World Bulletin / News Desk
Greek political leaders are still haggling over the details of 12 billion euros worth of budget cuts needed to release further tranches of its international bailout, government officials said on Thursday.
Officials, declining to be named, had told Reuters on Wednesday that the Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his finance minister had agreed the list of measures to be put to coalition party leaders and the European Union and IMF.
"There is a basic agreement (between party leaders), we're moving forward to the final negotiations," Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told reporters after a meeting of the three leaders in Samaras' consevative-led government.
One of the three leaders, Fotis Kouvelis warned that sticking points remained.
"There was agreement on the basic framework. There are outstanding issues," said Kouvelis, head of the moderate Democratic Left party.
Neither Stournaras nor Kouvelis specified what issues the party chiefs had made progress on and whether the deal on a "basic framework" went beyond a similar broad agreement they said they had notched up a month ago.
The coalition has been haggling for weeks over the package demanded by international lenders keeping the country afloat, with Samaras's allies sharply opposed to across-the-board cuts in wages and pensions as well as plans to fire civil servants.
Pressure is growing on the party chiefs to strike a deal of some sort before the troika of European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund return to Athens early next week.
The troika's blessing of the package is a pre-requisite for Greece to secure its next round of bailout cash, without which the country faces certain bankruptcy and a potentially disastrous euro zone exit.
Kouvelis and Samaras's other ally, Socialist chief Evangelos Venizelos, are under rising pressure from their voter base to fight the austerity package, which includes a new round of wage, pension and welfare benefit cuts.
On Wednesday, nearly 70,000 Greeks marched to parliament chanting "We won't submit to the troika (of lenders)" and "EU, IMF Out!" as part of a general strike against the cuts.
Moscow's Arbitration Court ruled in favour of prosecutors who said Bashneft was unlawfully sold to local authorities in the early 2000s before being sold in 2009 to oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Sistema
Waste oil from Chinese dinner tables to power airplanes by converting into aviation biofuel
The World Bank announced Singapore had been ranked the best country to do business in for a ninth consecutive year
LPG "certainly provides lower carbon dioxide per unit of energy than diesel and petrol when used in vehicles" expert claims
52 countries and regions including Germany, UK and South Africa agree to exchange financial information
OPEC members have previously said they wanted oil at around $100 a barrel
World stocks rose on Wednesday, lifted by strong corporate earnings and investor optimism that the U.S. Federal Reserve won't raise interest rates for some time, even as it is expected to officially wind down its bond-buying stimulus programme
London-based solar plant developer aims to bring solar power generated in Tunisia to Europe as electricity in 2018.
All 48 of the country's nuclear reactors were gradually taken offline following Fukushima, the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
British PM said the bill made it harder to make the case to keep Britain in the European Union before a membership referendum he has promised in 2017 if he is re-elected next year.
Some 25 European banks failed a health check of whether they could withstand a recession, and another 11 would have failed if the full Basel III rules had been applied
Ethiopia, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda are the main producers of coffee in Africa, with Ethiopia being the continent's leading coffee grower.
He said the recovery of the Egyptian economy was an important issue for Washington, describing small projects as an engine of development.
Christodoulos Christodoulou had pleaded guilty to failing to declare revenue of a consultancy he jointly owned with his daughter.
Crude production from the Khafji oilfield had been halted temporarily to comply with environmental rules, according to an industry source
Kenyan Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau told AA 50 African ministers are expected to attend the 3-day meeting