In our news wrap Wednesday, the United Nations is warning the warming globe could mean more natural disasters and extreme weather. A new report says the world is now nearly 2 degrees warmer than during pre-industrial times; the targeted ceiling set by the Paris Accord is 2.7 degrees. Also, Francis Collins of the National Institutes of Health insists a COVID-19 vaccine won’t compromise safety.
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In the day's other news: More than 3, 500 people were left with virtually nothing, after their refugee camp in Greece burned overnight. The camp, on the island of Lesbos, housed some 12,000 asylum seekers, and already faced an outbreak of COVID-19.
We will get details later in the program.
The United Nations has issued a new climate warning that could mean more natural disasters and extreme weather. A new report says the world is now nearly two degrees warmer than during pre-industrial times. The targeted ceiling is 2.7 degrees under the 2015 Paris climate accord.
The report says that the world may pass that ceiling within a decade.
The head of the U.S. National Institutes of Health insisted today that there will be no compromise on the safety with a coronavirus vaccine. Just yesterday, drugmaker AstraZeneca paused late-stage trials for a leading vaccine candidate when a participant developed an unexplained illness.
At a U.S. Senate hearing today, NIH Director Francis Collins said the pause proves safety overrides everything, including politics.
I can't say strongly enough that the decisions about how this vaccine is going to be evaluated and assessed is going to be based on science.
And I know I speak for my colleagues in the government and certainly for the scientific community broadly that that can be the only basis upon which this decision is made. Otherwise, the public would not be expected to trust us.
President Trump has talked of getting a vaccine before the November election, but Collins said no one can predict that.
The United States is withdrawing more than 40 percent of its remaining troops from Iraq this month. The top American commander in the Middle East, Marine General Frank McKenzie, said today the number will drop from 5,200 to 3,000. He said Iraqis are now able to deal with Islamic State militants on their own.
Afghanistan's first vice president narrowly escaped being assassinated in Kabul today. At least 10 others died, and more than 30 were wounded. Officials said that a bomb was hidden in a cart along the roadside and exploded as the vice president's convoy passed. He later posted a video message about the attack.
Amrullah Saleh (through translator):
A huge and horrific explosion targeted our convoy while we were driving to work. A number of my brave bodyguards were wounded.
Me and my son sustained some minor burns on our faces, and my hand was slightly injured, because the explosion was very strong and melted the windows of the vehicle.
The Taliban denied that it carried out the attack, as it gets ready for expected peace talks with the Afghan government.
Back in this country, a former federal Homeland Security official, Brian Murphy, says that he was told to manipulate intelligence to benefit President Trump politically. He says that top Homeland Security and White House officials wanted to play down Russian interference in U.S. elections, and play up Chinese and Iranian meddling, among other things.
The claims are in a whistle-blower complaint released by the House Intelligence Committee. The White House today denied any improper influence on intelligence.
And on Wall Street, tech stocks managed to stop the bleeding, at least for a day, and the broader market rallied. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 439 points to close at 27940. The Nasdaq rose nearly 294 points, and the S&P 500 added 67. That is its best day in three months.