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New Belgian government takes office with cost-cutting agenda BRUSSELS: Belgium's new centre-right government took office on Saturday, promising to raise the retirement age and slash costs by about 8 billion euros ($10 billion) to balance the national budget by 2018 and cut the country's debt.Charles Michel, 38, the youngest Belgian prime minister since 1841, and his team of 13 ministers and four state secretaries swore an oath in front of King Philippe before proceeding to parliament for their first cabinet meeting.Michel's four-party coalition took office about five months after the parliamentary election in the linguistically divided country, which set a world record 18 months of political deadlock after the 2010 vote.It is different from previous governments in a number of ways: it is the first to include the Flemish separatist N-VA party, the first to exclude the Socialists since 1988 and the first to include just one French-speaking party since 1958.The coalition was formed after the separatist N-VA ...

Greek PM narrowly wins parliamentary confidence vote ATHENS: Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras late Friday won a parliamentary confidence vote, which he called in a bid to rally support, but which provided him with only a narrow majority.The conservative prime minister secured the support of 155 of the 300 elected deputies, with not a single independent or opposition member backing him.Out of the 288 deputies who voted, 131 opposed the confidence motion and two abstained. The result throws into doubt the government's ...
Three civilians killed in Ukraine's Donetsk KIEV: Three Ukrainian civilians died overnight in mortar fire around Donetsk airport, where government forces held out against pro-Russian rebels in the latest deadly violation of a ceasefire, officials said Friday.The Donetsk mayor's office said the clashes, in which five people were wounded, lasted nine hours.A Ukrainian military spokesman said government troops remained in control of the air hub, which was briefly seized by rebels in May, then recaptured.A truce in the six-month conflict signed ...
Trade, rights on agenda as China's Li visits Germany BERLIN: China's Premier Li Keqiang will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, the third top-level talks this year between the export powers, amid growing disquiet over human rights and business rules.Berlin and Beijing say they are seeking to bolster their already massive trade and investment links by deepening their governments' strategic partnership at a third joint cabinet meeting and in bilateral business talks.Merkel will roll out the red carpet and receive Li with full ...
Greek unemployment eases to 26.4pc in July ATHENS: Greece's jobless rate eased to 26.4 percent in July from 26.7 percent in June, Greek statistics agency ELSTAT said on Thursday.July's reading was the lowest since December 2012 when unemployment stood at the same level.The record high was set in September 2013, when unemployment reached 27.9 percent.At more than double the euro zone average of 11.5 percent in July, Greece's unemployment rate remains near record highs despite signs of recovery in the economy, which ...
Italy PM Renzi wins confidence vote on labour reform proposal ROME: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi won a confidence vote early on Thursday on a labour reform package that is a central part of his government's push to reform the chronically stagnant economy.Renzi won the vote in the upper house Senate 165 for and 111 against. He would have had to step down if he had lost. Stonewalling by opposition parties delayed the vote, expected in the afternoon, late into the night.The legislation now must ...
Scottish nationalists must rule out repeat referendum: UK minister GLASGOW: Scottish nationalists must rule out holding another referendum on independence to prevent damaging uncertainty hanging over the future of the United Kingdom, Britain's Scotland minister will say on Sunday.After a close fought campaign Scots voted last month by 55 to 45 percent to reject independence and keep the 307-year-old union with England intact, prompting the resignation of First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party Alex Salmond."We settled the independence question in a ...


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
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