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News Wrap: Ethnic Bloodshed Continues to Rock Kyrgyzstan

June 15, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST
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GWEN IFILL: Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the cleanup crisis in the Gulf; an Afghanistan assessment; and two economists with a gloomy outlook.

But, first, with the other news of the day, here is Hari Sreenivasan in our newsroom.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Wall Street renewed its rally from last week. Stocks forged ahead, after Boeing announced it is boosting production of airliners, and an industry group forecast stronger demand for computers. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 214 points to close above 10404. The Nasdaq rose almost 62 points to close near 2306.

The death toll reached 179 today in the ethnic bloodbath in Kyrgyzstan, but that was the official count. The Red Cross put the toll higher, at several hundred dead. The southern part of Kyrgyzstan has been engulfed in rioting since last week, mostly targeting minority Uzbeks in Osh and neighboring Jalal-Abad. More than 100,000 refugees have fled.

Red Cross officials in Geneva, Switzerland, said relief workers finally managed to get into the area today.

ANNA NELSON, International Committee of the Red Cross: Yesterday, we were unable to reach Jalal-Abad. There was too much shooting going on. And our team was diverted back to Osh, but, this morning, they were able to visit and assess the situation at the main hospital in Jalal-Abad. They saw less seriously wounded than they expected to see, although the hospital authorities or the hospital staff were running low on medicine, suture equipment, wound dressings.

HARI SREENIVASAN: U.N. officials said there were growing signs the violence was aimed at undermining Kyrgyzstan’s interim government. The Central Asian country is home to a key U.S. air base. American officials have urged a return to calm.

A long-running investigation today condemned killings of 13 Catholic demonstrators in Northern Ireland in January of 1972. The shootings by British troops came to be known as Bloody Sunday and helped fuel a conflict that didn’t end until 1998.

Family members of the victims in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, cheered the report and the formal apology from British Prime Minister David Cameron.

DAVID CAMERON, British prime minister: What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong.

HARI SREENIVASAN: After an exhaustive 12-year probe, English Lord Saville concluded British soldiers opened fire on unarmed, innocent protesters that day.

DAVID CAMERON: He finds that, on balance, the first shot in the vicinity of the march was fired by the British army. He finds that none of the casualties shot by the soldiers of Support Company was armed with a firearm. He finds that there was some firing by Republican paramilitaries, but none of this firing provided any justification for the shooting of civilian casualties.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Many in Londonderry celebrated the outcome today and carried banners of the victims. They had always claimed a 1972 report that exonerated the British troops was a whitewash.

MICKEY MCKINNEY, brother of Bloody Sunday victim: This has been a very challenging and traumatic time for families and the wounded. We could not have done this without your encouragement and support. We know that we stand here today among friends.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The Bloody Sunday investigation cost nearly $290 million, making it the longest and most expensive inquiry in British history.

Drug violence in Mexico surged again today.

The Mexican military said 15 gunmen were killed in a shoot-out with soldiers in Taxco, southwest of Mexico City. The popular tourist town has been the scene of battles between rival drug cartels. It was the latest in a series of violent confrontations in recent days.

Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Gwen.