Can they work out a deal? The International Monetary Fund announced Greece will miss its scheduled 300 million Euro loan payment on Friday, requesting to have its four debt payments rolled over into the next pay period on June 30. The impetus is now on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to reach a reform agreement and avoid bankruptcy. However, the uncertainty is already causing fallout as European and U.S. stocks dipped in response. Tsipras and Juncker will reportedly meet on Saturday to continue talks.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Somebody should have changed the passwords. The Office of Personnel Management has reportedly been hacked for the personal data of 4 million federal employees, in the second major Chinese hacking operation on the U.S. government in the last 12 months — which may indicate a shift in focus from commercial secrets to state secrets on the part of China’s hackers. OPM says it’s working with other agencies to investigate the extent of the breach, which occured in April but was only confirmed in May.
He’s not letting 2012’s humiliating failures deter him. Perry, who served as governor of Texas until earlier this year and was a popular choice in 2012 until his own gaffes torpedoed his chances, is entering an already crowded GOP field — and he’ll be going against Texas senator Ted Cruz, who was likely hoping to lock up the support of the Lone Star State. Perry’s also one of many governors and former governors vying for the top spot, unsurprising given that governors are often considered eminently electable given their executive experience.
Is Putin feeling itchy again? Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko thinks so and has told lawmakers the nation must prepare for a “full-scale invasion” by Russia. The warning comes amid the worst fighting since the February ceasefire, with 24 reportedly killed in the East. And while some skirmishes have continued since the accord, the renewed use of heavy weapons has Ukraine on alert. Moscow continues to deny any involvement, but Poroshenko wants troops to gear up and protect the entire Ukrainian border with Russia.
They were trying to take refuge. Flooding in Accra spelled doom for a group of people sheltering from torrential rains inside a gas station when it swept stores of fuel into a fire and caused a massive explosion. A nearby hospital said its morgue was full, as people trying to rescue survivors and recover bodies were slowed by the continuing floods, but the death toll from fire and flood is expected to rise. Meanwhile, President John Dramani Mahama promised $12 million for for flood relief and to repair the country’s damaged infrastructure once the water recedes.
The dominoes are starting to fall. Former soccer administrator Chuck Blazer has admitted that he and other officials accepted bribes connected to South Africa’s selection as 2010 World Cup host. His admissions were revealed in a newly unsealed transcript of a 2013 hearing in which he pleaded guilty to 10 charges. Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner, meanwhile, says outgoing chief Sepp Blatter influenced the group’s 2010 election in Trinidad and Tobago. Warner, who was arrested last week, vowed not to keep any more secrets as U.S. authorities build their case.
They’re smelling weakness. As Hillary Clinton’s popularity dips, more Democrats are jumping into the 2016 race. The former Rhode Island governor threw his hat into the ring yesterday, joining the likes of former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Chafee, who chose not to seek gubernatorial re-election last year, was voted into the Senate as a Republican in 1999, serving for eight years before leaving both the legislature and the party. He’s hoping to give Clinton a run for her money with his staunch anti-war record.
When the economy improves and unemployment drops, wages are supposed to rise as companies compete for a shrinking pool of workers. But U.S. firms are refusing to pay at rates expected by economists, analysts … or employees. Experts blame hidden slack in the labor force — created by employers hiring folks not recorded in national tallies — as well as persistent recession fears and the need to compete with cheap foreign labor. But they’re also warning that keeping wages low to stay globally competitive could slow the U.S. economy to a crawl.
They’re demanding answers. Loved ones of passengers aboard the Eastern Star, which capsized in the Yangtze River this week, have staged a protest near the site. Dozens tore through police cordons, demanding information and noting how local officials have ignored their concerns. Of the 456 aboard, 65 have been confirmed dead, and no one has been pulled out alive since Tuesday. Bad weather continues to hamper rescue efforts, and attention is turning to the ship’s safety record and why the captain ignored weather reports to sail into a storm.
Mubarak to be retried over protesters’ killings. (Al Jazeera)
MERS spreads alarm in South Korea. (Reuters)
Mourners pay respects to Beau Biden. (NYDN)
Texas executes state’s oldest death row inmate. (ABC)
Former FIFA official promises to spill all beans. (BBC)
It’s not through the approval process yet, but it’s coming close. The little pink pill, known as flibanserin, was just approved 18-6 by an advisory panel. It’s been rejected twice by the FDA over its side effects and ability to actually increase libido — but that’s caused controversy, as Sprout Pharmaceuticals, which makes the drug, claims that it’s being held to a higher standard than drugs aimed at lifting male libidos. The FDA denies the charges, and will probably approve flibanserin — though they aren’t bound by the panel’s decision, they normally follow their recommendations.
A Chicago outreach program is teaching poor minority middle and high school boys to learn good impulse control habits, claiming it leads to a reduction of crime and dropout rates. A recent paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research found kids that enrolled in the program, run by the Youth Guidance nonprofit, took 79 percent longer to think before making a decision when put in confrontational situations. Similar to cognitive behavioral therapy, the program forces kids to think slowly, like simply asking for a ball verbally instead of snatching it away forcefully.
What a royal pain. Yesterday during a “Category One obituary rehearsal” — a routine technical test for major breaking news — BBC Urdu reporter Ahmen Khawaja tweeted “Queen Elizabrth has died [sic].” The false alarm sent global media into a panic over the wellbeing of the 89-year-old monarch, who happened to be in the hospital for an annual checkup at the time, but is alive and well. Khawaja, who wasn’t part of the drill, is facing disciplinary action, though she claims somebody else posted the updates as a prank.
It pays to educate America’s elite. Hedge fund investor and Harvard grad John Paulson just gifted the 379-year-old university its largest donation ever to rename the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences after him. But his charity has some fuming over the windfall going to America’s richest school — with its $36 billion endowment — while others struggle. “If billionaires don’t step up, Harvard will soon be down to its last $30 billion,” tweeted Malcolm Gladwell. Perhaps a little mocking will help future donors look beyond the Ivies.
In an unwanted comeback, the Spanish city of Olot has reported the country’s first case of diphtheria since 1986. An unimmunized six-year-old boy has fallen ill — the disastrous effect of anti-vaccination campaigns gaining a foothold in Spain. The bacterial respiratory infection kills one in 10, and it’s so rare nowadays that the anti-toxin drugs had to be flown in from Russia. Health authorities are needling anti-vax parents, calling them “irresponsible.” The child, meanwhile, is in serious condition at a Barcelona hospital.
As if there weren’t enough white roles in Hollywood already. Backlash against the casting of actress Emma Stone as a character named Allison Ng, who’s a quarter Chinese and a quarter Hawaiian, prompted director Cameron Crowe to express his regrets. He went online yesterday to offer “a heart-felt apology” to those disappointed by his choice, explaining that the character was based on a real Hawaiian woman — with red hair. He also defended the film for employing Oahu locals and promised to tell more diverse stories in the future.
They swooped in for a surprise attack. After a frustrating two and a half periods, Chicago’s Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette struck two minutes apart late in the third quarter, shocking Tampa Bay 2-1 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. After Alexander Killorn scored in the opening minutes for the home team, veteran Hawks goalie Corey Crawford shut down the net, making 22 saves. Chicago is chasing their third championship in six seasons and will be sharpening their skates for Game 2 in Florida on Saturday.