In our news wrap Tuesday, Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rossello doubled the number of deaths attributed to Hurricane Maria in the six months after the storm. It's now close to 3,000. He also announced a government plan to create a database of vulnerable citizens, hoping to expedite aid in future crises. Also, in Iran, lawmakers largely rejected the president’s plan to revive the lagging economy.
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The governor of Puerto Rico today dramatically raised the estimate of Hurricane Maria's human toll.
A study commissioned by the U.S. territory attributes nearly 3,000 deaths to the storm in the six months after it hit last September. That is more than twice the Puerto Rican government's previous estimate. Another study published last May put the figure at 4,600.
Governor Ricardo Rossello also announced that the government would create a database of vulnerable citizens, such as the elderly and the sick, to expedite aid in future storms.
The bloody civil war in Yemen and the U.S. role in it are back in the headlines tonight. A United Nations report finds that the Saudi Arabian-led coalition may have committed war crimes as it battles rebels aligned with Iran. But U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis today defended American support for the coalition. We will be examining his comments on Yemen after the news summary.
In Iran, lawmakers largely rejected President Hassan Rouhani's plans to revive the country's flagging economy. Rouhani was called before parliament to defend his policies, only the second time that has happened.
He admitted mistakes, but warned against panic.
Hassan Rouhani (through translator): Certainly, we made and we have made mistakes. We should work together to make up for these mistakes. Painting a bleak picture of people's lives will lead to further darkness.
Iran was already in recession, with rising unemployment and inflation and a sinking currency. The situation worsened after the U.S. quit the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed economic sanctions.
President Trump accused Google and others today of rigging online searches for political motives. In a morning tweet, he charged that companies are suppressing news that is favorable to conservatives. This afternoon, he followed up in the Oval Office.
President Donald Trump:
I think Google is really taking advantage of a lot of people. And I think that's a very serious thing. It's a very serious charge.
Google and Twitter and Facebook, they're really treading on very, very troubled territory, and they have to be careful. It's not fair to large portions of the population.
His economic adviser Larry Kudlow said today that the White House is looking at whether Google searches should be regulated.
In response, Google said in a statement, "We don't bias our results toward any political ideology."
The status of congressional districts in North Carolina is in limbo again just over two months before the midterm elections. On Monday, a panel of federal judges ruled that the congressional map drawn by Republicans is unfairly weighted against Democrats. The ruling is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A Texas company that makes 3-D printed plastic guns began selling the plans online today. That is despite a federal judge's order not to post the blueprints on the Web. In Austin, the company's owner, Cody Wilson, argued that he still has the right to sell the instructions.
This judge's order stopping us from simply giving things away was only an authorization that we could sell it, that we could mail it, that we could e-mail it, that we can provide it by secure transfer.
I will be doing all of those things now.
Wilson said buyers can name their price for the plans and that he's already received hundreds of orders.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 14 points to close at 26064. The Nasdaq rose and the S&P 500 hundred added a fraction of a point.
And a public viewing began today for Aretha Franklin, the queen of soul, in her hometown of Detroit. Hundreds of fans and mourners filed through the city's African-American History Museum past the gold-plated casket. Thousands are expected to pass through during a two-day viewing. Franklin died this month of cancer at the age of 76. Her funeral will be on Friday.
Still to come on the "NewsHour", the defense secretary addresses threats from Yemen and North Korea; Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's record on presidential powers; an effort to prevent brain drain in Africa; and much more.