News Wrap: Jurors Signal Deadlock on Some Charges in Blagojevich Trial
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HARI SREENIVASAN: A federal jury in Chicago told the judge they are deadlocked in the corruption trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Jurors told the judge they cannot reach agreement on some of the 24 counts. The judge is now asking them to clarify what that means.
Blagojevich has denied charges that he tried to sell or trade an appointment to fill President Obama’s vacated Senate seat.
Gunmen in Iraq killed eight soldiers today by using children to lure them into a trap. The insurgents killed three adults in a house in Diyala Province. Then they sent the surviving children to a nearby checkpoint to get help. When the troops arrived, the gunmen blew up the house.
The death toll from weekend flooding and landslides in Northwestern China has topped 1,100. Chinese troops and rescue teams combed through hardened mud and debris today, searching for more than 600 people who are still missing. Crews also sprayed the disaster zone with disinfectant to prevent the spread of disease. Forecasters are predicting more heavy rain in the coming days, which could touch off new landslides.
In Russia, wildfires threatened to unleash radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. It was the latest danger in a disaster that shows no sign of ending soon.
We have a report narrated by Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: Russia’s forests are the biggest in the world, and now they are on fire in the hottest summer here since records began, sparking widespread anger at how this emergency has been handled, for it was only in week three of this crisis that the army was called in to help put out some of over 25,000 separate fires burning across the country.
Outside the village of Petrushino, just 30 miles from Moscow, people fought the flames on their own for more than 10 days before the military arrived.
YELENA RYABOVA, leader, Petrushino Village (through translator): We were fighting together, men, women, old and young, even dacha owners. We were scattered in the fields and woods using whatever tools we had, shovels, axes, saws, and buckets of water.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: Today, officials confirmed that fires have spread to forests contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. The soil there is radioactive, and particles could become airborne in billowing smoke, though officials claim they are mounting extra firefighting patrols and that there is no cause for panic.
The drought is expected to ruin up to a third of Russia’s wheat harvest, and could cut $15 billion from the country’s overall economic output.
HARI SREENIVASAN: A tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico lost strength today, and forecasters said it could dissipate. For now, though, a tropical storm warning was in effect for much of the Gulf Coast from Destin, Florida, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana. As a precaution, crews at the oil spill site stopped drilling a relief well until the storm passes.
Former Congressman Dan Rostenkowski died today at his home in Wisconsin. The Chicago Democrat served 18 terms and chaired the powerful Ways and Means Committee. During the Reagan era, he was the leading architect of congressional tax policy. But he was defeated in 1994, after being charged with misusing government and campaign funds.
Rostenkowski later served 17 months in prison for mail fraud, but President Clinton pardoned him in 2000. He was 82 years old.
Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Jim.