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Greece: Voting on landmark referendum begins

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Athens: Greek voters on Sunday began casting ballots in a landmark referendum on terms of agreement with creditors on the next deal with the country’s lenders.

According to the Greek ministry of internal affairs and administrative reform, about 8.5 million people are eligible to vote in the referendum. It will be considered valid if at least 40 percent of registered voters participate in the vote, a news agency reported.

As polling stations opened in the morning, images on TV channels showed young and old voters casting their votes in the ballot boxes.

The polling would determine if Greece would avert a looming disorderly default or exit the Eurozone.

It will also decide whether to accept the debt draft deal with international creditors to restart financial aid to the country, or to reject the lenders’ programme that requires Greeks to accept further austerity measures and economic reforms.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged a “No” vote from citizens, saying it would strengthen the government’s hands in debt talks with creditors.

“I call on you to say again a big and proud ‘NO’ to ultimatum,” Tsipras said on Saturday during a rally staged in favour of the “No” vote.

The International Monetary Fund says the Greek debt load is unsustainable and Greece needs a debt relief in exchange for reforms and a new 50-billion euro ($5.5 billion) financial package until 2018 to stay afloat.

A day of the referendum voting, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis accused Athens’ creditors of “terrorism”.

On Thursday, the Leftist leader in an interview said he was confident that the reforms-for-cash debt deal Greece has been seeking for five months with creditors will be reached within 48 hours after Sunday’s referendum regardless of the result.

However, European leaders say that such a result may well lead to Greece’s exit from the Eurozone.

European leaders say a “No” vote could lead to Grexit — Greece’s exit from the Eurozone. (IANS)

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Australian Man Jacob Welsh from Geelong, Melbourne raises $4,000 to bring stray dog home from Greece

Welsh said he and Chance became inseparable after he found her lying in a pile of broken glass on the side of a busy road in Greece

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Jacob Welsh with the dog. Image source: Facebook

Melbourne, Sept 6, 2016: An Australian man Jacob Welsh has raised $4,000 to bring a stray dog home from Greece.

Welsh is from Geelong, 75 km from Melbourne, raised the money on a popular crowd-funding Website, to bring the dog, which he named “Chance,” back to Australia, Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.

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The resounding success of the campaign guaranteed Chance would have a home for the rest of her life, said Welsh.

“Thank you! She will not spend another night on the street thanks to all the help we’ve received,” Welsh wrote on social media on Tuesday.

Welsh said he and Chance became inseparable after he found her lying in a pile of broken glass on the side of a busy road in Greece.

“I called her over to me and she hesitantly approached, I gave her a little pat and ever since then she has followed me wherever I go,” he wrote on social media earlier.

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“I didn’t have the heart to leave her on the street after that so since then I have been sneaking her into my apartment, which has a strict no-pets policy.

“The sad reality of her going back on the streets is becoming more and more real as my time left in Greece comes to an end.

“Australia’s laws are very strict with this kind of thing but I have done the research and it is possible, just very expensive. If you can spare a few dollars Chance and I would really appreciate it.”

Costs involved in bringing an animal into Australia include a rabies vaccine, pet passport, plane tickets, airport transfers, de-worming medication and a pet carrier box. (IANS)