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News Wrap: ‘Time to solve’ North Korea nuclear threat, says Pompeo

In our news wrap Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed the need to solve the North Korea nuclear problem once and for all in remarks he gave at his formal swearing-in. Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in North Korea for possible talks with Kim Jong Un. Also, suicide bombers killed at least 14 people in Tripoli, Libya. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The new U.S. secretary of state says it's time to solve the North Korea nuclear problem once and for all. Mike Pompeo spoke this morning after his ceremonial formal swearing-in by Vice President Pence, with President Trump watching, at the State Department.

  • Mike Pompeo:

    Right now, we have an unprecedented opportunity to change the course of history on the Korean Peninsula.

    I underscore the word opportunity. We're in the beginning stages of the work and the outcome is certainly yet unknown. The American people are counting on us to get this right. We are committed to the permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantling of North Korea's weapons of mass destructions program and to do so without delay.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Meanwhile, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in North Korea for possible talks with its leader, Kim Jong-un. He's expected to press for a larger role for Beijing in the new round of nuclear diplomacy.

    In Libya, two suicide bombers killed at least 14 people at the National Election Commission in Tripoli. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility, saying it was trying to prevent a nationwide vote later this year. Video posted online by Libyan television stations showed smoke rising from the building. The Election Commission said that its electoral database was undamaged.

    The U.S. has transferred a prisoner out of Guantanamo Bay for the first time under President Trump. Ahmed al-Darbi was sent to a rehabilitation program in his native Saudi Arabia. He pleaded guilty in a 2002 attack on a French oil tanker; 40 detainees are left now at Guantanamo.

    Protesters were out in full force across Armenia today, after Parliament rejected the opposition leader serving as prime minister. His supporters blocked major roads and ministry buildings in a national strike, this on the heels of weeks of protests against corruption. Later, the opposition leader called off the protests after the ruling party said that Parliament will vote again next Tuesday.

    Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is under fire after suggesting that European Jews have brought persecution on themselves. In a Monday speech, Abbas said hatred of Jews was — quote — "not because of their religion; it was because of their role in usury and banks."

    Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Abbas a Holocaust denier and his Foreign Ministry joined in.

  • Emmanuel Nahshon:

    What we have heard from Mr. Abbas is a series of anti-Semitic accusations of an ugly nature. Mr. Abbas accuses actually the Jewish people for being responsible for its own tragedy. Those are things that we cannot accept.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The U.S., the U.N. and the European Union offered their own criticism. Abbas' spokesman declined comment. The Palestinian leader has previously questioned how many Jews died in the Holocaust.

    Back in this country, the state of Iowa may implement the nation's strictest abortion law. Overnight, the Republican-majority legislature approved a ban on abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. That's around six weeks, and often before a woman knows she is pregnant. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds opposes abortion, but has not said whether she will sign the measure.

    In Philadelphia, two black men arrested in a Starbucks last month have settled with the city government for $1 each. City officials also promised $200,000 for an entrepreneurs program in high schools. Images of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson being led away in handcuffs sparked a renewed debate over racial profiling. Starbucks said that it has reached a separate settlement with the men.

    The British data firm embroiled in the Facebook privacy scandal is shutting down. Cambridge Analytica declared bankruptcy today. It said it has been unfairly vilified for collecting Facebook user information to build voter profiles. A British lawmaker warned the company not to delete its data history, as investigations are continuing.

    The Federal Reserve Board announced today that it's leaving a benchmark interest rate unchanged. But it said again that further increases are expected.

    On Wall Street, the news contributed to a late-day sell-off. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 174 points to close below 23925. The Nasdaq fell 29 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 19.

    And the Boy Scouts are changing their name to Scouts BSA, because starting next year, they're also accepting girls. Today's announcement said the parent organization will remain the Boy Scouts of America. Cub Scouts, for younger children, will still be known as Cub Scouts.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour," a former energy secretary on what could happen if the U.S. exits the Iran nuclear deal; Missouri public defenders overwhelmed with clients now in a catch-22; and much more.

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