JIM LEHRER: In other news today, an Afghan immigrant was indicted in New York on federal charges of plotting to set off homemade bombs inside the U.S. Najibullah Zazi has publicly denied the charges since his arrest in Denver.
But the indictment said he bought large amounts of chemicals to mix explosives. It also said he was looking for help. Federal agents have said there may have been plans to bomb commuter trains in New York.
Paul Kirk was named today to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Senator Edward Kennedy’s death. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick made the appointment. Kirk was a long-time friend of Kennedy’s, as well as a former Democratic Party chairman. He will hold the seat until a special election in January.
In Boston today, Kirk said he’d keep the late Senator Kennedy’s staff as his own and keep working for his goals.
PAUL KIRK, senator-designate, D-Mass.: During our years together, I was personally privileged to have had Senator Kennedy’s friendship, his trust, and his confidence. He often said that representing the people of the commonwealth of Massachusetts in the Senate of the United States was the highest honor that he could possibly imagine, and it’s certainly nothing I imagined, but it would be my highest honor, as well.
JIM LEHRER: Kirk is scheduled to be sworn into office tomorrow.
The U.S. House voted today to block increases in Medicare premiums for several million Americans next year. Lawmakers rejected a scheduled hike under Medicare Part B, which covers doctors visits. They said it would have come at a time when senior citizens are likely to miss a cost-of-living raise in Social Security benefits. The Senate plans to take up the bill soon.
On Wall Street today, stocks fell on news that sales of existing homes were down in August. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 41 points to close at 9,707. The Nasdaq fell more than 23 points to close at 2,107.
And the price of oil tumbled sharply for a second day in New York trading. It was off more than 4 percent, to settle below $66 a barrel. The low point was $33 last December.
A federal jury has rejected claims that hurricane victims were exposed to hazardous fumes in government trailers. The verdict came late today in New Orleans. It was the first trial involving alleged health dangers in the trailers after Hurricane Katrina. A New Orleans woman claimed fumes from formaldehyde in the trailer aggravated her son’s asthma.