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Oct. 28, 2011 at 8:11 AM   |   Comments

EU rushes to keep debt-crisis deal alive

BRUSSELS, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Eurozone officials rushed to prevent the latest debt-crisis deal from unraveling after a warning it depended on high risk similar to what triggered the crisis.

The deal's highly leveraged assets and contracts, used to swell the main eurozone bailout fund on paper to $1.4 trillion from the $350 billion without putting any new money into the pot, "are not too different from those which were partly responsible for creating the crisis, because they concealed risks," influential economist and German central bank President Jens Weidmann told a Munich financial conference.

Germany's economy is Europe's largest and most powerful.

In addition, the European Union forecast of Greek debt dropping to 120 percent of gross domestic product by 2020, from the current 160 percent, is based on Greece's economy growing 2 percent a year -- while it is currently contracting 5.5 percent, other economists said.

Analysts say Greece's debt must be 80 percent of GDP before the country can return to financial markets.

EU officials conceded to reporters Thursday the deal to cut Greece's debt in half and increase the main bailout fund to $1.4 trillion was, in effect, a box whose contents was not fully defined, Britain's Guardian reported.


Libya vows to prosecute Gadhafi killer

BENGHAZI, Libya, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Libya has retreated from a claim that Moammar Gadhafi was killed by cross fire and says it will prosecute those guilty of killing him after his capture.

The interim government changed its position after a week of sustained criticism of the ousted leader's captors, who used camera phones to record his final minutes.

Videos -- including images of a wounded Gadhafi apparently being sodomized with a stick or a knife or some other spike-shaped weapon -- caused widespread revulsion outside the country and strong denunciations by the transitional government's international backers.

National Transitional Council Vice Chairman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, a human-rights lawyer, said Libya would try to bring to justice anyone proven to have fired the shots that killed Gadhafi.

"Whoever is responsible for [Gaddafi's killing] will be judged and given a fair trial," he told the Saudi-owned Arabic-language al-Arabiya satellite news channel Thursday, explaining Libya's new government has "a code of ethics" for handling prisoners of war.

The killing was likely "an individual act and not an act of revolutionaries or the national army," Ghoga said.


Floodwaters from north flow into Bangkok

BANGKOK, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Massive floodwaters from Thailand's northern regions began flowing into already beleaguered Bangkok Friday, forcing more people to flee the capital.

The arrival of the waters, which further swelled the Chao Phraya River snaking through the city, added to concerns as the city also faces the threat of high sea during the weekend.

The Bangkok Post reported the question now was how high the water levels would go before draining into the sea.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has already indicated the water level could reach nearly 5 feet and may take four weeks to wash into the sea.

Much of Thailand has been hit by the worst flooding in 50 years, killing more than 370 people and causing much damage to the agriculture sector.

The Post said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration believes the king's dike, the last line of defense, might be able to protect the capital's inner city.


Olsen becomes Occupy movement rallying cry

OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Occupy activists held vigils in several U.S. cities for an Iraq War veteran hit in the head by a police projectile in an Oakland, Calif., melee with protesters.

A New York vigil for Scott Olsen, 24, a U.S. Marine Corps corporal, brought several hundred protesters Thursday night to the Financial District despite near-freezing temperatures and occasional rain.

The protesters marched for 2 hours from the Wall Street area north into the city's Greenwich Village and SoHo districts, accompanied by drums and a bagpipe. Police said they arrested about a dozen people.

Other vigils were held in at least six other cities, including Oakland, as Olsen, who did two tours of duty in Iraq, awaited surgery. He suffered a fractured skull and brain swelling after police shot "non-lethal" projectiles into an Oakland crowd after midnight Tuesday.

Olsen remained in intensive care early Friday. His condition improved to fair from critical and he was alert but unable to talk, an Oakland hospital spokesman said. Doctors planned surgery if the swelling in his brain eased, the spokesman said.


Tractor-trailer, minivan collision kills 7

BRISTOL, Ind., Oct. 28 (UPI) -- A tractor-trailer rear-ended a minivan on a toll road in northern Indiana Thursday night, killing seven people and injuring four others, police said.

Indiana State Police said an initial investigation indicates the man driving the minivan may have hit a deer and stopped or slowed in front of the tractor-trailer just before 8 p.m. on the Indiana Toll Road between Bristol and Middlebury, The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette reported.

Seven of the 10 people who were in the van died at the scene and three others, along with the driver of the truck, were injured. Two of those who were in the minivan were flown from the scene by helicopter. The driver of the tractor-trailer and another person who was in the van were taken by ambulance to Elkhart General Hospital.

Both vehicles, which were traveling east, came to a stop in the median. Traffic was halted on the toll road in both directions.

The roadway reopened just before midnight.

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