TIME Malaysia

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Just Fired His Deputy and Attorney General

Najib Razak
Joshua Paul—AP Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses delegates during his speech at the Malaysia's ruling party United Malays National Organization's anniversary celebration in Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 2015

Najib is under increasing pressure over leaked confidential documents

(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, stung by allegations that he received some $700 million in government money, on Tuesday fired the attorney general who had been investigating him and a deputy who has been among his most prominent critics.

Najib is under increasing pressure over leaked confidential documents that allegedly show that the money, from state investment fund 1MDB, went into his personal accounts.

Najib announced over national television Tuesday that his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin will be replaced by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the former home minister. He also dropped four other ministers to strengthen his administration and ensure they can “work as a team.”

“The decision to replace Muhyiddin was a very difficult one, but I had to do it so a strong team can move forward,” Najib said.

Muhyiddin has been critical of the government’s handling of 1MDB’s massive debt and has called on Najib to explain the alleged funds transfer.

Earlier Tuesday, the government announced it had terminated the services of Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail due to health reasons. Gani, when contacted by Malay Mail Online, said he had not been aware of the decision.

Gani confirmed earlier this month that he had received documents from investigators that linked Najib and 1MDB. The existence of the documents, which allegedly show $700 million was wired from entities linked to 1MDB into Najib’s accounts, were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Najib has not disputed the existence of the accounts or the receipt of the funds. He has only said that he has never used government funds for personal gains, and called the allegations a political sabotage.

The documents sent to the attorney general pave the way for possible criminal charges, which would be a first for a Malaysian prime minister.

Najib’s ruling National Front coalition has been in power since independence from Britain in 1957. However, support for the coalition has eroded in the last two general elections. In 2013, it won the polls but lost the popular vote for the first time.

TIME Baseball

Colorado Rockies Trade Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays for Jose Reyes

Cincinnati Rads v Colorado Rockies
Dustin Bradford—Getty Images Troy Tulowitzki reacts after flying out in the seventh inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Coors Field in Denver on July 25, 2015

The talented but oft-injured Tulowitzki is a five-time All-Star

(DENVER) — Troy Tulowitzki has been traded by the Colorado Rockies to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jose Reyes and three pitching prospects in a stunning swap of star shortstops, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity early Tuesday because the deal had not yet been announced.

In addition to Tulowitzki, the Rockies sent 42-year-old reliever LaTroy Hawkins to the Blue Jays.

Along with Reyes, the Rockies picked up reliever Miguel Castro and two minor league pitchers.

Neither team had confirmed the blockbuster deal. FoxSports.com first reported the sides had agreed to a trade involving Tulowitzki, Reyes and minor leaguers.

The talented but oft-injured Tulowitzki is a five-time All-Star who is hitting .300 with 12 homers and 53 RBIs in 87 games this season.

He was replaced on defense in the bottom of the ninth inning during Colorado’s 9-8 loss to the Cubs in Chicago on Monday night. After the game, the slugger spent at least 30 minutes in manager Walt Weiss’ office at Wrigley Field, but was unavailable to reporters.

The deal gives Toronto another powerful, right-handed bat in a dangerous lineup that includes Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Russell Martin. The Blue Jays are tied for second place in the AL East, seven games behind the New York Yankees.

Reyes is batting .285 with four homers, 34 RBIs and 16 steals. He was acquired by Toronto in a November 2012 trade with Miami.

The face of Colorado’s franchise, the 30-year-old Tulowitzki has spent his entire career with the Rockies (42-55) but has been the subject of trade speculation for some time. Still, the Blue Jays seemed an unlikely destination.

Tulowitzki is in the middle of a $118 million, six-year contract that runs through 2020. The deal includes a $15 million team option for 2021 with a $4 million buyout.

Before the game, Weiss was asked if he’s talked to his star shortstop about handling distractions leading up to Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

“I’ve talked to these guys as a group about all the distractions that come with the trade deadline,” Weiss said. “Basically, I told them to control what they can control. There are always distractions at this level during this time period.”

The speedy Reyes, a four-time All-Star with the New York Mets, has struggled with injuries throughout his career. In 69 games with the Blue Jays this season, he is hitting .285 with a .322 on-base percentage. He has four home runs, 34 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.

Reyes is signed through 2017 on a $106 million, six-year contract.

The 42-year-old Hawkins is 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA in 24 games.

___

AP Sports Writer Jay Cohen and freelance writer Brian Sandalow in Chicago contributed to this report.

TIME Markets

Worst Chinese Share Drop in 8 Years Spooks Global Markets

Chinese benchmark index dived 8.48 per cent
Woo He—EPA A stock investor checks prices in a brokerage house in Huaibei, central China, on July 27, 2015

It was the fifth straight loss for the U.S. market

(NEW YORK) — The worst drop in China’s stock market in eight years helped drag down other markets around the world Monday.

The tough day follows declines in U.S. markets last week, when the three major indexes fell more than 2 percent as a number of big companies reported disappointing earnings.

Faced with a drop in stock prices in Asia, Europe and the U.S., investors moved into traditional safe havens. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 2.22 percent from 2.26 percent on Friday. The price of gold rose 1 percent.

Dividend-heavy stocks, like utilities, also gained. Investors favor high-dividend companies during times of volatility because they provide a reliable income stream.

“There remain very few buyers out there and there are some growing concerns that we’re looking at a slowdown in global economic growth,” said Sean Lynch, co-head of global equity strategy with the Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 127.94 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,440.59. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 12.01 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,067.64 and the Nasdaq composite lost 48.85 points, or 1 percent, to 5,039.78.

It was the fifth straight loss for the U.S. market. The S&P 500 is still up about half a percent for the year. The Dow is down 2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is up 6 percent.

ASIA

The worries for investors this week started with an 8.5 percentage point plunge on the Shanghai market, the biggest one-day decline since February 2007. It was the latest big drop in the Chinese stock market, which has slumped since early June.

Some analysts said Monday’s dive was set off by brokerages restricting credit used to finance stock purchases, also known as margin trading. Chinese authorities took aggressive steps to stabilize the market after it tumbled last month.

“The continuous check on margin trading by security companies has triggered today’s sell-off,” said Xu Xiaoyu, a market strategist at China Investment Securities. “In addition, the recent economic data shows it still takes time for the economy to recover from its sluggishness.”

The precipitous rise and fall of the Chinese stock market has been one of the bigger topics of conversation for investors this summer.

By the time China’s Shanghai benchmark index peaked in early June, it was up 150 percent in the last year. The gains were originally driven by commentary in state media that called the stock market undervalued. That led investors to believe the government would ensure that stock prices gained.

When the Chinese stock market started falling, many investors felt the decline would bring a much-needed correction to that country’s stock market bubble. But many small Chinese investors jumped into the market near its peak and are now sitting on significant losses.

There are now concerns the 30 percent decline in the stock market is starting to do damage to China’s economy. A closely watched Chinese purchasing manager’s index fell to a 15-month low over the weekend, with analysts blaming the drop partly on the market.

“Rightly or wrongly, people are concerned about a global economic slowdown,” said James Liu, a global market strategist with JPMorgan Funds.

The Chinese sell-off ruffled other markets in Asia, though the scant amount of foreign investment in Chinese shares limits the ripple effects outside of Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese territory that is also a financial center.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 3.1 percent and Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.4 percent.

EUROPE and the U.S.

In Europe, which has already had a volatile summer because of worries about Greece’s precarious finances, also fell broadly on Monday.

The Euro STOXX 50 index, the European equivalent of the Dow 30, fell 2.4 percent. Germany’s DAX lost 2.6 percent, France’s CAC-40 lost 2.6 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 lost 1.1 percent.

Elsewhere, traders were turning their attention to the U.S. Federal Reserve as they try to assess when the central bank will start raising interest rates. The market appears split between those who think it will happen in September or December. The central bank will also meet this week, but few expect it to begin raising rates.

Traders also have the busiest week for second-quarter earnings reports this week, with 174 members of the S&P 500 as well as six members of the Dow average reporting their results.

BIG PHARMA GETS BIGGER

Generic drug giant Teva Pharmaceuticals jumped $8.76, or 14 percent, to $70.61 after it announced it would buy Allergan’s generic drug division for $40.5 billion in cash and stock. Allergan’s shares also rose, up $19.01, or 6 percent, to $327.19.

CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES

The price of oil fell to the lowest point since March as another steep drop in Chinese stocks caused concerns that demand from the world’s second biggest oil consumer would slip. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 75 cents to close at $47.39 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell $1.15 to close at $53.47 a barrel in London.

In other futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.8 cent to close at $1.820 a gallon.

— Heating oil fell 3.4 cents to close at $1.596 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 1.3 cents to close at $2.789 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In currency trading, the euro strengthened 0.9 percent to $1.1092 while the dollar fell 0.4 percent to 123.28 yen.

___

AP Business Writer Youkyung Lee contributed from Seoul, South Korea and researcher Yu Bing contributed from Beijing.

TIME Books

True-Crime Author Ann Rule Dies at 83

Ann Rule
Betty Udeson—AP True-crime author Ann Rule, who wrote a book about serial killer Gary Ridgway, who left some of his victims' bodies along the Green River outside Seattle, shown in the background.

Rule rocketed to fame after profiling serial killer Ted Bundy

(SEATTLE) — True-crime writer Ann Rule, who wrote more than 30 books, including a profile of her former co-worker, serial killer Ted Bundy, has died at age 83.

Rule died at Highline Medical Center at 10:30 p.m. Sunday, said Scott Thompson, a spokesman for CHI Franciscan Health. Rule’s daughter, Leslie Rule, said on Facebook that her mother had many health issues, including congestive heart failure.

“My mom died peacefully last night,” Leslie Rule wrote. “She got to see all of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.”

Ann Rule’s first book, “The Stranger Beside Me,” profiled Bundy, whom she got to know while sharing the late shift at a Seattle suicide hotline. She has said she had a contract to write about an unknown serial killer before her co-worker was charged with the crimes.

Rule, who went to work briefly at the Seattle Police Department when she was 21, began writing for magazines like “True Detective” in 1969. A biography on her author website says she has published more than 1,400 articles, mostly on criminal cases.

Rule said she was fascinated by killers’ lives, going back to their childhood to find clues about why they did what they did. But her books focused on victims, and she became an advocate for victims’ rights.

“By deciding to focus her books on the victim, Ann Rule reinvented the true crime genre and earned the trust of millions of readers who wanted a new and empathetic perspective on the tragic stories at the heart of her works,” Carolyn Reidy, president and chief executive officer of Simon & Schuster, said in a statement.

After attending numerous workshops on crime topics from DNA to arson, local law enforcement, the FBI and the Justice Department started turning to Rule for her expertise on serial murders.

She aided the Green River Task Force as that group sought another Seattle-area serial killer, passing along tips that her readers shared. She wrote a book about the case, “Green River, Running Red.”

Rule was born in 1931 in Lowell, Michigan, to a schoolteacher and a football, basketball and track coach. They moved around a lot when she was a kid, traveling from Michigan, to Pennsylvania, Oregon and California because of her father’s coaching career.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in creative writing, with minors in psychology, criminology and penology.

She was the mother of five children and the grandmother of five.

TIME LGBT

Boy Scouts Officially End on Ban on Gay Leaders

Church-sponsored Scout units will be able to keep the ban for religious reasons

(NEW YORK) — The Boy Scouts of America on Monday ended its blanket ban on gay adult leaders while allowing church-sponsored Scout units to maintain the exclusion for religious reasons.

The new policy, aimed at easing a controversy that has embroiled the Boy Scouts for years, takes effect immediately. It was approved by the BSA’s National Executive Board on a 45-12 vote during a closed-to-the-media teleconference.

“For far too long this issue has divided and distracted us,” said the BSA’s president, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “Now it’s time to unite behind our shared belief in the extraordinary power of Scouting to be a force for good.”

The stage had been set for Monday’s action on May 21, when Gates told the Scouts’ national meeting that the long-standing ban on participation by openly gay adults was no longer sustainable. He said the ban was likely to be the target of lawsuits that the Scouts likely would lose.

Two weeks ago, the new policy was approved unanimously by the BSA’s 17-member National Executive Committee. It would allow local Scout units to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation — a stance that several Scout councils have already adopted in defiance of the official national policy.

In 2013, after heated internal debate, the BSA decided to allow openly gay youth as scouts, but not gay adults as leaders. Several denominations that collectively sponsor close to half of all Scout units — including the Roman Catholic church, the Mormon church and the Southern Baptist Convention — have been apprehensive about ending the ban on gay adults.

The BSA’s top leaders have pledged to defend the right of any church-sponsored units to continue excluding gays as adult volunteers. But that assurance has not satisfied some conservative church leaders,’

“It’s hard for me to believe, in the long term, that the Boy Scouts will allow religious groups to have the freedom to choose their own leaders,” said the Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“In recent years I have seen a definite cooling on the part of Baptist churches toward the Scouts,” Moore said. “This will probably bring that cooling to a freeze.”

Under the BSA’s new policy:

—Prospective employees of the national organization could no longer be denied a staff position on the basis of sexual orientation.

—Gay leaders who were previously removed from Scouting because of the ban would have the opportunity to reapply for volunteer positions.

—If otherwise qualified, a gay adult would be eligible to serve as a Scoutmaster or unit leader.

Gates, who became the BSA’s president in May 2014, said at the time that he personally would have favored ending the ban on gay adults, but he opposed any further debate after the Scouts’ policymaking body upheld the ban. In May, however, he said that recent events “have confronted us with urgent challenges I did not foresee and which we cannot ignore.”

He cited an announcement by the BSA’s New York City chapter in early April that it had hired Pascal Tessier, the nation’s first openly gay Eagle Scout, as a summer camp leader. Gates also cited broader gay-rights developments and warned that rigidly maintaining the ban “will be the end of us as a national movement.”

The BSA faced potential lawsuits in New York and other states if it continued to enforce its ban, which had been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000. Since then, the exclusionary policy has prompted numerous major corporations to suspend charitable donations to the Scouts, and has strained relations with some municipalities that cover gays in their non-discrimination codes.

Stuart Upton, a lawyer for the LGBT-rights group Lambda Legal, questioned whether the BSA’s new policy to let church-sponsored units continue to exclude gay adults would be sustainable.

“There will be a period of time where they’ll have some legal protection,” Upton said. “But that doesn’t mean the lawsuits won’t keep coming. … They will become increasingly marginalized from the direction society is going.”

Like several other major youth organizations, the Boy Scouts have experienced a membership decline in recent decades. Current membership, according to the BSA, is about 2.4 million boys and about 1 million adults.

After the 2013 decision to admit gay youth, some conservatives split from the BSA to form a new group, Trail Life USA, which has created its own ranks, badges and uniforms. The group claims a membership of more than 25,000 youths and adults.

 

TIME New York

New York Will Completely Rebuild LaGuardia Airport for $4 Billion

Andrew Cuomo
Richard Drew—AP New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addresses the Association for a Better New York luncheon, in New York, July 27, 2015.

The airport's aging buildings will be completely replaced with a new terminal

(NEW YORK) — A year after comparing New York’s LaGuardia Airport to “some Third World Country,” Vice President Joe Biden helped unveil an ambitious plan Monday to rebuild its collection of aging terminals into a modern, unified hub while easing congestion by doubling the space available for planes to operate.

“I wish everything I said that was truthful but controversial would turn out this well,” he joked during the announcement with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The overhaul would remake the entire footprint of the airport, which is shoehorned onto a small, oddly-shaped property on the shore of the East River.

Its existing, cramped and chaotic buildings would be demolished and replaced with a big new terminal 600 feet closer to the Grand Central Parkway, the highway that rings the airport like a moat.

That shift would relieve some of the space constraints for aircraft trying to taxi to and from the congested gate areas. More space would be made by having passengers get to their gates using elevated passageways that pass over active taxiways. In all, nearly two miles of new taxiways would be created.

Construction on the first phase of the project would begin next year, pending final approval by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the airport. A second phase would be overseen by Delta Air Lines.

The first remade portions of the airport would open to passengers in 2019.

“This is what New Yorkers deserve and have deserved for a long time. And now we’re going to get it,” Cuomo said.

He said the current airport is a collection of cramped terminals with high volume and low ceilings, and is “un-New York.”

“It’s slow, it’s dated, it has a terrible front-door entrance way to New York,” he said.

Biden said last year that if he blindfolded someone and took him to LaGuardia, he’d think he was in “some Third World country.” Biden lauded the governor for “thinking big.”

The vice president’s influence was critical, Cuomo said — approvals that would normally take years were expedited by Biden’s office.

The first phase of the plan will cost $4 billion, half from private funding, Cuomo said. Delta is a partner in the new terminal.

The new airport is part of an ambitious plan aimed at four of the state’s airports in the New York area. Stewart Airport north of the city and Republic Airport on Long Island would both get Startup New York designation, offering new and expanding businesses to operate tax free for 10 years. Also, New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport would have its architecturally distinct Saarinen building reconfigured into a hotel.

The construction will add thousands of jobs and help grow tourism and commerce. Officials said it would triple the screening space, increase concession space and create better connections between terminals, a new roadway system and new parking garages.

“LaGuardia and JFK are economic anchors for this city, and they deserve to be the best in the world,” Biden said.

LaGuardia, along the Flushing and Bowery bays in northern Queens, is the closest of the New York area’s three major air hubs to midtown Manhattan — just eight miles — and it handled about 27 million passengers last year.

Often the first building travelers see is the sprawling, boomerang-shaped Central Terminal, which opened just in time to receive visitors to the 1964 World’s Fair. Many passengers say it is like stepping back in time.

They immediately encounter low ceilings and dimly lit, narrow hallways. Check-in kiosks are arrayed haphazardly in rows just inside the entrances, where bright green neon lights blare, “Welcome to LaGuardia Airport.” On the west side of the terminal sits a modest food court featuring a hamburger counter, a pizzeria and a Dunkin’ Donuts.

In 2012, Travel and Leisure magazine named LaGuardia the nation’s worst airport, saying it had the “dubious honor of ranking the worst for the check-in and security process, the worst for baggage handling, the worst when it comes to providing Wi-Fi, the worst at staff communication, and the worst design and cleanliness.”

 

TIME Greece

Greece Launches Bailout Talks as Plan to Leave Euro Remains in Discussion

The People Of Greece Vote In A Referendum Over Debt Bailout Terms
Milos Bicanski—Getty Images Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis speaks to the press after placing his vote in the austerity referendum at a local school in the suburbs of Athens on July 5, 2015

A recording of former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis discussing a parallel currency plan was made public

(ATHENS, Greece) —Greece’s government on Monday launched complex bailout negotiations with creditors, but faced rebuke following revelations that former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, formed a secret committee to plan for the possible conversion of euros into drachmas “at a drop of a hat.”

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said late Monday that meetings in Athens had begun between Greek officials and negotiating teams representing creditors, with talks to intensify Tuesday, paving the way for higher level discussions possibly by the end of the week.

Before the talks started in Athens, a recording of Varoufakis discussing a parallel currency plan was made public.

Opposition parties have criticized Varoufakis and have urged Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to explain to lawmakers what he knew of his former finance minister’s actions.

In the recording of a telephone briefing for investors on July 16 in the wake of his resignation days earlier, Varoufakis claimed he and a childhood friend who was a computer expert hacked into his ministry’s computer systems as a first step to creating “a parallel banking system” in the event Greek banks were shuttered.

The Greek banks were closed on June 29 to avoid a bank run amid fears that Greece was heading for a euro exit. In theory, a parallel system formed from the effective cloning of tax accounts would have allowed the finance ministry to continue payments in the form of so-called IOUs.

Varoufakis said he had been authorized by Tsipras to undertake the planning prior to the general election in January when the radical left Syriza party swept to power. And he insisted that his actions were legal, in the public interest and aimed at keeping the country in the 19-country eurozone.

In essence, the plan, which Tsipras ultimately blocked, would have created a “functioning parallel system” to give the government “some breathing space.”

“It would be euro-denominated but at the drop of a hat it could be developed to a new drachma,” Varoufakis said.

Varoufakis confirmed the authenticity of the recording, which was released by the briefing organizers, London-based Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum.

The revelation that Varoufakis was working on a Plan B over Greece’s future was one of many in a wide-ranging discussion on the Greek crisis. He also said that German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble wanted Greece to leave the euro but that his boss, Chancellor Angela Merkel, was against so-called Grexit.

The recording prompted an outcry among opposition parties.

The main conservative opposition, New Democracy, accused Varoufakis of “dark methods that threaten democracy” and summoned Tsipras to brief parliament.

Tsipras, who is already facing a revolt within his radical left Syriza over a raft of austerity measures required by creditors for the talks to actually begin, is under pressure to call early elections once the bailout discussions are completed.

The technical discussions on a wide array of issues such as pensions and labor market reforms are designed to clear the path for high-level discussions between Greek ministers and senior European Union and International Monetary Fund officials later this week.

After passing a series of reforms demanded by creditors, such as steep sales tax hikes, the Greek government is hoping negotiations will be completed by Aug. 20 when the country has a big debt repayment of around 3.2 billion euros ($3.5 billion) to make to the European Central Bank.

Without the money from the expected three-year bailout totaling around 85 billion euros, Greece would be unable to make that payment — a development that would likely trigger fresh fears over the country’s future in the euro.

But the reforms have come at a price for Tsipras. One in four of his lawmakers refused to back them in two votes in parliament, arguing that they flew in the face of Syriza’s anti-austerity platform in January’s election.

The laws were passed with solid backing from pro-European opposition parties, but left Tsipras without an effective parliamentary majority. That has stoked talk of early elections, just six months into Tsipras’ four-year mandate.

“We must seal the (bailout) agreement and immediately afterwards launch an electoral process,” said senior Syriza official Dimitris Vitsas, who is the deputy defense minister. “After that (there will be) a new government with a fresh mandate.

Mina Andreeva, a spokeswoman at the European Commission, said teams from the institutions are “now already on the ground in Athens and work is starting immediately.”

She added that, while Athens has already delivered “in a timely and overall satisfactory manner” the reforms demanded for the talks to start, more will be required to secure a swift rescue loan disbursement.

“And this is also what is being discussed right now.”

Greece has relied on bailout funds for a little more than five years after being locked out of international bond markets. In return for around 240 billion euros worth of rescue money, successive Greek governments have had to enact a series of income cuts, tax hikes and economic reforms.

Though the measures drastically contained budget overspending, they hit economic activity hard and drove unemployment to record peacetime highs. And because the Greek economy is around 25 percent smaller than it was, the country’s debt burden has increased to around 170 percent of Greece’s annual GDP.

Some sort of debt relief for Greece is up for negotiation though a direct cut in the amount owed is off the agenda. The IMF has said Greece needs big relief and has advocated delaying Greek debt repayments to European creditors for many years.

ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure said in an interview published Monday that Greek debt relief “is no longer a matter of debate” but must come alongside measures to turn the Greek economy around.

“In truth, the question is not whether Greek debt should be restructured, but how to do it so it really benefits the country’s economy,” he told French daily Le Monde.

___

Derek Gatopoulos in Athens, Raf Casert in Brussels and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed.

TIME celebrities

Initial Autopsy of Bobbi Kristina Brown Finds No Obvious Cause of Death

Medical examiner finds no evidence of previously unknown medical conditions

(ATLANTA) — Medical examiners say the initial portion of their autopsy on Bobbi Kristina Brown has found no obvious cause of death or significant injuries.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office began its autopsy Monday on the daughter of singer Whitney Houston and said there was no evidence of previously unknown medical conditions. Brown died Sunday in hospice care nearly six months after being found unresponsive in a bathtub inside her suburban Atlanta townhome.

Authorities say passage of time will make it more difficult to determine how and why Brown died.

The medical examiner’s office says it is ordering lab tests and has issued subpoenas for documents — likely Brown’s hospital records — to help determine a cause and manner of death. The agency says a ruling should take several weeks.

TIME animals

Skinny the 41-Pound Cat Successfully Slims Down to 19 Pounds

Dr. Brittney Barton holds Skinny, who when found wandering near Dallas in 2012 weighed in at 41 pounds.
Jana Hipp—HEAL Veterinary Hospital & Pet Rehabilitation via AP Dr. Brittney Barton holds Skinny, who when found wandering near Dallas in 2012 weighed in at 41 pounds.

The cat is living up to his name

(DALLAS) — A former 41-pound cat dubbed Skinny has lost more than half of his weight to become the darling of a Dallas veterinary clinic.

Dr. Brittney Barton says the orange tabby she adopted in 2013 has slimmed to 19 pounds with exercise and a special diet. Barton calls Skinny the “resident cat” at her practice, HEAL Veterinary Hospital.

Barton said Friday that Skinny spends weekdays roaming the clinic. The ex-fat cat’s weekends are spent at home with Barton and her family.

The vet says Skinny, who was found abandoned near Dallas in 2012 and ended up at a shelter, just had his annual checkup and he’s healthy.

Barton says Skinny is living proof that while he’s supposed to be a large cat, “he’s not supposed to be an obese cat.”

TIME Football

NFL to Set New Ball-Inspection Rules After Deflategate

Football
Boston Globe/Getty Images After intercepting a second quarter pass by New England quarterback Tom Brady, Indianapolis Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson runs with the ball that sparked the controversy over the charges that the Patriots were using under inflated footballs.

The league is considering pressure readings for every ball before the game and then again at halftime

The NFL is preparing to send out instructions to game officials and teams explaining new rules for inspecting footballs.

Two people familiar with the league’s plans tell The Associated Press on Monday that proper inflation of the footballs will be documented as part of the new policy. But those people, speaking on condition of anonymity because the league has not released information on the new policy, say no instructions have been sent out yet.

The first preseason game is Aug. 9.

Among the details being considered for the new policy: having game officials appointed by the referee inspect the 48 footballs for each game more than two hours before kickoff. In the past, the referee inspected the footballs.

Also under consideration is checking pressure readings for every ball before the game and then again at halftime.

These changes stem from the use of underinflated footballs in the AFC championship game, which led to a four-game suspension for New England quarterback Tom Brady, a $1 million fine for the Patriots, and two draft picks.

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