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News Wrap: ‘Decisive Phase’ Ahead in Afghan War, Gates Says

March 9, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST
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In other news Tuesday, two NATO soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan as Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited troops on the front lines. President Obama also met with visiting Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou about his country's budget crisis
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TRANSCRIPT

HARI SREENIVASAN: Two NATO troops were killed in Eastern Afghanistan today. They died in a suicide bombing at a remote base near the city of Khost. There was no immediate word on the victims’ nationalities.

To the south, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited front-line troops near Kandahar on the second day of his visit to the country. He said a coming offensive there will be a decisive phase in the war.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou appealed for U.S. support today, as he tries to resolve a debt crisis. He met with President Obama at the White House, and he said he urged the president to crack down on speculators betting that Greece will default. Papandreou spoke later, outside the White House, after the closed-door meeting.

GEORGE PAPANDREOU, Greek prime minister: We’re not asking for a bailout. We’re not asking for financial help from anyone. What we are doing is, first of all, revamping our own economy. We are taking measures to put our economy on the right track. And — and that has been recognized and has been hailed by many leaders, and, as I said earlier, also from very important institutions, such as the IMF and the European Central Bank.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The Greek government has already adopted major spending cuts and tax increases. But the austerity measures have sparked violent protests.

Wall Street managed small gains today, one year after bottoming out. The Dow Jones industrial average added nearly 12 points, to close at 10564. The Dow has risen more than 60 percent in the last 12 months. The Nasdaq rose eight points today to close at 2340.

A Rutgers University graduate student pleaded guilty today to a security breach that fouled flight schedules worldwide. Haisong Jiang slipped under a security rope last January at Newark Liberty International Airport. That triggered an alert which delayed or canceled 200 flights worldwide. Today, Jiang apologized in court and said, “I made a big mistake, and I also learned a big lesson.” He faces a $500 fine and community service.

The first gay marriages in Washington, D.C., were performed today. About 150 same-sex couples were eligible after applying for licenses last week. Local courts said they will now pronounce newlyweds as legally married, rather than man and wife.

The nation’s capital joins — joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont as the sixth place in the nation to allow gay marriage.

Those are some of the day’s main stories. I will be back at the end of the program with a preview of what you will find tonight on the “NewsHour”‘s Web site — but, for now, back to Jim.