News Wrap: Justice Department Sues North Carolina Over New Voting Law
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GWEN IFILL: The brinksmanship in Washington did little to reassure Wall Street today. Stocks fell amid fears the government might shut down, and that Congress might also fail to raise the debt limit next month, triggering a national default. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 128 points to close at 15,129. The Nasdaq fell 10 points to close at 3,771.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned President Obama today to keep sanctions in place against Iran, despite a potential diplomatic warming. The two men met at the White House. The prime minister said it will take more than words to resolve his concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. More on this later in the program.
The Justice Department has filed suit against the state of North Carolina over alleged racial discrimination in voting rules. A new state law scales back the period for early voting and imposes strict voter identification requirements.
In Washington today, Attorney General Eric Holder said it’s clear the law’s main target would be black voters.
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. Attorney General: We stand here today to announce this lawsuit more in sorrow than in anger. It pains me to see the voting rights of my fellow citizens negatively impacted by actions predicated on a rationale that is tenuous at best and on concerns that we all know in fact are not real.
GWEN IFILL: North Carolina, Texas, and other states have moved to tighten voting laws since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act this year.
Bank of America will pay $32 million to settle charges it made thousands of debt collection robo-calls to cell phones. Under a 1991 law, the calls are illegal without the customer’s consent. The bank denied the allegations, but said it settled to avoid paying more legal fees. It faced multiple class-action lawsuits involving nearly eight million customers.
In Iraq, the latest spate of bombings left more than 50 people dead. Nearly a dozen car bombs went off around mostly Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad over the weekend. The explosions left streets and markets littered with rubble. Iraq’s Interior Ministry blamed insurgents linked to al-Qaida.
The prime minister of Greece vowed today to do whatever it takes to eradicate the extreme-right Golden Dawn party. Half-a-dozen of its neo-Nazi leaders were taken into custody over the weekend.
Paul Mason of Independent Television News has this report.
GWEN IFILL: The leadership of the Greek far right, including six M.P.s, arrested and indicted for organized crime.
And they’re not going quietly. Christos Pappas is the strategist of Golden Dawn. His indictment, together with that of five more M.P.s, has changed the political situation here overnight. Police say they found weapons in his villa and some photos of Adolf Hitler.
And here is the prosecution report, seven pages, 32 charges and one chilling word, “Fuhrerprinzip,” Hitler’s leadership rule, which it says Golden Dawn followed to the letter. Golden Dawn shot to prominence when it won 7 percent in the last Greek election. Its supporters doled out violence against migrants, but free food for Greeks. Meanwhile, the police seemed unwilling to react.
But when this man, Pavlos Fyssas, an anti-fascist rapper, was murdered two weeks ago, police came under intense public pressure and now have swooped on the party, declaring it an organized criminal gang. The Greek Parliament today moved to cut off Golden Dawn’s state subsidy. And for the ruling party, it’s been a lesson learned.
ADONIS GEORGIADES, Greek Health Minister: For many, many years in Greece, we had a great tolerance of violence. Violence in Greece is over. We don’t care who makes the action, but the law will rule, and whoever is violent, he will face the law.
GWEN IFILL: Tonight, three police officers who have been assigned as close protection to Golden Dawn M.P.s were suspended for illegally possessing ammunition. The rise of Golden Dawn has tracked Greece’s descent into financial crisis in recent years.
The New York Times reported today that a leaked al-Qaida terror plot may have damaged counterterror efforts more than disclosures by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. The report found that there’s been a marked drop in al-Qaida leaders’ use of major communication channels since the plot became public in August. Word of the plot led to temporary closures at 19 U.S. embassies and consulates.
The 20th century’s two most influential popes, John Paul II and John XXIII, will be canonized as saints next April 27. The Vatican set the date today, and officials said retired Pontiff Benedict XVI may join Pope Francis in the ceremony.