David Jolly, Keith Bradsher / New York Times
Global markets shuddered on Monday after Greece closed its banks amid fears that the country was headed toward default. Stocks slumped modestly at the opening on Wall Street, after markets in Europe were buffeted by worries that the Greek debt crisis would prove contagious and Chinese investors endured another topsy-turvy session.
Puerto Rico’s Governor Says Island’s Debts Are ‘Not Payable’
Michael Corkery, Mary Williams Walsh / New York Times
Puerto Rico’s governor, saying he needs to pull the island out of a “death spiral,” has concluded that the commonwealth cannot pay its roughly $72 billion in debts, an admission that will probably have wide-reaching financial repercussions.
Jane Perlez / New York Times
At a ceremony imbued with quiet triumph at the Great Hall of the People, China’s president, Xi Jinping, hosted 56 member countries on Monday for the founding of a China-led infrastructure bank for Asia, including major American allies from Asia and Europe that Washington had counseled not to join the bank.
Kelly Couturier / New York Times
The biggest American tech companies face intensifying scrutiny by European regulators — pressure that could potentially curb their sizable profits in the region and affect how they operate around the world.
National Security & Strategy
Mary Chastian / Breitbart News
Putin promised new military graduates plans “to spend 22 trillion rubles (over $400 billion) through 2020 to give the armed forces dozens of navy ships, hundreds of new planes and missiles and thousands of tanks and other weapons.” But his nuclear-armed intercontinental missile program has been delayed, which means the first missile will not be available for several months. There are no specific details regarding why it is taking so long.
Sputtering Start to US Military’s Training of Syrian Rebels
Robert Burns / Associated Press
Fewer than 100 Syrian rebels are currently being trained by the U.S. military to fight the Islamic State group, a tiny total for a sputtering program with a stated goal of producing 5,400 fighters a year.
The training effort is moving so slowly that critics question whether it can produce enough capable fighters quickly enough to make a difference. Military officials said last week that they still hope for 3,000 by year’s end. Privately, they acknowledge the trend is moving in the wrong direction.
Mark Thompson / Time
Military commanders like to say that “quantity has a quality all its own.” It’s a shorthand way of saying that greater numbers of inferior weapons or troops often can beat smaller, superior forces. Given that Monday marks the first birthday of the declaration of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, it’s also worth noting that the passage of time, too, has a quality all its own.
Kerry Flynn / IB Times
Chemical weapons may soon be released by the Assad regime in a large scale attack in Syria, U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal in a report published Sunday. U.S. intelligence agencies have been focused on analyzing the type of chemical that could be deployed and what could trigger its use, officials who were briefed on the situation disclosed.
Adam Pitak / New York Times
The Supreme Court on Monday blocked one of the Obama administration’s most ambitious environmental initiatives, one meant to limit emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from coal-fired power plants.
Coral Davenport / New York Times
In the absence of global action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the United States by the end of the century may face up to $180 billion in economic losses because of drought and water shortages, according to a report released Monday by the White House and Environmental Protection Agency.
Green Technology: Positive Energy
Clive Cookson / Financial Times
The inventors believe they are on the verge of what they call the “Wright brothers” moment for nuclear fusion power. If they are right, the potential for cleaner, more efficient energy is immense.
Mark Shenk / Bloomberg Business
Oil dropped to a three-week low amid concern Greece’s failure to reach a deal with international creditors will prompt its exit from the euro area. Global equities fell as the Greek government imposed capital controls and shut banks. Diplomats in Vienna are close to clinching a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program as a June 30 deadline looms, according to Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief.
David Sanger, Michael Gordon / New York Times
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator was heading back to Tehran on Sunday to consult with his nation’s leadership, as negotiators remained divided over how to limit and monitor Tehran’s nuclear program and even on how to interpret the preliminary agreement they reached two months ago.
On Our Flashpoint Blog
On June 17, the governing body of the ITER Organization convened in France. This meeting focused on the new direction for the ITER members under the new Secretary General Bernard Bigot. The ITER governing body consists of representatives from seven member countries: the United States, China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, and Russia. The problems of ITER that led General Bigot to integrate was the overall disorganization of the project management. Currently the project is over budget and is behind schedule, but since the appointment of Secretary General Bigot to the head of the ITER project, he has crafted a plan and a new direction for the progress of ITER.
Timothy Stoltzfus-Dueck, a physicist at the Department of Energy (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has made a big leap in understanding plasma physics. The research performed was able to manipulate the intrinsic rotation through changing the X-Point’s location. The rotation has only been previously manipulated by heating the plasma. Understanding the plasma’s rotation and its importance in nuclear fusion reactors is critical for the advancements in fully developing fusion energy for the ITER project and for commercial use.
Greece still has yet to come to an agreement with its European creditors, as another meeting of eurozone finance ministers concluded without a deal. Reactions from those present indicate that almost no progress has been made, with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Chancellor Angela Merkel actually claiming Greece has “moved backward” and “we are falling back a bit.” Schaeuble continued, saying that the entire deal depended upon “those responsible in Greece.”
ASP Recently Published
American Security Project
Latin America and the Caribbean are critical regions for U.S. security, but the lack of open communication between the U.S. and Cuba weakens America’s ability to operate in these areas. Open dialogue with Cuba will help the U.S. maintain security, and could also bring potential economic opportunities. Understanding that the isolation of Cuba has not proven to be an effective policy, this paper examines a variety of possibilities for cooperation between the United States and Cuba.