News Wrap: United Kingdom Reports Recession Worse than Expected
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The U.S. housing market sent another signal of uneven recovery today. The Commerce Department reported new home sales fell in June to a five-month low. They’d been up sharply in May.
The news kept Wall Street down for much of the day. But, in the end, the Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 58 points to break a three-day losing streak and close at 12,676. The Nasdaq fell eight points to close at 2,854.
The British economy has sunk much deeper into recession than first thought. Newly released figures today showed economic output fell by 0.7 percent from April through June. The numbers could increase pressure on the Conservative-led government to dial back its austerity policies.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner today defended his response to problems with a benchmark lending rate. The LIBOR, set in London, governs rates for financial contracts worldwide. In 2008, Geithner was head of the Federal Reserve in New York when he learned that a major British bank, Barclays, was keeping the rate artificially low.
He told a House hearing today that he notified superiors at the Fed and regulators in Britain.
TREASURY SECRETARY TIMOTHY GEITHNER: Our first instinct, as you might expect, at that point was to go to the British, and they said, we agree with you, we’re on it.
Now, we didn’t know whether that was going to be sufficient or not. So, we also did, I think, the appropriate thing. And we went and briefed the relevant authorities with enforcement authority and responsibility for fraud and manipulation.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Republicans at the hearing said Geithner should have told Congress what he knew as well.
The first of the funerals was held today for the victims of the Colorado shootings. The governor and some 150 other mourners gathered at a service in Aurora for Gordon Cowden. He was 51, the oldest of the dozen people killed at a movie theater last Friday. Meanwhile, state figures showed a surge in weekend gun sales across Colorado. Background checks for would-be buyers were up 40 percent from a week earlier.
Officials in Anaheim, Calif., are appealing for calm. The city endured a fourth night of trouble overnight, after the weekend killings of two Hispanic men by police. A peaceful rally turned violent, with protesters throwing rocks and bottles and smashing storefronts.
Hundreds of officers in riot gear used batons and fired beanbag rounds to disperse the crowd. At least two dozen people were arrested.
Today, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said the city means to stop any further violence.
TOM TAIT, mayor of Anaheim, Calif.: Vandalism, arson, and other forms of violent protests will simply not be tolerated in our city. We don’t expect last night’s situation to be repeated, but, if it should, the police response will be the same: swift and appropriate.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Last night’s rioting went on for seven hours. And, this afternoon, the mother of one of the men killed over the weekend made an emotional plea for peace.
GENEVIEVE HUIZAR, mother of victim: Please, please, please stop the violence. It’s not going to bring my son back. It’s not. And this is the worst thing any mother could go through.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So far this year, there have been six shootings by Anaheim police. Five were fatal. The U.S. Justice Department agreed today to do its own review of the two latest incidents.
In northeastern India, thousands of troops fanned out to halt an outbreak of ethnic killing. The trouble erupted in western Assam state last week, late last week, between members of the ethnic Bodo community and Muslim settlers.
So far, nearly 40 people have died, and some 200,000 have been forced to flee. Troops now have orders to shoot rioters on sight.
British border control workers have canceled plans for a 24-hour strike tomorrow, the day before the London Olympic Games open. The union representing the workers said today that talks with the government had made progress on pay and employment issues.
Also today, nine Olympic track athletes were suspended for doping. And Greece expelled one of its triple-jumpers after she tweeted a racist joke about African immigrants.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.