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Greek Cliff: Athens Lawmakers Pass New Austerity Bill In 11th Hour



ATHENS - The Greek parliament early Thursday adopted a new round of austerity measures that are required for Greece to receive the next installment of a crucial international economic bailout, reports CNN.

The new set of cuts was approved by 153 lawmakers, with 128 opposed the measure, and 18 abstentions. As Greece is heading for a sixth consecutive year of recession, further austerity has unleashed anger among Greeks, reports BBC News.

More than 70,000 people took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday, and clashed with the police as lawmakers prepared to vote.

Its supporters, however, say these new measures were needed for the payout of the next international bailout installment of 31.5 billion euros (about $40.2 billion), which the government desperately needs to stay in operation.

[rebelmouse-image 27085987 alt="""" original_size="640x418" expand=1]

(Greek Parliament in Athens - George Voudouris)

Last month, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras warned the country would run out of money by mid-November and descend "into chaos" if it did not receive the new installment.

A vote Sunday on the 2013 budget will also be decisive if Greece wants to secure the bailout funds. Most observers believe the new budget will pass.

The austerity bill sets out reforms and fiscal measures worth 13.5 billion euros over the next two years. It is expected to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 and cut pensions on average between 5% and 15%.

Some workers from the public sector will lose as much as 30% of their salaries.

According to French business daily Les Echos, labor deregulation should also affect lawyers and engineers.

European stocks rose early Thursday, buoyed by corporate earnings news and the passage of a Greek austerity bill. All core equity markets were trading higher this morning but Greece's ASE Composite was down 0.9%, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The euro was little changed against the dollar. "The euro/dollar stabilized overnight, helped by the Greek austerity vote, but it is clear that there are still major problems in Greece reaching a solvent situation," said Lloyds Banking Wholesale Banking & Markets, in a note to clients.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Turkey-Israel Relations? It's Complicated — But The Gaza War Is Different

Turkish President Erdogan has now called on the International Criminal Court to go after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for war crimes, as the clash between the two regional powers has reached a new low.

Photo of ​Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walking

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Elias Kassem

Since the arrival two decades ago of now President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s relationship with Israel has been a mix of deep ideological conflict and cover-your-eyes realpolitik.

On the one hand, Erdogan has positioned himself as a kind of global spokesman for the Palestinian cause. His Justice and Development Party has long publicly and financially supported Hamas, which shares similar roots in the 20th-century Muslim Brotherhood movement.

And yet, since 2001 when Erdogan first came to power, trade between Turkey and Israel has multiplied from $1.41 to $8.9 billion in 2022. Moreover, both countries see major potential in transporting newly discovered Israeli natural gas to Europe, via Turkey.

The logic of shared interests clashes with the passions and posturing of high-stakes geopolitics. Diplomatic relations have been cut off, then restored, and since October 7, the countries’ respective ambassadors have been recalled, with accusations flying between Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Still, over the past 48 hours, Turkish-Israeli relations may have hit an all-time low.

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