HARI SREENIVASAN: There were more protests across the Middle East today. Police opened fire on protesters in Yemen, injuring at least 50 of them. Separately, thousands of inmates rioted at a prison in Sanaa, demanding that the president step down.
In neighboring Bahrain, three hard-line Shiite Muslim groups announced they have formed a new movement to convert the Sunni monarchy into a republic.
And in Egypt, Coptic Christians protested in Cairo overnight. They held up crosses and waved Egyptian flags, demanding an end to discrimination from the Muslim majority.
In Pakistan, a car bomb killed 20 people today and wounded more than 100. It happened in Faisalabad, the third-largest city in the country. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, and said the target was the main intelligence agency for Pakistan, the ISI. The bomb was detonated by remote control and destroyed a gas station and an airline office.
A late-winter blast buried parts of the Northeastern U.S. in more than two feet of snow. In upstate New York, residents had to shovel more than that, nearly 30 inches in some places. The wintry weather made for bad travel conditions and caused at least one death in Vermont. Rainfall in southern New England melted some of the snow but triggered major flooding. High waters cut off roads and neighborhoods and turned some creeks into raging rapids.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia suspended 21 Roman Catholic priests today as part of a sex abuse investigation. They were named as suspects in child molestation cases in a grand jury report released last month. The priests have been removed from their ministries while under investigation. The larger two-year inquiry has already resulted in charges against two current priests, a former priest and a Catholic schoolteacher who are accused of raping young boys.
A video released by conservative political activist James O’Keefe today showed the top fund-raising executive for National Public Radio criticizing Republicans and calling the Tea Party racist. Ron Schiller also said NPR would be better off without long-run federal funding at a time when some in Congress have proposed cutting funds for public broadcasting.
The comments were secretly recorded at a lunch with Schiller and two men claiming to represent a Muslim philanthropic organization interested in donating to NPR. Before the tape surfaced, Schiller announced he was leaving NPR. A spokesman released a statement today saying the organization is appalled by Schiller’s comments.
This afternoon, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said, “This disturbing video makes clear that taxpayer dollars should no longer be appropriated to NPR.”
Stocks on Wall Street ended higher today, as oil prices eased slightly. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 124 points to close at 12,214. The Nasdaq rose 20 points to close at 2,765.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.