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News Wrap: U.S., European Stock Markets Recoup Some Losses

September 23, 2011 at 12:00 AM EST
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KWAME HOLMAN: Stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic recouped a little of their losses today. Key indexes across Europe were up. And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 37 points to close at 10,771. The Nasdaq rose 27 points to close at 2,483. But for the week, the Dow lost more than 6 percent; the Nasdaq fell 5 percent.

Congress went into the weekend still deadlocked over disaster aid. House Republicans passed a bill to keep the government running into November. It included $3.7 billion for FEMA, the federal disaster agency. It was paid for, in part, by cutting energy technology loan programs.

In the Senate, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the days of adding disaster costs to the deficit are over.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-Ky. minority leader: The whole “That’s the way we have always done it” argument is the reason we have got a $14 trillion debt right now. If we pass this bill, FEMA will have the funds they need, have the funds they need to respond to these emergencies. That’s not the issue here. What’s at issue is whether we’re going to add to the debt or not.

KWAME HOLMAN: But Senate Democrats objected to the cuts, and blocked the bill.

Later, Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats would accept the $3.7 billion figure if Republicans would give way on the loan cuts.

SEN. HARRY REID, D-Nev. majority leader: It’s a simple thing, very simple. And I can’t understand their logic. We have agreed at their number. It’s in our — the bill that I have at the desk now. We have agreed at their number on FEMA. Do they want the government to shut down? Do they want FEMA to close? And FEMA will close. FEMA, they have money to go through Monday or Tuesday, if we’re fortunate.

KWAME HOLMAN: Further action now will wait until Monday, at the earliest. If there is no agreement, the government would run out of money and face a shutdown by next weekend.

The president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, made a surprise return from Saudi Arabia today. He called for a cease-fire between supporters of his government and protesters. Instead, Saleh’s reappearance added fuel to the protests. Thousands gathered in Sana’a, the capital, chanting and carrying coffins in honor of those killed by government forces.

In Pakistan, top officials dismissed U.S. allegations that their spy agency actively aided militants who attacked the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mike Mullen, said yesterday the Haqqani militant group is a virtual arm of Pakistani intelligence.

In Karachi, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani insisted his country is not some rogue sponsor of terror.

YOUSUF RAZA GILANI, Pakistani prime minister (through translator): We are not isolated. We have good relations with the whole world. We have good relations in our region and with our neighbors. We want to strengthen ourselves economically. But in response to these kind of American messages, they can’t live with us and they can’t live without us.

So, I would say to them that, if they can’t live without us, they should increase contacts with us to remove misunderstandings.

KWAME HOLMAN: Despite that protest, a White House spokesman called today for Pakistan to break any links it has to the Haqqani Network.

A dead satellite hurtling toward Earth has slowed down. NASA said today the pieces of the six-ton satellite may not strike Earth until late Friday or early Saturday. Most fragments are expected to burn up in the atmosphere, but at least two dozen could hit ground somewhere. NASA said today there’s a small chance some of the debris might land in the U.S. after all.

The top executives from a bankrupt solar energy company refused to answer questions today at a House hearing. Solyndra, based in California, got a federal loan guarantee of $528 million under President Obama’s stimulus program. This month, the firm filed for bankruptcy protection and laid off 1,100 workers.

Today, CEO Brian Harrison and chief financial officer Bill Stover repeatedly invoked their right against self-incrimination.

REP. JOE BARTON, R-Texas: I want ask Mr. Harrison if he thinks the American people, who invested over a half-a-billion dollars, deserve to know what happened to that money.

BRIAN HARRISON, Solyndra: On the advice of my counsel, I invoke the privilege afforded to me by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, and I respectfully decline to answer any questions.

REP. JOE BARTON: I want to ask the same question to Mr. Stover.

BILL STOVER, Solyndra: On the advice of my counsel, I invoke the privilege afforded by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I respectfully decline to answer any questions.

KWAME HOLMAN: Two congressional committees, plus the Energy Department’s inspector general and the Justice Department, are investigating the Solyndra case.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.