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Other News: Europe Marks Armistice Day

November 11, 2009 at 12:00 AM EST
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In other news, leaders across Europe commemorated the 91st anniversary of the end of World War I, and 11 people died in a pair of attacks in northwestern Pakistan.
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JIM LEHRER: In other news today, this was also the 91st anniversary of the end of the First World War. And, for the first time, the leaders of France and Germany marked the occasion together. French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel took part in a joint ceremony in Paris. Sarkozy said the two countries’ friendship is sealed with blood. It’s estimated more than 16 million people died in World War I.

On the Fort Hood shooting suspect, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, there was word officials at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington questioned whether he was psychotic when he worked there. National Public Radio reported they feared he would help militants or turn on fellow soldiers if he were sent overseas. They decided against taking action, partly to avoid claims of anti-Muslim bias.

The sniper who stalked the Washington, D.C., area in 2002 went to his death last night still refusing to talk. John Allen Muhammad was executed by lethal injection in Virginia for one of 10 murders. But he never explained his actions at his trial or last night.

LARRY TRAYLOR, communications director, Virginia Department of Corrections: I never heard him utter a word or say anything in particular at all. After he was placed on the gurney and strapped down, he was very emotionless. He watched a bit of the procedure that was being done on him. But, after that was completed and the curtains were opened back up, he had his head tilted slightly to the right, and his eyes were closed. And that’s the way he remained.

JIM LEHRER: Muhammad’s accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, is serving a life sentence without parole in Virginia. He was 17 years old at the time of the killings.

The former Blackwater security firm faces allegations of a bribery scheme involving Iraqi officials. The New York Times reported today, former executives sent about $1 million to the company’s Baghdad office in late 2007. The report said the money was meant to silence criticism by Iraqi officials, after Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians. It was unclear if the payments were ever made. The company, now known as Xe Corp., said the claims were baseless.

The lights were back on in Brazil today, after widespread power outages across much of the country overnight. As many as 60 million people across 18 states were left in the dark for hours. Southeastern Brazil was most affected, including the country’s two largest cities, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo. Authorities blamed storms that tore down power lines and knocked a huge hydroelectric dam offline.

The Mormon Church has publicly endorsed a piece of gay rights legislation for the first time. Last night, the City Council of Salt Lake City, Utah, voted to ban discrimination against gays in housing and employment. A Mormon Church spokesman said the new laws are fair and reasonable and do not undercut the institution of marriage.

The brown pelican is coming off the endangered species list after 39 years. The Interior Department announced that today. The bird was nearly wiped out by use of the pesticide DDT and other factors. But Interior officials said, healthy populations have returned to Florida, the Gulf states, and the West Coast.

Wall Street made small gains today. The Dow Jones industrial average added 44 points, to close at 10291. The Nasdaq rose more than 15 points, to close near 2167.