In our news wrap Friday, at least 12 people died after a passenger jet in the central Asian country of Kazakhstan crashed shortly after take-off. The Bek Air plane, with 98 people aboard, smashed into a concrete wall and building. Also, an American contractor died in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base that houses U.S. forces. Multiple U.S. service members and Iraqi personnel were injured.
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An American civilian contractor died today in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base that houses U.S. forces.
U.S. Central Command also confirmed multiple U.S. service members and Iraqi personnel were injured. The Iraqi military said several rockets hit an arms depot at the so-called K1 base northwest of Kirkuk. There was no immediate word about who carried out the attack.
In a separate development, Iraq's president, Barham Salih, is facing backlash from Iranian-backed parties over his refusal to designate their nominee as prime minister. Salih's rejection was in response to months of Iraqi protests demanding more independent candidates and political reform.
The latest happened today in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, as anti-government demonstrators marched and voiced their support for Salih's decision.
Man (through translator):
As a protester, I see it as a heroic action by the president, because he rejected one of the candidates by the political blocs, because he was rejected by the protesters in Tahrir Square.
The political elites didn't do anything in the past 16 years, and there won't be anything in the future if the same names remain.
Salih said that, because Iraq's constitution doesn't give him the right to reject nominees for prime minister, he was prepared to quit.
We will have more on anti-government unrest in two other countries, Iran and India, later in the program.
At least 12 people died today after a passenger jet in the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan crashed shortly after takeoff. The Bek Air plane departed the Almaty Airport with 98 people on board, before it smashed into a concrete wall and a building.
Rescue workers at the scene tended to dozens of injured passengers and combed through the wreckage looking for more survivors. Officials said the jetliner had struggled to get off the ground.
Roman Skylar (through translator):
Today, we found two consecutive sets of skidmarks from the tail end of the plane on the runway, meaning the aircraft touched the runway twice while taking off.
Mostly passengers who were in the front part of the aircraft died. Flight recorders have been found and have been brought for inspection.
Authorities immediately suspended all Bek Air flights, as well as all planes of that same model, pending an investigation.
In Hawaii, rescue teams located the wreckage of a tour helicopter that had gone missing with seven people aboard. It was found in a mountainous area on the island of Kauai. The helicopter failed to return from a sightseeing tour of the Na Pali Coast yesterday. Coast Guard crews are still searching for signs of survivors.
The death toll from a devastating typhoon that struck the Philippines late on Tuesday has nearly doubled to 28 people. A dozen others are reportedly still missing. The typhoon swept across the country's central islands, tearing through buildings and toppling trees.
Today, families in hard-hit coastal towns sorted through mounds of debris as they carried on their recovery efforts.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is celebrating a sweeping victory in his Likud Party's primary election. Netanyahu defeated his main rival within the right-wing party, Gideon Saar, to win 72 percent of yesterday's vote. That is in spite of being charged with corruption in three criminal cases.
Today, the embattled leader hailed his win at the party's campaign headquarters near Tel Aviv.
Benjamin Netanyahu (through translator):
This is a huge victory, because we have also overcome the fake polls and the fake news, who are already now trying to dwarf the victory. This is a huge victory because almost all the media has rallied against me, with the left parties also in this candidacy.
This is the time to unite, to bring a sweeping victory to the Likud and the right in the Knesset elections.
Netanyahu now heads toward a national election in March. It will be Israel's third national election in less than a year, after failing to form a government in the previous two elections.
Back in this country, skies cleared up in Southern California today, following a massive winter storm that sparked traffic chaos. Heavy snow and icy conditions forced major highways north of Los Angeles to close, leaving drivers stranded, including some for hours, as they headed home after the holiday.
Torrential rains also prompted more road closures. The storm system, now over Arizona, is continuing to move eastward.
And stocks were mixed on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 24 points to close at a record close of 28645. The Nasdaq fell more than 15 points, and the S&P 500 added a fraction of a point, to record its fifth straight week of gains.