Greek MPs ratify Macedonia name change in historic vote

Greek lawmakers ratify a landmark name change deal with neighbouring Macedonia, handing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a diplomatic triumph and bucking street protests to end one of the world’s most stubborn diplomatic disputes. A narrow majority of 153 MPs in the 300-seat chamber approved the deal, with several independent lawmakers supporting Tsipras’ leftist Syriza party. IMAGES of the Greek Parliament and SOUNDBITE of the House Speaker Nikos Voutsis reading results in Greek

Throwing Stones & Molotov Cocktails: Greek Debt Crisis (Dispatch 2)

Clashes broke out in Greece on July 15 during demonstrations in Syntagma Square that were organized by labor unions, anarchist groups, the Greek Communist Party, and the youth wing of the governing leftist party, Syriza. The protests took place as the Greek parliament was set to vote on a $96 billion deal that the country’s government had negotiated with its European creditors.

Tensions flared when demonstrators began throwing stones and Molotov cocktails toward policemen, at which point officers responded by deploying stun grenades and tear gas. Authorities later reported that more than 50 protesters were arrested.

Watch “Yes or No? Greece Again on the Brink: Greek Debt Crisis (Dispatch 1)” – http://bit.ly/1Sq48Sg

Read “Greek Lawmakers Approve Bailout as Angry Protesters Clash With Riot Police” – http://bit.ly/1LnPBWX

Read “Greece’s Vital Bailout Vote Is Splitting Syriza” – http://bit.ly/1HBt6sW

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Yes or No? Greece Again on the Brink: Greek Debt Crisis (Dispatch 1)

For the past five years, Greece has been struggling with a financial crisis that has led the country to the brink of an exit from the euro and an economic collapse.

A huge bailout program of 240 billion euros ($266bn), borrowed from European countries and the International Monetary Fund, has let Greece survive for now, yet cuts and austerity measures have ensued.

Since last January, the new Syriza government has pledged to renegotiate the terms of the bailout program with its international creditors, promising an end to austerity. On June 26, after five months of negotiations, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a referendum, calling the country to vote on whether or not to accept the new bailout proposal by its lenders.

Given the expiry date of the funding program just a few days later — and a lack of cash in the country — Greek banks were temporarily shut, a capital control was imposed, and people started queuing at ATMs to withdraw cash with a limit of 60 euros per day.

For many, the choice between “Yes” or “No” in Sunday’s vote has been interpreted as “Yes to Europe” or “No to austerity.”

VICE News took to the streets of Athens in an effort to understand what this critical moment for the country might mean for its position within Europe and the world, and most of all, for the Greek people.

Watch “Death Boats to Greece: Europe or Die” – http://bit.ly/1H3Tldb

Read “Greece Offers Last Ditch Bailout Plan Before Clock Runs Out at Midnight” – http://bit.ly/1IS5y2K

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Austerity and Anger: Protests Against Syriza’s EU Deal

On January 25, the leftist party Syriza emerged victorious in Greece’s national elections. Days later, Alex Tsipras, the new 40-year-old prime minister, formed a coalition government with a strong mandate to renegotiate Greece’s bailout terms and reduce its large debt pile, built up over the five-year financial crisis.

Tsipras and his team then engaged in bitter negotiations with the country’s international lenders. Athens sought to scrap the harsh measures attached to the bailout by describing the plight of austerity-hit Greeks as a “humanitarian crisis.” On February 20, a deal was clinched. The country’s loan agreement was extended by four months, giving Greece more breathing space to negotiate a better pact in the future, but also forcing Syriza to climb down on its pre-election promises.

Despite the deal, Greece is still broke and needs European loans to avoid bankruptcy. The new government’s popularity is slowly declining and uncertainty as to how Syriza will live up to its many promises remains.

Facing backlash from its own supporters, Syriza’s deal with the European Union has sparked angry demonstrations in Athens. VICE News attended the protests and spoke to people disillusioned with the current situation and the party’s pre-election pledges.

Watch “Greece’s Young Anarchists (Part 2)” – http://bit.ly/1xzrXm8

Read “Debt Deal Puts Greece’s New Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a Tough Spot” – http://bit.ly/19FTaIY

Read “Anger at Greece’s Threat to Unleash Wave of Migrants and ‘Jihadists’ if Europe Leaves it in Crisis” – http://bit.ly/1FaTwUj

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