-The leader of Greece‘s far-left Syriza bloc, Alexis Tsipras, says he is abandoning efforts to form a coalition. He met leaders from the two mainstream pro-bailout parties, Pasok and New Democracy, but no deal was reached. Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos is now expected to try to form a coalition. In the meantime, Euro zone governments kept Greece afloat today after agreeing to authorize a payment of 5.2 billion euros ($6.72 billion) from the region’s bailout fund, despite opposition from some member states following the Greek election results.
-A bomb exploded near a convoy carrying U.N. observers and the head of the monitoring team in southern Syria the United Nations said. The bomb, described as an improvised explosive device, detonated close to a military checkpoint as the convoy was entering the city of Daraa. There were no casualties among the observers, but the Syrian government said 10 Syrian soldiers were injured.
-Borrowing costs rose in Spain with the 10-year yield crossing the 6% mark for the first time in two weeks amid rising concerns about the banking sector. The yield jump was triggered by concerns that Spanish authorities will push banks to increase provisions to cover potential losses on the real estate portions of their portfolios.
–Algeria is gearing up for parliamentary elections, which authorities have pledged will be the freest ever. Nearly 22 million Algerians are registered to vote for 44 parties, half of which were just legalised this year, for a parliament that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika promises will have a say in rewriting the constitution. But after decades of repression and rigged contests, turnout in Thursday’s vote may not surpass the 35 per cent seen in the last elections in 2007.
-President Vladimir Putin promised to project Russia‘s might on the world stage in a rallying speech to troops and war veterans celebrating victory over Nazi Germany at a military parade bristling with weapons on Red Square.
–Anders Behring Breivik produced “cries of joy” during the massacre he carried out on the Norwegian island of Utoeya last July, in which 69 people died, his trial has heard. In the first of several witness accounts Tonje Brenna said she heard Breivik whoop with joy as he shot people on the island.
-A Russian passenger airliner went missing today after it disappeared from radar screens over a mountainous region of Indonesia. The Sukhoi Superjet 100, Russia’s newest civilian airliner, was carrying 42 passengers and eight Russian crew members, said Sunaryo, an official with Sukhoi’s Indonesian agent, Trimarga Rekatama. However, the number was in dispute.
–Yulia Tymoshenko, former Ukrainian prime minister was transferred to a hospital for treatment, a day after she agreed to end her nearly three-week hunger strike, her spokeswoman said. Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year prison sentence after she was convicted last year of abuse of authority.
Sources: BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, Reuters, euronews, NYT, WSJ