JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: And I'm Joanna Kakissis in Athens. Five young single friends are sharing a single bottle of Heineken on a weathered park bench in a neighborhood of anarchists and bohemians. They're peering into a bar to see the widescreen TV playing the latest Euro championship game. This is where they'll be watching the game between Greece and the other country, the big bossy one who's loaned Greece billions and forced it to cut spending. George Tagaris is putting his money on the bossy guys.
The eurozone will take a short break from its financial crisis to enjoy a sporting event. The soccer teams of Germany and Greece meet Friday in the quarter finals of the Euro 2012 championship in Gdansk, Poland. Germany's coach doesn't think political tensions will have an impact on the field.
Here's a little of what's happened in Syria over the past 24 hours. A Syrian air force colonel flew his jet out of the country, defecting to Jordan. Syria's army intensified its offensive against a rebel army. And the Red Cross had to abandon a mission to evacuate civilians from the city of Homs.
We're going to get some perspective on all of this from NPR's Deborah Amos, who's just left Syria after a very rare 10-day trip to Damascus. She's now in Lebanon. Hi, Deborah.
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When President Obama addresses a large gathering of Latino politicians later today in Florida, he's likely to get a warm reception. Just last week, Mr. Obama announced that hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants who came to this country as children can stay in the U.S. - at least temporarily.
Fifteen major banks were downgraded Thursday in a reflection of the slowing global economy and volatility in financial markets. In a sweeping move, Moody's cut the credit ratings of some of the world's largest financial institutions, including Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.