KWAME HOLMAN: Stock markets in the U.S. and Europe recouped more of their recent losses today. They rallied on news that policymakers are working on plans to support ailing European banks. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 131 points to close just short of 10,940. The Nasdaq rose more than 55 points to close at 2,460.
Protests raged in Greece again in the latest outcry against deeper austerity measures. At least 16,000 civil servants staged 24-hour — a 24-hour strike in Athens, and denounced plans for new salary and pension cuts. The rally was largely peaceful, but a few dozen youths threw stones at riot police, who fired back with tear gas.
In the presidential campaign, Texas Gov. Rick Perry reported raising $17 million since he joined the Republican field seven weeks ago. Perry was the front-runner for a time, but dropped back in more recent polls. Another Republican candidate, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, announced he raised $8 million in the year’s third quarter.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned today that America no longer can provide the lion’s share of military might for NATO in places like Afghanistan and Libya. He told alliance ministers in Brussels that looming defense cuts will limit what U.S. forces can do. He said that means other NATO nations must invest more in their own military capabilities.
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LEON PANETTA: I am convinced that we do not have to choose between fiscal security and national security. But achieving that goal will test the very future of leadership throughout NATO.
KWAME HOLMAN: Panetta pointed to supply shortages in Libya and lack of training in Afghanistan as examples of the U.S. having to fill NATO gaps.
In Afghanistan, security officials reported they have broken up a plot to assassinate President Hamid Karzai. They said six people have been arrested, including one of Karzai’s bodyguards. The Afghan intelligence service said the suspects had links to the Haqqani terror network blamed for a series of major attacks. Separately, NATO forces said an air raid in Khost Province killed a senior Haqqani commander on Tuesday.
Efforts to modernize the U.S. air traffic control system have run into major delays and cost overruns. The Transportation Department’s inspector general delivered that message to a House hearing today. He said software problems are holding up the transition to a system based on satellite technology. It may not be completed until 2014, more than three years behind schedule.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded today to Israeli scientist Dan Shechtman for a discovery that once earned him ridicule. In 1982, Shechtman identified a new chemical structure dubbed quasicrystals, which researchers long had believed could not exist. Shechtman, now 70, recalled today he was kicked off his U.S. research team at the time, but, eventually, his findings were acclaimed.
DAN SHECHTMAN, Nobel Prize winner in chemistry: The main lesson that I have learned over time is that a good scientist is a humble and listening scientist, and not one that is sure 100 percent in what he read in the textbooks. And this is a lesson also to students. Be open.
KWAME HOLMAN: Quasicrystals now are being studied for use in making materials that convert heat into electricity.
An original leader of the civil rights movement, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, died today at a hospital in Birmingham, Ala. The Baptist minister led the struggle against segregation in Birmingham in the 1950s and early ’60s. He worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, survived bombings and beatings and endured repeated arrests. Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth was 89 years old.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.