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News Wrap: U.S. steps up pressure for Afghan security deal

November 22, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT
In our news wrap Friday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel argued that waiting to sign a security deal until the next Afghan president is in office won't give U.S. forces enough time to plan for keeping troops in the country. Also, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden was charged with murder.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. has stepped up pressure on Afghan leaders to sign a security deal by year’s end. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today that, otherwise, there won’t be time to plan for keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan past 2014. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said yesterday he wants his successor to sign the pact, after elections next spring.

Today, his spokesman said, “We do not recognize any deadline from the U.S. side.”

Secretary of State John Kerry headed to Switzerland this afternoon to join six-nation talks with Iran on freezing its nuclear programs. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had arrived in Geneva earlier. That, in turn, raised speculation that negotiators may be edging toward a compromise. In a few minutes, Margaret Warner updates us from Geneva.

United Nations-sponsored climate talks — climate change talks were scheduled to wind up in Warsaw, Poland, today, but delegates from more than 190 nations kept talking. They’re trying to fashion a deal to reduce carbon emissions. It’s supposed to be adopted at a 2015 summit in Paris.

The U.S. special envoy acknowledged, it’s been slow going.

TODD STERN, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change: I don’t think anybody expected anything different from that. There are disagreements that are part of these negotiations, and we are still two years from Paris, so, certainly, it was never a — a metric of success for this agreement that the big issues were going to go away.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Hundreds of environmental activists walked out of the talks yesterday over the failure to make headway.

The Pakistani physician who helped locate Osama bin Laden has been charged with murder. The lawyer for Shakil Afridi said today the case relates to the death of a patient in 2006. Afridi was already facing retrial on other charges. The doctor ran a vaccination program that helped the CIA find bin Laden. Pakistani officials regard him as a traitor.

The death toll from the typhoon that struck the Philippines topped 5,200 today. The country’s national disaster agency also reported some 23,000 injured, with 1,600 still listed as missing. The agency said only about half the city of Tacloban has been cleared, so it’s likely the number of dead will go higher still.

Wall Street scored new gains to finish out the week. The Dow Jones industrial average added more than 54 points to close at 16,064. The Nasdaq rose 22 points to close at 3,991. The S&P 500 hit a new benchmark, closing above 1,800 for the first time. For the week, the Dow gained just over 0.5 percent; the Nasdaq rose 0.1 percent.