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Fitch Ratings sees risk of Greek, U.S. debt defaults

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Fitch Ratings warned it would treat a voluntary rollover of Greece’s sovereign bonds in any rescue package as a default and would cut the credit rating, keeping pressure on European policymakers who intend to outline a new plan by mid July. Fractious euro zone finance ministers are…

Greek PM faces critical confidence vote

ATHENS (AFP) – Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou vowed there would be no backsliding on a 28 billion euro programme of cuts ahead of a confidence vote Tuesday seen as key to calming fears for the euro’s future. Lawmakers are expected to give their verdict on Papandreou’s new-look government at…

Stock futures up on optimism over Greek vote

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stock index futures rose on Tuesday as expectations grew that a solution will be found for Greece to avoid a default and a short-term contagion risk to other euro zone countries could be contained. Euro zone finance ministers said the Greek government had until July 3 to approve new steps to…

President Barack Obama: Baby whisperer

Father’s Day may have been last weekend, and Sasha and Malia may be a little too old for this kind of comforting, but President Barack Obama proved recently that he still has the magic touch with babies. The president and First Lady Michelle Obama were greeting supporters on a rope…

Man arrested in Essex over Lulz hacking attacks

LONDON — Police working with the FBI have arrested a 19-year-old man over attacks by the Lulz Security hacking group on the websites of the CIA, US Senate, Sony and others, Scotland Yard said on Tuesday. The man was arrested on Monday night at a house in Wickford, Essex, over…

Russian plane crash leaves 44 dead

MOSCOW (AFP) – A Russian plane exploded into flames after crashing on a highway just short of its airport, killing 44 and leaving eight survivors fighting for their lives, officials said Tuesday. The RusAir Tupolev 134 was trying to land at its destination of Petrozavodsk in the Karelia region of…

U.S. Fed set to gingerly lift foot off stimulus pedal

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Federal Reserve appears ready to ease off the stimulus pedal that is pumping life into the US economy at a key meeting that opens Tuesday, despite signs of slowing growth. Most economists expect the Federal Open Market Committee will signal the Fed’s $600 billion asset purchase…

U.S. plans set of graphic cigarette warning labels

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US government on Tuesday unveiled a new set of cigarette warnings with graphic images of a lifeless body, a scarred mouth and a blackened lung in order to highlight the health risks of smoking. “Beginning September 2012, FDA will require larger, more prominent cigarette health warnings…

Ex China envoy Huntsman launches White House bid

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, launching his 2012 White House bid on Tuesday, urged voters to help him rewrite a grim narrative of US decline and sharply assailed President Barack Obama. “We’re not just choosing new leaders. We’re choosing whether we are to become yesterday’s story…

The Daily Show investigates the NYC parks smoking ban

New York City recently banned smoking cigarettes in its parks. Samantha Bee, “Daily Show” correspondent, went to one of the parks and checked out just how family-friendly and enjoyable it was now that smoking is disallowed. The constant parade of strung-out people stumbling through her shots is not necessarily what…

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