HARI SREENIVASAN: The Federal Reserve gave a more downbeat appraisal of the economy today. In a statement, the Central Bank projected growth will be -- quote -- "more modest" than its June estimate. To help, the Fed announced it will buy more government debt, in a bid to cut interest rates for mortgages and corporate debt. It also left a key interest rate at a record low.
The Fed's announcement helped Wall Street recoup some of its losses from earlier in the day. The Dow Jones industrial average had been down 100 points earlier. It finished with a loss of 54 points to close at 10,644. The Nasdaq fell 28 points to close at 2277.
The desperate plight of flood victims in Pakistan deepened again today.
Thousands of people fled a major city in the central part of the country, and millions of others waited for help.
We have a report narrated by Kylie Morris of Independent Television
KYLIE MORRIS: The floodwaters near the town of Muzaffargarh in the
Punjab arriving so fast, the government has called for a mass evacuation, only one example of what's happening in towns right across the south, the market, even the hospital, locked and left, a city of 250,000 people loading up to leave.
These villagers near Sukkur and Sindh salvage what they can from the murky brown waters, rope cots for sleeping and sitting, any timber, a fan once used to keep the family cool. Now keeping it all dry is the priority.
MAN (through translator): We have nothing to eat. We have had to leave all our livestock behind. All we could do is save our families.
KYLIE MORRIS: Now their only option to move on, the waters rising still in this heavily populated province. An island of dry road is their only refuge, with no promise of relief any time soon.
Who gets help and who doesn't is a lottery here. The military is keen
to show willing, sent from Karachi today, scenes of well-pressed soldiers loading trucks badly with their own charity donations. But many here are beyond charity, raw with grief at the catastrophe that has befallen them.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned home
today. He had been widely criticized for going ahead with a visit to Europe. Meanwhile, the Taliban urged the Pakistani government to reject all help from
The death toll from landslides in Northwestern China more than doubled
today to more than 700. More than 1,000 others were still missing. Several mountain villages were buried over the weekend by an avalanche of mud and rocks. It was triggered by a flooded river.
Rescuers did find one survivor today. He was a 52-year-old man who had
been trapped for more than 50 hours inside his leveled apartment.
Toxic smog from the Russian wildfires eased across Moscow today for the
first time in nearly a week. But there was no letup in the economic and political fallout. As hundreds of fires continued to burn, a Russian business newspaper reported that damages will reach at least $15 billion from the fires and a crippling heat wave.
And on the political front, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin flew on a firefighting plane. He's facing rising discontent over the government's responses to the fires.
The number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan has risen sharply this
year. The U.N. reported today nearly 1,300 Afghans were killed in the first half of this year. That was up 30 percent from a year ago. The report said insurgents caused more than 70 percent of the deaths, up from 58 percent last year.
Former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was killed in a plane crash overnight
in his home state. At least four others died. But former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe and his teenage son survived with broken bones. Stevens served in the Senate for 40 years, but lost in 2008 after a conviction on corruption charges. It was later dismissed.
Last fall, he told the NewsHour there's reason to worry about the
future of Congress.
TED STEVENS (R), Former U.S. Senator: The actions of members of the
executive branch demonstrate that they -- they really don't think it's necessary to have a Congress. So, it's -- I -- if I have any fears, it's that the fear that the -- the role of the Congress will be diminished over the period ahead.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Ted Stevens was 86 years old.
The H1N1 flu pandemic is officially over. The World Health Organization made the declaration today after months of criticism that it overreacted in the first place. The H1N1 flu strain killed more than 18,000 around the world, but that was far lower than feared, and millions of doses of vaccine went unused.
In Rwanda, President Paul Kagame has won a second term. A preliminary tally today gave him 93 percent of the vote in yesterday's election. But the opposition was largely banned from taking part.
At an early-morning rally in the capital, Kagame celebrated with his
family and supporters. It was Rwanda's second election since the genocide of at least half-a-million people in 1994.