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.
Russia has banned the import of EU food products including fruit and vegetables from Poland, whose total food exports to Russia were worth around $1.5 bln last year.
Ukraine is prepared to compromise on the price until a lawsuit it has filed against Gazprom is resolved, minister Yuri Prodan said.
Finnish electricity specialist Hiekkala: 'Finland and Baltic countries have possibilities to replace the import from Russia by own capacity or Nordic import.'
The Bahraini-based Dar Group (Al-Shair and Partners) and its Egyptian subsidiary, Dar al-Handasah, were awarded the contract worth some $1.8 billion to draw up the master plan for Egypt's Suez Canal development project.
Citizens unable to pay their credit card bills can apply to Finance Ministry to have their debts expunged.
Greek Cypriot Farmers’ Union EKA general secretary Panicos Hambas said that the Russian sanctions on the Greek Cypriot export of citrus fruits could lead Turkish Cypriot farmers to export their own fruits to Russia via Turkey.
The closing off of a major export market threatens to hurt segments of the euro zone economy at a time when growth is pretty poor anyway.
Soaring Chinese demand for commodities like coal has underwritten Mongolia's rapid growth, with more than 90 percent of its exports sold to China.
Thailand avoided recession in the second quarter, the state planning agency said on Monday, but questions remain about the pace and depth of growth.
The new ban would not apply to foreign automakers' production inside Russia. Ford, Volkswagen , Ford Renault, Toyota and Hyundai Motor Co all have production facilities inside Russia.
Across Asia's low-cost garment manufacturing industry in particular, there have been more strikes as unions use a shortage of skilled workers to press for better pay and improved safety
More than eight out of ten French citizens do not trust the government of Prime Minister Valls to improve economic situation, poll shows
Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years on July 31 after losing a lengthy legal battle with hedge funds demanding full payment on debt
The pipeline is expected to function on an interruptible basis from September and on a firm basis from March 2015.
Ethiopian gold exports rose to 12.35 tons during the reported period compared to 12.32 in the previous year.
Argentina's enthusiasm for trade with Russia will improve Moscow's chances of filling any gaps left by its ban on European Union supplies and reduce the odds of food shortages.