News Wrap: UK’s House of Commons approves Jan. 31 for Brexit

JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: There
was new talk of retaliation from Iran over the U.S. killing of General Qasem Soleimani. President Hassan Rouhani warned of — quote
— “a very dangerous response” if the U.S. strikes again. A top Revolutionary Guard commander said the
retaliation didn’t end with Iran’s missile attacks on bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq. GEN. AMIR ALI HAJIZADEH, Iranian Revolutionary
Guards Corps Aerospace Force (through translator): This slap by Iran was actually a sign for
another operation. Next actions must be taken by resistance cells in the region, and those
actions will be taken. JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, President Trump
said there is no need for further U.S. action. but he suggested he could order new strikes
if circumstances change, and he said, “I wouldn’t even mind doing it.” In Britain, the House of Commons gave final
approval today to leaving the European Union on January 31. That followed the sweeping
victory by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his ruling Conservatives in last month’s elections.
The bill becomes law once the House of Lords gives its pro forma consent. Officials in Southeastern Australia have ordered
new evacuations before a new round of high winds and extreme heat. Temperatures could
top 110 degrees tomorrow. In New South Wales, firefighters have been
using controlled burns this week, in hopes of denying fuel for the approaching flames.
The fires have killed 27 people so far. Back in this country, the Trump administration
proposed a major overhaul of environmental assessments for a wide range of projects.
It would eliminate or limit reviews for oil pipelines, for some roads and other construction. President Trump and Transportation Secretary
Elaine Chao said, too often, crucial work is hampered by red tape. ELAINE CHAO, U.S. Secretary of Transportation:
We all care about the environment. What we’re talking about are cumbersome, unnecessary,
overly burdensome, duplicative, and outdated regulations. Many of these regulations have
not been updated, modernized in decades. JUDY WOODRUFF: We will look at the details
of the proposal later in the program. White House officials said today that construction
on a southern border wall will now resume. A federal appeals court on Wednesday allowed
the use of $3.6 billion in military construction funds to pay for wall sections. Separately, migrant detentions at the border
fell again in December to 40600. That is down from 144,000 last May. Facebook has reaffirmed today that it will
not ban or fact-check political ads. The social media giant said that it will add so-called
transparency features to give users slightly more control over how many political ads they
see. In contrast, Google has imposed limits on
political ads, and Twitter has banned them outright. And Wall Street rallied again on hopes that
the risk of war between Iran and the U.S. is easing. The Dow Jones industrial average
gained 211 points to close near 28957. The Nasdaq rose 74 points, and the S&P 500 added
21. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: why this
weekend’s elections in Taiwan aren’t just about the future of the island; the environmental
implications of a major White House policy shift; Making Sense of the success of Las
Vegas’ powerful Culinary Workers Union; and much more.

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