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News Wrap: Yemen Security Forces Opened Fire on Protesters, Killing 5

November 24, 2011 at 12:00 AM EST
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KWAME HOLMAN: Security forces opened fire on crowds of protesters in Yemen today, killing five of them. The protesters were calling for outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stand trial for crimes committed during Yemen’s 10-month-long uprising.

Yesterday, Saleh signed an agreement to resign after 33 years in power. Amateur video showed armed men firing assault rifles at the crowd. Some demonstrators fought back by throwing rocks.

A triple bombing in Iraq killed at least 19 people and injured more than 70. It happened at a popular open-air market in the southern city of Basra. Police officers and soldiers responding to the first blast were among those killed by the subsequent bombs. The U.S. is in the process of pulling out of Iraq all 20,000 of its remaining troops.

In Mexico, authorities found 23 bound and gagged bodies in two abandoned vans. They were left in the heart of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city, at a major intersection. Local media reported a message from one of two warring drug cartels was with the bodies. Guadalajara is known as a stronghold of one of those cartels.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel deflected calls for the European central bank to play a bigger role in fixing Europe’s debt troubles. She was in Strasbourg, France, meeting with her French and Italian peers. They did agree to push for changes in E.U. treaties so that economic policies of member nations are more in line with each other.

After their meetings, Merkel emphasized the treaty changes would not affect the European central bank.

ANGELA MERKEL, German chancellor (through translator): The ECB is independent and this is not what the modification of the treaties is about. The ECB is there to oversee the money supply and for the stability of the currency. We are concerning ourselves with the modification of the treaties, and we will explain this to you in detail with the question of a fiscal union, closer political ties.

So that’s a different matter, and that’s what we will put forward.

KWAME HOLMAN: Changing E.U. treaties can be a very involved process that requires the approval of all 27 member nations.

A 24-hour general strike in Portugal shut down virtually all public services today, including hospitals, post offices and schools. Workers took to the streets in protest marches against austerity measures. It was one of the largest strikes in more than 20 years.

It came on the same day a ratings agency downgraded Portugal’s government bonds to junk status.

Celebrities in Britain described today how the tabloid press made their families suffer simply because they were in the public’s eye. “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling was among those to testify at a public inquiry into British media ethics. It came about after a phone-hacking scandal involving the now defunct News of the World tabloid.

We have a report from Juliet Bremner of Independent Television News.

JULIET BREMNER: Underlining her intense dislike of the media, J.K. Rowling somehow avoided the bank of cameras outside the high court. Her list of complaints was long, but her greatest outrage was reserved for the journalist who put a note into her 5-year-old daughter’s school bag.

J.K. ROWLING, author: It’s very difficult to say how angry and how– how angry I felt that my 5-year-old daughter’s school was — was no longer a place complete security from journalists.

JULIET BREMNER: Her writing has made her rich and successful, and a target for the paparazzi. She’s only worn a swimsuit the on a public beach on two occasions. Both times, she says, she was long-lensed.

J.K. ROWLING: To call a spade a spade, I’m a writer, so I don’t really think that it’s of any relevance or in any public interest to know what I look like in a swimsuit.

JULIET BREMNER: Actress Sienna Miller shared the siege mentality. Eventually, she took out an injunction to stop a mob of cameras relentlessly pursuing her.

SIENNA MILLER, actress: You know, I would often find myself, I was 21 — at midnight running down a dark street on my own with 10 big men chasing me. And the fact that they had cameras in their hand meant that was legal. But if you take away the cameras, what have you got? You’ve got a pack of men chasing a woman.

JULIET BREMNER: The constant leaks were corrosive. She accused her friends and family of lying, convinced they must have sold the stories. Until she discovered they were all victims of phone hacking.

By speaking out in this most-public arena, they hope to secure a complaint system that’s open and affordable to all.

KWAME HOLMAN: The inquiry is expected to result in a formal report on the British media next year.

Americans at home and abroad observed the Thanksgiving holiday today. In a radio address to the nation, President Obama acknowledged the economic difficulties facing many Americans, but said the nation will overcome its challenges. The president also made calls to 10 service members stationed abroad. Those members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan enjoyed traditional Thanksgiving meals on their bases.

Back in this country, nearly 3 million people lined the streets of Manhattan to watch the annual Macy’s parade.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.