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News Wrap: Eurozone Meeting on Greece Bailout Canceled

February 14, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
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KWAME HOLMAN: Eurozone finance ministers today canceled a meeting set for tomorrow on approving a $170 billion bailout for Greece. The ministers group said more time was needed to work out details of how Greece will achieve promised savings. The Greek parliament approved new austerity measures on Sunday. The ministers now plan to meet Monday.

On Wall Street, the news out of Europe sent stocks sliding, but they staged a late recovery after word that Greek leaders would provide written assurances to European officials. In the end, the Dow Jones industrial average gained four points to close at 12,878. The Nasdaq rose a fraction of a point to close at 2,931.

The Syrian military fought rebels in cities across the country today. The army of President Bashar al-Assad intensified its artillery barrage of the city of Homs, an assault now in its 11th day. And armored forces surrounded the town of Zabadani, near the border with Lebanon, after a heavy bombardment.

Correspondent John Ray of Independent Television News managed to get just inside Syria to file this report.

(GUNFIRE)

JOHN RAY: The Syrian army is pummeling Zabadani, punishing a town just 30 miles from Damascus that dared to revolt.

We are smuggled over the border on our way to meet fighters risking their lives against overwhelming odds. The battle here is intense, the town besieged. Assad’s forces sweep the streets, hunting down the rebels. But the killing is indiscriminate.

Amid the sound of shell fire, we see tanks and troops moving towards us.

The troops are going house to house looking for rebel fighters. There really is no safe place in the front of that advance, other than perhaps, we hope, up in these mountains amid the trees here. From a military point of view, the rebels’ position seems pretty hopeless.

MAN: We are in a very hard and dangerous position.

JOHN RAY: This is a senior rebel commander, but his men are few in number.

Your lives are now at risk.

MAN: So much, so much, more than you expected. We have a risk, but we must go in it to have our freedom. We must stay in the risk.

JOHN RAY: But the currency of freedom here is blood. We witnessed the funerals of two men we’re told were shot by snipers. They’ve been trying to take bread into Zabadani. Between them, they leave 12 orphaned children.

MAN: Half the city is destroyed from the tanks of the shells in Zabadani.

JOHN RAY: A despairing doctor tells us supplies of medicine, food and hope are dwindling.

MAN: People will die.

JOHN RAY: As recently as last month, it was the Free Syrian Army that watched over Zabadani and their bombs that destroyed Assad’s tanks. But now those tanks are back and in close pursuit.

KWAME HOLMAN: In Bahrain, security troops were out in force in the Persian Gulf island kingdom after a mass march last night turned violent in Manama, the capital. Police used tear gas both yesterday and today to disperse crowds. They were there to mark the first anniversary of Shiite protests against Bahrain’s Sunni rulers. At least 40 people have been killed in the last year of political unrest.

Police in Thailand arrested an Iranian man today after a series of explosions, and Israel said the Thais had stopped a terror plot. It started with a blast at this rental house in Bangkok. Police said the man was running away and being chased when he threw a grenade that bounced back and blew off one of his legs. Security forces found magnetic bombs in the house. Similar devices were used yesterday in attempted attacks on Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.