News Wrap: Israel will hold unprecedented 2nd election

JUDY WOODRUFF: And now to the day’s other
news, and there was some. Hundreds of new tornado victims were left
sifting wreckage from the Kansas City area all the way to Pennsylvania. Tuesday’s storms made 12 straight days with
at least eight confirmed twisters in the U.S. That had not happened in nearly 40 years. We have more details on all this after the
news summary. The state of Israel will have to have an unprecedented
second election this year. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed in
his efforts to form a coalition government by tonight’s deadline. His conservative Likud Party had made a strong
showing in last month’s initial election, but Netanyahu could not assemble a majority
in Parliament. That was partly due to his own corruption
scandal. Iran’s supreme leader has again ruled out
any negotiations with the United States, amid heightened tensions. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a new statement
today, apparently overruling Iran’s president. Earlier, Hassan Rouhani had told his Cabinet
that talks might be possible, if Washington ends sanctions on Iran and complies with the
2015 nuclear accord. HASSAN ROUHANI, Iranian President (through
translator): Whenever they stop cruelty against our nation, put aside the cruel sanctions,
stand up for their commitments and return to the negotiating table, which they left
themselves, the road is not closed for them. The road is open. JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, U.S. National Security
Adviser John Bolton blamed Iran for recent attacks on tanker ships in the Persian Gulf
and on a Saudi oil pipeline. Bolton visited the United Arab Emirates, and
said any further attacks will draw — quote — “a very strong response from the United
States.” China’s tech giant Huawei is asking a U.S.
court to rule immediately on the legality of barring its sales to the U.S. military
and contractors. The motion was filed late Tuesday with a federal
court in Texas. Huawei argues that it is being unfairly punished. The Trump administration says that Huawei
is a national security threat. Separately, a former leader of the Tiananmen
Square protests in China urged the West today to make trade privileges contingent on Beijing’s
human rights record. Wang Dan spoke days before the 30th anniversary
of that deadly crackdown on the protests. He said that the goal must be to end the Communist
Party’s unchallenged rule in China. WANG DAN, Former Tiananmen Square Protest
Leader: I know a lot of Western countries don’t want to ruin their relationship with
China, and they don’t want to see any regime change happen in China. But I have to say, if there’s no regime change,
nothing can be resolved. JUDY WOODRUFF: It is believed that Chinese
troops killed hundreds, and possibly thousands, in the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square. In Venezuela, the government has made a rare
admission of just how bad things are. The nation’s Central Bank reports that Venezuela’s
economy contracted 22 percent in the third quarter last year and inflation soared to
130,000 percent. Some three million people have fled Venezuela
as their economy crashes. Back in this country, Democrats criticized
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for saying that the Senate would fill any Supreme
Court vacancy that occurs in 2020. In 2016, McConnell blocked action on Merrick
Garland nominated by President Obama, arguing that the vacancy should be filled only after
that year’s presidential election. His office says the difference is that the
White House and the Senate were held by different parties in 2016, but not now. The Democratic National Committee has toughened
standards for its second round of 2020 presidential debates in September. Contenders will have to register at least
2 percent in four approved polls. They also have to raise funds from at least
130,000 donors across 20 states. It is an effort to winnow a field of two dozen
candidates. And on Wall Street, stocks fell again, as
investors sought refuge in bonds, amid worries about slower growth. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 221
points to close at 25126. The Nasdaq fell 60 points, and the S&P 500
slipped 19. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: what is fueling
a rare string of 12 days straight of tornadoes across the U.S.; how the politics of Washington
are shaping conversations outside the capital; plus, art and augmented reality collide in
a series of murals depicting the dangers of climate change.

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