HARI SREENIVASAN: Wall Street rallied today on upbeat economic reports. First-time jobless claims fell to a seven-week low, and retailers reported the best sales for the month of June in more than 10 years.
The Dow Jones industrial average responded with a gain of 93 points to close at 12,719. The Nasdaq rose more than 38 points to close at 2,872.
Power plants in 27 states will have to curb smokestack pollution carried across state lines. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule today. It says plants must install technology to reduce two pollutants -- sulfur dioxide, responsible for acid rain, and nitrogen oxides, which add to smog and soot. The rule is scheduled to take effect next year.
Medicaid coverage could mean better health and financial security for millions more of the poor and uninsured. Researchers at Harvard and MIT reported today on a study in Oregon comparing 10,000 Medicaid recipients to the uninsured. Seventy percent were more likely to visit a regular doctor's office or clinic. And 55 percent were more likely to have a regular primary care doctor.
They were also 40 percent less likely to borrow money or skip paying other bills in order to pay for health care. Medicaid is expected to add at least 15 million people nationwide in 2014 under health care reform.
Two American soldiers died in a roadside bombing in Iraq today. It happened outside the main U.S. military base in Baghdad. Attacks on U.S. forces have stepped up lately, and American officials have blamed Shiite militias.
Canada has formally ended its combat mission in Afghanistan today, after nine years. Since 2002, approximately 157 Canadian soldiers have died in the war. Now, more than 2,800 combat troops are being withdrawn. But Canada is sending in 950 other troops to train Afghan security forces.
And the U.S. Supreme Court refused today to grant a last-minute stay of execution in a Texas case that gained worldwide attention. A Mexican man, Humberto Leal, was convicted in the 1994 rape-murder of a 16-year-old girl in San Antonio. But he wasn't told he could seek legal help from the Mexican government. That prompted diplomatic objections and warnings of repercussions for Americans overseas. The Obama administration had intervened to try and delay the execution.
Those are some of the day's major stories.