Chatter: Time running out for Greece's coalition talks




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Need to know:
The chances of forming a unity government in Greece are looking ever slimmer, after another left-wing party said it wouldn't be part of a coalition.

Leaders of the four main parties are due to meet for emergency talks later today. But far-left coalition SYRIZA, the second-largest group in parliament, has already refused to join any government that backs austerity.

Now, the moderate Democratic Left party says without SYRIZA, no dice. If the parties can't form a coalition, Greece will have to hold fresh elections within four weeks – and who knows what they might bring.

Want to know:
A charter plane crashed this morning in Nepal, killing 15 people.

The aircraft slammed into the hillside as it descended over Jomsom airport, in the north of the country. It was carrying 21 people at the time.

Most of the passengers were tourists, 16 from India and two from Denmark. The survivors, who include two children, have been airlifted to hospital.

Dull but important:
In Germany, Angela Merkel's conservatives have suffered an embarrassing defeat in a key state election.

North Rhine-Westphalia, home to more than one-fifth of the total German population, rejected Merkel's Christian Democrats in favor of the Social Democrats, who are set to return to power in coalition with the Greens. 

Merkel has stressed that the vote was a state affair, "no more and no less." But a year and a half ahead of federal elections, the result – her party's worst ever in the state – will give even the highly popular Chancellor cause for concern.

Just because:
Prison riots in Venezuela. Jailbreaks in Mexico. Prison fires in Honduras. Latin America is displaying violent cases of the ails of its prison systems. Overcrowded and rundown, many of the region's jails are out of control and ready to burst.

In an in-depth series, Encarcelacion, GlobalPost goes inside some of the most violent jailhouses of the Americas to figure out what's gone horribly wrong.

We start in La Planta in Venezuela, where there's always a party, everyone is armed, and prisoners sometimes engage in gladiatorial fights to the death. 

Strange but true:
Taiwanese Buddhists trying to improve their karma are accused of causing the deaths of millions of animals via so-called "mercy releases."

Some 200 million animals, mainly fish and birds, are released into the wild each year as part of a tradition Buddhists believe will bring them good fortune in this life and better prospects for the next. But environmental protection groups claim that most of the creatures die from starvation, are eaten by predators, or disrupt natural ecosystems. 

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, so they say, though in this case it's more like the road to reincarnation as a sea slug.