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Greek parliament approves austerity package

CNN – Feb 12, 2012
By Ben Rooney @CNNMoneyMarkets February 12, 2012: 6:39 PM ET As protests rage in Athens, Greek lawmakers have approved austerity cuts that are key in order for the nation to secure additional bailout funds.
Amid a growing public backlash, the Greek Parliament voted Sunday to approve a package of austerity reforms, marking a key step toward securing a second bailout for the debt-riddled nation.

The vote clears one of three hurdles the Greek government must overcome to qualify for a second bailout worth €130 billion from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, collectively known as the troika.

The reform program includes job and salary cuts for government workers, pension reforms and other measures to reduce government spending.

Greece needs the money to avoid a potential default on a €14.5 billion bond redemption in March.

Greek lawmakers approve austerity bill as Athens burns 

Reuters Canada – Feb 12
By Harry Papachristou and Yannis Behrakis

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s parliament approved a deeply unpopular austerity bill Monday to secure a second EU/IMF bailout and avoid national bankruptcy, as buildings burned across central Athens and violence spread around the country.

Cinemas, cafes, shops and banks were set ablaze in central Athens and black-masked protesters fought riot police outside parliament before lawmakers voted on the package that demands deep pay, pension and job cuts – the price of a 130 billion euro bailout needed to keep the country afloat.

State television reported the violence spread to the tourist islands of Corfu and Crete, the northern city of Thessaloniki and towns in central Greece. Police said 150 shops were looted in the capital and 34 buildings set ablaze.

Altogether 199 of the 300 lawmakers backed the bill, but 43 deputies from the two parties in the government of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, the socialists and conservatives, rebelled by voting against. They were immediately expelled by their parties.

Greece passes crucial bailout vote as country burns

Telegraph.co.uk – 2 hours ago

The Greek parliament approved a deeply unpopular austerity bill to secure a second $130bn (£110bn) bailout and avoid a messy default after a day of street battles between police and protesters left Athens in flames.