News Wrap: Elizabeth Edwards Dies After Cancer, Personal Struggles
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Elizabeth Edwards died today after a long battle with cancer. Her family said she passed away at her home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Edwards was an attorney and author and was married to former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. They separated this year after he admitted having an affair.
In recent years, Elizabeth Edwards also campaigned for health care reform. She was 61 years old.
The U.S. has given up trying to get Israel to stop building Jewish settlements in the West Bank. That word came today from an unnamed senior American diplomat in Jerusalem. He said the Obama administration concluded this is not the time to pursue this issue.
An Israeli moratorium on new settlements expired this fall. Since then, the Palestinians have refused to continue direct peace talks.
Iran wrapped up talks with the U.S. and other major powers today on the Iranian nuclear program. The country’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said there will be further talks in January. But he insisted his government will not discuss its uranium enrichment activities.
SAEED JALILI, Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary (through translator): Iran has announced its readiness to engage in talks. And this expression of readiness should be looked on as an international opportunity. We do not believe in talks wherein the other party or parties will use pressure to push their agenda. We are not going to subscribe to that.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In Tehran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that future negotiations will fail unless U.S. and U.N. sanctions against his country are eased.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Afghanistan to assess the war effort there. His visit came as White House officials ready a review of where things stand. Gates visited a forward base near the Pakistani border and said the Taliban’s momentum is breaking. But he also said, we will suffer tougher losses as we go.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today involving a new twist on workplace retaliation. A Kentucky man claimed he was fired from a steel plant because his fiancee, who also worked there, filed a discrimination complaint. The court will decide whether so-called third-party retaliation is grounds for suing under federal law.
Wall Street struggled to make any headway today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost three points to close at 11359. The Nasdaq rose three points to close at 2598.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.