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News Wrap: Libya PM abducted, later freed in response to recent U.S. raid

October 10, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT
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JUDY WOODRUFF: In other news, Wall Street soared on hopes that the Washington impasse is heading toward resolution. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 323 points to close at 15,126. The Nasdaq rose nearly 83 points to close above 3,760.

The 2013 Nobel Prize for literature was awarded today to Canadian Alice Munro. The Nobel Committee described her as a master of the contemporary short story. Munro began publishing her work in the 1960s. Since then, her books have sold more than one million copies in the U.S. alone. More on Alice Munro at the end of the program.

Confusion reigned in Libya today, as the prime minister was first abducted and then freed hours later. It came just days after U.S. commandos captured a top al-Qaida figure in Tripoli.

We have a report narrated by Lindsey Hilsum of Independent Television News.

LINDSEY HILSUM:  Kidnapped or arrested? At 2:00 a.m., the Libyan prime minister was seized by armed men. He was sleeping in room 1213 of the Corinthia Hotel, supposedly Tripoli’s safest, temporary home to oil executives and diplomats.

ABD AL-RAZAQ BEN SHABAN, Corinthia Hotel (through interpreter): There were a lot of vehicles, about 150, marked with the logo of the Libyan Revolutionary Operations Room. They had no heavy armor, just personal weapons.

LINDSEY HILSUM: On state TV, they were trying to sound resolute. “No force can topple the elected government,” said the head of the congress, but the incident shows how little control the authorities have over their chaotic country.

Scores of often feuding militia, successors to the revolutionaries who overthrew Colonel Gadhafi two years ago, rule the streets. The group that seized the prime minister was supposed to protect the capital. At first, it seemed they were angry that the prime minister had allowed this man, Anas al-Libi, an alleged terrorist, to be snatched off the streets of Tripoli by the Americans last Saturday.

But, a few hours later, the prime minister was free, if minus his glasses, mobbed by journalists and others, released after negotiations with another militia and trying to play the whole thing down.

PRIME MINISTER ALI ZEIDAN, Libya (through interpreter): I would like to reassure foreigners here in Libya that what has occurred was solely a result of complications within Libyan politics and foreigners are not targets.

LINDSEY HILSUM: How long ago this feels, the day in August 2011 that Gadhafi fell and Tripoli erupted in joy. Overthrowing a dictator has proved much easier than rebuilding the state. Today’s chaos may be Gadhafi’s legacy, but no one in Libya seems to know how to overcome it.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was re-arrested today, after being released on bail yesterday. This time, Musharraf was taken into custody on accusations involving a deadly raid on a militant mosque in 2007. He’s faced a host of criminal charges since returning from exile in March.

In Egypt, the military-backed government criticized the U.S. decision to slash millions of dollars in aid. A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry insisted, Egypt will not surrender to American pressure. Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. might restore some aid if Egypt makes progress in restoring democracy.

He spoke in Malaysia.

SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: I think the interim government understands very well our commitment to the success of this government which we want to see achieved. And by no means is this a withdrawal from our relationship or a severing of our serious commitment to helping the government meet those goals.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. has been providing Egypt with about $1.5 billion a year in aid.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced today to 28 years in prison. He’d been convicted in March of federal charges, including racketeering, bribery, mail fraud and tax counts. Kilpatrick served as mayor from 2002 until he resigned in 2008.

The Cleveland, Ohio, man who held three women captive for years may not have committed suicide after all. Ariel Castro was found dead in his prison cell last month with a sheet around his neck. State investigators reported today that he may have been choking himself as part of a sex act. They also found that two prison guards repeatedly failed to check on Castro.

Pioneering astronaut Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit the Earth, died today. He’d had a stroke and passed away in a Denver hospice. Carpenter was one of the original Mercury Seven. John Glenn is now the last surviving member of the group. Scott Carpenter was 88 years old.