In our news wrap Thursday, the Democratic presidential primary field narrowed again as Julián Castro dropped out. The former Obama housing secretary, the only Latino still in the race, had failed to make headway in polls or in fundraising. Also, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is threatening preemptive military strikes against Iran to prevent further attacks on Americans in the Middle East.
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In the day's other news: The Democratic presidential primary field narrowed again, with Julian Castro dropping out. The former Obama housing secretary had failed to make headway in the polls or in raising money. He was the only Latino still in the race.
We will return to the presidential campaign with the latest fund-raising reports after the news summary.
Top Democrats are stepping up demands for full disclosure at a Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. They said today that claims by the online forum Just Security prove he is hiding something.
The site reported that unredacted White House e-mails show Mr. Trump directly ordered a hold on security funds to Ukraine and later ordered their release.
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is threatening preemptive military strikes against Iran to prevent further attacks on Americans in the Middle East. He pointed today to incidents, including Iraqi militiamen, backed by Iran, storming the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad.
Esper predicted that Iran will try something else, and said the U.S. cannot wait.
We have all the capabilities inherent in the United States military to either respond to further attacks or to take preemptive action if additional attacks are being prepared.
The Pentagon has already sent more troops to the Middle East.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the alarm today about a new rush of Syrian refugees. He said thousands are fleeing from Idlib province, the last rebel stronghold in Syria. The exodus began when Syrian and Russian forces intensified their assault on Idlib.
In Ankara today, Erdogan said Turkey is struggling to manage.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (through translator):
Right now, 200,000 to 250,000 people are moving towards our borders. Right now, we are trying to prevent them with some reciprocal measures, but it's not easy. It's difficult. They are humans, too. We cannot put barriers and barbed wire against humans, like the West does.
In Washington, the White House said President Trump spoke with Erdogan today and joined in calling for the fighting to de-escalate in Idlib province.
The Trump administration today announced a ban on most of the flavored e-cigarettes used by teenagers. The ban applies to cartridge-based products, but it does exempt menthol and tobacco flavors. It also exempts large tank-type devices that mostly cater to adult smokers.
Thirty-nine of the 52 Republican U.S. senators asked the Supreme Court today to overturn Roe v. Wade. That's the decision that legalized abortion. More than 160 House Republicans also signed the brief supporting a Louisiana law. It requires that doctors performing abortions have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles. The court will hear arguments in March.
North Carolina will have the largest coal ash cleanup in U.S. history. The state said today that Duke Energy will dig up nearly 80 million tons of toxic ash at six sites and move it to lined landfills to prevent leaking. A 2014 leak contaminated 70 miles of the Dan River.
On Wall Street, major indexes surged to new record closes after China's Central Bank announced economic stimulus measures. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 330 points to close at 28868. The Nasdaq rose 119 points, and the S&P 500 added 27.