JIM LEHRER: In other news, Wall Street had a big day after strong earnings reports from major retailers and homebuilders, among others. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 172 points to close at 8,472. The Nasdaq rose 37 points to close at 1,829.
Billionaire banker Allen Stanford pleaded not guilty to swindling investors out of $7 billion. He arrived at federal court in Houston, Texas, today wearing an orange prison jumpsuit. He faces 21 criminal charges that his international banking operation was actually a giant Ponzi scheme. Stanford’s trial is scheduled to begin on August 25th.
In Iran, President Ahmadinejad accused President Obama of meddling in Iran’s internal affairs. This week, Mr. Obama condemned the violence used against protesters in Iran. But today, Ahmadinejad compared that criticism with actions by President Bush, and he demanded an apology.
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, President of Iran (through translator): Don’t repeat a defeated and lost experience. Why do you speak so impolitely with this great nation? You are making a mistake.
We think that you will gather experience as a president step by step. Correct yourself. This is our friendly advice. We don’t want to see the big disgraces of the Bush era repeated in a new U.S. era.
JIM LEHRER: In another development, the Iranian opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, insisted he will not withdraw his challenge to the presidential election outcome.
There were more bombings in Baghdad today, killing nine more Iraqis. It brought the death toll to nearly 200 in the last week, including 78 in a single attack yesterday. One of today’s bombs went off at a bus station in a Shiite neighborhood. The blast also wounded 31 people.
And to the east, nine American soldiers were wounded in two roadside bomb attacks.
The government of Kyrgyzstan will let the U.S. keep using an air base after all; that reverses a decision made earlier this year. The air base is crucial to supply the growing U.S. force in nearby Afghanistan. It’s also used to refuel tanker planes. Under the new deal, the U.S. will pay $60 million a year in rent; that’s three times the old rate.
Pop singer Michael Jackson was hospitalized in Los Angeles today after he stopped breathing. The Los Angeles Times reported paramedics found him at his home and performed CPR. Jackson is 50 years old. He began as a child star with the Jackson 5 in the 1960s and had a series of hits over the years. He’s been largely out of public view since he was tried and acquitted of child molesting in 2005.
And Actress Farrah Fawcett died of cancer today at a hospital in Santa Monica, California. Fawcett became a TV sensation in the late 1970s on “Charlie’s Angels.” Her feathered blond hair set a new style, and a swimsuit poster of her sold millions of copies. Later, she earned an Emmy nomination as an abused wife in the TV movie “The Burning Bed.”
Fawcett was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, and she chronicled her struggle in a recent NBC documentary. Farrah Fawcett was 62 years old.