In our news wrap Wednesday, Pakistan said it shot down two Indian warplanes and captured one pilot amid escalating tensions over Kashmir; India said it lost a single plane and pilot. Pakistan’s prime minister called for “dialogue” between the two nuclear-armed nations. Plus, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari appealed for unity a day after winning a second term in Africa’s largest democracy.
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And now to the day's other news.
New violence erupted in the air over disputed Kashmir after days of increased tensions between Pakistan and India. Pakistan said it shot down two Indian warplanes and captured one pilot. India said it lost one plane and one pilot. Protesters in Pakistan celebrated by burning Indian flags.
But the prime minister called for talks between the nuclear-armed rivals.
If you want any kind of dialogue on terrorism, we are ready for that. But I would like to say this to you again, that, right now, better sense should prevail. We should sit down and sort out our issues with dialogue.
Today's clash between the rival states was their most serious since 1999. It came a day after India staged its first airstrike inside Pakistan since 1971.
In Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari appealed for unity today after winning a second term in Africa's largest democracy. The former military dictator had his victory formally certified at a ceremony in Abuja, the capital. He said he was deeply humbled. The top challenger claimed fraud and vowed to take his case to court.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has rejected the resignation of his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif. Instead, Rouhani praised Zarif in a national address today. The foreign minister negotiated the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. But now both men face pressure from hard-liners over the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear pact and resulting sanctions.
A trade deal from the — between the U.S. and China, it turns out, is far from finished. That word today from Robert Lighthizer. He's the U.S. trade representative. He told a U.S. House hearing that negotiators still have a lot of work to do on opening Chinese markets, curbing cyber-theft of U.S. commercial secrets and other issues.
We are making real progress. If we can complete this effort — and, again, I say if — and can reach a satisfactory solution to all — to the all-important outstanding issue of enforceability, as well as some other concerns, we might be able to have an agreement that helps us turn the corner in our economic relationship with China.
Earlier this week, President Trump postponed a scheduled March 2 increase of tariffs on imports from China. He cited substantial progress in the trade talks.
Recent heavy rains turned two Northern California towns into islands today accessible only by boat. Guerneville and Monte Rio were cut off by the overflowing Russian River. It is now expected to crest at the highest levels in 25 years.
Meanwhile, in the south, flooding also threatens towns across Tennessee and Mississippi brought on by a series of major storms.
A North Carolina political operative at the center of an unresolved congressional race was arrested today for ballot fraud. Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. is charged with obstruction and illegal handling of absentee ballots. The state elections board has ordered a new election in the disputed race.
And Chicago is now assured of having a black woman as mayor for the first time. On Tuesday, former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle both advanced to an April runoff. The winner will face a high crime rate, low-rated public schools and overwhelming pension debt.
Democrats in the U.S. House today pushed through a major gun control bill, the first in nearly 25 years. It mandates federal background checks for all firearm sales and transfers. A second bill, due for a vote tomorrow, extends the background check period to 10 days. The bills are given little chance in the Republican-run Senate.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today about a giant cross that's been on public land in Maryland for nearly a century. Supporters say that the so-called Peace Cross is a memorial to those killed in World War I. Opponents say it violates separation of church and state. A decision is due by June.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 72 points to close at 25985. The Nasdaq rose five points, and the S&P 500 slipped one.