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News Wrap: UN warns female and child casualties are on the rise in Afghanistan

In our news wrap Wednesday, civilian casualties among Afghan women jumped 23 percent this year, and among children the number rose 13 percent, according to a report by the United Nations. Also, international experts confirmed that plane debris found in the Indian Ocean is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    International experts confirmed today that plane debris found in the Indian Ocean is indeed from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The jetliner disappeared in March 2014. Part of one wing was discovered last week on Reunion, Island thousands of miles west of where the plane disappeared.

    Malaysia's prime minister announced the findings today at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.

  • NAJIB RAZAK, Malaysian Prime Minister:

    The burden and uncertainty faced by the families during this time has been unspeakable. It is my goal that this confirmation, however tragic and painful, will at least bring certainty to the families and loved ones of the 239 people on board MH370.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Investigators will continue examining the wing flap, hoping it can shed light on exactly what happened to the airliner.

    Fire crews in California continued their battle today against a sprawling blaze north of San Francisco. They have been helped by cooler temperatures and higher humidity since the fire exploded out of control over the weekend. It has burned 106 square miles so far. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

    There's been another attack on a movie theater. A man with a hatchet and a gun gassed a theater near Nashville, Tennessee, today with pepper spray. He was shot and killed when he traded shots with police. The scene unfolded in the Hickory Hollow Cinema in Antioch. Police said the suspect was a 51-year-old local man. Three people were treated for minor injuries.

    The United Nations warned today that fighting in Afghanistan is taking a growing toll among women and children. Just this year, civilian casualties among women have jumped 23 percent. For children, the increase is 13 percent.

    The U.N.'s special representative for Afghanistan released the report today at a briefing in Kabul.

    NICHOLAS HAYSOM, U.N. Special Representative for Afghanistan: We must now call on those parties engaged in the conflict who have it within their power to reduce the number of civilian casualties to effect changes, to try to commit to taking every step that will avoid civilian casualties.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Overall, casualties rose by 1 percent in the first half of the year. U.N. officials blame increased ground fighting since U.S. and NATO forces ended their combat role last year.

    At least 400 migrants were saved from the Mediterranean Sea today, after their boat capsized off Libya. Italian, Irish and other vessels raced to the scene to help rescue the boat's passengers. They also recovered at least 25 bodies, and warned there may be many more. Up to 700 people may have been crammed onto the boat.

    Britain's best-known radical Muslim cleric has been arrested on terror charges. Authorities today cited lectures he posted online last year praising the Islamic State group. Anjem Choudary and an associate were brought to court this afternoon in London, accused of inciting support for ISIS.

  • MAN:

    He calls you to what gives you life.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Hundreds of British Muslims have left for Syria and Iraq to fight for the militant group. Choudary, a 48-year-old British-born cleric, has been perhaps the group's most vocal defender in the international media.

  • ANJEM CHOUDARY, Islamic Activist:

    People don't come to me to ask me whether they should go to the Islamic State. I think that every Muslim should do his responsibility.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Choudary had already been arrested last fall on suspicion of membership in ISIS. He was later released, but his passport was seized.

    In a January interview with the NewsHour's Margaret Warner, he was steadfast, but careful, in his defense of the Islamic State.

  • ANJEM CHOUDARY:

    I'm on record on saying that I would love to go to the Islamic State myself. My passport was taken away, but I would love to take my wife and children as well, to bring them up according to the Sharia. That doesn't mean I'm going to engage in any terrorist activities.

  • PETER NEUMANN, King’s College London:

    He is a trained lawyer. He is very careful in his statement. And he knew exactly where that line was that he wasn't allowed to cross.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Professor Peter Neumann of King's College London runs the International Center for the Study of Radicalization. He spoke with the NewsHour today in Washington.

  • PETER NEUMANN:

    He's always been very careful to say that he wasn't the one actually encouraging them or directly bringing them into these plots. But it is widely felt that he played an important role in radicalizing them.

    Anjem Choudary has for 15 years now been running a group that had different names that was very vocal and very aggressive in support for jihadist groups around the world, al-Qaida, more recently the Islamic State.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Last month, Prime Minister David Cameron outlined, to mixed reviews, the British government's approach to countering extremism. Voices like Choudary's were in his crosshairs.

  • PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON, UNITED KINGDOM:

    We are going to introduce new, narrowly targeted powers to enable us to deal with these facilitators and cult leaders and to stop them peddling their hatred.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Choudary remains in custody until his next court hearing, August 28. In the past, Choudary also praised the 9/11 attackers.

    In 2016 presidential campaign news, the head of a super PAC supporting Republican Rand Paul was indicted today on federal charges involving political bribery. Jesse Benton allegedly paid a state senator in Iowa to support Paul's father, Ron Paul, in the 2012 Republican presidential race. Two other Ron Paul supporters are also facing federal charges in the case.

    U.S. companies will have to start disclosing the pay gap between CEOs and midrange employees. They will have to spell it out in the form of a ratio. The Securities and Exchange Commission voted today to require most publicly traded firms to release that information beginning in 2017.

    Wall Street struggled for direction again today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 10 points to close at 17540, the Nasdaq rose 34 points, and the S&P 500 added six.

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