Helping European Farmers After the E. Coli Outbreak
This is the VOA Special English Economics Report, from http://voaspecialenglish.com | http://facebook.com/voalearningenglish German health officials announced on June tenth that bean sprouts were the cause of Europe's deadly outbreak of E. coli bacteria. E. coli infections killed at least thirty people since late May. Nearly three thousand others were sickened. Most of the victims were in Germany. After the announcement, Russia said it will lift its ban on European Union vegetables in return for EU safety guarantees. At first, German officials suggested that cucumbers from Spain were to blame. Russia and other countries quickly banned vegetable imports from Spain and other European countries. The Spanish agriculture minister, Rosa Aguilar, demanded that Germany pay for her country's losses.John Dalli of Malta is the European Union's commissioner for health and consumer policy. He said a rush to judgment "spreads unjustified fears in the population all over Europe, and creates problems for our food producers selling products in the EU and outside of the EU."Some critics accused Russia of using the issue to try to help its effort to join the World Trade Organization. Russia is the largest economy without membership in the WTO. EU Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolos proposed giving European farmers two hundred twenty million dollars in aid. The goal was to help European farmers recover at least fifty percent of their losses. By June eighth, Mr. Ciolos had raised the amount to over three hundred million dollars. The E. coli outbreak was not the only issue troubling Europe. European governments and the International Monetary Fund were considering as much as sixty-five billion dollars in new loans to Greece. Some officials admitted that earlier rescue loans were not enough. Thousands of government workers protested spending cuts approved by the Greek cabinet to reduce budget deficits. Separately, French Finance Minster Christine Lagarde continued her campaign to become the next head of the IMF. She visited China after traveling to India. Mexican central bank chief Agustin Carstens was seeking to become the first non-European to lead the international lender.Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as IMF managing director because of charges of attempted rape of a hotel maid in New York. He pleaded not guilty during a court appearance on June sixth. For VOA Special English, I'm Alex Villarreal. You can learn American English and much more every day at voaspecialenglish.com. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 10Jun2011)
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