The Labor Department reported another increase in new jobless claim benefits, and the House voted to give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products for the first time.
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In other news today, Wall Street kept its four-week rally going on hopes that the G-20 summit will boost the world economy. Another factor was an accounting rule change that could shore up balance sheets at banks.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 216 points to close at 7,978. The Nasdaq rose 51 points to close at 1,602.
The House voted today to give the government authority, for the first time, to regulate tobacco products. The Food and Drug Administration would be permitted to make ingredients public, ban flavoring, and block marketing campaigns for cigarettes and the like. The Senate takes up the bill later this month.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was formally indicted late today on federal corruption charges. The main charge involved plotting to sell a U.S. Senate seat, the one that President Obama resigned. Blagojevich's brother and two former aides were also indicted. The state legislature removed Blagojevich from office in January.
In southern Afghanistan, fierce fighting has killed 20 insurgents. The U.S.-led coalition announced the battle erupted yesterday in Helmand province when militants attacked a patrol. Thirty-one militants died in clashes in the same region on Tuesday.
Israeli police questioned the country's new foreign minister for more than seven hours today. Avigdor Lieberman was interrogated on allegations of taking bribes, laundering money, and other misdeeds in his business dealings. He denied any wrongdoing. Lieberman has already drawn fire as foreign minister for saying he opposes any concessions to Arabs to gain peace.