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Daily Digest 8/8 - Greek Gov't Yet To Finalize Budget Cuts, Germany's Judgement Day

Wednesday, August 8, 2012, 10:47 AM


Greece Considers Labor Pool For Some Public Workers

Greece may have to place thousands of public workers in a special labor pool at reduced pay to help achieve as much as €4 billion ($4.95 billion) in spending cuts demanded by international creditors, a politically risky move for the fragile coalition government.

Athens has yet to finalize a significant amount of the cuts that are part of an overall €11.5 billion austerity package demanded by international creditors, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said Tuesday, and the government is considering setting up a special labor reserve pool for public-sector workers to help meet that goal.

Greek govt yet to finalise spending cuts

The government has to cut 11.5 billion euros off expenditure over the next two years in order to unlock the next instalment of its 130 billion euro bailout package -- the second for the cash-stripped country in two years.

The troika's report will determine whether the indebted country will receive the much-needed sum.
Yesterday, Stournaras also said that the government decided to accelerate its privatisation programme, by adopting a new law "containing 77 administrative acts aiming to speed up privatisations."

DeKalb School Board cuts Special Olympics

But DeKalb County's school board is out of money and, as part of the severe budget cuts that were approved in June -- but still coming to light six weeks later -- the board is shutting down almost its entire Special Olympics program, the second biggest one in the state, in order to devote its limited resources to Special Ed classrooms.

Police cuts, rumors of easy targets fuel Bay Area burglary spike

Bay Area cities have seen double-digit jumps in home burglaries during the first half of 2012 as a storm of such factors as fewer cops on the streets and rumors of easy targets have collided to boost thievery.
The biggest spike is in Palo Alto, with a 63 percent jump in home burglaries, but Oakland has seen a 33 percent hike, and the surge in San Jose is 39 percent.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed last week called for data on the spike and an explanation of what his police chief was doing about it. In both San Jose and Oakland, with fewer officers able to respond to calls, police are focusing on homicides or rapes instead, while the reaction to burglaries gets lower priority.

Refinery fire could kick up gas prices by 30 cents a gallon (California)

The fire at Chevron Corp.’s Richmond oil refinery is having an immediate impact on spot prices for the state's expensive blend of unfinished gasoline, sending them higher by as much as 30 cents a gallon over what it cost a day earlier, according to fuel price experts. A similar rise in retail prices should follow quickly, the experts said, but for how long was unclear.

Spanish unions tell king bailout would be suicidal

In a statement issued after a near hour-long meeting with the king on Tuesday, the General Workers Union and Workers Commissions said they are opposed to another rescue package because its conditions would likely throw the country further into recession and increase the hardship for Spaniards already suffering from austerity measure and reforms take over the past two years.

The statement said that the recent public sector cutbacks and the labor and financial reforms ""were suicidal for our country (and) were putting a brake on possible economic recovery and job creation."

Rare-earth mining in China comes at a heavy cost for local villages

The foul waters of the tailings pond contain all sorts of toxic chemicals, but also radioactive elements such as thorium which, if ingested, cause cancers of the pancreas and lungs, and leukaemia. "Before the factories were built, there were just fields here as far as the eye can see. In the place of this radioactive sludge, there were watermelons, aubergines and tomatoes," says Li Guirong with a sigh.

Europe: Germany’s judgment day

The date for Germany’s day of judgment on the eurozone’s €500bn rescue fund is fixed. On September 12, eight scarlet-robed judges will solemnly file into their courtroom in the city of Karlsruhe – former seat of the grand dukes of Baden, on the east bank of the Rhine – and announce its fate.

EU will not lower deficit target for Greece

The European Commission spokesman Oliver Bailly assured on Tuesday that the deficit target for Greece will not be lowered and that it is expected that the Hellenic Republic will be able to reduce its debt to 120% by the end of 2020.

U.S. July deficit $71 billion, CBO estimates

The U.S. government will record a budget deficit of $71 billion in July, the Congressional Budget Office estimated on Tuesday, bringing the total shortfall to $975 billion for the first 10 months of fiscal 2012. The deficit for July was $58 billion less than the shortfall posted a year ago, while receipts were $24 billion higher. For the fiscal year through July 2012, the deficit is $125 billion less than for the same period in fiscal 2011. The U.S. Treasury is due to report the official July budget numbers on Friday.

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