News Wrap: Rajat Gupta Pleads Not Guilty to Insider Trading Charges
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta pleaded not guilty today to federal charges of insider trading. He surrendered this morning in New York City, and was released later on $10 million bail. Gupta is accused in the largest insider trading case in history. He allegedly aided Raj Rajaratnam, a former billionaire hedge fund manager who’s been sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Wall Street racked up late gains on reports that China might invest in a financial bailout fund for European countries. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 162 points to close at 11,869. The Nasdaq rose 12 points to close above 2,650.
The casualty count from Sunday’s devastating earthquake in Turkey rose again today to 461 killed and more than 1,300 people injured. At the same time, three more people were rescued, including this teacher. She was carried away after being pulled from a collapsed building. Workers continued the search with shovels, but the chances of finding more survivors were dwindling.
In Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan blamed shoddy construction, led to the large number of dead and injured.
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish prime minister (through translator): We see that people are paying the price for concrete that virtually turned to sand or for weakened concrete blocks on the ground floors. Municipalities, constructors and supervisors should now see that their negligence amounts to murder.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The prime minister also acknowledged problems in sending aid to thousands of people who lost their homes in the quake. The Turkish Red Crescent reported 17 aid trucks were looted before the supplies could be distributed.
Thousands of people jammed roads leading away from Bangkok, Thailand, today, as rising floodwaters swamped more of the city. Elsewhere, vast swathes of countryside remain underwater.
We have a report from John Sparks of Independent Television News, who traveled to a town north of Bangkok.
JOHN SPARKS: Our journey began in the back of a Thai air force chopper filled up with donations, with rice and water. We were heading to a place we’d never heard of called Ban Gudi (ph). The people need help there, said the pilots. They’re trapped by the inland sea.
We flew over the deluge, where the floodwaters spread to the horizon. And it was here that the pilots began their descent. Down below, somewhere, was Ban Gudi. We saw small boats gathering in anticipation and our helicopter’s contents were flung over the side.
There’s really no other way to get here. The alternative, say the pilots, is a seven-hour boat trip, and we’re only 80 kilometers from the capital. These people are completely cut off.
The worst flooding in decades has forced two million people out of their homes. Hundreds of thousands now camp on the country’s highways. Yet, we’d come to find the residents of Ban Gudi, and we drove until the road gave out.
They collected us by boat, a delegation from the town anxious to show us how they have been living.
How long has Ban Gudi been cut off by the waters?
MAN (through translator): Almost two months now, two months.
JOHN SPARKS: Two thousand people live in the area and, incredibly, the majority have stayed put, we were told. We found two women in canoes, and I asked them how they passed the day.
WOMAN (through translator): We don’t do much. Sometimes, we catch fish to get something to eat. We have some rice donated to us to keep us going. What else can we do?
JOHN SPARKS: Marooned on a sea of stagnant water, this the cause of great hardship, but it won’t drain quickly from a waterlogged nation. There are months left to endure on the inland sea.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The monsoon floods in Thailand have killed more than 370 people since July.
In Syria, thousands of President Bashar al-Assad’s supporters rallied in Damascus today. They turned out hours before a delegation from the Arab League arrived. The league has called for talks with the opposition, instead of military assaults.
Meanwhile, activists said at least nine Syrians were killed by security forces today. And nine soldiers died when a grenade hit their bus.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.