News Wrap: Wall Street Ends Week Down on China Interest Rate Concerns
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Wall Street had its first losing week, after five weeks of gains. Stocks fell on worries that China might raise interest rates to curb inflation. That, in turn, could slow Chinese growth and hurt the global economic recovery. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 90 points to close at 11192. The Nasdaq fell 37 points to close at 2518. For the week, both the Dow and the Nasdaq lost more than 2 percent.
President Obama today hailed Iraq’s efforts to form a new power-sharing government. The country’s main political factions agreed on the deal yesterday. But, almost immediately, Sunni lawmakers walked out of Parliament.
In South Korea, the president acknowledged that challenges remain, but he voiced hope.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: All indications are that the government will be representative, inclusive, and reflect the will of the Iraqi people who cast their ballots in the last election. Now, this agreement marks another milestone in the history of modern Iraq.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The president also called to congratulate Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He will remain in power under the agreement.
In Afghanistan, a suicide car bombing hit a NATO convoy just outside Kabul. A civilian was killed, and a NATO soldier and an Afghan soldier were wounded. Another NATO member was killed in a separate attack in the east. And, in the south, at least 15 suspected militants died in heavy fighting in the Sangin district of Helmand Province.
Drama built in Myanmar today, as supporters of the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi awaited her release. Her house arrest in the former Burma officially expires Saturday, after seven years.
We have a report narrated by Paul Davies of Independent Television News.
PAUL DAVIES: The democracy movement has been crushed by the Burmese military, but its followers have been gathering again around the home of the woman who still represents their hopes.
Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 15 of the last 20 years under house arrest. Rumors that her release is imminent have drawn this crowd. A senior member of her party arrives, and is mobbed. He confirms her latest period of detention expires at midnight. As yet, there’s no sign of her. Hopefully, tomorrow, he says.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s American lawyer remains skeptical.
JARED GENSER, attorney for Aung San Suu Kyi: Historically, the regime has repeatedly said on various occasions, both on the record and on background, that they were going to release her, and have failed to follow through on those commitments.
So, until I actually see her walking out of the house, or until her domestic lawyer is able to speak to her and — to confirm that she was actually delivered a release order, until those things happen, I’m not prepared to say that she’s in fact going to be released, although, of course, we very much hope it will happen.
PAUL DAVIES: Aung San Suu Kyi is 63 now, and it’s been years since she’s been able to freely address her followers like this.
The generals who seized power in 1988 didn’t tolerate free opposition. Despite advocating Gandhi-style passive resistance, Suu Kyi, young leader of National League for Democracy, was ordered to leave the country. When she refused, she was placed under house arrest.
The generals, who have just seen the party they back win controversial elections in Burma, have been under international pressure to free the Nobel Peace Prize winner. But Burmese exiles here distrust them.
THARAPHI THAN, Myanmar expert: If the government fears that, by releasing her, she could rally the masses against the government, they might postpone her release. So, I share the excitement, but I have some cautions.
PAUL DAVIES: Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer has said she won’t accept freedom, if it’s on condition she abandons politics.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide election victory in 1990, but the ruling generals refused to hand over power. She was barred from taking part in last Sunday’s voting for a new Parliament.
The U.N. appealed today for $164 million to contain the cholera outbreak in Haiti. So far, the disease has killed at least 724 people, and it is expected to continue spreading. Aid groups have set up temporary hospitals as demand for treatment mushrooms. Officials have confirmed more than 11,000 cases since last month.
A former Tennessee college student has been sentenced to serve a year and a day for hacking into Sarah Palin’s e-mail account. It happened in 2008, when Palin was the Republican nominee for vice president. David Kernell told
prosecutors he was looking for something to derail her campaign, but found nothing. A federal judge recommended he serve his time in a halfway house, not in prison.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.