HARI SREENIVASAN: President Obama today spoke out against California’s ban on gay marriage. His statement came one day after the administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the ban as unconstitutional. The president once opposed gay marriage, but changed his stance during his reelection campaign. He said today he and the country have evolved.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: When the Supreme Court essentially called the question by taking this case about California’s law, I didn’t feel like that was something that this administration could avoid. I felt it was important for us to articulate what I believe and what this administration stands for.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Two hundred congressional Democrats also filed a brief today urging the court to overturn the California ban. They join more than 100 prominent Republicans who voiced their support earlier in the week. The justices will hear oral arguments in late March.
A federal judge in California has cut a $1 billion dollar damage award in the Apple-Samsung fight by nearly a half. Samsung will now have to pay Apple just under $600 million dollars for infringing on smartphone and tablet computer patents. The judge also ordered a new trial on some of Apple’s allegations in the case.
Wall Street ended the week with small gains. The Dow Jones industrial average added 35 points to close at 14,089. The Nasdaq rose nine points to close at 3,169. For the week, both the Dow and the Nasdaq gained a fraction of a percent.
February was a good month for most major automakers in the U.S. Ford reported today its sales rose nine percent last month, while General Motors climbed seven percent, its best showing since Feb. of 2008. Sales for both Chrysler and Toyota were up four percent.
The prime minister of Turkey drew widespread criticism today over comments about Zionism. At a U.N. conference this week, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said prejudice against Muslims is a crime against humanity, in his words — quote — “Just as with Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism.”
In Ankara, Turkey, today, the visiting U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, sharply criticized the statement.
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY, United States: Obviously, we not only disagree with it. We found it objectionable. It is essential that both Turkey and Israel find a way to take steps in order to bring about or to rekindle their historic cooperation. I think that’s possible. But, obviously, we have to get beyond the kind of rhetoric that we have just seen.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also condemned Erdogan’s comment, calling it — quote — “a dark and mendacious statement.”
Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Jeff.