Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras faces his first general strike since becoming the country’s leader. Widespread disruption is expected across Greece as people register their anger over the country’s austerity programme. The 24-hour strike has been called by the country’s two major union groups: GSEE and ADEDY. The scale of the industrial action will show the depth of public anger against Samaras’s coalition government It comes as Athens officials continue to negotiate with its foreign creditors over a €12bn package of cuts, and amid growing speculation that the country is missing its financial targets and will need further cuts, or more debt relief. The Guardian.
Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and ex-No 10 communications director Andy Coulson are due to appear in court to face charges linked to the investigation into phone hacking. The pair are due at the Old Bailey in London on Wednesday with five other journalists from the now-defunct tabloid the News of the World, as well as private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.Ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, former news editor Greg Miskiw, former head of news Ian Edmondson, ex-chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former reporter James Weatherup are also facing charges.The seven former NotW staff face one general accusation of conspiracy to access voicemails that prosecutors say could affect up to 600 victims, along with other charges related to specific people. Mulcaire is accused of four counts related to particular individuals. Brooks, 44, from Churchill, Oxfordshire, is also due to appear with husband Charlie, 49, and five other people accused of perverting the course of justice. Reports The Guardian
French oil giant Total has warned against drilling for oil in the Arctic, the FT reports. Christophe de Margerie, Total’s chief executive, told the Financial Times the risk of an oil spill in such an environmentally sensitive area was simply too high. ‘Oil on Greenland would be a disaster,’ he said in an interview. ‘A leak would do too much damage to the image of the company.’ Says The FT.
With two parties in government, there are twice as many opportunities for ministers to toss out hare-brained schemes to the conference faithful on how to promote growth, suggests Ian King, the Business Editor at The Times. Most never get off the ground, King believes. He suggests the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, should widen the scope of plans for a ‘patent box’ to include software, a sector in which the UK is historically strong. The sector is largely excluded because it uses other forms of intellectual property to win commercial protection. King notes that Aveva, the engineering software supplier and ‘an unsung hero of the sector’, says that, with the grants it receives locally, it can effectively open a new office in China at no cost. The Times
Switzerland’s central bank has become a conduit for vast flows of capital into German Bunds and other haven bonds, exacerbating the Eurozone’s North-South divide, the Telegraph reports, citing a report by debt-ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. The Swiss National Bank had bought €80bn (£64bn) of German, Dutch, French, Finnish and Austrian bonds this year to counter a flood of money entering the country and hold the franc at 1.20 to the euro. The FT
The Independent reports that Silvio Berlusconi, the former Prime Minister of Italy, is back with an attack on the Germans. In one of the few interviews he has given since stepping down, Berlusconi called Germany a “hegemonic state that is dictating rules on discipline and austerity to other European countries”. The FT.