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News Wrap: Merkel Insists Avoiding Greek Default is a ‘Top Priority’

September 13, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT

HARI SREENIVASAN: European stocks rallied today amid new signs that Germany and France will act to prevent Greece from defaulting on its debt. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her government is using all its tools. She told a German radio station, “It is our top priority to avoid an uncontrolled default, because it would hit not only Greece, but other countries.”

Merkel also spoke with the presidents of Greece and France.

Wall Street had a choppy session, but ended ahead on the day. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 44 points to close near 11,106. The Nasdaq rose 37 points to close at 2,532.

In Iran, a court set bail of $500,000 apiece for Americans Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. They had been convicted of spying. The two men and a third American, Sarah Shourd, seen here last year, were arrested in July of 2009 hiking along the Iran-Iraq border. Shourd was released last year. All three denied spying. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Bauer and Fattal could be freed in a couple of days, just before he attends the U.N. General Assembly session in New York.

A new round of monsoon rains overnight in Pakistan worsened a flooding disaster that has driven at least 200,000 people from their homes. In Badin, the worst-hit area, boats rescued stranded villagers today, while others lined the main road carrying belongings as they fled. Government workers have been sent in to provide food for the displaced. The area was severely affected last year in Pakistan’s worst flooding in 80 years.

There was graphic new evidence today of the global diabetes epidemic. The International Diabetes Federation announced roughly 366 million people worldwide now suffer from both types of diabetes, a figure it called staggering. It said 4.6 million people die from the disease every year, one every seven seconds. And efforts to fight diabetes cost $465 billion a year.

The number of cases has more than doubled in the last 30 years, due in part to rising rates of obesity.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.