Other News: Stocks Slide on Bank Fears
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JIM LEHRER: In other news today: U.S. stocks took a beating, on fears that more banks will post losses and fail. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 185 points, to close at 9310. The Nasdaq fell 40 points, to close at 1968.
The sell-off came despite reports that U.S. manufacturing grew in August for the first time in 19 months. In addition, potential home sales rose in July to the highest point in more than two years.
The popular cash for clunkers program boosted some automakers last month, but not others. Ford reported today its August sales were up more than 17 percent from a year ago. But General Motors and Chrysler sales were down by 15 percent to 20 percent. Both were hurt by a shortage of smaller fuel-efficient vehicles. Toyota and Honda had some of the top-selling cars under the clunkers program. Their overall sales were up for August.
In Iran, the government announced it has an updated nuclear proposal. The top nuclear negotiator called for new talks with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the so- called P-5, plus Germany.
But, in Washington, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said there’s been nothing official from Iran.
IAN KELLY: We’re prepared to — to respond to a — some kind of meaningful response. We’re not going to respond to something that is made through the — the media. Our — the offer of the P-5 plus one remains on the table.
JIM LEHRER: Iran has been offered economic incentives to give up its nuclear effort. The U.S. has given Iran until the end of September to agree to new talks, or risk tougher sanctions.
Thousands of people on Mexico’s west coast were ordered to evacuate today, ahead of Hurricane Jimena. The storm was set to hit the tip of the Baja California Peninsula as early as this evening. It had winds of 125 miles an hour. Wind and rain picked up across Baja, as people moved to evacuation centers. Police and military vehicles drove through shantytowns trying, to persuade some 10,000 people to leave. But many stayed to guard against looting.
This was the day World War II erupted in Europe, when Germany invaded Poland in 1939. European leaders gathered in Poland today. Russian Prime Minister Putin joined them, but he made no direct apology for the former Soviet Union’s part in the invasion.
We have a report from Jane Dodge of Independent Television News.
JANE DODGE: It was 70 years ago today that a German battleship fired its first shots at a small Polish military base. It was the start of a war that lasted nearly six years, with the loss of an estimated 50 million lives.
Poland was invaded, first by the Germans, then by the Soviets.
ANGELA MERKEL, chancellor, Germany: No other nation has in its history suffered as long a German occupation as Poland has. At that dark time which we speak of today, the country was devastated.
JANE DODGE: The image of Hitler projected onto a war memorial just before dawn, part of today’s commemoration service. But it was the former Soviet Union, not Germany, that the Polish president singled out for attack in his speech, referring to its decision to invade the east of the country 17 days after Germany began its assault.
LECH KACZYNSKI, president, Poland: But, on this day, Poland received a stab in the back. This blow came from Bolshevik Russia.
JANE DODGE: Poland argues it was the deal of greed between the Soviets and Germans that started the war. Yesterday, there was a concession from Putin, who described the secret agreement to carve up Poland as immoral. Today, though, he was keen to point the finger at others who also did deals with Germany in the lead-up to war.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, prime minister, Russia: We need to admit such mistakes, and our country has done so. The state has condemned the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, but we have the right to expect that other countries who also did deals with the Nazis should do the same.
JANE DODGE: Back home in Russia, one member of the establishment has gone even further. Retired Major General Lev Sotskov claims, recently released documents prove that Poland was actively collaborating with Germany.
Mr. Putin has said he hopes Russia and Poland can settle their differences. But, with both governments accusing the other of falsifying history, that seems a long way off.
JIM LEHRER: Libya marked its own anniversary today: 40 years of Moammar Gadhafi’s rule. He came to power in a military coup on this day in 1969. The occasion was marked with an elaborate military parade, including a flyover by fighter jets. Many heads of state from around the world were invited to attend, but declined.
Britain has put out detailed documents on the release of a Libyan convicted in the Lockerbie bombing. Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was freed by Scotland last month, after doctors said he’s dying of cancer. The new documents show British authorities deferred to the Scottish government, but they did emphasize the importance of British-Libyan interests.