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News Wrap: 130 Survive Airliner Crash in Caribbean; 1 Dead

August 16, 2010 at 9:08 PM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: A Colombian airliner crashed and broke apart on a Caribbean resort island today, but only one person was killed. The Boeing 737 was trying to land in a thunderstorm with 131 people on board. The plane hit short of the runway and fractured into three pieces. The crumpled wreckage came to rest as passengers scrambled away. The survivors were checked and treated at a local clinic. Five were seriously injured. The cause of the crash was under investigation. Officials said lightning may have hit the plane.

Negotiations to form a new government in Iraq broke down today. Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and his Sunni-backed alliance formally called off talks with current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Shiite bloc. It’s been five months since Iraq’s elections left no one group with a majority in Parliament. As the impasse continues, violence has increased. There was word today of a U.S. soldier killed northeast of Baghdad.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates may retire some time next year. In an interview published today in “Foreign Policy” magazine, he said the timing makes sense. He would still oversee a major offensive in Afghanistan, but be gone

before the next presidential election. Gates has been defense secretary since late 2006.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will not face federal criminal charges. A lawyer for the Texas Republican said today the Justice Department has ended its probe after six years. It investigated DeLay’s ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Abramoff went to prison for fraud and corruption. DeLay still faces state charges of money-laundering and conspiracy involving legislative elections in 2002.

A new shrimping season officially began in Louisiana today, the first one since the Gulf oil spill disaster. Fishermen headed out into the Gulf this morning and found some shrimp that appeared clean. Others were oiled and had to be thrown back in. The fishing industry in Louisiana is worth more than $270 million a year, making it one of the nation’s largest.

Wall Street struggled again to stave off more losses. The Dow Jones industrial average did lose a point to close at 10302, but the Nasdaq rose eight points to close near 2182.

Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Gwen.