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News Wrap: Euro Tumbles in Response to Debt Crisis

March 24, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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In other news Wednesday, diplomats in the European Union worked on policies to quash the spreading debt crisis and Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of an Irish bishop embroiled in the child sex abuse scandal.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: European Union diplomats labored today in Brussels to resolve a spreading debt crisis. They met as the euro currency fell to a 10-month low. Traders in Germany and elsewhere said markets were shaken by continuing troubles in Greece and new problems in Portugal.

FIDEL PETER HELMER, chief of trading, Hauck & Aufhauser Private Bank (through translator): We are still dealing with the issue of Greece, and no solution has been found so far, which would be much appreciated by now. The situation became even more problematic today, when the Fitch Ratings agency downgraded Portugal’s debt, leading to a strong decline in prices, because Portugal is a more important contestant than Greece.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Tomorrow, the leaders of E.U. member states hold their own summit.

Wall Street had a down day over concerns about European debt and slumping housing sales. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 52 points to close at 10836. The Nasdaq fell 16 points to close at 2398.

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of an Irish bishop embroiled in the child sex abuse scandal. Bishop John Magee is 73 years old and a former papal aide. He’s accused of failing to report suspected pedophile priests to police. Over the weekend, the pope issued an apology for decades of abuse by Irish priests, nuns and others.

Three NATO troops were killed today in southern Afghanistan. Two died in a roadside bombing, and a third was killed by gunfire. There were no other details. At least 30 NATO troops have died in Afghanistan so far this month.

Those are some of the day’s main stories. I’ll be back at the end of the program with a preview of what you will find tonight on the “NewsHour”‘s Web site — but, for now, back to Gwen.