News

    Greece Nears Debt Write-Off Goal

    Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos arrives for a cabinet meeting at the parliament in Athens, Greece, March 8, 2012.
    Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos arrives for a cabinet meeting at the parliament in Athens, Greece, March 8, 2012.

    Greece is nearing its goal of getting the country's private lenders to eliminate $142 billion of the country's debt to help it avoid a default on its financial obligations later this month.

    A government official told news agencies Thursday in Athens that banks, pension funds and financial institutions holding three-quarters of the country's debt already had agreed to write off more than half the money the country owes them. Greece set a night-time deadline for completion of the debt relief deals.

    The Athens government is hoping for agreements covering 90 percent of its debt. But it has said that once the 75 percent participation rate was reached, it would impose the same terms on creditors who are unwilling to voluntarily accept steep losses on their investments.  
    European leaders and financial analysts predicted the Athens government would be successful in winning pledges from its creditors ahead of the deadline. Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was optimistic the debt relief deals would be completed.

    "Today at midnight, my fellow deputies, a historical procedure is to be completed, a huge, unprecedented,complicated operation that drastically cuts the Greek public debt. If all goes well, tomorrow we will be able to announce that the Greek people, the state, the next generations, will be relieved of 105 billion euros of debt, 50 percent of GDP," said Venizelos. "For the first time in decades, for the first time in the history of the country, we have come together as a parliament, as a government, without our partners and reduced the debt.  Historically, every year due to fiscal deficits, even this year, the debt has increased, and now we are making a reverse move which in reality will give back to the new generation, the next generations that we took from them by over-borrowing."

    Greece has adopted widespread austerity measures, cutting wages and pensions and eliminating thousands of government jobs, to meet the demands of international lenders so it could secure a new $172 billion bailout. It is the country's second rescue package in two years.

    Venizelos said the debt relief will ease financial pressures on Greece and the 17-nation euro currency bloc that has struggled to control Europe's two-year governmental debt crisis.

    "We are lightening the load of the country, we are allowing it to begin a new era. You ask if it was all easy and simple. No, it was all extremely difficult," said Venizelos. "And until the last minute we have been fighting to solve problems to face speculators in the international markets, to protect the country and for everyone in the eurozone to be protected which is vulnerable to speculative pressures, because this is an asymmetrical war."

    With Greece planning to pay back the remaining debt it owes to the financial institutions over an extended period, those that bought the Greek bonds ultimately will lose about three-fourths of their investments.

    Five small Greek pension funds holding about one percent of the bonds eligible for the write-down have rejected the deal, as have several investment funds and Germany's best-selling newspaper, Bild.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.