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News Summary: Eurozone debt hits new peak

The Associated Press

Police stand guard behind a banner reading: "new parliament and new budget" outside the Parliament as lawmakers debate budget spending cuts for 2013 in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. Spain's economy continued to shrink in the third quarter, contracting by 0.4 percent compared with the previous three months, according to central bank estimates Tuesday that will increase pressure on Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to seek financial help from Europe. Several thousand people were expected to take part in a demonstration later Tuesday outside Parliament as lawmakers debate budget spending cuts for 2013. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

DEBT PROBLEMS GROW: Europe's debt problems are getting worse, as new figures show total government debt of the 17 countries that use the euro was worth 90 percent of their total economic output as of the end of the second quarter.

THE SIGNIFICANCE: That was the highest level since the shared currency was launched in 1999. It was up from the previous quarter's debt to gross domestic product ratio of 88.2 percent and the previous year's equivalent of 87.1 percent.

THE TAKEAWAY: The eurozone's economic problems are making it harder for countries to handle their debts. And it raises questions about the remedies being offered to resolve them.