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News Wrap: Americans Pay Tribute to 9/11 Attacks on Anniversary

September 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Americans today marked the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and honored the nearly 3,000 victims. At Ground Zero in New York, reflecting pools now occupy the space where the Twin Towers once stood.

Today, family members and friends again read out the names of all who perished there. Elsewhere, separate ceremonies remembered those killed when another hijacked jetliner smashed into the Pentagon.

President Obama emphasized it takes more than military measures to fight terror.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Let us have the wisdom to know that while force is at times necessary, force alone cannot build the world we seek. So we recommit to the partnerships and progress that builds mutual respect and deepens trust and allows more people to live in dignity, prosperity and freedom.

JUDY WOODRUFF: There were also remembrances at the United Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. Officials broke ground on a new visitor center yesterday.

In Benghazi, Libya, a car bombing marked the first anniversary of the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. It tore through a wall of a Libyan Foreign Ministry building, scattering desks and filing cabinets amid the debris. There was no word of any serious casualties.

Meanwhile, the investigation of last year’s attack continues. The Washington Post reported this week that key suspects have been identified, but none are in custody.

A double bombing hit a Shiite mosque in Baghdad today, killing at least 35 Iraqis. Police said more than 50 people were wounded. They said a suicide bomber blew himself up, and then a car exploded nearby. Iraq has suffered mounting bloodshed since April, with 800 people killed in August alone.

North Korea may be restarting a nuclear reactor and fueling a new round of nuclear tensions. The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies reported the finding today, based on a new satellite image. Researchers said that a building at the Yongbyon nuclear site is putting out steam that suggests the reactor itself is ready to resume operations after six years. The reactor produces plutonium, used in nuclear bombs.

There’s major news out of East Africa today, where scientists have discovered enormous underground water reservoirs in Northern Kenya. The government says the aquifers could supply the country’s needs for 70 years.

We have a report from Martin Geissler of Independent Television News.

MARTIN GEISSLER: A thousand feet below this parched African plain, there is water, a lot of water, enough potentially to solve Kenya’s water problems forever.

Scientists have suspected it has been there for some time, but now using a new mapping system they have found it, they have measured it, and they are bringing it out of the ground.

MAN: We already changed the economy of this area, but we can change the economy progressively of all Kenya. And if we can do it in Kenya, we can do it everywhere.

MARTIN GEISSLER: This is the man who made the discovery, but the science he used is not new. He simply collected existing radar, satellite and geological charts and combined them to give one complete picture. He has used the technique to find oil in Africa in the past.

MAN: This is really one of the major discoveries in Africa from these last years.

MARTIN GEISSLER: The Kenyan government share that enthusiasm. They announced today they will use this system to map the country in search of more hidden reserves.

The United Nations’ scientific wing are backing the plan, but there is a note of caution: Don’t expect miracles overnight.

ABOU AMANI, UNESCO: We need to have investment. We need to put in place infrastructure and so and so on.

MARTIN GEISSLER: This whole region knows only too well the pain that drought can bring. UNESCO are now planning to roll this system out, not just across Kenya, but in Ethiopia and Somalia, too.

It’s a huge stretch to suggest this is a panacea for Africa, but in time they hope the system could help to seriously reduce the numbers on this continent who rely on these mountains of food aid to stay alive.

“I want to thank God and the people who brought us this water,” she says.

In time, millions more like her could be doing the same.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Currently, nearly half of the 41 million people living in Kenya lack access to clean drinking water.

Gun rights advocates claimed victory Tuesday in Colorado in a pair of recall elections. They ousted state Senate President John Morse and another Democrat who has backed tougher gun laws. Morse said he had — quote — “absolutely no regrets” about his stance.

In the New York City mayor’s race, it appeared that Democrat Bill de Blasio avoided a runoff by a whisker, pending a count of absentee ballots. Republicans nominated Joe Lhota.

On Wall Street, blue chip stocks shot up again, as jitters over Syria eased. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 135 points to close at 15,326. The Nasdaq slid four points to close at 3,725, after Apple dropped 5 percent. The tech giant’s loss came as investors registered disappointment with the new iPhone lineup announced yesterday.