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News Wrap: Tornadoes, Severe Storms Slam Kansas and Oklahoma

May 11, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Severe storms hit Oklahoma and Kansas overnight, killing at least five people and injuring nearly 60. The National Weather Service estimated at least 10 tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma alone. The twisters flattened homes and uprooted trees. Today, families combed through what was left. In Kansas, the most serious damage was west of Wichita and there were widespread power outages.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as part of his four-day trip to Washington. Clinton assured Karzai the U.S. will remain committed to Afghanistan long after U.S. troops withdraw. And Karzai alluded to the tense relationship between the two countries of late, but insisted U.S. support is essential.

HAMID KARZAI, president of Afghanistan: We will be having disagreements on issues from time to time, but that is the sign of a mature relationship and the sign of a steady relationship. And this steady and mature relationship is definitely going to get us the objectives in pursuit of which we have joined hands to bring security to Afghanistan and, by extension, to the United States and the rest of the world.

HARI SREENIVASAN: In Afghanistan today, a bombing in the south killed two U.S. service members. Thousands of U.S., NATO, and Afghan forces have poured into the area in recent months to fight the Taliban.

Across the border in Pakistan, at least 24 militants were killed in suspected U.S. drone attacks. Pakistani security officials said the raids targeted a major al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold in North Waziristan. It is the fourth strike in the region since a failed attack on New York City’s Times Square earlier this month. U.S. officials have said the Taliban in Pakistan may have provided Faisal Shahzad, the man suspected of trying to bomb Times Square, with funding and training.

The death toll from a pair of explosions at Russia’s largest coal mine climbed to 52 people today. Thirty-eight miners are still missing after Saturday’s blasts. Today, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin traveled to the mine to observe rescue operations. He also ordered an investigation into what caused the accident.

The ash cloud from an erupting volcano in Iceland shut down airports as far away as Northern Africa today. Travel was disrupted in Morocco, Spain, and Turkey, where airspace was restricted because of the height of the ash cloud. The volcano kept spewing lava and ash today. It has been erupting since mid-April, when air traffic in Europe was suspended for five straight days.

Toyota posted a profit of $2.3 billion for the last fiscal year. And, for the fourth quarter, from January to March, it made $1.2 billion in profit, this as the company fights to salvage its reputation after recalling more than eight million cars worldwide for faulty gas pedals, a braking software glitch and other defects. The company is facing more than 300 state and federal lawsuits in the U.S. alone.

On Wall Street today, stocks were mixed. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 37 points to close at 10748. The Nasdaq rose less than a point to close at 2375.

Those are some of the day’s major 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 Gwen.