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5 things you absolutely must know today

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Spectator Tribune has a new design

The first thing you absolutely must know today is Spectator Tribune has a new design, shedding some of clunky functionality and sluggish usability for clean lines, white space, and an intuitive user experience. Our web developer and ad sales are now local, and locally focused. We’re optimistic and want you to be, as well. Take a look and let us know what you think. If you want to write, we promise the process will be smoother than ever. If you think we should change something and are respectful about delivering the message, we promise that process will be smooth, as well. Thanks!

Greece opens banks for first time in three weeks

Greece opened its banks for the first time in three weeks Monday and has begun paying down the billions of euros it owes to international creditors, after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reluctantly agreed to adhere to stringent bailout terms set by European partners. A value added tax hike also took effect, increasing from 13 per cent to 23. The bank closures, the most tangible signal of just how close Greece came to leaving the euro, happened over fears the entire system would crumble under the flood of withdrawals predicted. “Capital controls and restrictions on withdrawals will remain in place but we are entering a new stage which we all hope will be one of normality,” said Louka Katseli, head of the Greek bank association, in a Reuters article. While this is a move towards normal, a revolt within Tsiras’ government has made the already tenuous progress even more so. Analysts predict there may be an election as early as September. [Source: Reuters]

Hawking gives nod to billionaire’s quest for aliens

Silicon Valley billionaire Yuri Milner believes aliens exist, and is determined to find signs of them, pumping $100 million to start Breakthrough Listen, a project that will scan the universe for radio signal from other worlds. “In one day, Breakthrough Listen will collect more data than a year of any previous search,” said Milner. “The scope of our search will be unprecedented.” The hubristic project was announced in London. Stephen Hawking was there, and gave Milner’s initiative a high-level endorsement. “It’s time to commit to finding the answer to the search for life beyond Earth,” Hawking said. “We are life, we are intelligent, we must know.” The scan for aliens is set to begin early 2016. [Source: National Geographic]

We waste a deplorable amount of food and that sucks

Cuba and U.S. are officially friends again

Cuba’s foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez raised his country’s flag at a newly designated embassy in Washington on Monday, in a momentously symbolic ceremony signalling an officially restored relationship between the U.S. and the country it has vilified for decades. “The historic events we are living today will only make sense with the removal of the economic, commercial and financial blockade, which causes so much deprivation and damage to our people, the return of occupied territory in Guantánamo, and respect for the sovereignty of Cuba,” Rodriguez said. An embassy is also set to open in Havana. Obama agreed to re-establish a relationship with Cuba, which had been severed since 1958, during Eisenhower’s presidency, after an exchange of letter with current President Raul Castro earlier this month. The move is being seen as Obama attempting to cement a legacy of foreign policy realignment before his presidency comes to term. [Source: The Guardian]


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