JIM LEHRER: In other news today: The House voted to include gays and lesbians under the protections of federal hate crime law. Up until now, it covered crimes based on race, color, religion or national origin, but not sexual orientation. The Senate is expected to go along with the change. President Obama is expected to sign it.
Wall Street rallied after two new reports on the economy. First-time claims for unemployment benefits fell last week for the fourth time in five weeks. And retailers in September reported the first sales gain since July of 2008. In response, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 61 points, to close near 9787. The Nasdaq rose 13 points, to close just under 2124.
The government of Pakistan and its military stood at odds today over a U.S. aid package. A government spokesman criticized top generals for saying the offer amounts to American meddling. The package includes $7.5 billion over the next five years, mostly in non-military assistance. Additional military aid would be conditioned on Pakistan fighting terrorism. The Pakistani government said previous aid packages contained similar clauses.
A Romanian-born author has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature. Herta Mueller is the third European in a row to win the prize. Her work depicts the harshness of life under communist rule in Romania. Many of her books were censored in Romania before the fall of the communist regime. She emigrated to Germany in 1987.