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News Wrap: Supreme Court opens term with vacant seat

In our news wrap Monday, eight sitting Supreme Court justices heard cases involving the Endangered Species Act and age discrimination. They have the option of holding the case once a ninth justice is seated. Also, the death tolle from Friday's earthquake and tsunami has reached 844, and officials fear it could run into the thousands.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    In the day's other news, President Trump says the FBI should be comprehensive, but quick as it looks into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. He said that includes interviewing anyone they want within reason.

    Some Democrats have claimed the White House is limiting the scope of the probe.

    White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor will have a full report later in the program.

    Amid the battle over Kavanaugh's confirmation, the Supreme Court began a new term today with one seat vacant. The eight sitting justices heard cases involving the Endangered Species Act and age discrimination. They have the option of holding the case and having it reargued once a ninth justice is seated.

    In Indonesia, the death toll from Friday's earthquake and tsunami has reached 844. And officials fear it could run into the thousands. The powerful quake drove waves up to 20 feet tall into the northern city of Palu.

    John Irvine of Independent Television News is there.

  • John Irvine:

    The lorry has reached the end of the road, but then so has the road. This collapse has become a sobering seafront spectacle for the residents of Palu. Today, they turned it in force on what's left of their coast road to bear witness to incongruous sights and to the destruction wrought by those two punches from land and sea.

    But this also kept them outdoors and away from homes either destroyed or not trusted anymore. Rosalyn (ph) and I are walking on what remains of her six-foot-high garden wall. It was swept away by the tsunami and the house behind it obliterated.

    "I'm heartbroken and have no tears left to cry," she told me, adding she was grateful that her mother and son, the only two at home at the time, are still alive, albeit in hospital.

    It was here most of the fatalities occurred. People who had just fled shaking buildings were stumbling about outside giving thanks they'd survived the quake, when suddenly they were pummeled by the three waves that rolled in. But inland, there were many lethal threats as well. This is the Petobo neighborhood, and it was consumed by a paddy field that the earthquake lifted and moved more than a kilometer.

    They have laid a path of makeshift duckboards here, but you have to walk carefully, for, beneath them, the earth is molten. The people here didn't face a tsunami of seawater. They faced a tsunami of mud. And, as you can probably make out, that mud consumed the first floor in both these houses.

    Rescue teams don't expect to find many survivors here. Neither do they expect to recover many of the bodies buried here. This woman came to see what's left of her house. She wasn't home when disaster struck. But she said her son was, and he's still missing.

    At one of his Palu's main hospitals, 200 patients are spending another night outdoors. The hospital building is unsafe, but they don't want to be inside anyway. These people don't want to be in Palu anymore. They're frightened, and many spent the day waiting patiently for a flight out of here.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    That report from John Irvine of Independent Television News.

    Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard fired six ballistic missiles into Syria today. It was retaliation for last month's attack on an Iranian military parade claimed by the Islamic State group. The missiles were fired from Western Iran, flew over Iraq and struck in Southeastern Syria, where ISIS forces still have a presence. State media showed the missiles being launched. It said the strike killed and wounded some of the militants, but gave no other details.

    Back in this country, somber tributes in Las Vegas mark the first anniversary of a mass shooting that claimed 57 lives, the deadliest in U.S. history. This morning, several hundred people gathered for memorial at an outdoor amphitheater. The gunman had fired down on concert-goers there from a nearby hotel.

    Meanwhile, President Trump said the administration is close to finalizing a band on so called bump stocks. The Las Vegas shooter used one. It lets a semiautomatic weapon fire like a machine gun.

    California now has the nation's toughest law on net neutrality. Governor Jerry Brown signed it on Sunday. Supporters argue the new statute protects against Internet companies giving greater speed or access to those who pay more. The U.S. Justice Department swiftly filed suit to block the law, saying it goes against federal policy to deregulate the Internet.

    California is also now the first state to mandate that publicly traded companies add women to their boardrooms. Governor Brown approved that measure on Sunday as well. It says companies based in the state must have at least one female director by the end of next year.

    And on Wall Street today, stocks shot up on news of the free trade deal. But rising oil prices undercut the rally. The Dow Jones industrial average gain nearly 193 points to close to 26651. The Nasdaq fell nine points. And the S&P 500 added 10.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour", how today's trade deal is different from NAFTA; the expanding investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; we sit down with the latest winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine; and much more.

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