In the day's other news, the stock market rose on new signs of life in the recession-weary economy and Somali pirates unsuccessfully tried to attack another U.S. ship.
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In other news, stocks climbed on new hopes the recession is moderating. That followed upbeat reports from Procter & Gamble and American Express. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 109 points to close above 8,029. The Nasdaq rose 1 point to close above 1,626.
The U.S. Treasury has selected six companies to begin a program aimed at fighting foreclosures. They will qualify for nearly $10 billion, out of $50 billion set aside for the effort. The six include such well-known names as Chase Home Finance, Wells Fargo, and CitiMortgage.
Pirates from Somalia threatened to hijack more U.S. ships today and to slaughter any Americans they find. That's after U.S. sharpshooters killed three pirates and rescued an American ship captain on Sunday.
Late Tuesday, another American freighter, the Liberty Sun, seen in this file photograph, was attacked. It was damaged, but escaped.
In Washington today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced efforts to track and freeze the pirates' assets.
HILLARY CLINTON, Secretary of State: The pirates are buying more and more sophisticated equipment. They're buying faster and more capable vessels. They are clearly using their ransom money for their benefit. Take, for example, the attempt to buy more sophisticated vessels. You know, there are ways to crack down on companies that would do business with pirates.
Also today, the French navy raided a pirate supply ship off the coast of Kenya. Eleven men were detained.
North Korea made more moves today to restart its nuclear program, expelling a group of U.S. experts. They had been monitoring work to dismantle the North's main nuclear complex at Yongbyon. It is capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium.
Yesterday, four U.N. inspectors were ordered out. They removed seals and turned off cameras before departing.
Iran will offer ideas on breaking the deadlock over its nuclear program. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced it on a speech shown on Iranian state television. He said, quote, "Circumstances have changed."
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, President of Iran (through translator): We are preparing a new package. Once it becomes ready, we will present that package to you. It is a package that constitutes peace and justice throughout the globe, and also respects other nations' rights, and guarantees participation of all countries and nations in solving international problems.
Secretary of State Clinton today welcomed a dialogue, but she insisted that the Obama administration has not dropped demands that Iran stop enriching uranium.
In Iraq, a car bomb killed 11 government security guards and wounded 20 others. It happened in Kirkuk, the center of Iraq's northern oil fields. The target was a convoy of guards working for a state-owned gas company. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
In Kabul, Afghanistan, dozens of young women's rights activists today were challenged by larger crowds made up of men and women who screamed and threw stones at them. The young women marched under heavy security. They opposed a new law that lets a husband demand sexual relations from his wife every four days. The law applies to Shiite Muslims, and it has sparked international opposition.
In Colombia, police have captured that country's most wanted drug lord. Daniel Rendon Herrera, known as "Don Mario," was nabbed in the country's north. He's accused of offering a $1,000 bounty for every police officer his gunmen kill. U.S. officials want him to stand trial in New York on drug-trafficking charges.