HARI SREENIVASAN: The government of Ireland confirmed today it is in talks with other European Union nations on how to handle its enormous debt, but Irish officials insisted they do not need a bailout.
And a spokesman for the European Commission dismissed talks of other nations pressing Ireland to accept help.
AMADEU ALTAFAJ TARDIO, spokesman, European Commission: To say that these contacts constitute, as I have written in some — some press reports, negotiations of a bailout and this kind of exaggerations, I think there is a big, big distance. So, no, we are in close contact, in regular contact, as it has — as it to be. And it’s only normal. There is no news in that, but nothing beyond that.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Ireland’s national deficit soared after it rescued five banks from huge real estate losses.
In another development, European Union officials reported the Greek government has much more debt than first estimated. The revised numbers mean Greece will likely miss the targets set in its bailout agreement last spring.
Americans bought more cars in October, and that boosted overall retail sales by the most since March. The Commerce Department reported today that sales rose 1.2 percent. On Wall Street, stocks had a mixed day. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nine points to close near 11202. The Nasdaq fell four points to close at 2513.
Hundreds of protesters in Haiti accused U.N. peacekeepers today of starting the cholera outbreak. Crowds in Cap-Haitien hurled rocks and threatened to set fire to a major U.N. base. Cholera had never appeared in Haiti until recently, but the epidemic has killed more than 900 people. It started near a base housing U.N. troops from Nepal, where cholera has also been active lately.
In Indonesia, thousands of people returned to their villages near the Mount Merapi volcano after it calmed somewhat in recent days. Many found their homes and crops blanketed in thick ash. In all, nearly 400,000 people have fled the volcano since this round of major eruptions three weeks ago. Some 260 have been killed.
The secretary of homeland security defended new airport screening measures today. Janet Napolitano said body scanners used at airports are safe and the images are viewed in private. Opponents have complained they’re far too revealing and may pose a radiation risk. Those who opt out of the scans are subject to full-body pat-downs.
Napolitano said the searches are both professional and necessary.
U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY JANET NAPOLITANO: I think, as the traveling public recognizes, we need to keep unauthorized liquids, powders and gels off of aircraft, just as we need to keep unauthorized metal objects off of aircraft. We’re doing this. Airports in Europe are doing this. This is just the next generation of travel security.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The new screening procedures have taken effect just before the busiest part of the travel year, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.