Boeing to build the next Air Force One

The Air Force said Wednesday that it will award Boeing the contract to build the next Air Force One.

The contract will not be competitive, because Boeing’s 747-8 is the only plane made in the United States that can meet the requirements for the presidential aircraft while also being “consistent with the national public interest,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said in a statement.

A contract has not yet been awarded. Pentagon officials are still working out details with Boeing, the Air Force said. James said that the Pentagon “will insist upon program affordability through cost-conscious procurement practices.”

The plane is expected to reach its initial operational capability by 2023.

— Christian Davenport

Greek government takes hard line early

Greece’s new radical left government has fired the first salvo in what is expected to be a tough clash with fellow euro-zone countries over budget cuts that Athens says are choking the life out of its economy.

The government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Wednesday that it would ignore key budget commitments, privatizations and policy changes that previous administrations had promised in exchange for rescue loans.

The hard line prompted a quick warning from the European Union and sent local investors into a panic on the prospect that the country might get cut off from its financial lifeline. Shares on the Athens Stock Exchange tumbled more than 9 percent, with the country’s four main banks losing over a quarter of their value.

Government bond yields spiked, particularly for short-dated debt, an indication investors are more worried about a default in the short term. The rate on 10-year bonds spiked to around 10.5 percent, while the three-year yield hit 16.7 percent.

The Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency warned it could downgrade Greece if talks with its creditors stall.

Tsipras’s Syriza party won general elections over the weekend on a pledge to scrap some austerity budget cuts and tax hikes. As Tsipras’s ministers took up their positions Wednesday, they announced they were abandoning several commitments: the privatization of Greece’s power utility, a refinery, the country’s two biggest ports and several airports would be scrapped, and the minimum wage would be restored to pre-crisis levels.

— Associated Press

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