Euro jumps as 34 billion euro bailout agreed for Greece; new anti-nuclear political group formed in Japan; satellite images show increased activity at North Korean missile launch site; Yasser Arafat's body exhumed to test for polonium; Congo rebels set terms for withdrawal from Goma; and more
Top of the Agenda: Markets Jump After Eurozone Deal on Greek Aid
International lenders reached a deal (BBC) on Tuesday to overhaul Greece's faltering bailout program after weeks of wrangling, shooting the euro to a three-week high against the dollar and finally releasing a long-delayed 34.4 billion euro aid payment to the debt-ridden country. The package of measures is intended to reduce Greek debt by more than 40 billion euros, cutting it by 124 percent of economic output by 2020. Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Tuesday he asked German lawmakers (Reuters) to grant approval this week to the release of the aid tranches, and the European Court of Justice ruled that Europe's new permanent rescue fund doesn't violate EU law (FT), removing the legal threat overshadowing the European Stability Mechanism, a 500 billion euro bailout fund.
"Europe needs a Paris Club for European debt. Call it a consultative group if needed; hold it in Berlin, Amsterdam or Brussels (though it would be a shame not to take advantage of the French existing expertise and infrastructure). But the sooner these rules are established, the sooner we can see a return to voluntary capital flows," writes CFR's Robert Kahn on his blog Macro and Markets.
"The euro rescuers in Brussels, however, should not be taking taxpayers for fools. Saving the bankrupt state of Greece will cost a lot of money. Finance ministers need to stop hiding this fact, even if they only barely managed to scrape together a compromise. It is absolutely illusory that Greece will ever be in a position to pay back even a portion of its debts on its own," writes Bernd Riegert for Deutsche Welle.
"The government – and its supporters – are immensely relieved. The prime minister had laid his survival on the line. Securing the money and more time to cut Greece's debt will be seen as a vital vote of confidence from its lenders – a commitment to its continuing membership of the euro," writes Mark Lowen for the BBC.
Japan Forms New Political Group Ahead of Elections
The governor of Japan's Shiga prefecture, Yukiko Kada, announced a new political group Tuesday with a platform against nuclear power and more opportunities for women (JapanTimes). Nippon Mirai no To offers another third-party alternative to the emerging Japan Restoration Party, which is challenging the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan's December 16 election.
CFR's Sheila Smith outlines a strategy for the U.S.-Japan alliance in this memorandum.
NORTH KOREA: Satellite images show increased activity at a North Korean launch station for long-range missiles (Yonhap), months after a rocket that was launched from the same site disintegrated shortly after takeoff.