HARI SREENIVASAN: Wall Street whipsawed today.
Stocks shot higher after first-time jobless claims hit the lowest point since April. Then, the market retreated when a Business Roundtable survey showed chief executives are cutting back on hiring. But late in the day, another rally lifted the Dow Jones industrial average. It gained 143 points to close just under 11,154. The Nasdaq fell more than 10 points to close at 2,480.
Childhood poverty for Hispanics now exceeds every other demographic group in the U.S. for the first time. The Pew Hispanic Center reported that finding after analyzing recent U.S. census data. The report said six million Latino children were living in poverty in 2010, up 36 percent from 2007. That's compared with five million white children in poverty and more than four million black children.
The American ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, was attacked in Damascus today. Supporters of President Bashar al-Assad stoned an embassy convoy and threw tomatoes and eggs as Ford arrived for a meeting with a Syrian opposition leader. The ambassador was trapped inside the building for three hours, until Syrian security forces escorted him out.
The incident drew sharp criticism in Washington from Secretary of State Clinton.
SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: We condemn this unwarranted attack in the strongest possible terms. Ambassador Ford and his aides were conducting normal embassy business. And this attempt to intimidate our diplomats through violence is wholly unjustified.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Meanwhile, Syrian tanks and guns kept up a barrage of several towns north of Damascus. An umbrella group for activists reported at least 41 people had been killed in the region in the last 72 hours.
NATO reported today that insurgent attacks in Afghanistan have fallen slightly this year. That followed a U.N. finding that violent incidents have risen about 40 percent. The U.N. numbers included insurgent attacks, plus assaults by NATO and Afghan forces on Taliban fighters.
Also today, a roadside bomb killed three more NATO troops in southern Afghanistan, and an American soldier -- an American solider was killed in northern Iraq. It was the first U.S. combat death in Iraq since July.
Rebels in Libya have captured the airport at Sirte, Moammar Gadhafi's hometown. At the same time, fighting continued inside the city today. Smoke could be seen rising from an apparent NATO airstrike.
And four U.S. senators, all Republicans, visited Tripoli to meet with the country's new rulers.
Arizona Sen. John McCain pledged support for building a Libyan democracy.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-Ariz.: The work will not be easy. Progress will not come evenly or all at once. This is Libya's revolution, not ours. You deserve all of the credit for its success. And you are responsible for its future.
But all of the citizens of Libya can know this: The United States, and especially your friends in the U.S. Congress, will stand by you and be your ally now and always.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The senators also urged the new government to bring out the full story of the Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. The attack killed 270 people and was blamed on Libyan agents.
A Massachusetts man has been charged with plotting to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol with remote-controlled airplanes. Rezwan Ferdaus was arrested Wednesday after an FBI sting operation. He allegedly planned to pack these planes and one other with plastic explosives. They're guided by GPS and fly more than 100 miles an hour.
Undercover agents provided the explosives, but FBI officials said they were carefully monitored and the public was never in danger.
Those are some of the day's major stories.