News Wrap: Venezuelan government blames Guaido, U.S. for power blackout

News Wrap: Venezuelan government blames Guaido, U.S. for power blackout


JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: The
European Union and a growing list of nations banned flights by Boeing’s 737 MAX, after
an air disaster in Ethiopia. Sunday’s crash left all 157 people on board
dead. In the U.S., Boeing defended the plane, and
the Federal Aviation Administration maintained it is fit to fly. We will delve into the details after the news
summary. In Syria, Islamic State fighters are urging
supporters to launch vengeance attacks around the world. Several hundred die-hard fighters are now
under siege in Eastern Syria. They posted a recording on social media today. It tells followers to — quote — “rise against
the crusaders, and take revenge for your religion.” The government of Venezuela announced today
that it is investigating opposition leader Juan Guaido over a nationwide power blackout. The electrical outage began Thursday and continued
today. President Nicolas Maduro went on national
TV last night to blame the United States and Guaido. The nation’s chief prosecutor followed up
today. TAREK WILLIAM SAAB, Venezuelan Chief Prosecutor
(through translator): What happened last week, this electrical sabotage, is not a casual
event. What I am telling all of you is that it is
part of a growing number of events, each time larger, to knock out a legitimately elected
government. Where are the supposed calls to dialogue,
agreement, coexistence? JUDY WOODRUFF: Guaido blames corruption and
mismanagement for the blackout. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
said last night that all remaining American diplomats will leave Venezuela. He said their presence had become a constraint
on U.S. policy. And the American special representative, Elliott
Abrams, promised today that significant new sanctions are coming soon. The United Nations reports that at least 535
people were killed in Western Congo over the course of three days in December. Investigators say it happened in Yumbi territory
when members of one group attacked a rival group with guns and gasoline. The report says that the campaign may amount
to crimes against humanity. Back in this country, there is word that apprehensions
along the U.S. border with Canada are growing. The Customs and Border Protection agency reports
that more than 4,300 people were detained in 2018. That is up more than 40 percent from a year
earlier. During that same time, nearly 400,000 people
were apprehended along the U.S. border with Mexico. President Trump is facing yet another investigation. It is widely reported that the New York state
attorney general’s office has subpoenaed records from two banks. They involved real estate projects and Mr.
Trump’s attempt to buy pro football’s Buffalo Bills in 2014. His former lawyer Michael Cohen has told Congress
that the president routinely overstated his wealth when he was dealing with banks. And on Wall Street today, stocks had a mixed
day. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 96 points
to close at 25554. The Nasdaq rose 33 points, and the S&P 500
added eight. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: how governments
and airlines worldwide are responding to the Boeing crash; an on-the-ground report from
the Mexican side of the southern border; federal investigators charge dozens for widespread
college admissions fraud; a Chicago activist on ending gun violence; and much more.

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