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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Greece to Toughen Hate Crime Sentencing


Greece to Toughen Hate Crime Sentencing
ABC News
Greece will toughen sentencing for hate crimes, following a surge in attacks against immigrants and violence involving members of a far-right political party, the country's justice minister said Wednesday. Antonis Roupakiotis said racially motivated ...

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Greece faces more strikes, no austerity deal yet

A street vegetable vendor discusses Greece's crisis with a man as in the background is seen a protest outside the ministry of Finance, in central Athens, on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. A fresh wave of anti-austerity strikes hit Greece Wednesday as the leaders of the governing coalition struggled to finalize further spending cuts for the coming two years — without which the country will lose its vital rescue loans.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)A fresh wave of anti-austerity strikes hit Greece Wednesday as the leaders of the governing coalition remained unable to finalize further spending cuts for the coming two years without which the country will lose its vital rescue loans.



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Greece revs up privatization drive to sway troika


AFP

Greece revs up privatization drive to sway troika
Reuters
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece kickstarted a stalled privatization drive on Wednesday to appease international lenders, saying it would start the sale of 29 percent of one of its most profitable companies - gambling monopoly OPAP - next week. Inspectors ...
Greece faces more anti-austerity strikes, protestsThe Associated Press
Greece Aid Decision May Be Delayed to November - EU SourcesWall Street Journal

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Greece, Israel: Small countries that can have a big impact


Greece, Israel: Small countries that can have a big impact
Jerusalem Post
The development of Greece-Israel relations is a cause for great satisfaction and offers the potential for wide-ranging synergies, win-win partnerships and significant bilateral advantages. The two countries, though small in size, can have a big impact ...


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News Summary: More Greek anti-austerity strikes

ANGRY GREEKS: In the latest Greek anti-austerity strikes, state hospital doctors, school teachers and local authority employees walked off the job to protest planned salary and funding cuts under a new $14.7 billion austerity package. About 1,500 retired and serving military officers also marched in protest.

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Greece revs up privatisation drive to sway troika


Business Recorder

Greece revs up privatisation drive to sway troika
Reuters
ATHENS, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Greece outlined a plan to sell one of its most profitable state-controlled companies, gambling monopoly OPAP, reviving a stalled privatisation drive to appease international lenders. Inspectors from the troika of European ...
Greece faces more anti-austerity strikes, protestsThe Associated Press
Greece Aid Decision May Be Delayed to November - EU SourcesWall Street Journal

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Greece to start process to sell gambling firm OPAP


Greece to start process to sell gambling firm OPAP
Reuters
ATHENS, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Greece's privatisation agency HRADF said on Wednesday it will start the process to privatise the country's sports gambling monopoly OPAP next week. "HRADF's board meeting that will take place on Sept. 19 will examine the ...

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Greece to toughen hate crime sentencing, after surge in attacks against immigrants

ATHENS, Greece - Greece's Justice Minister says the country will toughen sentencing for hate crimes, following a surge in attacks against immigrants and violence involving members of a far-right political party.

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Holland's likely new coalition will treat EU with caution

Prime minister Mark Rutte's centre right VVD party running neck-and-neck with Diederik Samsom's Labour party in polls

Two Dutch centrist parties are preparing to stitch up a new left-right coalition following an early general election being closely watched across Europe because of its potential impact on responses to the euro crisis and the Franco-German split over austerity versus growth policies.

At the end of a volatile campaign that has seen hard-left anti-European socialists top the polls, traditionally powerful Christian democrats wiped out, and the social democrats of the Dutch Labour party slumping, it was the latter who were making the political weather, staging a remarkable comeback to rival the main governing party as election victors.

The campaign has revolved around Europe and austerity after the minority centre-right coalition of Prime Minister Mark Rutte collapsed in April after less than two years because of disputes over spending cuts needed to meet EU budget deficit targets next year.

Rutte's centre-right VVD party was running neck-and-neck with the Labour party whose new leader, Diederik Samsom, has emerged as the star of the election. Pundits predicted a new coalition of Labour and the VVD with around 70 of the 150 seats at stake, requiring a third junior coalition partner.

The hard-left socialists were tipped to come third, with the far-right anti-immigration maverick, Geert Wilders (pictured), expected to lead his Freedom party to fourth place. Both Wilders and the socialists have waged an anti-austerity, anti-EU campaign, with Wilders's anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant activism playing a much lesser role because of the domination of economic issues and budget cuts.

Samsom has quickly emerged as a prime-ministerial contender due to his strong television performance in the campaign debates. Most polls still predict Rutte's VVD will emerge as the marginal winner, meaning he would be first choice for prime minister. Power politics in the Netherlands get under way in the wake of rather than before an election because of the coalition system and the highly fragmented party spectrum. The horsetrading will start today and the formation of a government could take months.

If, as expected, a Lib-Lab partnership is the basis of the new government, the key sticking points will be over the pace, scale and location of spending cuts and tax rises. There could be disputes over the ongoing attempts to stabilise the euro and Holland's participation in bailing out weaker eurozone countries. Rutte received much criticism during the campaign for declaring on television that Greece would not get another euro of Dutch money.

The outgoing Rutte government was closely allied with Germany in taking a hawkish line on austerity and dictating tough terms to bailout beneficiaries. But his minority coalition collapsed when it emerged that the Netherlands also needed to fill a huge funding gap to meet EU-set budget deficit targets by next year.

Wilders, propping up the minority government in parliament, vetoed the welfare cuts needed to meet Brussels' targets.

In the expected new coalition, Labour will argue for slower spending cuts than Rutte, will take a softer line on eurozone bailouts, and also seek to temper the austerity, tilting the balance of power in the eurozone towards President Fran├žois Hollande's socialists in France and away from Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

The two biggest parties, if joined in a coalition, will need to agree on raising the retirement age, on how to reform the most generous system of mortgage tax relief in Europe, on health, social security and other welfare cuts, all to meet EU budget targets in one of the wealthiest countries in Europe with some of the lowest unemployment.

The likeliest outcome of the election will be to demonstrate that the Dutch have turned much more wary of the EU, albeit keen to keep the union and the euro.


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Greece and the U.S. election

My first memory of anything to do with a U.S. presidential election lurks in the mists of my Athenian childhood.

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Greek asset sales kicking in


Greek asset sales kicking in
ForexLive (blog)
The Greek Asset Sales fund will meet next week to launch an international tender to sell 29% of state-owned lottery and gambling company Opap. The Troika has been begging the Greeks to pick up the pace of asset sales since the crisis began…Things ...
Greece resumes privatisation drive, shortlists property biddersReuters

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Greece Faces More Anti-Austerity Strikes, Protests


Deutsche Welle

Greece Faces More Anti-Austerity Strikes, Protests
ABC News
A fresh wave of anti-austerity strikes hit Greece Wednesday as the leaders of the governing coalition struggled to finalize further spending cuts for the coming two years — without which the country will lose its vital rescue loans. State hospital ...
Is the US election keeping Greece in the euro?CNN
Greece's Samaras meets with ECB's DraghiMarketWatch

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Is U.S. race keeping Greece in euro?

Yanis Varoufakis says the U.S. doesn't hold as much influence over Greece as it used to -- and that many Athenians fear European officials are waiting until the U.S. election is decided before cutting Greece loose from the euro.

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Greek Agencies Won't Die, But Property Abandoned


Daily Mail

Greek Agencies Won't Die, But Property Abandoned
Greek Reporter
It appears to have been a sham as employees and government officials who spoke to Reuters have revealed that ODDY still exists in all but name, for as DDDY – no longer an Organisation, but now a Directorate – it has simply become an office of the Greek ...
In a Greek junkyard, signs red tape defeating cutsReuters
Greek car lot leaves vehicles to rot after economic snafuCatholic Online
Greek Government Agencies Almost Impossible To KillReason

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Greece faces more anti-austerity strikes, protests




ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A fresh wave of anti-austerity strikes has hit Greece, whose fractious governing coalition leaders are struggling to finalize further spending cuts for the coming two years.

State hospital doctors, school teachers and local authority employees have walked off the job to protest planned salary and funding cuts under the new €11.5 billion ($14.7 billion) package.


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Dutch vote in election set to be dominated by pro-European parties

Polls show Liberals and Labour ahead, dispelling concerns radical eurosceptics might gain sway in a core eurozone country

Mainstream pro-European parties look set to dominate the Dutch parliamentary election on Wednesday, dispelling concerns that radical eurosceptics might gain sway in a core eurozone country and push to quit the European Union or flout its budget rules.

But the Netherlands is likely to remain an awkward, tough-talking member of the single currency area, strongly resisting transfers to eurozone debtors, regardless of whether prime minister Mark Rutte's Liberals or the centre-left Labour party of Diederik Samsom win the most seats.

Opinion polls on Tuesday showed the Liberals and Labour on 36 seats each or the Liberals fractionally in front, with the hard-left Socialists and the far-right anti-immigration Freedom party fading in third and fourth place respectively.

That makes it more likely, though not certain, that Rutte, with the strongest international profile, will stay as prime minister.

Early morning commuters at Amsterdam's central train station were among the first to vote.

Maike Stukkeheim, an artist, said: "I had a hard time choosing who to vote for, in the end I voted Socialists. I don't particularly like them but I wanted to vote left. I think it's (the political landscape0 getting more and more rightwing, more conservative."

The final days of campaigning turned into a two-horse race between Rutte, 45, a former Unilever human resources manager dubbed the "Teflon" prime minister because of his ability to brush off disasters, and the energetic Samsom, 41, an ex-Greenpeace activist whose debating flair wowed voters.

Both parties have played down talk that they will end up in coalition, together with one or two smaller parties, but parliamentary arithmetic suggests this is the most probable outcome given a highly fragmented political landscape.

But about a fifth of the 12.5 million voters say they are undecided, leaving room for surprises.

The Netherlands is one of the few triple-A rated countries left in Europe and a longstanding ally of Germany in demanding strict adherence to fiscal discipline. The vote is seen as a barometer of northern European stamina both for austerity and for bailouts to keep the single currency bloc intact.

Thrifty Dutch taxpayers are frustrated by demands for belt-tightening at home, particularly the steady erosion of their cherished welfare state and pensions, while stumping up billions of euros to rescue what they see as profligate budget sinners.

"People have become negative about Europe because we give so much money to Greece and other countries and at the same time we are aware of the fact that we badly need money here to pay for schools, for the army and everything," Jaap Paauwe, a professor of management at Tilburg University, told Reuters.

With the focus on the eurozone crisis and its impact on the domestic economy, Europe took centre-stage during the campaign.

Employers' groups representing big businesses such as electronics giant Philips as well as small and medium-sized firms that form the backbone of the economy ran a campaign highlighting the benefits of EU membership.

The main employers' group hung a banner outside its head office in The Hague proclaiming: "Vote for Europe and your job."

In a pamphlet distributed to voters entitled "The Netherlands earns its living from Europe", business groups said the export-dependent economy would lose €90bn (£72bn) a year in sales without the euro and the EU's internal market.

In contrast, one of the biggest unions posted a cartoon on its website showing the electoral battleground as the last chance saloon with caricatures of Rutte and his allies stalking the saloon bars in the wild west.

Fears over Europe initially played in favour of the two main populist parties, particularly the Socialist party which a month ago was either leading or a close second in opinion polls.

The Socialists have waned largely because of the dismal showing of their leader Emile Roemer, a former teacher, in an almost nightly marathon of television debates.

Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam Freedom party which is calling for the Netherlands to quit the euro and the EU, has also lost support.

Some of his followers are disappointed that he squandered his real power as Rutte's chief ally in parliament when he brought down the government in April by refusing to support another package of budget cuts.


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Greece faces more anti-austerity strikes, protests

A fresh wave of anti-austerity strikes has hit Greece, whose fractious governing coalition leaders are struggling to finalize further spending cuts for the coming two years.

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Is the US election keeping Greece in the euro?


San Francisco Chronicle

Is the US election keeping Greece in the euro?
CNN
Athens, Greece (CNN) -- My first memory of anything to do with a U.S. presidential election lurks in the mists of my Athenian childhood. It was a warm June evening. My mother had taken me for a walk around the ancient stadium where the first modern-era ...
Greece faces more anti-austerity strikes, protestsBoston.com
Greece suffering "merciless lashing," — presidentSan Francisco Chronicle
Greece central govt budget gap falls, revenues struggleReuters
Sacramento Bee
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Dutch vote could affect how EU tackles debt crisis





The Netherlands is a founding member of the European Union and this trading nation has long been a staunch supporter of the bloc's open market, but many Dutch voters have begun questioning their role in the EU since the debt crisis erupted, feeling that their wealthy nation is paying too high a price to help bail out countries like Greece and Portugal.

The Dutch proportional representation system and splintered political landscape guarantee a coalition government and whichever party wins the most seats in the 150-seat Dutch House of Representatives will take the lead in choosing the parties to make up the next ruling coalition.

Rutte says the Netherlands faces a fundamental choice: the left's solution of spending on job-creation programs while government debt rises, or the austerity approach he has pursued with Merkel — bringing down the budget deficit while investing in roads and education to stimulate the economy.


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A look at the key leaders in Dutch election

Associated Press= THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A glance at the leaders of the main parties taking part in Wednesday's Dutch elections. —Mark Rutte, VVD: The nation's first ever leader from the free-market VVD party, Rutte lasted only 18 months in office before his right-wing minority coalition collapsed amid negotiations to hammer out an austerity package aimed at reining in the Dutch national debt. Throughout his term, Rutte was a staunch supporter of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her tough line with debt-ridden European Union nations like Greece and Portugal. Rutte, 45, is a former personnel manager with Dutch multinational Unilever who won his party's leadership in a bruising...

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Greeks eye 'war reparations' from Germany as markets await euro ruling


Telegraph.co.uk

Greeks eye 'war reparations' from Germany as markets await euro ruling
Telegraph.co.uk
The Greek government has dedicated four officials to raking over the archives from the period of German occupation, which lasted from 1941 to 1945, according to the newsgroup ekathimerini.com. “The matter remains pending," it quoted deputy finance ...
Euro Crisis Faces Tests in German Court, Greek InfightingSan Francisco Chronicle
New package of Greek budget cuts questioned by the TroikaFXstreet.com

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Spain digs in its heels over ECB's bailout conditions


The Spanish Prime Minister sparked concern across the eurozone yesterday after apparently ruling out a Greek-style bailout that would force Madrid to make specific budget cuts.



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Greece suffering "merciless lashing," – president


Greece suffering "merciless lashing," – president
Huffington Post
ATHENS, GreeceGreece's President Karolos Papoulias urged the country's creditors Tuesday to ease their demands for more austerity, amid reports that international debt inspectors were pushing government to make tougher concessions on benefits and ...


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