Greek PM faces no confidence vote putting austerity measures in doubt; Ash clouds again ground planes in Australia; Obama to announces Afghanistan drawdown Wednesday evening – big or small?; Britain vows to stay the course in Libya despite civilian deaths; Sudan rebel attacks show faultlines to remain even after secession; and more
Top of the Agenda: Greek PM Faces Confidence Vote
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou faces a critical parliamentary vote of confidence (WSJ) today. It will likely determine whether the Greek parliament will vote later this month for austerity measures considered necessary for further financial aid from the EU and IMF. A defeat for Papandreou (Bloomberg) could lead to fresh elections, potentially triggering a renegotiation of the budget and jeopardizing Greece's chances for further financial assistance.
Eurozone finance ministers agreed yesterday to provide the next €12 million tranche of an existing €110 million EU-IMF Greek bailout package if Greece passes strict austerity measures to rein in its budget deficit. But the IMF complicated matters today (FT), saying it will block the next installment unless European officials offer concrete assurances that they will provide Greece with a second bailout. A new bailout is likely to include a voluntary rollover of Greece's sovereign bond maturities by private creditors, a move Fitch Ratings has indicated would qualify as a default (Reuters).
Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman argues that there is not a strong common identity to support the single currency.
The euro is becoming an ever greater threat to Europe's common future, says Der Spiegel.
The private sector suffers, but not a single Greek public servant has been laid off, says Takis Michas in a Wall Street Journal editorial.
PACIFIC RIM: Ash Cloud Causes Major Disruptions for Australia
Hundreds of flights were grounded (BBC) in Melbourne and Sydney as more ash cloud from a Chilean volcano drifts across the country. Delays are expected for at least the next forty-eight hours.
Japan: The country recorded its second-biggest trade deficit (JapanTimes) on record, at 853.7 billion yen, a result of falling exports after the March earthquake and tsunami.