Chatter: Greece awaits crucial bailout decision




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Need to know:
Greece has the equivalent of a meeting with its bank manager today, as euro-zone finance ministers meet to decide whether to approve the next installment of the multi-billion-euro Greek bailout.

Greece's coalition government has jumped through some tricky hoops to get the funds, forcing through a new package of austerity measures and a 2013 budget that's heavy on the cuts – and all of it in the face of clamorous protests in the streets. If that isn't enough to persuade its creditors to release more funds, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has warned, Athens will run out of money within days.

Samaras is set for an anxious week then: the head of the Euro Group, Jean-Claude Juncker, has already said there will be "no definitive decision" on the matter today.

Want to know:
The David Petraeus scandal just got a new character. To the cast of the CIA director, his wife, his biographer-turned-lover, Gmail and the FBI, we can add the other other woman.

Her name is Jill Kelley, and she's the one who filed the complaint that would eventually lead investigators to emails between Petraeus and author Paula Broadwell that revealed their relationship to be far from just professional. Kelley and her husband, of Tampa, Florida, are said to be long-time friends of the Petraeus family – but Broadwell apparently perceived her as a rival for the general's affections and, so Kelley told the FBI, began sending her harassing emails.

The first the public knew of the saga was when Petraeus resigned as the head of the CIA on Friday. Now members of Congress and the Senate are asking why they, too, were kept in the dark when the FBI had apparently discovered the affair months earlier. Petraeus may have quit, but unfortunately for him, the details of his private life will continue to be a public matter for some time yet.

Dull but important:
Speaking of scandals: heads are rolling at the BBC as the broadcaster scrambles to explain its handling of allegations of child sex abuse.

Director of News Helen Boaden and her deputy, Steve Mitchell, are the latest BBC execs to "step aside" over the scandal. They go the way of ex-director-general George Enwistle, who decided Saturday that resigning was "the honorable thing to do" (it also netted him a golden handshake worth around $715,000 after less than two months on the job, but that's another story).

Unlike Entwistle, Boaden and Mitchell were asked to hand over their duties pending the outcome of the BBC's internal inquiries into the mess, which will attempt to establish why alleged abuse by presenter Jimmy Savile went undetected for decades, why editors canceled an investigation into the claims after his death and broadcast tributes to him instead, and why, at the beginning of this month, another report was aired that wrongly identified a senior Conservative politician as a possible pedophile.

Those findings are still to be announced; but public opinion has already found the BBC wanting.

Just because:
Does the West now have a legitimate team to cheer in Syria?

The Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces was unveiled yesterday in the Qatari capital, Doha. Led by exile and former imam Maath al-Khatib, the group aims to unite Syria's fragmented opposition into an internationally recognized whole.

Several countries have hailed the agreement as an important step forward – one that could open the door to political, financial and even military aid for the people fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad. According to Turkey's foreign minister Ahmed Davutoglu, the rest of the world has "no excuse any more" not to support them.

Strange but true:
We've long known that pandas need saving, but from climate change?

Yep, unfortunately we now have to add global warming to the long list of things threatening our supply of (arguably) the world's most adorable bear. A new study has found that China's northwest Qinling mountains, home to one-fifth of the wild panda population, is facing a drastic shortage of bamboo – which researchers blame on rising global temperatures.

Since pandas are famously fussy eaters (either shoots or leaves, so long as they're bamboo), no more bamboo = no more pandas = a decidedly less wonderful planet. Let's not let that happen.