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News Wrap: Trump warns he may cancel GM subsidies

In our Tuesday news wrap, President Donald Trump tweeted that he is considering eliminating all federal subsidies for GM. Economic adviser Larry Kudlow referred to the president’s “disappointment” over the auto giant’s decision to close several American factories. Also, questions arise about staffing procedures at a detention center in Texas currently housing more than 2,300 migrant teenagers.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    To the day's other news now.

    President Trump warning that he is considering eliminating all federal subsidies for General Motors. The threat, on Twitter, followed GM's plans to close plants in three states and stop building its hybrid electric Volt model.

    At the White House, economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the president feels betrayed.

  • Larry Kudlow:

    There's disappointment that it seems like GM would rather build its electric cars in China, rather than in the United States. We are going to be looking at certain subsidies regarding electric cars and others and whether they should apply or not. I can't say anything final about that, but we're looking into it.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    GM defended itself in a statement, saying that it acted to ensure long-term success. The company also said that it will give affected workers a chance to move to jobs at other plants.

    There are new questions tonight about a federal detention center for migrant teenagers in West Texas. It was established in June and quickly expanded to more than 2,300 children. The Associated Press reports that, in a bid to keep up, officials dropped the use of strict FBI background checks for staffers, including screenings for child abuse.

    The nonprofit group managing the shelter says it is exceptionally well-run.

    In Afghanistan, three American soldiers were killed today, the deadliest such attack in 17 months. Officials said a roadside bomb went off near the eastern city of Ghazni as the troops were carrying out raids with Afghan soldiers. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

    Tensions stayed high today between Russia and Ukraine over a naval confrontation on Sunday. Moscow issued new warnings to Kiev, and it refused to return three Ukrainian naval vessels and two dozen crewmen.

    Foreign affairs correspondent Nick Schifrin reports.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    In Russian-annexed Crimea, masked soldiers paraded Ukrainian sailors in, and then quickly out, of a Russian-controlled court.

    And those same Ukrainian sailors were paraded on Russian TV, seemingly confessing to entering Russian territorial waters illegally, a "crime" for which they will be detained for two months.

    It's only been two days since their boats were fired on by Russian ships as they sailed south away from the Crimean Peninsula's Kerch Strait, which both countries are legally allowed to use under a 2003 agreement.

    For four-and-a-half years, Ukraine and Russia have been fighting. A Moscow-backed insurgency in Eastern Ukraine has killed at least 10,000 people and kept Ukraine's government off-balance. But this is the first attack Russia hasn't denied.

    Now Ukraine's firing back with intercepted Russian communications it says prove the crisis was manufactured by Russian leaders. A Russian captain says to another Russian captain — quote — "We should assault them. We have to destroy them. Medvedev is in panic. It seems that the president is controlling all that."

    Medvedev likely refers to Gennady Medvedev, head of the Russian intelligence service's border service office in Crimea. But, today, Moscow stood firm in blaming Ukraine. It warned that Kiev's decision yesterday to impose martial law would lead to a surge in fighting in the pro-Russian rebel-held areas of Eastern Ukraine.

    And Russia accused Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of playing politics ahead of a March 2019 election.

  • Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev:

  • Dmitry Medvedev (through translator):

    This martial law allows for the authorities to flex their muscles a little bit and boost their support amongst the population.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    But much of the world today supported Ukraine. Poland's president called for retaliatory sanctions against Moscow.

  • Andrzej Duda (through translator):

    There is no doubt that Russia is an aggressor and it is not the first time there is a violation of the agreements between Russia and Ukraine regarding navigation.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    European countries are now considering helping the Ukrainian navy, an effort State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert encouraged.

  • Heather Nauert:

    One of the things that we would like to see take place is our European allies doing more to assist Ukraine.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    But the U.S. has to help lead that response.

    And, tonight, President Trump threatened to cancel his planned meeting later this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying — quote — "I don't like that aggression at all."

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Nick Schifrin.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In Northeastern Australia, firefighters today fought a major wildfire, fueled by record November heat, in the triple digits. Crews in Queensland state have battled 40-mile-an hour winds that fanned flames across nearly 50,000 acres since Saturday. Tomorrow could be worse still, with temperatures of 104 degrees.

  • Katarina Carroll:

    The end of the week is looking pretty horrendous, from our point of view. It is a heat wave across most of the state, particularly from the central to the northern part of the state, unprecedented temperatures, unprecedented weather.

    We talked earlier about really this is uncharted waters. We don't expect this at this time of the year.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The fire has destroyed four homes, and hundreds of people have been forced to flee its advance.

    Trial opened in Chicago today for three current and former policemen accused of a cover-up after a white officer killed a black teenager. Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times in October of 2014. Last month, another former officer, Jason Van Dyke, was convicted of second-degree murder in the killing.

    NASA has gotten more good news from its InSight probe on the surface of Mars. Overnight, the spacecraft opened its solar wings and began charging batteries, a vital step in starting its mission. InSight also sent a new photograph, showing part of the probe and the landscape around it. It will spend the next two years digging into the Martian surface to study the planet's interior.

    On Wall Street today, stocks made up a bit more ground. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 108 points to close at 24748. The Nasdaq rose a fraction of a point, and the S&P 500 added eight.

    And the man who created the wildly popular "SpongeBob SquarePants" cartoon series has died. Stephen Hillenburg suffered from the muscle-wasting disease ALS. SpongeBob and his oceanic friends debuted in 1999 and have run for nearly 250 episodes. Along the way, the series also spun off a Broadway musical and two movies.

    Stephen Hillenburg was 57 years old.

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