News Wrap: More Than a Quarter of Greek Workers Face Unemployment
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Wall Street’s post-election slide extended into a second day. Stocks fell on concerns that Washington will not be able to come up with a debt deal. The Dow Jones industrial average lost another 121 points to close at 12,811. The Nasdaq fell more than 41 points to close at 2,895.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department announced that first-time claims for jobless benefits fell last week.
More than one in four workers in Greece is now out of a job. The Greek government announced today that unemployment topped 25 percent in August, up seven points from the same time last year. And nearly 60 percent of young people are now unemployed. The news came as European leaders said they will not be ready to give Greece its next installment of bailout funds next week after all. The Athens government has warned it will starting running out of cash next Friday.
Storm-weary people in New York and New Jersey went back to cleaning up today after surviving a nor’easter. But major power outages lingered, and regional utilities faced growing outrage.
The early winter storm brought rain, high winds and up to a foot of snow in the Northeast and New England. And it brought out new frustration for those still struggling to clean up in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
MICHELLE ANTONELLI, New Jersey resident: This is awful. This is just beyond, it’s terrible, it’s awful. It’s — I am done.
DARRYL CARR, New Jersey resident: Mother Nature is really killing us right now. Sorry for whatever we did. We will make it up to you.
GINA KOHM, New Jersey resident: It’s snowing. This is like insult to injury. We just had a hurricane. Now we’re having a blizzard.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The worst was the wind, gusts of 50 to 60 miles an hour that blacked out customers who’d just had their power restored. By this morning, 750,000 homes and businesses were in the dark in the New York region, 200,000 more than before the nor’easter hit.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo charged utility companies planned poorly for Sandy and are still playing catchup.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, D-N.Y.: You look at what a utility company does, it basically comes down to wire and poles and crews and trucks. These are things you would want to have. How can you run out of poles? And then we have utility companies competing with each other to find the poles, the way we competed to find crews and equipment.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Meanwhile, on the roads, the snow made bumper-to-bumper collisions a common sight, especially in Massachusetts, where eight inches fell. And airlines canceled hundreds more flights in and out of New York.
Still, beachfronts on Long Island and the Jersey Shore escaped any major new damage. And New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said it could have been much worse.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: Good new is that we have not seen the kind of damage we saw with Hurricane Sandy, and we are confident that we will be able to move forward in our recovery efforts.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Those efforts will now be aided by calmer, warmer weather for the next few days, allowing cleanup and rebuilding to resume.
Shortages of gasoline have plagued New York and New Jersey since Sandy hit. Today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered gas rationing into effect.
The gunman in last year’s Arizona shooting rampage was sentenced today to life in prison without parole. Jared Lee Loughner killed six people and wounded 13, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. She later resigned to focus on her recovery. Several victims, including Giffords, were in federal court today in Tucson. Her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, told Loughner, “You may have put a bullet through her head, but you haven’t put a dent in her spirit.”
Afterward, the U.S. attorney for Arizona spoke to reporters.
JOHN LEONARDO, U.S. attorney for Arizona: It is our hope that the final resolution of this case will be a positive step towards their healing process, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. It was with them in mind that we entered into this plea agreement with the defendant.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Loughner pleaded guilty, thereby avoiding the death penalty.
A warplane from Iran fired on an American drone over the Persian Gulf last week, but the drone escaped unharmed. A Pentagon spokesman confirmed the incident today after news accounts surfaced. The spokesman said the unmanned aircraft was in international airspace, just outside Iranian waters, when it was attacked. A CIA drone crashed inside Iran last year.
In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad vowed he will not leave the country to go into exile. He spoke in an interview with Russia Today TV earlier this week. British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested giving Assad safe passage out of Syria, if that would guarantee an end to the war. But the Syrian leader flatly rejected the idea. He said: “I am Syrian and I will live and die in Syria.”
Those are some of the day’s major stories.