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July 16, 2015

Greek Bailout Deal Gives Adrenalin Shot to Privatization Process. Greek asset sales are back on the table after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras caved in to eurozone leaders’ demands for talks on an €86 billion ($95 billion) bailout package to keep the Mediterranean country afloat and inside the single-currency club. . . . The deal entails a “significantly scaled-up” privatization program, transferring €50 billion worth of state assets to an independent fund that will either try to sell them or generate money from them.. . . . The previous privatization program, stalled for months by Greek political turmoil, was never in the fast lane to begin with, with land development projects making up the bulk of completed asset sales. TheStreet.com

Education: the Next Corporate Frontier. Over the last thirty years or so, private corporations have been steadily taking over school systems all around the world. Going hand in hand with “free” trade and development, the privatization of education is simply another step towards corporate control of the entire economy. If you’re tuned in to education news in the US, you may be familiar with the public school closures in Chicago, the so-called Recovery School District in New Orleans, and the proposed budget cuts in Milwaukee that have brought parents, students and teachers into the streets. But few of us hear about how students in Chile have been protesting for nearly a decade against rampant privatization that has increased economic inequality. Or how the UK government recently passed an education act allowing the conversion of all state schools into privately run “academies”. Or how Structural Adjustment Programs and development aid have paved the way for privatization of schools across Africa, which has resulted in reduced enrollment of girls and exclusion of the poorest children. CounterPunch


Toll road convention draws international crowd to Miami

Trading tips on everything from new technology that would allow them to shut down a car headed the wrong way on an exit ramp to the best way to extract money from scofflaw drivers who don’t want to pay, nearly 600 owners and operators of toll roads gathered for a worldwide convention in downtown Miami on Monday. With 34 American states plus Puerto Rico operating nearly 6,000 miles of toll roads, which have turned into a $14 billion industry that’s growing quickly and commanding international attention. Miami Herald

GA: $834 million road project begins toll network around Atlanta.  An $834 million interstate toll-lane project is taking shape in the northwest Atlanta suburb, the start of an infrastructure makeover that officials say will lead to a network of reversible express lanes throughout the metro area. . . . The projects follow Georgia lawmakers adopting a $1 billion transportation plan earlier this year, plowing new money into road and bridge construction.   Tifton Gazette

IL: Illinois House approves DCEO privatization bill.A plan to privatize Illinois’ economic development agency and beef up its responsibilities has cleared the House. Representatives voted 60-6 Tuesday for the changes. The measure would allow the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to be turned into a public-private partnership, an idea Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner initially supported. Journal Star

MI: Michigan Union Will Try To Stop No-Bid Prison Food Contract. AFSCME Council 25 said a state board’s expected decision Tuesday to OK the no-bid contract with Trinity Services Group violates state law. Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration announced Monday that the state and current food vendor Aramark Correctional Services cut ties early and Trinity would do the work instead. The union says changing vendors without re-bidding the work is “bad business” that “cheats the public.” It says state employees should do the work like they were doing until two years ago. WILX-TV

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