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Power Outages Linger in Storms’ Aftermath

July 5, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: There was an unusual move by China and the Eurozone, who cut their key interest rates today in both cases to try and boost economic growth.

The European Central Bank cut the benchmark interest rate to its lowest level ever, 0.75 percent, down from 1 percent. China’s cut was the second in the last four weeks. But the rate cuts had little impact on Wall Street today in a light day of trading after the July 4 holiday. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 47 points to close above 12,896. The Nasdaq gained less than a point to close at 2,976.

Six days after violent storms ripped through the Mid-Atlantic, more than 500,000 people are still without power. Nearly half of those are in West Virginia. But utility companies said they were working as quickly as possible to restore power, as much of the region endures a heat wave. Another batch of summer storms tore across Michigan and Ohio, cutting power to more than 200,000 customers. The strong storms flooded streets and knocked down trees and power lines.

Heavy artillery shelling pounded the Syrian city of Homs today. This amateur video shows a ball of fire and plumes of smoke rising above the skyline. Rubble from damaged buildings and smashed cars littered the neighborhood streets. Amid the violence, the head of the U.N. peace mission warned his 300 monitors cannot do their jobs without a cease-fire. They were forced to suspend their work nearly three weeks ago.

Norwegian Maj. Gen. Robert Mood voiced his frustration today in Damascus.

MAJ. GEN. ROBERT MOOD, head of U.N. mission to Syria: The escalation of violence, allow me to say, to an unprecedented level, obstructed our ability to observe, to verify, to report, as well as to assist in local dialogue. Basically, we were no longer able to carry out our mandated tasks.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Activists maintain more than 14,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began in March 2011.

Pakistan reopened a crucial supply route for American and NATO troops in Afghanistan today. The first truck carrying supplies crossed over the border today. Pakistan had closed it for seven months in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes last November that killed 24 Pakistani troops. During the closure, the U.S. was forced to use more expensive and longer routes through neighboring countries. But, on Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologized for the border deaths and the route was reopened.

British police carried out a pre-dawn raid against suspected terrorists near London’s Olympic Park today and at other locations around the city. In all, six suspects were taken into custody. Scotland Yard officials said it wasn’t linked to this month’s Olympic Games.

We have a report from Keir Simmons of Independent Television News.

KEIR SIMMONS: In the shadow of the Olympic Park, a police raid that would very likely have been heard from the Stratford Stadium itself — police explosives used to remove the door of this apparently ordinary house at 4:00 a.m.

ISLAM HAFIZUL, neighbor: I heard a big mighty bang, looked out the window, and I could just see the police entering the actual building. Actually, it literally blew that door off, ripped it off. Then it was followed by a round of shots from a smaller gun. So I knew there was some sort of activity going on outside.

KEIR SIMMONS: The men inside were not suspected of targeting the Games, police say, but the opening ceremony now looms over every threat, every arrest.

Armed police moved in, in the early hours of this morning. A 24-year-old man was Tasered during his arrest in Stratford. And an 18- and 26-year-old were also held at the same address. The three are believed to be brothers. Surprisingly, one of them is a former police community support officer. A 29-year-old man was arrested in the street in West London.

And a 21-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman were held at separate residential addresses also in West London. It’s reported those arrested include a married couple. Last month, the director general of MI5 said terrorist plots continue and not to assume that they all relate to the Olympics, but these are anxious weeks.

On the M6 this morning, a fake cigarette triggered a security alert that saw passengers evacuated on to the motorway. It turned out to be an entirely false alarm.

HARI SREENIVASAN: London hosts the Olympic Summer Games starting on July 27.

A French investigation into Air France Flight 447 found both pilot error and faulty sensors were at the heart of the crash that killed all 228 people on board. The jet went down in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean during a thunderstorm in 2009, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. Investigators found the pilots were inadequately trained to fly manually at high altitudes. They also found fault with the speed sensors that iced up, setting off the plane’s troubles.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.