Friday, March 26, 2010

FP morning post 3/26

Europe agrees on Greece rescue plan

Top news: The 16 members of the European Monetary Union agreed on Thursday night to an emergency plan to help Greece out of its debt crisis. The total package comes to about $22 billion -- mostly consisting of coordinated bilateral loans -- and would only be activated if market lending to Greece dried up. European Council President Herman Von Rompuy called the agreement significant "not just for Greece, but for the stability of the eurozone" but also hoped that its provisions "will not have to be activated."

The agreement also resolves a dispute between European heavyweights France and Germany over aid to Greece. The French position had been that a bailout was needed to prevent a collapse of the Greek economy, which could have ripple effects throughout the Eurozone, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel was resistant to sign on to anything resembling a bailout, which is not allowed under Europe's single-currency rules. In the end, Merkel won a major concession by having the IMF constitute a major portion of the bailout funds.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou called the decision "very satistfactory" and the euro strengthened against the dollar on the news.

Church abuse scandal: A new report in the New York Times, suggests that as Archbishop of Munich, Pope Benedict XVI was more well informed of the case of an abusive German priest than has previously been claimed.

Middle East
  • Iraq is scheduled to release full results from the March 7 parliamentary elections today.
  • In a new audiotape, Osama bin Laden threatens retaliation if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is executed.
  • There has been "no change" in the Israeli government's policy on construction in East Jerusalem, despite U.S. pressure, says a new statement from prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.
  • Five Pakistani soldiers and 21 insurgents were killed in a clash in Orakzai, near the Afghan border.
  • Thailand's red shirt protesters are planning another massive rally on Saturday.
  • North Korea threatened South Korea and the United States with "unprecedented nuclear strikes."
  • The owner of Venezuela's last anti-Chavez TV channel was arrested for making "offensive remarks."
  • Mexican police have arrested a drug smuggling kingpin known as the "king of heroin."
  • Around 40 inmates escaped from jail in the Mexican city of Matamoros, near the U.S. border.
  • The presidents of Russia and the United States will finalize a nuclear arms reduction deal today.
  • Around 2,000 opposition activists rallied in Belarus.
  • Britain's air force has captured photos purportedly showing Russian planes in British airspace.
  • A Rwandan opposition leader was jailed for his role in the 1994 genocide.
  • Nigeria's parliament approved a new $31 billion budget.
  • Both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai rejected calls to include gay rights provisions in Zimbabwe's new constitution.
-By Joshua Keating


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