There were more demonstrations in Athens following a vote of confidence for Prime Minister Papandreou by the Greek Parliament. Budget cuts, unpopular with citizens, are necessary to qualify for bailout money from the E. U. to avoid default on the country’s debt. The world’s oldest democracy is still trying to find more cuts in order to secure a rescue package by the end of June in order to extricate itself from a debt crisis which has its citizenry calling for new leaders and a new government.
Markets up on anticipation of vote
In anticipation of the pro-Papandreou vote, the Dow rose by 110 points yesterday, or almost 1%. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were also higher. With so many countries on the brink of default, strength from Greece, in the form of the confidence vote and a workable plan to solve budget woes, gives world markets an element of certainty that other countries will also be able to survive difficulties, according to CNN Money.
Eruption disrupts flights
Almost a half a world away, travelers in Australia are experiencing delays caused by volcanic ash fallout from Chile. For the past week, a huge ash cloud has been circumnavigating the globe, according to Bloomberg. Now in Australia, the cloud has disrupted air travel for the past four days with flight cancellations affecting the Melbourne and Sydney airports. Flights resumed yesterday on limited schedules. In particular, Qantas has been hard hit. The company halted trading in its shares pending an audit of the impact of the ash-induced flight cancellations on its revenue.
No budget, no pay
An intended consequence of California’s year-old Proposition 58 is that state lawmakers’ pay can be docked for each day a state budget is late. The California controller, John Chaing, faced off against lawmakers in a disagreement over their pay. While the lawmakers submitted a timely budget, Chaing found that the budget was unbalanced – by $1.85 billion – and therefore he would withhold pay from legislators until they could vote on a balanced one. The controller pointed to state laws which require a balanced budget, according to the USA Today, and holds a position that the budget submitted on time was an illegal budget.
Counterfeit goods crackdown
An antifraud crackdown against Chinese manufacturers near Florence, Italy netted $36 million in seized assets. Acting to stop counterfeit merchandise from being produced, Italian authorities targeted 70 leather and textile companies in Florence, Prato and Pisa, according to Wall Street Journal reports. Approximately 238 million euros are reported to have been sent from Italy to China without paying Italian taxes. The number of Italian-owned garment producers in Prato has dropped by half in the past 10 years while Chinese makers have increased to 4,000. By using undocumented workers and predatory pricing, Chinese businesses have come under scrutiny for tax evasion and illegal money transfers by Italian authorities, according to the Journal report.