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News Wrap: Lebanese government approves economic reforms amid mass protests

In our news wrap Monday, Lebanon's leaders approved economic reforms aimed at stopping mass protests. Over the weekend, vast crowds filled central Beirut in a revolt against the ruling elite. Also, new protests in Hong Kong brought new street clashes with heavily armed police.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Lebanon's leaders approved economic reforms aimed at stopping mass protests.

    Vast crowds filled Central Beirut over the weekend in a revolt against the ruling elite. And, today, demonstrations shut down banks and businesses for a fifth day.

    Meanwhile, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri met with his cabinet today, then announced the reforms and hailed the protesters.

  • Saad Hariri (through translator):

    You have put the Lebanese national identity back in its place above all sectarian or religious identity. And this is the biggest national victory. I'm not asking you to stop protesting or expressing your anger. That is a decision that you take, and no one can give you a deadline.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The prime minister's economic package promises to deal with massive debt by cutting salaries of top officials in half and closing some ministries.

    In Hong Kong, new protests late today brought new street clashes. Heavily armed police fired tear gas to break up groups who tried to block roads. That came a day after riot police mistakenly sprayed a mosque with blue-dyed water, as mass demonstrations turned violent. Today, city leaders apologized.

    Hundreds of people in Santiago, Chile, defied a curfew today, after the city became a battleground over the weekend, with at least 11 dead. On Sunday, protesters angered by growing inequality and a transit fare increase torched buses and vandalized subway stations. Soldiers fired tear gas and water cannon, and President Sebastian Pinera denounced the protests.

  • President Sebastian Pinera (through translator):

    We are at war with a powerful, relentless enemy that respects nothing or anyone and is willing to use violence and crime without any limits, even when it involves the loss of human lives.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Pinera has suspended the transit fare hike, but he imposed a state of emergency in Santiago and other cities.

    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced today that he has given up on forming a national unity government. His chief rival, former military chief Benny Gantz, will now take a turn. If he, too, fails, it could lead to Israel's third election in less than a year.

    Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was dealt another blow in his efforts to get a vote on a Brexit plan. The speaker of the House of Commons said that parliamentary rules do not allow a vote, because lawmakers had refused to act Saturday on the same question. But he said the prime minister has other options.

  • John Bercow:

    If the government have got the numbers, the government can have their way. And it's not for the speaker to interfere. The judgment I have made is about the importance of upholding a very longstanding and overwhelmingly observed convention of this house.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Britain faces an October 31 deadline to leave the European Union.

    Canada held a national election today, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's job at stake. He has been hurt by an ethics scandal and by his admission that he wore blackface years ago. Trudeau was joined by his wife and children as he cast his vote in Montreal. He is vying to remain a leading progressive voice on the world stage. His main opponent is Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party.

    Back in this country, the three largest drug distributors and a major pharmaceutical manufacturer reached a settlement with two Ohio counties in the opioid epidemic. It totals $260 million, and it could lead to a broader national settlement of more than 2,600 lawsuits.

    We will take a closer look later in the program.

    The governor of Texas has declared a disaster in 16 counties after severe storms, including a tornado, roared through the Dallas area overnight. The twister touched down near the main airport. It moved eastward, tearing through trees, ripping off roofs and left thousands in the dark.

    But the Dallas mayor said it could have been much worse.

  • Eric Johnson:

    Considering the path that the storm took, and it went across a pretty densely populated part of our city, I think we should consider ourselves very fortunate that we didn't lose any lives. No fatalities and no serious injuries in last night's storm, so I think we should all be grateful for that.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The same weather system killed one person in Arkansas and three in Oklahoma.

    The Trump administration is moving forward with a plan to collect DNA samples from legal asylum-seekers and anyone who enters the U.S. illegally. The Justice Department issued the proposed rule today. It said that the biometric records would be transferred to an FBI database and used for criminal investigations.

    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 57 points, to close at 26827. The Nasdaq rose 73 points, and the S&P 500 added 20.

    And, after 166 years, New York's Central Park will have a monument to famous women. A city commission voted today to erect a statue of three pioneering figures. They are women's suffrage icons Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth, who escaped slavery to became a leading abolitionist.

    Central Park already has 23 statues, all of men.

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