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News Wrap: Russia tests new intercontinental missile

In our news wrap Wednesday, the Russian Navy test-launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile that can hold 10 nuclear warheads. Meanwhile, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko told his cabinet that the majority of Russian forces have left eastern Ukraine. Also, monsoon floodwaters have engulfed towns in the Kashmir region of the northern Himalayas.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    President Obama spent this day trying to build support in Congress and overseas in the run-up to his nationally broadcast address. It's scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. And the "NewsHour" will provide live coverage.

    The president is now widely expected to expand the month-old air campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and extend it into Syria. He will lay out that strategy in his speech tonight.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    My fellow Americans…

  • GWEN IFILL:

    It comes exactly one year since Mr. Obama addressed the nation on a possible military response to Syria's use of chemical weapons. Then, he sought congressional authorization.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    Even though I possess the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    But Congress and the public proved skeptical, and the plan was ultimately shelved when Syria agreed to hand over its chemical arsenal.

    This time, the president is not seeking formal approval of military action against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Instead, he's asking congressional leaders for other action, including funds to arm and train moderate rebel factions in Syria.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid backed the plan. And in biting terms, he charged Republicans are taking their cues from the wrong man in a rush to war.

  • SEN. HARRY REID, Majority Leader:

    Former Vice President Cheney was here yesterday giving the Republicans a pep talk. He's going to — he gave them advice on foreign policy. Please, Mr. President, please. Taking advice from Dick Cheney on foreign policy? That's a terrifying prospect. We should be learning from our past mistakes, not repeating them.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Cheney answered with equally tough talk in a speech today at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

  • DICK CHENEY:

    In a few hours, we will hear what he has in mind for the terrorist onslaught currently in Iraq. We can hope for and we should look for signs of a forceful, bold and immediate strategy to defeat ISIS. We can say already, however, that such a plan would mark an abrupt and dramatic departure from his record thus far.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Back in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took up that same theme, saying the president has been a rather reluctant commander in chief.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL , Minority Leader: It's pretty clear to me at least that the American people fully appreciate the nature of the threat. After the beheadings of two American citizens, they don't want an explanation of what's happening. They want a plan. They want some presidential leadership.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    At the White House, the president sought support from lawmakers, and he telephoned Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah.

    Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad to meet with Iraq's new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, and his cabinet.

    JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: A new and inclusive Iraqi government has to be the engine of our global strategy against ISIL. And now that the Iraqi parliament has approved a new cabinet with new leaders and representation from all Iraqi communities, it's full speed ahead.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The new Iraqi leader also appealed for international aid against the Islamic State.

  • HAIDER AL-ABADI, Prime Minister, Iraq:

    They are a challenge to the whole region, to the international community. They are coming to Iraq from across the border, from neighboring Syria. Of course, our role is to defend our country. But the international community is responsible to protect Iraq and protect Iraqis in the whole region.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    France responded by saying it will join in expanded airstrikes, if needed. Germany said it's sending weapons and armored vehicles to Kurdish forces in Iraq.

    There was also word the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, including the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, and China, will meet Monday in Paris on how to stabilize Iraq.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Meanwhile, inside Iraq today, at least 30 people were killed in a series of attacks targeting security forces and markets in Baghdad.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In the other news of this day, the president of Ukraine raised hopes for the long-term success of a cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Petro Poroshenko told his cabinet that maintaining the truce has not been easy. But he said the majority of Russian forces have gone home since the deal took effect on Friday.

  • PRESIDENT PETRO POROSHENKO, Ukraine (through interpreter):

    Seventy percent of Russian troops have been withdrawn from Ukraine. It creates the grounds for the prospect of a peace initiative. Today, future developments depend on our joint, efficient and coordinated work towards the unity of the whole country.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Russia has denied it ever sent any military forces into Ukraine. In another development, the Russian Navy test-launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile. It's capable of holding up to 10 nuclear warheads.

    In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin spoke to a Kremlin gathering, and said the test is a response to NATO expansion in Eastern Europe.

  • PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter):

    We have said many times that we will have to take corresponding countermeasures to ensure our security. So we very much would like to avoid hearing hysterics later when final decisions are made and start to be implemented.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Development of the missile has been delayed by a number of failed tests.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Monsoon flooding across Pakistan and India caused a major river to overflow today, threatening thousands more people. Floodwaters from the disputed Kashmir region in the Northern Himalayas are now moving downstream, submerging more towns in the surrounding plains. The city of Srinagar, on the Indian side of Kashmir, is already largely underwater. The floods have killed more than 450 people.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Top officials in and out of Britain's government spent this day appealing to Scottish voters to stay in the United Kingdom. Polls now suggest the yes-vote for independence may carry the day in next week's referendum.

    Gary Gibbon of Independent Television News reports.

  • GARY GIBBON:

    David Cameron agreed on Monday with fellow party leaders they needed to abandoned everything and get up to Scotland today. They also agreed on the message: Don't break up the U.K. family.

  • DAVID CAMERON, Prime Minister, United Kingdom:

    Because I would be heartbroken if this family of nations that we have put together and that we have done such amazing things together, if this family of nations was torn apart.

  • ED MILIBAND, Labor Party, Leader:

    And these ties, these ties of family, these ties of friendship, are not just ties for me, but for people right across the United Kingdom.

  • NICK CLEGG, Deputy Prime Minister, United Kingdom:

    There's a really important issue at stake. It's the future of the family of nations that makes up the United Kingdom.

  • GARY GIBBON:

    Alex Salmond dismissed all three as panicked products of another country.

    ALEX SALMOND, First Minister of Scotland: They're concerned that this last-gasp effort seems to be with their own jobs. That is the contrast between the breadth and reach of team Scotland and the narrow focus of team Westminster.

  • MAN:

    You have never lived in an independent country, so you (INAUDIBLE) yourself. Once you live in an independent country…

  • GARY GIBBON:

    On the edge of Alex Salmond's photo-op, one of the street corner arguments sprouting up across Scotland.

  • MAN:

    You're telling me to leave my country.

  • GARY GIBBON:

    David Cameron said Scots mustn't treat the referendum lightly.

  • DAVID CAMERON:

    I think people can feel it's a bit like a general election, that you make a decision and five years later, you can make another decision. If you're fed up with the F'ing Tories, give them a kick, and then maybe we will think again.

    This is totally different to a general election.

  • GARY GIBBON:

    One problem for David Cameron is that a lot of reminders of the U.K. family that he'd like to point out around Scotland have simply disappeared. This was the home of British Steel's Ravenscraig steel mill, which closed 22 years ago. It's now the largest derelict site in Europe.

    Just down the Clyde used to be the British shipbuilding, all over Scotland, British coal. And it's often in the areas of deprivation left behind by those industrial closures that the yes support is surging most.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The referendum is next Thursday, September 18.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    A new injection of private funding will target the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced today it will spend $50 million on the effort. That's in addition to $10 million already committed. The new money will go to the United Nations and other international groups to buy supplies and develop vaccines and therapies.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    For the first time in 35 years, the Earth's ozone layer is showing signs of thickening. That's according to findings released today by a scientific panel at the United Nations. The ozone layer provides a shield against the sun's cancer-causing ultraviolet rays, but it had been thinning since the 1970s. The report says a 1980s ban on harmful chemicals in refrigerants and aerosol sprays has turned things around.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 55 points to close at 17,068; the Nasdaq rose 34 points to close at 4,586; and the S&P 500 added seven to finish at 1,995.

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