an administration recalcitrant in taking on its responsibilities, we're prepared to lead. We will prepare to fight. We will do what we must.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We will hear from California's Governor Gavin Newsom a little later in the program.

    Abortions in the United States have reached the lowest level since 1973, when the procedure was legalized nationwide. A research group, the Guttmacher Institute, says that there were 862,000 abortions in 2017, down from at 1.6 million back in 1990. The institute says the decline is due mainly to fewer pregnancies and greater access to birth control under the Affordable Care Act.

    And on Wall Street, stocks plunged and then rebounded as the Federal Reserve gave mixed signals about future interest rate cuts. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 36 points to close at 27147. The Nasdaq fell eight points, and the S&P 500 added one.

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