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News Wrap: At Least 6 Dead as Syrians Test Regime Over Cease-Fire

April 13, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Protesters turned out by the thousands across Syria today, testing the regime’s commitment to a U.N.-brokered cease-fire.

Demonstrators poured into the streets after Friday prayers at mosques. There were major rallies in a main suburb of Damascus and in other cities. Activists said security forces fired tear gas and in some cases bullets, killing at least six people. But there were no reports of shelling or sniper attacks.

In Egypt, more than 10,000 people massed at Cairo’s Tahrir Square, as Islamists protested letting a former spy chief run for president. The crowds chanted slogans against the ruling military and hung banners denouncing Omar Suleiman, who led Egypt’s spy service for ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

The U.S. presidential campaign was all about guns and taxes today. Republican Mitt Romney addressed the National Rifle Association’s convention in Saint Louis. He painted himself as a defender of gun owners and made a pitch for their support.

MITT ROMNEY (R): We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners.

President Obama has not. I will.

We need a president who will stand up for the rights of hunters, and sportsmen, and those who seek to protect their homes and their families. President Obama has not; I will.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The Obama campaign released his 2011 tax return today. The first family paid just over 20 percent of their income in taxes, compared to about 15 percent for Mitt Romney. The return showed the first couple earned just shy of $790,000 last year. They paid about $162,000 in federal taxes. And they donated more than that, just over $172,000 to charity.

The mayor of Newark, N.J., Cory Booker, was hailed as a hero today after he ran into a burning house to save a woman. Booker came home last night to find his neighbor’s house on fire. His security team had already rescued several people when the mayor dashed in to find Zina Hodge, who was trapped upstairs. Booker said today he feared for his life at one point.

CORY BOOKER (D), mayor of Newark, N.J.: I used to say it all the time as a politician. You always are praising your firefighters and your — and now I actually know what it is like. And I have a deeper respect for them than I have ever had before, because, in that moment when you hear somebody calling for help, and you are staring at a room engulfed in flames, you know, it’s very, very terrifying. And, again, people say bravery. I felt fear.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Booker was treated for smoke inhalation and burns on his right hand. The woman he rescued was in stable condition with second-degree burns.

Wall Street closed out a losing week on a losing note. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped nearly 137 points to close at 12,849. The Nasdaq fell 44 points to close at 3,011. For the week, the Dow lost 1.5 percent; the Nasdaq fell 2 percent.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.