–European Union leaders are set to examine a “compact for growth and jobs” aimed at countering record unemployment and an economic downturn – a deal pushed by French President Francois Hollande to offset German-led austerity. The summit begins today with the EU parliament president taking part in a debate on the next budget for the period between 2014-2020. A group of pro-austerity governments led by Germany and Britain are fighting the EU parliament’s demand for an increase in the 27-nation bloc’s spending.
-Members of Greece’s new parliament have taken their oath of office at a religious ceremony.Among those being sworn in were 18 MPs from the ultra-right Golden Dawn party. A notable absentee was conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. He is still recovering from eye surgery and is unable to attend the EU summit in Brussels either.
-Movements of troops and armored vehicles along Turkey‘s border with Syria are linked to rising tension following Syria’s downing of a Turkish jet last week, a Turkish government official said today. The apparent bolstering of its border force comes only two days after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country was changing its military rules of engagement.
-The United States Supreme Court has upheld President Barack Obama’s landmark overhaul of the US healthcare system, handing Obama a historic victory and bolstering his chances of re-election. Although the US is the world’s richest nation, it is the only industrialised democracy that until now does not provide health care coverage to all its citizens.
–Kofi Annan, the joint United Nations-Arab League envoy to Syria, has proposed setting up a transitional government that could include followers of President Bashar al-Assad and opposition members in a bid to end the country’s war, diplomats said. The major powers – the US, Britain, France, China and Russia, a key Assad ally – generally back the plan, which will be discussed at a meeting of foreign ministers Annan has convened in Geneva on Saturday, they said.
– The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia threw out one count of genocide against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, the court said. He still faces another count of genocide over the massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, and nine other charges related to ethnic violence during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
-Police served a notice today on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange demanding that he appear at a police station in connection with his extradition, after he sought asylum last week at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The surrender notice was served “upon a 40-year-old man that requires him to attend a police station at date and time of our choosing,”a Metropolitan Police statement said.
-Flooding and mudslides have washed away hundreds of homes in Bangladesh after five days of torrential rain. At least 100 people have been killed with many more feared trapped in hillside homes buried under heaps of mud. A rescue operation is underway with more than 250,000 people left stranded by the rising water.
–Google and Microsoft are shifting long-standing strategies as they chase the success of Apple’s best-selling iPad. Both companies have made their names by providing the software that powers devices made by others, but they are now following Apple’s lead and releasing their own hardware. Google jumped into the fray with its Nexus 7 tablet. Made by Asus, the tablet bears the Google brand name and is made specifically to showcase Google’s content.
Sources: BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, Reuters, euronews, NYT, WSJ