Barriers remain in Greece debt rescue talks
Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said Saturday that talks between the government and its foreign creditors on a second rescue deal were "on a razor's edge," adding that though progress had been made on some levels, crucial issues were unresolved. Agreement was reached on issues like recapitalizing Greek banks and the privatization of state assets, Venizelos said. Two barriers remained: wages in the private sector and the extent of austerity measures. Despite the barriers, a deal must be reached in bailout talks by tonight, he said.
Navy discharges eight for hazing
A Navy spokesman said Saturday that eight sailors were discharged after a hazing incident aboard a San Diego-based amphibious assault ship. The spokesman said the sailors received general discharges following allegations they assaulted and choked a fellow sailor aboard the ship, the Bonhomme Richard, on Jan. 17 as part of an initiation rite. He said the assault was videotaped, and the victim was treated for injuries. The action follows recent congressional hearings on hazing in the military, including the case of Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, who shot himself in a foxhole in Afghanistan last year after he was beaten, forced to do repeated pushups and fed mouthfuls of sand.
GM's dealers plan spiffier showroom
General Motors said Saturday that 3,400 of its 4,400 U.S. dealers have agreed to upgrade their showrooms over the next four years, and 1,000 have already carried out the upgrades. The upgrades include new signs, more modern interiors and lounges with free Wi-Fi. In some cases, dealers might also open cafes or salons. The company announced its plans at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Las Vegas. Other vehicle dealers are also upgrading. Ford Motor Co. said last week that 75 of its Lincoln dealers have already carried out major renovations.
China fires 7 over toxic spill lapses
Seven officials in southern China were removed from their jobs in the wake of a toxic heavy metal spill that fouled drinking water supplies for tens of millions of people, the state news media reported. The spill, which affected 200 miles of the Longjiang River in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, was caused by two companies that accidentally released tons of cadmium, a poisonous component of batteries, into the river last month. The contamination was not reported for at least two weeks, during which people continued to use the water for drinking and cooking.
Kenya: Kenyan Red Cross spokesman Fredrick Gori said Saturday that 25 people died after a truck crashed into a minibus in Kisumu city in western Kenya.
Stockholm: CyberForce, a group linked to the hacker network Anonymous, said Saturday that it had attacked the Swedish government's website, bringing it down for periods of time by overloading it with traffic.
Bosnia-Herzegovina: Bosnia's government declared a state of emergency in its capital on Saturday after Sarajevo was paralyzed by snow, and hundreds of people remained trapped in their homes and vehicles throughout the country.