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News Wrap: Toronto Hit With Flash Flooding, Widespread Power Outages

July 9, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Democrats in Congress issued a warning to House Republicans today on immigration reform. They insisted they will not accept any bill unless it provides a path to citizenship for 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally. The bill that passed the Senate last month does just that.

But in the House, Speaker John Boehner said the Senate measure is still weak on what he considers the most fundamental point.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-Ohio: The first big step that you have to have is serious border security, because without serious border security, what you’re going to end up with is the same thing we saw after the 1986 act. And so we’re going to — we believe that a commonsense step-by-step approach is the right way. We have talked about it for months.

HARI SREENIVASAN: House Republicans are working on four separate bills, but none offers citizenship. Boehner has said the House will not consider the Senate bill, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the pressure is building.

SEN. HARRY REID, D-Nev.: He is saying the bipartisan bill that we have done, he is not going to touch that. Well, we’re going to continue to press. The American people, the vast majority of the American people, Democrats and Republicans, support what we did.

HARI SREENIVASAN: We will have more on immigration later in the program tonight.

The death toll has risen to 15 in Saturday’s fiery train wreck in Canada. Officials said another 50 people are still missing in the small town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec. They also announced they have opened a criminal investigation into what caused the wreck, but they gave no details.

Canada’s largest city tried to dry out today after nearly four inches of rain triggered flash floods last night. The severe storm that hit Toronto left at least 300,000 people without power. The city’s downtown core was dotted with cars that people abandoned as the water rose. The subway system was also swamped, with many metro stations completely underwater. One double-decker commuter train stalled in the flood, trapping about 1,400 passengers during the evening rush hour.

In Arizona, thousands of people gathered in Prescott Valley to honor the 19 firefighters who were overrun and killed by a wildfire last month. Photographs of the elite firefighting crew were on display in a packed arena. Firefighters from across the country looked on as Vice President Joe Biden praised the victims as men of uncommon valor.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I believe they animate our national identity, and I believe America will continue to be defined by the example of the 19, 19 ordinary men who did extraordinary things.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The Yarnell Hill fire is now 90 percent contained, and evacuation orders have been lifted.

There’s new talk that President Obama might pull all American troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, instead of leaving a small security force. The New York Times reported today the president is increasingly frustrated in his attempts to deal with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. A White House spokesman said the — quote — “zero option” is on the table, but no decision is imminent.

The people of Pakistan today digested new details on how Osama bin Laden managed to live there for years undetected.

We have a report narrated by from Kylie Morris of Independent Television News.

KYLIE MORRIS, Independent Television News: Two years after America’s stealth raid on the Abbottabad compound that killed the al-Qaida leader, an independent commission in Pakistan has raked through testimony to uncover more detail of how the bin Ladens lived and examine the role played by both Pakistan and the U.S.

Its report, published online by Al-Jazeera, is scathing in its criticism of Pakistan’s security and government apparatus. They failed to detect the world’s most notorious terrorist for nine years. It describes complacency, inefficiency and negligence within the military and the country’s main intelligence agency, and intones: “How the entire neighborhood, local officials, police, security, intelligence officials all missed the size, the strange shape, the barbed wire, the lack of cars and visitors over a period of nearly six years beggars belief.”

The police get special mention. It was a hapless policeman, after all, who, in 2003, stopped a car in a bazaar in the Swat Valley for speeding, inside the car, the bodyguards and family of Osama bin Laden, as well as the man himself.

According to one of his bodyguard’s wives, “Her husband very quickly settled the matter with the policeman, and they drove on.”

She says bin Laden was cleanly shaven at the time. American drones had filmed the sheik wearing white robes in Afghanistan in 2000. By the time he’d escaped to Abbottabad, he’d developed a taste for hats. According to the account given by his wives, bin Laden wore “a cowboy hat to avoid detection from drones above. Whenever he was feeling sluggish, he would take some chocolate with an apple.”

Osama himself seems to have performed the role of many a grandparent, assisting in the care of his grandchildren. But there were no play dates. The families lived in virtual isolation throughout their six years, until the Americans came calling. The report’s authors accuse the Americans of behaving like criminal thugs. It calls the May 2nd attack on the compound an act of war which illustrates its arrogance.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Today, the nominee to be FBI director touted the virtues of phone and Internet surveillance in fighting terror, but James Comey also told his Senate confirmation hearing he will work with Congress on improving laws that govern surveillance. Comey served in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush. He said he argued strongly against extreme interrogations of terror suspects, but was overruled.

Three young women who spent a decade imprisoned and tortured in a Cleveland house have made their first public statements. The women escaped from the house and their kidnapper in early May. In an online video today, they thanked those who have given them emotional and financial support, and they asked for privacy.

Michelle Knight, now 32, said she will not let her long ordeal define her life.

MICHELLE KNIGHT, Former Kidnap Victim: I just want everyone to know I’m doing just fine. I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face and with my head held high.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The accused kidnapper, Ariel Castro, is facing trial on 329 counts of kidnapping, rape and aggravated murder.

On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 75 points to close at 15,300. The Nasdaq rose 19 points to close at 3,504.

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