Thursday, June 30, 2011

Greece riots seize capital...Athens

Greece fended off a bankruptcy that would have roiled global markets and threatened the future of the euro when lawmakers backed controversial austerity measures in the face of violent protests.More than 100 people were injured.Investors cheered the bill - which aims to cut spending and raise taxes by Euro 28 billion (USD 40 billion) and raise Euro billion (USD 71 billion) in privatizations over five years - but, in Athens, the mood was dark.

In a haze of tear gas, protesters hurled anything they could find at riot police and tried to blockade the Parliament building.A Greek default would threaten the viability of the euro, the EU's common currency, and send shock waves through global markets similar to those that kicked off the global financial meltdown after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

While world markets rose on the news that the bill passed, Greece is not yet out of the woods.The bill - along with another that must be passed Thursday on implementing the austerity package - will release the next Euro 12 billion (USD 17 billion) installment of a Euro 110 billion (USD 157 billion) international bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker indicated after the vote that Greece would get the fifth batch of its bailout loans.

But many Greeks complain they have already paid dearly in a year that has seen public sector salaries and

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