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In our news wrap Thursday, Pope Francis opened a landmark Vatican summit on the Catholic Church’s clerical sex abuse crisis. Some 190 bishops and other leaders listened as he shared 21 proposals for specific action. Meanwhile, a federal judge in Washington imposed a full gag order on Roger Stone in response to an Instagram photo he posted of the judge with apparent crosshairs next to her head.
A new election has been ordered in a contested North Carolina congressional race. The decision came today from the North Carolina State Board of Elections after a four-day hearing on a vote fraud accusation.
State investigators said that a political operative illegally collected absentee ballots for the Republican candidate. Mark Harris narrowly defeated Democrat Dan McCready last November. And he has denied wrongdoing.
But, today, Harris asked for a new election.
Through the testimony I have listened to over the past three days, I believe a new election should be called. It has become clear to me that the public's confidence in the Ninth District's seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted.
We will have more on this story after the news summary.
In the day's other news: The actor Jussie Smollett was formally charged with lying about being targeted in a racist anti-gay attack. Chicago police said that it was a hoax designed to win a bigger salary on the TV series "Empire." Later, Smollett was released on bail of $100,000.
Meanwhile, Coast Guard Lieutenant Christopher Hasson appeared in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland. He is accused of stockpiling guns for possible attacks on leading Democrats and TV news people. Federal prosecutors said they found an arsenal of weapons, plus white supremacist writings and a hit list, in Hasson's home.
The sheer number and force of the weapons that we recovered from Mr. Hasson's residence in this case, coupled with the disturbing nature of his writings, appear to reflect a very significant threat to the safety of our community, particularly given the position of trust that Mr. Hasson held with the United States government.
For now, Hasson faces guns and drug charges.
We will take a closer look at this story and at the Jussie Smollett case after the news summary.
A federal judge in Washington imposed a full gag order today on Roger Stone, President Trump's longtime confidant. He could go to jail if he violates the order. Stone had posted a photo of Judge Amy Berman Jackson with what appeared to be crosshairs of a gun in the corner. Jackson is presiding over Stone's case in the Russia investigation. He is accused of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.
Pope Francis opened a landmark Vatican summit today on the Catholic Church's crisis of clergy sexually abusing children. Some 190 bishops and other leaders listened as the pope offered 21 proposals for specific action.
In the face of the scourge of sexual abuse by churchmen, to the detriment of minors, we hear the cry of the little ones who ask for justice. The weight of pastoral and the church's responsibility weighs on our meeting.
The holy people of God look at us and expect from us not simple and obvious condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to put into place.
Victims were there, too. Marek Lisinski of Poland showed the pope a picture of himself as a boy around the time he was abused by a priest. The pope kissed his hand and offered his blessings.
Some 3,000 teachers went on strike in Oakland, California today. They are demanding smaller class sizes and a 12 percent retroactive pay raise. The strikers complain they are among the lowest paid educators in the San Francisco Bay area. Meanwhile, teachers in West Virginia returned to work after a two-day strike.
In economic news, U.S.-China trade talks resumed in Washington. The two sides are trying to reach a deal by March 1, before more U.S. tariffs, that is, take effect.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 103 points to close at 25850. The Nasdaq fell 29 points, and the S&P 500 slid nine.
And Peter Tork of the 1960s band the Monkees has died in Los Angeles. He was cast as a member of the made-for-TV group in 1966, and became an overnight sensation. Two years later, he left the band, but he joined in reunion tours over the years. Peter Tork was 77 years old.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": a turn in the Jussie Smollett case; and the arrest of a Coast Guard officer; my conversation with former acting Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe; bridging the cultural barriers between American farmers and Mexican farmworkers; and much more.
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