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News Wrap: Florida Cold Snap Damages $115 Million in Crops

December 29, 2010 at 5:35 PM EDT
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The cold wave stretching all the way to Florida has done at least $115 million in crop damage there. The state Agriculture Department confirmed that figure today. The deep freeze has affected fruits, vegetables, citrus, and foliage.

As far south as Miami, people were bundled up today against the record-breaking cold. Temperatures dipped into the 30s in some places overnight.

Frustration mounted in Northern Ireland today over a water crisis. Up to 36,000 people have had no water for more than a week, after severe cold heavily damaged aging pipes.

We have a report from Jane Deith of Independent Television News.

JANE DEITH: Many people in East Belfast haven’t been able to shower or even flush the toilet for a week. G.P.s are warning that being without water to wash and rising cases of flu and the winter vomiting bug could combine to create a public health emergency.

It’s already a headache.

ELSIE KAELTY, Northern Ireland: I’m not able to put the dinner on, going on stuff that’s in the freezer. It’s just — it’s just the disruption, normal day-to-day living.

JANE DEITH: When Northern Ireland thawed out after the deep freeze, pipes began to burst all over the government-owned water network. Reservoirs have run dry.

Northern Ireland Water says people have to take it in turns without water to conserve what there is. Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, said the company had let people down.

MARTIN MCGUINNESS, deputy first minister, Northern Ireland: This is not good enough. And we’re as angry as anybody else about the situation that has been inflicted upon citizens over the course of recent days.

JANE DEITH: The Northern Ireland Executive will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss how to get the water back on.

HARI SREENIVASAN: In all, water supplies have been disrupted in 80 towns and cities across Northern Ireland.

In Iraq, three suicide bombers attacked and destroyed police headquarters in Mosul. Their target was the police commander who waged a campaign against al-Qaida in the tense northern city. He was killed in the blast, after escaping five previous attempts.

Iran may be at least three years away from building a nuclear weapon, as technical problems delay the work. Israel’s minister of strategic affairs offered that assessment today. He didn’t give details, but, in recent months, a computer virus damaged Iran’s efforts to enrich uranium. The Iranians insist their nuclear program is peaceful.

There’s been a sharp increase in U.S. law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty this year. A national police memorial fund reported today that 160 officers have died. That’s up from 117 last year, when deaths reached a 50-year low. Traffic accidents remain the leading cause, but there was also anincrease in fatal shootings.

Wall Street edged higher in another day of light trading ahead of the New Year’s holiday. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 10 points to close at 11585. The Nasdaq rose four points to close just under 2667.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.