JIM LEHRER: In other news today: Global emissions of carbon dioxide rose 2 percent last year, and most of the increase came from China. The U.S. Department of Energy reported those findings. It said U.S. emissions actually fell 3 percent as the recession took hold. China has been the world’s leading carbon polluter since 2006. The U.S. is number two.
Iran has sentenced five people to death for fomenting mass protests after last June’s presidential election. State television also announced, 81 people have been given prison terms of up to 15 years. The protesters claimed President Ahmadinejad won reelection by fraud.
Suicides in the U.S. Army will almost certainly be higher this year. An Army report today said 140 active-duty soldiers have died of self-inflicted wounds in 2009, the same as all of last year. The Army’s vice chief of staff, General Peter Chiarelli, said the numbers have declined lately, but he acknowledged, they’re still grim.
GENERAL PETER CHIARELLI, vice chief of staff, U.S. Army: We talk about these incidents of suicide using figures and percentages. However, the grim reality is, each case represents an individual, a person, with family and friends and a future ahead of him or her. Every single loss is devastating.
JIM LEHRER: The figures kept by the service branches do not include suicides among veterans.
A federal task force will target financial fraud, from mortgage scams to Wall Street scandals. The Justice, Treasury and Housing Departments joined in that announcement today, along with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Treasury Secretary Geithner said it’s part of broader efforts to reshape the financial system.
TIMOTHY GEITHNER, U.S. Treasury Secretary: It’s not enough to go after fraud after it’s become widespread. We can’t wait for problems to peak before we respond. We need to do everything we can to help restore trust and confidence in our system. And central to that effort is enacting stronger and smarter rules, with much stronger and much more proactive enforcement.
JIM LEHRER: The Bush administration created a similar task force in 2002 after the Enron collapse. Members of the Obama Cabinet said today this new group will be more broadly based.
An audit today questioned the way federal funds rescued insurance giant AIG. Under that rescue, big banks insured by AIG got full payments for securities tied to bad mortgages. But the program’s inspector general said the Federal Reserve Bank of New York should not have given in to the banks’ demands. At that time, Timothy Geithner was running the Fed in New York, before he moved to the Treasury.
More than 14,700 U.S. taxpayers have reported billions of dollars held in offshore bank accounts. They did so under an amnesty program to avoid criminal prosecution. The Internal Revenue Service reported the results today as part of an ongoing crackdown on offshore tax havens.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 30 points, to close at 10437. The Nasdaq rose nearly six points, to close above 2203.