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News Wrap: NATO Troops Killed in Afghanistan Helicopter Crash

June 21, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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HARI SREENIVASAN: It was another deadly day for NATO troops in Afghanistan. One American soldier and three Australian commandos died when their military helicopter crashed in the south. The Taliban claimed responsibility, but NATO officials said there was no sign of enemy fire.

Later, five more foreign troops, including four Americans, were killed in separate attacks. And the British death toll in Afghanistan reached 300. British Prime Minister David Cameron said the British role in Afghanistan is still needed.

DAVID CAMERON, British prime minister: Inevitably, some will use this to question our mission and our purpose there. Mr. Speaker, we are paying a high price. Let me be clear. We are in Afghanistan because the Afghans are not yet capable of securing their own country from terrorists.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The pace of British deaths in Afghanistan has also accelerated. It took until June of 2008 for the first 100 soldiers to die, 14 months to reach the next hundred, and, now, in just the past 10 months, 100 more British soldiers have died.

An explosion at a coal mine in Central China has killed at least 47 workers. Government officials said the mine was operating illegally, since its permit expired earlier this month.

And, in Southern China, the death toll from heavy flooding rose to 175 people. Torrential downpours have destroyed thousands of homes, turned roads into rivers, and caused damages of more than $2 billion.

Colombia has a new president-elect. Juan Miguel — Juan Manuel Santos won 69 percent of the vote, the largest margin in modern history, in an election marked by low turnout. Santos celebrated with his supporters in Bogota last night. He is a U.S.-educated economist who plans to continue the security policies of outgoing conservative president Alvaro Uribe.

Firefighters in Arizona battled a growing wildfire on the outskirts of Flagstaff. Strong winds spread the fire quickly to 13 square miles. About 300 firefighters fought the blaze using helicopters and air tankers. Evacuation orders were in place for several hundred homes near downtown Flagstaff. The high winds were expected to continue today, as a federal management team took over the firefight.

Federal regulators — regulators have agreed to a plan to police financial institutions’ pay policies. Regulators wouldn’t set compensation, but they could veto pay policies they deemed risky. The rules are intended to make sure banks do not compensate employees for taking risky gambles like those that led to the recent financial crisis.

The plan was originally proposed by the Federal Reserve, and is now endorsed by other key banking regulators.

On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost eight points to close at 10442. The Nasdaq fell more than 20 points to close at 2289.