SYRIZA WINS GREEK ELECTION
As expected, Greece’s anti-austerity party Syriza secured a resounding victory in yesterday’s general election but came just two seats short of an absolute majority in the parliamentary assembly. But the far-left party has already struck a coalition agreement with the right-wing Greek Independents, which also rejects the austerity policies that have plunged much of the country’s middle class into poverty. In his victory speech, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras (pictured above) said that “Greece is leaving behind the austerity, the catastrophe and is moving forward with optimism, hope and steady steps.” Newspaper To Vima praised yesterday’s result, saying it was “a historic opportunity” for Greece but warned that after a hard-fought campaign, “the polarizing conflict, the division, the fear must give way to hope.” Many foreign newspapers chose to echo Tsipras’ words that Greece had turned a page. See our selection of front pages here.
- The euro hit an 11-year low in early trading this morning but has since recovered as “investors digested what Syriza's election victory in Greece meant for the Eurozone,” the BBC explains. European stock markets also rose slightly after early losses.
- Pondering what Tsipras might or might not achieve in power, the Financial Times looks at whether his legacy will be similar to that of “reformist” Lula da Silva or more like “radical and populist” Hugo Chávez but predicts that he is unlikely to enjoy two consecutive terms.
U.S., EU REACT TO DEADLY UKRAINE ATTACK
U.S. and EU leaders have threatened to impose new sanctions on Russia after a rocket explosion in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol killed at least 30 people and left more than 80 others wounded Saturday, Voice of America reports. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Sunday that intercepted radio conversations and phone calls prove that pro-Russian rebels were responsible for the attack. Rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko denied that but acknowledged his fighters were trying to take control of the city. Meanwhile, there are reports that 500 miners are trapped underground near Donetsk after a Ukrainian artillery left the mine without power.
ON THIS DAY
On this day in 1905, the world's largest diamond was found. Time for today's 57-second shot of history.
BOKO HARAM CLASHES WITH ARMY
Terrorist group Boko Haram has expanded its territory in northeastern Nigeria by gaining control of Monguno, killing and setting houses on fire as government soldiers fled the town of 100,000 people, CNN reports. The troops reportedly regrouped in the even more strategic city of Maiduguri, where they faced another attack Sunday. According to AP, more than 200 fighters from both sides were killed. This comes less than three weeks before a crucial presidential election. Speaking from Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos where he met with incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it was “absolutely critical that these elections are conducted peacefully.” Read more from Nigeria’s newspaper Punch.
Some 140 million people in Pakistan were left without electricity during a blackout on 80% of the country over the weekend. Officials say rebel attacks on a transmission line short-circuited the national electricity grid. But according to newspaperDawn, many experts doubt the claims, instead blaming poor management and “financial and oil squeezes.”
ISIS EXECUTES JAPANESE HOSTAGE
After claiming in a video to have executed one of its two Japanese hostages, ISIS now says it no longer wants a $200 million ransom but instead the release of an Iraqi woman facing the death penalty in Jordan for terrorism, The Yomiuri Shimbun reports. China’s Global Times, meanwhile, blamed the hostage’s death on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying that it was “more or less the price that Japan has paid for its support to Washington.”
As Caixin’s Chen Lixiong reports, a mini boom in Chinese-language studies has hit Cambodia, which trades not only with mainland China but also counts many ethnic Chinese among its business leaders. “China is Cambodia’s leading source of investment, accounting for some 20% of the $40 billion of investment projects ratified by the Cambodian government between 1994 and 2011,” the journalist writes. “Meanwhile, mainland China is also one of the country’s most important trading partners. Since 2000, China’s exports to Cambodia have increased 15-fold. The Chinese government has also been providing large amounts of foreign aid to its southeastern neighbor, including a governmental complex called the ‘Friendship Building’ completed in 2010.”
Read the full article, It Pays To Learn Chinese, In Cambodia.
OBAMA’S “BREAKTHROUGH” WITH INDIA
U.S. President Barack Obama and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi announced “a breakthrough understanding” yesterday that could unlock billions of dollars of investments from U.S. companies in nuclear trade with India and its booming economy, USA Today reports. Obama’s three-day visit marks an important step in establishing a strong partnership between the two countries, which Obama said could be “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”
NEW YORK BRACES FOR “HISTORIC” SNOWSTORM
More than 1,800 flights have been cancelled for today in the northeastern part of the U.S., and widespread power outages are expected as a monster winter storm approaches. The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the greater New York City area with forecasts of up to three feet of snow by Tuesday morning. “This could be the biggest snowstorm in the history of New York City,” Mayor Bill de Blasio warned. Read more from The New York Times.
MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
GOOGLE AIDED U.S. IN WIKILEAKS PROBE
Documents published by WikiLeaks show that Google waited almost three years to notify three journalists working with the organization that their emails and metadata had been handed over to the U.S. government as part of a probe into WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange. WikiLeaks lawyers say the failure to notify the journalists prevented them from protecting their privacy rights. Google defended its actions by saying that it was under a gag order from the U.S. government, The Guardian reports.
CHINA USURPS U.S. AS BIGGEST IPHONE MARKET
Apple will announce this week that it sold more iPhones in China than in the U.S. in 2014, a first that the Financial Times describes as “the shifting power balance of the smartphone market.”