HARI SREENIVASAN: Investigators in Wisconsin worked today to gain greater insight into the gunman who killed six people Sunday at a Sikh temple. Three others, who were wounded in the attack, remained in critical condition. The killer has been identified as 40-year-old Wade Michael Page, who was shot dead by police.
He had ties to white supremacist groups, but investigators said they have not yet pinned down a motive for the attack.
The leader of Syria’s embattled regime was seen publicly today, a rarity amid the growing civil war that’s engulfed that country.
We have a report narrated by Inigo Gilmore of Independent Television News.
INIGO GILMORE: Appearing on state television, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad emerged from the shadows today. It was his first public appearance in two weeks, here turning out to meet Saeed Jalili, Iran’s security chief, a loyal ally in a time of need.
Jalili referred to Iran’s relationship with Syria as the access of resistance not easily broken. But this wasn’t just a solidarity visit to Syria’s beleaguered leader. He was also in Syria to discuss the pressing issue of the fate of more than 40 Iranian hostages seized by Syrian rebels on Sunday.
The rebel fighters in this video insist their hostages are members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards sent to fight with Assad’s forces. Iran says the men are pilgrims. The kidnapping crisis is another sign of a widening war in Syria, with battles intensifying across the country, including Aleppo.
And civilians are caught in the middle. In an incident that has stirred outrage, nine members of one family were killed when a fighter jet missed its target. Assad’s forces had apparently tried to hit a key rebel command post next door to where the Qorahay family was sheltered.
Young and old, thousands remain trapped in Syria’s biggest city as Assad’s forces attempt to encircle the rebels, who are apparently running low on ammunition. With battles raging across Aleppo and food in short supply, civilians continue to flee, trying to get ahead of an anticipated onslaught by regime forces, which many now fear is imminent.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Authorities in Turkey reported today that more than 1,300 Syrians crossed from Aleppo to the Turkish side of the border in the last 24 hours.
Three men gunned down at least 19 people at a church in Nigeria last night. It was the latest sign that Muslim-Christian violence is spreading in the African nation. The attack came in the central part of the country. Police said the gunmen opened fire with Kalashnikov assault rifles. There was no immediate claim for responsibility, but suspicion fell on Boko Haram. The radical Islamic sect is blamed for more than 660 killings this year alone.
In the Philippines, half of the capital city of Manila was submerged overnight in the worst flooding to hit the area since 2009. Major dams and rivers overflowed, leaving thousands of people stranded on rooftops today, waiting for rescue. The water also triggered a landslide that killed at least nine people. The flooding followed monsoon rains that soaked the northern Philippines just days after a typhoon struck the region.
NASA today unveiled the first color images beamed back from Mars by the newly arrived Curiosity. One photo shows the Red Planet’s rocky terrain and in the distance the northern rim of Gale Crater, where the rover landed. In another picture taken moments before landing, swirls of dust are being kicked up by Curiosity’s approach. The rover landed late Sunday night, but won’t take its first test drive for another couple of weeks.
Strong corporate earnings helped push Wall Street higher today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 51 points to close at 13,168. The Nasdaq rose nearly 26 points to close just short of 3,016, the first time it’s been above 3000 since May. The Standard & Poor’s 500 also had a good day, finishing above 1,400 for the first time in three months.
Composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch has died. He passed away Monday in Los Angeles after a brief illness. Hamlisch won every major entertainment award during his career, including three Academy Awards, four Emmys, four Grammys, a Tony, and three Golden Globes. His best-known soundtracks for film included “The Entertainer” from “The Sting” in 1973, and “The Way We Were” from the movie of the same name the following year.
He also composed the music for the Broadway smash “A Chorus Line.” Here, he is playing “One Singular Sensation” from that show at a State Department holiday reception in 2010.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Marvin Hamlisch was 68 years old.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.