News Wrap: Court Upholds Germany’s Role in European Bailouts
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Wall Street shot back up today after reassuring news from Europe. A German court upheld Germany’s role in bailing out other countries and investors reacted with a buying binge.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 275 points to close just below 11,415. The Nasdaq rose 75 points to close near 2,549. Benchmark stock indexes across Europe were sharply higher as well, in the wake of the news from Germany. The country’s high court rejected challenges to using taxpayer money for an emergency rescue fund.
At the same time, it warned the decision wasn’t a blank check for future bailouts. But Chancellor Angela Merkel said the court absolutely confirmed her government’s policies and its commitment to the 17-nation euro system.
ANGELA MERKEL, German chancellor (through translator): The euro is a guarantor of a united Europe, or, to put it another way, if the euro collapses, Europe collapses. And because the Europe of freedom and democracy is our motherland, the euro cannot and will not fail.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Also today, the government of Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi survived a no-confidence vote, and it won approval of austerity measures in the upper house of parliament. And in France, the National Assembly endorsed key budget changes to save money and support the bailout of Greece.
At least 43 people died today when a Russian passenger jet crashed shortly after takeoff. The plane went down after leaving an airport near Yaroslavl, 150 miles northeast of Moscow. Only two people survived.
We have a report narrated by Nina Nannar of Independent Television News.
NINA NANNAR: All that remains is burning on the banks of the Volga River. The aircraft, a Yak-42, which was carrying one of Russia’s champion ice hockey teams, had barely taken off the from Yaroslavl northeast of Moscow when it started listing and crashed, killing nearly everyone on board.
“The plane was taking off and there was some noise,” says this witness. “Then it fell down and there was a cloud of smoke and another explosion and the plane broke in two parts.”
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl here in red have won Russia’s ice hockey league three times. Amongst the international lineup, there is an Olympic gold medalist. The team was en route to Minsk for the start of the new season. It’s thought only one member of the team on board has survived.
In a country which is passionate about the sport, news of the crash brought this match elsewhere to a halt, many in the crowd clearly stunned. Russia already has a poor air safety record. This is the second plane crash in just three months. The last one killed 47.
The country’s aging Soviet-built planes are being taken out of service from next year. For now, rescue workers are combing the water for bodies and a country is dealing with the loss of some of its most adored sports stars.
HARI SREENIVASAN: There was no immediate word on what caused the crash. The weather was sunny and clear at the time.
Twin suicide bombings in southwest Pakistan today killed at least 22 people. The target was the home of a top army officer in Quetta. The first attacker detonated a car bomb near the house. The second one stormed the place and then blew himself up inside. More than 80 people were wounded. The Taliban claimed responsibility.
In India, a bomb exploded outside the High Court building in New Delhi, killing at least 11 people. Police quickly cordoned off the area, and emergency crews tended to the 76 wounded. The attack was the worst in the Indian capital in nearly three years.
And Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned it.
MANMOHAN SINGH, Indian prime minister: This is the cowardly act of a terrorist nature. We will deal with it. We will never succumb to the pressure of terrorism. And this is a long war, in which all political parties, all the people of India have to stand united, so that the scourge of terrorism is crushed.
HARI SREENIVASAN: A group linked to al-Qaida claimed responsibility, and Indian police began scouring the city for two suspects.
Security forces in Syria blasted the city of Homs today, and activists reported at least 11 people were killed there. Amateur video showed deserted streets as residents stayed indoors. A barrage of gunfire from troops and tanks echoed in the background. A network of protest groups claimed some army units in Homs had defected and were battling pro-government troops.
Top officials across the Obama administration are now denying they have decided to keep 3,000 U.S. troops in Iraq next year to train Iraqi forces. Leaders at the Pentagon and the State Department insisted today that no decision has been made. Any such plan would violate President Obama’s promise to withdraw all forces from Iraq by the end of this year. And the Iraqis would have to agree to let the troops stay longer.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.