HARI SREENIVASAN: U.N. officials reported today that more than 200 people have been killed in the unrest in Tunisia, and more than 500 have been hurt. The uprising there ousted President Ben Ali last month, and it sparked the protests now roiling Egypt. Sporadic violence has continued throughout Tunisia, including a fire set at a small synagogue last night.
There are new fears about the safety of U.S. government employees in Iraq after U.S. troops leave at year's end. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported today the situation is at a critical juncture. The report suggested one option is to keep hundreds of American troops on hand to safeguard the U.S. Embassy.
A Pennsylvania woman has pleaded guilty in a plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist who offended Muslims. Colleen LaRose had dubbed herself "Jihad Jane." Prosecutors said she helped foreign terror suspects. LaRose was arrested in October of 2009. She could face life in prison.
Wall Street pushed sharply higher today on strong earnings and reports of rising factory activity. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 148 points to close at 12,040. The last time the Dow finished above 12,000 was June of 2008. The Nasdaq rose 51 points to close at 2,751.
And major automakers reported strong sales in January, with General
Motors and Chrysler up more than 20 percent. Toyota sales were up 17 percent, and Ford gained 9 percent.
Those are some of the day's major stories.