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News Wrap: At Least 11 Killed in Syrian Demonstration

September 30, 2011 at 12:00 AM EST
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 HARI SREENIVASAN: Thousands of demonstrators marched in Syria today, defying security forces who opened fire. Activists said at least 11 people were killed. Video from cell phones captured the mass protests in Hama and Homs provinces. The images showed marchers carrying away their wounded.

Meanwhile, a third day of fighting raged in the town of Rastan. Activists there reported hundreds of army defectors are battling government forces.

Thousands of people also rallied across Egypt in what was dubbed a day of “reclaiming the revolution.” One of the largest demonstrations was in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Protesters demanded an end to emergency laws imposed under President Hosni Mubarak. He was ousted in February. The military leaders who now rule Egypt had vowed to abolish those laws and transfer power back to civilians within six months. That deadline passed two months ago.

In Iraq, a car bomb killed at least 17 people at a Shiite funeral south of Baghdad. At least 50 others were wounded. The car had been parked outside the mosque where the funeral was held for a prominent Shiite sheik. Witnesses said the grounds were littered with burned bodies and wrecked vehicles.

A tropical storm pounded Vietnam today, forcing evacuations of 20,000 people. Crashing waves and whipping wind tore at the coast, as people left behind their boats to seek shelter inland. Heavy rain triggered flooding that forced people to wade or even swim to safety. That same storm killed more than 40 people in the Philippines last week. Filipinos braced for another typhoon this weekend.

Japan is telling up to 59,000 people it’s safe to return home more than six months after a nuclear disaster. The March earthquake and tsunami devastated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Today, officials lifted evacuation advisories for a band extending 12 to 19 miles out from the plant. Many had left the area voluntarily, fearing radiation. A 12-mile no-go zone immediately surrounding the plant remains in place. It could be decades before that area is habitable.

In U.S. economic news, personal income fell in August, the first decline in two years. And the news dragged Wall Street lower. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 240 points to close at 10,913. The Nasdaq fell 65 points to close at 2,415. Overall, the Dow and the Nasdaq lost 12 percent in the quarter that ended today, the worst since the financial meltdown in 2008.

Republicans in Florida shook up the 2012 presidential calendar today. They set January 31 for their presidential primary. That defied a national party rule against moving up the date. In turn, officials in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina said they’re likely to move up their dates to stay ahead of Florida in the nominating process.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.