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News Wrap: Death Toll Rises from Floods in Southeastern U.S.

May 4, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST
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In other news Tuesday, record flooding over the weekend is now blamed for 29 deaths in the Southeastern U.S. Also, authorities prepared to close air space over Scotland and Northern Ireland again because of the Icelandic volcano.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Still to come on the NewsHour: the waiting game on the Gulf Coast; the Republicans and new media; and the financial crisis in Greece — but, first, the other news of the day.

Here’s Hari Sreenivasan in our newsroom.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The toll in death and damage grew today in Nashville, Tennessee, after record flooding. Weekend storms that unleashed the floods were blamed for killing at least 29 people, 10 of them in Nashville.

The swollen Cumberland River began to recede today after today, swamping the Music City. As it did, police began more finding bodies of people who had been caught in the flash flooding. The extent of damage also came into focus at many of Nashville’s major attractions.

Water was nearly three feet deep in the Grand Ole Opry House. And upcoming performances were relocated to alternate venues. Parts of the sprawling Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center were among 10 feet of water, forcing 1,500 guests to shelter at a nearby school.

The Country Music Hall of Fame, seen here before the storms, was badly damaged as well. Elsewhere, the muddy torrent poured into major sports venues. Water lapped at the first row of seats at L.P. Field, home to the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, after pumps lost power.

And the outages hampered recovery efforts. Twenty-four square blocks in the city’s downtown along the riverfront lost power early today. They were expected to be in the dark for the rest of the week. Overall, more than half of Tennessee’s 95 counties were declared disaster areas. Damage was estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.

Wall Street had its worst day in three months, as new fears about Europe’s debt crisis spooked investors. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 225 points to close at 10926. The Nasdaq fell 74 points to close at 2424. And the price of oil plunged 4 percent to drop back under $83 a barrel.

Airspace over Scotland and Northern Ireland will have to close again because of ash from that volcano in Iceland. British officials announced today shifting winds have brought the problem back. The closures will begin tomorrow morning. They could spread south to England and Wales later in the day.

In Thailand, protesters agreed in principle to a compromise that could end a long-running political crisis. At the same time, they refused to leave Central Bangkok, where they have been camped for eight weeks. First, they said they want key details worked out. The government offered yesterday to hold new elections in November. In return, it wants the protesters to disband.

Nissan announced plans today to recall nearly 135,000 Infiniti G35s sold in the U.S. A wire harness could wear down, and the front passenger air bag would fail to deploy in a crash. The recall affects G35 sedans sold between 2005 and 2007, and coupes sold between 2005 and 2006.

Those are some of the day’s main stories. I will be back at the end of the program with a preview of what you will find tonight on the NewsHour’s Web site — but, for now, back to Judy.