From NPR News in Washington, I'm Lakshmi Singh.
President Obama is expected to address the nation Tuesday about the end of US combat operations in Iraq. The White House says Mr. Obama is also expected to visit troops at Fort Bliss in Texas. The US focus in Iraq is shifting from combat to training and assistance. With the transition underway, insurgents launched a wave of attacks across Iraq today that killed as many as 60 people.
In the US, new home sales are at record lows, down more than 12 percent from June to July. The government's report comes out a day after we learn sales of previously owned homes also took a heavy blow last month. Longtime realtor Marge McCreesh of RE/MAX Realty in the Baltimore, Maryland area says people just can't get the credit.
"Good, solid, rock solid buyers are having a hard time getting money right now. Some people I can't help. I mean I'll send them to several lenders, and they're just agents of portfolio that they're used to be, or where you could send them to different brokers or you had options."
Meanwhile, orders for durable goods in July were also weak.
Soldiers in Mexico have discovered the bodies of dozens of migrants from what, they say, could be the largest massacre yet in that country's deadly drug war. More on this from NPR's Jason Beaubien.
The Mexican Marines were manning a road block in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas when a man who'd been shot came to them asking for medical help. The man told them about a nearby ranch he said serves as a base for one of the drug gangs. As the Marines attempted to investigate, a firefight broke out, killing one soldier and three supposed cartel gunmen. In addition to the bodies of 58 men and 14 women, the Mexican Navy says it also seized 21 assault rifles, almost 7,000 rounds of ammunition, several flak jackets and camouflage uniforms. Jason Beaubien, NPR News, Mexico City.
Investigators in the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia plan to dig through rubble deep inside the mine as they continue to search for a cause of April's deadly explosion. NPR's Howard Berkes reports that Federal Mine Safety officials have provided an update on their progress.
The Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration isn't saying anything about what's been learned in the investigation, but there's new information about what investigators are doing both above and underground. They've completed about 80 percent of their planned witness interviews; about 50 are left, including managers of the Upper Big Branch mine and owner Massey Energy. Investigators mapped about 90 percent of the mine, but flooding has kept them away from two key sections considered possible sources of the blast that killed 29 mine workers. And they're still trying to locate some methane monitors, which are supposed to warn of explosive levels of gas. The reported disabling of methane monitors is the subject of a criminal investigation, which continues this week before a federal grand jury in Charleston, West Virginia. Howard Berkes, NPR News.
Dow's up 19 points at 10,060.
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In Chile, rescuers are spending another day trying to free 33 miners who've been trapped deep underground since early August, the process of drilling an escape tunnel is expected to take months though. Meanwhile, rescuers are supplying basic items through a narrow bore hole to help keep the miners alive.
South Africa's largest trade union federation is warning the government to meet the wage demands of striking public servants; otherwise, as Vicky O'Hara reports, the strike will be expanded to the country's manufacturing sector.
The eight-day-old strike already has disrupted schools and jeopardized public health care, but the economic effects have been limited. That will change if the strike is extended to manufacturing. The public servants are demanding an 8.6 percent wage hike. The government offers only seven percent. School officials in at least one province have announced exams will be postponed because of the strike. Suburban schools in Johannesburg that had been open closed today as striking union workers threatened teachers and students. The health care situation is even more critical. The South African military now has deployed medics, armed guards and sanitation crews to at least 47 hospitals. For NPR News, I'm Vicky O'Hara in Johannesburg.
Hot weather is helping spread wildfires in Oregon, California and Idaho. On the outskirts of Ashland, Oregon, a tourist spot best-known for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a fire set off explosions and burned through several homes yesterday. Authorities say a homeless man has been charged.
Dow's up 20 at last check at 10,060.
I'm Lakshmi Singh, NPR News, Washington.