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 merica's headline INFLATION rate, including food and energy, rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in May fro

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Join date : 2011-04-28

PostSubject: merica's headline INFLATION rate, including food and energy, rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in May fro   Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:48 am

In GREECE trade unions held a general strike and tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Athens to protest against forthcoming austerity measures. George Papandreou, the prime minister, reshuffled his government and sought a vote of confidence to get the measures passed. With negotiations continuing over a second bail-out package for Greece, Standard & Poor's, a rating agency, downgraded the country's long-term sovereign debt to just above default status; it now has the lowest credit-rating of any country covered by S&P.

ITALY'S government was trounced in four referendums, on nuclear power, legal immunity for government ministers and two on water privatisation. The setback for Silvio Berlusconi came just weeks after the prime minister had seen his favoured candidate defeated in a mayoral election in Milan, his home town.

Robert Gates, America's departing defence secretary, attacked the lack of commitment from some European members of NATO, describing the organisation as a "two-tiered alliance" with diminishing abilities to mount operations. Mr Gates complained that "while every alliance member voted for the Libya mission...fewer than a third have been willing to participate in the strike mission."

Police authorities in China and Taiwan were among those of several countries that co-operated to bust a SOUTH-EAST ASIAN crime ring.

Nearly 600 suspects were arrested, 177 of them in Indonesia alone. Most were Taiwanese nationals. The criminals used an array of scams to defraud their victims, who were mostly ethnic Chinese residents in six countries.

MYANMAR'S army engaged one of the country's largest rebel militias in pitched battles in the north-east, where China is building a series of vast hydropower projects. Most of the fighting took place just 30km from the Chinese border. Thousands of civilians fled, most of them ethnic Kachins, and many sought refuge across the border.

A court in Jakarta found ABU BAKAR BASYIR guilty of terrorism-related charges and sentenced him to 15 years in prison. The radical Islamic cleric has previously been blamed for a number of bomb plots across Indonesia. He was jailed for conspiring in the Bali attack in 2002, but the Supreme Court eventually quashed that conviction.

Ayman al-Zawahiri took over as AL-QAEDA'S new leader following the killing of Osama bin Laden by American forces in Pakistan. The organisation's former number two vowed to continue its JIHAD against America and Israel.

At least 8,500 SYRIANS fled to Turkey after government troops backed by helicopters and tanks entered the restive town of Jisr al-Shughour, near the border. Demonstrations continued to spread across the country. Turkey castigated President Bashar Assad's regime. But the Russian and Chinese governments seemed likely to block a UN Security Council resolution condemning the crackdown.

The interim government in TUNISIA said that Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the ousted president, will stand trial in absentia on charges that range from conspiring against the state to drug-trafficking.

Consumer prices in CHINA rose at the quickest pace in three years, by 5.5% in May from a year earlier. Politically sensitive food prices surged by 11.7%. The People's Bank of China increased the reserve requirement for banks for the sixth time this year, the latest step in the central bank's effort to restrain credit and cool the economy. Separate data showed a sharp fall in new loans issued by Chinese banks in May compared with April.

America's headline INFLATION rate, including food and energy, rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in May from April (or by 3.6% from a year earlier). Excluding food and energy, prices increased by 0.3%, the fastest clip since July 2008.

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