KWAME HOLMAN: The euro rallied today as investors saw signs there may be greater fiscal integration in the eurozone. Finance ministers of some of the world’s leading economies are set to hold emergency talks tomorrow on a way to solve the eurozone crisis.
Stocks closed flat on Wall Street today after a choppy day of trading, much of that related to the fate of the euro. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 17 points to close above 12,101. The Nasdaq rose more than 12 points to close at 2,760.
In Iraq today, a suicide car bomb in central Baghdad killed at least 23 people. It targeted the main Shiite religious affairs office, detonating right outside the building. Nearly 200 people were wounded in the explosion that shattered nearby windows and damaged cars. Security officials said the bombing appeared to be the work of al-Qaida’s Iraq wing.
Officials in Pakistan condemned a suspected U.S. drone strike that killed at least 15 people today. The attack targeted a militant hideout in the North Waziristan tribal region. It’s the third such strike in as many days, reportedly killing close to 30 people in all.
Rebels fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad banded together today in a new coalition. The group is known as the Syrian Rebels Front and aims to overcome division within the opposition. In a speech to parliament yesterday, Assad defended his government’s crackdown on the opposition, and insisted the revolt was the work of foreigners.
BASHAR AL-ASSAD, president of Syria (through translator): The road of reform and openness we are going down is irreversible, and Syria is moving towards the future despite all its wounds. It is the creator of all its children, regardless of differing opinions. It is peaceful and democratic, and because it serves the interests of the citizens and is not against them.
Terrorism is not linked with the political process and it is targeting the motherland, all the people, its institutions and parties.
KWAME HOLMAN: A peace plan put forward by U.N. mediator Kofi Annan has so far gone unimplemented. Today, Annan said world powers must ensure it works. Annan will brief the U.N. Security Council and hold talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Syria later this week.
Rescue crews in Nigeria kept searching for victims of a commercial airliner crash yesterday in Lagos. All 153 people on board were killed, and 110 of the bodies have been recovered so far. Emergency workers spent today combing through the wreckage and clearing away debris. Weather conditions were clear when the plane crashed, but the American pilot had reported engine trouble. The plane went down in a densely populated area, so the death toll is expected to grow.
Three new sites in Vietnam will be opened up for the U.S. to search for the remains of missing U.S. servicemen from the Vietnam War. That announcement came from the Vietnamese government during a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. At least four Americans went missing in the areas to be opened. Panetta also exchanged war artifacts with his Vietnamese counterpart. They traded the wartime letters of a fallen U.S. soldier for the diary of a Vietnamese soldier.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.