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News Wrap: Eurozone Ministers Move Closer to Granting Greece Next Bailout

February 20, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
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KWAME HOLMAN: The Eurozone’s finance ministers moved closer today to approving a second bailout for Greece at a meeting in Brussels. Greece must implement more tough austerity measures in exchange for the $171 billion rescue package to avoid defaulting on its debts next month.

Several finance ministers spoke to reporters ahead of the decision.

WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE, German finance minister (through translator): We need final clarity about the participation of private creditors about a program that will ensure that Greece’s debt is reduced and doesn’t exceed around 120 percent of gross domestic product by the year 2020.

FRANCOIS BAROIN, French finance minister (through translator): Greece knows what it has to do, and we will watch over it continually. We also know what we have to do. We asked for a lot of things. We have been working for 18 months on elements to stabilize the Eurozone in order to reassure investors from outside that they can trust the Eurozone.

KWAME HOLMAN: An uncontrolled bankruptcy likely would mean Greece leaving the Eurozone and returning to its old currency, the drachma.

U.N. nuclear inspectors began a two-day visit to Tehran today to press for information on Iran’s nuclear program. The team will meet with Iranian nuclear scientists and visit a military weapons development facility. Iran insists its nuclear activity is for peaceful purposes. It’s the second visit of the U.N. inspectors in less than a month.

Rebels in the Darfur region of Sudan announced today they are holding 52 international peacekeepers. They are accusing them of working with Sudan’s security service. The peacekeepers are part of a joint U.N.-African Union force and many originally are from Senegal. Peacekeepers from the force often have found themselves in the middle of fighting between government troops and insurgents over the past 10 years.

Officials in northern Mexico today accused prison staff of helping carry out a violent jailbreak. Imprisoned members of the Zetas drug cartel reportedly killed 44 members of a rival cartel. It happened yesterday at a prison in Monterrey. Thirty inmates later escaped. Families protested outside the facility over a lack of information about the victims. The prison’s director and three other officials were fired and are under investigation. Eighteen guards also were detained for questioning.

Three men who died in an avalanche in Washington were identified today, and all were expert skiers well-known in the ski community. About a dozen people were backcountry skiing in an out-of-bounds area near Stevens Pass, a popular ski resort. The avalanche carried them 1,500 feet down a chute, burying all of them.

Elyse Saugstad was one of the skiers who survived, thanks to an air bag installed in her vest. She explained to ABC News how deploying it saved her life.

ELYSE SAUGSTAD, avalanche survivor: It keeps you above the avalanche — not above, per se, but so that you’re staying on top. And I will say it’s not like you’re actually having an inner tube ride down the snow. It’s definitely not like that. You are still very much in the avalanche itself. It’s kind of like you’re in a washing machine.

You’re being tossed and turned. You don’t know which way is up or down. But the system keeps you up above, so you have a very good chance of survival.

KWAME HOLMAN: Experts have said the risk of more avalanches is high, partly because the base layer of snow is so weak from a mainly dry winter.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.