JUDY WOODRUFF: In other news: The president is on his way home tonight from that summit with Southeast Asian leaders. It was his final planned trip to the region before leaving office, and he rejected criticism that his pivot to Asia has fallen short.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The concern that I have heard is not that what we have done hasn’t been important and successful. The concern that I have heard is, will it continue? And almost uniformly, the question I get from other leaders is, we hope that America’s interest and presence and engagement is sustained.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Mr. Obama also pledged again to do all he can to get the Trans-Pacific trade pact through Congress before he leaves office.
In Afghanistan, Taliban fighters pushed deep into a provincial capital before being repulsed. Hundreds of militants overran government checkpoints around the city of Tirin Kot in Uruzgan Province. Local officials fled as Taliban fighters got within a few hundred yards of the governor’s compound. Finally, reinforcements and allied airstrikes pushed them back.
Russia announced today that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have agreed in principle to meet in Moscow, to relaunch peace talks. But no date was set. Meanwhile, two Israeli researchers reported finding documents that show Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was a Soviet spy in the 1980s. Abbas’ office denied it, all of this as Israel began work on an underground barrier along the Gaza border. It’s meant to stop militants from digging tunnels to carry out attacks.
Lawmakers in Britain declared their own Parliament Building an impending crisis today. A special committee recommended that the complex be vacated in order to allow sweeping repairs estimated to cost the equivalent of $4.7 billion.
Paul Brand of Independent Television News reports.
CHRIS BRYANT, Palace of Westminster Committee: Outside the tourist marvel at the mother of all parliaments, but hidden from sight, it houses the mother of all problems, its walls crumbling with damp, roofs leaking, and asbestos lurking somewhere down here.
And then, if you look here, you see that there’s a gas there — gas main — and it sits immediately next to the danger high voltage.
PAUL BRAND, ITN: This M.P. heads up a committee which has decided it’s becoming too dangerous.
CHRIS BRYANT: The risk is, and it’s growing year by year, and we have taken far too long to address it, the risk is of some kind of catastrophic failure. If we want to preserve this iconic historic building, we have got the seize the opportunity now.
PAUL BRAND: But the renovation could cost up than four billion pounds and take up to eight years to complete, partly because the oldest bit of the building dates back 900 years, with the rest rebuilt in 1840 after a fire burned down much of the previous place.
The big question, of course, is where everyone goes while the work is being done. And the answer for M.P.s is here, Richmond House, the Department of Health. Doesn’t look like much from the outside and there’s no bathroom on the inside, but it does have space for a debating chamber.
Meanwhile, the Lords get the plusher QEII conference center just down the road, as they too insist it is a good use of money.
BARONESS STOWELL, Palace of Westminster Committee: For all of us who live here, all of us who are taxpayers, we know that we have got to spend money on lots of things that are vital to us. But this is one of those things. I can’t say it’s more important than something else, but it is equally important.
PAUL BRAND: The decision on Parliament’s future will now be put to Parliament itself. M.P.s and Lords will have a final vote on the plans.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The last time the members of Parliament had to move out was during World War II, when German bombs set the House of Commons on fire.
Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell received good news today. Federal prosecutors announced that they will not retry him, or his wife, on corruption charges. The McDonnells were convicted in 2014 of accepting $175,000 in gifts and loans to promote a dietary supplement. But, in June of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that McDonnell never took any action that violated bribery laws.
The U.S. Olympic Committee has suspended swimmer Ryan Lochte for 10 months over a drunken incident at the Rio Olympics. The action today means that Lochte is ineligible for next year’s World Swimming Championships. He also forfeits $100,000 in Olympic bonus money.
Meanwhile, in Rio, the Paralympic Games got under way with swimming and track and field events. That followed last night’s opening ceremonies in Maracana Stadium. More than 4,300 athletes from some 160 countries are taking part in the Games. The Russian team is not there. It was banned for state-sponsored doping.
And on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 46 points to close near 18480. The Nasdaq fell 24, and the S&P 500 gave up nearly five.
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