News Wrap: Russia Unlikely to Pressure Syrian President Assad to Resign
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HARI SREENIVASAN: U.S. exports dropped in October by the most in nearly four years, and the trade deficit grew nearly 5 percent. The Commerce Department said the gap topped $42 billion. Still, Wall Street managed to make some gains. The Dow Jones industrial average added 78 points to close at 13,248. The Nasdaq rose 35 points to close at 3,022.
Russia is resisting the latest U.S. appeal to help force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad out of office. That word came today in the Russian newspaper Kommersant. It said Moscow is convinced Assad will not go voluntarily, no matter what pressure is applied.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said chances of the Syrian regime resorting to chemical weapons may be easing. He spoke during a flight to Kuwait.
DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: We have not seen anything new indicating any aggressive steps to move forward in that way, but we continue to monitor it very closely. And we continue to make clear to them that they shouldn’t under any means make use of these chemical weapons against their own population.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Also today, the United Nations reported the number of Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting has grown to more than 500,000 all across the Middle East. And inside Syria, rebels captured a second major military base near the northern city of Aleppo.
New details have emerged from South Africa on the health of former President Nelson Mandela. The government announced today that military doctors are treating him for a recurring lung infection. Mandela is 94 years old. He’s been hospitalized since Saturday, but officials said he is responding to treatment.
An investigation of paying pro football players for causing injuries took a sharp new turn today. The man appointed to hear appeals, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, voided the suspensions of four current and former New Orleans Saints. Tagliabue said actions by team coaches and others had contaminated the case. He did agree that three of the players should be fined.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.