In our news wrap Wednesday, Gen. Mark Milley blamed years of bad decisions behind the failures of the U.S. exit from Afghanistan during the second day of a House hearing with military leaders. The Biden administration says North Korea's latest missile test is "destabilizing" and poses a regional threat. Japan's former foreign minister Fumio Kishida is now in line to become prime minister.
Read the Full Transcript
In the day's other news: The CDC stepped up its COVID-19 warnings to pregnant women with a formal advisory urging vaccinations. It underscores what agency officials announced on Tuesday, that only 31 percent of pregnant women have had their shots, and rates for minorities are even lower. The agency says the vaccines carry no increased risk of miscarriages.
We will focus on vaccine misinformation after the news summary.
U.S. military leaders spent a second day today trying to explain to Congress what happened in Afghanistan. At a House hearing, General Mark Milley blamed years of bad decisions. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin agreed the U.S. pullout hurt Afghan morale, but he said American troops could not stay on.
Llyod Austin, U.S. Secretary of Defense: I support the president's decision to end the war in Afghanistan.
I did not support staying in Afghanistan forever. There is no, was no risk-free status quo option. I think that the Taliban had been clear that, if we stayed there longer, they were going to recommence attacks on our forces.
Democratic lawmakers defended President Biden's decisions. Republicans again accused him of lying when he said no one urged him to keep 2, 500 troops in Afghanistan.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is out with a new statement condemning the Biden administration. He says there's been no change in U.S. policy and that offers of new talks are just a cover. That comes after the North fired what it called a hypersonic missile out to sea on Tuesday. Those kinds of weapons can to fly at five times the speed of sound, but it's not clear that the North's missile actually did.
In Japan, meanwhile, former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is now in line to become prime minister. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party chose him today as its new leader. That sets him up to replace Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is stepping down.
In Tokyo, Kishida vowed to do more to fight the COVID that has crippled Japan's economy.
Fumio Kishida, Leader, Japanese Liberal Democratic Party (through translator):
Coronavirus measures, I will put my all into it and work very hard to tackle it. The hearts of the Japanese people have been broken into pieces because of the coronavirus.
I want everyone to regain a will where they can feel that they can work hard and be one team to take on the national coronavirus crisis.
Amna Nawaz Parliament is expected to vote Kishida in as prime minister on Monday.
An overnight battle at a prison in Ecuador has left at least 100 people dead. Officials say rival gangs fought for hours with guns, knives and explosives. Some of the victims were beheaded. It'S the latest in a series of bloody prison riots in Ecuador this year.
The British government rolled out a reserve tanker fleet today to deal with a fuel shortage. And officials ordered soldiers to start driving tankers to compensate for a driver shortage and panic buying. There were indications that gasoline is finally arriving at some filling stations. Many others still had long lines of cars waiting for gas.
Cities across China are now in a second week of electric power cuts. The ruling Communist Party ordered them in a bid to rein in soaring power consumption and meet targets for carbon emissions. A number of cities are under rolling blackouts, including Shenyang in the northeast. That's left shop owners and others looking for ways to cope.
Yang Chang, Storekeeper (through translator):
Our store didn't suffer as much as others because we don't use as much electricity. But it's very inconvenient if we don't have water. The power and water supply is integrated. So, when power is cut off, it does affect our lives.
The power cuts are also closing factories and threatening more global supply chain chaos.
And back in this country, Wall Street struggled again to make headway. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 90 points to close at 34390. The Nasdaq fell 34 points. And the S&P 500 gained six.