News Wrap: Gen. Allen Apologizes for Civilian Deaths in Afghan Airstrike
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KWAME HOLMAN: Stocks on Wall Street rebounded to their best week of the year, in spite of continuing concerns over the global economy and how Europe’s woes will impact the U.S. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 93 points to close at 12,554. The Nasdaq rose 27 points to close at 2,858. For the week, the Dow gained more than 3.5 percent; the Nasdaq rose 4 percent.
The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan apologized for the deaths of civilians in an airstrike earlier this week. The operation on Wednesday was targeting a Taliban leader, but also killed women, children, and village elders celebrating a wedding.
Gen. John Allen flew to the area today to deliver his regrets personally to family members and provincial officials.
LT. GEN. JOHN ALLEN, commander, International Security Assistance Forces: We will do the right thing in terms of compensation and in terms of restoring, rebuilding that home. And we have got work to do in terms of the investigation. But we will fully investigate this, this incident. But we deeply regret the loss of innocent human life.
KWAME HOLMAN: Across the border in Pakistan today, a bomb tore through a bus carrying government employees and killed 19 people. The bus was near the city of Peshawar when the bomb went off with a timing device. No group has claimed responsibility, but the area is a haven for Taliban militants.
President Obama had strong words for those claiming the White House has leaked top-secret details of its antiterrorism programs. The president insisted he has zero tolerance for leaks of classified national security information. Congress is investigating leaks after several detailed news accounts about U.S. drone attacks and cyber-espionage.
The president spoke directly to the charge by some Republicans that the administration may have leaked the information for political gain.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. It’s wrong. And, you know, people I think need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office.
KWAME HOLMAN: The president also said the administration will carry out its own investigation into the leaks.
Suicides among U.S. forces are on the rise this year. According to the Pentagon, military suicides now are averaging nearly one per day; 154 active-duty service members took their lives in the first 155 days of the year. That’s an 18 percent increase over the same period last year.
Suicide deaths also now are outpacing the number of U.S. combat troops killed in Afghanistan. Some research has pointed to multiple tours of duty and post-traumatic stress as contributing to the rise in suicides.
Federal health officials ruled today that treatment for 50 types of cancer should be covered by a 9/11 victims fund. The $4.3 billion fund was set up to compensate and treat people exposed to toxic dust that fell on New York after the World Trade Center buildings collapsed. Originally, only people suffering from less serious ailments, such as asthma, were eligible. Now those with the named types of cancer may qualify if they can connect their illness to the dust. The proposal also will go through a public comment period now.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.