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News Wrap: Puerto Rico lacks power, running water after strong earthquake

In our news wrap Wednesday, half a million Puerto Ricans are without power and more than 250,000 have no running water a day after Tuesday’s earthquake -- the strongest the island has felt since 1918. Fearful of aftershocks, some residents slept outside. Also, the standoff between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over a Senate impeachment trial continues.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: As Iran confronted the U.S., it also faced a major air disaster. A passenger plane from Ukraine went down outside the Iranian capital, killing 176 people.

    John Yang has our report.

  • John Yang:

    A scrapbook of family photos, scattered shoes, markers of the lives lost when a Ukrainian International Airlines jet crashed just after takeoff, killing all 167 passengers and nine crew on board.

    At the Kyiv airport in Ukraine, a father mourned.

  • Valery Matkov (through translator):

    My son is a senior flight attendant. My daughter called at 6:15 this morning to say that a plane had crashed, a Ukraine International Airlines plane. And then we found the video of the plane crashing.

  • John Yang:

    The flight took off from Tehran's International Airport this morning bound for Kyiv. After two minutes, it had reached about 7,300 feet, and contact was lost.

    Iranian officials offered conflicting explanations for the crash, but rejected suggestions that a missile downed the plane. Ukrainian airline officials said the aircraft had been in good working order.

  • Igor Sosnovsky (through translator):

    The plane was manufactured in mid-2016. It was received directly from the Boeing factory and wasn't used ever before. The last check was conducted on January 6, 2020, and was in good condition.

  • John Yang:

    It was a Boeing 737-800, one of the world's most widely used airliners. The model doesn't have the software implicated in the crashes of the 737 MAX, which has been grounded worldwide since March.

    As the investigation begins, Ukraine's prime minister said his countries airlines would stop flying to Iran.

  • Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk (through translator):

    We decided to suspend all the activities of all Ukrainian aviation companies in Iranian airspace until the causes of this tragedy become clear. As soon as the causes are completely clear, the decision will be reviewed.

  • John Yang:

    Iranian investigators are taking the lead and hope to find clues in the recovered black box flight data recorders. They said they will not send them to the United States for analysis.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In Washington, there was no break in the standoff over a Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. Last night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted again on seeing the rules for a trial before transmitting the articles of impeachment.

    The Senate's Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, shot back today.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:

    There will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure. We will not cede our authority to try this impeachment. The House Democrats' turn is over. The Senate has made its decision.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    House Democrats said they are united behind Pelosi. But one Senate Democrat, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, said starting the trial could force the hands of Republicans.

  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.:

    We are reaching a point where the articles of impeachment should be sent, and we should have votes on whether witnesses will be called. The cover-up that Senator McConnell is engineering here has to be broken at some point.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The articles of impeachment accuse President Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

    The death toll in Australia's wildfires rose today to 27; 2,300 firefighters are laboring in New South Wales during a break from high winds and high heat. But, they say, the weather is also a hindrance.

  • Ben Shepherd:

    This rain that we have had hasn't been enough to extinguish the fire, but it stopped our ability to do back-burning on a number of these fires. So we haven't been able to set fires to try and control the fires.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We will return to Australia after the news summary.

    Half-a-million people in Puerto Rico still had no power today, and more than 250,000 had no running water, after Tuesday's earthquake. It was the strongest to hit the U.S. territory since 1918. Many people slept outdoors last night, for fear their homes would crumble in aftershocks. More than 1,000 others stayed in government shelters.

    The rate of cancer deaths in the U.S. has fallen by the most ever recorded, going back to 1930. The American Cancer Society reports that the rate was down 2.2 percent from 2016 to 2017. Researchers credit progress against lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.

    The fugitive former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn spoke out today, defending his decision to jump bail in Japan. Ghosn was facing charges of financial misconduct when he fled to Lebanon last month.

    Today, in Beirut, he dismissed the allegations and called his detention a travesty.

  • Carlos Ghosn:

    I had spent the previous months being interrogated for up to eight hours a day without any lawyers present, without an understanding of what exactly I was being accused of.

    I left Japan because I wanted justice. That's why I left Japan. I didn't run from justice. I want justice.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Ghosn didn't offer any details of how he escaped.

    Britain's Prince Harry and his American wife, Meghan Markle, are stepping back from royal duties and going their own way. They announced today that they want to gain financial independence and promote their charities while dividing time between Britain and North America.

    Buckingham Palace called the situation complicated and said that it will take time to resolve.

    And on Wall Street, stocks rallied on hopes that Iran and the U.S. will avoid outright war. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 161 points to close at 28745. The Nasdaq rose 60 points, and the S&P 500 added nearly 16.

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