Greek deal hangs on reforms

Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis waits for the start of an extraordinary euro zone Finance Ministers meeting to discuss Athens' plans to reverse austerity measures agreed as part of its bailout in Brussels (image: Reuters)

Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, says he will be “working night and day” over the weekend to devise a list of reform measures his government is prepared to enact, the price for a deal extending the country’s financial rescue package by four months. The agreement will only be ratified if Eurozone officials approve the proposed reforms.

Reuters‘ John Lloyd writes on “why the patch might not stick” while Paul Krugman blogs at the New York Times that the situation remains far from precise:

So we’re in a weird place: this looks like a defeat for Greece, but since nothing substantive was resolved, it’s only a defeat if the Greeks accept it as one; which means that nothing at all is clearly resolved. And that’s arguably a good outcome — time for Greece to get its act together.

* WORLD * A huge fire at one of Dubai’s tallest residential buildings led to the evacuation of hundreds of people, with remarkably no injuries or deaths being immediately reported. Dramatic images of the blaze – ironically at the Torch Tower skyscraper in the marina district – were widely captured on social media.

The second-in-command of Nato’s military forces in Europe warned of a possible “blitzkrieg” attack by Russia on an eastern European member state.

Three east London schoolgirls are thought to be trying to travel to Syria to join ISIS. Police have appealed for them to return home, saying they will be in “grave danger.”

* BUSINESS * Dockworkers unions and shipping companies reached a tentative deal on a new labor contract, which will avert a port shutdown and – following approval by union members –  ease port congestion that had been building at the west coast’s container hubs.

* POLITICS * In the wake of comments by one former politician, Rudy Giuliani, about President Obama, the Washington Post editorial writers believe the whole incident may end up being more damaging for a current GOP hopeful, Scott Walker, whose “spineless silence” should  end up “disqualifying him as a serious contender.”

* MEDIA * The fall-out from Telegraph columnist Peter Oborne’s resignation continues, with media Twitter responding to an anonymous story on its front page which BuzzFeed’s Jim Waterson says “has been condemned by journalists inside and outside the paper.”

Elsewhere, Ann Friedman writes at the Columbia Journalism Review on “Why serious journalism can coexist with audience-pleasing content.”

“Given how quick we are to cry “clickbait!” these days, the legacies must assure their audience that they are not sacrificing standards when they try to play the digital game and—god forbid—get some social-media traffic.”

* SPORTS * One of the most anticipated bouts in boxing history – and what might well be the sport’s most lucrative – will happen on May 2 after welterweights Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr agreed to fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Sunday sees the opening of the new NASCAR season with the Daytona 500;  and it’s Jeff Gordon’s final Daytona, as his farewell circuit gets under way. One driver who won’t be behind the wheel this weekend is Kurt Busch, who has been suspended indefinitely.

* CULTURE * Iconic jazz venue New York’s Village Vanguard opened 80 years ago this  Sunday. In its early days, the club also hosted poetry readings.


Another anniversary – The Sound Of Music premiered on March 2 1965. The upcoming issue of Vanity Fair has a nice piece by Alex Witchel on Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer and their relationship with the movie, while Time a couple of weeks back had this piece “Revisiting the Real Von Trapps.”

Sunday, of course, sees this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, the 87th. Here’s some reading:

* Preview and predictions from CBS News

* Six things you don’t know about the Oscars’ envelope CNN

* “I’ll Take Insanely Hard Oscar Trivia For 400, Alex”NPR

* Which film deserves to win best picture?Variety

Oscar acceptance speech study: Steven Spielberg gets thanked more than God Entertainment Weekly

And finally,

* Oscar-nominated animators weigh in on ‘Lego Movie’ snub – Yahoo/AP

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