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Eurozone leaders reach a compromise deal that could secure Greece a third bailout

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By NewsGram Staff Writer
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Brussels: After a marathon 15 hours of talks, the longest EU summit on record, Eurozone leaders have reached a compromise deal that could secure Greece a third bailout.

Confirming the deal, Charles Michel, the Belgium prime minister, tweeted the word “Agreement”.  Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council confirmed the agreement soon afterwards.

Eurozone leaders met in Brussels on Sunday night, aiming to finalise their last-chance offer to the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as a condition for starting talks on a new bailout plan, the Independent reported.

The proposals call for measures, including new laws on the value added tax (VAT) and pension systems, the reform of bankruptcy rules, the privatisation of electricity transmission, and strengthening the independence of Greece’s statistics office.

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A particularly controversial suggestion is for 50 billion euros (about $52 billion) in Greek assets to be handed in escrow to eurozone authorities, and sold off if Athens fails to meet its reform promises.

Greek officials insisted that 17 billion euros (about $19 billion) worth of assets was as far as they could go.

Social media sites throbbed with outrage. The hashtag #ThisIsACoup soared to the most trending in Europe.

The summit was paused for several hours overnight to allow talks between Tsipras, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and European Council President Donald Tusk, a BBC report said.

Earlier on Monday, Tusk’s spokesman announced the summit was reconvening to discuss a “compromise proposal”. However, Merkel warned that Tsipras had squandered the goodwill of almost all his eurozone partners.

“The most important currency has been lost and that is trust,” she said on her way into the summit.

“There will be hard talks, and not unity at any price. We must be sure to weigh the pros and cons.”

(With input from IANS)

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Sikh Temple Gurudwara in Belgium closed for security reasons

Hans Bonte, Mayor of Vilvoorde town, has ordered the closure of Gurudwara

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Representational Image. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

BRUSSELS, Sept 10, 2016: Belgian authorities have ordered the closure of a Sikh gurudwara (temple) for an indefinite period citing a security threat, local media reported on Saturday.

Hans Bonte, Mayor of Vilvoorde town, has ordered the closure.

The town outside Brussels has only a dozen Sikh residents but because of the town’s central location the Vilvoorde gurudwara was well frequented, said the VRT news outlet. (IANS)

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Australian Man Jacob Welsh from Geelong, Melbourne raises $4,000 to bring stray dog home from Greece

Welsh said he and Chance became inseparable after he found her lying in a pile of broken glass on the side of a busy road in Greece

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Jacob Welsh with the dog. Image source: Facebook

Melbourne, Sept 6, 2016: An Australian man Jacob Welsh has raised $4,000 to bring a stray dog home from Greece.

Welsh is from Geelong, 75 km from Melbourne, raised the money on a popular crowd-funding Website, to bring the dog, which he named “Chance,” back to Australia, Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.

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The resounding success of the campaign guaranteed Chance would have a home for the rest of her life, said Welsh.

“Thank you! She will not spend another night on the street thanks to all the help we’ve received,” Welsh wrote on social media on Tuesday.

Welsh said he and Chance became inseparable after he found her lying in a pile of broken glass on the side of a busy road in Greece.

“I called her over to me and she hesitantly approached, I gave her a little pat and ever since then she has followed me wherever I go,” he wrote on social media earlier.

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“I didn’t have the heart to leave her on the street after that so since then I have been sneaking her into my apartment, which has a strict no-pets policy.

“The sad reality of her going back on the streets is becoming more and more real as my time left in Greece comes to an end.

“Australia’s laws are very strict with this kind of thing but I have done the research and it is possible, just very expensive. If you can spare a few dollars Chance and I would really appreciate it.”

Costs involved in bringing an animal into Australia include a rabies vaccine, pet passport, plane tickets, airport transfers, de-worming medication and a pet carrier box. (IANS)

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Sex Ratio Tipping towards Men: An Exhaustive Look at Swedish Demographics

Norway swung to a male surplus in 2011, four years before Sweden, while Denmark and Switzerland are nearing a sex ratio of 100

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Sweden. Image source: VOA
  • A National statistics agency, SCB showed 277 more men than women in 2015
  • European Union population statistics suggests women will remain in the majority in most European countries for decades to come
  • Despite a natural birth rate of about 105 boys born for every 100 girls, European women have historically outnumbered men because they live longer

The natural sex ratio at birth, as presented by World Health Organization, WHO, is 105 boys for every 100 girls. However, predominantly, in the West, women have always been more numerous than men because they live longer. Hence, it came as a surprise in Sweden, when, in March last year, the census highlighted the fact that there were 277 more men than women.

What’s more, the number has since then grown to a massive 12000, which is still not very big compared to 9.7 million, which is the current population of Sweden, but definitely perplexing. Many demographic analysts and population experts, like Tomas Johansson and Frencesco Billari, confess they were not expecting this event to occur so soon.

There is currently an excess of 12 million women in the European Union, which has a population of approximately 500 million as a whole. Eurostat spokeswoman Baiba Grandovska believes, however, that this gap between the number of men and women is likely to narrow in the coming years,  “mainly because of the decreasing gap in life expectancy.” This comes as a result of an overall change in the lifestyle of men as compared to their fathers.

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Increasing awareness of heart diseases, adverse effects of smoking and drinking and more sophisticated medical equipment has encouraged them to modify the way they live. Wealthier countries now offer safer desk jobs as compared to working in mines and the construction business.

In Sweden, particularly, the numbers are going a little crazy. There was an unusual increase in the sex ratio to 108 boys for every 100 girls born in the year of 2014. Beating that increase, the sex ratio is now an absurd 123 boys for every 100 girls among 16-17 year olds, which beats even the sex imbalance in China and India.

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Valerie Hudson of Texas A&M University, who released these numbers, attributes this sudden rise in the sex ratio to the sudden wave of refugees, mostly adolescent boys, from Afghanistan, Syria and North Africa that have run away from their war-stricken homes to seek asylum in Sweden. BBC reports that Sweden has received more asylum applications than any other country in Europe -163,000 just last year.

The Scandinavian country also houses immigrant-friendly laws; any underage refugee receives stable housing and financial resources. News like this travels fast and many young men often lie about their age to avail of these services, a matter that has now become a pressing concern. The authorities are debating the application of age determination tests for better screening of underage individuals; however, this is still a sensitive topic in the Nordic country.

Adding to the appealing benefits of being an underage refugee in this country, they also enjoy the right to family reunification, through which the entire family can be brought to Sweden. Experts believe this right may work in favor of improving the sex ratio, as an invitation for the entire family into Sweden may mean that sisters and mothers arrive in Sweden, driving up the number of females.

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Security forces of Sweden fear that the country may not be prepared to adjust to the masculine nature of its society. There is an expected increase in the number of crime against women, somewhat following in the footsteps of India and China. Unsatisfied male bachelors, who may not find spouses in time, have a possibility of propagating harassment cases against women, and that is a scary prospect.

Annick Wibben, of the University of San Francisco dismisses this trail of thought, claiming that the concept of gender equality is so deeply embedded in the Swedish society, that it does not make sense to compare with Indian and Chinese populations. “The way in which masculinity works in different societies needs to be taken into account”, she said.

-by Saurabh Bodas

Saurabh is pursuing his engineering and is an intern at NewsGram. 

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