News Wrap: Bernanke Says U.S. Economy Is on Track for Long-Term Growth
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KWAME HOLMAN: Wall Street closed out the week with gains today. Stocks rebounded from a sell-off after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. economy is on track for long-term growth.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 134 points to close at 11,284. The Nasdaq rose 60 points to close near 2,480. For the week, the Dow gained more than four percent; the Nasdaq was up 2.5 percent.
A car bomb attack in Nigeria today killed at least 18 people at the main U.N. building. It happened in Abuja, the African nation’s capital. A radical Muslim group claimed responsibility.
We have a report narrated by Rohit Kachroo of Independent Television News.
ROHIT KACHROO: Terrorists strike right at the heart of the U.N.’s headquarters in Nigeria. This was the chaotic aftermath of the car bomb: many dead, many more injured.
The suicide bomber got through the gates and into the compound, detonating the bomb close to the main building, the likely target, foreigners, aid workers, diplomats. These offices are home to many humanitarian agencies.
BAN KI-MOON, United Nations secretary-general: This was an assault on those who devote their lives to helping others. We condemn this terrible act utterly.
ROHIT KACHROO: An Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, is thought to be behind other recent attacks. Most have targeted Nigeria’s remote northeast, which borders Cameroon, Chad and Niger. It’s feared that the group has grown its links to terrorist organizations outside Nigeria, including al-Qaida.
The country is causing concern to the counterterrorist community. How a suicide bomber managed to get so close to the building will raise questions about security. But of greater concern is whether today’s attack shows that an emerging terrorist group is now prepared to target the international community.
KWAME HOLMAN: Rescue workers in Mexico searched for remains today after arsonists linked to drug gangs burned down a Monterrey casino. At least 52 people were killed.
Security camera footage showed at least eight men arriving at the building. Police said they doused the place with gasoline and set it on fire. Some patrons escaped, but dozens more were trapped by the inferno. It was one of the worst attacks in the country’s five-year-old drug war.
Today, President Felipe Calderon declared three days of mourning.
FELIPE CALDERON, Mexican president (through translator): As a Mexican, as a head of the family, as the president, I’m profoundly saddened, worried, angered. Like every murderer’s actions, this doesn’t have a motive or a justification. This has been the worst attempt against civilians in a long time.
KWAME HOLMAN: Calderon again blamed demand for illegal drugs in the U.S. for helping fuel the drug war in Mexico. Nearly 40,000 people have died in the violence since 2006.
In Syria, this Friday brought a new round of protests, and security forces again opened fire. Activists reported two people were killed. The protests involved thousands of Syrians in cities such as Homs in the central part of the country. The demonstrations marked the final Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Human rights groups say President Bashar Assad’s forces have killed at least 2,000 people since the protests began in March.
The Japanese prime minister is resigning after just 15 months in office. Naoto Kan announced today he’s stepping down. Support for his government had dropped sharply over its handling of the tsunami disaster and ensuing nuclear crisis in Japan. The ruling party will select a new leader on Monday, the country’s sixth prime minister in five years.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.