Editor: Clarence Fernandez + 65 6870 3861 Global Picture Desk: + 65 6870 3775 Global Graphics Desk: + 65 6870 3595 TOP STORIES Billionaire PM cements Georgia grip, ally elected president TBILISI - A little-known ally of billionaire Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili wins a landslide victory in Georgia's presidential election, cementing the ruling coalition's grip on power after Mikheil Saakashvili's 10-year rule. (GEORGIA-ELECTION/ (UPDATE 5, TV, PICTURE), moved, by Margarita Antidze and Timothy Heritage, 700 words) - GEORGIA-ELECTION/MARGVELASHVILI (NEWSMAKER), moved, by Margarita Antidze and Timothy Heritage, 500 words German paper says Obama aware of spying on Merkel since 2010 BERLIN - A German newspaper reports that President Barack Obama knew his intelligence service was eavesdropping on Angela Merkel as long ago as 2010, contradicting reports that he had told the German leader he did not know. (GERMANY-USA/SPYING (UPDATE 2), moved, 750 words) - USA-SECURITY/, moved, Aruna Viswanatha and Anna Yukhananov, 550 words As Iraq seeks U.S. arms, bombs kill another 55 BAGHDAD - A dozen bombings in Iraq kill 55 people as the prime minister prepares to travel to Washington to seek President Barack Obama's help in confronting a wave of sectarian violence fueled by Syria's civil war. (IRAQ-VIOLENCE/ (UPDATE 3, PICTURE, TV), moved, by Kareem Raheem and Ahmed Rasheed, 800 words) Israel to free more Palestinian prisoners for peace talks JERUSALEM - Israel is to release 26 Palestinian prisoners in a second stage of a deal brokered by the United States in July that brought a resumption of peace talks. (PALESTINIANS ISRAEL/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Allyn Fisher-Ilan, 450 words) PALESTINIANS-ECONOMY/ (ANALYSIS), moved, by Ali Sawafta and Noah Browning, 1,200 words ASIA China to hold first trial of anti-graft activists BEIJING - Three Chinese anti-graft activists who agitated for officials to disclose assets go on trial in the first case of its kind that underscores the limits of the government's tolerance of challenges to its authority. (CHINA-CORRUPTION/, moved, by Ben Blanchard, 600 words) Blasts kill 5 at rally for Indian opposition candidate Modi NEW DELHI - Explosions at an Indian election rally kill five people and wound 83 in the eastern city of Patna, the chief minister of Bihar state says. (INDIA-POLITICS/BLASTS (UPDATE 3), moved, by Rajesh Kumar Singh, 660 words) MIDDLE EAST Kurdish militants tighten grip on Syria's northeast AMMAN - Kurdish militants move to consolidate their control of an oil-producing region in northeastern Syria after seizing a border crossing with Iraq from Islamist rebels, activists say. (SYRIA-CRISIS/ UPDATE 1, PICTURE, TV), moved, by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, 700 words) - SYRIA-CRISIS/OPCW, moved, 300 words - SYRIA-CRISIS/GENEVA, moved, 300 words In Libya's east, a former rebel commander tests Tripoli BREGA, Libya - For Libyan militia leader Ibrahim al-Jathran, shutting down half the country's oil production with an armed militia is not a crime, it is the start of a just battle for a fair share of the country's petroleum wealth. (LIBYA-OIL/PROTESTS/, NEWSMAKER, PICTURE, TV), moved, by Ulf Laessing and Ghaith Shennib, 1,200 words) Egypt seeks to lure Gulf investors amid turmoil CAIRO - Egypt is planning a charm offensive to persuade Gulf Arab entrepreneurs to invest in its economy, battered by political upheaval, protests and violence. (EGYPT-INVESTMENT/, moved, by Maggie Fick, 500 words) UNITED STATES Rocker Lou Reed of Velvet Underground dies at 71 NEW YORK - Lou Reed, the pioneering songwriter and musician behind influential rock band Velvet Underground, which fused art and music in collaboration with artist Andy Warhol, dies at age 71. (USA-LOUREED/ (UPDATE 3), moved, 700 words) Data center glitch is latest problem in 'Obamacare' rollout WASHINGTON - A data center critical for allowing uninsured Americans to buy coverage under President Barack Obama's healthcare law goes down, halting online enrollment for all 50 states in the latest problem to hit a troubled rollout. (USA-HEALTHCARE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Sharon Begley and David Morgan, 600 words) - USA-HEALTHCARE/CONGRESS, moved, by David Morgan and Susan Cornwell, 1,000 words AMERICAS Chile's Bachelet pitches $15 bln plan, vows to back unions SANTIAGO - Chile's presidential frontrunner Michelle Bachelet says if elected she will fortify labor unions and roll out an ambitious $15 billion spending program, more than half of which would fund education. (CHILE-ELECTION/, moved, 440 words) - CHILE-ELECTION/BACHELET (ANALYSIS, PICTURES, TV), moved, by Rosalba O'Brien and Antonio De la Jara, 1,600 words Fernandez's allies thumped in Argentina mid-term BUENOS AIRES - Argentine President Cristina Fernandez's allies took a beating in mid-term polls, shrinking her majority in Congress, ending chances of a constitutional change to allow her a third term and kicking off the contest to succeed her in 2015. (ARGENTINA-ELECTION/ (UPDATE 5), moved, by Hugh Bronstein, 720 words) EUROPE Power struggle in Czech election winner hits coalition talks PRAGUE - Attempts to form a new Czech government after this weekend's election suffer a setback when the winning center-left party tries to oust its leader over an unexpectedly weak showing at the ballot box. (CZECH-ELECTION/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Robert Muller, 600 words) AFRICA Congo army says captures rebel stronghold; peacekeeper killed KINSHASA - Government forces say they captured the rebel stronghold of Rutshuru in a third day of fierce fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, in which one U.N. peacekeeper was killed and another injured. (CONGO-DEMOCRATIC/REBELS (UPDATE 2), moved, by Kenny Katombe and Chrispin Mvano, 610 words)
CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-U.S. to seek to block DraftKings, FanDuel fantasy sports merger
WASHINGTON, June 19 The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Monday it will seek to stop the merger of DraftKings and FanDuel, because the combined company would control more than 90 percent of the U.S. market for paid daily fantasy sports contests.