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In brief: Judge temporary Greek government head

Athens, Greece – A senior judge was sworn in Wednesday to head Greece’s caretaker government for a month as the debt-crippled country lurches through a political crisis that threatens its membership in the 17-nation eurozone.

The political uncertainty is worrying Greece’s international creditors as well as Greeks themselves, who have withdrawn hundreds of millions of euros from banks since the May 6 election.

Council of State head Panagiotis Pikrammenos, 67, heads a government that will lack the mandate to make any binding commitments until a new election, which is expected June 17.

Brazil cuts soaring hotel fees for conference

Sao Paulo – Brazil is taking steps to lower the spiraling cost of accommodations during the United Nations’ upcoming conference on sustainable development, the office of President Dilma Rousseff said Wednesday.

The statement said the steps could bring reductions of more than 60 percent for the cost of housing at the Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro.

The average cost of a room in Rio during the conference had risen to $818 a night, according to a report last week. As many as 50,000 people are expected to flood into Rio for the June 20-22 event even though the city has a hotel capacity of just 33,000 beds.

The statement from Rousseff’s office said the company responsible for providing accommodations to conference participants was scrapping its 25 percent management fee.

In addition, hotels will no longer require guests to book a weeklong stay. That will lead to a 30 percent to 40 percent price cut for some delegates.


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Trump administration pulls U.S. out of UN human rights council

UPDATED: 7:23 p.m.

The United States announced Tuesday it was leaving the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, with Ambassador Nikki Haley calling it “an organization that is not worthy of its name.” It was the latest withdrawal by the Trump administration from an international institution.