News Wrap: Wave of Islamic State attacks strike Baghdad

In our news wrap Thursday, bombings and mortar fire rocked mostly Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad. At least 50 people were killed in a wave of terror attacks by Islamic State forces. Also, Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying asked demonstrators to end protests, offering to hold talks next week, but pro-democracy rallies continued through the night.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The head of the Transportation Security Administration, John Pistole, announced his retirement today, effective at the end of the year. Pistole has led the agency since 2010. He's drawn fire for the use of full-body scans and pat-downs, but the trusted traveler program has won praise for speeding low-risk passengers through screening.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    On Wall Street, stocks avoided a big slide, as oil prices rose and unemployment claims hit a 14-year low. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 24 points to close at 16,117; the Nasdaq rose two points to close at 4,217; and the S&P 500 gained a fraction to 1,862.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In Syria, fresh reports from the besieged town of Kobani said Kurdish fighters have gone on the offensive against Islamic State militants. The turnabout came as coalition planes carried out a new wave of airstrikes in the town near the Turkish border. Kurdish officials also appealed again for bigger and better arms.

  • IDRIS NASSAN, Deputy Minister, Kurdish Administration, Kobani:

    Some weaponry which are effective, more effective against the heavy weaponry of ISIS, tanks, cannons, mortars, armored vehicles, we need this weaponry. Just we have simple weaponry like Dushkas, like automatic guns. And they are not enough to destroy ISIS on the ground.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Syrian activists said today that nearly 700 people have died in the battle for Kobani.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    A wave of attacks in Baghdad has claimed at least 50 more lives, as Islamic State forces seek to sow panic in the Iraqi capital. Bombings and mortar fire rocked mostly Shiite districts. The worst attack involved a double car bombing that targeted Iraqi soldiers and Shiite militiamen.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Hong Kong's leader, Leung Chun-ying, appealed again today for protesters to end sit-ins that have paralyzed parts of the city. He offered to hold talks next week, but demonstrators stayed in the streets through the night. They are demanding free elections, but the mainland Chinese government insists that it will screen all candidates.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Search teams in Nepal have found more bodies after a series of blizzards and avalanches in the Himalayas. The death toll rose to at least 27 today. Rescuers also found 64 more foreign hikers who'd been stranded. But about 70 people are still missing some 100 miles northwest of Katmandu. JUDY WOODRUFF: Hurricane Gonzalo barreled closer to Bermuda today with winds of 145 miles an hour, forcing the island's international airport to close. Satellite imagery captured the storm, slowly plowing north in the Atlantic. Forecasters said the eye could pass within 30 miles of Bermuda tomorrow night.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    On the West Coast, 10 million Californians took part in a major annual drill to prepare for the next big earthquake. The Great ShakeOut instructs people how to drop, cover and hold. Emergency responders had their own full-scale exercise.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The director of the FBI, James Comey, stepped up his warnings today about data encryption in smartphones. In a Washington speech, he said tech companies' new efforts to protect user information will impede criminal investigations. He argued that murder cases may be stalled and suspects could go free.

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