A doping-related scandal involving the tainted Astana team of Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali marred the start of the Grand Boucle in Utrecht on Saturday. Late Friday night, news emerged that Astana's Dutch rider Lars Boom had returned a low level of cortisol in an unofficial test conducted by the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) earlier this week. Under MPCC rules, which are not binding, Astana are obliged to stand down Boom for a period of eight days.
The rout in China's highly leveraged stock market has become a major worry for international investors, who fear a meltdown could further destabilize the global economy even as Greece risks crashing out of the European common currency. China stocks had more than doubled over the past year, fueled in large part by investors using borrowed money to speculate on further gains. The brokerages met on Saturday in Beijing to discuss the market situation and expressed "full confidence" in the development of China's capital markets, a statement on the website of the Securities Association of China said.
Yemen's dominant Houthi movement said on Saturday a pause in fighting to last until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan was under discussion with the United Nations to allow for deliveries of humanitarian aid. Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam said in a post on his Facebook page he had met U.N. special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Friday to discuss the matter. An Arab coalition has been bombarding Iran-allied Houthi forces and allied army units since March in a campaign to restore exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog can likely issue a report on its investigation into past Iranian research suspected of being linked to nuclear weapons development by the end of the year if Tehran cooperates, the agency's chief said on Saturday. "With cooperation from Iran, I think we can issue a report by the end of the year on the assessment of the clarification of the issues related to the possible military dimensions," International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Yukiya Amano told reporters. Answering the IAEA's so-far unresolved questions about the possible military dimensions (PMD) of past Iranian nuclear research will be a condition for easing some sanctions on Iran if Tehran and six powers succeed in agreeing on an historic nuclear accord in Vienna, diplomats close to the talks say.