PBS NewsHour

News Wrap: Libyan militant pleads not guilty to Benghazi attack charges


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GWEN IFILL: At least 43 people were killed in Iraq today in a new round of suicide and car bombings. The targets were mainly Shiite communities in Baghdad and Karbala. In one of the attacks, the bomber blew himself up as worshipers were leaving a mosque after midday prayers in Central Baghdad. At least 17 people died there. In all, more than 200 Iraqis have been killed in just a week’s time. Islamic State forces have claimed many of the attacks.

A Libyan militant has pleaded not guilty to U.S. charges stemming from the 2012 Benghazi attacks. Ahmed Abu Khattala entered the plea today in federal court in Washington. He faces an 18-count indictment. If convicted, he could get the death penalty. The Benghazi attacks killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

In Nigeria, Friday’s announcement of a cease-fire with Boko Haram insurgents appeared increasingly shaky. Fighting continued throughout the weekend, and army officers reported at least 25 militants were killed overnight in Damboa in the country’s northeast. Meanwhile, talks are supposed to resume tomorrow on freeing more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in April.

Indonesia swore in a new leader today. Joko Widodo completed his rise from the slums of Java to become president of the world’s fourth most populous country. The 53-year-old was inaugurated at the presidential palace in Jakarta. He called for unity to achieve economic growth.

PRESIDENT JOKO WIDODO, Indonesia (through interpreter): To the fishermen, the workers, the farmers, the merchants, the meatball soup sellers, the hawkers, the drivers, the academics, the laborers, the soldiers, the police, the entrepreneurs, and the professionals, I say, let us all work hard, together, shoulder to shoulder, because this is an historic moment. We need to move together to work, work and work.

GWEN IFILL: About 50,000 people attended a street party outside the inauguration, and Widodo rode through it, flashing victory signs and shaking hands with well-wishers.

There’s word today that dozens of alleged Nazi war criminals and S.S. guards have collected millions of dollars in Social Security benefits since 1979. The Associated Press investigated men who entered the U.S. after World War II, then fled years later. The report said the Justice Department encouraged them to go by using a legal loophole that allowed them keep their benefits. The Social Security administration had no immediate comment.

It also turns out thousands of federal employees accused of misconduct are earning millions of dollars in paid leave. The Washington Post reports the Government Accountability Office found more than 57,000 workers were kept home for a month or longer and paid $775 million over a three-year period. The workers also kept accruing vacation days and pension earnings.

Last week’s turmoil on Wall Street gave way to relative calm today. Stocks managed small gains after mostly strong corporate earnings overcame disappointing results from IBM. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 19 points to close at 16,399; the Nasdaq rose 57 points to close at 4,316; and the S&P 500 added 17 to finish at 1,904.

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Ambulance nurse confronts death and desperation in the heart of the Ebola epidemic


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GWEN IFILL: Now: an intimate look at the front lines in the fight to contain Ebola in hard-hit Liberia. An estimated 4,200 people have contracted the virus since the outbreak began; 2,500 people have died.

In this report produced by The New York Times, video journalist Ben Solomon spends three weeks with an ambulance nurse overwhelmed by an onslaught of patients needing care.

GORDON KAMARA, Liberian Ambulance Nurse: My name is Gordon Kamara. I’m an ambulance nurse.

From March until now, I have been fighting these Ebola cases. Our job is to save the people.

In the morning, we start very fresh. Today is going to be a very busy day, getting — detecting cases from Westpoint. I have assessed cases in Johnsonville, another five cases in Benton. Three cases in Kaba. The calls just keep coming. The calls just keep coming.

There are patients all over. The first thing I do, I give them courage. I tell them, “Don’t be afraid.”  They feel fear. I see it in their eyes. I’m tired of seeing people getting sick. I don’t rest, even when I go to bed. Sometimes, I see them in my dreams.

We have only three treatment centers in Monrovia. It is insufficient.

I feel hopeless.

Sometimes, when I sit down and think about it, I think, “Wow, that could be me.

Any little mistake you make, you’re going to be down with the virus.

Every morning, I pray. I pray that one day Ebola will go.

There is no space. The doctor, he can’t take the people because he’s supposed to admit 50 persons, and now he got 85 in there. He’s overloaded.

She’s very critical. She’s vomiting. She’s weak. If she doesn’t go in, she won’t live.

There is no hope here.

Ebola will last for long. In the next three to four months, the Ebola will be worse. I wish I could do more, but it’s not easy.

GWEN IFILL: The girl who we saw in that piece, who was 17 years old, died at home the next day.


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U.S. airdrops military aid for Kurds fighting Islamic State in Kobani – Part 1


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GWEN IFILL: Now the latest on the battle that’s become a flash point in the war with Islamic State forces.

American airdrops and a Turkish reversal may finally bring relief to a key town in Syria.

Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner has that.

MARGARET WARNER: After weeks fighting off a siege by Islamic State militants, the Syrian Kurds defending the town of Kobani are being reinforced.

Overnight, the U.S. airdropped pallets of weapons, ammunition and supplies furnished by Kurdish authorities and their Peshmerga forces in Iraq. Then this morning, Turkey, bordering Iraq and Syria, said it would help Iraqi Kurdish fighters travel through Turkey to Kobani to join the fight.

The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, spoke in Ankara.

MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, Foreign Minister, Turkey (through interpreter): We are fully cooperating with the coalition with respect to Kobani. We are facilitating the passage of Peshmerga fighters to Kobani.

MARGARET WARNER: But Turkey continued to say more aid should go to rebel factions trying to oust Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU (through interpreter): We shouldn’t forget that the only element fighting both against Assad and the ISIS State is the Free Syrian Army. In framing a border strategy, the Free Syrian Army is the group to be supported.

MARGARET WARNER: Previously, Ankara has insisted it wouldn’t allow men or materiel cross its border to aid Kurds in Kobani. That’s mainly because the Syrian Kurdish fighter group in Kobani, called the PYD, is allied with a Kurdish group in Turkey, the PKK, that waged a bloody 30- year insurgency.

Just yesterday, after President Obama notified him of the coming U.S. airdrops by phone, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan made his displeasure clear.

PRIME MINISTER RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkey (through interpreter): The PYD is, for us, equal to the PKK. It is also a terror organization. It would be wrong for the United States, with whom we are friends and allies in NATO, to talk openly and to expect us to say yes to supplying arms to a terror organization. We can’t say yes to that.

MARGARET WARNER: The U.S. airdrops also represent a stepped-up American effort to save Kobani, beyond its ongoing campaign of airstrikes against I.S. positions.

Secretary of State Kerry, in Indonesia today, said it was too important an opportunity to pass up.

JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: While they are a offshoot group of the folks that the — our friends the Turks oppose, they are valiantly fighting ISIL. And we cannot take our eye off the prize here. It would be irresponsible of us, as well as morally very difficult, to turn your back on a community fighting ISIL, as hard as it is, at this particular moment.

MARGARET WARNER: He didn’t say if there would be further airdrops, nor when Iraqi Peshmerga fighters might arrive.

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Benghazi attack suspect pleads not guilty

A picture shows the damage inside the burnt US consulate building in Benghazi on September 13, 2012, following an attack
         on the building late on September 11 in which the US ambassador to Libya and three other US nationals were killed. Photo by
         Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/GettyImages

A picture shows the damage inside the burnt US consulate building in Benghazi on September 13, 2012, following an attack on the building late on September 11 in which the US ambassador to Libya and three other US nationals were killed. Photo by Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/GettyImages

WASHINGTON — A Libyan militant on Monday pleaded not guilty to charges arising from the 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Ahmed Abu Khattala, 43, entered the plea through his lawyer in a 15-minute court proceeding before a federal judge.

An 18-count grand jury indictment handed up last week makes Abu Khattala eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

Abu Khattala’s lawyer, federal public defender Michelle Peterson, said she is waiting for the Justice Department to turn over additional material — much of it classified — on the charges her client faces. The next court date in the case was set for Dec. 9.

Khattala’s lawyer has said previously that the government has failed to show Khattala was connected to the attacks.

The charges against him include murder of an internationally protected person, murder of an officer and employee of the United States and killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility.

Abu Khattala is the first militant to be prosecuted for the Benghazi attacks.

The Sept. 11, 2012, attack by militants killed Stevens and communications specialist Sean Smith and set the mission ablaze.

Nearly eight hours later at a CIA complex nearby, two more Americans, contract security officers Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, died in a mortar attack that showed clear military training, retired Gen. Carter Ham told Congress in closed-door testimony earlier this year.

The administration apprehended Abu Khattala in June and brought him to the United States to stand trial on terrorism charges.

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