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News Wrap: Mattis advocates defense strategy against world powers

In our news wrap Friday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis insisted the U.S. military must focus more on opposing China and Russia's growing influence, outlining a new national defense strategy prioritizing preparing for war against major world powers, instead of terrorism. Also, deadly clashes between military forces of India and Pakistan flared for a third day in the disputed region of Kashmir.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And in the day's other news- Secretary of Defense James Mattis insisted that the U.S. military must focus more on opposing China and Russia's growing influence.

    He outlined a new national defense strategy that would prioritize preparing for war against major world powers over fighting terrorism. Mattis vowed that the Pentagon would restore its competitive edge that had — quote — "eroded in every domain of warfare."

  • James Mattis:

    We face growing threats from revisionist powers as different as China and Russia are from each other, nations that do seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models, pursing veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic and security decisions.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Mattis also called out Iran and North Korea for threatening regional and global stability.

    Clashes between military forces of India and Pakistan flared for a third day in disputed Kashmir. Villages and border posts in the Himalayan region came under heavy shelling from both sides. Three civilians and two soldiers died, and at least two dozen civilians were wounded. Schools were forced to close, and local officials urged residents to stay indoors.

    Back in this country, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to President Trump's travel ban. Earlier versions of the ban were blocked by lower courts. The latest version bans — excuse me — the latest version bans travelers from six Muslim-majority countries. The justices are expected to hear arguments in April, and issue a ruling by late June.

    Today marked the 45th annual March for Life here in Washington. Thousands of anti-abortion activists marched through the streets of the capital, carrying signs and chanting pro-life slogans. Before the march got under way, President Trump pledged his support to their cause, addressing the rally via satellite from less than two miles away, at the White House Rose Garden.

  • President Donald Trump:

    You love every child, born and unborn, because you believe that every life is sacred, that every child is a precious gift from God. Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The Trump administration used this day to take two more steps in its anti-abortion fight. The Department of Health and Human Services issued a new regulation to protect medical providers who refuse to perform abortions over moral or religious objections. The agency also rolled back Obama era legal guidance that made it harder for states trying to defund Planned Parenthood.

    The U.S. Justice Department says that it plans to retry New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. The Democrat was charged in a federal court in Newark with bribery and corruption for allegedly trading political favors for gifts and campaign donations. His first trial ended in a hung jury, and prosecutors say they want a retrial — quote — "at the earliest possible date."

    Menendez said that he expects to be — quote — "vindicated again."

    A former gymnastics doctor faced more of his accusers during an emotional fourth day in a Lansing, Michigan, courtroom. Larry Nassar has plead guilty to sexually abusing patients while working at Michigan State University, under the guise of medical treatment. He was also a team doctor for USA Gymnastics.

    Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman was among some 80 victims who addressed Nassar to his face.

  • Aly Raisman:

    Abusers, your time is up. The survivors are here standing tall, and we are not going anywhere.

    And, please, Your Honor, stress the need to investigate how this happened, so that we can hold accountable those who empowered and enabled Larry Nassar, so we can repair and once again believe in this wonderful sport. My dream is that, one day, everyone will knows what the words me too signify, but they will be educated and able to protect themselves from predators like Larry, so that they will never, ever, ever have to say the words me too.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The 54-year-old has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison on separate federal charges of child pornography.

    And stocks closed higher on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 54 points to close above 26,071. The Nasdaq rose 40 points, and the S&P 500 added 12. Both of those closed at record highs. For the week, the Dow, the Nasdaq, and the S&P 500 rose around 1 percent.

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