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News Wrap: Credit Suisse enters plea deal in tax evasion case

May 19, 2014 at 6:02 PM EDT
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GWEN IFILL: European banking giant Credit Suisse AG admitted today it illegally helped wealthy Americans dodge taxes. The bank entered a federal plea deal and agreed to pay $2.6 billion in penalties. It’s part of a crackdown on foreign banks allegedly hiding U.S. taxpayer assets offshore.

AT&T pledged today to redefine the video entertainment industry if it’s allowed to buy satellite TV provider DirecTV. The deal, valued at $48.5 billion, would create the nation’s second largest pay TV operator. Comcast and Time Warner Cable would be the largest, under a merger proposed in February. Both deals are subject to federal approval.

British drugmaker AstraZeneca has rejected a final $119 billion takeover offer from American rival Pfizer. The move ends Pfizer’s long battle to form the world’s largest drug company. AstraZeneca says the bid didn’t reflect its true value.

The Balkans struggled today with the worst flooding in more than a century. At least 35 people were dead, and thousands more were forced to flee. Across Serbia, the raging Sava River submerged entire towns, prompting mass evacuations. Crews built a wall of sandbags around the country’s main power plant to protect it.

Meanwhile, in Sarajevo, Bosnia’s foreign minister said the damage there is immense.

ZLATKO LAGUMDZIJA, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bosnia: The country is destroyed as a country. We have literally tens of thousands and thousands of people who — people who went out of business, who lost everything. The country is devastated, 2,000 landslides in a country like this.

GWEN IFILL: The foreign minister also said the flood has destroyed about 100,000 homes.

In Turkey, authorities formally arrested two more people in last week’s mining disaster that killed 301 people. That makes five executives and supervisors of the mining firm now charged with negligent death. Others are still being questioned. Also today, Turkish news reports said mine officials ignored high levels of toxic gas days before the incident.

The death toll in Syria’s three-year-old civil war has now exceeded 160,000 people. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London issued the figure today. The United Nations stopped attempting its own count last July at 100,000.

Libya faced growing turmoil today after a violent weekend in Tripoli. On Sunday, forces loyal to a renegade general stormed the parliament building, leaving windows smashed. Later, the soldiers withdrew. Today, the commander of Libya’s special forces joined forces with the general against Islamist militants. But the overall army chief ordered those militias to defend the capital. That left many appealing for peace.

TAHA ABDULALL (through interpreter): What happened should never have happened. We Libyans should have reconciliation between us. I want to say to all the Libyan people that we should stand by the government and support the legitimate authorities of the country.

GWEN IFILL: Libya’s central government has struggled to assert control since longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown three years ago.

Iraq’s ruling coalition is the big winner in last month’s parliamentary elections. Results released today show Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Shiite supporters won 92 seats out of 328. Al-Maliki will need the support of other groups to build a new governing majority.

Back in this country, a Mississippi man was sentenced today to 25 years in federal prison for sending letters laced with ricin to President Obama. James Everett Dutschke pleaded guilty last week to mailing the letters to the president and to a Mississippi senator and a judge. Prosecutors said it was all a plot to frame another man.

Former New York Times editor Jill Abramson spoke out today for the first time since being fired last week. She addressed graduates at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and said it hurt to lose a job she loved. But she recalled her father saying, when bad things happen, you must show what you are made of.

JILL ABRAMSON, Former Executive Editor, The New York Times: And now I’m talking to anyone who’s been dumped…

(LAUGHTER)

JILL ABRAMSON: … you bet — not gotten the job you really wanted or received those horrible rejection letters from grad school. You know the sting of losing or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of.

GWEN IFILL: The Times publisher denies Abramson’s gender had anything to do with her dismissal. Instead, he cited management problems ranging from arbitrary decisions to public abuse of colleagues.

The Supreme Court agreed today to allow a copyright lawsuit over MGM’s Oscar-winning movie “Raging Bull.” The 1980 film told the story of boxer Jake LaMotta. In 2009, a woman whose screenwriter-father collaborated with LaMotta sued for royalties. Today, the court rejected MGM’s argument that she’d waited too long to sue.

This was a relatively quiet Monday on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 20 points to close near 16,512. The Nasdaq rose 35 points to close near 4,126. And the S&P added seven to finish at 1,885.