Other News: Stocks Drop on Economic Recovery Doubts
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JIM LEHRER: In other news today, stocks hit their lowest levels in more than two months on doubts about the global economic recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 161 points to close at 8,163, a loss of about 2 percent. The Nasdaq fell 41 points, more than 2 percent, to close at 1,746.
The president of Costa Rica has agreed to mediate the political crisis in Honduras. Oscar Arias won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end political violence in Central America in the 1980s. The announcement of this new effort came in Washington, after Secretary of State Clinton met with Manuel Zelaya, the ousted Honduran president.
HILLARY CLINTON, secretary of state: It is a better route for him to follow at this time than to attempt to return in the face of the implacable opposition of the de facto regime. And so, instead of another confrontation that might result in the loss of life, let’s try the dialogue process and see where that leads, and let’s let the parties determine all the various issues, as they should.
JIM LEHRER: Zelaya tried to fly back to Honduras on Sunday, but government troops blocked the airport runway. The leader of the interim government said today he has accepted the mediation offer.
In Pakistan, intelligence officials reported another missile strike by a U.S. drone aircraft. They said 12 to 14 militants were killed. The attacks took place in South Waziristan at a training camp run by one of the leaders of the Pakistani Taliban. In response, the Pakistani army warned the U.S. strikes were hurting its ongoing campaign against the Taliban.
The new U.S. senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, was sworn in today, eight months after the election. His arrival gave Democrats 60 seats in the U.S. Senate. Vice President Biden administered the oath on the Senate floor, with former Vice President Walter Mondale, a Minnesota native, alongside. Franken took the oath on a bible that belonged to the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota. The Minnesota State Supreme Court declared Franken the winner last week after a long recount battle.
The American Bar Association has given U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a boost. She earned a “well-qualified” rating from the nation’s largest attorneys’ group after its review.
At the same time, Senate Minority Leader McConnell suggested today that Sotomayor has let racial bias cloud her decisions. The Senate confirmation hearings begin next week.