In our news wrap Monday, after three days of high-level talks, North Korea expressed regret for a land mine blast that injured two South Korean soldiers. In return, South Korea said it would halt propaganda broadcasts near the border. Also, three Americans were awarded the French Legion of Honor for stopping a gunman on a train en route to Paris.
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They cheered the closing bell on Wall Street today, out of relief that the day was over. The major U.S. indexes fell 3.5 to 4 percent, mainly driven by market chaos in China. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 588 points to close near 15870. The Nasdaq fell nearly 180 points and the S&P 500 dropped 77. U.S. oil prices also dropped sharply again, closing near $38 a barrel. We will take you through this dizzying day after the news summary.
North and South Korea pulled back today from the brink of armed conflict. After three days of high-level talks, the North expressed regret for a land mine blast that killed two South Korean soldiers. In turn, the South announced that it would halt propaganda broadcasts near the border. The two sides had a brief artillery duel last week.
Three Americans were awarded France's highest honor today for stopping a gunman on a train bound for Paris. U.S. airman Spencer Stone, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos and their friend Anthony Sadler tackled the man Friday night. Today, in Paris, President Francois Hollande pinned the Legion of Honor medals on them and on a British man. He said they prevented a veritable carnage.
PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, France (through interpreter):
In the name of France, I want to thank you for what you did. Since Friday, the entire world admires your courage, your calm under pressure, your spirit of responsibility.
This solidarity allowed you, with bare hands, to subdue a heavily armed man and ready to do anything. Your heroism must be an example for all and a source of inspiration.
The suspect, a Moroccan man named Ayoub El-Khazzani, remains in custody. His lawyer says he only intended to rob the train, and not to kill the passengers.
The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, today called for new elections after talks on forming a governing coalition failed. The vote could come on November 1. Erdogan's A.K. Party has held power since 2002, but it lost its majority in elections in June. That left Turkey in a kind of political limbo, as it battles both Kurdish rebels and Islamic State militants.
And in Syria, there's word that Islamic State forces have blown up a Roman-era temple, their latest such attack. Syria's antiquities chief says it happened Sunday in the city of Palmyra. U.N. officials condemned the destruction.
Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Independent Television News has a report.
The ancient city of Palmyra is one of the world's most important cultural sites. And the Baalshamin Temple was one of its most well-known buildings. Parts of it date back to nearly 2,000 years.
Its destruction follows the killing last week of the site's world renowned curator, Khaled Al-Asaad. The 81-year-old had refused to reveal where some of Palmyra's ancient treasures had been hidden for safekeeping. He was reportedly beheaded in a local square before his body was hung on public display.
I.S. occupied Palmyra in May, and has set about destroying ancient artifacts in Iraq, as well as Syria. In February, they ransacked the museum in the Iraqi city of Mosul, toppling statutes and destroying artifacts. In March, they bulldozed Nimrud, considered one of Iraq's greatest archaeological treasures, and days later destroyed ruins at Hatra.
Islamic State militants have defended their attack on ancient ruins, saying they promote idolatry.
Meanwhile, in Lebanon, a garbage crisis turned into violent clashes overnight in Beirut. Dozens of police and protesters were hurt when anti-government protests devolved into chaos. With that, the army took up positions around the capital. Initially, the demonstrations were over trash that had piled up for weeks. Now the crowds are calling for the government to resign.
Back in this country, a giant group of fires in Washington State is now the largest in that state's history. The so-called Okanagan Fire's complex had burned across more than 400 square miles by today. And despite some gains over the weekend, the fires are just 10 percent contained.
TODD PECHOTA, Incident Commander:
We do continue to make progress, but, again, as I said earlier, these fires, the only way to deal with them is like eating an elephant, one bite at a time. And there's still a lot to eat.
With resources stretched thin, officials have called on more than 4,000 volunteers. And fire crews from Australia and New Zealand will be joining the fight.
General Motors' fund to compensate victims of faulty ignition switches has rejected 91 percent of the claims. A spokeswoman said today that about 400 claims were approved. She said others had no clear connection to the switch problem. Families with successful claims will receive at least $1 million.
President Obama is taking new steps aimed at making it easier for people to invest in renewable energy. The executive actions and other initiatives are part of an effort to cut carbon dioxide emissions by up to 28 percent over the next decade. They include financial incentives for households to install solar panels and new funding for renewable energy research.
In Monday's news summary we incorrectly reported that two South Korean soldiers were killed by a land mine earlier this month. They were maimed. We regret the error.