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News Wrap: Trump administration’s new asylum policy takes effect

In our news wrap Friday, the Trump administration began returning Central American migrants seeking legal asylum to Mexico while their cases are processed. Because the U.S. has a backlog of 800,000 asylum cases, the process can take years. Plus, signs of progress toward peace emerged in Afghanistan, as the Taliban named one of its co-founders to join negotiations with the U.S.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: The Trump administration began returning to Mexico Central American migrants who seek legal asylum, while their cases are processed.

    The policy is being introduced at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego. It doesn't apply to children traveling alone or to asylum seekers from Mexico. The U.S. has a backlog of more than 800,000 asylum cases, so the wait can take years.

    There are signs of potential movement toward peace in Afghanistan. The Taliban today named one of its co-founders to join negotiations with the United States. And State Department officials told the "NewsHour" that the Taliban has agreed not to let terrorist groups use Afghanistan as a base. In return, other reports say the U.S. could agree to withdraw troops.

    U.S. diplomats and their families began leaving Venezuela today. Vans ferried the Americans from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, leaving behind a skeleton staff. President Nicolas Maduro had ordered all U.S. diplomats to leave.

    In Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said protecting the diplomats is a top priority.

  • Mike Pompeo:

    U.S. officials that are there, that have now been invited to be there by the interim President Juan Guaido, have a right. They have the privileges and immunities that accrue to having been invited to be there by the duly-credentialed leader of Venezuela. And we have every expectation that those rights will continue to be protected.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    President Maduro ordered the Americans to leave this week, after the U.S. recognized Guaido, who is president of the National Assembly, as Venezuela's leader.

    Meanwhile, U.N. officials said they believe Maduro's security forces have killed at least 20 protesters this week.

    A brutal cold wave has gripped the U.S. Upper Midwest tonight. It brought windchills as low as 45 degrees below zero to parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The arctic air creeping across the region created an eerie sight, as steam rose above Lake Michigan. Some residents braved the frigid temperatures to catch a glimpse.

  • Laurie Vietz:

    It's so cold. Anything that's exposed, any exposed skin, that's what's terrible. So, everything else was fine, but my fingers were getting cold because I was taking pictures with my phone, so I had to have my fingers out.

    You just have to appreciate these days. They're not all the time, so you have to get out there when you can.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Forecasters warn that even colder temperatures will hit the same region next week.

    A heat wave, meantime, is scorching a swathe of Australia, overloading power grids and fueling fires. Temperatures spiked to 123 degrees in Adelaide yesterday, and 109 in Melbourne today. Meanwhile, emergency workers fought wildfires in Tasmania. Forecasters say this January is on track to be the hottest ever recorded in Australia.

    And on Wall Street, stocks ended the week with a rally, on new optimism about economic growth. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 184 points to close at 24737. The Nasdaq rose 91 points, and the S&P 500 added 22.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": Mark Shields and David Brooks analyze a packed week of news; how a podcast from inside prison led to the host regaining his freedom; and much more.

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