In other news, General Motors neared a deadline to submit a restructuring plan and markets rose at the close of the week on Wall Street.
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More pieces of General Motors' future fell into place today. The automaker is now three days away from a deadline for entering federal bankruptcy protection. Today, GM announced it plans to reopen a U.S. factory still to be named and use it to build subcompact cars. And the United Auto Workers formally ratified new concessions to help the company save money.
In Washington, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, GM is taking important steps.
ROBERT GIBBS, White House Press Secretary:
I know the president is encouraged that, whatever happens at the deadline, that the progress that is being made to restructure General Motors and put it on a path, as I have said, to being a viable auto company, we have seen encouraging signs.
Gibbs also said that Chrysler's speedy passage through the bankruptcy process is providing a hopeful example. In New York, a federal bankruptcy court held a third day of hearings on selling most of Chrysler to Fiat.
In other news today, Wall Street staged an end-of-week rally. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 96 points, to close at 8500. The Nasdaq rose 22 points, to close at 1774.
For the month, the Dow gained 4 percent, the Nasdaq rose 3 percent.
North Korea fired off a new missile and new threats in another day of heightened tensions. The missile was a short-range weapon launched from a site on the country's East Coast. And the Foreign Ministry also issued a warning to the U.N. Security Council not to impose new sanctions. It came on state-controlled television.
WOMAN (through translator):
If the U.N. Security Council makes further provocations, it will be inevitable for us to take further self-defense measures. If the U.N. Security Council does not accept our fair request for an apology, we will not accept the council's resolutions and decisions in the future.
The war of words has been building since North Korea carried out a nuclear test on Monday. But Defense Secretary Gates said there is no crisis. He said there's no need for additional U.S. troops in the region.
In Iraq, a U.S. soldier was killed in a grenade attack in the north. That made 22 Americans to die there so far this month. It's the largest number of U.S. fatalities since last September.