World Bulletin / News Desk
Greek socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos warned that the country's recession would be deeper than projected this year, and called for extending the deficit-cutting plan to three years, at a meeting with inspectors from the EU, European Central Bank (ECB) and IMF.
The socialists are one of the three parties comprising Greece's new coalition government that emerged after a June 17 vote, keen to soften the punishing terms of a bailout that is keeping the debt-laden country afloat while driving it deeper into recession.
Athens, due to run out of cash in weeks without support from the troika of the EU, International Monetary Fund and ECB, has fallen behind agreed targets partly due to a two-month political limbo of repeat elections.
The troika's inspectors are on a fact-finding mission in Athens, reviewing Greece's faltering progress on fiscal adjustment and reforms under a 130 billion euro ($162.6 billion) bailout deal.
"Mr. Venizelos insisted on the need to agree on a new, updated medium-term fiscal strategy programme," a statement from his office said on Friday.
"He raised the issue of revising the bailout in line with the procedures foreseen in it and extending the time period of the fiscal adjustment to three years," the statement said.
Set to contact
The meeting with Venizelos lasted a little more than an hour. The inspectors have already met with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and will meet Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Sunday.
With Greece's economy set to contract by more than 5 percent in 2012, its fifth straight year of recession, and with almost one in four Greek workers jobless, the government says the austerity has become intolerable.
On Saturday, in his first policy speech since taking office, Samaras said his aim was not to demand a change of the goals set in the 130 billion euro bailout deal, but in the austerity policies imposed to meet them.
A Metron Analysis opinion poll published by weekly newspaper Ependytis on Saturday showed Greeks are equally split on whether the country should stick to the agreed bailout terms or ditch them.
The poll showed 48 percent were in favour of sticking with the bailout and efforts to improve it, while another 48 percent believed it should be renounced for having failed.
A 55 percent majority thinks Greece will avoid bankruptcy versus 40 percent who believes it will not. A 56 percent majority see the euro zone withstanding the crisis while 39 percent expect the single currency bloc to eventually dissolve.
Asked to comment on the viability of the new coalition government, 48 percent felt the country would be soon led to new elections, while 46 percent expected the government to stay in power for at least one to two years.
Varying degrees of drought are hitting almost two thirds of the limited arable land across Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Iraq.
Turkey deems Iranian gas too expensive compared with other suppliers like Russia and Azerbaijan, an assertion rejected by Tehran.
Satoshi Nakamoto, a name known to legions of bitcoin traders, practitioners and boosters around the world, appeared to lose his anonymity on Thursday after Newsweek published a story that said he lived in Temple City, California, just east of Los Angeles.
BP's exploration and production sharing agreement with Libya covers onshore acreage in Ghadames, near the border between Libya, Algeria and Tunisia, and offshore acreage in the central Sirte basin
There are discussions at high levels within the U.S. government on how to use U.S. natural gas resources
The judicial sources said on Thursday that prosecutors suspected the companies of working together on campaigns to favour Lucentis, including promoting it to local doctors
Scotland's Energy Minister Fergus Ewing offered to meet Shell to discuss the future of the oil and gas industry if Scotland votes to end its 307-year tie with England
European Commission President said that from a purely financial standpoint the crisis in Ukraine should not have much impact on the euro zone but there was potential for far greater instability
The rouble-traded MICEX lost 1.9 percent on the news to trade at 1,322.2 points. It had earlier traded in positive territory.
If tensions eventually escalate into economic sanctions, the single biggest point of vulnerability for the Gulf would probably be the Dolphin Energy pipeline carrying about 2 billion cubic feet of gas per day from Qatar to the UAE and Oman
The former Soviet republic is strategically important to Moscow as the main gas transit route to the European Union, Russia's biggest customer
Iran will soon receive a second installment of previously frozen assets which are being returned to it under an interim nuclear agreement with world powers
Economic growth jumped to 5.2 percent in the last quarter, but Romania remains the second poorest country in the European Union
Brent crude prices decreased by 1.8 percent, more than US$2 per barrel on Wednesday.
The southeast European country sets out to achieve price stability by increasing the share of private entities in its state dominated energy sector.
Premier Li Keqiang also said at the start of the China's annual parliamentary session, that the country's 2014 growth target will be kept at 7.5 percent, inflation at 3.5 percent and broad M2 money supply growth at 13 percent.