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News Wrap: Troop, Civilian Casualties Mount in Afghanistan

March 1, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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In other news Monday, six NATO troops were killed after car bomb explosions across Afghanistan. Also, former Serb leader Radovan Karadzic blamed an Islamic plot for bloodshed in Bosnia when he took the stand in his war crimes trial at the Hague.
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KWAME HOLMAN: Six NATO service members were killed in separate attacks across Afghanistan today. In one attack in the southern city of Kandahar, a suicide car bomber targeted a NATO convoy as it crossed a bridge on the outskirts of town.

Hours later, another car packed with explosives detonated outside Kandahar’s main police station. Ten Afghan civilians also were killed in four bombings in the south.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic took the stand today, as his war crimes trial resumed at the Hague. He insisted the deaths of 100,000 people during the Bosnian war were a defense against a Muslim plot to take over Bosnia.

We have a report from Robert Moore of Independent Television News.

ROBERT MOORE: They were outside demanding justice from the International Court. The grieving mothers of Srebrenica braced to hear the arguments of the man they hold directly responsible for the loss they suffered.

Radovan Karadzic stands accused of genocide and of authorizing the worst massacre in Europe since 1945. And yet we have never heard his full defense — until now. For so long, Karadzic escaped justice, heavily disguised and living in the Serb capital, Belgrade. But he was finally tracked down and captured.

And now he must try and defend his conduct in a war that shocked and shamed Europe. And fueling ethnic tensions again today, Karadzic claimed Bosnian Serb attacks had been a defensive response to Muslim provocations.

RADOVAN KARADZIC, former president, Bosnian Serb Republic (through translator): I will defend that nation of ours and their cause, which is just and holy. And, in that way, I shall be able to defend myself, too, and my nation.

ROBERT MOORE: In Srebrenica and elsewhere in Bosnia, this performance by Karadzic was watched with contempt and with intense frustration at the slow pace of international justice.

KWAME HOLMAN: Karadzic is pushing for another four-month recess to continue preparing his case. He faces life in prison if convicted.

At least 62 people were killed in a powerful storm that ripped across Western Europe this weekend. Heavy rains and hurricane-force winds pummeled France the hardest, where 51 people died. But the storms also battered parts of Belgium, Germany, Portugal, and Spain.

Today, French President Nicolas Sarkozy flew over the widespread flooding of France’s devastated Atlantic coast. High tides pounded seawalls there, causing them to burst open and flooding nearby port communities.

The president of Toyota went to China today and apologized for a slew of safety problems with his company’s vehicles. Akio Toyoda made the stop after last week’s visit to the U.S., where he faced a grilling from lawmakers in Washington.

The number of vehicles recalled in China is a small portion of the 8.5 million pulled worldwide since October. At an hour-long news conference in Beijing, Toyoda apologized four times.

AKIO TOYODA, president & CEO, Toyota: The Chinese market is very important. The reason why I came directly to Beijing from the U.S. after the hearing is that I would like to express directly to Chinese consumers our apology through my own remarks, and, at the same time, to explain to Chinese customers what has happened recently, to give Chinese customers some relief.

KWAME HOLMAN: China’s auto market is the largest in the world. Last year, overall sales jumped by 45 percent.

For the record, Toyota is a “NewsHour” underwriter.

On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 78 points to close above 10403. The Nasdaq rose 35 points to close at 2273.

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 Judy.