HARI SREENIVASAN: Wall Street rallied today on relief that Hurricane Irene caused less damage than feared. Stocks also got a boost from news that consumer spending rose in July by the most in five months. The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 254 points to close at 11,539. The Nasdaq rose 82 points to close at 2,562.
President Obama has nominated Alan Krueger to chair his Council of Economic Advisers. If the Senate agrees, the Princeton economist and former Treasury Department official would replace Austan Goolsbee, who stepped down earlier this month. The president made the announcement from the White House Rose Garden with Krueger at his side.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We need folks in Washington to make decisions based on what's best for the country, not what -- not what's best for any political party or special interest. That's how we will get through this period of economic uncertainty, and that's the only way that we will be able to do what's necessary to grow the economy.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The president also confirmed he will unveil his new jobs initiative next week.
A federal judge in Alabama has blocked the state's strict new immigration law for a month. Today's ruling gives the judge more time to consider claims that the law is unconstitutional. The Alabama statute is generally considered the toughest in the nation. Among other things, it makes it a crime to knowingly aid illegal immigrants.
Funerals were held today in Iraq for victims of a suicide bombing at Baghdad's largest Sunni mosque. Twenty-nine people died when the attacker blew himself up last night, as worshipers attended a special service for the Muslim month of Ramadan. The bomber had disguised himself as an injured beggar and attended prayers for the last week.
Iraqi religious officials said guards didn't search the man last night because they recognized him. Senior Pakistani officials stopped short today of confirming that al-Qaida's new second-in-command has been killed. American officials had reported that Atiyah Abd al-Rahman died last Monday in a missile strike by a U.S. drone aircraft. He became al-Qaida's number two after Ayman Al-Zawahri took over the group when a U.S. raid killed Osama bin Laden.
In India, an anti-corruption activist, Anna Hazare, was hailed by the public and press today. He ended a 12-day fast on Sunday, after Parliament agreed to set up a watchdog agency. It is supposed to root out rampant graft, including the buying and selling of Parliament votes. Hazare is 74 years old. He emerged from the fast more than 16 pounds thinner, and vowed his fight will go on.
Activists in Syria warned today against taking up weapons against the government. A prominent opposition group said it would undermine the protest movement's moral superiority over the regime. Meanwhile, security forces raided a series of towns and villages with reports of at least six people killed.
Those are some of the day's major stories.