In brief: European nations to cut spending
Madrid – Spain and Greece outlined plans Thursday to reduce government spending and raise taxes to convince international lenders and financial markets they are on track to cut their deficits.
The latest round of belt-tightening comes as economies across Europe get weaker and public resentment toward austerity grows stronger.
Spain’s plan to slash its deficit in 2013 and 2014 signals to many analysts that it’s preparing to request a financial lifeline from other governments and the European Central Bank. To receive this help, countries must first show they are serious about reining in deficits.
For similar reasons, Greece’s coalition government agreed to cut spending over the next two years by $14.77 billion. Without the cuts, Greece would have been cut off from vital bailout loans that it needs to pay its bills – and stay in the eurozone. The loans come from the International Monetary Fund, European Union and the ECB.
Vatican newspaper says wife script ‘fake’
Vatican City – The Vatican newspaper has added to the doubts surrounding a Harvard University researcher’s claim that a fourth-century Coptic papyrus fragment showed that some early Christians believed that Jesus was married, declaring it a “fake.”
The newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, published an article Thursday by leading Coptic scholar Alberto Camplani and an accompanying editorial by the newspaper’s editor, Giovanni Maria Vian, an expert in early Christianity.
They both cited concerns expressed by other scholars about the fragment’s authenticity and the fact that it was purchased on the market without a known archaeological provenance.
“At any rate, a fake,” Vian titled his editorial, which criticized Harvard for creating a “clamorous” media frenzy over the fragment by handing the scoop to two U.S. newspapers only to see “specialists immediately question it.”
Karen King, a professor of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School, announced the finding last week at an international congress on Coptic studies in Rome. The text, written in Coptic and probably translated from a second-century Greek text, contains a dialogue in which Jesus refers to “my wife,” whom he identifies as Mary.