News Wrap: Storm Strands Thousands of Russians at Moscow Airports
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Thousands of Russians were stranded again today at two major airports in Moscow. They chanted and clapped in protest of the conditions after being stuck since an ice storm knocked out power there on Sunday.
Many blamed Russia’s flagship airline, Aeroflot, for the chaos.
SERGEY VOLK, Russia (through translator): We have been waiting here
since early morning, and not a single plane has left. And they are always postponed. And they are cheating us. There is no information in the booking office and not at the information desk. On TV, they say that Aeroflot flies. It is a sheer lie.
HARI SREENIVASAN: There were also reports that some people charged
ticket counters and beat up Aeroflot workers. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has now ordered an investigation into the airport delays.
In India, the government declared a nationwide terror alert amid threats of a New Year’s Eve attack. Officials ordered more police patrols and ramped up security in the financial capital of Mumbai. The city of Ahmedabad was also affected, along with the resort area of Goa. The Home Ministry said the threats are coming from the same Pakistani-based group behind the 2008 attacks in Mumbai.
The NATO death toll in Afghanistan reached 700 today when two more
soldiers were killed in the south. That’s up nearly 200 from 2009, which had been the war’s deadliest year. Meanwhile, intelligence officials in Pakistan reported U.S. drones fired missiles that killed 17 people near the Afghan border. There have been well over 115 missile strikes this year, more than double last year’s total.
In economic news, consumer confidence slipped in December, even though
holiday spending surged. The business research group Conference Board said Americans are still worried about jobs.
That news kept Wall Street mostly in check today. The Dow Jones
industrial average gained 20 points to close at 11575, but the Nasdaq slipped four points to close below 2663.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.