News Wrap: Shipwrecks off Malta and Libya kill more than 700 migrants

In our news wrap Monday, more than 700 immigrants hoping to reach Europe from Africa and the Middle East were killed in two shipwrecks last week. The death toll reportedly equals all migrant deaths for the entire year of 2013. Also, Air France pilots began a week-long strike, grounding more than half of the airline’s flights.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    There were reports of heavy damage today after Hurricane Odile smashed ashore on Mexico's Baja California Peninsula. The storm struck near Cabo San Lucas overnight with torrential rain and sustained winds of 125 miles an hour. At daybreak, residents and tourists emerged to find debris and destruction everywhere. The storm blew out windows, ripped down power poles, and left extensive flooding in its wake.

    It's now confirmed that two Mediterranean shipwrecks have killed more than 700 people trying to reach Europe from Africa and the Middle East. The International Organization for Migration said today the deaths equal the total for all of last year. The latest incidents occurred within the last week off the coasts of Malta and Libya.

    More than half of Air France's flights worldwide were halted today, as pilots began a one-week strike. The walkout targeted the airline's plans to transfer much of its European operations to a low-cost subsidiary. The head of the pilots union said that's unacceptable.

    JEAN-LOUIS BARBER, President, National Union of Airline Pilots (through interpreter): Air France pilots are not against the development of the new company. But what we see here is the prospect of delocalization of our jobs. That destroys pilot's plans and that destroys jobs that exist today. So this is about the project of delocalization and social dumping, and that is why pilots are angry.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Air France says only 40 percent of its flights are guaranteed to take off tomorrow. Meanwhile, pilots at the German national carrier Lufthansa plan to walk out tomorrow, to, in a dispute over an early retirement plan.

    Back in this country, the number of deaths linked to faulty ignition switches in General Motors cars has risen from 13 to 19. GM's compensation expert, Kenneth Feinberg, made the announcement today, and he said, there will certainly be others. GM has admitted knowing about the switch problem for more than a decade. Recalls didn't begin until earlier this year.

    Two soldiers who fought in Vietnam were awarded the Medal of Honor today by President Obama. In 1966, Sergeant Bennie Adkins battled North Vietnamese troops for 38 hours, and rescued wounded comrades despite being wounded himself. Adkins is now 80 years old. He finally received his Medal of Honor after Congress waived the usual three-year time limit.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    Sometimes, even the most extraordinary stories can get lost in the fog of war or the passage of time.

    Yet, when new evidence comes to light, certain actions can be reconsidered for this honor. And it is entirely right and proper that we have done so, and that is why we are here today.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The other recipient, Army Specialist Donald Sloat, was killed in 1970, when he used his body to shield fellow soldiers from a grenade blast.

    The Minnesota Vikings reinstated player Adrian Peterson today. The running back is charged with child abuse in Texas for whipping his young son with a switch. Peterson said today he never meant to cause harm. The team said it wants the legal process to play out. Peterson didn't play in yesterday's 30-7 loss to New England.

    Meanwhile, former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is expected to appeal his indefinite suspension from the NFL for domestic violence.

    Microsoft has officially announced it's buying Mojang, maker of the wildly popular video game "Minecraft." The purchase price is $2.5 billion. The move comes as Microsoft is investing further in its Xbox gaming platform and trying to boost mobile phone sales.

    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 43 points to close at 17,031; the Nasdaq fell 48 points to close below 4,519; and the S&P 500 lost one point to finish at 1,984.

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