In our news wrap Wednesday, the U.S. imposed another round of sanctions on Iran, targeting the country’s intelligence minister and a charity that’s allegedly a regime slush fund. The move comes after a United Nations agency reported centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz nuclear site are now enriching uranium. Also, reports of heavy damage and deaths are coming in from Central America after Hurricane Iota.
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The nation tonight has passed 250,000 dead from the coronavirus. The number is rising by an average of 1,100 every day, with roughly 160,000 new infections daily.
And President-elect Joe Biden warned today that a potential vaccination campaign is in jeopardy because the Trump administration will not start the transition of power.
President-elect Joe Biden:
There's a whole lot of things that are just — we just don't have available to us. So, unless it's made available soon, we're going to be behind by weeks or months being able to put together the whole initiative relating to the biggest promise we have.
The wave of COVID-19 infections prompted New York Mayor Bill de Blasio today to close the nation's largest public school system again. Effective tomorrow, more than one million students go back to online-learning only.
President Trump is mounting still more challenges to his election loss to Mr. Biden. The Trump campaign asked today for recounts in two counties in Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, Michigan certified its statewide results after Republican canvassers in Detroit initially refused to certify.
That drew fire today from Detroit's Democratic mayor.
Mayor Mike Duggan:
American democracy cracked last night, but it didn't break. But we are seeing real threat to everything we believe in. What you are seeing in this country right now is an effort to say, we only want to count the votes of the people who agree with us.
President-elect Biden won Michigan and Wisconsin, plus Georgia, which is due to finish a hand recount of its votes tonight.
We will return to all of this after the news summary.
The United States has imposed another round of sanctions on Iran. Today's announcement targeted the intelligence minister and a charity that's allegedly a regime slush fund. That came as a U.N. agency reported that centrifuges at Iran's Natanz nuclear site are now enriching uranium. It's been reported that President Trump sought options last week for a military strike on Natanz.
Reports of heavy damage and deaths are now coming in from Central America, in the wake of Hurricane Iota. Nicaragua today raised its official death toll to 16. Homes were left in ruins along the country's Caribbean coast, and downpours triggered heavy flooding and landslides there and in Honduras.
Filimon Wilfred (through translator):
The hurricane came. It knocked over my house, my daughter's house. It knocked over five houses in total. So I'm homeless. Where am I going to live? I have to take care of so many young men. I don't know where I'm going to live.
The hurricane smashed ashore Monday night in the same area where another Category 4 storm hit two weeks earlier.
Back in this country, a federal judge in Washington ordered the Trump administration today to stop deporting migrant children who cross the U.S.-Mexico border alone. Nearly 9,000 unaccompanied children have been expelled since March. The administration has used an emergency measure, citing the pandemic as justification.
The Federal Aviation Administration has cleared Boeing 737 MAX jetliners to resume deliveries and passenger flights for U.S. airlines. That ends a 20-month ban after two crashes that killed 346 people. Today's order calls for Boeing to update key software and computers and for pilots to receive new training.
And on Wall Street today, worries about surging COVID-19 infections outweighed optimism about new vaccines. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 345 points to close at 29438. The Nasdaq fell 97 points, and the S&P 500 slid 41.