World briefs: Greek Cabinet shored up
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ATHENS, Greece -- The Greek government moved swiftly Tuesday to shore up its unraveling Cabinet ahead of crucial talks with its international lenders, appointing a new finance minister with vast economic experience whose main aim is to keep Greece within the eurozone.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras tapped Yannis Stournaras, the leader of an influential Greek nonprofit economic research group, to take the job a day after the man originally designated to assume the post, Vassilis Rapanos, chairman of the National Bank of Greece, resigned before he could be sworn in, citing health problems.
An energetic, loquacious man who enjoys an almost rock star status in national economic circles, Mr. Stournaras, 55, has been an adviser to the Finance Ministry and the country's central bank and a consultant to previous Socialist governments, including that of Prime Minister Costas Simitis, under whom Greece's entry into the eurozone was secured.
GENEVA -- The 2009 swine flu pandemic may have killed 15 times more people globally than reported at the time, according to the first study to estimate the death toll.
The H1N1 influenza virus probably killed about 284,500 people worldwide, compared with 18,500 deaths reported to the World Health Organization, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases Tuesday. More than half the deaths may have been in southeast Asia and Africa, compared with 12 percent of officially reported fatalities, the authors wrote.
ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland -- Queen Elizabeth II prayed together Tuesday with Catholic and Protestant leaders from across Northern Ireland as this long-divided land demonstrated its rising faith in a shared future.
Today she's expected to meet and shake hands with Martin McGuinness, former commander of the dominant Provisional IRA faction, in what many see as the symbolic conclusion to a four-decade conflict.
Meanwhile, Big Ben, the clock tower near the Houses of Parliament that has become an enduring landmark of London, will in the future be known formally as the Elizabeth Tower -- in memory of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.
KOHYON-RI, North Korea -- Parts of North Korea are experiencing the most severe drought since record keeping began nearly 105 years ago, meteorological officials in Pyongyang and Seoul said Tuesday.
The protracted drought is heightening worries about North Korea's ability to feed its people.
South Korean officials also reported the worst drought in more than a century in some areas after nearly two months without significant rainfall, raising worries about damage to crops and a dangerous drop in water levels in the nation's reservoirs.
JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa's ruling African National Congress may endorse plans to raise mining taxes and increase state control over the economy as President Jacob Zuma shores up grassroots support ahead of a party election in December.
ANC delegates will soon begin debating proposals for a mining windfall tax of 50 percent as an alternative to nationalizing mines in the world's largest producer of platinum, chrome and manganese.
-- Compiled from news services
First Published June 27, 2012 12:00 am