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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:1. The Manhattan district attorney’s case against former IMF Chief and French presidential candidate Dominique Strauss-Kahn is on “the verge of collapse,” which is one way of saying that it has collapsed.
2. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Germany’s major banks agreed to reinvest the proceeds of some of their maturing Greek bonds, removing another hurdle toward a broader agreement on a new aid package for Athens.”
3. President Obama believes that congressional leaders must agree to a deficit-reduction deal by July 22, to insure that the US government does not miss an interest payment on its debt. Assuming that’s true, the parties have three weeks to get a deal done.
4. Talks on reducing the federal budget deficit and raising the debt ceiling are going nowhere fast. Both sides used this week to blame the other for the impasse.
5. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner let it be known yesterday that he would be leaving the Obama Administration soon. He then walked that back a bit and said he would be staying for “the foreseeable future.”
6. Most people think that a failure to arrive at a deal to reduce the deficit and raise the debt ceiling is “unthinkable.” Paul Krugman argues that it is not “unthinkable” at all and that it may well happen.
7. An astonishing shift has occurred in US capital markets, Gillian Tett observes. “(F)or the first time the government will be the biggest source of outstanding home mortgage and consumer credit loans in the US, eclipsing private sector banks or investors.”
8. Three Shiite militia groups operating out of Iran are believed by US officials to be behind the sharp increase in attacks on US troops in Iraq. Fifteen US soldiers were killed in Iraq in June, the highest monthly death toll in two years.
9. The US is formally establishing diplomatic relationships with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and other Islamist political parties in the Middle East and North Africa. The US has a long history of doing business with Egypt’s Muslim Brothers.
10. General David Petraeus yesterday was confirmed to be the next Director of Central Intelligence. The vote in the US Senate was 94-to-0. President Obama yesterday awarded outgoing defence Secretary Robert Gates the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
11. The fund-raising efforts of the 2012 GOP presidential candidates are off to a slow start. The Romney campaign is likely to raise less than $20 million, The New York Times reports. The others appear to have raised far less than that.
12. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) will announce this candidacy for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination tomorrow. We’d never heard of him either.
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