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Other News: House OKs Consumer Protection Agency

October 22, 2009 at 12:00 AM EDT

JUDY WOODRUFF: In other news today: A key House committee voted to establish a new financial agency to safeguard consumers. It would be charged with preventing predatory mortgage lending and abuses involving credit cards, overdraft fees, and interest rates. The financial industry has argued the bill has too broad a reach.

Wall Street had a big day, after a batch of strong earnings reports. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 132 points, to close at 10081. The Nasdaq rose 14 points, to close at 2165.

Federal agents have carried out the largest strike yet at Mexican drug cartel operations. Officials announced today that they have arrested more than 300 people in 38 cities. They targeted the La Familia cartel and its operations.

In Washington today, Attorney General Eric Holder promised there’s more to come.

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. Attorney General: I think we have to work with our Mexican counterparts to really cut off the heads of these snakes and get at the heads of the car cartels, indict them, try them, either in Mexico or extradite them to the United States.

I mean, I think we have to use the same techniques that we used effectively against the mafia here in the United States, where you attack these organizations at all levels.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The La Familia cartel is one of the most violent of the Mexican drug rings. It’s said to have a vast network across the U.S. specializing in methamphetamine.

In Afghanistan, election officials began preparing for the presidential runoff on Nov. 7. New ballot boxes and voting kits started their journey to the far corners of the country. Some will be delivered with the assistance of U.N. planes and helicopters.

Also today, a British soldier was killed in an explosion in southern Helmand Province. And the secretary-general of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, warned that the cost of doing too little in Afghanistan will be higher than staying engaged.

To Pakistan, where a senior military officer was gunned down in Islamabad today. Officials said militants attacked from the back of a motorbike during morning rush hour. At the same time, civilians accelerated their exodus from South Waziristan, where the Pakistani military is battling the Taliban. Refugees crowded aid distribution centers, and police beat them back at one site.