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Troika Inspectors Arrive In Greece To Seek Difficult Austerity Cuts



Inspectors from the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund arrived in Athens on Friday to meet with Greek authorities, who hope to convince their international creditors that Athens should receive the final installment of 31.5 billion euros in bailout money.

Greece is facing a difficult economic situation as it struggles to implement the 14 billion euros in austerity cuts required by its European partners.

The Associated Press reports that Spain and Italy's economic difficulties are pressuring Greece to slash spending even more if it wants to avoid leaving the Eurozone as the Euro debt crisis deepens. The cuts target pensions, salaries, benefits and government jobs.

On Thursday Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met with E.U. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, according to the BBC. Samaras said his government would do everything to get Greece back on track but Barroso was even more pressing. "Words are not enough. Actions are much more important," he said. Greece is behind schedule on its deficit reduction plan.

The first two bailouts were worth 100 billion and 130 billion euros. International creditors are skeptic that Athens will be able to meet its deficit reduction commitments, as Greece's economy is expected to contract by 7% in 2012. This is Greece's fifth year of recession.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

What Are Iran's Real Intentions? Watch What The Houthis Do Next

Three commercial ships traveling through the Red Sea were attacked by missiles launched by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels, while the U.S. Navy shot down three drones. Tensions that are linked to the ongoing war in Gaza conflict and that may serve as an indication as to Iran's wider intentions.

photo of Raisi of iran speaking in parliament

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the Iranian parliament in Tehran.

Icana News Agency via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — It’s a parallel war that has so far claimed fewer victims and attracted less public attention than the one in Gaza. Yet it increasingly poses a serious threat of escalating at any time.

This conflict playing out in the international waters of the Red Sea, a strategic maritime route, features the U.S. Navy pitted against Yemen's Houthi rebels. But the stakes go beyond the Yemeni militants — with the latter being supported by Iran, which has a hand in virtually every hotspot in the region.

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Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the Houthis have been making headlines, despite Yemen’s distance from the Gaza front. Starting with missiles launched directed toward southern Israel, which were intercepted by U.S. forces. Then came attacks on ships belonging, or suspected of belonging, to Israeli interests.

On Sunday, no fewer than three commercial ships were targeted by ballistic missiles in the Red Sea. The missiles caused minor damage and no casualties. Meanwhile, three drones were intercepted and destroyed by the U.S. Navy, currently deployed in full force in the region.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for these attacks, stating their intention to block Israeli ships' passage for as long as there was war in Gaza. The ships targeted on Sunday were registered in Panama, but at least one of them was Israeli. In the days before, several other ships were attacked and an Israeli cargo ship carrying cars was seized, and is still being held in the Yemeni port of Hodeida.

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