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News Wrap: South Korean ferry captain sentenced for deadly disaster

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    This was a day of honor for military veterans in America and for many thousands more who served and died in Europe during World War I. That vast conflict began a century ago and ended on this day in 1918 and it served as the backdrop for today's ceremonies.

    Under a bright autumn sky, Vice President Biden carried out a time-honored tradition, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

    With President Obama in Asia, Mr. Biden addressed veterans and their families gathered in the cemetery's amphitheater.

  • VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN:

    Collectively, you represent generations of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who have served and sacrificed for all of us. You are not only the heart and soul, but you are the very spine of this nation.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    In New York City and elsewhere, parades honored veterans. And on the National Mall in Washington, final preparations were under way for tonight's veterans-themed Concert for Valor featuring stars from Bruce Springsteen to Jennifer Hudson.

    While Americans honored the living, thousands turned out across the Atlantic for Remembrance Day in London, where a memorial sea of red ceramic poppies now surrounds the Tower of London. It features more than 888,000 flowers, one for each British and commonwealth soldier killed in World War I, which erupted 100 years ago this year.

    Thirteen-year-old Harry Hayes planted the final flower.

  • HARRY HAYES, Army Cadet Force:

    It was an amazing honor because it's just seeing all those poppies that are out there, and every single one represents a life, and that the person is not coming home because they laid down their lives so we can have a free life.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    This was Armistice Day in other European nations, and the World War I anniversary lent added weight to the annual observances, especially in the Belgian town of Ypres, scene of three major battles during the First World War. France also honored all those who have served, and fallen, as President Francois Hollande took part in a wreath-laying at Paris' Arc de Triomphe.

    An estimated 17 million soldiers and civilians died in World War I.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The winter storm that's swept across the Rockies and Upper Midwest brought frigid temperatures today on the heels of a blizzard. By this morning, more than a foot of snow covered parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. And readings dropped as much as 50 degrees overnight as far south as the Texas Panhandle.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    In Beijing today, President Obama and other leaders at an Asian Pacific summit agreed to work on a Chinese free trade proposal. It's seen as a response to a U.S.-backed initiative that doesn't include China.

    The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, hailed the decision.

  • PRESIDENT XI JINPING, China (through interpreter):

    The approval of the road map symbolizes the start of the process and demonstrates the confidence and resolve of the members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation to push for regional cooperation. This is a historic decision which will bring regional economic integration to a higher level.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Xi also met with President Obama in the first of two days of talks between the two leaders.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The verdict came today in the South Korean ferry disaster that killed hundreds of high school students last April.

    Lucy Watson of Independent Television News filed this report from Beijing.

  • LUCY WATSON:

    For these actions and this choice, the captain of the Sewol ferry will spend the rest of his life behind bars. He abandoned the vessel to save himself. It was carrying more than 470 people, most of them schoolchildren.

    Today, with his head bowed, Lee Joon-Seok and 14 other crew members filed into court to hear their fate, guilty of gross negligence, but not murder, the captain jailed for 36 years, others for as little as five, punishments that simply aren't enough for the victims families.

    KO YOUNG-HEE, Mother of Victim (through interpreter): We all prayed that the court would issue the death penalty. We wanted the crew members to suffer the same pain our children did.

  • LUCY WATSON:

    It was a desperate sight in April, one of South Korea's worst maritime disasters. More than 300 people perished on board. And the anguish these parents suffered continues, but they're promising to appeal the verdicts.

  • KO YOUNG-HEE (through interpreter):

    We will connect every bit of evidence we have and send it to the court of appeals. We will do anything to make the crew members who abandoned our children pay for their crimes.

  • LUCY WATSON:

    Nine bodies are still missing, but, today, the underwater search was called off permanently. It was a decision made by the families as they solemnly accept the impossibility of finding everyone.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    South Korean investigators have concluded the ferry was overloaded, and they have cited the vessel's owners for spending too little on safety.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Rising religious tensions between Israelis and Palestinians turned deadly again today in the West Bank. Protesters threw rocks at Israeli soldiers near Hebron, and the soldiers fired back with water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets. When that failed, the troops opened fire, killing a Palestinian man. In the wake of the killing, the Palestinian and Israeli leaders blamed each other for causing the trouble.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Back in this country, a physician who contracted Ebola in West Africa was released from a hospital in New York City. Craig Spencer was diagnosed in October after he'd worked for Doctors Without Borders in Guinea.

    Today, he praised the U.S. medical system.

  • DR. CRAIG SPENCER, Ebola Survivor:

    My early detection, reporting and now recovery from Ebola speaks to the effectiveness of the protocols that are in place for health staff returning from West Africa.

    I am a living example of how those protocols work and of how early detection is critical to both surviving Ebola and ensuring that it is not transmitted to others.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Meanwhile, in Maine, nurse Kaci Hickox emerged virus- free from her 21 days of being monitored for Ebola.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, warned today against any new trouble in the town of Ferguson. A grand jury reports this month on whether to indict a white policeman who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in the Saint Louis suburb last August. The governor says in anticipation of renewed violent protest, he will call on police statewide and put the National Guard on standby.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And on Wall Street, stocks eked out small gains today. The Dow Jones industrial average added one point to close just short of 17,615. The Nasdaq rose about nine points to 4,660. And the S&P was up a point to finish at 2,039.

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