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Civilian toll rises to 24 on Afghanistan’s deadliest day

KABUL, Afghanistan — Violence took the lives of at least two dozen Afghan civilians and possibly many more Wednesday, making it the deadliest day for Afghan civilians so far this year. The day included a complex suicide attack in Kandahar City and a NATO airstrike that Afghan officials and residents said had killed women and children in eastern Afghanistan, according to Afghan officials and residents.

Last week, the head of the U.N. Afghanistan office, Jan Kubic, said that in the first quarter of this year, civilian casualties had dropped for the first time since the United Nations began keeping statistics in 2007. That positive trend has appeared to be eroding in recent days. Another official in the office, James Rodehaver, said, “One thing we can say is that this has been the deadliest day of the year so far for civilians.”

The alleged civilian casualties caused by a NATO airstrike were in rural Logar province, and for much of the day there were conflicting accounts of what had happened. By evening a NATO spokesman said that international forces and the Afghans had opened a joint investigation.

—Alissa J. Rubin and Taimoor Shah, The New York Times

US regulator concedes oversight lapse in JPMorgan loss

WASHINGTON — The front-line regulator charged with overseeing JPMorgan Chase conceded Wednesday that his agency stumbled when it overlooked a multibillion-dollar trading loss that has damaged the bank’s image and stock price.

At a Senate Banking Committee hearing, the comptroller of the currency, Thomas J. Curry, faced the brunt of the scrutiny, including a fiery round of questions from Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. Brown asked whether the agency met a broad “standard that it set for itself.” Curry replied, “No, not in this particular case.”

“We would expect to be aware of significant risks,” he said in his first congressional testimony since taking the helm of the comptroller’s office in April. Curry disclosed that the agency was conducting “a critical self-review,” which he said he hoped would be completed in the next several weeks.

The hearing Wednesday was the second in a string of inquiries planned to examine JPMorgan’s loss. The hearing included testimony from officials at four other federal agencies: the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. In May, the committee called the leaders of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission, which also regulate JPMorgan, to testify after the company disclosed that it lost at least $2 billion on dubious derivatives trading.

—Ben Protess, The New York Times

Nasdaq sets aside $40 million for Facebook claims

The Nasdaq OMX Group is taking its first step to quell investor anger over the flawed debut of Facebook shares last month — pledging $40 million to cover broker losses — but some customers and competitors quickly raised objections.

The stock market operator said Wednesday that it would set aside $13.7 million in cash and pay out the rest in trading rebates to settle disputes by investors arising from technical malfunctions in Facebook’s initial public offering May 18, the biggest technology IPO ever.

Nasdaq has maintained that the decline in the price of Facebook’s stock since the first day was because of factors other than the glitches on the exchange.

—Michael J. De La Merced and Nathaniel Popper,
The New York Times