News Wrap: Suicide Bombings Kill at Least 35 in Pakistan
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Two suicide bombers killed at least 35 people and wounded more than 175 in Lahore, Pakistan, today. They attacked a popular Muslim shrine where thousands of people were visiting at the time. Ambulances crowded into the area after one bomber blew himself up in a larger underground room. The second bomber struck as people tried to flee.
The U.S. House has voted to renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. The bill would cost nearly $34 billion to keep benefits going through November. Most Democrats supported the measure as urgent aid to the unemployed, while most Republicans argued against it, calling it more deficit spending.
REP. CHARLES BOUSTANY JR., R-La.: It’s not paid for. The American people want these — these policies paid for. And there’s no reason why this couldn’t come to the floor with the opportunity for us to amend it and to have a real debate over some of these — the merits of these amendments on how we could pay for this. It’s just not right.
REP. BILL PASCRELL JR., D-N.J.: You have a nerve to tell the unemployed people in this country that you must be wanting to be unemployed. I’m sorry we cannot help you.
But, if you’re part of corporate America, and you stuck it to the Americans and the middle class in this country and the poor, that’s all right. We will find a way to bail you out.
Let’s make sense. Let’s be fair.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In the Senate, Republicans blocked the benefits extension again last night. That delayed any final action until after the Fourth of July recess. In the meantime, 1.7 million Americans will have run out of unemployment aid by the end of this week.
Wall Street began the year’s third quarter with more losses. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 41 points to close at 9732. The Nasdaq fell nearly eight points to close at 2101.
And most automakers reported sales fell last month. GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota reported drops of 12 percent to 14 percent from May. Nissan was off 23 percent.
The U.S. Senate paid final respects today to the late Robert Byrd. The West Virginia Democrat died Monday after 51 years in the Senate, the longest tenure ever. The military honor guard carried his casket up the Capitol steps today, past the senator’s portrait and into the Senate chamber. He lay in repose for six hours the first time that has been done since 1959. Later, the remains were flown to Charleston, West Virginia for a memorial service tomorrow.
Once the ceremonies for Senator Byrd were over, confirmation hearings resumed for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. This time, Democrats and Republicans called witnesses to make the case for and against Kagan.
One was Lilly Ledbetter, who lost a high-profile decision on gender bias in pay. Congress later changed the law to address her grievance.
LILLY LEDBETTER, plaintiff, Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire: One thing I have heard in observing and watching the hearings of all of Elena Kagan’s responses have been that she would adhere and follow the law, not make the law. She understands what her responsibility would be as a Supreme Court justice.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Republicans called National Guard Captain Pete Hegseth. He criticized Kagan’s handling of military recruiters as dean of Harvard Law School.
PETE HEGSETH, executive director, Vets For Freedom: How did we reach this point in this country where we’re nominating someone who unapologetically obstructed the military at a time of war? Ms. Kagan chose to use her position of authority to impede, rather than empower, the warriors who have fought and who have fallen for this country.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Senators on both sides agreed Kagan is almost sure to be confirmed.
Nine people accused of spying for Russia attended bail hearings today in several U.S. cities. Federal prosecutors in New York said one admitted he was a Russian mole living under deep cover. They also said two suspects from New Jersey had a safe deposit box filled with new $100 bills totaling $80,000. Meanwhile, police in Cyprus searched for another suspect who vanished after he was granted bail.
U.S. officials will destroy about 40 million doses of H1N1 flu vaccine because they have expired. That is nearly a quarter of the total amount produced and worth $260 million. Federal health officials said they had to buy a huge quantity of vaccine to be ready for a worst-case scenario. As it turned out, the H1N1 flu killed far fewer Americans than seasonal flu does.
Those are some of the day’s — major stories of the day — now back to Judy.