The UN Security Council will meet on Friday to discuss the again-worsening situation in Ukraine, with President Petro Poroshenko warning of the possibility of a full-scale Russian invasion.
Michael Weiss writes at The Daily Beast that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s “new blitz” has led to a “major, multi-front escalation” that has shattered an already shaky Minsk peace accord. Newsweek reports that “pro-Russian separatist tanks and artillery bombarded Ukrainian troops in the eastern town of Marinka, spurring Ukrainian military officials and media to speculate whether a major separatist offensive, anticipated for months, had begun.”
* WORLD *
As many as four million current and former federal employees could have had their personal data compromised after a security breach affecting US government systems. Reuters reports that “the Office of Personnel Management suffered what appeared to be one of the largest breaches of information ever on government workers.” The breach is thought to have occurred in December.
A U.S. law enforcement source told Reuters a “foreign entity or government” was believed to be behind the cyber attack. Authorities were looking into a possible Chinese connection, a source close to the matter said.
Al Jazeera reported that Chinese officials had denied involvement. “A Chinese Embassy spokesman in Washington said hypothetical accusations were irresponsible and counterproductive. “Jumping to conclusions and making (a) hypothetical accusation is not responsible,” and is “counterproductive,” Chinese Embassy spokesman Zhu Haiquan said in emailed comments.”
Meanwhile in Germany,
Greece may have taken another step towards exit from the Eurozone after delaying a €300m debt repayment to the IMF payment which was due on Friday. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is set to address the Parliament in Athens.
South Korea confirmed that a fourth person had died from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) while 41 remain infected in the latest outbreak, which has led to school closings and quarantines.
OPEC leaders meet in Vienna on Friday and are expected to maintain current production levels. World oil prices have fallen for three straight days.
US Non-Farm Payroll numbers for May are released Friday morning, six years since the end of the recession, the Wall Street consensus seeming to be that the economy will add around 225,000 new jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the numbers at 8.30am ET. Here’s what to look for, via the FT.
Controversial Australian tycoon and America’s Cup-winning yachtsman Alan Bond died, aged 77.
Thursday was the 26th anniversary of the violent conclusion to the Tiananmen Square protests. Here’s the NBC News Special Report with Tom Brokaw – back when a correspondent, in this case Keith Morrison, could hold an audience with a dramatic retelling over a static graphic
* POLITICS * Former Texas Gov Rick Perry launched his second bid for the Presidency, seeking what Politico calls “an improbable comeback,” but this time with an awesome country-rap song about himself.
Hillary Clinton – who has apparently held a fundraiser every 36 hours since launching her campaign – was also in Texas on Thursday, delivering a powerful message on voting rights and calling out opponents for “fear-mongering” on election fraud.
* SPORTS * Even as the long-awaited clean-up-shake-out-turn-it-upside-down, comprehensive reform process gets under way at Fifa headquarters,
it turns out that Fifa had paid off the Football Association of Ireland to head off a legal challenge after Ireland were robbed of a place in the 2010 World Cup finals.
Meanwhile, with impeccable timing…
In other sports news, the Golden State Warriors won the opening game in the NBA Finals, beating a 44-point LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-100 in overtime.