By Deepa Babington and George Georgiopoulos ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece voted on Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the euro-currency area after seven years of economic pain. Staged against a backdrop of shuttered banks and threats of financial apocalypse, the vote looked too close to call and may not produce the clear mandate for negotiations that Athens’ creditors seek. Greeks are split on whether to accept an offer by creditors that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras calls a "humiliation" and is urging people to reject.
Chinese authorities have arrested a man who allegedly spread rumors about people in Beijing jumping off buildings in response to a stock market crash, state television reported on Sunday. The 29-year-old man, surnamed Tian, was detained for "disorderly behavior", China Central Television said. The post in question could not be found on Sunday, and may have already been deleted by censors, who strictly control what can be said on Chinese social media.
By Louis Charbonneau and John Irish VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran and world powers made progress on future sanctions relief for Iran in marathon nuclear talks on Saturday, but remained divided on issues such as lifting United Nations sanctions and the development of advanced centrifuges. Diplomats close to the negotiations said they had tentative agreement on a mechanism for suspending U.S. and European Union sanctions on Iran. "We don't have Iran on board yet." Senior Iranian and Western diplomats echoed the remarks.
By Peter Murphy BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's peace negotiations with leftist FARC rebels have hit a critical low as the group steps up violent attacks and the government could walk away from the process unless the group shows more commitment, the government's top negotiator said. The government has been in Cuba-hosted talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC since late 2012 to end a 50-year war. "The peace process is at its worst moment since we began talks ... I want to tell the FARC in all seriousness, this could end.
By Greg Torode and Manuel Mogato HONG KONG/MANILA (Reuters) - China's claims to the disputed South China Sea will come under international legal scrutiny for the first time this week, but while Beijing has officially refused to take part in the case filed by the Philippines at a U.N. tribunal, it has made its presence felt. Indeed, Manila's international legal team was heading to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague to initially argue that the five-judge panel has jurisdiction to hear the case, Philippine Foreign Ministry officials told Reuters. A little-noticed decision by the tribunal's panel in April acknowledged China's objections and announced that a hearing on jurisdiction from July 7-13 would be held first.
Two car bombs killed 11 people in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Saturday, police and medical sources said, striking as many people were ending their daily Ramadan fast. Northeast of Baghdad, in the town of Balad Roz, a third car bomb killed two people, local police said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Islamic State fighters who control large parts of western and northern Iraq frequently set off bombs in the capital.
Foreign ministers from major powers were expected back in Vienna Sunday seeking to score a huge diplomatic success by nailing down a nuclear deal with Iran after almost two years of intense effort. "Extending the talks is not an option for anyone... We are trying to finish the job," Iran's lead negotiator Abbas Araghchi told Iranian TV late Saturday, saying there was a "positive atmosphere". Diplomats said that on one of the thorniest issues -- sanctions relief for Iran -- a compromise may have been worked out, at least among the experts thrashing out the complex final accord.
Some 5,000 protesters marched night in downtown Guatemala City demanding the resignation of the country's corruption-plagued president, who lost a fight for immunity from prosecution earlier this week. On Tuesday, Guatemala's Constitutional Court rejected President Otto Perez's appeal for presidential immunity that also sought to legally erase a pre-trial investigation of graft allegations. Protesters on Saturday shouted "Out with Otto Perez" and "No more corruption" as they marched from the Supreme Court to the National Palace in the city's historic center.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greeks were voting Sunday in a critical bailout referendum, with opinion polls showing people evenly split on whether to accept creditors' proposals for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans, or defiantly reject the deal.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak is facing the risk of a criminal charge over allegations that millions of dollars were funneled from an indebted state fund to his personal bank accounts, the first time the country's leader has faced criminal allegations. The attorney general confirmed late Saturday he has received documents from an official investigation that made the link between Najib and the investment fund 1MDB. The existence of the documents was first reported by the Asian Wall Street Journal on Friday, showing some $700 million were wired from entities linked to the fund into Najib's accounts.
LONDON (AP) — The Greek people are voting on a future in which they face two painful prospects: the slow grind of years more of austerity cuts or the country's potentially catastrophic exit from the 19-nation eurozone.
Take a sought-after architect, add the king of "new Africa cuisine" and a smattering of famous designers, and you get a concept-store in Lagos that seeks to bring modern African luxury to Nigeria's ultra-rich. The chaotic, cosmopolitan metropolis has largely failed to cater for its mega-rich minority despite a big appetite for high-end shopping and eating in a country that houses 11 of Africa's 50 biggest fortunes, according to Forbes magazine. Nestled in the heart of Lagos, the store does not attract droves of shoppers in a country where the vast majority still lives on less than $2 a day, but it already has its share of discreet regulars who rarely leave the building empty-handed.
A task force is investigating allegations that a probe into a Malaysian state-controlled investment fund found hundreds of millions of dollars were transferred to the prime minister's personal bank accounts, the attorney general has said. The allegations have set off a storm in Malaysia, with premier Najib Razak threatening to sue the Wall Street Journal for publishing the report, while one of his deputies called on authorities to investigate the claims. Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail said in a statement late on Saturday that a multi-agency task force was probing "the allegations linked to the flow of funds into the personal accounts of Prime Minister Najib Razak".
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) — Pacific Games organizers say Fiji broke the record for the biggest win in international football with a 38-0 victory Sunday over the Federated States of Micronesia.
The death toll from a ferry that capsized in the central Philippines has risen to 61, the coast guard said Sunday, indicating that the vessel was overloaded. Whether the ferry was carrying too many people will be part of an investigation into last week's disaster off the city of Ormoc, which has seen the boat's owner and crew charged with murder. Coast guard figures showed that 61 people had died when the wooden Kim Nirvana capsized, with at least 145 people listed as survivors.
Nine people died when a shoe factory collapsed in eastern China, state media reported Sunday, with more than 40 workers hospitalised after being rescued. A total of 51 workers were in the building in the city of Wenling in Zhejiang province when it came down on Saturday afternoon, China's official Xinhua news agency reported. Xinhua said the cause of the collapse was being investigated.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Dimitris is voting "yes" because he fears Greece would be in danger if it leaves the European Union. His daughter Alexandra is voting "no" because she is tired of richer European nations bossing Greece around.
Pope Francis makes his first South American trip in two years Sunday, for an eight-day tour of Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay -- but not his native Argentina. The 78-year-old Jesuit pontiff, the first pope from his "beloved South America," has said he wants to highlight the plight of the poor on his home continent. Francis's last visit to South America was a triumphant trip to Brazil that culminated with some three million people gathering in Rio de Janeiro along Copacabana beach for a mass at the end of a Catholic youth festival.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak is facing the risk of a criminal charge over allegations that millions of dollars were funneled from an indebted state fund to his personal bank accounts, the first time the country's leader has faced criminal allegations.
Across the country of 11 million people -- on far-flung Aegean islands, in the shadow of the 2,400-year-old Parthenon in Athens, to the northern border shared with fellow EU state Bulgaria -- voters began casting their ballots. The rest of Europe, and international investors, will be watching intently, unsure of the outcome that could greet them on Monday. "I'm voting 'No' because I think it's better for the country," said 80-year-old Michelis, first in through the doors of a school being used for the vote on Skoufa street in central Athens.
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong doesn't hold an official government post, but it's not surprising that he'll meet with President Barack Obama on his visit to the United States this week. He is the de-facto top leader of his country.
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — History's first Latin American pope returns to Spanish-speaking South America for the first time on Sunday, bringing a message of solidarity with the region's poor, who are expected to turn out in droves to welcome their native son home.
BEIJING (AP) — The head of a South Korean institute that organized a tour of China by local officials that ended in a deadly bus crash fell to his death from a hotel early Sunday in northeastern China, state media reported.
The World Bank has removed a critical portion from a recently released report on China's economy, saying the section had not been adequately reviewed. On Wednesday, the Washington-based institution released its China Economic Update report in Beijing, which included a section urging the country to accelerate reform of its state-dominated financial sector. In blunt language, the World Bank warned that failure to address the issue could end "three decades of stellar performance" for the world's second-largest economy.
Athens (AFP) - Polls opened Sunday for Greece's crucial referendum on whether or not to accept international creditors' conditions for a bailout, with the EU on tenterhooks for an outcome which could shape the bloc's future.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greeks started casting ballots early Sunday in the closely watched bailout referendum, with opinion polls showing people evenly split on whether to accept creditors' proposals for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans, or defiantly reject the deal.
SYDNEY (AP) — Bernard Tomic has been suspended from Australia's home Davis Cup quarterfinal against Kazakhstan for his verbal attack on Tennis Australia officials, including Pat Rafter and chief executive Craig Tiley.
When Steven Smith made his Ashes debut in Perth during England's victorious 2010/11 tour of Australia he was, following prompting from then captain Ricky Ponting, clear on his role in the team. "I've been told that I've got to come into the side and be fun," Smith said. Smith is now the world's number one ranked Test batsman, with five hundreds in his last six Tests at an average of 131.5.
Esther Hyman could be forgiven for hating the suicide bomber who killed her sister Miriam, but she has channelled her grief into trying to stop a new generation of Britons from turning to terrorism. "As soon as I would experience it (the anger), I thought: 'Well, that was a waste of energy'," said Hyman, whose sister was one of 52 people killed when four Islamists attacked the London transport system on July 7, 2005.
Rohan Dennis vowed to keep hold of the yellow jersey for as long as possible after winning the Tour de France's opening stage. The 25-year-old Australian upset two former world timetrial champions in Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara to take victory in the 13.8km race against the clock in Utrecht on Saturday. Sunday's pan flat 166km second stage from Utrecht to Zeland was expected to end in a bunch sprint before Monday's third stage will see some potentially significant time gaps on the Mur (wall) de Huy as the 157km run ends with a brutally steep, if short, climb.
A 108th-minute penalty kick by Fara Williams gave England their first ever win over top ranked Germany and a third place finish at the Women's World Cup. "It feels a lot better to be sitting here after that than it did the other day," said England coach Mark Sampson. "We knew the challenge we faced today from a world class Germany team.
BEIJING (AP) — Officials say a shoe factory has collapsed in eastern China during a weekend shift, killing at least nine people and injuring more than 30. The collapse happened Saturday afternoon in the Zhejiang Province city of Wenling. The city government says on its official microblog that 42 people were pulled from the rubble and sent to a hospital where nine of them died.