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News Wrap: Dutch Child Sole Survivor of Libyan Plane Crash

May 12, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Still to come on the “NewsHour”: an update on the oil spill in the Gulf; the big expo in Shanghai; the battle against fat for Mississippi’s children; astronaut Neil Armstrong’s voice in support of the space program; and the stories of two men named Wes Moore — but, first, the other news of the day.

Here’s Hari Sreenivasan in our newsroom.

HARI SREENIVASAN: A Libyan plane crashed today in Tripoli, with only one known survivor. The other 103 people on board perished in the crash. Many were from the Netherlands. The Airbus took off from Johannesburg, South Africa, and went down as it was preparing to land at Tripoli’s International Airport.

A 10-year-old Dutch boy was believed to be the sole survivor. He was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Meanwhile, search teams combed through the smoldering debris, and investigators began trying to determine what brought the plane down.

Seven children and two adults at a school in China were hacked to death by the owner of the property. It’s the fifth major assault on schools and young students in China. The killer returned home after the attack and committed suicide. Chinese state media reported the man had argued with the school’s manager, who was among the victims.

Early reports of the incident were removed from Chinese Web sites, and there was no mention of it on state television’s evening news, in fear of copycat attacks.

Today was the first day of Britain’s new government, a coalition between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

The “NewsHour”‘s Simon Marks has our report.

SIMON MARKS: Last night, he became Britain’s prime minister, the Conservatives’ David Cameron moving in to Number 10 Downing Street and ending 13 years of Labor Party rule.

This morning, one of the first visitors to his new home, the man who made his government possible, Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats. They headed to the backyard, Mr. Clegg, now deputy prime minister, and, according to Mr. Cameron, a pivotal figure in the first formal coalition government the country has seen for 65 years.

DAVID CAMERON, British prime minister: With this coalition government and this coalition agreement we have for five years, we can act for the long term and make the big decisions about our country’s future.

SIMON MARKS: David Cameron has given the Liberal Democrats five seats in his Cabinet, and Mr. Clegg told reporters this new political alliance will stand the test of time.

NICK CLEGG, British Deputy Prime Minister: …easy. There will be bumps and scrapes along the way. We are different parties and we have different ideas.

This is a government that will last, despite those differences, because we are united by a common purpose for the job we want to do together in the next five years.

SIMON MARKS: But there are skeptics who wonder whether two political parties with very limited shared philosophy can go the distance. Their alliance is governed by a seven-page agreement that insists they can. It promises, among other things, to introduce five-year, fixed-term sessions of Parliament, effectively ending the British prime minister’s age-old discretion to pick the date of the country’s election at the most politically advantageous moment.

Nick Clegg will head up the effort to reform the British political system. But one reporter reminded the two 43-year-olds now governing Britain just how recently they were at odds.

QUESTION: Prime Minister, do you now regret, when once asked what your favorite joke was, you replied, “Nick Clegg”?

DAVID CAMERON: We’re all going to have — I’m afraid I did once. I’m…

DAVID CAMERON: We’re all…

DAVID CAMERON: Come back.

SIMON MARKS: Mr. Clegg did come back for the rest of the press conference. For David Cameron, the trick now will be to keep him onside for the next five years.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Also today, the bidding for leadership of the now opposition Labor Party began. Former Foreign Minister David Miliband announced he will be a candidate for the post.

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan made the rounds on Capitol Hill today. She began her courtesy calls this morning with Senate leaders from both parties. Later, she met with members of the Judiciary Committee, the panel that will hold her confirmation hearings. Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will ensure that her transition will be made as smooth as possible. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Kagan must prove she won’t rubber-stamp Obama administration policies.

The federal budget deficit hit an all-time high for April. The Treasury Department figures showed it soared to $82.7 billion. Economists had predicted a number closer to $30 billion. It’s the largest imbalance for April on record. April is normally a month that runs surpluses from taxpayers filing income tax returns.

On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 148 points to close at 10897. The Nasdaq rose nearly 50 points to close at 2425.

Those are some of the day’s major stories. I will be back at the end of the program with a preview of what you will find tonight on the NewsHour’s Web site — but, for now, back to Judy.