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Greece: closed banks and shock referendum


Greece has seen closed banks and defunct cash machines as a break down in talks between Athens and its creditors pushed the country further into austerity.

Greece has not received any extra emergency funding from the European Central Bank, and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has imposed capital controls on Sunday night to prevent banks from collapsing under the weight of the mass withdrawals it has faced.

The International Monetary fund has given Greece 48 hours to pay back 1.6 billion euros; otherwise a default could be issued, which could lead to the countries eventual exit from the Euro currency bloc.

Tsipras has angered Greece’s international lenders by announcing a snap referendum on the terms of a cash-for-reforms deal, which has lead to heightened tensions and the hopes of a last minute deal seem to be fading.

The government will keep banks closed until the 5th July, the day of the referendum. The public will only be able to withdraw 60 Euros a day from cash machines when they reopen on Tuesday.

Stock markets in Europe and Asia have seen big falls since Greece closed its banks. Londons FTSE 100 fell 2% in early trade, and Japan’s Nikkei index fell nearly 3%. Elsewhere in Europe, Germany's Dax share index and France's Cac 40 were both down more than 3%. The Athens Stock Exchange is closed all week.

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