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News Wrap: Police clear Hong Kong pro-democracy protest site

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    The clock ticked down today on the life of the 113th Congress and on authorizing enough money to keep the federal government operating. The funds run out at midnight, and House Republican leaders pressed for passage of a spending bill worth $1.1 trillion.

    REP. HAL ROGERS, (R) Kentucky: This legislation is a compromise, the product of hard-fought negotiations between the House and Senate, with give and take from both sides. But, at the end of the day, Mr. Speaker, it reflects conservative priorities, keeps our spending in line, and reins in the regulatory overreach that has been hampering our economy.


    The GOP leaders struggled to corral conservatives who wanted to stop President Obama's actions on immigration.

    On the Democratic side, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she was enormously disappointed that President Obama endorsed the bill. She blasted several key provisions, including a rollback of regulations on big banks.

  • REP. NANCY PELOSI, Minority Leader:

    This is a moral hazard. We're being asked to vote for a moral hazard. Why is this in an appropriations bill? Because it was the price to pay to get an appropriations bill. I was told we couldn't get all these other things that have been described here so loving — beautifully unless we gave Wall Street this gift.


    Republican leaders said, whatever happens, they mean to avoid a government shutdown by at least passing a short-term spending measure. But the federal Office of Personnel Management told the "NewsHour" it's laying contingency plans just in case.


    A powerful storm walloped the West Coast today with up to eight inches of rain, knocking out power, disrupting flights and raising fears of landslides.

    In Northern California, the rain flooded streets and overwhelmed storm sewers near Sonoma. And high winds and waves in San Francisco Bay forced cancellations of commuter ferries and other mass transit. The storm is bringing blizzard conditions to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, but it could also help drought-stricken farmers.


    A top al-Qaida leader in Yemen blamed President Obama today for the deaths of two hostages last weekend. American Luke Somers and South African Pierre Korkie were shot to death before a U.S. special forces raid could rescue them. The al-Qaida figure said the U.S. acted recklessly, instead of negotiating.

    NASR BIN ALI AL-ANSI, Al-Qaida Leader in Yemen (through interpreter): This message is for the American people about the killing of hostages in Yemen. After our message, we gave Obama and his government three days to fulfill demands of the mujahideen. With it was an appeal from an American hostage. Obama made the wrong decision, which was accounted as a signature of execution of an American citizen.


    The message said that al-Qaida wanted to exchange Luke Somers for detainees at Guantanamo.


    In Hong Kong, police cleared most of the main pro-democracy protest site today after a nearly two-month standoff with demonstrators.

    John Sparks of Independent Television News reports.


    When 1,000 policemen turned up in central Hong Kong this morning, everybody knew that the final clearance was about to begin. For 75 days, pro-democracy activists have occupied this site, an eight-lane highway in the heart of city. But their demonstration was over. The authorities were taking it back.

    A collection of court bailiffs opened the proceedings.

    "We're enforcing an injunction," said this official. "Your obstacles will now be removed."

    And men armed with sharp knives and bolt-cutters got to work, tearing the protesters' barricades apart. The protesters offered little resistance, just a final rally in a place they called the main stage.

    "Give us universal suffrage," they cried, but the territory's government and their masters in Beijing have refused to negotiate. For protest leaders, it is a painful retreat. Two months ago, hundreds of thousands congregated in the city center. It represented the biggest challenge to Chinese authorities since the protests in Tiananmen Square.

    But the authorities have outlasted their youthful tech-savvy opponents. And they have censored their ideas in the rest of China. Hong Kong will get its road back, but life is unlikely to return to normal. In a newly politicized city, there are many here who do not like where it's going.


    Back in this country, a Justice Department report shed new light on rape and sexual assault among college-age women. According to the findings, only about 20 percent of campus sexual assault victims go to police. One in 10 victims say they didn't think the incident was important enough to tell the authorities. And the rate of sexual assault was far higher for non-students than for students. The report spanned the years 1995 to 2013.


    On Wall Street, stocks rallied, then retreated a bit as the falling price of oil hurt energy stocks again. Oil finished below $60 a barrel in New York's trading, down 44 percent from its peak back in June. That limited the Dow Jones industrial average to a gain of 63 points, closing at 17,596. The Nasdaq rose 24 points to close at 4,708. And the S&P 500 added nine to finish at 2,035.


    Sliding oil prices also sent the Russian ruble to yet another all-time low. Meanwhile, China's leaders reaffirmed a goal of slower economic expansion in 2015, in a bid for more sustainable growth. The new target is expected to be 7 percent.

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