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News Wrap: Taliban execute deadly attack on Afghan intelligence base

In our Monday news wrap, Taliban fighters carried out a brazen and deadly attack at a heavily fortified Afghan intelligence base, killing dozens of military personnel. The attackers detonated a stolen military vehicle packed with explosives, allowing more militants to then infiltrate the complex and open fire inside. Also, British Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled her Brexit Plan B.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The partial federal government shutdown has now entered its fifth week, with no signs the impasse is any closer to being broken.

    The Senate is poised to vote this week on President Trump's proposal to protect some undocumented immigrants in exchange for border wall funding. But Democrats are expected to reject it. We will take a closer look at where things stand and how the shutdown is affecting the country later in the program.

    Taliban fighters carried out a brazen attack on a heavily-fortified Afghan intelligence base today, with some putting the toll at more than 100 people. Most of the victims were military personnel. The base, which trains new recruits, is located in Wardak province. The attackers detonated a stolen military Humvee packed with explosives that allowed more militants to infiltrate the complex and open fire inside.

    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May today unveiled her plan B for leaving the European Union. It comes a week after her original deal to exit the bloc was trounced in Parliament.

    Paul Brand of Independent Television News has our report.

  • Theresa May:

    It is clear the government's approach had to change, and it has.

  • Paul Brand:

    Though you would struggle to notice, the prime minister's next steps will retrace her previous ones. She's sticking to her deal, and still trying to tweak the Northern Irish backstop.

    There were new concessions to protect workers' rights and to waive fees for E.U. citizens seeking settled status. But the prime minister refused to rule out leaving without a deal and was adamant there'll be no second referendum.

  • Theresa May:

    A second referendum could damage social cohesion by undermining faith in our democracy.

  • Paul Brand:

    That's stronger than she's said it before, but little else has changed.

  • Jeremy Corbyn:

    What makes her think that what she tried to renegotiate in December will succeed in January? Mr. Speaker, this really does feel a bit like Groundhog Day.

  • Paul Brand:

    But the tactic now isn't to win over his party, but her own.

    Do you feel as if the government was genuinely listening to you today, or is the prime minister stuck on her plan A?

  • Sarah Wollaston:

    Well that's what we have heard. Plan A looks — Plan B looks very much like plan A, and we need to move forward from that. With a defeat of 230, on that scale, we have to be looking at an alternative.

  • Paul Brand:

    And if the prime minister doesn't have one, M.P.s are threatening to force their own. Some of this group will back attempts to give Parliament control, mainly to stop Britain leaving without a deal.

  • Hilary Benn:

    She is really struggling to find a way forward, and if she can't do her job, then it is the job of parliamentarians to stand up and play their part.

  • Paul Brand:

    Some people say you're just a load of remainers trying to steal Brexit.

  • Hilary Benn:

    Well in the end, we are members of Parliament who have to decide a way forward.

  • Question:

    Is plan A still your plan B, Prime Minister?

  • Paul Brand:

    Today, Theresa May was welcoming her counterpart from New Zealand. Nice to see a far-flung ally, but she's still lacking them here at home.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    That report from Paul Brand of Independent Television News.

    Israel confirmed that it launched airstrikes against Iranian military sites near Damascus, Syria, early today. They targeted a military training camp, intelligence site and storage facility. Eleven people died. Today's strikes were in response to an Iranian rocket fired at Israel on Sunday. It was intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system near the Golan Heights.

    Back in this country, the death toll from a brutal winter storm that lashed the Eastern U.S. over the weekend rose to at least five people. Today's temperatures across the region were more than 20 degrees below normal, as parts of New England attempted to dig out of more than a foot of snow. Windchills neared minus 40 degrees in Upstate New York and in Vermont.

    U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California has become the latest in a growing field of Democrats to announce a presidential run in 2020. Harris bypassed launching a presidential exploratory committee, and opted to jump straight into her campaign.

    She made the announcement on ABC's "Good Morning America."

  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.:

    My entire career has been focused on keeping people safe. It is probably one of the things that motivates me more than anything else.

    And when I look at this moment in time, I know that the American people deserve to have somebody who is going to fight for them, who is going to see them, who will hear them, who will care about them, who will be concerned about their experience and put them in front of self-interest.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The first-term senator is a former prosecutor and California attorney general.

    A Chinese scientist who claimed to have created the world's first gene-edited babies has been fired from his university job. That's according to Chinese state media. Chinese investigators determined that He Jiankui evaded oversight and violated ethical guidelines when he edited genes for twin girls in order to help make them resistant to the AIDS virus. Their report said that he acted alone and will be punished.

    China reported today that its economy grew at its slowest pace in almost three decades. The Chinese economy expanded just 6.6 percent in 2018, amid a trade dispute with the U.S. China also said that its population growth rate declined last year. It's now at just under 1.4 billion people. The government estimates that it will peak in 2029.

    A new report from the anti-poverty group Oxfam says that global income inequality is — quote — "out of control" and harming women especially. The group said fortunes for billionaires grew by 12 percent last year, while the poorest half of the globe saw their wealth decrease by 11 percent.

    Oxfam International's executive director called upon the world's wealthiest to correct the disparity.

  • Winnie Byanyima:

    The richest people in the world, the most powerful people in the world, the political leaders of the world, take action to reduce extreme inequality, because it is out of control.

    It's widening. It's hurting our economies, slowing our economies. It's undermining democracy. It's trapping people in poverty.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The group released its report before the World Economic Forum gets under way tomorrow in Davos, Switzerland.

    Americans remembered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s contributions today, just days after what would have been the slain civil rights leader's 90th birthday. President Trump and Vice President Pence laid a wreath at King's memorial in Washington, while, across the U.S., communities observed the holiday with parades and marches in his honor.

    And a passing to note: Tony Mendez, the former CIA spy who inspired the award-winning movie "Argo," died Saturday in Maryland. He'd suffered from Parkinson's disease. Mendez worked for the CIA for 25 years, mostly creating disguises and forging documents. In 1980, he helped smuggle six U.S. diplomats out of Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis by disguising them as a Canadian film crew. Tony Mendez was 78 years old.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": after 31 days, still no sign of compromise on the shutdown; catching the world's most wanted drug lord; the potential risks of using marijuana edibles; and much more.

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