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News Wrap: Kyrgyz President Pressured to Resign by Opposition Leaders

April 13, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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In other news Tuesday, the ousted president of Kyrgyzstan addressed calls for his resignation after a bloody coup and Polish citizens remained in mourning as the body of their first lady returned to Warsaw following a weekend plane crash.

GWEN IFILL: Still to come on the “NewsHour”: our spotlight on health care in Florida; plus, the banks and the housing crisis.

But, first, with the other news of the day, here is Kwame Holman in our newsroom.

KWAME HOLMAN: The ousted president of Kyrgyzstan came under new pressure today to step down. Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled the capital, Bishkek, last week. He fled south to his home village near the city of Jalal-Abad.

Today, he addressed a rally of 5,000 supporters. Later, he laid out his conditions for resigning.

KURMANBEK BAKIYEV, ousted president of Kyrgyzstan (through translator): In what case would I resign? First of all, they should guarantee that, in Kyrgyzstan, there are no more people walking around with weapons, no more seizures of property or redistribution of property, also, naturally, my own security and the security of the members of my family and those close to me.

KWAME HOLMAN: The interim government has balked at giving any guarantees to relatives of Bakiyev accused of corruption. And the interim leader, Roza Otunbayeva, warned today, time is running out for Bakiyev to leave the country. She said pressure is mounting to throw him into prison instead.

ROZA OTUNBAYEVA, leader, interim government of Kyrgyzstan (through translator): From the very beginning, from April 7, we have stated that we guarantee his security, according to the constitution. But, after seeing the scale of his crime, we believe that he went out of the limit of the law. The society, the people demand that we take him to court and call him to account.

KWAME HOLMAN: The interim leader also said she will extend the lease on a U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan for a year. The base is critical to U.S. operations in Afghanistan.

The body of Poland’s first lady, Maria Kaczynska, was flown back to Warsaw today. She and her husband, President Lech Kaczynski, were killed Saturday when their plane crashed in western Russia. The first lady’s remains arrived on a military plane in a wooden casket draped with the Polish flag. It was met by her only daughter and the late president’s twin brother.

Separately, parliament held a special observance in memory of the 96 people — many of them government officials — killed in the crash. And, in Washington, President Obama asked world leaders at the nuclear summit to hold a moment of silence for Poland. Mr. Obama will attend the state funeral on Sunday in Krakow.

In Pakistan, details emerged of a weekend military airstrike that killed up to 68 civilians. The army initially denied any civilian deaths, but eyewitnesses and a top local official confirmed them. The airstrikes were carried out early Saturday in the Khyber tribal region, near the Afghan border. Pakistan’s military recently has launched offensives in that area against Taliban and al-Qaida fighters.

The man who presided over the largest bank failure in U.S. history defended the institution today. Federal regulators seized Washington Mutual, based in Seattle, in September of 2008. But, today, former CEO Kerry Killinger told a Senate hearing that the bank, commonly known as WaMu, never got a chance to work through its troubles.

KERRY KILLINGER, former CEO, Washington Mutual: Clearly, there was a lot of pressure on the financial system and regulators and — and policy leaders at the point in time in — in the — in the wake of the collapse of Lehman. However, I just don’t think the company was treated in the same equal-handed, fair manner that all other financial institutions were.

KWAME HOLMAN: Killinger denied knowing about extensive fraud in the bank’s home mortgage lending. But two other former bank officers testified they were squelched when they tried to rein in risky lending.

Wall Street had a quiet — relatively quiet day today. The Dow Jones industrial average closed 13 points — gained 13 points to close at 11019. The Nasdaq rose eight points to close at 2466.

Nebraska has approved an entirely new basis for curbing abortions. State lawmakers voted today to ban abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy, based on claims the fetus can feel pain by then. Existing laws bar abortions once the fetus is able to survive outside the womb. That’s generally deemed to occur at 22 to 24 weeks. The new law is likely to be challenged in court.

The Boy Scouts of America were found negligent today in a sexual abuse case. A jury in Portland, Oregon, ordered them to pay $1.4 million to a man who said a Scout leader molested him in the early 1980s. Punitive damages will be fixed later. The trial was marked by the use of the Boy Scouts’ so-called perversion files on alleged pedophiles.

Those are some of the day’s main stories. I will be back at the end of the program with a preview of what you will find tonight on the “NewsHour”‘s Web site — for now, back to Gwen.