NEWS

Greece set to vote implementation bill

Greek lawmakers are set to pass a bill Thursday to fast-track fresh austerity measures demanded by creditors, following two days of rioting in Athens that left more than 300 people injured and 50 stores damaged.

Greece?s international creditors have insisted that Greece back an austerity package and the associated implementation bill in return for giving more money to the country. On Wednesday, parliament approved the five-year 28 billion euro ($40 billion) package of spending cuts and tax increases, leaving details of the cuts to be approved Thursday.

Once, and if, Thursday?s bill to implement the austerity measures is cleared, the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund will be in a position to release the 12 billion euro ($17 billion) that is due from last year?s package of rescue loans for Greece. Many of the measures outlined will kick in almost immediately.

No major protests were planned Thursday, and power company workers called off a strike which had caused days of rolling blackouts. Ferry services to the Greek islands from greater Athens ports were canceled for a third day, however, due to a port workers? strike.

A civil servants? union said it would stage a central Athens rally later Thursday. [AP]