KWAME HOLMAN: U.S. troops in Afghanistan opened fire on a passenger bus today and killed four civilians. There were conflicting accounts of how it happened. The incident sparked anti-American protests on the main highway out of Kandahar. Crowds chanted, “Death to America,” and called for the downfall of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Karzai himself condemned the shooting as a violation of NATO’s promise to safeguard civilians.
In Pakistan, local officials reported, 41 insurgents and two soldiers were killed when the militants attacked two checkpoints. It happened in the northwest tribal region of Orakai — or Orakai — Orakzai — excuse me — when an offensive began last month to root out the Taliban fighters. The U.N. reported today more than 200,000 Pakistanis have fled the region to escape the fighting.
The political crisis in Thailand deepened further today. The election commission ordered the ruling party be dissolved for allegedly misusing campaign donations. And the coffins of 21 anti-government protesters were paraded through the streets of Bangkok. They died Saturday in violent clashes with soldiers.
The prime minister has refused to resign, but, today, the army chief appeared to support calls for his resignation.
GEN. ANUPONG PAOCHINDA, chief of army, Thailand (through translator): If the issue can’t be resolved through political means, I understand that the dissolution of parliament has to come. Some people have suggested a government of national unity. I don’t know. I will leave the matter to them. I only want peace. That’s all I’m asking.
KWAME HOLMAN: The protesters have insisted on new elections.
Search crews went inside a West Virginia coal mine today to recover the bodies of the last nine miners from last week’s deadly explosion. Twenty-nine men were killed. A team of federal investigators also was scheduled to arrive today to begin work on what caused the blast.
A new debt assistance deal for Greece won a favorable response on world markets today. On Sunday, European leaders agreed to lend the Greek government up to $40 billion if it’s needed. The International Monetary Fund would contribute another $13 billion. The move eased fears that Greece could default on its debt.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained eight points, closing above 11000 for the first time since September of 2008. The Nasdaq rose more than three points to close near 2458.
The 2010 Pulitzer Prizes were announced today. The Washington Post led the way with four awards. The Herald Courier of Bristol, Virginia, with only seven reporters, took the public service prize for stories on mismanaged natural gas royalties. And ProPublica shared an award for investigative reporting, a first for an online news organization.
Among the arts winners, the drama prize went to “Next to Normal,” a musical about a mentally ill woman and her family. And Liaquat Ahamed won the history prize for “Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World,” about the run-up to the Great Depression.
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 on the NewsHour’s Web site tonight — for now, back to Jim.