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News Wrap: Tokyo Stock Market Rebounds Amid Japan’s Recovery Efforts

March 16, 2011 at 5:57 PM EST
In other news Wednesday, the Tokyo stock market rebounded, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced new national limits on mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The Tokyo stock market rebounded today, even as the yen fell to near record lows against the dollar. But Wall Street skidded over worries about Japan’s nuclear crisis, and the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 242 points to close at 11,613. The Nasdaq fell 50 points to close at 2,616.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the first national limits on mercury pollution. The regulations laid out today are part of efforts to cut emissions from coal-fired power plants. Advocates say the pollution contributes to birth defects and other problems. Industry groups say the EPA is inflating the benefits and understating the costs. Power plants would have four years to comply once the rules take effect.

Security forces in Bahrain used tear gas and armored vehicles today to clear a central square in Manama. At least five people were killed in the assault on protesters in Pearl Square. Demonstrators’ tents were also set on fire, sending plumes of smoke rising above the city.

In Washington, a spokesman said President Obama telephoned Bahrain’s leaders to deliver this message.

WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: There is no military solution to the problems in Bahrain. There is no means of violence that will solve the unrest in the region, in any country, and that the — the future of those countries will be immeasurably brighter if the governments there engage in a political dialogue with the people.

HARI SREENIVASAN: In Yemen, government supporters attacked thousands of opposition demonstrators in Sanaa with bullets, clubs and daggers. Hundreds of people were wounded.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the spawning ground for Egypt’s revolution today. Clinton made an unscheduled stop in Tahrir Square in Cairo surrounded by heavy security and crowds. She greeted bystanders and urged Egypt’s military rulers to carry out real democratic reforms. The secretary warned against letting anyone hijack the revolution. She promised the U.S. will help in any way it can.

An American who says he killed two Pakistani men in self-defense has been released from jail in Pakistan. Raymond Davis had worked as a CIA contractor. Pakistani officials said he was let go after the victims’ families received $2.3 million. Secretary of State Clinton denied Washington made the payments. The U.S. insisted Davis was covered by diplomatic immunity.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.