News Wrap: Unrest Spreads to Iraq as Protesters Call for Jobs, Electricity
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The government of Iraq is moving to address a wave of protests there. The largest were on Sunday in Baghdad, Basra, Ramadi and Mosul. Iraqis demanded better electricity and more jobs, as well as a crackdown on crime and corruption. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pledged to increase monthly food rations. He also rejected any use of violence against the demonstrators.
Protests also broke out in Haiti, as several hundred people clashed with police today. They demanded that President Rene Preval leave office immediately, instead of waiting until the presidential runoff election picks his successor in March. The protesters threw stones and burned tires. Police, back by U.N. peacekeepers, fired shots in the air and fired tear gas to break up the crowd. There was no word of injuries.
Final results today showed Southern Sudan has voted overwhelmingly for independence. More than 98 percent of voters chose to secede from the North in the January balloting. The referendum was part of a 2005 peace deal ending two decades of civil war.
The president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, accepted the results and congratulated the South.
OMAR AL-BASHIR, president of Sudan (through translator): I salute you and thank you in appreciation the good and sincere efforts you have made in order to achieve this important and serious task.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The official division of Africa’s largest nation into two countries is slated for July 9.
Troops from Cambodia and Thailand clashed for a fourth day along their border. The trouble began Friday, involving an 11th century temple site that both sides claim. At least seven people have been killed, and the temple has been damaged by shelling. After today’s battle, the two countries agreed to an unofficial cease-fire.
On Wall Street today, stocks got the week off to a good start on news of several mergers. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 69 points to close at 12,161. The Nasdaq rose more than 14 points to close just under 2,784.
Green Bay Packers fans celebrated today after the franchise won its fourth Super Bowl. Sunday’s victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25, went down to the final minutes. For Green Bay, it was the first NFL championship in 14 years. And with 111 million viewers, it became the most watched program in U.S. television history.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.