Photo: Alberto Lingria/Zuma
FOUR MILLION SYRIAN REFUGEES
More than four million Syrians — a sixth of the population — have fled the country since the war broke out more than four years ago, and more than seven million who have remained have been forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations and international aid agencies. The New York Times reports Thursday that at least 1.6 million Syrians crossed the border into Turkey, which now hosts more refugees than any other country in the world. Some 1.2 million have also taken shelter in Lebanon. With the Syrian population in dire need of help, the UN is hoping to raise $5.5 billion in aid this year, but has so far received less than a quarter of that sum.
GREECE TO PRESENT ECONOMIC PLAN
The Greek government is expected to finalize and submit new proposals for economic reform to international creditors by the end of Thursday in what is being called a last-chance bid to secure the third-bailout and avoid being pushed out of the Eurozone. For Greek newspaper Kathimerini, today will be one of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' "most difficult days in power." The Syriza leader's burden will reportedly be made easier by France, as a team of experts travelled from Paris to Athens to help finalizing the plan. But more and more people believe that a return to a devalued drachma would offer Athens a better solution.
CHINA STOCKS BOUNCE BACK
Chinese stocks rose by about 6% today after drastic and desperate attempts from Beijing to put an end to days of panic selling that saw the national stock market lose one-third of its value in a month. The most controversial measure consisted in banning shareholders who hold stakes of more than 5% from selling for the next six months. For The Daily Telegraph, it looks like China is heading for its own 1929 crash. Meanwhile, China's official newspaper ignored the crashing domestic stocks, and focused instead on Xi Jinping's foreign exploits.
"It is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of," Republican Gov. Nikki Haley said in a statement after a 13-hour long debate ended in the House of Representatives in South Carolina voting to take down the Confederate flag from capitol grounds. The move comes after last month's attack by a white supremacist on a church in Charleston, South Carolina that left nine black worshipers dead.
BOKO HARAM OFFERS PRISONER SWAP
Nigeria's Islamist group Boko Haram has reportedly offered to free the more than 200 girls it kidnapped more than a year ago in the northeastern town of Chibok in exchange for the release of 16 leaders held in government jails, according to AP. The election of President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office five weeks ago, is said to offer a "clean slate" for negotiations and the recent increase in deadly attacks could be a strategy to bolster Boko Haram's negotiating position. Nigerian newspaper Vanguard goes further and quotes senior sources inside the terrorist group as saying they've agreed to hold talks with the government, with the aim of bringing their six-year-long conflict to an end.
Palestinian political rivals Mahmoud Abbas and Mohammed Dahlan have recently laid out large sums of cash for the weddings of relatives. And not only, reports Tel Aviv-based Calcalist. "It is money raised from countries in the Middle East, the Gulf, and beyond. A month ago, for example, a huge ceremony was organized in Gaza, where 2,000 couples got married on a soccer field, all sponsored by Turkey. Every couple received $2,000. According to Palestinian sources, Dahlan was the man behind this enormous event." Read the full article: The Politics Of The Palestinian Wedding Business
BERLUSCONI FOUND GUILTY OF BRIBERY
Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and co-defendant Valter Lavitola were sentenced late Wednesday to three years in prison after a Naples court found them guilty of bribing a former senator to topple the government of PM Romano Prodi in 2008, news agency Ansa reports. Berlusconi, who repeatedly denied the charges, is expected to appeal.
U.S. sales of Apple's latest gizmo, the Apple Watch, have plunged by 90% after a successful first week, a MarketWatch report shows. Since selling 1.5 million during launch week, the company has been selling fewer than 20,000 units per day on average.
FIFA BANS INFORMER FOR LIFE
Chuck Blazer, who has played a crucial role in the ongoing U.S. probe against FIFA officials after he himself confessed to bribery, money laundering and tax evasion, has been banned from all soccer-related activities for life by the sport's governing body for having "committed many and various acts of misconduct," a statement read.
ON THIS DAY
Andy Warhol and Donkey Kong are part of July 9th history. Check out today's 57-second shot of history.
â€˜FRAGILE' ROCK STAR
A New Zealand court has sentenced former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd to eight months in house detention for drug possession and threatening murder. "You're a relatively fragile man who has felt bound to live the rock star lifestyle," the judge told him.