News Wrap: U.S. troops and veterans warned of domestic attacks by Islamic State

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    U.S. troops and veterans may now be targets for Islamic State attacks inside the United States.

    The warning comes in a bulletin from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The bulletin says the militants — quote — "are spotting and assessing like-minded individuals who are willing and capable of conducting attacks." The warning urges troops and veterans to erase identifying information from social media accounts.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced moves today to bolster his military against Islamic State forces. He announced two dozen security officials will have to retire. He also attacked military corruption after news that Iraq has been paying thousands of troops who exist only on paper.

  • HAIDER AL-ABADI, Prime Minister, Iraq (through interpreter):

    If there were inspection teams, they would have discovered this long ago. I feel sad that we have paid salaries for mock soldiers at a time we don't have enough money. We have soldiers fighting and being killed, while there are mock soldiers receiving salaries. This demands more than simple auditing.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Also today, the United Nations reported more than 1,200 Iraqis died in violence last month. That's down slightly from October.

    And Afghanistan's new president is overhauling his military and security forces in a bid to turn back the Taliban. The Associated Press reports that Ashraf Ghani will fire civilian and military heads in the most volatile provinces of his country.

    The Pentagon and State Department played down reports today of creating a possible buffer zone along Turkey's border with Syria to protect Syrian refugees. Officials said those talks are continuing. Meanwhile, the World Food Program suspended food vouchers to some 1.7 million Syrian refugees. The U.N. agency said many donors have failed to come through with money.

    In Nigeria, officials blamed the Islamist Boko Haram group for attacks that killed at least seven people. A double bombing hit a market in the capital of Borno state. And a police base in the Yobe state capital was attacked with explosions and gunfire. More than 170 people have been killed just in the last week.

    The government of Hong Kong showed signs today of cracking down after two months of pro-democracy protests. Riot police moved aggressively against demonstrators in the most violent confrontation yet.

    We have a report from John Sparks of Independent Television News, who's watching the situation from Bangkok.

  • JOHN SPARKS:

    Protest leaders said the time had come to escalate their struggle, as they surrounded government headquarters in the middle of Hong Kong.

    But, as the sun rose, the police took their positions, and, with batons in hand, decided to charge. Weeks of relative calm were shattered today, as pro-democracy protesters were driven through a public park and back towards the main protest site in the heart of Hong Kong.

    One observer said it was like the Running of the Bulls. These are the most violent clashes since demonstrators occupied parts of the city two months ago. The police made 40 arrests and dozens of people were injured, with activists accusing the police of brutality.

    The protest movement now giving ground. Its call for open elections has been rejected and a request for talks with the government ignored. Today, a senior official told them to pack up and go home.

    LAI TUNG-KWOK, Secretary for Secretary, Hong Kong: The police, after repeated warnings, have to take resolute actions. They have no choice because it is their duty to restore law and order.

  • JOHN SPARKS:

    Last night, protest leaders called for peaceful disobedience at the main government building, but what they got was chaos, as both sides traded blows, as well as territory.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Protesters are demanding free elections in 2017, but the Chinese government has refused.

    The Russian ruble hit a new all-time low today, dropping another 5 percent of its value. The currency's been battered by declining oil prices and economic sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine. The ruble is down a total of more than 40 percent this year.

    Back in this country, Congress returned from its Thanksgiving break with a full slate for its final two weeks. That includes the need to fund government operations past December 11 and President Obama's requests for money to fight Ebola and the Islamic State group.

    Entertainer Bill Cosby stepped down today as a trustee of Temple University. He said it's in the school's best interest. Cosby is facing a wave of allegations that he's drugged and sexually assaulted women over the years.

    And a congressional staffer resigned after criticizing the president's teenage daughters on Facebook. Elizabeth Lauten worked for a Republican congressman from Tennessee. Last week, she wrote that Sasha and Malia Obama should have shown more interest in the ceremonial pardon of a Thanksgiving turkey and should dress better. Lauten apologized today.

    Well, retailers are hoping this Cyber Monday will jump-start holiday shopping. Weekend sales were down from a year ago, due partly to sales starting earlier this fall. And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 51 points to close below 17777; the Nasdaq slumped 64 points to close at 4727; and the S&P 500 fell 14 to finish at 2053.

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