World briefs – May 4

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet has approved legislation that would give Greece C22.4 billion ($29.6 billion) over three years as part of a wider bailout, as the German government acknowledged that letting Greece go bankrupt could send the euro into a tailspin and hurt Germany’s own economy.

Germany to shore up Greece, euro

BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet has approved legislation that would give Greece C22.4 billion ($29.6 billion) over three years as part of a wider bailout, as the German government acknowledged that letting Greece go bankrupt could send the euro into a tailspin and hurt Germany’s own economy.

“It doesn’t only mean that we help Greece, but that we stabilize the euro as a whole, which helps people in Germany,” said Merkel, who, along with Germany, had been battered by critics for dragging their feet on any decision until Greek bonds were relegated to junk status last week.

The remark Monday was a nod to the popular discontent in Europe’s biggest economy about having to pay so much to help a fellow European Union country that many Germans feel has been fast and loose with its finances for years.

The European Central Bank, meanwhile, suspended its rating limits on Greek debt.

Both moves came after European governments and the International Monetary Fund agreed Sunday to give C110 billion ($145 billion) in loans to Greece over three years. The loans came after Athens adopted a new round of austerity measures that provoked fresh uproar among Greek workers.


Deer crash Bucks game

MENOMONIE, Wis. — There was more than one reason to “fear the deer” last weekend in Wisconsin.

The rallying cry for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team turned into a punchline Sunday afternoon when two deer burst through the glass doors of a Menomonie restaurant as patrons watched the Bucks playoff game.

Stout Ale House general manager Jay Ouellette says the lead buck bloodied its snout and was dazed, allowing two customers to wrestle it to the ground.

The other deer ran into a private room. Ouellette and a colleague managed to wrestle that one down as well. They carried both deer outside and the animals ran off.

Ouellette says the 30 or so customers were surprised but then began joking that they really did fear the deer.


Wal-Mart to pay $27.6M to settle claim

SAN DIEGO — U.S. prosecutors say Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to pay US$27.6 million to settle claims of improperly handling and dumping hazardous waste at stores across California.

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced the settlement Monday involving more than 20 federal, state and local prosecutors and environmental agencies.

She called the settlement one of the largest of its type in the United States.

Dumanis says Wal-Mart employees were caught illegally storing and dumping hazardous waste at 236 stores and distribution centres across California.

She says the investigation began five years ago when a San Diego Health Department employee saw a worker pouring bleach down a drain.

Phyllis Harris, who handles Wal-Mart’s environmental affairs, says the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer has improved since the violations were discovered.


Pakistan Taliban chief still alive

KABUL, Afghanistan — The leader of Pakistan Taliban appeared in a video Monday threatening attacks against the U.S. three months after American and Pakistani officials believed he died in a U.S. missile strike.

Hakimullah Mehsud’s emergence occurred as a suicide bomber attacked the gate to a CIA base where seven agency employees were killed last December. The Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for that bombing, and Monday’s attack could have been aimed at showing that the group was back in business despite months of setbacks from relentless U.S. missile strikes and a Pakistani military offensive.

The Pakistan Taliban have also claimed responsibility for an attempted car bombing last weekend in New York City’s Times Square — a claim that New York officials question.

U.S. and Pakistani officials had been confident until recently that the ruthless, 30-year-old Mehsud had been killed in a January missile strike along the boundary between South Waziristan and North Waziristan — tribal areas along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan where Islamist militant groups operate with near impunity.

A video posted on militant websites and broadcast Monday by Pakistani television showed Mehsud seated between two masked, armed men, speaking in Pashto with English subtitles.

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