|Thursday, 21 February 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-11-19
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Obama Picks Health SecretaryBarack Obama has chosen former U.S. Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle as his top official to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, two Democratic sources said on Wednesday.
As Health and Human Services secretary, Daschle will play a central role in the president-elect's plans to extend healthcare coverage to the 47 million Americans, nearly one-sixth of the population, who lack medical insurance.
Daschle, of South Dakota, was an early supporter of Obama's, encouraging the first-term senator from Illinois to make his presidential run.
He is currently head of Obama's health-care policy group as the president-elect prepares to take office on January 20.
Daschle would be a high-profile pick to head an agency that oversees existing healthcare programs like Medicare, which are expected to see their costs balloon as the U.S. population ages.
Daschle, who was elected to the Senate in 1986, was the top Democrat in the Senate between 1994 and 2004, and majority leader when Democrats controlled the chamber between 2001 and 2003. He was a member of the House of Representatives for eight years before becoming a senator.
Since losing his re-election bid in 2004, Daschle has worked as a public-policy advisor for the law firm Alston and Bird.
News item: 15748
 Political Conflict over â¬28bn PackageDay two of the parliamentary debate on the draft-bill aspiring to boost market liquidity and ease the repercussions of the global financial crisis was also marked by an acrimonious wrangling between the Finance Minister and the opposition.
Giorgos Alogoskoufis termed the draft-bill as necessary for the economy, since it guarantees both the loanees and a sufficient liquidity framework, enhancing, at the same time, development initiatives. He also blasted the main opposition party (PASOK) for putting forward deadlock and shallow proposals. "The implementation of the economic policy requires a high sense of responsibility. We all desire more flexibility, more resources to meet the needs, which are mostly justifiable. We cannot, however, turn a blind eye to the restrictions we have, to the economy's capabilities and to the international environment we are in," said Alogoskoufis.
The Finance Minister also claimed that the European Commission's forecast on the Greek economy's growth were better than the average Eurozone. He explained that growth is expected to stand at 2.5 percent in 2009, inflation will drop to 3.5 percent from 4.4 percent in 2008, fiscal deficits will go from 2.4 percent down to 2.2 percent in 2009, while real wages will rise by 3.4 percent.
PASOK, on its part, demanded the draft-bill be repealed, as it enhances the bankers and not market liquidity. PASOK deputy and section head for economy Louka Katseli said: "You are out of place and time, and your claims prove that you have not realised the extent of the problem. You are not suggesting a way out. You are offering liquidity to banks, you are covering their current obligations and we are being called to pay. You have weighed down the middle class, which constitutes the economy's backbone."
Tensions also ran high between Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Legas and PASOK lawmaker Evangelos Venizelos. The latter slammed both the government and the Prime Minister for being incapable of addressing a crisis.
Legas replied, "The measures went public from the very first moment, they were discussed and are now being discussed with the Bank of Greece, the institutional guarantor of the nation's banking system."
Aleka Papariga, secretary of the Greek Communist Party, said that her party would vote against the draft-bill, "because it offers money to the banks, and it proposes another package of measures targeting on state investments that serve the real social needs." Papariga then went to argue, "The 28 billion euros are not going to be channelled into the loanees, but the bulk of it will be given to the banks to cover their problems with their subsidiaries in other countries."
Branding the draft-bill as "provocation and a huge scandal," SYRIZA deputy Panagiotis Lafazanis said that the House was taking part in a meaningless conflict over the package of the 28 billion euros. "It is beyond our [SYRIZA] comprehension seeing the taxpayers being looted so that the shareholders and the banks' managers can be protected. What the nation needs is a new progressive credit policy. Five billion euros could do, if the government really wanted the state to control the entire financial system."
News item: 15749