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News Wrap: UN inspectors arrive in Syria to begin hunt for chemical weapons

October 1, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Wall Street steadied itself and even regained some ground, despite the partial government shutdown. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 62 points to close at 15,191. The Nasdaq rose 46 points to close just short of 3,818.

The markets were helped in part by news that manufacturing grew in September by the most in two-and-a-half years. September wasn’t such a good month for automakers. GM and Volkswagen reported today their sales dropped by double digits, and Toyota and Nissan sales also fell. But Ford and Chrysler had their best September in six to seven years.

The prime minister of Israel warned the world today to stand firm on sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.N. General Assembly there must be a credible military threat, too, and he said Israel is prepared to stand alone in defending itself. More on this story later in the program.

An advance group of international weapons inspectors has arrived in Syria to begin the hunt for chemical weapons. Their convoy crossed the border from Lebanon today, carrying 20 inspectors from a watchdog agency based in the Netherlands. They are tasked with finding and dismantling the regime’s chemical arsenal. The U.N. Security Council has ordered that the weapons be eliminated by the middle of next year.

The U.N. reports a surge of killings in Iraq brought the death toll for September to nearly 1,000. Yesterday alone, more than 50 people were killed in car bombings in Baghdad, many of them children. Today, a man who lost two sons recently appealed for peace.

AYSSAR FAKHIR AL-JABERI, father of victims (through interpreter): What is the goal which has been achieved by terrorists to kill innocent children? These children are not military leaders or officials in the government. My children were going to school for the new study term. One was in the first year, and the other in second year in school. They went to the cemetery, instead of going to school.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Iraq has been caught up in its worst sectarian violence since 2008. It began after a crackdown by the Shiite-led government on a Sunni protest camp last April.

Buddhist mobs raged through Western Myanmar today, attacking Muslims and burning at least 70 homes. The trouble hit three villages in Rakhine State, where unrest has been growing since June of last year. Thousands of Muslims have been forced to flee since then, and, today, Myanmar’s president arrived in Rakhine, urging residents to restore calm.

THEIN SEIN, Myanmar President (through interpreter): Just military and police forces won’t be enough to control the situation. These burnings, killings, and violence will only stop when you take part to maintain peace by yourself.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Buddhists are the overwhelming majority in Myanmar, the former Burma. Muslims account for just 4 percent of the population.

One in eight people around the world is chronically undernourished, but the number is falling. U.N. food agencies reported the findings today. They estimated that 842 million people suffered from chronic hunger between 2011 and 2013. That’s down from the estimate of 868 million for the previous two years. The U.N.’s goal is to cut the numbers in half by 2015, but the agencies warned some regions may fall short.

The U.S. Supreme Court took no action today on petitions to review the Obama administration’s rules aimed at climate change. None of the nine legal petitions were mentioned on a list of new cases that the justices agreed to hear. The Supreme Court’s new term begins on Monday.