News Wrap: New Doubts Over Greek Debt Arise Before Eurozone Summit
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HARI SREENIVASAN: New doubts arose today about a plan to tackle the European debt crisis on the eve of a Eurozone summit. Officials said the 17 countries have yet to agree on details of how to reduce Greece’s debts and expand a bailout fund.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has championed the plan. She faced a crucial vote of support in the German Parliament.
ANGELA MERKEL, German chancellor (through translator): This is uncharted territory for everyone. And, as such, my oath of office demands that I keep the German people from any harm and do the right thing for the German people. That must guide my actions. In doing that, I am working to win as much support as possible.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The news from Europe sent Wall Street down from the opening bell. The selling was also fueled by lackluster corporate earnings and by news that consumer confidence this month hit the lowest levels since March of 2009. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 207 points to close at 11,706. The Nasdaq fell 61 points to close at 2,638.
Police in Oakland, Calif., broke up an anti-Wall Street protest today with tear gas and beanbag guns. At least 75 people were arrested. Officers staged a pre-dawn raid on a plaza in front of City Hall, where protesters had camped illegally for two weeks. Police said they were hit with rocks and bottles, and fired tear gas in response. Protest organizers said they may try to reoccupy the plaza at some point.
In Turkey, the death toll from Sunday’s powerful earthquake rose to at least 459, and a strong aftershock set off new panic. But there was a moment of hope in the hard-hit region as rescue workers found a baby still alive in the wreckage.
We have a report from John Ray of Independent Television News.
JOHN RAY: She’s just two weeks old. Today, she has been reborn. One fragile life saved where so many have perished is cause for celebration. Her name is Azra, a tiny survivor amid the vast ruins.
But the operation to free Azra’s mother is complex. One wrong move could bring the rubble down. Three long hours pass before she, too, is released. A mother who has spent two days protecting her newborn baby wins her own battle for life.
Well, this is the moment they have worked and waited for, and if it’s not quite a miracle, it is certainly remarkable, the persistence of hope against all odds.
This tent is home to 30 women, their houses gone. Ahmed Bakum (ph) tells me he dug with his bare hands, but couldn’t reach his two sisters and two grandchildren in time. In the villages, help has been slow to come. And in the town of Ercis, desperate survivors have looted blankets and taken food from aid lorries.
Supplies are short, but, tonight, as baby Azra and her mother await their reunion, at least hope is not exhausted.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Later, the Turkish government announced it will accept outside aid for thousands of homeless survivors now facing winter.
Government officials in Yemen signed a cease-fire today with a dissident general. But fighting continued, with at least seven protesters killed. In the capital city, Sana’a, Yemeni troops fired on demonstrators and used a water cannon to disperse the crowd.
At least two people were killed there. Meanwhile, President Ali Abdullah Saleh called in the U.S. ambassador and said he would sign a deal to step down. He has made similar promises before.
Partial vote results in Tunisia show a moderate Islamist party is on track to win the most seats in a new national assembly. The numbers released today suggested the Ennahda party will not win an outright majority. But the head of a leading secular party rejected any talk of joining a coalition. Despite that, the Islamists promised a broad-based government to write a new constitution and complete the transition to democracy.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.