News Wrap: U.S. and Israel agree to record aid deal

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U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice (C) greets Israeli Acting National Security Advisor Jacob Nagel (L) and Undersecretary of State Tom Shannon (R) after their signing ceremony for a new ten year pact on security assistance between the two nations at the State Department in Washington, U.S., September 14, 2016.   REUTERS/Gary Cameron - RTSNRO0

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GWEN IFILL:  In the day’s other news:  The U.S. signed a record aid agreement with Israel worth $38 billion over 10 years.  The ceremony took place at the State Department.  National security adviser Susan Rice called it a reminder of America’s unshakable commitment to Israel.

SUSAN RICE, National Security Advisor:  This marks a significant increase over our existing funding, and it will ensure that Israel has the support it needs to defend itself, by itself, and to preserve its qualitative military edge.  This is the single largest pledge of military assistance to any country in us history.

GWEN IFILL:  The agreement came in spite of strained relations with Israel over the Iran nuclear deal and other issues.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Former Israeli President Shimon Peres is slightly improved tonight, 24 hours after a major stroke.  His doctor says the Nobel Peace Prize winner has regained consciousness, and reacts to stimulation.  Peres is 93 years old.

GWEN IFILL:  The cease-fire in Syria still appears to be holding, but humanitarian aid is largely stalled.  Turkey’s ruling party did send a pair of aid trucks to a Syrian border town today.  They carried food and children’s toys.  But two United Nations convoys bound for Aleppo remained stuck, despite pleas from the secretary-general.

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General, United Nations:  It is crucially important that the necessary arrangements, security arrangements, should be given, so that they can be allowed to cross the lines.  We are working very hard.  We are very much committed.

GWEN IFILL:  The cease-fire is due to run through Sunday, but the U.S. and Russia agreed today to extend it another two days.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  In China, authorities have cracked down on a village known for grassroots public demonstrations.  The raids began early Tuesday, after new protests in Wukan over the arrest of a local chief.  Residents say police descended on the village, firing rubber bullets and tear gas, as villagers hurled rocks back at them.

GWEN IFILL:  A supertyphoon battered Taiwan today, with winds topping 140 miles an hour.  It’s the strongest storm anywhere in the world this year.  The powerful wind and heavy rain knocked out power to more than half-a-million homes and shut down air and train travel.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Julia dumped rain along the Southeastern U.S. coast.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning has ended a hunger strike in prison, after the Army agreed for gender transition surgery.  In a statement, Manning welcomed the move, and said — quote — “This is all I wanted, for them to let me be me.”  In 2013, then-Private Bradley Manning got 35 years for passing secrets to WikiLeaks.  Later, she announced that she identifies as a woman.

GWEN IFILL:  The Atlantic Coast Conference joined the NCAA today in pulling its championships from North Carolina.  It cited a state law limiting protections for transgender people and others.  But the Republican leader of the statehouse insisted he won’t back down.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  A major merger may be on the way.  Germany’s Bayer AG offered $66 billion for Monsanto today, and the U.S. seed maker accepted.  They would control a quarter of the world market for seeds and pesticides.  It’s subject to approval from shareholders and regulators.

GWEN IFILL:  And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 32 points to close at 18034.  The Nasdaq rose 18 points, and the S&P 500 dropped a point.

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