World News Brief, Wednesday February 22

Greece gets its next bailout – but do the same problems remain? Greek debt to drop from 160% to 120.5% of GDP; Iran warns of pre-emptive strike is national interests threatened; Americans see Iran as 'top enemy'; Whole classrooms of school children forced to fight in Somalia; South Korea conducts provoctive military drill; Burma junta lifts campaigning restrictions; and more

Top of the Agenda: Eurozone Approves New Greek Bailout

Eurozone finance ministers agreed to a new $172 billion bailout package (WSJ) for Greece early this morning, along with a 53 percent write-down of Greek debt by the country's private sector creditors. The plan is expected to reduce Greece's debt burden from 160 percent to 120.5 percent of GDP by 2020. The European Central Bank also agreed to indirectly help Greece by distributing future profits on its holdings of Greek bonds bought on the secondary market. Under the agreement, the European Commission would have an "enhanced and permanent presence" in Athens to monitor the country's implementation of strict austerity measures.


"Now here we are, nearly two years later, and this second deal is plagued by many of the same failings and faulty assumptions of the first. That means this latest bailout may not be a real solution to the Greek debt crisis, but merely another stopgap that prevents an immediate crisis while postponing more tough decisions to a later date," writes TIME's Michael Schuman.

"In truth, Greece has of course been bankrupt for a long time. The country doesn't need debt forgiveness of 70 percent, it needs a 100 percent debt cut if it is ever to recover. This sick cow won't be producing any milk for years to come," writes Der Spiegel's Christian Rickens.

"We cannot force Greece to leave the eurozone. So we have to make it clear to the people of Europe: this is going to be expensive, for a long time. The tactic of aid packages has to be ended, immediately. We have to properly help the country to reinvent itself. There needs to be incentives to invest. People in the development business call it 'state building,'" writes Deutsche Welle's Henrik Böhme.



South Korea Holds Military Drill

The South Korean Marine Corps conducted a live-fire military drill near the disputed Yellow Sea border with North Korea, even as Pyongyang threatened retaliation over Seoul's "premeditated military provocation" (al-Jazeera).

This CFR Crisis Guide offers a detailed overview of the dispute between North and South Korea.

BURMA: The military-backed civilian government lifted restrictions on political campaigning (AP) for the country's upcoming by-elections after complaints by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy.



Iran warns of pre-emptive strike; Americans declare it greatest enemy

Islamist militants force 'whole classes' of Somali children to fight

US & Mexico to jointly regulate offshore drilling


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on