News Wrap: Bombings in Pakistan Kill at Least 25
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Bombs tore into crowds of Shiite Muslims in Lahore, Pakistan, today. At least 25 people were killed, and 150 others were wounded. A camera captured the first explosion, a timed bomb that went off amid 35,000 people in a religious procession. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up minutes later. The Shiites erupted in anger, hammering on vehicles and setting fires. They have suffered a series of recent attacks.
The U.S. Justice Department has filed criminal charges against the leader of the Pakistani Taliban. Hakimullah Mehsud remains at large. He was accused today of attacks on Americans in Afghanistan, including a bombing that killed seven CIA employees last December. Also today, the State Department put the Pakistani Taliban on its terror blacklist.
Another U.S. soldier was killed in Afghanistan today. He was the first American to die there in September and the 20th in the last five days. NATO officials also reported today that more than 500 insurgents were detained in August and 160 were killed.
In the Netherlands, two Yemeni men who arrived from the U.S. this week were freed without charge. Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi and Hezem al Murisi had been suspected of plotting to attack airliners. They were detained Monday when their flight from Chicago landed in Amsterdam. Al Soofi’s luggage contained a phone taped to a plastic bottle and other phones taped together. He also had $7,000 in cash.
Today, Dutch prosecutors announced there was no evidence of any wrongdoing. And al Soofi’s lawyer said his client is innocent.
WOUTER HENDRICKX, attorney for Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi: I cannot go into detail what my client has said to the police. We keep — we respect the agreements we have with the district attorney. But there is one thing I want to say on his behalf. He says — that’s his statement — “I do not have any connections with terrorist organizations whatsoever.”
HARI SREENIVASAN: There was no immediate word where the men will go following their release.
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska will not be serving another term in Washington. She conceded defeat last night to primary opponent Joe Miller, a little-known conservative lawyer. He was backed by Tea Party activists and by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in Tuesday’s close vote. Murkowski is the third U.S. senator to lose a renomination bid this year.
Wall Street started off the month with a major rally. It was sparked by upbeat reports on manufacturing in the U.S. and China. The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 254 points to close at 10269. The Nasdaq rose more than 62 points to close above 2176.
August may have been the worst month for U.S. auto sales in 27 years. General Motors, Ford, and Toyota reported today that sales fell from July. So did most other automakers doing business in the U.S. The sole exception was Chrysler. It reported a gain of 7 percent.
The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. has fallen for the first time in nearly 20 years. The Pew Hispanic Center reported today that there were just over 11 million undocumented individuals. That is a million less than last year. It coincided with the economic downturn and stepped-up border enforcement. According to Pew, unauthorized immigrants still make up 4 percent of the U.S. population.
Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Gwen