JIM LEHRER: In other news today, a car bombing in Baghdad killed at least 41 Iraqis and wounded 72 others. The bomb exploded near a restaurant in a Shiite part of the city.
It was the latest in a wave of recent attacks. Last month, nearly 250 Iraqis died in bombings across Baghdad.
Pakistan announced its forces have recaptured a major stronghold from the Taliban. The government said troops moved into the main town in Buner district. They reported killing at least 80 militants and nearly flushing Taliban forces from the area.
And in neighboring Afghanistan, a roadside bomb killed a U.S. soldier and an American civilian.
A national commission in Ireland has issued a graphic report on child abuse in institutions run by the Roman Catholic Church. A justice from the country’s highest court led the investigation. It found decades of beatings and sexual crimes in reformatories, industrial schools, and homes for orphans.
We have a report from Neil Connery of Independent Television News.
JOHN KELLY: Once you went through that door over there, you went into Hell.
NEIL CONNERY: They were the most vulnerable, seeking sanctuary in state institutions run by the Irish Catholic Church. John Kelly, one of the many who suffered abuse at St. Conleth’s Reformatory School.
JOHN KELLY: It was a cruel, evil place, and the people who ran it were sadistic people. There was sexual abuse that went on, physical abuse, on a daily basis.
NEIL CONNERY: The nine-year investigation found church leaders knew that sexual abuse was endemic.
Christine Buckley, who was abused by nuns during her 18 years in care, told me of her ordeal.
CHRISTINE BUCKLEY: I was asleep. I was there on my own, and she woke me up by pouring boiling water over my right thigh. To this day, my right thigh is marked. Babies didn’t escape the wrath of this person; they were equally brutalized.
NEIL CONNERY: The Irish government has already apologized and offered the victims more than 750 million pounds in compensation.
But this commission report reveals for the first time the sheer scale of what was going on, the failures of church and state in what was nothing short of institutional abuse.
One victim’s group called this a shameful day for Ireland and the Catholic Church.
JIM LEHRER: The last of the facilities run by priests and nuns were closed in the 1990s. Today, the cardinal leading the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland said he’s deeply ashamed that so many suffered at their hands.
President Obama offered some guarded optimism on the U.S. economy today. He held his first meeting with an advisory board led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. Mr. Obama said there’s been “some return to normalcy,” but he warned unemployment will stay high for some time.
And Treasury Secretary Geithner said the credit crunch is still a critical problem. He spoke at a Senate hearing.
TIMOTHY GEITHNER, Treasury secretary: The cost of credit for businesses and families is still unusually high, remarkably high. Credit terms are very tight still. Bank lending is falling to both consumers and businesses. Much of this, of course, is the unavoidable consequence of a recession, following a long period of excess borrowing and lending, but we still face ahead a prolonged period of repair and adjustment.
JIM LEHRER: In another development, it was widely reported the administration may create a new commission to regulate credit cards, mortgages, and mutual funds, but the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission objected. Mary Schapiro said taking those jobs away from the SEC would mean “really damaging” investor protection.
On Wall Street today, stocks fell after the Federal Reserve lowered its economic outlook for the year. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 52 points to close at 8,422. The Nasdaq fell 6 points to close at 1,727.
But oil rose to a six-month high. It gained another $2 to finish above $62 a barrel in New York trading.
California’s state government will have to use budget cuts alone to wipe out a deep deficit; Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said that message came through “loud and clear” on Tuesday. Voters rejected five ballot measures aimed at raising taxes and capping spending. The state faces a deficit projected at more than $21 billion.
A 13-year old Texas boy has won the National Geographic Bee in Washington. Eric Yang, from north of Dallas, captured the title in a tiebreaker round. He also won a $25,000 college scholarship.