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In brief: Higher tax rates kick in for Greece

From Wire Reports

ATHENS, Greece – Greeks today will pay substantially more in value-added taxes, one of the conditions imposed on the country by its creditors. Banks are also to reopen.

The tax increases, from 13 to 23 percent, apply to products and services such as processed foods and drinks and dishes served in restaurants and bars. A sharp increase in consumer taxes on many Greek islands is also set to take effect today.

The tax increases are forecast to bring in $867 million by year-end, Greek financial media said.

Parliament approved them Thursday as part of a package of austerity and reform measures Greece’s international creditors required before talks would begin on a new, three-year bailout package the country needs to stave off bankruptcy.

Greek banks, which were closed for three weeks, will reopen today. Transactions, however, will still be limited. Customers will not be able to withdraw money at bank counters but must do so from ATMs as in the previous three weeks, according to a government decree.

Account holders will be allowed to withdraw up to 420 euros per week. For the past three weeks, depositors have been allowed to take out 60 euros a day from ATMs.

Police make arrest in Modesto deaths

MODESTO, Calif. – A man was arrested Sunday in the deaths of two women and three young girls whose bodies were found in a Central California home, including his young daughter and her mother.

Martin Martinez, 30, from Modesto, where the bodies were found Saturday, was detained about 80 miles away in San Jose early Sunday and booked into a Santa Clara County jail on suspicion of murder.

Martinez had a past romantic relationship with one of the women, who was also the mother of his daughter, police said. All the victims are related, and the children’s ages range from 6 months to 6 years old, Modesto police spokeswoman Heather Graves said.

Police aren’t releasing information about a motive, cause of death or how long the victims had been dead when they were found, she said.

Officers in Modesto, part of California’s Central Valley, discovered the bodies Saturday afternoon while responding to a request to check on the home, Graves said.

China: Lama died of cardiac arrest

BEIJING – The cause of death of a Tibetan lama who was serving a life sentence in a Chinese prison was cardiac arrest, according to state media.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died 13 years into a sentence on charges of financing and supporting a series of terrorist bombings and secession activities. His supporters say the charges were trumped up.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported late Saturday that a prison guard had found Tenzin Delek suffering from respiratory failure about two hours after the monk began to take his usual nap on July 12. Prison doctors gave him emergency treatment and he was taken to a hospital and declared dead after further treatment.

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