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News Wrap: Helicopter Crash Near Kabul Kills 12 Turkish Troops, 2 Children

March 16, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: A Turkish military helicopter crashed in Afghanistan today, killing 12 Turkish soldiers on board and two children on the ground. The helicopter hit a house outside Kabul. The troops were on a NATO mission at the time. Officials said there was no sign of enemy activity in the area.

A former Rutgers University student was convicted today of intimidating a gay roommate, who then committed suicide. The jury found Dharun Ravi guilty of using a Webcam to watch Tyler Clementi kissing another man and of letting other students watch. Ravi was convicted of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, which is a hate crime.

Clementi committed suicide in September of 2010, after he realized he’d been spied on. Today, his father appealed to the young to practice tolerance.

JOE CLEMENTI, father: To our college, high school and even middle school youngsters, I would say this. You’re not necessarily going to — you’re going to meet a lot of people in your lifetime. Some of these people you may not like. But just because you don’t like them does not mean you have to work against them.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The multiple hate crime convictions carry up to 10 years in prison apiece. We will have more on this story later in the program.

Cleanup began today in a small Michigan village after a tornado damaged more than 100 homes. No one was hurt, but people scrambled for shelter as the storm hit Dexter, northwest of Ann Arbor, early Thursday evening. The tornado was captured on video as it formed and then stayed on the ground for about half-an-hour. Officials said it packed winds of 135 miles an hour, smashing through whole neighborhoods, and leaving a path of splintered homes and downed trees.

In Syria, there was fresh fighting outside Damascus between troops and army defectors. It came just days after the rebels suffered defeats in other cities. Amateur video today also showed random shelling of homes in Hama. Smoke rose from buildings, and activists said they’d been hit by fire from Syrian army tanks.

Meanwhile, Special Envoy Kofi Annan briefed the U.N. Security Council. Later, he urged the body to speak with one voice before the fighting spreads.

KOFI ANNAN, former U.N. secretary-general: The region is extremely concerned about developments in Syria. Their concern goes beyond Syria itself, because a crisis can have serious impact for the whole region if it’s not handled effectively.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Annan said he plans to return to Syria for another visit in upcoming weeks. He made little headway during his initial visit last weekend.

North Korea announced plans today to fire a satellite into space, and the U.S. quickly condemned the move. The launch would employ the kind of long-range missile that might also carry a nuclear warhead. The U.S. also criticized a similar test in 2009. Last month, the U.S. agreed to provide food aid to North Korea, and the North agreed to a moratorium on long-range missile testing.

Today, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said a new launch would end the deal.

VICTORIA NULAND, state department spokeswoman: Frankly, if they were to go forward with this launch, it’s very hard to imagine how we would be able to move forward with a regime whose word we have no confidence in and who has egregiously violated its international commitments.

HARI SREENIVASAN: North Korea has argued that satellite launches are part of a peaceful space program, and therefore exempt from any nuclear obligations.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, announced today he is stepping down. For 10 years, he’s served at the helm of the Church of England and as spiritual leader of 85 million Anglicans worldwide, including U.S. Episcopalians. But, at 61, he said it’s time to move on.

ROWAN WILLIAMS, archbishop of canterbury: I think that it’s a job of immense demands, and I would hope that my successor has the constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros, really. But he will, I think, have to look with positive, hopeful eyes on a church which for all its problems is still for so many people a place to which they resort in times of need and crisis.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Williams has presided over fights about elevating gay bishops and recognizing same-sex unions. And the church votes this summer on letting women become bishops. Williams will become master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University.

The man behind a widely viewed film on African rebel leader Joseph Kony was detained last night in San Diego. Police said Jason Russell was picked up for public drunkenness and lewd conduct, and then hospitalized. His organization, Invisible Children, said Russell was suffering from exhaustion. Russell’s film “Kony 2012″ details decades of atrocities by Kony’s group, the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Wall Street finished the week on a relatively quiet note. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 20 points to close at 13,232. The Nasdaq fell one point to close at 3,055. For the week, both the Dow and the Nasdaq gained more than 2 percent.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.