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News Wrap: Congolese Troops, M-23 Rebel Fighters Clash After Peace Efforts Fail

November 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Wall Street started Thanksgiving week on a buying binge. Stocks surged from the start amid hopes that President Obama and Congress will reach a deficit deal. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 207 points to close just under 12,796. The Nasdaq rose nearly 63 points to close at 2,916.

Also today, sales of existing homes gave the latest signs of a housing recovery. They were up 2 percent in October despite delays caused by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast.

In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai accused the U.S. today of violating a pact governing the transfer of detainees. He said more than 70 Afghans are still in American custody, despite a court order to release them. The two sides signed an accord last March, but the U.S. has slowed its handover of prisons to ensure Afghan forces are ready to take control.

New clashes in Congo today threatened a larger war in the Central African nation. Rebels from the M23 group battled government troops near the eastern city of Goma in a region rich in minerals. The rebels had promised to stop fighting and to join peace talks. But Congo’s government refused to participate. It accused neighboring Rwanda of supporting the insurgents.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland warned the fighting is creating thousands of new refugees.

VICTORIA NULAND, State Department: There are now some 60,000 people displaced just in the past three days, 500,000 since January, and threatens a — threats to hundreds of thousands more. We’re also particularly appalled by the incredible spike in violence and M23′s decision to renew its military campaign.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Congo and Rwanda have already fought two wars in recent years. The government of Rwanda has denied supporting M23.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.