GLOBAL CRI$i$: EASING PAIN IN SPAIN…WORRY OVER CHINA
-BAILOUT FOR BANKS…A key step for a key piece of the Eurozone debt puzzle: As Richard DAVIES reports, Eurozone finance ministers have come up with bailout terms for Spain’s troubled banks, saying nearly $37 billion can be ready by end of this month. The Financial Times reports the overall bailout will reach $123 billion bailout – and will include in-depth stress tests for Spain’s largest banks. The bailout will officially be agreed to on July 20, with the first $37 billion expected to flow to Madrid by the end of the month. Spanish banks have been battered by toxic loans from a collapsed property market. Yields on 10-year Spanish government bonds fell below 7% after the agreement was announced. (n.b.: it’s good news when that rate falls).
-EYES ON CHINA…Investors liked the news from Madrid and Brussels, but markets are mixed today, thanks to fresh fretting over China. As Market Watch writes, investors are focusing on disappointing trade data from China – data showing China is importing fewer goods. That’s bad news for global exporters who depend on a booming market in the world’s second-largest economy.
SHOWDOWN BREWING IN CAIRO
The Egyptian Parliament met this morning in defiance of a military-dominated Supreme Court order that dissolved the governing body shortly before last month’s presidential elections. As Alex MARQUARDT reports, the latest crisis began Sunday when newly elected President Mohammed Morsi called on Parliament to reconvene – in what appears to be a bold challenge to the military. President Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party has promised to demonstrate in support of Parliament.
-U.N. ENVOY IN IRAN…United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan met with top Iranian officials today, just one day after he met with Syrian President Assad in Damascus. Iran has been a staunch ally of Syria’s, and is believed to be providing arms and technical aid to the Assad regime. Annan says he has received support from Iran to resolve the conflict – not clear yet what that means.
-VENEZUELA AIDING SYRIA?…Among Syria’s dwindling number of allies, the Wall Street Journal adds Venezuela to that list. The Journal reports Venezuela has made four shipments of diesel fuel to Syria in the past eight months and continues to do business with Syrian banks and oil firms. That fuel is crucial for powering the military vehicles that are driving Damascus’s continuing crackdown on the opposition.
-JORDAN TO INVESTIGATE ON-AIR FIGHT…The BBC reports the Jordanian lawmaker who pulled a gun on a political rival on a talk show is under investigation. Investigators are also looking into how the gun managed to get into the studio in the first place.
BORDER PATROL SHOOTING
A Mexican citizen fatally shot by U.S. Border Patrol agents along the border with Texas has angered the Mexican government – with officials there calling it a disproportionate use of force. The Border Patrol said agents had opened fire along the Rio Grande after being pelted by rocks and seeing a gunman point a weapon in their direction from the Mexican side. The agency said it did not know if anyone else was hurt, but the FBI was investigating. The Mexican Foreign Ministry said late Sunday that a citizen had been killed by a gunshot fired by a U.S. agent at the Los Tomates-Veterans international bridge. It did not identify the victim or provide details about the incident. Mexico said its consulate in Brownsville had sent U.S. authorities a message demanding an exhaustive investigation without regard to the consequences. “The Mexican government has said once again that the disproportionate use of force for purposes of immigration enforcement is unacceptable under any circumstances,” the Foreign Ministry said. Border Patrol spokesman Henry Mendiola said several people had been taken into custody but that he could not provide details about the suspects or charges they face. One of the agents started shooting after being “unable to take cover” when rocks were thrown, while the other opened fire after seeing a suspect on the Mexican side of the river pointing a gun at him, Mendiola said.
LONDON TERROR SUSPECTS IN COURT
Three men who were arrested and charged with terrorism offenses last week have been in court this morning. They are accused of manufacturing an IED and acquiring other weapons to carry out a terror plot. Four other men were arrested with them, but they have not yet been charged. As we’ve reported, the arrests are indicative of a hyper-vigilant law enforcement atmosphere in Britain with just 17 days remaining before the London Olympics begins.
MORE CONTRACEPTION COULD CUT MATERNAL DEATHS BY A THIRD
A study out today in the Lancet journal finds that fulfilling unmet contraception demand for women in developing countries could reduce global maternal mortality by nearly a third. Birth control reduces health risks by delaying first pregnancies, cutting down on unsafe abortions and controlling dangers associated with pregnancies that are too closely spaced. The study is released ahead of a family planning conference in London organized by the British government and the Gates Foundation.
IN NIGER, MARRYING OFF DAUGHTERS – BECAUSE OF HUNGER CRISIS
A dramatic update to our reporting from Niger. The Washington Post reports aid workers in Niger are increasingly concerned that a hunger crisis there may result in families marrying off their daughters even earlier for the dowries they fetch. Niger has the world’s highest rate of child marriage, with roughly one in every two girls marrying before age 15. The average woman there has more than seven children, the highest fertility rate in the world.
ICC HANDS DOWN FIRST VERDICT: WARLORD GUILTY
The International Criminal Court found Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga guilty of using child soldiers in the Congo’s eastern Ituri region in 2002 and 2003. He was sentenced to 14 years in jail. What’s particularly interesting is that this is the first verdict the ICC has reached in its 10-year history. This is the same court that is trying Bosnian general Ratko Mladic and seeking to try Saif Gadhafi. The Nation has a good read on the ineffectiveness of the court to date.
SECRETARY CLINTON IN VIETNAM
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has landed in Hanoi, where she meets with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Minh, Prime Minister Dung and Communist Party Secretary General Trong.
ANOTHER HOSTAGE SITUATION AT A FRENCH SCHOOL
It’s over now – but not before several tense hours in another French hostage standoff. Children were freed, and then a parent was released, after being held hostage at a school south of Paris. Only the gunman remains inside the school now. Just last month, a man took four bank employees hostage in Toulouse, the same town where four months ago, a school shooting left three schoolchildren dead.
EX-ISRAELI PM OLMERT CLEARED OF CHARGES
As Alex MARQUARDT writes, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was cleared of the major charges in a corruption trial that forced him from power. The verdict, which capped a two-year trial, covered three separate allegations: illegally accepting funds from an American supporter, double-billing Jewish groups for trips abroad, and channeling state grants to companies linked to a close friend. He was convicted of a lesser offense. It’s not clear if that will send him to jail.
WHO’S THE WOMAN AT KIM JONG UN’S SIDE?
Joohee CHO in Seoul – and The Los Angeles Times – note growing speculation about the attractive young woman seen twice now with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. She attended a concert with him Friday night in Pyongyang and accompanied him to a memorial service Sunday, marking the anniversary of his grandfather’s death. Observers wonder if she’s his sister – or maybe a girlfriend.
MAJOR HURRICANE BREWING IN THE PACIFIC
Hurricane Emilia strengthened to a Category Four storm overnight, but it remains far off the coast of Mexico and is still not posing a threat to land.
QUEEN ELIZABETH SEES OLYMPIC TORCH
Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh will be on hand to see the Olympic Torch when it passes through Windsor Castle today shortly before 10a ET. Sir Roger Bannister started the day’s relay by carrying the flame around Oxford’s Iffley Road stadium, where he broke the four-minute mile in 1954.
ROYAL WEDDING – FEATURING ROYAL COUSINS
Preparations are underway on the island of Tonga ahead of Thursday’s controversial wedding of Crown Prince Tupouto’a Ulukalala and his second cousin – with one member of the royal family publicly asking the wedding be called off.
NEIGHBORS TO SUSAN BOYLE: STOP SINGING!
Susan Boyle’s neighbors are tired of hearing her belt out her hits. The Daily Mail reports, that while “many of us would be happy to pay for the privilege of hearing Susan Boyle sing…her neighbours seem less than delighted, claiming her early morning arias are ‘unbearable’. Now Teresa Miller, 39, and her friend Paul Keaveney, 44, have submitted an official complaint to the council saying the noise prevents them from hearing their own TV.