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In our news wrap Friday, President Trump became the first sitting president to address the annual March for Life in Washington in person. He spoke to thousands of abortion opponents who flocked to the National Mall. Also, the Pentagon now says 34 U.S. troops suffered traumatic brain injuries when their Iraqi base was hit by Iranian missiles earlier this month. Trump called the injuries headaches.
In the day's other news: President Trump became the first sitting president to address the annual March for Life in Washington in person. He spoke to thousands of abortion opponents who flocked to the National Mall.
Mr. Trump had once labeled himself pro-choice, but, today, he stressed his opposition to abortion.
President Donald Trump:
Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House. They are coming after me because I am fighting for you, and we are fighting for those who have no voice. And we will win, because we know how to win.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
The president cited actions backed by social conservatives, including getting 187 federal judges confirmed just since he took office.
In a related development, the Trump administration is threatening to cut federal health care funds for California. At issue is the state's mandate that all insurance plans cover abortions. Federal officials said today the mandate discriminates against providers who oppose abortion coverage, and it gave California 30 days to reconsider.
The Pentagon now says that 34 U.S. troops suffered traumatic brain injuries when Iran fired missiles at their base in Iraq this month. Half have returned to their duties. Seventeen are being treated in the U.S. and Germany. President Trump said this week the injuries were mostly headaches and not very serious.
In Iraq, followers of a Shiite cleric turned out today to protest the presence of U.S. troops. It followed the U.S. killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad's airport earlier this month. Thousands rallied peacefully in Central Baghdad, calling for the government to expel all American forces.
Um Ahmed (through translator):
We are asking America to leave peacefully, through the Parliament and political efforts. But the last option will be military resistance. If not an agreement, America will be out with force.
Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr had called for a million people to rally, but the numbers fell well short of that mark.
Later, a few miles away, security forces killed two protesters and wounded 25 at a separate protest against the Iraqi government.
The president has named a new chief for the U.S. Border Patrol. Rodney Scott has been with the agency for 27 years, and backs the Trump agenda of curbing migration and limiting legal asylum for foreigners. His appointment is not subject to Senate confirmation. Scott replaces Carla Provost, who is retiring.
A huge explosion in Houston killed two people and destroyed a warehouse early this morning. The blast erupted at an industrial company and blew nearby homes off their foundations. Police opened an investigation, but said they do not suspect foul play.
This will be a multiagency, multi-disciplinary investigation. But let me just say right off the bat, we have no reason to believe, we have no evidence at this point that terrorism was involved. We don't have any evidence that a criminal — an intentional act was involved.
The explosion was loud enough to be heard across the city, but officials said there were no signs of any hazardous releases into the air.
And on Wall Street today, a sell-off swept the market over growing concerns about the viral outbreak in China. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 170 points to close below 28990. The Nasdaq fell 87 points, and the S&P 500 gave up 30 points.
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