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News Wrap: Former New Orleans mayor gets 10-year prison sentence for corruption

July 9, 2014 at 6:02 PM EDT
In our news wrap Wednesday, Ray Nagin, who served as mayor of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. He accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, much of it involving rebuilding projects after the storm. Also, in Iraq, security forces found the bodies of 53 men near a mainly Shiite village. Most of the victims had been shot.
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GWEN IFILL: Thousands of people in the Northeast assessed damage and waited for the lights to come back on today, after severe storms rolled through last night. Five people were confirmed dead.

The worst was in Upstate New York, where a rarely seen tornado tore throughout the town of Smithfield. Winds of at least 100 miles an hour destroyed four homes, including one that was blown off its foundation and carried 150 yards.

Governor Andrew Cuomo visited today.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO , D, N.Y.: We don’t get tornadoes in New York. I have seen tornado damage in other parts of the country. I haven’t seen it in New York. We haven’t seen a house just gone, literally like a bomb exploded within the house, neighboring homes with 2x4s shot into the side of the home.

GWEN IFILL: The storm system struck from Virginia to Vermont; 200,000 customers were still without power today.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The mayor of New Orleans during the Hurricane Katrina period, Ray Nagin, is going to federal prison for 10 years for corrupt dealings. Nagin was sentenced today for bribery, money laundering and wire fraud, among other crimes. He accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, much of it involving rebuilding projects after the hurricane.

GWEN IFILL: In Iraq, security forces found the bodies of 53 men blindfolded and handcuffed. The corpses were near a mainly Shiite village about 60 miles southeast of Baghdad. Most of the victims had been shot. The motive for the attack remains unclear, but the discovery comes amid a Sunni insurgency in Northern and Western Iraq.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Civilian deaths from the violence in Afghanistan have spiked in the first half of this year to well over 1,500. The United Nations reported today the figure is up 17 percent over the same period last year. Taliban attacks were blamed for three-quarters of the deaths.

GWEN IFILL: From Germany today, more allegations of spying leveled at the U.S. The New York Times reports a worker in the Defense Ministry is now suspected of handing over secrets to American spies. That follows last week’s arrest of a German intelligence employee on similar charges.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Voters in Indonesia went to the polls today to pick their next president. Both candidates claimed victory, setting the stage for a possible legal battle to decide the winner. The three most reliable early surveys of the votes showed former Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo winning 52 percent. He celebrated with supporters in the capital city, Jakarta.

JOKO WIDODO, Presidential Candidate, Indonesia (through interpreter): The winning result published by some quick count agency is not a victory for me. It’s not a victory for the party. It’s not a victory for the campaign team. This is a victory for the people of Indonesia.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The surveys showed his opponent, former General Prabowo Subianto, with about 48 percent of the votes. But he refused to concede. Instead, he said other preliminary data showed he was in the lead. Final results are expected in about two weeks.

GWEN IFILL: Cyber-security and maritime disputes topped the agenda, as China and the U.S. opened annual talks in Beijing today. The U.S. has accused China of widespread computer hacking and has criticized its tougher stance on territorial claims. China charges the U.S. has encouraged Japan and other states to be too aggressive in the territorial disputes. The talks run for two days.

JUDY WOODRUFF: On Wall Street, stocks managed to regain some ground after sliding for two days. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 79 points to close at 16,985. The Nasdaq rose 27 points to close at 4,419. And the S&P 500 added nine to finish well over 1,972.