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COMING UP:Share Opener Variant 1



>> Greek pensioners have had enough. Thousands turning out in Athens to take a stand against repeated cuts to their pensions. The government approving a one-off Christmas benefit for elderly people on low incomes on Thursday despite scorn from international lenders and misgivings from creditors. But as Reuters' correspondent Karolina Tagaris in Athens explains, pensioners believe it'll do nothing to help them in their daily lives.
>> Pensions in Greece have been cut about 11 times since 2010 when Greece signed up to its first bailout. So many pensioners, many of whom also support unemployed families, view this amount, this one-off bonus, as a drop in the ocean.>> The Greek government will spend 617 million euros on the payout.
The EMS, the Euro Zone's lending arm, says they weren't consulted. But the move did get the support from some European leaders.>> French President Francois Hollande, for example, said he had asked the European leaders not to demand too much of Greece, and said that the decisions taken at the Eurogroup regarding that should be respected.
>> Greece is able to afford the bill because it exceeded its fiscal targets for the year, giving it the right to spend any extra money on social programs.>> The general mood toward politicians in Greece at the moment is not ideal. Opinion polls shows that not only support for the ruling party is quite low, but also for the opposition party.
So if elections were to be held, now it's unlikely that any party, either the leftist party of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras or the conservative opposition, will be able to win outright.>> Greek lenders said on Wednesday they were suspending an agreement to offer short-term debt relief. And the International Monetary Fund, which participated in the first two bailouts for Greece, has so far refused to inject funds this time.