News Wrap: At Least 30 Killed in Blasts Across Iraq
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Bombers struck today across central and northern Iraq, killing at least 30 people. The bombs went off in Baghdad and the cities of Kirkuk, Samarra, Baquba, Dibis and Taji. Mortar fire hit two other cities. The rapid-fire explosions unfolded over an hour and 15 minutes, wounding nearly 100 people. Half of the bombs hit security forces and government officials. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai denounced photos showing U.S. soldiers posing with the corpses of insurgents. They were published in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times. Karzai called the images disgusting. He said they underscore the need for foreign forces to speed their withdrawal.
India successfully launched a new ballistic missile today capable of reaching Beijing and other cities in China, its longtime antagonist. The missile was test-fired from Wheeler Island off the Indian east coast. It has a range of 3,100 miles and is capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The U.S. had condemned last week’s missile test by North Korea.
But White House spokesman Jay Carney had a more measured response today.
JAY CARNEY, White House press secretary: I would simply point out, because comparisons have been made to the DPRK and its actions, that India’s record stands in stark contrast to that of North Korea, which has been subject to numerous sanctions, as you know, by the United Nations Security Council.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Chinese officials declined to discuss the Indian test.
Republicans in the U.S. House pushed through a $46 billion tax cut today billed as a job creator for small business. The one-year measure would mean a 20 percent tax deduction for companies with fewer than 500 workers. That’s almost 99 percent of all U.S. employers. Democrats, including Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, said it was too broad and too generous.
REP. STENY HOYER, D-M.D.: This is a fiscally totally irresponsible piece of legislation, and you know it, and I know you know it. And America ought to know you know it. Ladies and gentlemen, what this bill does is blows a $46 billion hole in the deficit this year alone.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Republicans argued that Democrats know tax cuts would help, but they’re pushing tax hikes anyway.
Congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois:
REP. AARON SCHOCK, R-Ill.: They know what we know and they know the truth, and that is raising taxes will hurt the economy. Raising taxes is not what you do when you want to put people back to work. It’s bad policy. If ever there were a starker contrast between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party’s vision on how to get the economy going, it’s what’s happening today in Washington, D.C.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The House bill is expected to die in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Wall Street lost ground today after reports that home sales and factory activity are slowing. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 68 points to close at 12,964. The Nasdaq fell nearly 24 points to close at 3,007.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.