- - Sunday, November 11, 2012

DUBLIN — Official returns show that voters approved an amendment to insert stronger rights for children into Ireland’s constitution, with a narrower-than-expected 57.4 percent “yes” vote.

Only a third of registered voters participated in Saturday’s referendum, reflecting a low-key campaign.

All political parties and children’s charities supported the “yes” side.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Sunday the amendment will allow his government to pass laws that would make it easier for Irish children to be adopted, for courts to remove children from abusive homes and for children to testify in court.

Analysts say the unexpectedly high “no” vote reflects low turnout among “yes” voters, anti-government feeling, and a surprise Supreme Court ruling.

Ireland’s highest court found that the government’s information booklet on the children’s rights amendment was biased and violated referendum law.


Greeks to vote on 2013 budget

ATHENS — About 15,000 protesters converged on the Greek capital’s main square outside Parliament on Sunday, ahead of a vote by lawmakers on the 2013 budget that would once more cut pensions and salaries so Greece can qualify for its next vital batch of rescue loans.

Lawmakers were to vote at midnight or shortly after, and the legislation is expected to pass.

The vote comes four days after a separate bill for deep spending cuts and tax increases for 2013-14 squeaked past with a narrow majority in the 300-member Parliament following deep disagreements among the members of Greece’s three-party coalition government.

Approval of the austerity bill and the budget are key steps toward persuading Greece’s international creditors — the International Monetary Fund and the other European countries that use the euro — to release the next $40 billion installment of its bailout loans.

Without it, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said Greece will run out of euros Friday.


Voters choose president amid talk of bailout

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