Taxpayers angry about new revenue measures
ATHENS | Greeks seething after two years of belt-tightening reacted in anger on Thursday about a new round of tax rises and spending cuts worth some $5.4 billion, which they said would again hit honest taxpayers hardest.
Coming on top of a 10 to 15 percent reduction on pensions and salaries over the last year and a half, the raft of new measures announced by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos will cut average earnings by another 3 to 4 percent, analysts said.
People on the streets of Athens, who have protested for weeks over the government’s plan to carve out savings of $40 billion by 2015, were livid at the measures they said once again failed to tackle rampant tax evasion and corruption.
Bombs kill 40 in Shiite neighborhoods
BAGHDAD | Four bombs ripped through Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad Thursday evening, killing at least 40 people in the worst violence the capital has seen in months, Iraqi officials said. An American civilian contractor working to improve education in Iraq was killed in a separate attack.
The violence underscored the fragile nature of the security gains in Iraq at a time when American forces are preparing to withdraw by the end of this year.
The first three bombs went off in quick succession in a southwestern Baghdad neighborhood shortly after 7 p.m. One targeted a Shiite mosque, another exploded just outside a popular market, while the third went off inside the market where people were doing their evening shopping ahead of the Muslim weekend, Iraqi police officials said.
The officials said 34 people died and 82 others were injured in the three blasts. An official from Baghdad’s Yarmouk hospital confirmed the casualty figures.
President cancels new law after massive protests
DAKAR | Senegal’s president agreed late Thursday to cancel a proposed change to the country’s constitution that would have paved the way for his son to take power, amid massive street demonstrations marking the most serious challenge to the leader’s decade-long rule.
President Abdoulaye Wade instructed his minister of justice to intervene in front of parliament, whose 150 members had been meeting since morning to deliberate the controversial amendment. The new law would have created the post of vice president, a departure from Senegal’s European-style government, which has a president and a prime minister.