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News Wrap: EPA Proposes New Standards to Reduce Soot, Protect Air Quality

June 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The Environmental Protection Agency announced new air quality standards today to reduce levels of airborne soot. Environmental and health groups said the move would help prevent respiratory illness, strokes and heart attacks. Congressional Republicans and industry officials called the proposal overly strict. They said it would add cost, kill jobs, and hurt economic growth.

A federal jury in New York has convicted former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta of insider trading. He was found guilty today of conspiracy and securities fraud. Gupta was accused of feeding confidential information to a hedge fund manager, who used the tip to make nearly a million dollars.

Wall Street finished today with its third big gain of the week. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 115 points to close at 12,767. The Nasdaq rose 36 points to close at 2,872. For the week, the Dow gained nearly 1 percent; the Nasdaq rose more than 1 percent.

In Syria, government forces renewed the shelling of rebel-held towns today, as U.N. observers warned their mission is in jeopardy. Amateur video showed a fireball erupting in Homs. Thick black smoke from the shelling could be seen hovering above the skyline. It was part of a new offensive the regime launched earlier this week.

Meanwhile, in Damascus, the Norwegian commander of the U.N. observers had a grim assessment of the situation.

MAJ. GEN. ROBERT MOOD, head of U.N. mission to Syria: We are frustrated because we see that the violence is continuing and it has increased in the last few days. The escalating violence is now limiting our ability to observe, to verify, to report, as well as assist in local dialogue and stability projects.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Activists reported at least 34 people were killed across Syria today.

A raft of internal documents shed new light on a scandal involving Secret Service employees. The government released a 229-page list of serious allegations going back to 2004. They range from involvement with prostitutes to sexual assault to improper use of weapons. It is unclear how many of the accusations were ever confirmed. The Secret Service has come under scrutiny since a dozen employees were implicated in a prostitution scandal in April.

Niagara Falls will be in the spotlight tonight when daredevil Nik Wallenda attempts to cross on a two-inch tightrope. Wallenda will have to walk 1,800 feet on a cable suspended nearly 200 feet above the rushing water. It is the first time since 1896 that U.S. and Canadian authorities have allowed a tightrope artist to attempt a crossing. Wallenda will wear a tether to save him in case he falls. ABC insisted on it, in return for televising the stunt tonight.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.