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.
Deputy Energy Minister Jaime Himende said that "Mozambique has great hydroelectricity potential, and recently they have taken some bold steps to use renewable resources efficiently"
Obama, who hosted Modi in Washington in September, will in January become the first U.S. president to visit India twice, completing a remarkable warming in the relationship
The combined damage inflicted on Russia's economy by Western sanctions and falling oil prices totals about $140 billion.
PM Mahlab said that Egypt eyes sustainable growth to improve the living conditions of Egyptians, noting that the Egyptian economy is currently recovering.
The French economist calls for redistribution of global wealth, which he says is too concentrated in the hands of the few.
Bank cites high financing costs and financing difficulties as challenges that need to be addressed to sustain growth.
Smuggling is denying Tanzania some 80 percent of receipts accrued from the precious gemstone
The Africa initiative will create "one huge free-trade union" allowing foreign investors in Egypt to more easily reach 260 million consumers from South Africa to Ethiopia.
Budapest says the collapse of the rival Western-backed Nabucco project to bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, and stalled plans to build inter-connector pipelines within eastern Europe, have left it with no alternative.
In Russia, the idea of a Saudi-U.S. plot against Moscow has become common currency as the economy struggles under the effects of low oil prices and Western sanctions imposed
Lithuania's new LNG terminal represents an end to Russia's gas monopoly in Lithuania, says Lithuania's president
The minister said the militants considered the eastern Syrian cities "safe for them" and thus transferred wheat and barley in Nineveh "to preserve it".
Decreasing oil prices are intended to pressurize and punish Iran and Russia: Int. Financial Markets expert says
Prices rise 30 percent as new president's deeply unpopular subsidy cut takes effect.
Japan's prime minister is to turn to the polls to see if his decision not to hike taxes can gain electoral support.
The agreement between the two countries, which trade around $3.2 billion in goods each year, will enable New Zealand to better compete with other countries in its sixth-largest export market.