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News Wrap: U.S. Economic Growth Calms Fears of Double-Dip Recession

October 27, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT
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KWAME HOLMAN: The U.S. economy showed just enough life during the summer to calm fears that a double-dip recession is near.

The Commerce Department reported today that growth hit an annual rate of 2.5 percent from July through September. It was the best performance in a year, but the growth rate would have to be nearly twice as high to bring down unemployment.

Republicans on the deficit super committee in Congress offered their plan today. They called for reducing red ink by $2.2 trillion over 10 years, in part by cutting Medicare costs, but without raising taxes.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi quickly dismissed the proposal.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-Calif., House minority leader: That doesn’t sound like anything that would even be in the league with what the bipartisan, Bowles-Simpson and Rivlin-Domenici, gang of six, or any of the other initiatives that have been put forth.

Everybody has said, be careful how you cut and when you cut because you may destroy the momentum for economic growth that we need to have as we go forward.

KWAME HOLMAN: The House speaker, Republican John Boehner, answered, some Democrats’ calls for $1.3 trillion in higher taxes is out of bounds. But Boehner said he wants a deal.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-Ohio, speaker of the House: I have had lots of conversations with lots of people trying to ensure that we do, in fact, get to an outcome. I’m not — not surprised that — that, you know, we’re having some difficulty because this isn’t — this isn’t easy. It’s going to be very, very hard. But I do think it’s time for everybody to get serious about this.

KWAME HOLMAN: The deficit super committee has until Nov. 23 to recommend deficit savings of at least $1.2 trillion. If it fails, automatic cuts would kick in.

The House came together today to repeal a law designed to ensure that government contractors pay their taxes. It called for federal, state and local agencies to withhold 3 percent of payments to contractors. Lawmakers on both sides said it’s more important now to let companies keep that money to hire new workers.

The cost of Medicare’s basic monthly premium is going up, but not as much as expected. The Department of Health and Human Services announced today that the Part B premium for outpatient care will be just less than $100 a month for 2012. That’s an increase of $3.50, instead of the more than $10 that was forecast.

The search for earthquake victims in Turkey yielded more bodies today and another survivor, four days after the quake hit. A young man was pulled alive from the rubble, and rescuers carried him away from the debris.

One of them described how they found the man.

MEHTI ONALAN, paramedic (through translator): We had just about lost hope. We had sent in the canine teams and listening devices, but couldn’t hear anything. Just as we were about to start recovery operations, we heard a sound. Then we started looking, and thank God we were successful.

KWAME HOLMAN: Officials said the likelihood of finding more survivors was dwindling as the death toll reached 534.

In Iraq, twin bombings killed 18 people in northeastern Baghdad. At least 36 others were wounded. The attack began with a blast outside a music store in the city’s Ur district, a mostly Shiite neighborhood. The second bomb exploded as rescuers rushed to the scene. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The U.N. Security Council has voted to lift its no-fly zone over Libya as of Monday. The unanimous vote today also ended U.N. authorization of the NATO bombing campaign in Libya. The rebel council now ruling Libya declared the country liberated last Sunday. That was three days after former dictator Moammar Gadhafi was caught and killed.

Egypt and Israel completed a prisoner swap today. The Egyptians released a U.S.-Israeli citizen who’d been held for four months. Twenty-seven-year-old Ilan Grapel landed this evening outside Tel Aviv, where his American mother was waiting. Grapel had been accused of spying for Israel, a charge he denied. Israel in turn released 25 Egyptians, most of them accused smugglers. They returned to Egypt by bus and were greeted with flower wreaths and flags.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.