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News Wrap: WHO declares novel coronavirus a global health emergency

In our news wrap Thursday, the World Health Organization has declared China's outbreak of novel coronavirus a global health emergency. The illness is still spreading both within China, which has confirmed more than 7,800 cases and 212 deaths, and worldwide. Also, a woman who says President Trump raped her in the 1990s, E. Jean Carroll, is asking for a sample of his DNA to try to prove her claim.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: While the Senate focused on impeachment, the House of Representatives voted again to curtail the president's war-making powers. Majority Democrats repealed the 2002 authorization of the war in Iraq, and barred funds for military action against Iran. The bills have little chance in the Republican-run Senate.

    The World Health Organization has now declared the coronavirus outbreak in China to be a global health emergency. Officials in China confirmed more than 7,800 cases today, with 212 deaths. The WHO said the virus is spreading worldwide, despite China's efforts.

  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:

    It's not actually because China is not doing what it can. It's actually doing more than China is required to do.

    This is to protect especially countries with a weaker health system, and to prepare for that.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Meanwhile, health officials reported the first case of the virus spreading person-to-person in the United States. A Chicago man contracted it from his wife, who had been to China. The U.S. now has six confirmed cases in all.

    A woman who says President Trump raped her is asking to have his DNA tested. Columnist E. Jean Carroll says the assault occurred in the 1990s. Her attorneys say that his DNA may be on the dress that she was wearing. Carroll sued Mr. Trump for defamation after he accused her of lying about the alleged attack.

    The states of Virginia, Nevada, and Illinois filed suit today to force certification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The 1972 amendment guarantees equal rights for women. On Monday, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify. That's the number required. But the U.S. Justice Department says it is too late because a deadline set by Congress expired decades ago.

    The number of U.S. troops injured by Iranian missile attacks in Iraq this month has risen again. The chair of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark Milley, said today that more than 50 were hurt. That's an increase from earlier this week. Milley said the injuries were mild.

    And Defense Secretary Mark Esper dismissed criticism of President Trump for calling them headaches.

  • Mark Esper:

    He is very concerned about the health and welfare of our service members, particularly those who were involved in the operations in Iraq, and he understands the nature of these injuries.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Separately, Esper said the Pentagon is asking permission from Iraq to deploy missile defense batteries at bases that are housing American troops.

    Life expectancy in the U.S. is on the rise again, for the first time in four years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that babies born in 2018 are likely to live about 78 years and eight months. The slight increase is due largely to declining deaths from cancer and drug overdoses.

    The Trump administration moved today to reshape Medicaid and curb federal spending on the program for the first time. The plan allows for converting federal funding into so-called block grants, giving states more control. In exchange, it limits the federal obligation to pay; 71 million low-income Americans are now covered under Medicaid.

    The U.S. economy grew 2.3 percent last year. That is the slowest rate since President Trump took office. Commerce Department numbers today showed business investment and consumer spending have both dropped.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 125 points to close at 28859. The Nasdaq rose 23 points, and the S&P 500 added 10.

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