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Other News: Geithner Makes TARP Changes; 4 U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq

February 9, 2009 at 6:25 PM EDT
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JIM LEHRER: And in other economic news, Treasury Secretary Geithner put the finishing touches on another financial rescue plan. The changes apply to the second half of the so-called TARP program, some $350 billion.

The Associated Press reported some of the money will back private efforts to buy bad mortgage debt from banks. Up to $100 billion could go to fight mortgage foreclosures. Geithner announces the new plan tomorrow.

Wall Street marked time today, waiting for developments in Washington. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 9 points to close at 8,270. The Nasdaq was off a fraction of a point, to close at 1,591.

Elsewhere, Japanese automaker Nissan announced it will cut 20,000 jobs this year. That’s 8.5 percent of its global workforce.

And in more news of this day, a suicide car bombing in Iraq killed four U.S. soldiers and their interpreter. It was the worst loss of life for American forces there in a single attack since last May. So far in February, six U.S. troops have died in Iraq; there were 16 killed during January.

The crew of the airliner that landed in the Hudson River received the keys to the city of New York today. Mayor Michael Bloomberg thanked the pilot and four other crew members of the U.S. Airways plane at a City Hall ceremony. Captain Chesley Sullenberger brought Flight 1549 safely down in the river last month after hitting a flock of birds. All 155 people on board survived.

Sullenberger has been lauded as a national hero, but today he said the credit was far from his alone.

CAPT. CHESLEY SULLENBERGER, U.S. Airways: Much of this since the last three weeks began have been about one person, and I want to correct the record right now: This was a crew effort. Our crew of five, as well as the first responders here in New York and the cooperation of the passengers, made this successful emergency landing possible.

JIM LEHRER: Co-pilot Jeff Skiles also singled out the rescuers for praise. He said, “We got ourselves into the river, but you all got us out of the river.”

Israel made ready today for its national elections tomorrow. Public opinion polls showed former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rightist Likud Party ahead of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and her centrist party. No single party was expected to win a majority in parliament.

A new presidential showdown shaped up today in Iran. On Sunday, former President Mohammad Khatami announced he will run again. He’s pushed for more social and political freedoms and better relations with the West. He’ll try to unseat incumbent President Ahmadinejad, who’s pursued a hard-line, anti-U.S. policy.

Poland today condemned the apparent beheading of a Polish geologist in Pakistan. The Taliban released a seven-minute video of the act on Sunday. The victim was abducted last September as he surveyed oil and gas fields near the Afghan border. It would be the first killing of a Western hostage in Pakistan since American journalist Daniel Pearl was beheaded in 2002.

New York Yankees all-star Alex Rodriguez today admitted using steroids from 2001 to 2003. The highest-paid player in baseball told ESPN, “Back then, it was a different culture. I was young; I was stupid.” Sports Illustrated reported over the weekend Rodriguez tested positive for steroids during 2003, when he won Most Valuable Player.