News Wrap: Saudi Arabian College Student Charged in Texas Bomb Plot
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Worries about Libya sent much of the stock market lower for a third straight day. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 37 points to close at 12,068. The Nasdaq managed to gain almost 15 points to close near 2,738.
A Saudi Arabian college student was charged today with a bomb plot that may have targeted former President George W. Bush. Khalid Aldawsari was arrested on Wednesday. According to federal court documents, the address of the Bush home in Dallas was included in his e-mails. Dams and nuclear plants were also mentioned. The suspect is due to appear in court tomorrow.
A British judge today cleared the way for the founder of WikiLeaks to be extradited to Sweden. Julian Assange is accused of sex crimes there.
We have a report from Jane Deith of Independent Television News.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JANE DEITH: Julian Assange looked calm today, but he was going into court to hear whether he should be sent to Sweden to face serious charges. The authorities there want to prosecute him over allegations he raped one woman and sexually assaulted another on a trip to Stockholm last summer.
Julian Assange’s supporters believe the whole case is politically motivated, an attempt to bring down WikiLeaks, his lawyers arguing extraditing him to Sweden would breach his human rights and that media coverage has turned him into public enemy number one.
But District Judge Howard Riddle ruled extradition was legal and there’s no reason why Mr. Assange wouldn’t get a fair trial.
But outside court, Julian Assange laid into the system of European arrest warrants.
JULIAN ASSANGE, WikiLeaks: What we saw today at Belmarsh was a rubber-stamping process that comes as no surprise but is nonetheless wrong. There was no consideration during this entire process as to the merits of the allegations made against me.
JANE DEITH: Julian Assange denies those allegations. He’s on bail while he prepares to go to the High Court to appeal against this extradition and, in his words, being dragged off to an uncertain destiny.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The U.S. government is still investigating whether to file criminal charges against Assange over the leaks of thousands of secret documents.
A new military offensive has begun in Somalia against militants linked to al-Qaida. The new campaign involves 17,000 African Union and Somali troops based in Mogadishu. There has also been fighting along the border with Ethiopia. Somali officials said at least 39 civilians have been killed in four days of fighting, along with dozens of militants and troops.
Hopes of finding more earthquake survivors in New Zealand began to dim today, as the death toll reached 113. Search crews in the city of Christchurch combed through unchecked areas, and they worked to clear debris from Tuesday’s quake. Some 228 people were still missing. Officials said no one had been pulled out alive in more than 24 hours.
The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing a $35 billion project to build the next-generation tanker plane. The award, announced today, called for building nearly 200 of the giant planes. Boeing and its rival, EADS, had waged a furious lobbying battle going back a decade. At different points, each company was awarded the project, only to have it taken away. Pentagon officials said they hope this decision stands.
WILLIAM LYNN, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense: The unsuccessful offerer have a right to a protest as part of the — the process, but, as we have said from a year ago, when we first came before you, we think we have established a clear, a transparent, and an open process. We think we have executed on that, and that will not — not yield grounds for protest.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The tankers allow fighter and supply planes to refuel in flight and cover long distances.
A major roundup of suspected Mexican drug gang members took place across the U.S. and Latin America today. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said it was a direct response to last week’s murder of American customs agent Jaime Zapata. He was killed last week by gunmen in Mexico. More than 200 people were arrested in nine U.S. cities.
General Motors has reported its first annual profit since 2004. The automaker finished 2010 with a net income of $4.7 billion, boosted by strong sales in China and the U.S.
Meanwhile, Toyota recalled another two million vehicles in the U.S. over problems with gas pedals getting stuck in floor mats and carpeting. More than 14 million Toyotas have been recalled worldwide since 2009 for that same problem.
For the record, Toyota is an underwriter of the NewsHour.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.