Finance ministers demand that Greece rein in spending

Eurozone finance ministers say Greece could get a crucial next installment on its bailout loans by mid-July only if its parliament passes key laws on spending and privatization.

The ministers ended their meeting early today over Greece’s debt crisis without announcing a final deal on the 12 billion eruo loan installment from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund.

The money is needed to avoid an imminent default that officials fear would spread financial chaos in Europe. They say Greece will get the money, but first must pass agreed spending and privatization laws to help bring its budget deficit down.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreous has just reshuffled his cabinet under mounting public unrest over spending cuts, and faces a vote of confidence Tuesday.


Flooding in eastern China displaces 5 million people

More than 5 million people have been displaced or otherwise affected by flooding in eastern China that is also pushing up food prices, state media reported Sunday.

Torrential rains have left huge areas of Hubei and Zhejiang provinces under water, with more than 1 million acres of farmland inundated, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Almost 1,000 businesses have been forced to suspend operations and 5.7 million people have had their lives disrupted, Xinhua said. More than 7,000 homes collapsed or were otherwise damaged and direct financial damage was estimated at almost $930 million.


Supervision, safety devices would reduce pool deaths

The lead researcher of a new U.S. study on drownings says a child dies every five days in a portable pool during the warm-weather months.

The study, published today in the journal Pediatrics, calls for effective and affordable protection devices for the pools, which range from small wading pools to large inflatable and other soft-sided pools.

It says 209 children under 12 died and 35 nearly drowned from 2001 to 2009. Ninety-four percent of the children were younger than 5. The numbers are comparable with findings for in-ground pools.

The study was conducted by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus and Independent Safety Consulting in Rockville, Md. The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals in Alexandria, Va., agrees with the report’s findings, underscoring the importance of constant adult supervision supplemented by safety devices.