Australian heads to Greece to help crying pensioner in photo
An Australian touched by an image of a pensioner sobbing outside a Greek bank said Wednesday he was flying over to Europe to support the man financially after discovering he was a family friend. Giorgos Chatzifotiadis, 77, broke down in Greece's second city of Thessaloniki last week and cried in despair after he failed at four different financial institutions to withdraw a pension of 120 euros (US$132) on behalf of his wife. James Koufos, an Australian-born chief executive of a finance firm, saw the photo published in Sydney and thought the retiree looked "so much like a friend of my dad's".
As China's stock market tanks, investors flee into government-backed bondsSHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) - With Chinese policymakers so far unable to stem a rout in Chinese equities, money is flowing back into government and state-backed bonds -- driving yields lower and potentially easing strains on debt-laden municipal governments. Yields on 10-year Chinese treasury bonds fell 10 basis points (bps) on Wednesday at the open as investors sought the safety of government debt. Other debt perceived as having strong government backing has also performed well in recent days.
China unveils new measures to prop up stocks
BEIJING (AP) ? In a flurry of new moves to halt a stock market slide, China's government on Wednesday told state-owned companies to buy shares, raised the amount of equities insurance companies can hold and promised more credit to finance trading.
Malaysia police raids office of state fund 1MDB: mediaKUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Police in Malaysia have raided the office of state-owned fund 1MDB office, local newspaper The Star reported on Wednesday. The raid, which began in the morning, is reportedly still ongoing, The Star posted on its website. 1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak, has been under investigation by state authorities following allegations of financial mismanagement. 1MDB and Malaysia police did not respond to Reuters requests for comment. ...
'Very, very, very tough' Iran talks go into overtime
Talks towards a historic nuclear deal between Iran and major powers go into overtime Wednesday after stumbling over what one Western diplomat called "very, very, very tough" remaining issues. Iran and six world powers have effectively given themselves until Friday to reach a deal by extending the terms of a 2013 interim accord under which Tehran has frozen parts of its nuclear programme in return for minor sanctions relief.
Taliban, Afghan officials end peace talks agreeing to meet again
The first officially acknowledged peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul concluded with an agreement to meet again after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Pakistan said on Wednesday. Pakistan hosted the meeting in a tentative step towards ending more than 13 years of war in Afghanistan, in which the Taliban have been fighting the government in hopes of re-establishing their hard-line Islamist regime that was toppled by the U.S.-sponsored military intervention in 2001. Officials from the United States and China were observers in the first official talks held on Tuesday at Murree, a hill resort on the outskirts of Islamabad, a statement from Pakistan's foreign ministry said.
AP source: Fed's gun used in San Francisco pier slaying
British tourist double murder trial opens on Thai island
The high-profile trial of two Myanmar migrants charged with killing two British holidaymakers opened Wednesday on the holiday island of Koh Samui, in a grim case that has tarnished Thailand's reputation as a tourist haven. Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun have pleaded not guilty to the murder of 24-year-old David Miller and the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, on the southern island of Koh Tao in September. The two men, who have been in custody on neighbouring Koh Samui since October, arrived at court in a prison van with their feet shackled.
Asia stocks sink on Greece fear as China sell-off spreads
Asian stocks tumbled Wednesday after Greece was slapped with a deadline to submit fresh bailout reform proposals or face a eurozone exit, while fears over the collapse in Shanghai have spilled into other markets. The European leaders' ultimatum to Athens, which could see it ejected from the currency bloc at the weekend, saw traders scramble to safer investments, pushing the yen higher. Shanghai tumbled almost seven percent and Hong Kong lost 4.74 percent soon after opening, despite Chinese leaders announcing a slew of measures to staunch a mainland bloodletting that has wiped trillions off the country's markets.
LaHood wins Illinois GOP race to replace ex-US Rep. Schock
SHERMAN, Ill. (AP) ? State Sen. Darin LaHood won the GOP nod in Tuesday's primary to replace disgraced ex-U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, setting up the son of the former U.S. transportation secretary as the likely next congressman in this heavily Republican swath of central Illinois.