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News Wrap: Taliban attack in northern Afghanistan kills 14

In our news wrap Monday, an attack claimed by the Taliban killed 14 people in northern Afghanistan. Hours earlier, Taliban officials had said they agreed to a temporary cease-fire -- but gave no details. Also, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared to escalate threats of renewed confrontation with the U.S., calling for “positive and offensive measures” to ensure North Korean security.

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  • Nick Schifrin:

    Federal prosecutors in New York today filed hate crimes charges against the man who allegedly attacked a rabbi's home during a Hanukkah party.

    Grafton Thomas is accused of wounding five people with a machete in Monsey north of New York City. He already faces state charges of attempted murder and burglary.

    We will have much more on this after the news summary.

    The government of Iraq today condemned U.S. military strikes on an Iraqi militia group backed by Iran. The Sunday attacks killed 25 fighters and wounded dozens. U.S. officials said it was retaliation for rocket fire that killed an American defense contractor and wounded American soldiers.

    Today, militia supporters in the city of Basra burned American flags and vowed revenge.

  • Man (through translator):

    We would like to tell the American troops, whatever you bombed, whatever you killed, we will stay. We are steadfast, defending our territories, sacred places and dignity.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    We will take a closer look at all of this later in the program.

    In Afghanistan, the Taliban claimed an attack that killed 14 people. Hours earlier, Taliban officials had said they agreed to a temporary cease-fire, but gave no details. The pre-dawn attack came in Jowzjan province in Northern Afghanistan and targeted the site of a pro-government militia.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appeared today to escalate threats of renewed confrontation with the U.S. He called for — quote — "positive and offensive measures" — unquote — to ensure North Korea's security. Kim has set a year-end deadline for U.S. concessions in nuclear talks that are currently stalled.

    The White House has confirmed that President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone on Sunday. A statement today said Putin thanked Mr. Trump for information that — quote — "helped foil a potential holiday terrorist attack in Russia."

    The White House gave no additional details.

    A court in China has sentenced a scientist to three years in prison after he claimed to create the world's first gene-edited babies. He Jiankui was convicted of practicing medicine without a license. He triggered a worldwide ethical debate last year, saying he had altered embryos of twin girls to prevent infection by the AIDS virus.

    Back in this country, Georgia Congressman and civil rights legend John Lewis says he will stay in office after being diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. The veteran Democrat announced the diagnosis on Sunday. He said he will begin treatment and thinks he has a fighting chance. Lewis is 79 years old.

    New census data shows this year's population growth rate in the U.S. was the slowest in a century, at less than half-a-percent. The Census Bureau cites fewer births, increased deaths and a drop in international migration. Overall, the country added 1.5 million people, to reach 328 million.

    And on Wall Street, stocks gave ground, as investors took year-end profits. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 183 points to close at 28462. The Nasdaq fell 60 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 18.

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