HARI SREENIVASAN: The U.S. death toll in Afghanistan grew again today. Four American troops, a French soldier, and four Afghan troops were killed in separate attacks. Fourteen Americans have died in the fighting so far this month.
And, for 2009, the U.N. reported the death toll among Afghan civilians was the highest since the war began. More than 2,400 Afghans died in violence last year, 14 percent more than the year before. Seventy percent of those deaths were attributed to Taliban attacks.
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to give broad antitrust protection to the National Football League. The league argued for that status today for purposes of selling NFL-branded merchandise. The case involved a headgear company that sued the NFL over being shut out of a licensing deal. Major League Baseball is currently the only professional sports league with full antitrust protection.
In economic news, a White House report today credited the economic stimulus package with creating or saving two million jobs. The president’s Council of Economic advisers said economic growth last year would have been two percentage points lower without the stimulus, meaning roughly two million fewer jobs than there are now. Republicans have sharply criticized the administration’s counting methods.
The rally has resumed on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 53 points today, to close above 10,680. The Nasdaq rose more than 25 points, to close just under 2,308.