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News Wrap: Monsoon Ravages Northern India

June 21, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The death toll soared today in the monsoon flooding that’s ravaged Northern India. The chief minister of Uttarakhand state reportedly — reported nearly 600 people have been killed in the mountainous region. More than 30,000 others have been rescued so far, with another 50,000 stranded in up to 100 towns and villages. The Indian air force used helicopters today to fly in food and medicine to the displaced.

More and more people were forced to evacuate their homes in Calgary, Canada, today as floodwaters there rose. Officials estimated as many as 100,000 people may have to move to higher ground. The two rivers that flow through Calgary have risen rapidly after four inches of rain fell over the past two days in southern Alberta. Only one of the rivers has reached its peak.

In Singapore, air pollution set more records as a thick haze drifted across from forest fires in Indonesia. The fires burned out of control in peat swamp forests on the island of Sumatra, sending large plumes of smog across the sea. The result was the worst haze in Singapore’s history for the third day in a row.

The U.S. today upped the military ante in a growing confrontation with Syria’s Assad regime. President Obama notified Congress that 700 U.S. troops, plus Patriot missiles and fighter planes, will stay in Jordan until further notice. He said the kingdom asked that they remain after joint military exercises ended yesterday. The decision follows the U.S. move to begin arming the Syrian rebels.

The president nominated James Comey today to be director of the FBI. Comey is best known for blocking Bush White House officials from renewing a warrantless wiretapping program in 2004. At the time, he was deputy attorney general.

Today, the president took note of Comey’s reputation, at a time of new debates over surveillance.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: He is that rarity in Washington sometimes. He doesn’t care about politics. He only cares about getting job done. Jim understands, in a time of crisis, we aren’t judged solely by how many plots or how many criminals we bring to justice. We’re also judged by our commitment to the Constitution that we have sworn to defend and to the values and civil liberties that we have pledged to protect.

HARI SREENIVASAN: If confirmed, Comey will succeed Robert Mueller, who took over the FBI the week before 9/11.

On Wall Street, stocks managed to stave off any more big losses, after a two-day plunge. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 41 points to close at 14,799. The Nasdaq fell seven points to close at 3,357. For the week, both the Dow and the Nasdaq fell nearly two percent.

Miami Heat fans savored the franchise’s third NBA championship today and second in a row. LeBron James led the Heat to a game seven victory last night, capping a grueling, back-and-forth series with the San Antonio Spurs. James was named most valuable player. A victory parade has been set for Monday.

Those are of some of the day’s major stories — now back to Ray.