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News Wrap: 3 More Secret Service Agents Lose Jobs Over Scandal

April 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT

KWAME HOLMAN: Three more Secret Service agents have lost their jobs over a prostitution scandal. The Secret Service announced late today two agents have resigned, and one was fired. In all, nine now have been forced out and three have been cleared. They allegedly got involved with prostitutes in Colombia before the president’s recent trip there.

Today, Mr. Obama blamed what he called “a couple of knuckleheads” for the scandal.

Wall Street turned in a mixed performance today. Blue chips fared well, as AT&T, Verizon and others posted strong profits. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 74 points to close at 13,001. The Nasdaq fell nearly nine points to close at 2,961.

The Justice Department filed the first criminal charges today related to the 2010 Gulf oil spill. A former engineer with BP was arrested on two counts of obstruction of justice. He allegedly deleted more than 300 text messages with sensitive information on failing efforts to cap the well responsible for the spill.

U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan leveled new accusations today against the government of Syria. An Annan spokesman said the regime has failed to withdraw heavy weapons from cities, as promised. And, he said, authorities are subverting the efforts of U.N. observers.

AHMAD FAWZI, spokesman of Kofi Annan: They are entering areas where there has been conflict, like Homs and Hama, and when they go, the guns are silent. We have credible reports that, when they leave, the exchanges start again, that these people who approach the observers may be approached by security forces or Syrian army and harassed or arrested, or even worse, perhaps killed.

KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile, the Syrian state news agency said three intelligence officers were killed across Damascus today. The reports also said a bomb hidden in a Syrian army truck exploded in a main square in the capital, wounding three people. A pro-government TV channel blamed armed terrorists.

The ruling military in Egypt has barred top officials who served President Hosni Mubarak from running to replace him. The decision today ruled out Ahmed Shafiq, who was Mubarak’s last prime minister. Another top Mubarak lieutenant and the two main Islamist candidates already have been disqualified. The election is next month.

The son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch faced a new grilling today in a media ethics inquiry in Britain. James Murdoch claimed again that subordinates kept him in the dark about hacking into cell phones when he headed the family’s British newspaper chain. The inquiry also unearthed evidence that senior Conservative lawmakers helped the Murdochs’ bid for a satellite broadcaster. The bid was withdrawn when the scandal erupted.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.