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News Wrap: Rangel Faces Ethics Charges

July 22, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Longtime Congressman Charles Rangel will face

multiple ethics charges in the U.S. House. The announcement today means the veteran Democrat will be tried before a House ethics panel. The charges stem from his financial, tax and real estate dealings. But Rangel said he’s ready to defend himself.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL, D-N.Y.: I feel extraordinarily good that my

supporters over 40 years will be able to evaluate what they come up with. And I don’t have any fear at all, politically or personally, what they come up with.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Rangel stepped down last March as chairman of the

powerful Ways and Means Committee.

Senate Democrats gave up today on an energy bill to cap carbon dioxide

emissions. The measure would have charged utilities and other industries that contribute to climate change. Republicans balked at the bill. And, today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he cannot muster the 60 votes needed to advance it.

President Obama has now apologized to Shirley Sherrod, a former

Agriculture Department official in Georgia. She had been fired this week over race-tinged remarks at an NAACP event. They later proved to be taken out of

context.

White House senior aide David Axelrod told the “NewsHour” that the

president spoke to her this afternoon.

DAVID AXELROD, senior White House adviser: He called her simply because he wanted to express his regrets over what happened. She was done a disservice, a great disservice, by — by the administration, by the NAACP, by the news media, by all — everyone involved.

There was a rush to judgment that was unfair and maligned a good person. And the president felt strongly that he wanted to say that to her personally, and — and they had a good conversation.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Earlier, Sherrod said the president had not experienced some of things she has had to contend with in life. She has not said if she will accept a new position within the Agriculture Department.

A NATO helicopter went down in Southern Afghanistan today, killing two U.S. troops. The Taliban claimed it shot down the helicopter in Helmand Province. NATO said the cause was still under investigation. At least 50 Americans have died in Afghanistan this month.

In Iraq, four prisoners linked to al-Qaida have escaped from a prison outside Baghdad. The U.S. handed over the site, Camp Cropper, to the Iraqis last week. The country’s justice minister announced the escape, but gave no details. Other Iraqi officials said the prisoners had help from a guard.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Vietnam today to improve its human rights record. She was in Hanoi to mark the 15th anniversary of

normalized relations between the U.S. and Vietnam. Clinton welcomed the improved ties, but said the communist government must allow free speech.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. Secretary of State: Vietnam, with its extraordinary, dynamic population, is on the path to becoming a great nation with an unlimited potential. And that is among the reasons we expressed concern about arrest and conviction of people for peaceful dissent, attacks on religious groups, and curbs on Internet freedom.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Clinton also promised increased help with the lasting consequences of Agent Orange. The U.S. military made wide use of the defoliant during the Vietnam War, but it has since been linked to cancer and birth defects.

Computer maker Dell will pay $100 million to settle federal claims of fraudulent accounting. The Securities and Exchange Commission had brought the civil charges. It said Dell fixed its books to meet Wall Street targets for its earnings. The SEC said Dell also failed to disclose large payments from Intel in exchange for not using equipment by a rival firm.

For the record, Intel is an underwriter of the “NewsHour.”

The ancient site at Stonehenge in Southern England has a newly discovered neighbor. Archaeologists reported today they have uncovered the foundations of a second ceremonial monument a few hundred yards away. It was apparently a wooden version of the iconic stone circle. The main Stonehenge site dates back 3,500 years.

Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Jeff.