World Bulletin / News Desk
French President Francois Hollande could outline 20 billion euros ($26 billion) in tax hikes and may lower the country's growth forecast forecast for 2013 to a maximum of 1 percent when he speaks on national television on Sunday evening, a French newspaper said.
Weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche said Hollande's government had finalised the "budgetary effort" required as France tries to hit its public deficit target of 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) next year or risk losing investors' trust.
The budget will be presented at a Sept. 28 cabinet meeting, pushed back by two days to allow for Hollande's trip to the United Nations' General Assembly in New York and is expected to be the most austere budget in 30 years.
Hollande said last week that by holding state spending steady next year in nominal terms, excluding debt servicing and pension payments, his government would save 10 billion euros in inflation-adjusted terms.
However, that would amount to just one third of the more than 30 billion euros in savings which Hollande says are needed to hit next year's deficit target and stay on course to balance the budget by the end of his five-year mandate.
With his government refusing to cut staffing levels, the bulk of the adjustment will have to come from tax rises.
The increase in taxes would be "between 15 to 20 billion euros," the paper said citing an unidentified source. It added the rises would target firms, wealthy households and savings.
Hollande may also lower the 2013 growth forecast to a maximum of 1 percent if it is finalised ahead of the television interview at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT), the paper said.
The French government is sticking with its 2013 economic growth forecast of 1.2 percent for now but could still trim it in an upcoming budget bill given gloomier estimates by economists, the prime minister's office said on Sept. 5.
"I don't expect much tonight," Marine Le Pen, president of the far-right National Front, told reporters on Sunday. "When the plane crashes on take-off there's little chance of flying. This government crashed on take-off."
Four months into Francois Hollande's presidency, tumbling ratings, cabinet squabbles and talk of inertia have forced him to rethink a soft-touch leadership style that has raised doubts he has the clout to revive France's economy.
Having won the May election with 51.6 percent of the vote, Hollande's ratings have slid below 50 percent in less than half the time it took Sarkozy to fall from favour.
A BVA poll published for Le Parisien on Sunday suggested that almost 60 percent of French people are "relatively unhappy" with the president's start compared with 34 percent on May 31.
In an interview with Le Monde's weekend edition, Hollande defended his style, but admitted the government needed to step up a gear.
"I continue to believe that I was right to push for a period of consultation rather than an accumulation of good or bad decisions," he said. "(But) the urgency is such that it is necessary to accelerate."
Although the likely consumer is Europe, which would require pipelines to pass through Turkey, companies may decide instead to export gas from the Levant basin to Jordan, Egypt or the Asian continent.
The ambassadors did agree to add more people and entities to the EU's asset freeze list, using expanded criteria including Russian companies that help to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty
Washington has pressured companies and governments not to buy crude from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), but it has stopped short of banning U.S. firms from buying it outright.
The whistleblower's email said GSK used its own employees and Syrian distributor Maatouk Group to make illicit payments.
The hackers broke into a database storing details of people who had registered for ECB conferences, visits and other events, the bank said.
Russia generated $356 billion from oil, gas exports last year, data shows.
While stopping far short of targeting physical energy supplies, EU ministers for the first time this week raised the idea of restricting Russian access to oil and gas technology.
They were among nine organisations and three people added to the EU's Syria sanctions list, published in the bloc's Official Journal
Land reform remains a sensitive issue in South Africa, where 20 years after the end of apartheid the white minority still holds around 87 percent of commercial farm land.
Talks are reportedly underway for a number of investment projects, including in pharmaceuticals and automotive assembly, but no final investment agreements are expected this week.
The yuan will be the world's third largest currency after the U.S. dollar and euro, a Chinese report predicts.
Unemployment currently stands at 12.7 percent in Kenya and affects 30 percent of the country's population
GM so far this year has recalled about 14.7 million vehicles worldwide with switch-related issues and has linked at least 16 deaths to those issues.
The deal includes hydropower and nuclear power plants in the South American country.
State-run think tank Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA) reported earlier this month that a twin-engine version of the fighter jet is expected to cost around 8.5 trillion won
Western officials have repeatedly warned Iranian counterparts over the past six months that more economic pain is a risk for an OPEC member whose oil exports have already shrunk to a fraction of what they could have been