Friday, April 30, 2010

FP morning brief 4/30

PM says Greece in "battle for survival" as bailout deal nears completion

Top News: Reports that a new IMF-EU bailout deal for struggling Greece could be just days away helped stock markets around the world to rise this morning, but the country's pain is far from over.

According to labor union officials, the lenders are demanding severe austerity measures from the Greek government as a condition of the bailout. These include cutting civil servants' salaries, freezing their pay increases, reducing pensions and increasing taxes. Greek police clashed with protesters outside parliament yesterday, and more strikes and demonstrations are expected in the days ahead. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou warned ominously that his country was in "a battle for survival."

Greece's efforts to pay down it's debt -- nearly 120 percent of Gross Domestic Product -- were hampered earlier this week when the country's bond rating was lowered to "junk" status, making it much more expensive to borrow money. European public opinion -- particularly in Germany which will finance the largest share of a bailout -- is largely against bailing out Greece.

Oil spill: The first wave of oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico is beginning to reach the Louisiana coast today, threatening the region's ecologically sensitive wetlands and fishing industry.

The White House says no new offshore drilling will be approved until the incident is investigated. The Obama administration eased a ban on offshore drilling last month.

  • Pakistani Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gilani and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met for talks in Bhutan, pledging to improve relations.
  • Leader's of Thailand's red-shirt movement apologized after protesters stormed a hospital.
  • Shanghai's world expo gets underway today.
Middle East
  • Iraqi election officials say a recount of ballots in Baghdad could take up to three weeks.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Syria over the alleged transfer of Scuds to Hezbollah.
  • Egyptian intelligence officials deny pumping gas into tunnels used by Gaza smugglers.
  • 25 police officers in Acapulco, Mexico were charged with drugs and weapons violations.
  • The death toll from Mexico's drug violence has risen past 22,000.
  • Venezuela has arrested a man on suspicion of trying to kill President Hugo Chavez.
  • Belgium's lower house of parliament banned wearing burqas in public.
  • The three candidates running for prime minister of Britain held their third and final debate, focusing on the economy.
  • The U.S. and NATO are seeking to revive a treaty on conventional arms in Europe.
-By Joshua Keating


No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think it symbolizes?