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News Wrap: Deadly Car Bombings Target Shiite Pilgrims in Iraq

January 24, 2011 at 4:23 PM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: At least 26 people died in Iraq today when twin car bombs targeted Shiite pilgrims south of Baghdad. The blasts occurred just outside Karbala, where annual religious rituals were being held. Some 75 people were wounded. A recent surge in violence has claimed the lives of more than 170 people in Iraq in just the last week.

In Tunisia, the army chief of staff told anti-government protesters that the army would be the guarantor of the revolution. His comments came after demonstrators clashed briefly with authorities in the capital of Tunis. Today’s unrest was provoked when allies of the former president held onto leading roles in the interim government formed last week. Meanwhile, the police staged a separate protest demanding the right to form a union.

Anger mounted in the West Bank after leaked documents claimed

Palestinian leaders allegedly offered broad concessions in 2008 peace talks with Israel. The Al-Jazeera news network reported that late Sunday, citing hundreds of internal Palestinian memos. Negotiators were apparently willing to compromise on Jerusalem and the fate of refugees.

Today, protesters vandalized the satellite channel’s bureau in Ramallah. They burned an Israeli flag and sprayed graffiti.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the reports.

MAHMOUD ABBAS, Palestinian Authority president (through translator): What is meant is to mix things up. I have seen what the TV channel broadcasts. I say here expressly that we have nothing to hide. This is what all the Arab countries altogether and unilaterally know. In all our negotiations and meetings regarding any issue that we discuss, we submit it all to the Arab countries, backed up by documents.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The Al-Jazeera network is based in Qatar. Today, a top aide to President Abbas accused the Gulf state of trying to damage Palestinian interests.

The U.S. Supreme Court bolstered the ability of workers to sue for retaliation today. The court decided for a Kentucky man. He was fired from a manufacturing plant after his fiancée, who also worked there, filed a sex-discrimination complaint. In the unanimous decision, the justices held that retaliation against a third-party employee is grounds for a suit under federal law.

Stocks rallied on Wall Street today, boosted by the strength of technology and natural-resources shares. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 108 points to close at 11,980. The Nasdaq rose 28 points to close at 2,717.

Longtime fitness guru Jack LaLanne died yesterday at his home in Morro Bay, Calif. An exercise pioneer, he hosted the first nationally televised workout show and developed prototypes of modern-day fitness equipment. He also founded a chain of health clubs. LaLanne died of respiratory failure due to pneumonia. He was 96.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.