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News Wrap: At Least 11 Missing After Oil Explosion

April 21, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST
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In other news Wednesday, at least 11 people were missing after an oil rig explosion off of Louisiana's Gulf Coast. Also, Pope Benedict promised the Catholic Church would take action in the sex abuse scandal after he met with victims in Malta last week.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Wall Street had a quiet day, even as the financial reform debate intensified in Washington. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly eight points to close just under 11125. The Nasdaq rose four points to close at 2504.

At least 11 people were missing today after an oil rig explosion last night off of Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. Today, the rig was still burning and tilting about 70 degrees. Coast Guard helicopters helped rescue some of the 126 people who were on the offshore drilling platform. A search was under way for the others.

Pope Benedict XVI has made his first public mention of the clerical sex abuse scandal. Last weekend, he met with eight men in Malta who said they had been abused by priests when they were children. The pontiff referred to that session today during his weekly public audience in Saint Peter’s Square at Vatican City.

POPE BENEDICT XVI, leader of Catholic Church (through translator): After the celebration, I decided to meet some people who were victims of abuses by clergy. I share their suffering. And I prayed with them with emotion, assuring them of church action.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The pope didn’t elaborate on what action is being considered.

A court-martial began today for a U.S. Navy SEAL accused in the beating of an Iraqi prisoner. Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huerta was the first of three SEALs to be tried in the case. The Iraqi man allegedly organized an attack that killed four American security guards in Fallujah in 2004. Two of those bodies were burned and hung from a bridge.

In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai postponed a national peace conference until after his visit to Washington next month. A spokesman said Karzai wants to firm up support for his overtures to the Taliban.

Also today, NATO acknowledged four men killed by its troops Monday night were civilians. Initially, two were described as known insurgents.

Juan Antonio Samaranch was — who ran the International Olympic Committee for 21 years, has died in Spain. The cause was heart failure. Samaranch presided over the IOC from 1980 to 2001. It was an era marked by political boycotts and opening the Games to professional athletes. His tenure was tarnished by a corruption scandal over giving the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Juan Antonio Samaranch was 89 years old.

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 Jeff.