By Shihar Aneez COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's August elections have been timed to stop a comeback by war-time president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who remarkably may see his popularity rise in coming months if criticized for war crimes in a U.N report, said government sources. Rajapaksa's crushing of a 26-year Tamil Tiger insurgency in 2009 won him support among the country's Sinhalese majority and he still has a very strong following. A U.N. report on the last days of the war is due for release in September but an aide to President Maithripala Sirisena said diplomatic sources had warned it may be leaked in late August. The possibility of an early release prompted Sirisena to call elections for Aug. 17 to give his ally Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe an edge and hopefully deny Rajapaksa any chance of a political resurgence, said sources close to Sirisena.
European leaders were on Monday scrambling for a response to a resounding "No" from Greek voters in a referendum on austerity which could send the country crashing out of the eurozone. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was to meet with French leader Francois Hollande in Paris after Greece overwhelmingly rejected international creditors' tough bailout terms Sunday. The pair spoke by telephone late Sunday, declaring the decision must "be respected" and calling for an emergency eurozone summit which European Union president Donald Tusk said would be held on Tuesday.