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By Renee Maltezou and Angeliki Koutantou ATHENS (Reuters) - Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday acknowledged his government had made covert contingency plans in case Greece was forced out of the euro, but rejected accusations he had plotted to take the country back to the drachma. Tsipras was forced to respond to the issue in parliament after former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis this week revealed efforts to hack into citizens' tax codes to create a parallel payment system, prompting shock and outrage in Greece. The disclosure heaped new pressure on Tsipras, who is also battling a rebellion within his Syriza party and starting tough talks with the European and International Monetary Fund to seal a third bailout program in less than three weeks.
The Taliban named Mullah Akhtar Mansour as their new leader Friday, a historic power transition that raises hopes the relative moderate's leadership will pave the way for an end to Afghanistan's bloody war. The Taliban also announced his deputies -- Sirajuddin Haqqani, who leads the Taliban-allied Haqqani network and has a $10 million US bounty on his head, and Haibatullah Akhundzada, former head of the Taliban courts. The appointment of Mansour, seen as a pragmatist and a proponent of peace talks, comes a day after the Taliban confirmed the death of their near-mythical leader Mullah Omar, who led the fractious group for some 20 years.