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News Wrap: Colorado Floods Leave Hundreds Stranded

September 16, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT
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GWEN IFILL: The United States and key allies pressed today for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons, under an agreement worked out with Russia. They also called for the U.N. to authorize military action if Damascus balks.

At the same time, a report by U.N. inspectors confirmed sarin nerve gas was used in Syria last month. It didn’t assign blame. We will have more on the Syria they shortly.

The death toll in the Colorado flash flooding rose to seven today, with hundreds more still stranded in cut-off communities. Water spread across large tracts of Boulder and Larimer counties, and officials said the overall flood zone was roughly the size of Delaware. At least 1,500 homes were destroyed with more than 17,000 damaged. Residents of what’s left of the town of Lyons weren’t sure what comes next.

JEM MOORE, flood victim: We will be looking for a place to live and keeping an eye on things here. Luckily, both my wife and I have jobs that allow us to keep working even though we’re not in Lyons, so we will just take it day by day and see how long it is until they let us back in.

GWEN IFILL: The flooding was triggered by days of heavy rain that continued through the weekend.

In Iraq, Shiites in several cities spent the day assessing the damage, after a bloody Sunday of bombings and shootings. More than 150 people were being treated in hospitals across the country; 58 were killed in the attacks in Baghdad and elsewhere. They were the latest victims in a wave of violence that has claimed more than 4,000 lives since April.

The hulk of a shipwrecked cruise liner, the Costa Concordia, was slowly lifted from an Italian reef today; 32 people died in January 2012 when it capsized off Tuscany. Engineers worked through the day in one of the most ambitious marine salvage operations ever. Tourists and locals looked on, joined by a brother of one of the two victims who were never found.

KEVIN REBELLO, brother of Costa Concordia victim: I hope they find something. And my aim is, like, since last 20 months, what is going on is hoping to take his body, whatever the remains are in this case. And a complete body won’t be found, because nature in these 20 months has done its — has done what it could do — to give him a decent burial.

GWEN IFILL: Once the ship is upright, engineers plan to tow it away to be scrapped.

Democrats in New York City won’t have to hold a runoff to pick their nominee for mayor after all. Bill de Blasio, who led the field in last week’s primary, locked up the nomination today when rival Bill Thompson withdrew. De Blasio will face Republican Joe Lhota in November’s general election. The winner will succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who’s finishing his third term.

The White House said today President Obama still intends to nominate someone to replace departing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke later this fall. Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers dropped out of consideration on Sunday. He said his Senate confirmation would be too acrimonious, with some Democrats opposing his ties with Wall Street.

Still, White House spokesman Jay Carney defended Summers’ past service.

JAY CARNEY, White House Press Secretary: Larry clearly was in the trenches here, making some tough decisions with the president, make some tough recommendations on policy that were often not popular, but proved to be the right things to do for our economy.

GWEN IFILL: With Summers’ exit, Janet Yellen, the Fed’s vice chair, could become the new front-runner for the top job.

On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 118 points to close at 15,494. The Nasdaq fell four points to close below 3,718.

The new Miss America spent her first day on the job as the first winner of Indian heritage. Nina Davuluri was crowned last night in Atlantic City, New Jersey, competing as Miss New York. Today, she dismissed criticism from social media users complaining about her Indian background. She said she sees herself as first and foremost American.