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News Wrap: Pope ends Myanmar visit without naming Rohingya

In our news wrap Wednesday, Pope Francis ended his trip to Myanmar without publicly mentioning Buddhist violence against Rohingya Muslims. Also, Croatian defendant Slobodan Praljak fatally poisoned himself in a stunning end to the Bosnian war crimes trials.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news, The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to require that all members and staff have annual training against sexual harassment, a measure the Senate has already OKed. It was easily approved on a voice vote.

    This on the day that two more well-known news media figures were fired over allegations of sexual misconduct. NBC News terminated "Today Show" host Matt Lauer, one of the highest-paid figures in the TV news industry. And Minnesota Public Radio severed ties with Garrison Keillor, the former host of "A Prairie Home Companion."

    We will take a closer look at the allegations later in the program.

    Pope Francis wound up his visit to Myanmar today without publicly mentioning Buddhist violence against Rohingya Muslims. The Vatican said that members of Myanmar's small Catholic minority had urged him to be cautious in what he said. Francis addressed the country's religious leaders today, and urged restraint and peace.

  • Pope Francis:

    (through interpreter) It is the particular responsibility of civil and religious leaders to ensure that every voice be heard. If we are to be united, as is our purpose, we need to surmount all forms of misunderstanding, intolerance, prejudice and hatred.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The pope also held an outdoor mass for at least 150,000 people. He spoke of decades of ethnic conflicts in the country formerly known as Burma, and he urged forgiveness.

    In the Netherlands, a stunning end today to the war crimes trials from the Bosnian War of the 1990s. Right after an international tribunal upheld a 20-year sentence for Croatian defendant Slobodan Praljak, he shouted, "I am not a war criminal" and he drank a small bottle of poison. He died later in a hospital.

    Back in this country, police in Tampa, Florida, have charged a man with the serial killings of four people since early October. Howell Emanuel Donaldson was arrested last night. Police say he targeted people near bus stops in one neighborhood, with no apparent motive.

    A gunman in Reno, Nevada, opened fire from the eighth floor of a condominium building overnight. The suspect also took a hostage before being killed by police, by a SWAT team. No one else was hurt in the incident. Records show a unit in that same Reno high-rise was once owned by Stephen Paddock. He killed 58 people in last month's mass shooting in Las Vegas.

    President Trump's nominee for health and human services secretary vowed today that he will fight to lower drug prices. Alex Azar spent 10 years at pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly at a time when the firm raised prices for insulin and other drugs. But at his Senate confirmation hearing today, Azar stressed his independence from the industry.

  • Alex Azar:

    This is the most important job I will ever have in my lifetime, and my commitment is to the American people, not to anywhere that I have worked in the past or any industry I have been connected to in the past.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    If he is confirmed, Azar would replace Tom Price, who resigned under pressure for using taxpayer dollars to charter private jets.

    In economic news, third-quarter growth in the U.S. was the best in three years. The latest estimate from the Commerce Department says the economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.3 percent.

    Meanwhile, outgoing Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen told Congress that small hikes in interest rates are key to stable growth.

  • Janet Yellen:

    We want to do this gradually, because if we allow the economy to overheat, we could be faced with a situation where we might have to rapidly raise rates and throw the economy into a recession, and we don't want to cause a boom-bust set of conditions in the economy.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    This was likely Yellen's last appearance before lawmakers before she steps down. President Trump has nominated Jerome Powell to replace her.

    And on Wall Street, blue chips advanced, but tech stocks sank. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 104 points to close at 23940. The Nasdaq fell 88 points, more than 1 percent, and the S&P 500 slipped one.

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