News Wrap: Financial Reform Hits Trouble in Senate, Oil Stains Miss. Beaches
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The drive for financial reform ran into serious trouble today in the U.S. Senate. The compromise measure was finalized last week. It needs 60 votes to get past Republican objections.
But Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold announced he will not vote for the bill. He said it wouldn’t prevent another financial crisis. That could leave supporters at least one vote short.
Heavy oil has stained more of the Mississippi mainland, including the tourist beach at Biloxi, one of the state’s largest. At the same time, officials cast a wary eye today on Tropical Storm Alex. The storm was far to the south, off of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, but it could still churn up waves that would delay efforts to capture more oil.
Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen spoke in New Orleans.
ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN, national incident commander: Any kind of a surge from a storm would obviously exacerbate the oil, move it further into marshes, and would cause problems for us. And we’re going to face that potential throughout the hurricane season, should we have any kind of heavy weather.
Regarding the relief wells, if we have to evacuate the site because of a hurricane, we estimate that there could be a break of about 14 days to take down the equipment, move it off to a safe place, and then bring it back and reestablish the drilling.
HARI SREENIVASAN: BP also announced that spending to cap the well, clean up the spill, and compensate people for their losses has reached $100 million a day. Total cleanup costs so far have topped $2.6 billion.
The people of Kyrgyzstan voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to create Central Asia’s first parliamentary democracy. Results from the balloting showed more than two-thirds of eligible voters turned out. About 90 percent of them endorsed a new constitution. The vote was largely peaceful, despite ethnic violence that killed hundreds of people two weeks ago. Both the U.S. and Russia have major air bases in Kyrgyzstan, and both watched the election closely.
Gunmen in Mexico today assassinated a front-running candidate for governor, Rodolfo Torre, and four aides. Officials immediately blamed drug gangs as TV images showed the bodies of the victims. Torre had been favored to win Sunday’s election in the border state of Tamaulipa. President Felipe Calderon condemned the murders. He said drug lords are trying to interfere in Mexico’s political process.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney was released from a Washington hospital today. He was admitted Friday for a buildup of fluid related to his longstanding heart disease. Cheney is 69 years old. He has had five heart attacks over the years. His most recent was last February.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost five points to close at 10138. The Nasdaq fell more than two points to close at 2220.
Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Gwen.