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News Wrap: 3 U.S. Troops Killed in Afghanistan

August 17, 2010 at 8:42 PM EDT
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Three more U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan. That makes 15 American deaths this month, compared with 65 for all of July.

The latest violence came as President Hamid Karzai ordered all private security firms in Afghanistan to shut down in four months. The decree applies to all guards except those working inside compounds used by embassies and international organizations.

Desperation grew today among millions of flood victims in Pakistan. Relief trucks were mobbed and officials warned of a coming famine. We have a report narrated by Richard Pallot of Independent Television News.

RICHARD PALLOT: It’s taken nearly a fortnight to rescue these victims. And they are the fortunate ones. Much of Pakistan remains cut off. The help hasn’t come. The money is late. The waters are rising again.

Take a look at the River Indus as it flows through Pakistan. These satellite images show how it has expanded over the course of just four days. Imagine what another month’s monsoons might do.

The affected areas stretch the length of the country. In Multan, pregnant women are forced to shelter in a school. But there are no delivery facilities or doctors here. The young play in stagnant water. In all, 3.5 million children are at serious risk from disease and malnutrition.

DANIEL TOOLE, UNICEF regional director: UNICEF is now providing water to almost 1.5 million people every day. In most emergencies, I would be very, very happy, I would be thrilled and I would be screaming what a great job we have done. Here, that’s a fraction of the need.

RICHARD PALLOT: In Kukarpur (ph) and other tough-to-reach areas, Islamic charities are the only option. In Jampur, a little aid has got through, but most have received nothing. It’s a story that echoes for so many of the 20 million affected. As the relief effort intensifies, how the reconstruction is paid for is already the subject of debate. Desperation is now turning to violence. In the city of Sukkur, there were riots at a so-called relief camp. The world may finally be waking up to their plight, but the Pakistani need grows greater every day, as do their prayers.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari acknowledged major failures today in the government’s disaster response. But he said, “We have to move forward despite whatever criticism we get.”

It turns out the CIA still has three interrogation tapes of a 9/11 plotter. The Associated Press reported today the tapes of Ramzi Binalshibh were found under a desk at the agency in 2007. They include interrogations at a secret prison in Morocco. The CIA has refused to let the tapes be viewed. It says it destroyed all interrogation videos of two other al-Qaida operatives.

Wall Street regrouped today after factory output jumped in July and several companies reported better-than-expected earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 104 points to close below 10406. The Nasdaq rose 27 points to close at 2209.

General Motors has recalled 240,000 SUVs in North America. GM warned today the buckle on the rear seat belts can be damaged when the seat backs are moved. The recall covers the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook from the model years 2009 and 2010. Most were sold in the U.S. And Mazda recalled 215,000 Mazda 3 and Mazda 5 vehicles from 2007 through 2009 for power-steering problems.

The man who delivered one of baseball’s best-known moments, Bobby Thomson, has died. He passed away at home last night in Savannah, Georgia. In 1951, Thomson hit the ninth inning home run that won the National League pennant for the New York Giants over the Brooklyn Dodgers. It came to be known as the shot heard round the world. In later years, it emerged the Giants had been stealing signs between the pitcher and catcher that year, but Thomson denied he was tipped to that famous pitch. Bobby Thomson was 86 years old.

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