In our news wrap Monday, President Trump called for major changes to the Republican plans for tax reform via Twitter, including an end to the health insurance mandate under the Affordable Care Act. Also, a powerful earthquake in Iran, near the border with Iraq, killed at least 445 people and injured 7,300 more.
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In the day’s other news: President Trump called for major changes to Republican tax reform plans. In a tweet from Asia, he advocated for — quote — “ending the unfair and highly unpopular individual mandate under Obamacare.” He also urged cutting the top income tax rate to 35 percent, with — quote — “all the rest going to middle-income cuts.”
Republican bills in the House and Senate do not include either proposal.
In Iran, rescuers dug with their bare hands today, after a powerful earthquake killed at least 445 people and injured 7,300 more. It struck last night near the border with Iraq and sent tremors as far as the Mediterranean coast.
Geraint Vincent of Independent Television News reports.
On ruined streets in the towns of Western Iran, people gather around holes in the rubble in the search for signs of life. The earthquake struck only 24 hours ago, so the chances of finding survivors are still strong.
But when hopes are dashed and they have to recover the bodies of the dead, their work is accompanied by the wailing of the grief-stricken.
The earthquake reached across the border between Iran and Iraq, where people ran for their lives from supermarkets which emptied as the stock was shaken off the shelves. And in this glass-fronted cafe, even as they were escaping, the doors shattered. And on the security camera screens in the control room of a dam near the epicenter, the pictures show that it’s not always safer outside. Huge rocks were thrown down the hillside, and across the car park.
On the Iranian side of the border last night, hospitals suddenly found themselves overwhelmed, corridors full of the injured and traumatized survivors. The quake shook remote regions, where thousands were made homeless in a few moments, and now face cold nights with no shelter.
Where the rockfall happened, near the epicenter, the boulders have come to a halt. But there are big cracks in the structure of the dam, and fears that it could burst.
That from Geraint Vincent of Independent Television News.
A Saudi Arabian coalition is lifting a blockade of air and sea ports controlled by the government in Yemen. That’s after aid organizations warned that it would trigger a humanitarian disaster. The coalition had said it needed to cut off the flow of weapons to rebels in Yemen.
A North Korean soldier was shot and wounded by his own side today as he bolted across the border to South Korea. It happened at the Truce Village at Panmunjom. The defector is now in a South Korean hospital, with wounds to his shoulder and elbow.
Global carbon pollution is up for the first time in three years. An international team of scientists reported the findings today in Bonn, Germany. It came after carbon dioxide emissions had leveled off in 2014.
Corinne Le Quere:
The plateau and now the renewed rise this year are all driven primarily by what is happening in China, with the renewed use of coal this year anticipated as a result of stimulus probably from the government, pushing industrial production up again this year.
Carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. and Europe have actually declined slightly this year, but by less than in previous years.
Back in this country, the president has nominated former drug company executive Alex Azar to be secretary of health and human services. Azar worked for Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical company, for most of the last decade. Before that, he held senior posts at HHS in the George W. Bush administration. If confirmed, he’d succeed Tom Price, who resigned over his use of private charter jets at government expense.
Another woman is accusing former President George H.W. Bush of groping her. She says it happened as they posed for a photo in 2003, when she was 16 and he was in his late ’70s. At least five other women have made similar allegations. A spokesman for Mr. Bush said today that he regrets offending anyone.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 17 points to close at 23,439. The Nasdaq rose six points, and the S&P 500 added two.