Photo: Aristidis Vafeiadakis/Zuma
A LAST-MINUTE DEAL FOR GREECE?
With the Greek bailout due to expire tonight at midnight and Athens expected to make a $1.8 billion payment to the IMF, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is reportedly discussing with the European Commission a last-minute deal that would avoid the country defaulting on its debt. The Guardian notes the tough odds of finding an agreement, especially after Brussels and Athens' war of words since Friday evening, with both sides accusing each other of lying and betrayal. The latest talks are said to be based on a proposal put forward by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker late Monday night, and it includes what Greek reporter characterizes as a "positive change" on Greek pensions. Tsipras initially rejected the proposal but is expected to make a counter offer in the afternoon.
According to newspaper To Vima, Tsipras is under intense pressure from his cabinet to accept the creditors' proposal, amid rumors stemming from centrist opposition party To Potami that the authorities are secretly preparing a return to the country's former currency, the drachma. The government has denied the rumors.
Tsipras used a televised interview Monday to calls on voters to reject the austerity measures so far imposed by the creditors and to vote No in Sunday's referendum. If he loses the vote, the Syriza leader said he would resign as he refused to oversee more cuts, the BBC writes. Thousands of anti-austerity protesters demonstrated yesterday in Athens against "the blackmailing of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund."
All other European leaders are united in insisting that Sunday's referendum in Greece was about more than just a potential rescue package and would in fact be about the continued Greek membership in the single currency. This line of argument is echoed in a European Central Bank official's interview with French newspaper Les Échos, where he said that the possibility of a Grexit couldn't be ruled out anymore.
The Greek government however appears determined to remain in the single currency area. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told The Daily Telegraph that Athens was even willing to launch an injunction at the European Court of Justice to block a Grexit. "Our membership is not negotiable," he said.
DEADLINE DAY FOR IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS
Representatives from Iran and the P5+1 group are gathered in Vienna for what is supposed to be the last day of negotiations to agree on a nuclear energy program for Tehran, but talks are likely to extend past the deadline with a deal believed to be within reach, Bloomberg reports.
MILITARY PLANE CRASHES IN INDONESIA
A Indonesian military aircraft crashed in a residential area in the city of Medan, on the island of Sumatra, killing at least 38 people, AFP reports. The crash took place shortly after the plane took off, with the aircraft exploding in a fireball that destroyed several buildings and cars. Officials have warned the death toll might rise further.
"The scope and level of cruelty that has characterized the reports suggests a depth of antipathy that exceeds political differences," the UN said in a statement accompanying the release of a devastating report that accuses South Sudanese troops of raping and torching girls alive inside their homes.
Writing in Caixin,Wang Duan suggests to folks on China's mainland to take heed of Hong Kong, especially when thinking about how to transform the economy: "Critics say that Hong Kong is also no longer much of a reference for those seeking reform and more openness on the Chinese mainland. Some have even used the term "parasitic economy" to describe Hong Kong. Though there is some real evidence behind these arguments, I'm still convinced that it would be a serious mistake to underestimate the Hong Kong economy. It's true that economic data would suggest the former British colony's economic output in a decade will be comparable only to some of the mainland's second-tier cities. But any smart analysis should include questions beyond mere scale...Its experiences, as well as the lessons it has learned, are a valuable reference for the rest of China, which is undergoing an economic transformation. Read the full article: Why Hong Kong Is Still A Model For Mainland China
IRAQI TROOPS RETAKE OIL REFINERY FROM ISIS
Iraqi government forces have regained control of Baiji and of its oil refinery which served as a major revenue source for ISIS, The International Business Times reports.
Across the border, in Syria, the terrorist group beheaded two women, a first in its year-long rule according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, accusing them of witchcraft.
The extremist Sunni Muslim group also claimed responsibility for a car bombing in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa late yesterday. The attack, which AFP says targeted two Houthi Shia leaders, killed 28 people, including 8 women.
NSA SPIED ON FRENCH FINANCE MINISTERS
One week after publishing documents showing the NSA had been spying on France's last three presidents, newspaperLibération, investigative website Mediapart and Wikileaks reveal that the U.S. intelligence agency also wiretapped French Finance Ministers between at least 2011 and 2014. One of the NSA strategies consisted in gathering as much information as possible on all contracts involving French companies in France or abroad and worth more than $200,000, which, as Mediapart puts it, means that the NSA "tracks almost all the international development moves of French companies." The reporters add that any official or diplomat that had the slightest information thought to be relevant was targeted. More in English from AFP.
ThePeople's Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, featured Tuesday on its front page a large photograph of the representatives of 50 countries that signed an agreement Monday for the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The ceremony took place at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff will use her visit to the White House today to present an ambitious plan to end illegal deforestation by 2025, Folha de S. Paulo reports. Brazil loses close to 2,000 square miles of forests every year, most of it through illegal deforestation. The Brazilian President is also expected to outline measures to push reforestation, sustainable development and renewable energies.
ON THIS DAY
Congo independence and Michael Phelps share a piece of June 30. See more in our 57-second video feature On This Day.
There will be a little more today to enjoy as the world's atomic clocks will add one extra second to keep them in sync with the Earth's fluctuating rotation. These are usually a drag for the Internet and stock markets, but there's plenty of things you can see in that extra second.