JIM LEHRER: In other news today, the General Motors development, combined with a bad day for bank stocks, helped push Wall Street markets down. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 62 points today to close at 8,268. The Nasdaq fell 9 points to close at 1,680. For the week, the Dow lost 3.5 percent; the Nasdaq fell 5 percent.
Consumer prices were unchanged in April. The labor department reported prices dropped over the last 12 months by the most since 1955. It was mostly due to falling energy costs.
A separate report showed consumer confidence at its highest level since the investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed last September.
The head of the CIA defended his agency against claims from House Speaker Pelosi she was misled on the use of waterboarding. Leon Panetta said CIA officers briefed lawmakers truthfully in 2002 on interrogation methods of terror suspects. In a statement, he said, “It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values.”
There were more foreign troop deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. military reported an American soldier was killed during a raid on insurgents on Wednesday. Four other U.S. troops were wounded in that operation north of Baghdad.
Meanwhile in Afghanistan, two NATO troops died when they came under attack while on patrol in the east. Their nationalities were not released.
Nearby in Pakistan, Pakistani officials said army troops killed 55 Taliban fighters in the northwest. The Pakistani military also lifted a curfew in the Swat Valley to allow thousands of civilians to flee. The U.N. estimates more than 900,000 people have already abandoned the area. Many have relocated to makeshift camps set up by the government and the United Nations.
Authorities in Texas reported another swine flu death, bringing the total in the U.S. to five. The 33-year-old man died earlier this month. He had a pre-existing heart problem that made it harder for him to survive the virus.
And in New York City, six public schools have been closed after four students and an assistant principal came down with the illness. New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden explained the flu pattern in New York.
DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, health commissioner, New York City: We are not seeing more severe illness than we see in regular flu season. What we are seeing is larger clusters of influenza.
So what we saw at the three schools — and the situation was somewhat different at each of the three schools — we saw levels of absenteeism that were high. And in a school, we called the kids at home. We found many of those children had symptoms consistent with flu.
JIM LEHRER: Frieden was just named by President Obama to head the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is the agency charged with managing the swine flu outbreak. Frieden has been New York City’s health commissioner since 2002. He led the charge in New York to ban smoking and trans-fat food at restaurants.