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News Wrap: Volcanic Ash from Iceland Grounds More European Flights

May 5, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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In other news Wednesday, a cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland grounded flights in Scotland and Northern Ireland for a second day, and the U.S. Senate has dropped a $50 billion fund intended for liquidating banks from financial reform amendments over GOP objections it would lead to more bailouts.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Wall Street could not shake its concerns today about the debt hanging over European governments. The Dow Jones industrial average lost another 60 points, after dropping 225 yesterday. It closed today below 10867. The Nasdaq fell nearly 22 points to close at 2402. And the price of oil slid back below $80 a barrel in New York trading.

Volcanic ash returned today to plague air travel in Scotland and Ireland. It spewed from the same Icelandic volcano that closed airports across Europe for six days last month.

We have a report from Damon Green of Independent Television News.

DAMON GREEN: In Iceland, a column of ash flies 18,000 feet into the air. But while the ash is airborne over Iceland, in Scotland, 800 miles away, nothing is getting off the ground at all.

WOMAN: Set off today to go to Disneyland with all of our little grandchildren. We’re now going to head off to Bristol and hope that we can get a flight from there.

DAMON GREEN: This morning, 14 airports in Scotland and Ireland were forced to close, including Stornoway, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Prestwick, and Dublin.

Everyone is hoping that this eruption, half of enough to melt the glacier that covers the volcano, won’t be on the same scale as last month’s. Then, six days of European air travel were lost, costing airlines over a billion pounds. And if the skies close again, they want that money back.

MIKE RUTTER, chief commercial officer, Flybe: I think it is high time this government, whoever it is going to be, later on this week gets around the table with the airlines and talks about compensation.

DAMON GREEN: The latest on Met Office maps show the drift of the ash limited by the red line over Scotland and Northern Ireland today, and potentially affecting airspace in the west and southwest tomorrow. As it is, airports in the southeast won’t be badly affected, but that could change, and anyone trying to guess the mood of a volcano is likely to be kept guessing.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The volcano’s last eruption began in 1821, and it lasted into 1823.

The U.S. Senate has dropped a $50 billion fund for liquidating big banks from the financial reform bill. The vote today was 93-5. It was one of the first of scores of amendments to be considered. Republicans argued the fund would lead to more bailouts of Wall Street. Democrats agreed last week to remove the provision from the larger bill.

A leading House Democrat, David Obey of Wisconsin, announced today he will not run again. He was first elected in 1969 in a special election, and rose to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Obey faced a tough reelection fight this fall. He said today, “I think, frankly, that my district is ready for someone new.”

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 Judy.