In the news Wednesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he would sign a U.S. security deal if American troops stopped raids on Afghan homes and helped to restart peace talks with the Taliban. The pact governs the future of American troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
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Another aspect of the health care law will be delayed, this time, the online health insurance marketplace for small businesses.
Obama administration officials announced the one-year delay during a conference call with reporters today. They said pushing back the deadline for implementation would give the troubled healthcare.gov Web site time to make needed fixes. We will get more details on the delay and what it means to small business owners after this news summary.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai softened some of his security demands today. He told Radio Free Europe he'd sign a deal with the U.S. if military raids on Afghan homes end and if the U.S. helps restart peace talks with the Taliban. He said, "Whenever the Americans meet these two demands of mine, I am ready to sign the agreement." That agreement would govern the future of American troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014. The U.S. wants it signed by the end of the year, but Karzai has said it can wait until next spring.
A string of attacks across Iraq left at least 36 people dead today. The violence ranged from suicide bombings to drive-by shootings to an assault on a police station. Separately, police found the corpses of 13 men killed execution-style in Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad. The men had no identification on them and their legs and arms had been tied before they were shot in the head.
One more person was rescued today from a sailboat that capsized in the Bahamas, bringing the total rescues to 111. But officials estimate between 20 and 30 of the Haitian migrants crammed on board died. U.S. Coast Guard video shows survivors clinging to the overloaded boat's hull and mast. Others grabbed driftwood and took refuge on small islands nearby. Officials think the boat was headed to the U.S.
An accident at Brazil's main World Cup stadium in Sao Paulo two workers today. A crane collapsed while it was lifting a section of the soccer stadium's roof into place. The metal structure sliced through the stadium's outer wall, destroying rows of seats. Brazil's preparations for next year's World Cup have been plagued with problems, including delays, accidents and overspending.
The prime minister of Latvia resigned today in the wake of a supermarket collapse that triggered public outrage in the Baltic state; 54 people were killed last week when the building's roof collapsed during peak shopping hours. The Latvian government came under fire for its lack of oversight of building projects.
Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis acknowledged the disaster in his announcement.
PRIME MINISTER VALDIS DOMBROVSKIS, Latvia (through interpreter):
Considering the tragedy in Zolitude, and taking into account that a government with a clear majority in Parliament is needed to solve the situation that has developed in the country, I announce my resignation from the post of prime minister, taking political responsibility for the tragedy.
A criminal investigation into the supermarket's construction is under way.
The Italian Senate expelled former Premier Silvio Berlusconi from parliament over a tax fraud conviction. Despite the move, the 77-year old pledged to stay involved in politics. Without a seat in Parliament, however, Berlusconi is no longer immune from prosecution. He has multiple cases pending against him, including political bribery and paying for sex with a minor.
On Wall Street today, stocks headed into the holiday break with record highs for both the Dow and the S&P 500. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 24 points to close at 16,097. The Nasdaq rose 27 points to close above 4,044.
The first book printed in America sold at auction last night for a record $14.2 million. The Bay Psalm Book was auctioned off at Sotheby's in New York. It was printed in 1640 by the leaders of the Massachusetts Bay colony. Only 11 copies are known to survive.
Auctioneer David Redden explained what the buyer intends to do with it.
DAVID REDDEN, Sotheby’s:
It sold for $14.165 million to David Rubenstein, a philanthropist who will be sharing it with libraries around this country and eventually putting it on long-term deposit at one of those libraries.
The seller of the book was Boston's Old South Church, which sold it to finance its ongoing ministries. The church still has another copy.
President Obama kicked off the Thanksgiving holiday early at the White House today with the traditional annual turkey pardon. Flanked by his daughters, the president officially saved a bird Named popcorn from ending up on a Thanksgiving table. A second backup turkey named Caramel was also pardoned, but didn't appear at the ceremony.
Pardoned turkeys end up at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate in Virginia.