News Wrap: Male Student Stabs Victims at Texas College
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HARI SREENIVASAN: A student allegedly stabbed at least 14 people today at a Texas college just outside Houston. Two were critically wounded. Police said the attacker ran from building to building at Lone Star Community College. He said later they have a male suspect in custody. There was no word on what kind of weapon was used or what the motive was.
ExxonMobil has been ordered to pay $236 million dollars to the state of New Hampshire for contaminating groundwater. A state court jury found the oil giant liable today for damage done by the gasoline additive MTBE. After a three-month trial, it took the jury less than two hours to agree on a verdict and damages. New Hampshire sued ExxonMobil 10 years ago. The company plans to appeal the verdict.
North Korea pounded out a new note today in its drumbeat of war warnings. This time, the message was aimed at foreigners in the South: Leave while you can.
We have a report from John Sparks of Independent Television News.
JOHN SPARKS, Independent Television News: In this frenzied war of words the North Koreans today delivered a warning, issued, as ever, in feverish tones.
“Foreigners in South Korea should seek shelter or evacuate,” she said, “because the region is on the brink of war.”
The city of Seoul, the South Korean capital, seemed to shrug off the threat of thermonuclear war. The traffic moved. Pedestrians shopped as normal. Yet, this time, the regime has picked a new target: foreign travelers and companies, new groups to lecture and unnerve.
MAN: Given how close we are to the border, that you just have to grin and bear it. I mean, yes, there’s a very small chance that something really dramatic would happen, and if that happens, we’re not going to have a whole lot of warning.
JOHN SPARKS: The South Korean military is taking the threat seriously. An artillery unit fired live rounds in a drill with the U.S. today. And Seoul has promised to retaliate forcefully in the event of an attack.
The Japanese aren’t taking any chances, moving Patriot missiles into the capital, Tokyo, the fear, that the North Koreans are now ready to test a medium-range ballistic missile. Japan says it will shoot it down even if it’s passing over the country into the Pacific.
“Such provocative acts won’t help you,” said the country’s cabinet secretary.
Not everyone’s been put off by the trouble. The North Koreans opened the doors to a group of foreign tourists and businessmen today and they seemed happy to make the trip. Their welcome in the capital sits uneasily with advice given by the North Koreans last Friday. Diplomats were told to evacuate. From tomorrow, their safety can no longer be guaranteed, said the regime. Yet the streets of Pyongyang seem peaceful. This is not a nation outwardly preparing for conflict.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Also today, the top American commander in the Pacific, Adm. Samuel Locklear, said tensions with North Korea are the worst since the Korean War. But he told a Senate hearing that the U.S. has the capability to intercept a North Korean missile, if it needs to.
Iran announced today that it’s upgrading two uranium sites related to its nuclear program. The news came just days after the latest nuclear talks with the world powers fell flat. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered the expansion of a uranium mine and processing facility via videoconference, and he sounded a new note of defiance.
PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, Iran: You did all you could to prevent Iran from going nuclear. Well, Iran has gone nuclear. Now do you want to take it away from us? After all, it’s good to use your wisdom in politics. You could not block our access to nuclear technology when we didn’t have it. How can you take it from our hands now that we have it?
HARI SREENIVASAN: Also today, an earthquake struck in the vicinity of a nuclear site in southern Iran. The quake killed at least 32 people and injured at least 800 more, but the government said the nuclear facility was undamaged.
Two U.S. troops have died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. The NATO aircraft went down today in the eastern Nangarhar province. Officials said there was no enemy activity in the area at the time.
In South Sudan, armed rebels ambushed a U.N. convoy today, killing five peacekeepers from India and seven civilians. It happened in Jonglei state. A spokesman for South Sudan’s army blamed a militia backed by the government of Sudan. South Sudan became its own country in 2011, six years after ending a decades-long civil war with Sudan.
A spring snowstorm brought back winter to large parts of the U.S. today. Wyoming had a record low of 14 degrees, plus more than a foot of snow and winds that gusted to 71 miles an hour. Elsewhere, some 500 flights were canceled at Denver International Airport, and many departures were delayed so that planes could be deiced. Freezing rain, snow, and strong winds also hit Kansas, South Dakota, and Minnesota.
The University of Louisville basked in the glow today of a national basketball championship. The Louisville men beat Michigan last night in Atlanta 82-76. It was the third national title overall for the Cardinals, and their first since 1986. Louisville gets another chance to celebrate tonight, when the women’s team plays Connecticut for the women’s national championship.
On Wall Street, a surge in the price of commodities helped push stocks higher. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 60 points to close at 14,673. The Nasdaq rose 15 points to close near 3,238. Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Gwen.