Eurozone reaches deal on $170 billion Greek bailout, cuts debt to 120.5 percent of GDP by 2020
BRUSSELS (AP) — Greece won a second massive financial bailout in the early hours of Tuesday morning when its partners in the 17-country eurozone finally stitched together a (euro) 130 billion ($170 billion) rescue, meant to avoid a potentially disastrous default and secure the euro currency.
But the patchwork of measures, including the implementation of more austerity in Greece and approval by skeptical German and Dutch Parliaments, required to give the rescue even a chance of success mean that it’s unlikely to be the end of the continent’s debt crisis.
Markets responded cautiously to the long-awaited deal, though the euro managed to eke out some gains as the fear of a disorderly Greek debt default within a month diminished.
The finance ministers from Greece and the other 16 countries that use the euro as their currency wrangled until the early morning hours over the details of the rescue, squeezing last-minute concessions out of private holders of Greek debt.
The eurozone and the International Monetary Fund, which will be providing the money for the new bailout, hope the new program will eventually put Greece back into a position where it can survive without external support and secure its place in the euro currency union.
Syrian opposition group says 7 killed in intense shelling of city of Homs
BEIRUT (AP) — Government troops heavily shelled rebellious districts in the resistance stronghold of Homs Tuesday, killing at least seven people and compounding fears of a new round of bloody urban combat in a country careening toward all-out civil war.
Activists said the intense shelling of Baba Amr in Homs lasted a few hours but did not seem to be the start of a widely expected military offensive aimed at retaking rebel-held neighborhoods in the central region. One of the seven people killed in the shelling of Baba Amr was a child, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists on the ground.
An activist inside the city said the shelling started after repeated attempts by troops to storm the edges of Baba Amr.
“Government troops have been unable to advance because of stiff resistance from defectors inside,” he told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, fearing government reprisals.
The military sent columns of tanks and other reinforcements toward Homs on Monday, activists said. A flood of military reinforcements has been a prelude to previous offensives by President Bashar Assad’s authoritarian regime, which has tried to use its overwhelming firepower to crush an opposition that has been bolstered by defecting soldiers and hardened by 11 months of street battles.
Republican ’super PACs’ overtook presidential campaigns’ own fundraising in January
WASHINGTON (AP) — An unmistakable dynamic is playing out in the money game among Republican presidential candidates: New “super” political action committees are growing more powerful than the campaigns they support.
For two of the GOP front-runners, their supportive super PACs raised more money and have more cash left in the bank than the candidates’ own campaigns. Helping their efforts are major financial gifts from wealthy business executives, whose contributions can be essential to the groups’ continued operations.
Mitt Romney-leaning Restore Our Future and Newt Gingrich-supportive Winning Our Future raised a combined $17 million last month and spent nearly $24 million during that same period. That financial strength allowed the groups to splash the airwaves in key primary states with millions of dollars in TV ads.
The proliferation of new super PACs continues to underscore how the groups, which can raise and spend unlimited sums, are influencing the race. The groups’ fundraising last month offers a periodic behind-the-scenes glimpse into the identities of the rich supporters who will help elect the next president, along with details on how the millions of dollars they donated have been spent.
Restore Our Future, which had $16 million cash on hand, has been boosted by more than two dozen repeat donors. Winning Our Future, which had $2.4 million in the bank, is largely supported by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife.