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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bank Lobby Chief: Greece Needs Help, Not Writedown


Bank Lobby Chief: Greece Needs Help, Not Writedown
TheStreet.com
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece needs more lenient targets to reduce its budget deficit, not a debt write-off by official creditors, which wouldn't be politically feasible, the head of a global banking lobby said Wednesday. Charles Dallara, managing ...


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Greeks Pelt German Envoy in Austerity Protest

After a German envoy said that 1,000 German officials could do the work of 3,000 Greek officials, Greek protesters hurled coffee and water at another German diplomat on Thursday.

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Greek protesters assault German diplomat

Coffee and water thrown on consul in Thessaloniki as anger over austerity measures demanded by creditors boils over.

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More Flee to Germany from Southern Europe

The influx of Southern Europeans into Germany gathered pace in recent months, as a growing number of Greeks, Spaniards and Portuguese ventured north to escape deepening recession and rising social tensions.

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Greece is out of South Stream project


B92

Greece is out of South Stream project
B92
Greece is out of South Stream project. Source: ekathimerini.com. MOSCOW -- Russia's Gazprom has decided to remove Greece from its international natural gas pipeline South Stream, Greek daily Ekathimerini is reporting. Tweet. (Stock). Senior officials ...

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Merkel hopes for Greece deal next week


Kansas City Star

Merkel hopes for Greece deal next week
Focus News
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday she hoped eurozone finance ministers would thrash out a deal next week enabling much-needed bailout funds to flow to debt-wracked Greece, AFP reported. Speaking after a news conference with French ...
Merkel urges quick decision on Greece, rejects "haircut"Reuters

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Greek bank recap terms not very enticing: Eurobank CEO


Greek bank recap terms not very enticing: Eurobank CEO
Reuters
Sponsored Links. Greek bank recap terms not very enticing: Eurobank CEO. Tweet · Share this · Email · Print. ATHENS | Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:07pm EST. ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's plan to recapitalize its banks does not offer strong incentives for private ...

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Greek protesters storm conference hurling coffee, water, eggs and abuse

German mayors at co-operation event with Greek counterparts target of municipal workers incensed by overstaffing comments

Friendship and co-operation was at the top of the agenda. The meeting was meant to prove how Greece and Germany, Europe's two sparring allies, can actually get along swimmingly.

But before mayors from both could even face each other across the table at Thessaloniki's exhibition centre in Athens, furious municipal workers had not only stormed the building but gone on the attack hurtling coffee, water bottles, eggs and abuse at German officials.

In the melee, the German consul general to the Greek city, Wolfgang Hoelscher-Obermaier, was pelted, his speech snatched from him as protestors shouted "Nazis out", and "It's now or never." Riot police were left chasing protestors as they then pushed their way into the complex and its various halls.

Barely a month after a combustible visit to Athens by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, relations between the eurozone's richest and poorest partners are still a long way off from being cordial.

"You could say it was quite tense," said an employee at Thessaloniki's town hall, the host of the bilateral meeting. "Municipal workers are angry, anyway, but the remarks made by [the German politician Hans-Joachim] Fuchtel really made them mad."

Fuchtel, Germany's deputy minister of labour and social affairs, Merkel's choice to promote bilateral ties away from big government at a regional level. On Wednesday, however, the politician, who has island-hopped and mountain trekked to win favour with ordinary Greeks, ignited a firestorm after saying local authorities in Greece were over-staffed.

"There are studies and research which have shown that as far as local administration is concerned 3,000 workers are needed in Greece to do the work carried out by 1,000 Germans," he said on the eve of the two-day conference whose aim is promote regional co-operation by bringing together mayors from both countries. "Answers should be given especially to those [EU] partners who are financing processes in Greece, as to why there is not a more effective exploitation of the labour force."

Berlin has been the biggest bankroller of the €240bn (£193bn) bailouts propping up the debt-choked Greek economy – and with it the toughest advocate of austerity in Athens.

But for Greek municipal workers who stand to be axed in the latest round of belt-tightening demanded of the country – and in a sign of growing militancy have begun occupying town halls nationwide – Fuchtel's statement appears to have been the last straw.

"These people haven't come to help us, but to announce our death sentence," said Themis Balassopoulos, who as head of the municipal workers' union, had travelled to Thessaloniki to attend the demonstration.

In Berlin, a spokesman at the foreign office, mindful of the meeting's initial raison d'etre, tried to play down the incident. "We can confirm that there was a demonstration on the margin of the conference but to our knowledge there were no injuries," he said.

Later in the day Hoelscher-Obermaier also emerged from the building to say he thought Fuchtel's comments had been misconstrued. "It was a misunderstanding. I am more pro-Greek than I was before today," he told reporters.

Even Merkel, who had been the target of virulent anti-German sentiment during her six-hour stopover in Athens last month, said she believed the Thessaloniki meeting was "a good thing". "I heard that there were some very constructive talks," she said before feeling fit to also add: "violence is no means for political disputes."


guardian.co.uk © 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


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UPDATE 1-France's German-speaking PM tries to reassure Berlin


San Francisco Chronicle

UPDATE 1-France's German-speaking PM tries to reassure Berlin
Reuters
Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:57pm EST. * German-speaking French PM holds talks with Merkel. * Ayrault says French economic recovery top priority. * Germans worry second pillar of Europe is buckling. By Stephen Brown and Noah Barkin. BERLIN, Nov 15 (Reuters) ...
French PM touts reforms as Merkel wishes successAFP
France tells Germany it will slash deficitNewsOK.com
French PM Ayrault Defends Government Policies on Berlin VisitWall Street Journal
Financial Times -Bloomberg -Economic Times
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Greece debt fix on hold as officials argue over solution


National Post

Greece debt fix on hold as officials argue over solution
National Post
HELSINKI/BRUSSELS – The European Union's top economic official sought to rule out any write-off of Greece's debt to governments on Thursday after a European Central Bank policymaker said for the first time that a “haircut” on part of it was probable.
EU's Rehn:Greece solutions shouldn't include change to principalReuters
Forex: EUR/USD Trapped Between Greece And Fiscal Cliff; Still BearishSeeking Alpha

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Greece Asks UK Chancellor for HSBC Account Holders in Jersey


Yahoo!7 News

Greece Asks UK Chancellor for HSBC Account Holders in Jersey
Businessweek
Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras has requested information from the U.K. government on Greeks holding HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) accounts in Jersey. Stournaras wrote to U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne asking for the ...
Greece seeks names of HSBC account holders in JerseyReuters
Greece Requests Information from UK Authorities Over Offshore AccountsFox Business
Greece Requests List of Greek Depositors at Jersey Island BankCRIENGLISH.com

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Greek policeman arrested over immigrant muggings in racially tense Athens district

ATHENS, Greece - A Greek policeman has been arrested on suspicion of carrying out a series of armed robberies against immigrants in a racially tense part of central Athens.

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Greek policeman arrested over immigrant muggings


Greek policeman arrested over immigrant muggings
Fox News
ATHENS, Greece – A Greek policeman has been arrested on suspicion of carrying out a series of armed robberies against immigrants in a racially tense part of central Athens. A police statement said the 31-year-old was taken into custody early Thursday, ...

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Europe's striking warning to US that austerity is no solution to fiscal cliff | Amy Goodman

As Obama opens the debate on the US's fiscal cliff, Europe is brought to a standstill by protests at cuts to the social safety net

Amaia Engana didn't wait to be evicted from her home. On 9 November, in the town of Barakaldo, a suburb of Bilbao in Spain's Basque country, officials from the local judiciary were on their way to serve her eviction papers. Amaia threw herself out of her fifth-floor apartment window, dying instantly on impact on the sidewalk below. She was the second person in two weeks in Spain to commit suicide as a result of an impending foreclosure action.

Her suicide has added gravity to this week's general strike radiating from the streets of Madrid to across all of Europe. As resistance to so-called austerity in Europe becomes increasingly transnational and coordinated, President Barack Obama and the House Republicans begin their debate to avert the "fiscal cliff". The fight is over fair tax rates, budget priorities and whether we as a society will sustain the social safety net built during the past 80 years.

The general strike that swept across Europe on 14 November had its genesis in the deepening crisis in Spain, Portugal and Greece. As a result of the global economic collapse in 2008, Spain is in a deep financial crisis. Unemployment has surpassed 25%, and among young people it is an estimated 50%. Large banks have enjoyed bailouts while they enforce mortgages that an increasing number of Spaniards are unable to meet, provoking increasing numbers of foreclosures and attempted evictions.

"Attempted" because, in response to the epidemic of evictions in Spain, a direct-action movement has grown to prevent them. In city after city, individuals and groups have networked, creating rapid-response teams that flood the street outside a threatened apartment. When officials arrive to deliver the eviction notice, they can't reach the building's main door, let alone the apartment in question.

The general strike across Europe ranged from mass rallies in Madrid, with participation from members of parliament, to protests in London, to outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, to high atop the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy where protesters flew anti-austerity flags and banners. In calling for the first pan-national general strike in Europe in generations, the European Trade Union Confederation hoped to express:

"[S]trong opposition to the austerity measures that are dragging Europe into economic stagnation, indeed recession, as well as the continuing dismantling of the European social model. These measures, far from re-establishing confidence, only serve to worsen imbalances and foster injustice."

Back in the US, a group from Occupy Wall Street, which itself was inspired in part by the Spanish M-15 movement against austerity that began on 15 May of last year, has taken a creative approach to the blight of debt that is afflicting millions. Calling itself "Rolling Jubilee", after the ancient practice of forgiving all debts every 50 years, the group is buying debt from lenders, for pennies on the dollar, and canceling it. This discounted debt market exists primarily because collection agencies and "vulture capitalists" acquire bad loans, which people have stopped paying, for 2 to 3 cents on a dollar – and still make a profit by hounding people to pay back some or all of that debt. Rolling Jubilee, according to its website:

"[B]elieves people should not go into debt for basic necessities like education, healthcare and housing. Rolling Jubilee intervenes by buying debt, keeping it out of the hands of collectors, and then abolishing it … to help each other out and highlight how the predatory debt system affects our families and communities. Think of it as a bailout of the 99% by the 99%."

At the time of writing, Rolling Jubilee had raised $190,000, which it says will be used to abolish $2.9m in debt. The amount may be symbolic, but an important message to President Obama and House Republicans as they wrangle over the future of the US tax rates, deficit reduction and how to fund so-called entitlements. Sarah Anderson, of the Institute for Policy Studies, prefers to call social security and Medicare "earned benefit programs". She explains:

"[T]hese are programs that American workers are paying into over their lives, and they have a right to that money, to have these basic social programs that have made us a much stronger society with a stronger middle class.

"The approach to the debt should be to look at the ways that we could raise revenues through … taxing financial transactions … cutting fossil-fuel subsidies and using carbon taxes, and cutting military spending. That kind of combination could raise trillions of dollars over the next decade."

As the movement for that strong social safety net grows around the world, and locally here at home, the mandate is clear: austerity is not the answer.

• Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column

© 2012 Amy Goodman; distributed by King Features Syndicate


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Merkel urges quick decision on Greece, rejects "haircut"


Merkel urges quick decision on Greece, rejects "haircut"
Reuters
BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged European finance ministers to come up with a quick solution for Greece's strained finances but rejected the idea that governments might accept losses on loans already given to Athens. "I hope ...

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IMF: 120% Debt Ratio By 2020 is Fund's Red Line For Greek Program


Globe and Mail

IMF: 120% Debt Ratio By 2020 is Fund's Red Line For Greek Program
Wall Street Journal
Economists say Greece's debt is expected to top out above 190% of GDP and can't be cut to the IMF target without Europe taking losses on the Greek debt it holds. After Athens committed to another tough round of austerity measures last week, the IMF ...
Greek bailout debate shifts to who bears lossesMarketWatch
IMF suggests Europe must do more for Greek debtReuters
Greece 101: An Intro to the Greek CrisisMotley Fool
New York Times -Forbes -San Francisco Chronicle
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The Club Med and the euro: Workers of Europe, protest!



Letting everyone know our view of austerity

THE first hints of optimism are appearing in Europe’s troubled Club Med countries. They are not to be found in unemployment or growth figures, but mostly in the mouths of ministers. “Spain is emerging from its crisis,” declared Fatima BaƱez, the labour minister, even as unemployment rose above 25%. In Greece ministers are pointing proudly to their progress towards a primary budget surplus. Everywhere economists are welcoming rising net exports and shrinking budget deficits (see briefing).Yet ordinary voters and the unemployed are mostly unimpressed. On November 14th in Spain angry protesters took to the streets in the second general strike they have staged in less than a year of Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party (PP) government. The strike, and a similar protest in neighbouring Portugal, brought most transport links, schools and many businesses to a halt. Police clashed with violent...


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Greek protesters target German officials at event


The Guardian

Greek protesters target German officials at event
Boston.com
THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Dozens of Greek anti-austerity protesters forced their way into an exhibition site where Greek and German government officials were holding a conference, with some demonstrators almost breaking into the meeting before ...
Greece Examines a Debt Buyback as One Way to Reduce Its BurdenNew York Times
Greek depression deepens in third quarterReuters
Greek austerity is going too far, Charles Dallara warnsThe Guardian
Malta Independent Online -iAfrica.com -NASDAQ
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Greece Debt Reduction Talks 'Not Deadlocked,' IMF Says


Greece Debt Reduction Talks 'Not Deadlocked,' IMF Says
Bloomberg
Finance officials from the 17 euro countries are seeking agreement on how to cut Greece's debt to sustainable levels, a necessary step to disburse the next tranche under a bailout they co-fund with the IMF. A disagreement on the speed of reaching the ...


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Greece game won't loosen Trap chains


BBC Sport

Greece game won't loosen Trap chains
Herald.ie
WHAT is so maddening is the precious time wasted by Giovanni Trapattoni while he sat complacently in his bunker and decided that he was doing a good job. So many games have slipped away while Seamus Coleman waited patiently and James McCarthy ...
Greece punished Republic missed chances - John O'SheaBBC Sport
Pressure mounts on Trapattoni after Republic of Ireland's defeat to GreeceBelfast Telegraph
Greece prosper at the AvivaIrish Times
Eurosport.com AU -Setanta Sports Ireland -Irish Independent
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Schaeuble Sees Decision on Greek Aid as CDU Allies Balk


Schaeuble Sees Decision on Greek Aid as CDU Allies Balk
Businessweek
20 meeting on the “priority task” of how to close a Greek financing gap that emerged last week. “We'll resolve that by Tuesday,” Schaeuble said at a conference in Berlin today. Greece needs to finance a two-year extension in debt-reduction targets.

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Eurozone in recession 3 years into debt crisis


Irish Times

Eurozone in recession 3 years into debt crisis
USA TODAY
Eurozone in recession 3 years into debt crisis. Share. Comments. athensriot. Government workers demonstrate in Athens on Nov. 13, 2012, against expected layoffs. Greece's jobless rate is 25%. (Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki, AFP/Getty Images). Story Highlights ...
Eurozone crisis live: Draghi urges action after eurozone falls into recessionThe Guardian
Euro zone falls into double dip recessionReuters
Eurozone: A very overcast outlookBBC News
Reuters Blogs (blog) -Bloomberg -MarketWatch
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Greece crying wolf


UPI.com

Greece crying wolf
UPI.com
With the Greek economy contracting by 7 percent in the third quarter, it is dawning on a few that the country's debt problems can be viewed in economic terms. The phrase that seems too condescending to repeat -- it's the economy, stupid -- rings loud ...
Greece 101: An Intro to the Greek CrisisMotley Fool
Greece trapped in the middle of IMF, EU dispute, no end in sightGlobalPost
Greece: The Troika Needs To Dump The IMFProject Syndicate (blog)
DigitalJournal.com -TradingFloor.com (blog)
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