News Wrap: Hurricane death toll rises in North Carolina

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Eric McClary of West Mulberry Lane checks flood levels while checking on his flooded home after the effects of Hurricane Matthew in Goldsboro, North Carolina, U.S., October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill - RTSRXOJ

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JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news:  The death toll from Hurricane Matthew climbed to 20 in North Carolina.  Meanwhile, communities braced for another wave of damage, as floodwaters began surging downriver.  Governor Pat McCrory said areas already hit by flooding will likely be inundated with more water, and he pleaded with residents to stay clear.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), North Carolina:  Just during the past three days, we’re averaging two fatalities a day, almost all of them due to drowning.  Stay away from the water.  Whether you’re walking or riding in a car, do not get near the water.  It will kill you.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Hurricane Matthew has now claimed the lives of at least 36 people in the United States.

Meanwhile, a U.S. Navy warship packed with humanitarian aid is on its way to another flood-ravaged area, Haiti.  Nearly 500 people there died in the hurricane.  Another million more are in need of assistance.

In Afghanistan, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack on a Shiite mosque in Kabul that killed at least 18 people.  Officials say a gunman opened fire on worshipers Tuesday night as they were observing Ashura, one of the holiest days for Shia Muslims.  First-responders arrived on the scene as witnesses tended to the victims.

MAN (through interpreter):  A lot of people were killed.  Later, around midnight, we heard another explosion.  It was like a war, and people were scared.  It was a horrible situation, and unbearable for us.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  A separate bombing targeted Ashura ceremonies in Northern Afghanistan today.  At least 14 people died, and 26 others were wounded.  There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

A U.S. Navy destroyer was targeted today by at least one missile launched from rebel-held territory in Yemen.  It is the second such incident in four days.  The USS Mason was operating just north of a strait between Yemen and Africa.  It wasn’t hit or damaged.  Houthi rebels have been suspected in both failed attacks.  The Pentagon said that it will respond — quote — “at the appropriate time” and in the appropriate manner.

In Syria, an airstrike on the rebel-held side of Aleppo left at least 15 people dead today.  It came a day after Russian jets resumed heavy bombing in the city.  Today’s attack hit a busy market, leveling several shops and buildings.  Resolving the Syrian conflict will be at the top of the agenda when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with his Russian counterpart on Saturday.

JOHN KIRBY, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State:  I can’t sit here and promise you that it’s going to result in a new approach, a new option, a new framework, a new program.  I can’t tell you that it’s going to — we’re going to be able to come out of this meeting certain that a cessation of hostilities can be had.

But I can promise you, and I can assure you that the secretary is going into this meeting with that as his objective.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  The meeting in Switzerland will be the first face-to-face contact between the men since Washington broke off diplomatic talks with Moscow earlier this month.

There is word that Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf is retiring, effective immediately.  It follows revelations that bank employees opened millions of fake accounts.

On Wall Street, stocks were mixed after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s September meeting supported expectations that an interest rate hike could come in December.  The Dow Jones industrial average gained 15 points to close around 18144.  The Nasdaq fell more than seven, and the S&P 500 rose two.

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