News Wrap: Kim Jong Un decision to not fire at Guam ‘very wise,’ tweets Trump

In our news wrap Wednesday, President Trump welcomed a gesture by North Korea to ease tensions. Mr. Trump tweeted that Kim Jong Un’s decision not to fire toward Guam was “very wise and well-reasoned.” Also, the people of Sierra Leone continued searching for survivors from Monday’s deadly mudslide. More than 300 are confirmed dead while 600 are still missing.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    In the day's other news: President Trump welcomed a gesture by North Korea to ease tensions. He tweeted that Kim Jong-un's decision not to fire missiles toward Guam was — quote — "very wise and well-reasoned."

    Separately, the U.S. territory's homeland security adviser joined appeals for calm.

  • GEORGE CHARFAUROS, Homeland Security Adviser, Guam:

    We are hopeful that diplomacy will win the day. I am hearing that Secretary Tillerson, Rex Tillerson, is opening up dialogue with North Korea. We are hopeful that that goes through. And we are also moving about with the business of government, praying that things go well.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Also today, China urged both sides to — quote — "hit the brakes" on verbal threats.

    There's word an American soldier has died fighting Islamic State forces in Eastern Afghanistan. The U.S. military says several other soldiers were wounded. It's unclear exactly where or when the fight occurred.

    The people of Sierra Leone kept digging today, desperately hoping to find survivors from Monday's deadly mudslide. More than 300 are confirmed dead in the capital, Freetown, with 600 still missing.

    John Ray, of Independent Television News is there.

  • JOHN RAY:

    A lament for the dead. By the time all the bodies are counted, it will swell to a great chorus of grief. This woman cries for the sister she's lost. A few feet away, a husband mourns a young wife and their twin children, born a few days ago, their young lives snuffed out.

    They were summoned in the hundreds to the city's morgue to try to identify the dead.

    Ismail tells me he's looking for his sister and her family.

  • ISMAIL TUMERALAI, Freetown Resident:

    Everybody died, including her husband. We lost everybody.

  • JOHN RAY:

    For two miles, there is nothing but destruction. The falling mountain tossed huge boulders down onto what were once busy streets. Silence now, except for the diggers and the regular call for another body bag to be brought to the scene. Hard to imagine any survivors in the suffocating mud.

  • SGT. MOHAMED KONGOMA, Sierra Leone Army:

    Ten to 12 now.

  • JOHN RAY:

    Ten to 12 bodies this morning?

  • SGT. MOHAMED KONGOMA:

    Correct, sir.

  • JOHN RAY:

    Have you found anybody who is still alive?

  • SGT. MOHAMED KONGOMA:

    Not yet, sir. Everybody's dead.

  • JOHN RAY:

    This nation has only just recovered from Ebola. Yet again, they are bringing out the bodies, each corpse accompanied by tears.

    The government has declared this week a week of national mourning. But here, the sense of grief is tangible. This is a disaster that has stunned even people who have grown used to tragedy and hardship.

    By the time they opened the more mortuary gates to relatives, the queue stretched round the block. The rain is falling again. It does nothing to wash away the smell of decay, nor the sorrow of a nation.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    That report from John Ray of Independent Television News.

    In the Philippines, police have killed 32 people in the deadliest single day of President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. Authorities say the victims died in shoot-outs during raids in a northern province from Monday night into Tuesday. Officers also arrested 109 people.

    In a speech today, Duterte hailed the results and said — quote — "Let's kill another 32 every day."

    Back in this country, the Republican primary race for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama will head to a runoff in September. Interim Senator Luther Strange finished second on Tuesday to former state Chief Justice Roy Moore, who's heavily backed by evangelical voters.

    After the results were tallied last night, both men positioned themselves as change candidates.

    ROY MOORE (D), Alabama Senatorial Candidate: The voters of Alabama have just sent a powerful message to Washington, D.C., a resounding message that can't be denied. They want them to stop playing games with the people of Alabama and with the people of America.

    SEN. LUTHER STRANGE (R), Alabama: President Trump, as you all know, called me a week ago tonight and, said, "Luther, I want you to be elected to the Senate, because you understand what I'm trying to do to make America great again. You know the problems that need to be addressed on the ground in Alabama."

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    The president tweeted that his endorsement of Strange helped close the gap with Moore. The runoff winner will face Democrat Doug Jones in December for the seat that Jeff Sessions gave up to be U.S. attorney general.

    The Trump administration will make cost-sharing payments to health insurance firms under Obamacare for the month of August. The White House announced the decision today, but gave no indication about future months. The payments subsidize co-payments and deductibles.

    President Trump took fresh aim at Amazon again today. He tweeted that the e-commerce giant is doing great damage to retailers and costing jobs. Many traditional retailers have blamed Amazon for driving them out of business. The company has also hired thousands of warehouse workers nationwide. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is also the owner of The Washington Post, which has published many stories critical of the president.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained about 26 points to close near 22025. The Nasdaq rose 12 points, and the S&P 500 added three.

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