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News Wrap: Turkish PM Urges Syria’s Assad to Resign

November 22, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT

KWAME HOLMAN: Turkey put new pressure on Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step down today. In a speech, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the first time called on Assad to resign, saying, “For the sake of peace, for the people, the country and the region, finally step down.”

The statement came a day after gunmen believed to be Syrian soldiers had fired on buses carrying Turkish citizens. Meanwhile, Syrian government forces kept up raids across the country today. Activists reported 21 civilians were killed, including four children.

Taliban leaders in Pakistan have declared a nationwide cease-fire to open peace talks with the Pakistani government. A senior commander of the militant group announced that today, and said the truce took effect a month ago. Pakistan’s interior minister denied that the government already has held formal talks with the Taliban.

Two NATO service members have been killed in southern Afghanistan. The coalition reported they died Monday in separate attacks. So far this year, 534 foreign troops have died in Afghanistan. At least 397 were Americans.

New government data today showed U.S. economic growth in the third quarter was slower than first estimated. The revised rate was 2 percent, down from the initial reading of 2.5 percent. That news and continued concerns about Europe’s debt crisis kept Wall Street down. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 53 points to close at 11,493. The Nasdaq fell not quite two points to close at 2,521.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.