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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Greek radical Tsipras is no working class hero

New York Times

Greek radical Tsipras is no working class hero
Greek leftist leader vows to cancel Greek bailout * Tsipras running neck and neck in Sunday vote * Questions over his leadership skills remain By Dina Kyriakidou ATHENS, June 13 (Reuters) - Alexis Tsipras, the radical Greek leftist who wants to cancel ...
The Fear Factor in Greek ElectionsBusinessWeek
Greek conservatives attack leftist rivals before Sunday voteChicago Tribune
French president warns Greeks over euroHouston Chronicle
Forbes -San Francisco Chronicle -Minneapolis Star Tribune
all 720 news articles »

French president warns Greeks over euro

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The new French president has warned Greeks that if they vote to move away from international bailout commitments in the upcoming election, they could be pushed out of the eurozone.

Greeks pull money from banks ahead of poll

People stocking up on non-perishable food amid fears Sunday's election result will see Greece ultimately exit the euro.

Withdrawals up before Greek poll

Greeks fearing a potential exit from the euro resulting from Sunday's elections are withdrawing cash from bank accounts, banking officials say.

Valérie Trierweiler should 'keep to her place', says French prime minister

Valérie Trierweiler should 'keep to her place', says French prime minister
France's prime minister has warned Francois Hollande's girlfriend Valérie Trierweiler to "keep to her place" after she backed his former partner's rival in parliamentary elections, causing a major political headache for the President.
Greece Canceling Bailout Would Breach Trust, Hollande SaysBloomberg
French president's love-life 'psychodrama' rivals his predecessor'sThe Guardian
Greece Abandoning Bailout Terms Would Be Seen as Breakaway From Euro -HollandeWall Street Journal
Reuters -Hindustan Times -euronews
all 436 news articles »

Greek pain inevitable

The German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, has said that ordinary Greeks cannot escape painful cuts and must accept them however they vote.

Greece's Conservatives Open to Forming Coalition Government

Greece's Conservatives Open to Forming Coalition Government
ATHENS--The leader of Greece's main conservative party said Wednesday he is open to teaming up with other pro-bailout political groups in an effort to end the country's political deadlock and pledged to seek softer terms for Athen's painful austerity ...

Uncertainty Abounds Ahead Of Greek Elections; Views On Likely Gold Reactions Mixed

By Allen Sykora Of Kitco News Editor?s Note: Watch Kitco Video News at the IPMI (International Precious Metals Institute) Conference Direct From Las Vegas June 9-12, 2012 (Kitco News) ? Talk about uncertainty. Not only is the outcome of weekend Greek elections up in the air, but apparently so too is the likely immediate ...

Greece's Conservatives Open to Forming Coalition Govt


Greece's Conservatives Open to Forming Coalition Govt
Wall Street Journal
By Stelios Bouras ATHENS--The leader of Greece's main conservative party said Wednesday he is open to teaming up with other pro-bailout political groups in an effort to end the country's political deadlock and pledged to seek softer terms for Athen's ...
Conservatives: Greece must form govt this timeFox News
Tsipras Sees Greece in Euro Even After Repealing AusteritySan Francisco Chronicle
Tsipras Expects Greece to Stay in Euro After Repeal of AusterityBloomberg
all 722 news articles »

Hollande rocked by feisty French first lady's tweet

Globe and Mail

Hollande rocked by feisty French first lady's tweet
* Tweet causes unexpected headache for Hollande * Polls shows Royal could lose election (Updates with poll and Falorni comment) By Alexandria Sage PARIS, June 13 (Reuters) - A tweet by France's first lady in support of an election rival of President ...
France aghast at tweet by French leader's partnerCBS News
France's Hollande warns Greece on euro exiteuronews
A tweet is worth a thousand headlines: French 'first lady' rakes them in after ...Alaska Dispatch

all 419 news articles »

Greece's Tsipras Moderates Call to Abolish Ship Owner Tax Breaks

Greece's Tsipras Moderates Call to Abolish Ship Owner Tax Breaks
By Eleni Chrepa on June 13, 2012 Greece's Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras asked Greek ship owners to agree tax policy with government, moderating his pledge to abolish tax breaks for ship owners given in a speech on June 1.

Eurozone crisis: Greece faces an agonising election choice | Nick Malkoutzis

Many Greeks want the euro but reject austerity, though they would be foolish to give New Democracy and Pasok another chance

Agonising decisions have been part of Greek culture since Atropos, one of the three mythological Fates, began pondering how to cut the thread of life and send people to their deaths. On Sunday, Greeks will go to the polls knowing their choices could slice Greece's ties with its lenders and propel the country to its economic demise.

For some the choice on 17 June is a simple one: tough it out in the euro and wait for the economy to recover or risk it all on a potentially disastrous return to the drachma. But even with public coffers due to empty by mid-July unless cash is injected from a new loan instalment, many Greeks refuse to see Sunday's vote this way. An opinion poll for Kathimerini newspaper suggested that one in two Greeks want the euro but also reject the austerity the eurozone and IMF are demanding.

This appears to be the big contradiction at the heart of these elections but the incongruity has more to do with the tumultuous transition Greece is going through than a lack of awareness about the sacrifices or changes needed to survive this crisis. Greece is at a point in its history where its economic, social and political models are broken. The debt crisis that erupted in 2009 exposed the decrepit state of the country's structures. A fiscal adjustment programme that was poorly communicated and implemented at a national and European level put paid to hopes of renewal.

Under the guardianship of the EU and IMF, a government led by the centre-left Pasok and then a coalition administration that included the centre-right New Democracy wilfully ignored most opportunities to conduct vital structural reforms, such as the overhaul of a woefully inefficient public administration. These two parties also passed up chances to rein in public spending and slash waste, relying instead on repeated tax hikes to bring down the public deficit. For an economy already in recession from 2008, this proved a lethal combination. Greece's economic downturn has already lasted longer than the Great Depression. Unemployment, currently at 22%, is set to overtake the peak of 25% in the US in 1933.

As they sink into this economic morass, Greeks are being advised to make sure New Democracy, which wants to renegotiate the loan terms, beats leftist Syriza, which intends to discard the austerity measures. This would allow New Democracy and Pasok, likely to come a distant third, to form the basis of a new coalition government to keep Greece in the euro. But the idea of the responsible vote going to two parties that failed to show responsibility is also a contradiction.

New Democracy and Pasok have ruled Greece since 1974 and carry the largest share of blame for the country's failed economy and self-serving political system. Since the 1990s they've promised reforms to make Greece's economy more competitive and its society fairer but have largely failed to deliver. During this crisis they displayed fear of upsetting their strongholds in the public sector and cosy relationships with numerous private sector groups . So, logic would dictate that if Greeks are genuinely in favour of reform – and opinion polls have consistently shown wide support for many of the structural changes needed – they would be foolish to give these two parties another chance.

The contradictions do not end there. In its bid to complete an unlikely ascent to power, Syriza hardly provides voters with a more reliable choice. At times it has obfuscated its message on the bailout but Syriza's most impressive sleight of hand has been its attempt to appeal to incompatible constituencies. In the inconclusive elections on 6 May, it was the most popular party among civil servants – the group that has probably benefited most from four decades of deeply flawed governance – but it also ranked first among Greece's unemployed and young people – the groups that have suffered most from the inefficiency and inequity this system bred. Syriza promises a new start but it also gives the impression that little will change in Greece's problematic public sector.

Some Greeks will agonise over these paradoxes right up to the last minute.

At the end of it all, though, there may be one contradiction they are unlikely to resolve. Regardless of who Greeks vote for on Sunday, the demands from the eurozone for an austerity programme that none of the parties believe in any more, at least in its current form, will remain. In 1981, Greece's partners allowed it to join what is today termed a "union" in the hope it would nurture a fledgling democracy deeply scarred by years of civil war, divisive politics and military rule. But from next week, Greece could find its democratic process counting for very little in its struggle to stay in a eurozone that is far from united. Atropos and her shears no longer reside in Greece; fate is now decided elsewhere.

• Nick Malkoutzis is the deputy editor of Kathimerini English Edition and blogs at Inside Greece. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

World stocks struggle as crisis fears weigh

Investors nervously await Sunday's Greek elections, when a party that's threatening to renege on the country's bailout terms could come away the big winner

Greek Election a Referendum on Its Eurozone Membership

Kansas City Star

Greek Election a Referendum on Its Eurozone Membership
Voice of America (blog)
The Greek government has piled up a mountain of debt over the years, but its European neighbors and the International Monetary Fund have twice bailed out the country, sending it billions of dollars in the last two years.
Greek conservative leader insists new govt must be formed after country's June ...Washington Post
Next Greek Leaders Face Olympian HurdlesWall Street Journal
Greek radical leftist rejects call for unity govtReuters
Kansas City Star -Bloomberg
all 489 news articles »

Will Europe let the Greek political centre fall?

BBC News

Will Europe let the Greek political centre fall?
BBC News
With three days of campaigning left, what's important in the Greek election is what has not happened. There has been no lifeline thrown to Antonis Samaras, leader of the conservative New Democracy (ND) party, from Brussels.
Conservatives: Greece must form govt this timeAtlanta Journal Constitution
Tsipras Parlays Politics of Defiance Into Battle for EuroBusinessWeek

all 487 news articles »

Greek banks see outflows pickup as election nears -bankers

Greek banks see outflows pickup as election nears -bankers
(Adds details) ATHENS, June 13 (Reuters) - Greek banks have seen a marked increase in the pace of bank withdrawals as a June 17 general election nears and fears grow that Greece could be forced out of the euro, senior bankers said on Wednesday.

Osborne says Greece may have to quit euro

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne attends the G-20 meeting in WashingtonLONDON (Reuters) - Europe may need to sacrifice Greece's membership of its single currency bloc in order to convince Germany to put in more money to save the euro, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne suggested in remarks certain to enrage euro zone leaders. As the EU's biggest economy and largest contributor, Germany holds the key to how the bloc can rescue its troubled, smaller economies and whether Europe is able to agree on a banking union to end 2-1/2 years of debt turmoil. ...

UK's Osborne says Greece may have to quit euro

UK's Osborne says Greece may have to quit euro
LONDON, June 13 (Reuters) - Europe may need to sacrifice Greece's membership of its single currency bloc in order to convince Germany to put in more money to save the euro, Britain's finance minister George Osborne suggested in remarks certain to ...
We Will Keep Greece in the Euro Zone:
Greek Syriza Leader Says Europe Cannot Afford To Let Greece FailWall Street Journal
Greece 'will exit' eurozone after electionABC Online
Deutsche Welle -MarketWatch -BBC News
all 648 news articles »

FOREX-Euro steady, but vulnerable to Italian and Greek woes

Independent Online

FOREX-Euro steady, but vulnerable to Italian and Greek woes
IMPLIED VOLATILITY JUMPS Concerns over the outcome of Greek elections at the weekend, where parties opposing and supporting harsh austerity measures imposed by the country's international lenders are neck and neck in public opinion polls, ...
Euro inches down before Italian debt sale, Greek
Ex-Greek PM: Euro exit would be "catastrophic"CBS News
EU admits to looking into Greek euro exitIndependent Online

all 6,881 news articles »

Cairn Energy splashes out £414m on Nautical Petroleum to boost North Sea presence

Analysts say there is the prospect of a counter bid despite Cairn paying a hefty premium

As markets continue to - cautiously - head higher ahead of an Italian bond auction and Greece's election this weekend, there are signs of life in the takeover world.

Cairn Energy has announced the surprise £414m purchase of North Sea oil company Nautical Petroleum, its second acquisition in the region as it tries to spread the risk of its Greenland projects.

The company is paying 450p for each Nautical share, pushing its target's shares 162.25p higher to 460p. Cairn itself is up 2.4p at 294.3p.

After struggling in Greenland and selling the bulk of its Indian business to Vedanta Resources, Cairn is attempting to build up an oil producing business, and to this end bought Agora Oil and Gas in April. Simon Thomson, Cairn chief executive, said:

This acquisition is another step towards building a balanced portfolio of transformational exploration, appraisal and development assets, and complements our recent acquisition of Agora to help build a platform in North West Europe.

Cairn has acceptances representing 27.25% of Nautical, but despite paying a hefty premium, analysts believe a rival bid cannot be ruled out. Nick Copeman of Oriel Securities said:

Cairn is clearly attracted to the Catcher licence and the prospective of further reserves and resource increases post further exploration and appraisal. It also gives Cairn a 25% stake in the Kraken development project, 6% in the Mariner oil field and a 100% (Enquest 50% option) in the Ketos prospect.

We had a risked net asset value for Nautical of 435p a share, so we don't see Cairn as overpaying and, if anything, the price may leave the door open for a counter offer.

However Andrew Whittock at Liberum Capital said that Cairn would have to back up its reasons for paying the price it has come up with:

This is a surprise move and Cairn will need to justify premium paid for what looks like a package of developments, rather than exploration. It shows industry sees value in North Sea players – should be good news for Enquest and (less so) Premier Oil.

Overall the FTSE 100 is up 22.05 points at 5495.79, despite investors' continuing caution about the eurozone. Hopes of central bank intervention helped lift sentiment. Markus Huber at ETX Capital said:

Continuing general optimism that central banks around the world not only in Europe but in the US and China too will once again come to the rescue soon is providing ongoing support and stability to European equity markets in early trading today.

While none of the major central banks is necessarily eager to rush into any kind of intervention like cutting rates or purchasing bonds as this might be seen as a panic reaction, which could easily have the opposite of the desired effect, in the end with the global economic outlook deteriorating fast and periphery bond yields continue to surge there might be soon no other choice left then to act in a swift and decisive manner before the situation gets even more out of control.

The index was helped by the fact that, for a change on a Wednesday, no FTSE 100 company was trading ex-dividend.

J Sainsbury was a notable faller, down 7.3p at 283.8p after its first quarter sales came in below expectations, despite a boost from the Jubilee celebrations. Freddie George at Seymour Pierce said:

The first quarter trading to 9 June, which includes the bumper Diamond Jubilee week, was positive but weaker than market expectations. Total sales were up by 3.6%, including like for like growth of 1.4% against a consensus, we believe of over 2%. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Jeremy Hunt Commons vote and PMQs: Politics live blog

Rolling coverage of all today's political developments as they happen, including PMQs and the Commons debate on Jeremy Hunt

9.19am: Here's some Twitter comment on today's vote.

From Tory MP Gavin Barwell

From the Guardian's Patrick Wintour

From the BBC's Norman Smith

From PoliticsHome's Paul Waugh

From Alex Belardinelli, an aide to Ed Balls

9.15am: Stress testing is normally associated with banks, but today the coalition is going to experience some stress testing of its own when the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats split in a vote on whether there should be an investigation into whether Jeremy Hunt broke the ministerial code. As Patrick Wintour reports in the Guardian, today's debate will mark one of the most serious breaches of coalition unity since 2010. There's no chance that the Labour motion, calling for Hunt to be investigated by the prime minister's independent adviser on ministers' interests, will get passed. But, at this stage, it is not clear quite how much damage the Lib Dems will do to coalition unity by refusing to vote to defend Hunt? Will it be seen as a polite "agreement to differ"? Or will it be remembered as an act of treachery that will hasten the moment when the coaliton collapses?

In public comments this morning both sides have been seeking to play down the significance of the split. Grant Shapps, the Conservative housing minister, told the Today programme that the Lib Dem position was just a "reminder that we have different perspectives on things".

It's a reminder that this is two parties that have come together in the national interest to sort out these huge debt problems ... The important thing is that we continue to focus on the big picture, on avoiding getting into the situation of Spain or Greece.

And Don Foster, a Lib Dem backbencher, told the same programme that the debate did not matter much anyway because David Cameron had decided not to have an inquiry into Hunt.

It's not going to make a blind bit of difference, the prime minister's already made his mind up on the issue ... The best way Nick Clegg can make clear what he believes about this is to do what he has already done. He doesn't endorse the position the prime minister's made not to refer this to the independent adviser, it's as simple as that.

But is it really as good tempered as this? I'll be covering the debate in detail, and I'll be particularly interested in what Tory MPs have to say about the stance of their Lib Dem colleagues.

Here's the full agenda for the day.

9.30am: Tim Loughton, the children's minister, unveils plans to enshrine in law the rights of both divorced fathers and mothers to see their children.

10am: Nick Clegg gives evidence to the Leveson inquiry. In the afternoon Alex Salmond will give evidence.

12pm: David Cameron and Nick Clegg clash at PMQs.

12.30pm: The Jeremy Hunt debate begins. It should go on until about 4pm.

As usual, I'll be covering all the breaking political news, as well as looking at the papers and bringing you the best politics from the web. I'll post a summary before PMQs and another in the afternoon.

If you want to follow me on Twitter, I'm on @AndrewSparrow.

And if you're a hardcore fan, you can follow @gdnpoliticslive. It's an automated feed that tweets the start of every new post that I put on the blog. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds