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News Wrap: Recession Officially Over, But U.S. Economy Still Struggling

September 20, 2010 at 6:16 PM EDT
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KWAME HOLMAN: The U.S. recession officially ended back in June of 2009. The National Bureau of Economic Research reported today the recession lasted 18 months. That makes it the country’s longest downturn since World War II.

President Obama took note of the finding during a town hall meeting in

Washington broadcast on CNBC.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Even though economists may say that the recession officially ended last year, obviously, for the millions of people who are still out of work, people who have seen their home values decline, people who are struggling to pay the bills day to day, it’s still very real for them.

KWAME HOLMAN: The president also rebuffed claims his economic policies

were anti-business, and he repeated his opposition to keeping tax cuts for better-off Americans. He said it would only make the deficit worse. And, he added, the first thing you do in a hole is not dig it deeper.

On Wall Street, stocks rallied again, partly on hopes the Federal Reserve will take new actions to boost the recovery. The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 145 points to close above 10753. The Nasdaq rose 40 points to close above 2355.

The U.N. convened a world summit on poverty today, amid fresh appeals to help those most in need. Leaders gathered in New York City amid warnings that millennium development goals will not be met. They were set 10 years ago, with a target date of 2015. The goals range from cutting extreme poverty by half to reversing the AIDS pandemic.

Today, the U.N.’s development chief sized up what’s needed.

HELEN CLARK, United Nations Development Program Chief: It most definitely will require investing more in opportunities and in the rights of women and girls. It will require targeting investments in education and health, in clean water and sanitation, and attending to the needs of the urban poor, including for adequate shelter.

KWAME HOLMAN: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon insisted the goals are still attainable. French President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to boost France’s aid for poor countries by 20 percent over the next three years. He asked other developed nations to do the same.

The FBI investigated several anti-war and environmental groups after

9/11 for no good reason — the Justice Department’s inspector general reported that today. He found little or no basis for domestic terror probes of Greenpeace and the anti-war Thomas Merton Center, among others. The report said FBI officials misled Director Robert Mueller and Congress about the investigations. They were conducted between 2001 and 2006.