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News Wrap: NATO Troops Make Headway in Marjah

February 23, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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In other news Tuesday, Gen. Stanley McChrystal made a televised apology to the Afghan people for an airstrike that killed civilians. Also, Turkish prosecutors questioned top military officers over an alleged plot to overthrow the government in 2003.

HARI SREENIVASAN: U.S. Marines and Afghan troops converged from north and south today inside the city of Marjah. That created a direct route for supply convoys, despite some continued fighting.

Meanwhile, U.S. Army general Stanley McChrystal, the overall NATO commander in Afghanistan, went on Afghan national television. He apologized for an airstrike that killed at least 21 civilians on Sunday.

Prosecutors in Turkey questioned 51 top military officers today. They were detained over an alleged plot against the government in 2003. The officers appeared in a court in Istanbul. Suspects included former Air Force and Navy chiefs. But military leaders denied there was any plot. The Turkish military is strongly secular, whereas the current government is Islamic-leaning.

Back in Washington, the focus remained on President Obama’s revised health care reform bill. But Senate Republicans demanded again today that the president start over.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-Ky., minority leader: It appears as if the administration has already made up their mind to go forward with a beefed-up Senate version, and to try to jam it through under a seldom-used process that we commonly refer to around here as reconciliation. That will guarantee, of course, that the only thing bipartisan about this bill is the opposition to it.

HARI SREENIVASAN: In response, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Republicans can make their case at Thursday’s bipartisan health care summit.

SEN. HARRY REID,D-Nev., majority leader: We are anxious to have them involved in the process. They were involved for awhile. And that, as you know, didn’t pick up a single Republican vote. We have heard that they have ideas. And we look forward to those ideas. The president did this because he wants to be able to reach out to the Republicans.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Democrats stopped short today of predicting the president’s bill, or any health care measure, will pass this year.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was said to be feeling better today, after suffering a mild heart attack. He was hospitalized in Washington on Monday. An aide said Cheney is expected to be released in a few days. Mr. Cheney is 69 years old. He has had five heart attacks over the years.

Wall Street had a rough day after news that consumer confidence fell this month. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 101 points to close at 10282. The Nasdaq fell 28 points to close at 2213.

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 — but, for now, back to Gwen.