HARI SREENIVASAN: Wall Street surged sharply higher today. Stocks soared amid hopes that European leaders are finally making headway in their long-running debt battle. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 278 points to close at 12,880. The Nasdaq rose 85 points to close at 2,935. For the week, the Dow gained nearly 2 percent; the Nasdaq rose 1.5 percent.
Also today, the price of oil jumped $7, more than 9 percent, to finish near $85 a barrel.
Congress has approved a compromise bill to hold down interest rates on student loans and fund transportation programs. The bill won easy bipartisan support in the House and Senate today. It prevents student loan rates from doubling, as of Sunday, to 6.8 percent. And it provides $100 billion for highway and other projects over the next two years.
A Florida judge began weighing today whether to grant bond a second time for George Zimmerman, the man accused in the Trayvon Martin killing. Zimmerman has admitted to shooting the 17-year-old Martin in February, but he has insisted that he acted in self-defense after Martin attacked him.
Today, prosecutors and defense lawyers argued over whether Zimmerman and his wife lied at an April bond hearing. At the time, they never mentioned raising $135,000 on a legal defense website.
BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, assistant state attorney: It was done to hide the money, so that they could deceive the court, lie to the court. Ms. Zimmerman lied to the court, and this defendant just sat there and allowed it to happen, because he, quite frankly, was manipulating the whole thing. He was using his wife as a conduit to do this.
MARK O'MARA, attorney for George Zimmerman: I ask for some consideration that it is not the grand conspiracy that the state seems to suggest through their presentation and their motions and through the cross- examination of the witnesses so far, that it just wasn't.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The judge had initially granted Zimmerman's release on $150,000 bond. He revoked the bond this month, after learning about the legal defense money and sent Zimmerman back to jail. There was no indication today when the judge will issue a new ruling.
Attorney General Eric Holder will not face criminal prosecution for contempt of Congress. Republicans in the U.S. House voted the contempt citation yesterday, saying Holder withheld documents on a failed gun-smuggling investigation. But the Justice Department said today that, since the president invoked executive privilege, there is no crime to investigate. The House can still ask a federal court to make Holder hand over the documents.
The brother of financier Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty today to falsifying documents in a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. Peter Madoff has said he didn't learn of the scam until late 2008, despite decades of working with his brother. Still, he admitted in federal court in New York that he fabricated investment results. He now faces a 10-year prison sentence. Bernard Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence.
Monsoon flooding in northeastern India has left hundreds of thousands of people cut off, and at least 27 were confirmed dead. In recent days, nearly one million people in the state of Assam have been forced from their homes. The Brahmaputra River has swamped 2,000 villages. Rescue operations were under way, but heavy rains hampered the effort.
Those are some of the day's major stories.