TIME Greece

Greece Will Not Pay IMF Debt Due Tuesday, Finance Minister Says

When asked whether Greece will pay the 1.6 billion euros due to the IMF, the finance minister said "no"

(ATHENS, Greece) — The latest news on Greece’s financial woes as it faces a big repayment to the International Monetary Fund and its bailout program with European creditors is due to expire (all times local):

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8.05 p.m.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that she rules out further negotiations with Greece before the country holds a referendum on Sunday.

The dpa news agency quoted her as telling members of her party Tuesday night: “Before the planned referendum is carried out, we will not negotiate over anything new.”

Greece has proposed a new two-year rescue deal for the country, whose European bailout program expires at the end of Tuesday. Eurozone finance ministers are holding a teleconference to discuss the proposal, though Merkel’s comments indicate they would not try to reach a deal before Sunday’s vote.

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5.40 p.m.

The eurozone’s top official, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, says that the 19 finance ministers of the currency union will have a teleconference Tuesday evening to assess the latest proposals from Athens to keep the bailout negotiations going.

The ministers will have their conference only 5 hours before the European part of Greece’s bailout program expires. The talks were broken off when Greece’s prime minister announced a referendum over the weekend.

Dijsselbloem says in a tweet that he organized the meeting “to discuss official request of Greek government received this afternoon.”

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4.55 p.m.

European Union officials say Greece would lose access to more than 16 billion euros ($18 billion) in financial support if its bailout program expires at midnight (2200 GMT).

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because contacts about the program were still ongoing, said three sources of money would disappear in the event of no agreement to extend the bailout.

These include 1.8 billion euros from the EU’s financial stability fund, 10.9 billion euros from a Greek bank rescue fund, and a further 3.4 billion euros in central bank profits.

Greece can apply for some other form of assistance, but this could take weeks to organize. In that case, an assessment would first have to be made on whether Greece is eligible, what kind of terms the new package would function under and the kinds of reforms that Athens would undertake in return.

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4.44 p.m.

The prime minister’s office says Greece remains at the negotiating table, and that the government has proposed a two-year deal with Europe’s bailout fund.

Details over the offer with the European Stability Mechanism, which provides financial assistance to assure the joint currency’s financial stability, were sketchy.

However, the prime minister’s office said the deal would “fully cover its (Greece’s) fiscal needs with the simultaneous restructuring of debt” and that the government “until the end will seek a viable solution within the euro.”

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4.30 p.m.

The Greek finance ministry says it has posted on its Web page a list of about 1,000 branches of five banks which will open for three days from Wednesday for pensioners without bank cards, who will be able to make a one-time withdrawal of a maximum 120 euros for the week. However, the Web page was down on Tuesday afternoon.

The employees’ association of the National Bank of Greece, which is one of the five, has called on authorities to ensure the banks have adequate police protection.

“The conditions that have developed make an essential requirement, for the operation of branches, for there to be sufficient police presence,” the association said in a statement.

“For the avoidance of tension, friction and recrimination, there must be detailed and clear instructions about the transactions and every effort must be made to resolve the various problems that will arise during the transactions.”

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4.21 p.m.

Problems have been reported in the payment of pensions from several funds in Greece as the country struggles in the face of an acute cash crunch.

Tens of thousands of retirees who were due to receive their pensions on Monday had not had the money credited to their bank accounts by the end of the day, although some were being paid on Tuesday afternoon, Greek media reported.

But under Greece’s capital controls imposed Monday, the pensioners will only be able to withdraw a maximum 60 euros per day if they have bank cards and just 120 euros this week if they don’t. Those that don’t have bank cards will have to head to one of the roughly 1,000 bank branches that will open from Wednesday for three days so they can withdraw money.

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4.15 p.m.

UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, says it will look at adapting its regulations to help Greek clubs should the financial crisis in the country turn “really bad.”

Speaking after UEFA’s executive committee met in Prague on Tuesday, general secretary Gianni Infantino says clubs in Greece “could find themselves in a very difficult situation due to something they’re not responsible for.”

He said Greek clubs have not yet approached UEFA with any request for help.

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3.15 p.m.

Turkish prime minister says his country is ready to help Greece overcome its economic crisis and is offering to expand cooperation in areas such as tourism, energy and trade.

Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey wants to live “in peace,” and has no interest in seeing Greece “languish.” Turkey and Greece have been long-time foes but the two countries have sought to build bridges over the past few years.

Davutoglu said Turkey would take steps to convene a high-level economic cooperation meeting between the two countries as soon as a new Turkish government is formed following what are expected to be drawn-out coalition talks.

An opposition legislator even suggested that Turkey help out with Greece’s debt payment due to the IMF.

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2.40 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made clear she isn’t aware of any breakthrough in talks with Greece over a bailout deal before tonight’s deadline.

Asked whether there’s still a chance of a deal before the European part of Greece’s bailout comes to an end, Merkel said in Berlin that Greece’s bailout program expires at midnight and she knew of “no solid indications to the contrary.”

Still, Merkel said that doesn’t mean there can’t be talks.

“The door is open for talks — that is all I can say at this hour,” she said.

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2.31 p.m.

The European Commission has indicated that an assessment of Greece’s overall debt situation and its financing needs could be part of a last-minute bailout deal.

Late Monday, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made a last-ditch effort to help Greece get a bailout deal, provided Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras campaigns for staying in the euro.

Beyond accepting proposals made by international creditors last weekend, Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said there would be unspecified discussions on Athens’s massive debt load, which stood at 317 billion euros ($355 billion) at the end of 2014, or 177 percent of the country’s annual GDP.

Juncker had expected an answer on that before midnight Monday, but round noon Tuesday, he was still waiting.

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2.10 p.m.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis confirmed that the country will not make its payment due later to the International Monetary Fund.

When asked outside the Finance Ministry about whether Greece will pay the 1.6 billion euros due to the IMF, Varoufakis said “no.”

His comment came amid speculation that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is trying to craft some sort of last-minute deal with creditors before the payment is due and before the European part of Greece’s bailout comes to an end.

A Greek official said Tsipras has spoken with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and European Parliament president Martin Schulz.

The official did not reveal what was discussed.

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1.23 p.m.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says the most damaging aspect of a Greek exit from the euro would be the cloud of doubt it would cast over the irreversibility of the currency.

Interviewed on Spain’s COPE radio Tuesday, Rajoy said that in the event of a Greek exit, people could think that “maybe another country could abandon it in the future. I think that would be the most serious problem that this could generate.”

Rajoy said a Greek exit would not be the best news for either Greece or Europe “but Europe would continue with the euro.”

A “no” vote in Sunday’s referendum on creditor proposals would leave Greece with no option but to leave the euro, Rajoy added.

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12.43 p.m.

Stock markets across Europe trimmed earlier losses amid speculation that the Greek government is considering a last-minute effort by the head of the European Commission to break the deadlock between the country and its creditors.

Jean-Claude Juncker has made a last-ditch effort to help Greece get a bailout deal, provided Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras campaigns for staying in the euro.

“Deep down there is a sense that some sort of compromise will be reached before the deadline — it’s the eurozone way,” said David Madden, market analyst at IG.

The Stoxx 50 index of leading European shares was down only 0.4 percent, having earlier traded more than 1 percent lower.

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12.32 p.m.

The Kremlin has brushed off speculation that it could lend money to Greece.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has visited Russia twice since April, stoking speculation that Athens could be seeking financial aid from Moscow which is eager to leverage the pro-Russian stance of the new Greek government.

A Russian deputy prime minister said earlier this month that Russia could consider a loan to Greece.

But Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, insisted that financial help is not on the agenda. Peskov said in comments carried by Russia news agencies that providing financial assistance to Greece “is a matter …. between Greece and its creditors and not ours.”

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12.13 p.m.

The scale of the economic pain inflicted upon Greece by years of recession and strict austerity was evident in official figures showing unemployment in the country stood at 25.6 percent in March.

Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, also said found that 49.7 percent of those aged between 15 and 24 were unemployed.

Though both rates are down from the peaks they hit a couple of years back, they do still show the scale of the economic retreat in the country. The ranks of the unemployed were major supporters of Syriza in its election victory earlier this year.

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11.35 a.m.

Just hours before the European part of Greece’s bailout program expires, Europe’s main banking lobby group urged the country and its creditors to make a last-ditch effort to secure a deal.

But it insisted that the banking sector would weather any crisis.

The Brussels-based European Banking Federation said Tuesday that banks “have significantly reduced their exposures to Greece, limiting the risk of contagion through the banking system to other countries.”

It said “the European economic and financial system is sufficiently robust to deal with possible adverse impacts” once the program ends.

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10.42 a.m.

The Greek Finance Ministry says it will open about 1,000 bank branches across the country for three days from Wednesday to allow pensioners without bank cards to make withdrawals — but for a total of just 120 euros ($134) for the week.

It was unclear why they would not be allowed to withdraw the 60-euro daily limit.

Meanwhile, irate depositors called in to television stations to report that some ATMs in Athens had run out of 20-euro notes, leaving them dispensing 50 euro notes only.

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10.27 a.m.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission, has made a last-ditch effort to help Greece get a bailout deal, provided Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras campaigns for staying in the euro.

An EU official, official who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity for the talks, called it “a sort of last-minute offer” before Greece’s bailout program runs out later and Athens needs to make a 1.6 billion euro ($1.8 billion) debt payment to the IMF.

Under the offer, Tsipras would need to write to Junker and other leaders saying he accepts the offer which was on the negotiating table last weekend. He would also have to change his position on Sunday’s referendum. Tsipras has said he will urge a vote against creditors’ proposals.

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10.04 a.m.

The mood in European financial markets remained edgy amid growing expectations that Greece will not make a repayment to the International Monetary Fund.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Monday the payment would not be made if there is no deal with creditors over extending Greece’s bailout.

In early trading, the Stoxx 50 index of leading European shares was down 0.9 percent while Germany’s DAX fell 0.7 percent.

On Monday, stocks slid in the wake of Greece’s decision to call a referendum for July 5 on creditors’ bailout proposals and to impose controls on capital.

TIME Afghanistan

Suicide Car Bomb Explosion Shakes Afghan Capital Near Shopping District

kabul Afghanistan explosion
Rahmat Gul—AP An Afghan woman cries out at the site of a suicide attack on a NATO convoy in Kabul, June 30, 2015.

At least one person was killed

(KABUL, Afghanistan)—A suicide attacker driving an explosives-packed vehicle targeted a NATO military convoy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Tuesday, killing at least one person and wounding up to 22, police, military and government officials said.

“It was a suicide car bomber,” said Kabul deputy police chief Sayed Gulagha. The blast sent a huge plume of black smoke over the city and scattered glass and metal across the main highway to Kabul’s airport.

A spokesman for NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Col. Brian Tribus, said that no coalition personnel were injured by the blast. The Taliban sent a text message to The Associated Press claiming responsibility for the attack.

At least two of the convoy’s armored vehicles were badly damaged in the explosion, which happened around 1.20 p.m. less than a kilometer (half a mile) from the American Embassy.

Embassy spokeswoman Heather Eaton said all personnel were accounted for.

The spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Sediq Sediqqi, said that at least one person, a civilian, was killed in the attack and at least 22 wounded.

Chief of Kabul hospitals for the Ministry of Public Health, Kabir Amiri, said at least 19 people were wounded, including four children and three women.

Eyewitnesses said it happened during early afternoon prayers, and that people who rushed out of a nearby mosque had attacked the foreign soldiers and journalists, throwing stones at them.

The blast badly damaged at least two of the heavily armored military vehicles in the convoy. The nationality of the coalition soldiers was not immediately clear.

The attack happened as government employees were leaving their offices and roads were choked with vehicles as the working day is shortened during the Ramadan fasting month.

Eyewitness Ahmad Farhad said: “I saw a Toyota Corolla target the convoy of foreign forces, I saw two to three damaged vehicles and wounded victims were everywhere and there was no one to help them.”

It comes a week after an audacious attack on the nation’s parliament, which highlighted the ability of insurgents, who have been fighting to overthrow the Kabul government for almost 14 years, to enter the highly fortified capital to stage deadly attacks.

Also on Tuesday, a suicide attack on the police headquarters of southern Helmand province killed up to three people and wounded more than 50, including policemen, officials said.

Omar Zawak, spokesman for the governor of Helmand province, said most of the injured in the Tuesday morning attack were women and children.

Police spokesman Farid Hamad Obaid said a car packed with explosives was driven into the back wall of the police headquarters in an attempt to breach a gate. All the gunmen fled the area, he said.

Also Tuesday in eastern Paktya province, three people were killed and one wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside mine, the provincial police chief Zalmai Oryakhel said.

TIME Greece

Crunch Time for Greece as IMF Debt Looms and Bailout Ends

Long lines formed once more at ATM machines

(ATHENS, Greece)— It’s crunch time for Greece, with the European part of its international bailout expiring Tuesday and with it any possible access to the remaining rescue loans it contains that it needs to pay its debts.

As a result, the government is unlikely to repay a roughly 1.6 billion-euro ($1.87 billion) debt to the International Monetary Fund due Tuesday, too — a move that increases fears the country is heading to a messy default and potential exit from the euro currency.

With banks shut and Greeks limited to cash withdrawals of 60 euros ($67) per day, long lines formed once more at ATM machines. Capital controls began Monday and will last at least a week, after a weekend bank run prompted by the prime minister’s call for a referendum on creditor demands in return for bailout loans.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras argues that the demands from creditors for further, tougher austerity measures cannot be accepted after six years of recession.

European officials and Greek opposition parties have warned that a rejection of the creditor proposals in Sunday’s popular vote will lead Greece out of the eurozone and potentially out of the European Union itself. The government has responded by saying this is scaremongering, and that a “no” vote will mean the country is in a better negotiating position.

But European Council President Donald Tusk has warned that will not be the case.

The crisis has roiled global markets as investors fret over the repercussions of a Greek debt default and its exit from the euro — developments that could derail a fragile global economic recovery, as well as raise questions over the long-term viability of the euro currency itself.

The Stoxx 50 index of leading shares was down a further 0.8 percent and Germany’s DAX down 0.6 percent Tuesday, after recording big losses the previous day. U.S. stocks had their worst day of the year.

In Brussels, European officials said the European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker is willing to help give Tsipras a belated way out of his financial crisis if he accepts creditors’ conditions on the bailout standoff and campaigns for staying in the euro.

An EU official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the talks, called it “a sort of last-minute offer” before Tuesday’s dual deadlines.

Under the offer, Tsipras would need to write to Junker and other leaders saying he accept the latest offer which was on the table last weekend. He would also have to change his position on Sunday’s referendum.

But there appeared to be scant desire to do that, with numerous officials from Tsipras’ radical left Syriza party arguing for a “no” vote on a series of television and radio appearances.

Tsipras himself was defiant in a television interview late Monday, urging voters to reject creditors’ demands. More than 13,000 people gathered in Athens to support him and denounce Greece’s creditors, as they chanted: “Take the bailout and go!”

“We ask you to reject it with all the might of your soul, with the greatest margin possible,” Tsipras said on state television. “The greater the participation and the rejection of this deal, the greater the possibility will be to restart the negotiations to set a course of logic and sustainability.”

A protest by supporters of a “yes” vote is planned for Tuesday night.

The government insists that a “no” vote on Sunday will not mean an exit from the euro. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis went even further, threatening court action if attempts were made to remove the country from the joint currency.

“The Greek government will make use of all our legal rights,” Varoufakis told Britain’s Telegraph newspaper.

“We are taking advice and will certainly consider an injunction at the European Court of Justice. The EU treaties make no provision for euro exit and we refuse to accept it. Our membership is not negotiable,” he told the paper, in comments released by the ministry.

On the streets of Athens, Greeks began adjusting to the new reality of restricted cash. Pensioners have been particularly hard hit by the capital controls, as many elderly Greeks do not have bank cards and so found themselves completely cut off from their money.

A day after worried elderly Greeks swarmed banks in the hope they would open, the finance ministry said Tuesday morning it would open about 1,000 bank branches across the country for three days this week to allow pensioners without bank cards to make withdrawals. But the limit for them would be set at 120 euros for the whole week, rather than the 60 euros per day allowed for those with bank cards.

Meanwhile, irate depositors called in to television stations to report that some ATMs had run out of 20 euro notes, leaving them dispensing 50 euros only.

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Raf Casert in Brussels contributed.

TIME Washington

Washington State Wildfire Victims Return to Burnt Homes

APTOPIX Washington Wildfire
Elaine Thompson—AP Julie Smith, right, embraces her neighbor Renee Monson as they stand near the remains of Smith's home, destroyed in a wildfire the night before, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash.

The season's worst wildfire struck as the state is struggling with a severe drought

(WENATCHEE, Wash.) — Tom Bryant watched the central Washington state wildfire advance up a hillside toward his home, then turned to tell his wife it was time to evacuate.

That’s when the front door burst open and a firefighter rushed in.

“He doesn’t knock,” Bryant recalled Monday. “He ran in the door and said to get out.”

Bryant and his wife and pets jumped into their vehicle and evacuated safely. But their home was one of two dozen destroyed in a fast-moving wildfire Sunday night in this city about 120 miles east of Seattle. A handful of businesses were also destroyed in the downtown core when flames spread there.

Firefighters on Monday kept a close eye on the wildfire, which has burned more than 4 square miles. It was considered sufficiently corralled that evacuees were allowed to go back to their homes. The Red Cross closed a shelter that housed 155 people Sunday night at a local high school.

The season’s worst wildfire struck as the state is struggling with a severe drought. Mountain snowpack is at extremely low levels, and about one-fifth of the state’s rivers and streams are at record low levels.

Rainfall on Monday provided some relief, but hot, dry conditions were expected to persist throughout the week as crews deal with this and other wild land fires.

Last week Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation that allowed state resources to quickly be brought in to respond to wildfires.

At his home, Bryant found the burned remains of his vintage Shelby Mustang GT 500 sports car, buried in ash amid the devastation.

“It hurts, but it’s just stuff,” Bryant said.

Meanwhile, his wife searched for a missing cat.

Down the road, neighbor Vern Smith was in San Jose, California, on Sunday evening attending a 50th reunion concert of The Grateful Dead.

“I was getting horrifying text messages from my family,” Smith said Monday afternoon, as smoke continued to rise from the ashes of his home.

His wife Julie got the kids and pets out, but the contents were destroyed in a blaze that left only brick work standing.

“You can’t tell from here, but that’s a brand new pickup,” Smith said, pointing to the charred remains of a truck in what was once the garage.

“Everybody’s safe and the animals are good,” Smith said. “We’ve got insurance.”

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries, but no injuries to residents were reported.

Elsewhere in central Washington, a new wildfire was reported burning late Monday south of the small town of Mansfield, about 40 miles northeast of Wenatchee. The state Emergency Management agency authorized state assistance to fight that fire, which reportedly has burned more than 3 square miles. The Washington State Patrol said three homes and a ranch were threatened.

Many of the destroyed Wenatchee houses were in an upscale neighborhood located on a hillside. Burned homes sat next to residences that were not damaged. Weeping residents drove through the streets on Monday.

“These were all really nice homes,” said Joan Mullene, whose home survived. “It’s really devastating.”

Dominick Bonny watched the neighborhood burn from just across the Wenatchee River.

“With the wind blowing away from us, it was like we were watching a natural disaster within arm’s reach,” he said, calling the speed of the blaze “just mind-blowing.”

Albert Rookard, who also lives across the Wenatchee River from the blaze, stayed up late watching the fire, and he was shocked at how fast it grew.

“From here, we could see embers just flying,” Rookard said. “There was fire in so many places.”

Officials know the fire started in brush on the edge of town, but they are still trying to determine what sparked it.

Sweltering heat above 100 degrees, tinder-dry brush and strong winds helped fuel the flames.

Last month, Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency.

Evacuations were mainly in the north end of town and included a Wal-Mart store, the Chelan County Emergency Management office said. The store did not burn, but several commercial buildings were near the blaze, State Patrol Trooper Darren Wright said.

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Associated Press videographer Manuel Valdes contributed to this report. Writers Bob Seavey and Courtney Bonnell in Phoenix and Chris Grygiel and Gene Johnson in Seattle also contributed.

TIME indonesia

Indonesian Military Transport Plane Crash Kills Dozens

Indonesia Military Plane Crash
Gilbert Manullang—AP Firefighters and military personnel inspect the site where an Air Force cargo plane crashed in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, June 30, 2015.

The crash occurred just minutes after the plane took off from a Medan airport

(MEDAN, Indonesia)—An Indonesian air force spokesman says the death toll in a military plane crash has risen to 74.

Air force officials say there may have been more than 100 people on the C-130 Hercules plane that crashed Tuesday in a residential area of Medan city in Sumatra.

They do not expect any survivors.

 

The plane’s manifest showed it was carrying 50 people, according to North Sumatra police chief Eko Hadi Sutedjo, but the actual number might be higher. Air force chief Air Marshall Agus Supriatna said there were 12 crew and more than 100 passengers on the plane before it reached Medan on Sumatra, one of Indonesia’s main islands. It had traveled from the capital, Jakarta, and stopped at two locations before arriving at Medan.

Many passengers were families of military personnel. Hitching rides on military planes to reach remote destinations is common in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago that spans three time zones.

Indonesia has a patchy aviation safety record. Between 2007 and 2009, the European Union barred Indonesian airlines from flying to Europe because of safety concerns. The country’s most recent civilian airline disaster was in December, when an AirAsia jet with 162 people on board crashed into the Java Sea en route from Surabaya to Singapore. There have been five fatal crashes involving air force planes since 2008, according to the Aviation Safety Network, which tracks aviation disasters.

The crash of the transport plane, which had been in service since 1964, occurred just two minutes after it took off from Soewondo air force base.

Supriatna, the air force chief, said the pilot told the control tower that the plane needed to turn back because of engine trouble.

“The plane crashed while it was turning right to return to the airport,” he said.

Medan resident Fahmi Sembiring said he saw the gray Hercules flying very low as he was driving.

“Flames and black smoke were coming from the plane in the air,” he said.

Sembiring said he stopped not far from the crash site and saw several people rescued by police, security guards and bystanders.

Another man, Janson Halomoan Sinagam, said several of his relatives were on the plane when it left Medan headed for the remote Natuna island chain.

“We just want to know their fate,” he told MetroTV, weeping. “But we have not yet received any information from the hospital.”

The C-130 accident is the second time in 10 years that an airplane has crashed into a Medan neighborhood. In September 2005, a Mandala Airlines Boeing 737 crashed into a crowded residential community shortly after takeoff from Medan’s Polonia airport, killing 143 people including 30 on the ground.

Medan, with about 3.4 million people, is the third most populous city in Indonesia after Jakarta and Surabaya.

TIME Japan

Two Dead After Man Sets Self on Fire on Japan Train

aerial
AP A passenger, left, crouches inside a train car of the bullet train which made an emergency stop in Odawara, west of Tokyo June 30, 2015

At least nine others were injured

(ODAWARA, Japan) — A man riding one of Japan’s high-speed bullet trains set himself on fire Tuesday, killing himself and another passenger as the coach filled with smoke, Japanese officials and media reports said.

At least nine others were injured, one seriously, mostly from smoke inhalation, Odawara Fire Department official Ikutaro Torii said.

A Kanagawa prefecture police official confirmed the death of a female passenger and said the man who lit the fire is also apparently dead, but the extent of his burns is delaying formal confirmation.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release the information. National broadcaster NHK and other media reported the deaths of the male and female passengers.

No other details were available immediately, including the motive.

The passenger apparently poured oil over his head before setting himself on fire, a transport ministry official said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy. Kyodo news service reported that he set himself on fire with a lighter. Officials said the fire was at the front of the first car in the train, which was heading from Tokyo to Osaka.

The train stopped when a passenger pressed an emergency button after finding someone collapsed on the floor near a restroom at the back of the car, the transport ministry official said.

Bullet train service between Tokyo and Osaka was suspended for about two and a half hours while rescue workers helped some of the injured off the train. It then moved slowly to Odawara station, where about 1,000 passengers got off.

TIME Washington

‘Mind Blowing’ Flames Destroy Homes in Washington State

Washington Wildfire
Elaine Thompson—AP Flames and smoke from one of several warehouses on fire, thought to have been sparked by embers from a wildfire that hit homes on a nearby hillside, rises from the collapsed structure June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash.

The state is struggling with a severe drought

(WENATCHEE, Wash.) — From just across the Wenatchee River, Dominick Bonny watched a whole neighborhood in his central Washington town burn as a wildfire destroyed two dozen homes and forced hundreds to flee.

“With the wind blowing away from us, it was like we were watching a natural disaster within arm’s reach,” he said.

The wildfires hit parts of central and eastern Washington over the weekend as the state is struggling with a severe drought. Mountain snowpack is at extremely low levels, and about one-fifth of the state’s rivers and streams are at record low levels.

Eastern Washington has been experiencing temperatures into the 100s, and last week Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation that allows state resources to quickly be brought in to respond to wildfires.

Washington’s struggles with wildfires come as Alaska, its fellow Pacific Northwest state, is facing more and harsher wildfires this year.

In Wenatchee, the wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into town Sunday afternoon. The blaze ignited in brush just outside Wenatchee, quickly burning out of control about 120 miles east of Seattle.

Rainfall on Monday provided relief, but hot, dry conditions and wind could challenge crews trying to get a handle on the flames that burned more than an estimated 4 square miles, officials said. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries, but no injuries to residents were reported.

Fire crews were concentrating on preventing any more homes from being burned Monday, State Patrol Trooper Brian Moore said. Crews were working to put out hot spots in already burned areas, while keeping an eye on winds that were expected to reach 15 to 20 mph Monday evening and could fan flames again.

Tom Bryant surveyed the smoldering ruins of his home in the hills above Wenatchee and said he and his wife had to race out of the house at the last minute as the fire advanced Sunday night.

On Monday, he pointed to a Mustang sports car that was a burned wreck and to his BMW motorcycle that was destroyed in the garage.

“It’s going to be tough to replace,” Bryant said. “It hurts, but it’s just stuff. It’s painful.”

He was unable to save photographs and important documents, Bryant said. “That’s where all our stuff is,” he said, pointing to a burned file cabinet.

Evacuations were mainly in the north end of town and included a Wal-Mart store, the Chelan County Emergency Management office said. The store did not burn, but several commercial buildings were near the blaze, Washington State Patrol Trooper Darren Wright said.

Emergency management officials late Monday morning also briefly issued a shelter-in-place order after ammonia started leaking from a fruit warehouse. They later said it had dissipated and was no longer a threat.

The Blue Bird warehouse, which uses ammonia for cold-storage, was among a few commercial buildings to burn.

Bonny, who lives just outside Wenatchee, called the speed of the blaze “just mind-blowing.”

Phil Bentz, who lives on the same side of the river as the fire, said his home hadn’t been evacuated. “We were waiting for someone to knock on the door, but they didn’t come. So far, so good,” Bentz said.

About noon Monday, fire trucks poured water on a burning warehouse in downtown Wenatchee, sending big black clouds into the air over the city. Farther north of town, scorched hillsides showed where the flames were stopped just short of irrigated apple orchards and residential subdivisions.

Officials know the fire started in brush on the edge of town, but they are still trying to determine what sparked it. Sweltering heat above 100 degrees, tinder-dry brush and strong winds helped fuel it.

Last month, Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency.

State Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark has banned all outdoor fires on state land protected by the Natural Resources department, and campfires have been banned at state parks and on state-controlled ocean beaches.

Railroad traffic in the area has been shut down, including freight lines and Amtrak’s daily Chicago-to-Seattle route, BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas said.

The railroad helped battle the blaze by spraying water from tank cars and transferring water to firefighting trucks, he said.

Hilda Emerson, 37, was among the people who fled the flames Sunday.

“I went and grabbed what I could — my computers, irreplaceable stuff, toys for my daughter — and I left,” she said. “I never had to do this before.”

She and her 4-year-old daughter, Nissa, spent the night on cots set up by the Red Cross in the gymnasium of Eastmont High School in East Wenatchee. She planned to check on her home later in the day.

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Associated Press writers Bob Seavey and Courtney Bonnell in Phoenix and Chris Grygiel and Gene Johnson in Seattle contributed to this report.

TIME Courts

Woman Gets $18 Million in Sex Harassment Suit Against Wall Street Boss

Benjamin Wey
Frank Franklin II—AP Benjamin Wey, CEO of New York Global Group, bottom left, leaves Manhattan Federal Court June 24, 2015, in New York

She says he fired her six months after she refused any more sexual contact

(NEW YORK) — A young Swedish woman who sued her former Wall Street executive boss over lurid allegations of sexual conquest, betrayal and stalking was awarded $18 million by a federal jury Monday.

Hanna Bouveng, 25, accused Benjamin Wey in an $850 million lawsuit of using his power as owner of New York Global Group to coerce her into four sexual encounters before firing her after discovering she had a boyfriend.

The jury in federal court in Manhattan awarded her $2 million in compensatory damages plus $16 million in punitive damages on sexual harassment, retaliation and defamation claims. It rejected a claim of assault and battery.

Bouveng, who was raised in Vetlanda, Sweden, testified that soon after Wey hired her at New York Global Group, the CEO began a relentless quest to have sex with her. She says he fired her six months later after she refused any more sexual contact and he found a man in her bed in the apartment he helped finance.

Wey, 43, also sought to defame Bouveng by posting articles on his blog accusing her of being a “street walker,” a “loose woman” and an extortionist, her lawyers say.

Wey walked into a Stockholm cafe in April 2014 where she was working a few months after she was fired from Global Group, attorney David Ratner told jurors. “The message was: ‘Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I am going to find you and I am going to get you,” Ratner said.

The married financier denied ever having sex with Bouveng. He portrayed her as an opportunist who bragged that her grandfather was the billionaire founder of an aluminum company when Wey first met her in the Hamptons in July 2013.

Wey testified that Bouveng knew nothing about finance before he hired and began mentoring her. He claimed she betrayed his generosity by embracing a party-girl lifestyle that left her too exhausted to succeed.

According to its website, New York Global Group is a U.S. and Asia-based advisory, venture capital and private equity investment group with access to about $1 billion in capital.

TIME technology

Federal Agency Announces Temporary Shutdown of Hacked Database

Katherine Archuleta
Susan Walsh — AP Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The federal personnel agency whose records were plundered by hackers linked to China says it has temporarily shut down a massive database used to update and store background investigation records.

Hackers linked to China are believed to have stolen records for as many as 18 million current and former employees

(WASHINGTON) — The federal personnel agency whose records were plundered by hackers linked to China announced on Monday the temporary shutdown of a massive database used to update and store background investigation records after newly discovering a flaw that left the system vulnerable to additional breaches.

There is no evidence the vulnerability has been exploited by hackers, agency spokesman Samuel Schumach said in a statement, adding that the Office of Personnel Management took the step protectively. He said the system could be shut down for four to six weeks.

Hackers suspected of working for the Chinese government are believed to have stolen records for as many as 18 million current and former federal employees and contractors last year. Detailed background investigations for security clearances of military and intelligence agency employees were among the documents taken.

The shutdown announced Monday is expected to hamper agencies’ ability to initiate investigations for new employees and contractors, as well as renewal investigations for security clearances, Schumach said.

But, he added, the federal government will still be able to hire, and in some cases grant clearances on an interim basis.

The database is known as e-QIP, short for Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing.

TIME Crime

New Jersey Man Charged With Plotting to Support ISIS

Alaa Saadeh tried to provide material support to ISIS, authorities said

(NEWARK, N.J.) — FBI agents on Monday arrested another New Jersey man who is accused of plotting to support the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

Authorities charged Alaa Saadeh, 23, of West New York, with conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic militant organization and witness tampering. They said he tried to persuade a witness to lie to the FBI.

Saadeh was scheduled to appear before a judge in federal court in Newark on Monday afternoon. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney.

The FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force have been investigating several people in New York and New Jersey amid heightened concerns of terrorist attacks surrounding the July Fourth holiday. Samuel Rahamin Topaz, 21, of Fort Lee, was charged earlier this month with conspiring to join the Islamic State group.

And a Rutherford man who is Saddeh’s brother traveled to the Middle East in May to join the group and was arrested in Jordan, authorities said.

The criminal complaint alleges Topaz had numerous meetings and exchanged text messages and phone calls with Saddeh, his brother and 20-year-old Munther Omar Saleh. The New York City college student was arrested this month and charged with conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Prosecutors claimed Saadeh told another individual that he suspected that Saleh or Topaz had “snitched” on his brother and caused his arrest overseas, and that, if true, Saadeh thought he would have to “kill someone.”

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