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Tsipras Says Oxi, Egypt v ISIS, Guac Wars

Photo: Li Muzi/Zuma

EUROZONE RULES OUT TALKS BEFORE GREEK VOTE

Finance Ministers of the Eurozone have ruled out any negotiations over a third Greek bailout before Sunday's referendum, but divisions are starting to show between Germany and France, Le Monde reports. French President François Hollande said yesterday that an agreement had to be found "now, it can't be delayed anymore," while German Chancellor Angela Merkel favors a harder line that Germany's leftist party Die Linke says aims at toppling the Greek government.

  • This comes after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' letter to Athens' creditors yesterday in which he seemed to accept austerity terms previously put forward by the lenders, on condition that they agree to restructuring Greece's debt, which stands at more than 170% of its GDP. Addressing the nation after the Eurogroup's rebuff, Tsipras denounced "the prevalence of extreme conservative forces" in Europe, which he said "led to the decision to asphyxiate our country's banks — with the obvious aim of blackmailing not just the government, but each each citizen individually." He reaffirmed his call for voters to vote "Oxi," no in Greek, in Sunday's referendum and insisted this wouldn't mean returning to the drachma. Read the full address on To Vima.
  • In an interview with Bloomberg, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said he would "rather cut my arm off" than sign a new accord that doesn't include debt relief and suggested a "Yes" vote on Sunday could be the end of the Syriza-led coalition government. And the latest poll suggests this is a strong possibility.
  • Long lines of pensioners formed outside some 1,000 Greek banks branches, which the government reopened to be able to pay pensions to the elderly.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Those who know him best say Greek Prime Minister Tsipras is driven by three contradictory strands. Le Monde offers an in-depth profile of a leader battling his "inner troika" — and changing with the momentous events he has stepped into. "He's become grayer. He took his role too seriously and overestimated our momentum, we're still isolated in Europe," says Loukas Axelos, a member of Syriza's far-left wing who has known Tsipras for years. The left's electoral successes led him to believe that Syriza's rise to power could be a spearhead for similar parties to rise across the continent. Read the full article: Who Is The Real Alexis Tsipras?


TENNESSEE TRAIN DERAILS

As many as 5,000 residents around Knoxville, Tennessee, have been evacuated after a freight train transporting what authorities described as "highly flammable and toxic gas" derailed and caught fire, NBC reports. This story is developing.


EGYPT VOWS TO DEFEAT ISIS IN SINAI

The Egyptian army says it has killed more than 100 ISIS fighters in the Sinai and vowed to continue to fight until the peninsula is cleared of the terrorists, after yesterday's simultaneous attacks that killed 17 soldiers. ISIS-claimed attacks on Egypt have reached a new high this week, with the death of prosecutor-general Hisham Barakat in an attack on Monday. Read more from Mada Masr.


FERRY CAPSIZES IN THE PHILIPPINES

At least 36 people have died after a passenger ferry transporting 189 people capsized in rough waters in central Philippines this morning, AP reports. More than 100 passengers have been rescued but 19 are reported missing.


NSA ALSO SPIED ON GERMANY MINISTERS

New documents published by Wikileaks reveal that the NSA's targeting of German officials went well beyond eavesdropping on Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone, with ministers and public officials responsible for commerce, finances, economics and agriculture also targeted. The documents highlight the partnership between the NSA and its British equivalent GCHQ, with the latter reported to have intercepted and transmitted to U.S. authorities German and French plans for a BRICS-supported bailout of Greece, a move that Julian Assange writes must have left Washington "horrified" due to its geopolitical implications. This comes amid accusations that GCHQ also spied on Amnesty International.


271,058

The Japanese population is not only ageing fast, it's also declining at an alarming rate. The latest population survey shows that the country lost 271,058 inhabitants in 2014, the biggest decline since records started, news agency Kyodo reports. This is the sixth straight annual decline, and the number of births has fallen to its lowest since 1979.


HILLARY TOPS OBAMA FOR DONATIONS

Hillary Clinton has raised a record $45 million in the first quarter of her campaign for Presidency, smashing by $3 million the previous record held by President Barack Obama, in what is shaping up to be the most expensive White House race in history. But the former First Lady could soon face some serious competition in the Democratic Party, with reports that Vice President Joe Biden is mulling entering the race.


DENMARK TO CUT MIGRANT BENEFITS

Denmark's right-wing government coalition has announced plans to cut benefits for asylum seekers, in a bid to reduce the number of applicants coming to the country, Jyllands-Posten reports. According to AFP, asylum seekers without children will see their benefits slashed by half to 5,945 kroner ($880) from September, while those who master the Danish language will obtain a 1,500-kroner bonus. "We want to reward the people who come here and wish to become integrated," Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said. More than 15,000 refugees arrived in Denmark last year, twice as many as in 2013, and 2015 could see that figure rise further. According to UN figures published yesterday, 137,000 migrants have already crossed the Mediterranean this year, 83% more than for the same period in 2014.


ON THIS DAY


Twenty-four years separate the July 2 that Amelia vanish and the July 2 that Ernest bid farewell. See these and other events in our 57-second video On This Day.


KILLER ROBOT

It's not quite an I, Robot moment (yet?), but a 21-year-old worker at a Volkswagen factory in Germany has been killed by a robot he was installing.


GUACAMOLE WARS

A controversial recipe published yesterday in The New York Times had Barack Obama and Jeb Bush agree on one thing: You just don't put peas in guacamole. And the Texas Republican Party takes guacamole recipes very seriously.

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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