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TOP HEADLINES: European crisis takes center stage at G-20 summit

Monday, June 18, 2012 | 7:50 p.m. CDT

Here are some of today's top stories from The Associated Press.

European crisis goes center stage for G-20 leaders

LOS CABOS, Mexico — European leaders at the G-20 summit struggled to reassure the world Monday that they were on the path to solving their continent's relentless economic crisis, defending the pace of their response even as market pressures pushed Spain closer to needing a bailout that would strain the world's ability to pay.

Less than 24 hours after an election that eased fears of a Greek exit from the shared euro currency, the interest rate that Spain pays on its debt surged above the 7-percent level that had forced Greece, Portugal and Ireland to seek international help.

The prospect of a bailout for Spain's 1.1 trillion euro ($1.38 trillion) economy immediately eclipsed the good feeling at the G-20 from the election, and it dwarfed the host country Mexico's expressions of confidence that the meeting of the world's largest economies would lead to more than $430 billion in concrete commitment for the International Monetary Fund as insurance against future bailouts.

The Spanish delegation to the G-20 bemoaned the rise in the country's borrowing costs and said the market reaction didn't correspond to the reality of Spain's economic strength.

"We in the government are convinced that the current situation of punishment in the markets, what we're suffering from today, doesn't correspond with the efforts, or the potential, of the Spanish economy," said Spain's Economy Minister Luis de Guindos. "This is something that will have to be recognized in the coming days and weeks."

Jailhouse calls show Zimmerman telling wife to buy bulletproof vests

ORLANDO, Fla. — The former neighborhood watch volunteer who killed Trayvon Martin told his wife to buy bulletproof vests for them and for his attorney, according to jailhouse calls released Monday.

"As uncomfortable as it is, I want you wearing one," George Zimmerman told his wife. Zimmerman was wearing a bulletproof vest when he left jail after posting bond. His attorney, Mark O'Mara, has reported receiving threats.

The calls, released by prosecutors, also detail how Zimmerman instructed his wife to transfer money from bank accounts. The calls could play a crucial role in his second bond hearing next week.

Zimmerman was released on $150,000 bond in April, several days after the calls took place. At his bond hearing, his wife, Shellie, testified that she didn't know how much money had been raised from a website created for his legal defense. She also testified that they had limited funds because she was in nursing school full time and Zimmerman wasn't working.

Prosecutors say the calls show George and Shellie Zimmerman knew that roughly $135,000 had been raised by the site. The judge in the case revoked George Zimmerman's bond and ruled the couple had deceived the court. Zimmerman has been back in jail for almost a month.

Greek coalition government talks pushed to second day

ATHENS, Greece — Greece's two pro-bailout parties appeared likely Monday to agree on forming a coalition government after a bruising election watched closely because of its potential impact on the world economy, but negotiations were pushed to a second day after the head of the socialist party insisted on a broad partnership.

Sunday's vote — the second national election in six weeks — again left no party with enough votes to form a government on its own. Antonis Samaras' conservative New Democracy party won the most seats in parliament and was leading efforts to forge a coalition.

The socialist PASOK party, led by former finance minister Evangelos Venizelos, came in third. But its 33 seats in the 300-member Parliament means it can form a government with New Democracy, which gained 129 seats. A coalition would have to have a minimum of 151 seats combined in order to form a government.

Both PASOK and New Democracy have said they will stick to Greece's international bailout commitments, although they want to renegotiate some of the harsh austerity measures imposed in return for the international rescue loans that have kept the country afloat since May 2010.

The election results eased concern that Greece faced an imminent exit from Europe's joint currency. A Greek exit from the 17-nation eurozone would have potentially catastrophic consequences for other ailing European nations and would hurt the United States and the entire global economy.

Egyptian military moves to retain power

CAIRO — Islamist candidate Mohammed Morsi claimed a hollow victory Monday in Egypt's presidential vote just hours after the country's military rulers stripped the office of its most important powers.

The power grab by the ruling generals delivered another major blow to hopes for a democratic transition born out of last year's uprising that ousted authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.

The generals, who deny having effectively staged a coup and rendering the elected president a mere figurehead, will maintain authority over the crafting of laws and the drafting of a new constitution. Civilian oversight of their budget and other affairs will be strictly off-limits.

If Morsi's victory is confirmed in the official result expected Thursday, it would be the first victory of an Islamist as head of state in the stunning wave of pro-democracy uprisings that swept the Middle East the past year. But the military's moves to retain power sharpen the possibility of confrontation and more of the turmoil that has beset Egypt since Mubarak's overthrow.

"The military may partially exit from power after a new round of tough negotiations with the Islamist and the secular opposition on safeguarding its interests," said Azzedine Layachi, a Middle East expert from St. John's University in New York. "However, and no matter what, the military will continue to play a dominant role in Egyptian politics. The question for now is whether they will continue to do so directly for the coming years or indirectly behind the facade of a civilian rule."

Rodney King autopsy completed as death investigation continues

RIALTO, Calif. — An autopsy has been completed on Rodney King, but the results won't be released for several weeks.

San Bernardino County sheriff's and coroner's spokeswoman Jodi Miller says King's autopsy was completed Monday. A cause of death will not be determined until after investigators have toxicology results, which typically take between four to six weeks.

King was pulled from the deep end of his pool in Rialto, Calif., early Sunday morning.

The 47-year-old became famous after he was severely beaten by Los Angeles police in 1991. The acquittal and mistrial of four officers tried with felony assault a year later sparked the Los Angeles riots.

Rialto police are investigating King's death as an apparent drowning and say they have found no signs of foul play.


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