Daily Archives: February 20, 2015

AT&T urges FCC to revisit spectrum bidding rules

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>(Reuters) – AT&T Inc has urged the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to relook into bidding rules for spectrum, saying licenses should not go to “speculators or stockpilers”.

Dish Network Corp, the third-largest pay-TV provider in the U.S. and the owner of undeveloped wireless spectrum, was a surprise winner in the record-setting sale of airwaves for mobile data in January.

Dish itself did not win any licenses, but had invested in bidding partners SNR Wireless LicenseCo LLC and Northstar Wireless LLC, which bid a total of $13.3 billion.

“Auctions should be designed to ensure that licenses go to those willing to deploy networks – not speculators or stockpilers,” AT&T’s Vice President of Federal Regulatory, Joan Marsh, wrote in a blog post. (bit.ly/1vm5Hep)

AT&T was the top buyer at the auctions, bidding a total of $18.2 billion to win licenses of so-called AWS-3 spectrum.

Dish could not be immediately reached for comment.

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)


Source: Newsjyoti Tech

McDonald's pressured to hike pay as Wal-Mart raises, economy improves

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>Feb 20 (Reuters) – McDonald’s Corp and its
franchisees may have few options but to begin raising hourly
wages as an improving U.S. economy creates competition for good
workers and as mega-employer Wal-Mart Stores Inc sets a
higher bar on pay, according to labor experts.

The pressure comes at a particularly difficult time for the
world’s biggest fast-food chain. McDonald’s and its roughly
3,000 U.S. franchisees are fighting to break a long streak of
lackluster sales that has made it virtually impossible to boost
prices on its famous hamburgers and french fries to cover higher
labor costs.

McDonald’s declined comment. It referred reporters to a
December statement saying that franchisees set wages for roughly
90 percent of the chain’s more than 14,000 U.S. restaurants.
McDonald’s Corp says it can increase pay only in the small
number of restaurants it operates.

Wal-Mart on Thursday said it would increase entry-level pay
to $9 an hour, a move it estimated would cost $1 billion and
affect some 500,000 employees.

Gary Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark
University in Worcester, Massachusetts, said there is
substantial overlap between fast-food and Wal-Mart workers in
smaller communities.

“They are going to have to raise their wages,” Chaison said
of the fast-food chains in those locations. “They cannot afford
to be unstaffed.”

Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, and McDonald’s have
been the target of frequent protests by union-supported hourly
workers demanding that their pay be increased to $15 per hour
from an average that is closer to the federal minimum wage of
$7.25 per hour.

While supporters of those campaigns declared victory
following Thursday’s Wal-Mart announcement, economists said it
reflected an improving U.S. economy that has added more than a
million jobs over the past three months, a performance unmatched
since the late 1990s.

“It’s finally happening. The strengthening economy is
putting some upward pressure on wages,” said Wally Hopp, a
professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of
Business.

“For the first time in five or six years you’re seeing ‘Now
Hiring’ signs” in fast-food restaurants, said Richard Adams, a
former McDonald’s franchisee who is now an adviser.

Adams and others said that in most parts of the United
States Wal-Mart tends to attract older, more seasoned employees
than McDonald’s, which mainly competes with other fast-food
chains for younger, entry-level workers.

Experienced fast-food workers would be the most likely to
see their pay rise over time as employers seeking to boost
productivity and service quality fight over them, he said.

McDonald’s executives last month warned that labor-related
costs would grow “a little faster than normal” and squeeze
profits in 2015, due to state and local minimum wage increases
and new federal healthcare costs.

But while more experienced McDonald’s workers may see their
wages rise, Allen Sanderson, a senior lecturer in economics at
the University of Chicago, said entry-level fast-food workers
face dim prospects for wage hikes.

“If somebody quits, they can hire somebody else and teach
them to make french fries in an hour,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Nathan Layne in Chicago; Editing by
Leslie Adler)


Source: Newsjyoti

New Jersey's Christie getting heat to step up his presidential plans

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) attends the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce 78th annual ''Walk to Washington and Congressional Dinner'' in Washington February 19, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) attends the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce 78th annual ”Walk to Washington and Congressional Dinner” in Washington February 19, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas


(Reuters) – Republican Chris Christie is facing pressure to step up the pace in forming a likely presidential campaign and to slow the defection of financial donors to rivals like Jeb Bush in order to keep alive his 2016 White House dream.

The New Jersey governor’s struggle to cope with problems at home and his slow start on the campaign trail have raised questions about his viability at a time when other potential Republican candidates are busy raising money and hiring staff.

Former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, an early Christie mentor, diagnosed Christie’s problem on Friday after The Washington Post and The New York Times published stories detailing the defection of Christie donors to Bush, the former Florida governor, and others.

“I think you’ve got to make sure you have the right national staff, and I’m not sure he’s done that yet,” Kean said in a telephone interview. “If you haven’t been around this track before it’s treacherous. … He’s been slow putting that kind of team together.”

Christie’s challenge is to get past this rocky period and hang on until later this year when the candidate debates begin. The debates would allow Christie to use his natural speaking prowess to his advantage.

“He may well win those debates. He’s just very, very able, regardless of the record, regardless of what you think of him, regardless of anything else,” Kean said.

But whether Christie can hang on that long is an open question. During trips to Iowa, which holds the first nominating contest early next year, Christie has received credit for showing up. But many of the state’s conservatives harbor doubts because he has governed from the middle in Democratic-leaning New Jersey.

Christie ranks in the middle of the pack in polls of Republican voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, which holds the second nominating contest and where Christie needs to do well to outlast other likely big-name contenders like Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

“I think he’s waking up to the reality that this isn’t quite what he thought it would be,” said a Republican strategist familiar with the workings of the Christie camp. “It isn’t as easy as he thought it would be.”

The Christie camp is making the case that the governor has substantial support in the donor community.

Officials at Christie’s political action committee, pushing back against the idea his financial support was eroding, released a lengthy list of donors and event hosts who are sticking with him.

Ray Washburne, finance chair for Christie’s Leadership Matters for America PAC, said Bush’s early exploration of a presidential campaign gave him an advantage, but there is still plenty of time for Christie and others to organize.

“The fact that he’s jumped ahead with donors hasn’t concerned us too much. We’re going to get the governor’s events started in earnest in March,” Washburne said.

Fred Malek, a major Republican fundraiser, said Bush has a substantial financial advantage but there is room for others.

“While Bush will vastly out raise all comers, leading candidates … will have sufficient funds to be competitive,” he said.

Christie has weathered a series of local troubles in the past year, chiefly over the “Bridgegate” scandal involving alleged political payback against a New Jersey mayor. In another complication, New Jersey has struggled to regain jobs lost during the recession.

But Christie remains determined to stay in the nascent 2016 campaign, say those familiar with his plans.

“I think it’s difficult for him but I don’t think it’s going to slow him down,” said another Republican strategist familiar with the Christie camp’s thinking.

(Additional reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by John Whitesides and Leslie Adler)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics

Texas attorney general aims to void marriage license for same-sex couple

(Reuters) – The Texas attorney general asked the state’s Supreme Court on Friday to revoke a marriage license issued a day earlier to two women, arguing the move violated a decade-old state ban against gay marriage and could cause legal chaos.

Travis County, where the capital Austin is located, issued a marriage license to Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, who have been together for about 30 years and have two daughters. It was the first license issued to a same-sex couple in Texas since the ban was put in place.

A county judge made a one-time exception to allow the license to be issued, saying Goodfriend was in poor health due to ovarian cancer and denying the couple the license violated their rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who has pledged to fight for the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman, said in a press release, “the rogue actions of Travis County judges do not withstand the scrutiny of law.” His office filed the petition with the Texas Supreme Court to have the license declared void.

“Relief from this Court is necessary to avoid the legal chaos that would follow if the trial court’s ruling is mistakenly interpreted as authorization for the creation or recognition of same-sex marriages in Travis County or throughout the State,” the petition said.

A U.S. district judge in Texas last year ruled the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional because it denied same-sex couples equal protection under the law. Enforcement of the decision is on hold pending an appeal.

Supporters of the couple have argued the license is valid and Paxton is standing on the wrong side of history by trying to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.

Chuck Herring, a lawyer for the couple, said the Paxton filing is inappropriate and out of step with the current situation in the country, where same-sex marriage is permitted in most states.

“If he wants to sue a woman who has ovarian cancer to try to take away her marriage license, so be it. His continuing meanness and lack of compassion are remarkable,” Herring said.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Eric Beech)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics

Dole's CEO heads to court to defend fairness of 2013 buyout

Feb 20 (Reuters) – Pineapple king David
Murdock heads to a Delaware court on Monday to defend his 2013
buyout of Dole Food Co Inc against shareholders who
claim they were short-changed and want more cash.

Shareholders allege that Murdock, 91, drove down the value
of Dole, the world’s largest fruit and vegetable producer,
through dealings that allowed him to buy the 60 percent of the
company he did not own for $13.50 a share, or about $1.6
billion.

Shareholders have taken aim at Murdock and Deutsche Bank
, which provided financing and is alleged to have
aided Murdock’s scheme.

Murdock’s lawyers said in court papers he overpaid for Dole
stock, and ran a fair and thorough sale process.

The union pension funds that brought the Delaware case
focused on the cozy relationship between Murdock and Deutsche
Bank, which are alleged to have carried out his plan in a bid
for financing fees.

The bank financed Murdock’s previous management buyout of
Dole in 2003 and acted as an underwriter when he took the
company public in 2009.

Murdock, a self-made billionaire, is expected to testify on
Monday about his relations with the special committee of Dole’s
board that was meant to negotiate for shareholders.

“There is evidence that Murdock had previously threatened
and taken punitive action against directors who did not accede
to his wishes,” wrote Travis Laster, the judge hearing the case,
in a Feb. 5 order which sent the dispute to the nine-day trial.

Laster of the Court of Chancery in Delaware, where Dole was
incorporated, has earned a reputation for his tough line with
conflicted advisers and bankers in the sales of the ambulance
operator Rural/Metro and Del Monte Foods Co. Shareholders in
both cases ended up recovering around $90 million, in part by
showing bankers rigged the sale process to secure financing
fees.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment and Dole did not respond
to a request for comment.

The Dole trial will determine the outcome of two different
lawsuits.

One is a class action on behalf of all former Dole
shareholders, which turns in part on whether the sale process
was fair.

Separately, several hedge funds have brought an appraisal
action in which they asked Laster to determine a fair price for
their Dole stock, regardless of the process.

The cases are In re Dole Food Co Inc Stockholder Litigation
and In re Appraisal of Dole Food Co Inc, Delaware Court of
Chancery, Nos. 8703 and 9079

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)


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Pennsylvania college aims to end insurance coverage of abortions in rape cases

HARRISBURG, Pa. Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:29am IST

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) – University of Scranton employee insurance plans will no longer cover abortions in cases of rape, incest or life-threatening pregnancies under a plan that the Jesuit school says is consistent with Catholic doctrine.

But the Pennsylvania university’s faculty union, which represents about 300 of its 940 full-time employees, says members must first approve any changes to its coverage.

The union negotiated away coverage for elective abortions nine years ago in return for adoption coverage, but its current contract pays for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or to save the live of the mother.

In a letter to faculty released by the university on Friday, its president, Rev. Kevin Quinn, said that even limited abortion coverage is “inconsistent with the moral teachings of the church.”

The move comes as Pope Francis, the first Catholic pontiff who is a member of the Jesuit order, prepares to visit Pennsylvania in September. He has called on the Church to deemphasize divisive social issues like abortion and homosexuality.

Michael Friedman, an English professor who serves as union president, insisted that Quinn could not impose the change unilaterally. “The union must decide,” he said.

Stan Zygmunt, a university spokesman, said its lawyers have determined that the school, because it insures itself, need not abide by a Pennsylvania law requiring coverage for those types of abortions in traditional plans.

He declined to say what Quinn might do if the faculty refused to go along, or if the school would impose the changes only on non-union employees. Half of its employees are women.

Quinn, in a second letter to faculty on Tuesday, said life-threatening pregnancies are rare, but insurance would still cover indirect abortions resulting from procedures such as removal of a cancerous uterus.

Friedman said on Friday that the union plans to meet Feb. 27 to discuss the proposed changes and will also conduct a confidential electronic poll of members.

“There is a lot of fear on our campus that speaking out might damage their employment prospects,” he said.

Catholic universities do not have a uniform approach to abortion coverage, Friedman said. Some cover all abortions, some only the three exceptions, and others none at all.

Planned Parenthood Keystone issued a statement decrying Quinn’s proposed changes.

“The University of Scranton’s decision displays a cruel indifference to the women who work there,” said spokeswoman Selina Winchester. “Religious restrictions put a woman’s health at risk.”

(Reporting by David DeKok; Editing by Frank McGurty and Eric Beech)

Source: Newsjyoti India health

Emmy Awards to feature more contenders in comedy, drama categories

Dozens of Emmy Awards are lined up on the trophy table in the media center at the 62nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California August 29, 2010.   REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Dozens of Emmy Awards are lined up on the trophy table in the media center at the 62nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California August 29, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Danny Moloshok


(Reuters) – New rules will expand the number of contenders for top honors in the comedy and drama categories in television’s annual Emmy Awards this year, organizers said on Friday.

The Television Academy said it was making numerous revisions to the awards in order to reflect a changing television landscape. Both the comedy and drama series categories will now include seven nominees, up from six in previous years.

Comedy series will be defined by shows that are 30 minutes or shorter per episode, while drama series will be for shows over 30 minutes.

That means shows such as Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” will no longer be considered in the comedy series category. Producers will be able to petition for eligibility in an alternative category, the Television Academy said.

“Our over 17,000 voting members represents a dramatically changing television industry and we want to continue to make sure we honor their creativity in the most relevant and fair ways possible,” Bruce Rosenblum, chairman of the Television Academy, said in a statement.

After switching the Primetime Emmy awards show from a Sunday in late September to a Monday in late August last year, the Television Academy is going back to its late September weekend slot with this year’s awards on Sept. 20.

The mini-series category will be renamed “limited series,” and will reflect any shows that have two or more episodes running for at least 2-1/2 hours, that tell a “complete, non-recurring story” and will not continue the story or characters in following seasons.

This will mean shows such as BBC America’s “Luther” and PBS Masterpiece’s “Sherlock” will not be eligible in this category, as both feature same characters in ongoing seasons.

Other changes include splitting the variety series category into Outstanding Variety Talk, to be awarded during the live Primetime Emmy telecast, and Outstanding Variety Sketch, which will be awarded at the separate Creative Arts Emmy awards.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Tom Brown)


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Google wins dismissal of U.S. lawsuit over Android app limits

A Google logo is reflected on the screen of a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone in this photo illustration taken in Prague January 31, 2014. REUTERS/David W Cerny

A Google logo is reflected on the screen of a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone in this photo illustration taken in Prague January 31, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/David W Cerny


<span class="articleLocatio

n”>(Reuters) – A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit accusing Google Inc of harming smartphone buyers by forcing handset makers that use its Android operating system to make the search engine company’s own applications the default option.

Consumers claimed that Google required companies such as Samsung Electronics Co to favor Google apps such as YouTube on Android-powered phones, and restrict rival apps such as Microsoft Corp’s Bing.

They said this illegally drove smartphone prices higher because rivals could not compete for the “prime screen real estate” that Google’s apps enjoyed.

But in Friday’s decision, U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose, California said the consumers failed to show that higher prices stemmed from Google’s having illegally forced restrictive contracts on the handset makers.

She also said she could not tell how many supply chain levels there were between the handset makers who signed the alleged anticompetitive contracts, and the consumers themselves.

“Their alleged injuries – supracompetitive prices and threatened loss of innovation and consumer choice – are not the necessary means by which defendant is allegedly accomplishing its anticompetitive ends,” Freeman wrote.

The judge gave the plaintiffs three weeks to amend claims under the federal Sherman antitrust law and California’s unfair competition law.

Robert Lopez, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Aaron Stein, a Google spokesman, declined to comment.

Google also faces antitrust issues in Europe.

The European Parliament in November urged antitrust authorities to break up the Mountain View, California-based company and called on the European Commission to consider proposals to unbundle search engines from other services.

The case is Feitelson et al v. Google Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 14-02007.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler)


Source: Newsjyoti Tech

On U.S. net neutrality rules, 11th-hour push against vague rule

WASHINGTON Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:42am IST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As the U.S. Federal Communications Commission prepares to vote on new rules for high-speed Internet service, one aspect of the rules is drawing criticism from both opponents and proponents of tighter regulation.

The FCC, which is set to vote next week to regulate Internet service providers more like traditional telephone companies, has introduced a so-called “general conduct” provision in the latest version of the rules that aim to ensure net neutrality, the principle that all web traffic should be treated equally.

In the general conduct provision, the FCC will say that Internet providers’ actions cannot be harmful to consumers or content providers, and will outline seven elements that the regulators would consider in reviewing potential violations of that standard, agency officials have said.

But the Internet providers, who reject the tougher regulatory regime, as well as advocates of stronger regulation, both say that this general conduct provision is too vague. They have made a last-ditch effort to push for changes, according to FCC disclosures, filings and interviews with lobbyists and activists.

Although the FCC has not publicly disclosed specifics of the seven factors, an FCC spokeswoman told Reuters that three of those guidance criteria are related to impact on competition, innovation, and free expression.

Industry sources say the other four criteria focus on impact on broadband deployment and investments; whether actions in question are specific to some applications and not others; whether they comply with industry best standards and practices; and whether they take place without the awareness of the end-user, the Internet subscriber.

Telecom and cable lobbyists say the rules’ vague guidelines could effectively require the companies to consult the FCC every time they want to create a new service, to make sure it doesn’t run afoul of the rule.

Net neutrality advocates for their part, worry that the rules will lack clarity for both the Internet providers and potential complainants, making them harder to administer and potentially leading to arbitrary interpretation.

RARE AGREEMENT BY TWO SIDES

“A ‘general conduct rule,’ applied on a case-by-case basis with the only touchstone being whether a given practice ‘harms’ consumers or edge providers, may lead to years of expensive litigation to determine the meaning of ‘harm’ (for those who can afford to engage in it),” the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a net neutrality advocate, said in a filing submitted on Thursday.

The shared concern by industry groups and activists is a rare example of the two sides being aligned in the long-running debate over whether Internet service providers should be subject to tighter regulation.

Net neutrality advocacy groups have for years sought stricter regulations, including a ban on Internet providers blocking or unfairly slowing down any web content or providing faster access in return for payment.

Companies say they don’t oppose those specific rules, but that a stringent new regulatory regime would stifle investment.

The Federal Communications Commission will vote on the new rules on Feb. 26. Lobbyists say the FCC is unlikely to change the general conduct rule so late before the vote, but the matter is expected to spill over into Congress, where Republican lawmakers hope to counter FCC’s regulations with new laws.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: Newsjyoti India Technology

Greece, euro zone agree four-month loan extension, avert crunch

BRUSSELS Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:39am IST

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras smiles during his speech aboard the Chinese frigate Changbaishan at the port of Piraeus, near Athens February 19, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras smiles during his speech aboard the Chinese frigate Changbaishan at the port of Piraeus, near Athens February 19, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone finance ministers agreed in principle on Friday to extend Greece’s financial rescue by four months, averting a potential cash crunch in March that could have forced the country out of the currency area.

The deal, to be ratified once Greece’s creditors are satisfied with a list of reforms it will submit next week, ends weeks of uncertainty since the election of a leftist-led government in Athens which pledged to reverse austerity.

“Tonight was a first step in this process of rebuilding trust,” Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chairman of the 19-nation Eurogroup, told a news conference. “We have established common ground again to reach agreement on this statement.”

The agreement, clinched after the third ministerial meeting in two weeks of acrimonious public exchanges, offers a breathing space for the new Greek government to try to negotiate longer-term debt relief with its official creditors.

But it also forced radical young Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras into a major climbdown since he had vowed to scrap the bailout, end cooperation with the “troika” of international lenders and roll back austerity.

European Union paymaster Germany, Greece’s biggest creditor, had demanded “significant improvements” in reform commitments by Athens before it would accept an extension of euro zone funding.

The two main combatants around the table put a radically different gloss on the result.

“Being in government is a date with reality, and reality is often not as nice as a dream,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told reporters, stressing Athens would get no aid payments until its bailout programme was properly completed.

“The Greeks certainly will have a difficult time to explain the deal to their voters,” the conservative veteran said.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said the talks had shown elections could bring change to Europe. He insisted he had averted “recessionary measures” and said the government still hoped to raise the minimum wage and rehire some public sector workers.

“Nobody is going to ask us to impose upon our economy and society measures that we don’t agree with,” Varoufakis said.

The euro rebounded against the dollar and global equity markets surged to record closing highs while Greek government bond yields fell on optimism for a debt deal.

REFORM LIST

The accord requires Greece to submit by Monday a letter to the Eurogroup listing all the policy measures it plans to take during the remainder of the bailout period.

If the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are satisfied, euro zone member states will ratify the extension, where necessary through their parliaments.

Euro finance ministers may sign off on the deal on Tuesday via a teleconference. However, if there are doubts they would reconvene in Brussels, officials said, a conditions insisted upon by Spain, whose government also faces a radical leftist insurgency at an election later this year and is keen that Tsipras gets no special treatment.

Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan voiced caution, telling reporters: “It’s an important first step that we hope will lead to a successful second step on Monday night/Tuesday morning, but then of course there’s a third step with ratifications in parliament.”

With the 240 billion euro EU/IMF bailout programme due to expire in little more than a week, Tsipras had requested a six-month extension of a loan agreement but Germany and its allies objected to the initial formulation of the request.

Greece’s partners insisted on the shorter period and tied further disbursements to a satisfactory review at the end. They also obliged Athens to commit to fully funding any new spending measures and obtaining approval from its lenders.

The ECB said there would be no need for Greece to impose capital controls restricting cash withdrawals after the deal.

An ECB source said the bank’s governing council was ready to resume accepting Greek government bonds as collateral for lending once necessary steps were taken for the extension and the bank determined there was a “great likelihood” that Greece would achieve a “positive conclusion” to its rescue programme.

TRUST IN SHORT SUPPLY

The complex document was crafted in preliminary talks among Varoufakis, Schaeuble, Dijsselbloem and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

Finance ministers from other euro zone states insisted on more guarantees that Greece would meet the bailout’s strict conditions on budget discipline and economic reforms.

Tsipras had a long telephone call with Germany’s Angela Merkel on Thursday and has spoken repeatedly to the leaders of France and Italy in the search for a solution that allows his radical government to fulfil election promises.

Euro zone officials said Greece’s track record and the combative behaviour of its new leaders had undermined their confidence in whether Athens would deliver what it agrees to in talks with the other countries sharing the euro.

That drove ministers to make Greece hand over custody of nearly 11 billion euros in aid earmarked for stabilising its banks to the euro zone’s rescue fund.

“We wanted to make sure that the … money for Greek bank recapitalisation is for that purpose, not for recapitalisation of the government,” Dijsselbloem said.

Some pointed comments were directed at Varoufakis, an outspoken Marxist economist and blogger, and his casual style. “Even hardliners like us have to give the benefit of the doubt to a communist in a Burberry scarf,” an official of one hawkish European country joked.

Adding to pressure to reach a deal, Greek savers have withdrawn their money from the banks at an accelerating pace despite government assurances that there is no plan to introduce capital controls to stem the outflows.

Deposit outflows rose to a total of over 1 billion euros in the past two days, some of the highest daily levels seen this year, three senior banking sources told Reuters.

Greeks were nervous before a three-day weekend, given memories of capital controls imposed in Cyprus in 2013 over a long weekend, a senior banker said. Monday is a public holiday.

(Additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald in Brussels, George Georgiopoulos, Angeliki Koutantou and Deepa Babington in Athens, Steve Scherer in Rome, Noah Barkin in Berlin, John O’Donnell and Paul Carrel in Frankfurt. Writing by Paul Taylor and David Stamp. Editing by Giles Elgood and Mike Peacock)

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