HARI SREENIVASAN: The Japanese yen settled near record highs against the U.S. dollar today, which make Japanese exports more expensive. Banks and finance ministers of the G7 are considering measures to decrease its value in order to help with Japan’s recovery.
Wall Street bounced back today after Wednesday’s big losses. Stocks rose on upbeat economic news, including a drop in claims for jobless benefits. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 161 points to close at 11,774. The Nasdaq rose 19 points to close at 2,636.
The unrest in the Arab world turned deadly again today. In Yemen, police and government loyalists attacked protest camps across the country. More than 80 protesters were injured in one southern city. And in Bahrain, police arrested at least six leading activists, as the main opposition group urged neighboring Saudi Arabia to withdraw its troops.
The U.S. Senate has voted to keep the federal government funded for three more weeks. The stopgap measure approved today includes $6 billion in cuts to domestic spending in the current budget year. The bill already passed the House. It buys times for more talks between White House officials and Republicans pressing for deeper cuts.
The House voted today to end federal funding of NPR and to bar public radio stations from paying dues to NPR with federal money. It came a week after hidden-camera video showed an NPR fund-raiser deriding the Tea Party movement. Republicans denied the vote was about ideology, but the vote was mostly down party lines.
REP. DOUG LAMBORN (R-Colo.): I’m a strong believer in the free market. I would like to see NPR rework its business model and begin to compete for all of its income. NPR already receives a huge amount of funding from private individuals and organizations through donations and sponsorships. NPR can and should be entirely supported with private sources.
REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D-Calif.): For those who complain that they don’t want content to be one way or the other on the political spectrum, but to be honest and fair, the right-wing Republicans are trying to impose their view of what NPR should be saying in the content of their programming.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The vote did not include funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports both NPR and PBS. The House already voted to eliminate all of that funding, but the Senate refused to go along.
The House rejected a bid to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by year’s end. It failed overwhelmingly. Earlier this week, Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, warned against passing the resolution. He said the Taliban and al-Qaida would view it as a victory.
In Pakistan, intelligence officials reported U.S. drone aircraft killed 38 people today in missile strikes. They hit a compound in North Waziristan near the Afghan border. The tribal region is a sanctuary for the Taliban and al-Qaida. Initial reports said the targets were allied with a powerful Taliban commander. Later, the Pakistani army chief said it was a peaceful meeting of tribal elders. He called the attack unjustified and intolerable.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.