Chatter: Turkey's Erdogan prepares for talks




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Erdogan's big meet-and-greet. Today, it turns out, is not the day that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will finally come face-to-face with a few of the thousands of protesters who have spent the past 12 days calling for his resignation. Today is the day that Erdogan will come face-to-face with people he hopes will agree to mediate with the protesters for him.

It's little wonder Erdogan is keen to avoid the demonstrators themselves: he has, after all, dismissed them as "riff raff" whipped into a frenzy by foreign provocateurs. The police did their best to clear the streets of them yesterday with a crackdown in Istanbul's Taksim Square. Reports say the city is calm, but only for now.

That'll teach us to get our hopes up. Striking a blow for pessimists everywhere, North and South Korea have called off the much-hyped talks that their governments were due to begin today, and now Pyongyang isn't even answering Seoul's calls.

South Korean officials say they've been trying to reach their neighbors via the cross-border hotline the North recently agreed to reconnect, but no one's picking up. Maybe they're all out. Maybe it's on silent. If we were the glass-half-full types, we might just believe South Korea's unification minister when he says that this latest wrangle is just "one of the pains we have to go through for a new relationship between South and North Korea."


Cutting cables to cut costs. Drastic times call for drastic measures, but Greeks are wondering whether their goverment's decision to save money by closing the state broadcaster wasn't a little too... well, drastic.

The ERT network ceased all radio and TV transmissions early this morning, leaving more than 2,000 people out of a job. Thousands are gathered outside the broadcaster's headquarters to protest, and journalists have called for a nationwide media blackout for the next 24 hours. The government has promised that ERT will reopen down the line as a new, much reduced service; but the pressure is on for ministers to rethink their plans.

Share and share alike. Google, Facebook and Microsoft, three of the tech giants accused of opening their servers to the US authorities as part of a secret surveillance program, have appealed to the US government to let them disclose the requests they receive to pass on user data.

The companies have all hotly denied giving the National Security Agency "back-door" access to their clients' personal information, and now say that they want greater transparency at the front door, too. We have nothing to hide, they insist. Does the government?


Can I get a centenarian up in here? The world has lost its oldest person, Jiroemon Kimura of Japan, who has died at the age of 116. He was born in 1897 — 1897! — the same year as Amelia Earhart, William Faulkner, and Frank Capra.

Until today, Kimura was our most senior living senior and the oldest man ever to have lived. (The oldest ever woman made it to 122.) The new chief elder is another Japanese national, Misao Okawa; she turned 115 in March.