Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Thursday, October 10, 2013

An Evening of Greek Cuisine and Wine in Ottawa

An evening dedicated to longevity on the subject of the Greek- Mediterranean ... Talking to AMNA, the Ambassador Mr. Angelopoulos said the evening is dedicated to the healthy Mediterranean diet, the Greek wines and to the principle of moderation ...


Greek government rules out new measures

Greece’s government moved quickly on Thursday to rule out any possibility of further austerity measures after an International Monetary Fund report suggested that Athens would need to find several billion euros more in savings over the next few years. “Wh... ...


Despite growth in tourism, unemployment keeps rising

A day after reports by the IMF suggesting the need for new measures and by Parliament’s budget office on the unsustainability of the debt, more bad news on the course of Greek economy emerged on Thursday, as unemployment continued to grow, exports shrank ... ...


Russian arrivals increasing this fall

The rise in arrivals of Russian tourists continues at an impressive rate this fall, as new flights to Greece have been added for the season. In fact, in the first nine months of the year arrivals from Russia have already exceeded the number of Russian vis... ...


Aris beats PAOK in basketball Cup derby

Aris and Panionios have joined favorites Panathinaikos and Olympiakos in the last four of the Greek Cup, after the quarterfinals of the competition were completed this week. Aris outplayed bitter crosstown rival PAOK away to win 71-63 on Wednesday in the ... ...


Greece’s Aegean, Olympic Airlines merge

Brussels (dpa) – The European Union (EU) gave its blessing to the merger of Greece’s Aegean Airlines and its rival Olympic Air, saying that there would be no harm to competition since Olympic Air would have no choice but to shut down without the deal ...


Google: EU privacy spat will 'play itself out'

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, said Thursday that he respects but disagrees with complaints about his company's privacy policies made by data protection authorities in six European countries.


Greek youth unemployment has fallen from a ridiculous 65% to a merely ...

Greek youth unemployment has fallen from a ridiculous 65% to a merely ...QuartzGreek unemployment ticked up to 27.6% in July, from a revised 27.5% in June. There's a very nice write-up on the numbers over at Macropolis. Greek-unemployment-rate_chartbuilder. Any good news in the data? Not a lot. The number of unemployed people ...


Dixons pays £30m to merge Italy business

Electrical retailer to merge its Unieuro business with rival Marco Polo chain to focus on countries where it is market leader

Dixons has become the latest British retailer to retreat from international adventures, handing over a dowry of €35m (£30m) to get rid of its loss-making Italian business.

Under the deal, Dixons will merge its Unieuro business with rival Marco Polo, which is controlled by private equity firm Rhône Capital. Dixons will invest up to €10m in the new entity and leave the business with €25m. In return, Dixons will get a 15% stake in the merged business.

Sebastian James, chief executive, said the deal gave "clarity" on the future of the business which produced a loss of £4.1m on sales of £516m in the year to April. Unieuro was expected to be hived off as part of James's plan for Dixons to "stick to the knitting" – focusing on countries where it is market leader or the strong number two.

James said: "This is a terrific outcome for both Unieuro and Marco Polo, as it creates a unified force that has the potential to be at the forefront of electrical retailing in this large European market."

The release of the struggling Italian business follows Dixons' £2m disposal of Turkish operation ElectroWorld and another deal last month, when it gave a German restructuring firm €69m to take away its loss-making Pixmania electricals e-tailer. That business lost Dixons more than £250m in seven years of ownership.

Dixons shares rose nearly 6% as it said the divestment would boost its underlying earnings for the current year. The shares rose 6% to 46.7p as analysts said the terms were reasonable and James had done well to get out of the company's misadventures abroad. His plan echoes that followed by Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke, who has pulled the supermarket out of the US and Japan and organised a merger in China as he tries to tackle problems at home.

Nick Bubb, an independent retail analyst said: "This is what people have been waiting for." He said Dixons could now focus on its more successful Scandinavian and UK operations, although its Greek operations were still suffering amid the country's economic problems.

He said: "The important thing now is not so much fixing Greece as making sure nothing else goes wrong." Dixons faces strong competition in Scandinavia and in the UK. Its PC World and Currys stores have performed well in the past year when they have benefited from the collapse of rival Comet in November last year. Bubb said: "After the anniversary of Comet's demise next month, Dixons will need to show it can build on that and it should be helped by the stronger housing market."

Dixons RetailRetail industryItalyEuropeSarah © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Greeks were Seafood Lovers since the Prehistoric Era

The sea has been plentiful dating back to prehistoric ages, providing Greeks with the tastiest offerings like sargos, groupers and scorpionfish which to this day remain favourites.  Shells never went to waste and were used for making jewelry. Researchers are now amazed to discover that the seafood processing has paved the way for the invention […]


Woman Commits Suicide after Being Laid Off

The suicide victim was a previous administrative employee of public television station ET3 and was recently laid off. The 49- year old unemployed woman jumped from the 5th floor of a building located on Perdika Street causing panic. Within a few minutes ambulance arrived on scene but the unfortunate woman had already died. She was […]


Regling Says Greece Widely Expected to Need New Bailout in 2014

Greece will probably need a third rescue program next year and the euro area’s firewall fund will be able to move quickly when needed, European Stability Mechanism chief Klaus Regling said. “It’s very likely that they will need more ...


South Jersey's Greek Community Celebrates With Return of Annual Fest

South Jersey's Greek Community Celebrates With Return of Annual FestCBS LocalCHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church in Cherry Hill kicked off its annual “Greek Agora and Festival” today. It began with a brief prayer service inside the church, then everyone headed out to the big blue tent to finish the setup ...2013 Greek Agora Festival Starts ThursdayPatch.comGreek Festival Oct. 11-13 at Francis FieldSt. Augustine RecordGreek, Hispanic festivals this weekendThe Augusta ChronicleVineland Daily Journalall 7 news articles »


IAF conducts long-range drill over Greek waters

HaaretzIAF conducts long-range drill over Greek watersThe Times of IsraelThe exercises were carried out over Greek waters, according to a Channel 10 report, which noted that the video of the exercises released Thursday by the IAF is the first time the military has made such a video publicly available. The IAF, which “plays ...Israel Air Force holds long-range drill over MediterraneanHaaretzall 4 news articles »


Greece Far Right Party Support Continues Amid Crackdown

LONDON — Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party is again being labeled “neo-Nazi” after its leader and other senior members were arrested for alleged links to the murder of a popular leftist singer. Despite dramatic images of Golden Dawn ...


The Next 50 Years in Greece

The International Monetary Fund's annual meeting kicks off in Washington on Friday, and while America's budget standoff will top the agenda, Greece's won't be too far down. At stake now, three and half years after Athens was made to accept its first ...


‘Battling Boy’: Paul Pope pits boy-god hero against monster siege


Greek unions to hold 24-hour strike against austerity on November 6

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek workers will hold a 24-hour strike on November 6 to protest against austerity measures and public sector layoffs demanded by the country's international lenders, unions said on Thursday. Greece said on Monday it expects to finally emerge from six years of recession next year, but repeated rounds of spending cuts since the crisis broke out have squeezed households and ...


Far-right's surge could paralyse Europe, warns Hollande as NF passes socialists

French president warns of threat from parties such as National Front as poll on EU elections in May puts all extremists ahead

The French president, François Hollande, has warned that Europe risks "regression and paralysis" if Eurosceptics and nationalists gain the upper hand in next year's European parliament elections, as an opinion poll for the first time put the anti-immigrant National Front (NF) well ahead of his country's mainstream parties.

The Ifop poll in the newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur gave Marine Le Pen's National Front 24% in the European contest, five points ahead of Hollande's socialists and almost four times what the far-right party achieved in the last European election, in 2009.

The boost to the extreme right in France came amid growing fears among the European Union elite that extreme parties of right and left would make a strong showing in the European elections in May.

Nigel Farage's UK Independence party is tipped to do well, possibly becoming the British party in the European parliament, while Geert Wilders, the Dutch anti-immigrant and anti-Islam populist, is also running strongly in the opinion polls.

German analysts and politicians expect the new anti single European currency party, Alternative for Germany, to win its first seats in a national poll. The far-right in Poland, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria would also register gains, on current projections.

"Next May the European parliament could be for a large part composed of anti-Europeans. It would be a regression and a threat of paralysis," Hollande warned.

In remarks clearly aimed at the National Front at home but also pointing to the wider problem in Europe after four years of financial crisis, Hollande warned of the twin threat to Europe from the forces of "nationalism and populism".

He said: "Let's be honest, Europe is associated – wrongly it has to be said – with the opening of borders and thus to immigration. Nationalism springs from a lack of perspective and a collective dynamic, add in the fear of decline, with certain countries painfully living the confrontation with globalisation."

He ascribed the growth of nationalism to "relations with Islam", as well as "working people's fears faced with industrial reorganisation", the "fear of emerging countries", and "conservatism linked partly with ageing of the population".

The president added: "Xenophobia does the rest."

The Ifop pollsters found that 24% of the 1,893 French voters questioned intended to vote for the NF in next year's European elections, while 22% said they would vote for the centre-right Union for a Popular Movement, and only 19% for the governing Parti Socialiste.

In the last European elections, in 2009, the National Front took 6.34% of the vote. Pollsters stressed that the new survey reflected voters' intentions rather than a ballot prediction.

"For the first time in a poll on voting intentions in an election of a national character, the NF is clearly ahead," an Ifop spokesperson said.

A former European government minister in close contact with France's socialist leadership said Hollande's entourage was "very scared" and expected Le Pen to emerge as the winner. "This is a wake-up call from Hollande. He is right. The next European elections will bring a big victory for nationalist populists of right and left."

Others cautioned that with the ballot almost eight months away, it was too early to say. The gains for the far-right are also mirrored by gains for the hard-left in parts of Europe. The socialists in the Netherlands could make gains and the communist party in the Czech republic is expected to do well in national elections this month and could enter coalition government for the first time since the collapse of communism in 1989.

In crisis-ravaged Greece, the leftwing Syriza movement is expected to do well. In Germany, following last month's general elections, the far-left Die Linke, composed of disaffected social democrats and former East German communists, is now the third force in parliament, supplanting the Greens.

Other factors combine to suggest a strong opportunity for anti-Europeans of the far-right and hard-left. The European elections often serve as a surrogate mid-term ballot on, and protest against, sitting governments. Voter turnout is extremely low but the fringe parties are more likely to mobilise support. Beyond Germany there is a broad mood of anti-incumbency across Europe.

The boost for the French far-right comes just 10 days before the second round of a cantonal byelection in the town of Brignoles, in the Var region of southern France. The NF candidate took a stunning 40.4% of votes in the first round.

Alain Delon, one of France's most celebrated actors, voiced his support for the NF, saying he approved of the party's rise.

In an interview with the Swiss paper Le Matin, Delon said: "For years Le Pen father and daughter have fought, but they've fought somewhat alone. Now, for the first time, they're not alone. The French are with them."

The NF has been slowly gaining political ground in France since 2011 when Marine Le Pen took over at the helm of the party founded in 1972 by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and known for its xenophobia and Holocaust-doubting rhetoric.

Steeve Briois, the NF secretary general, said: "The French are showing a wish to take their destiny into their hands and give back their country its sovereignty." He promised an "unprecedented earthquake" in the European elections.

Jean-Yves Camus, who is based at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations, in Paris, and is an expert on the European far-right, said: "All the ingredients are coming together for the NF to achieve a higher score than ever before in both the municipal and the European elections next year.

"The European elections will be a chance for people to express their discontent with everything associated with Europe, globalisation, outsourcing and so on."

The far rightFrançois HollandeJean-Marie Le PenMarine Le PenFranceEuropeGermanyEuropean electionsEuropean UnionGeert WildersNetherlandsNigel FarageUK Independence party (Ukip)GreeceCzech RepublicKim WillsherIan © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Greek unemployment tops 1.37mn more job cuts on the way

Greece Another 729 Greeks lost their jobs in July, driving the total jobless to 1.37 million. The unemployment could rise further, as under the IMF bailout conditions Athens has to axe as much as 4,000 public sector jobs by the end of 2013. Greece's unemployment rate went up further in July to reach 27.6 percent, according to ...


Golden Dawn rise illustrates cracks in Greece's social cohesion

World Jewish CongressGolden Dawn rise illustrates cracks in Greece's social cohesionEUobserver.comMeanwhile unemployment in Greece has now reached 27 percent while anyone who loses their job is most likely to remain unemployed in the long-term, the household disposable income has shrunk by at least 22 percent and the homeless have increased ...Greece: Focus Bill on Curbing Racist AttacksHuman Rights WatchWill the arrest of Golden Dawn's leaders rebound on Greek democracy?The EconomistSenior members of Greece's far-right party arrestedCCTVWorld Jewish Congressall 9 news articles »


Stock growth continues on healthy turnover

The sixth consecutive session of gains on the Greek bourse on Thursday – with the benchmark index enjoying total gains of 11.13 percent – saw banks back in the driver’s seat and daily turnover steadying itself at well above 100 million euros, reaching 131... ...


Truck search at northern Greek border reveals cannabis cache

A 66-year-old citizen of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia faced a prosecutor in Florina, northern Greece, on Thursday after an inspection by police and customs officials on the truck he had been driving turned up 114 kilograms of cannabis. With t... ...


Warning issued about stolen radioactive device

The Greek Atomic Energy Commission (EEAE) issued an urgent warning on Thursday about a measuring device containing a radioactive compound, which was stolen from a worksite near Lamia, central Greece. The EEAE said that the device, which contains the radio... ...


Parliament committee calls head of SDOE for update on Lagarde list

Parliament’s ethics committee decided on Thursday to summon the head of the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE), Stelios Stasinopoulos, to brief MPs on the progress of an ongoing investigation into the so-called Lagarde list of more than 2,000 wealthy Greek dep... ...


Care homes see mass exodus

Grandma and grandpa’s pension has become the main source of income for thousands of Greek families struggling with unemployment, along with rising living costs and taxes. This shift has been accompanied by a mass evacuation of retirement homes across the ... ...


Ministry calls non-compliant universities 'fiefdoms of lawlessness'

The Education Ministry described Greek universities as “fiefdoms of lawlessness, waste and mismanagement” on Thursday, as the rectors of eight institutions failed to supply it with details of their 4,574 administrative staff, a third of whom must join a s... ...


Google 'respects' but disagrees on privacy

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, says he respects but disagrees with complaints about his company's privacy policies made by data protection authorities in six European countries.


Roupakias Lead to Investigator’s Office

On Thursday the 10th of October at 9am, Giorgos Roupakias, accused for the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, was at the Investigator’s Office to deliver an apology for participating in a criminal organization Golden Dawn. According to all the material and reports collected by those investigating the case, it appears that Roupakias had an active participation […]


Evidence Mounts Against Golden Dawn

  The Greek government is continuing to build its case against the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, trying to prove it’s a criminal organization and not a political party, and has said that more charges will be added against its lawmakers, including that of trying to bring down the state. democracy. In a report submitted to […]


Greek Lawmakers Want Troika Haircut

Some  3 1/2 years after asking for international bailouts and $325 billion in loans later, Greece hasn’t made a dent in its debt, still hovering around $430 billion, and now is trying to make a case that it can’t pay them back in full, the same way it did with private investors two years ago, […]


Is Greece on Track to Meet Its Creditors’ Goals?

Tension mounts over whether further austerity measures will be needed in Greece as the latest data brings no cause for celebration to the Mediterranean country, Reuters reports. Official data from the Greek government brought two more pieces of bad news ...


IMF not requesting any new budget measures of Greece

and it will not be in the form of across-the-board, undifferentiated cuts in wages or pensions." The troika launched a review of Greece's progress on its reform commitments in mid-September, but "paused" the review due to "technical" issues at the end of ...


Greek unemployment jumps again despite budget back in black

11/04/2013 14:53 CET Unemployment in Greece has hit a new record high. More and more people say the current method for getting out of the crisis is not working, and the country has slipped back to the 1950s. Fewer and fewer jobs are available for the nearly 1.4 million people who have lost their work in the last six years or have joined the dole queues. While the overall figure is bad enough ...


MIGRATION Migrants asylum seekers re-route to avoid Greece

Graffiti in the Greek border town of Alexandroupolis THESSALONIKI/ISTANBUL, 10 October 2013 (IRIN) - Dire economic conditions, increased security measures, inflated trafficking fees, and the fear of xenophobic violence are putting off potential migrants and asylum seekers to Greece. For those travelling by land from the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, Bulgaria now appears to be the favoured ...


Spanish wealth gap biggest in Europe, says charity

Top 20% of Spanish society now seven and a half times richer than bottom fifth, with number of millionaires up 13% in year

Spain is the most unequal society in Europe, according a report that says three million people in the country now live in conditions of "extreme poverty", while another study says the number of Spanish millionaires has grown.

A report by the Catholic charity Caritas said that more than 6% of the country's population of 47 million lived on €307 a month or less in 2012, double the proportion in 2008 before Spain was hit by a recession that has left 26% of its workforce unemployed.

A separat§e study by Credit Suisse found that the number of millionaires in Spain rose to 402,000 last year, an increase of 13% on 2011, emphasising the ever-widening gap between rich and poor.

Announcing the findings of the Caritas report at a press conference in Madrid, Sebastian Mora, general secretary of the charity's Spanish arm, warned of "a situation of neglect, injustice and the dispossession of people's most basic rights".

He said that while "poverty is widespread in Spain, it mainly affects the most vulnerable", and the ongoing economic crisis had "produced a weakening of family ties and other safety nets, particularly in the public sector".

The top 20% of Spanish society is now seven and a half times richer than the bottom fifth, the biggest divide in Europe, according to Caritas.

"The report paints a picture of a more fractured, more divided society, where the middle class is disappearing and a minority has access to wealth, goods and services while the majority sits outside," Mora said.

The governing rightwing People's party has introduced a series of austerity measures in an attempt to deal with a public debt that is nearly 100% of GDP, but many fear that these are hitting the poorest sectors of society disproportionately hard.

Six years ago Spain's economy was heralded as one of Europe's great success stories, and in 2007 it created nearly half the new jobs in the eurozone, but its unemployment rate is now second only to that of Greece, and economists see little light at the end of the tunnel.

This week the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, Nils Muižnieks, said a report that "cuts in social, health and educational budgets have led to a worrying growth of family poverty in Spain. This has had a particularly negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights by children and persons with disabilities."

The OECD's first global study of adult skills revealed that levels of literacy and numeracy were worryingly low, with Spain coming bottom of a list of 24 countries, raising concerns about its ability to emerge successfully from the crisis in the near future. The OECD survey found that one in four Spaniards between 16 and 65 scored the lowest levels of literacy and one in three the lowest levels of mathematical proficiency.

The Spanish government argues that it has stabilised the economy after years of recession, but economists believe a complete overhaul is necessary, as any recovery remains vulnerable to internal and external changes of fortune.

SpainEuropePaul © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Syrian Immigrants Swim to Kastelorizo

Syrian refugees, driven out of their country by war, are trying to cross the Turkish-Greek border to seek asylum in the European Union. Greece is suffering from the financial crisis and cannot accept this number of people, therefore the Greek authorities take a tough stance with respect to illegal immigrants. Despite these efforts, refugees continue […]


Samaras Meets with Chairman of ZTE

Antonis Samaras held a meeting with ZTE’s chairman Hou Weigui on Oct 10th at Maximos Mansion, the official seat of the Prime Minister of Greece, which is located in downtown Athens, Greece, near Syntagma Square. The chairman of the Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and systems company stated that after the opening of a transit center […]


Reichenbach: Greece doesn’t Need More Taxes

The view that Greece has carried out the biggest part of the reforms was expressed by the Greek Minister of Development Kostis Chatzidakis, in his statements after his meeting with the Head of the Task Force for Greece Horst Reichenbach. Chatzidakis was asked to comment on IMF’s last report on Greece released on Oct 9th, […]


Turkey Hopes For Cyprus Reunification Vote

Turkish and Greek Cypriots may vote in a referendum in March to unify after a four-decade separation if officials from both sides can agree on a plan by end of the year, Foreign Minister Ozdil Nami of the Turkish-Cypriot breakaway state which is recognized only by Turkey said on Oct. 10. Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Nami said that for the first time a Greek Cypriot envoy will visit Ankara, while a Turkish Cypriot envoy will travel to Athens later this month. The visits come before officials from both sides gather for talks, possibly on Nov. 4, said Nami, who met on Oct. 9 with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. ?There is a window of opportunity,? Nami said. ?The window is narrow, but we won?t be starting from scratch.?


IMF confident Europe will stick by promises to Greece

The IMF, along with the European Central Bank and the European Commission, gave Greece a cash infusion to help the country recover from a crisis and stay in the euro zone currency bloc. But the IMF has said Greece will need additional support to ...


What would Socrates think of homeless Greeks in caves today

In the birthplace of democracy, near the Acropolis in Athens, there are caves where people with no homes are living. Twenty-five centuries after the classical philosopher Socrates, the caves are occupied again. Tradition says one of these caves was his prison. The jobless tenants forage for food in the city by day; they’re back on Fillopapou hill at night, better in a cave than on the ...


Data shows jump in Greece jobless rate

Press TVData shows jump in Greece jobless ratePress TVOfficial figures show that the unemployment rate in Greece jumped to 27.6 percent in July from a revised 27.5 percent in June, as the financial crisis continues to take its toll on jobs in the country. Greece's statistics service ELSTAT said on ...Unemployment Rate in Greece Continues to ClimbGreek ReporterUnemployment rate in Greece edges up to 27.6 per cent in July from 27.5 per ...Edmonton JournalGreece's Unemployment Rate Increased to Record High in JulyBusinessweekRTT News -Oye! Timesall 19 news articles »


Greece sees deficit gains, but IMF warns on debt

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece says it is due to meet a key deficit-cutting target this year, but the International Monetary Fund warned the country's outlook remains dark and new cuts will be needed.


Democracy in America? It Would Be a Good Idea

This is a Tocqueville meets Gandhi moment. Gandhi famously answered a question about Western civilization by retorting: "it would be a good idea," suggesting that the colonial West was not civilized. The shutdown of the Federal government is but a symptom of a much larger problem. Analysts have pointed out that the far right-wing of the Republican party is gunning for Obama and scaring the daylights out of so-called moderate Republicans. Even Wall Street is apparently stymied by the hotheads of the Tea Party. Those Paul Krugman calls the "Boehner bunglers" do not care about the health of Americans, nor of the American economy and could not care less, they imagine, about the world economy. They are Thomas Frank's "wrecking crew" who have "beggared the nation." Who do these wreckers and bunglers represent? Are they the elected representatives of the American people? In their excellent and incredibly well-researched book, Dollarocracy John Nichols and Robert McChesney point out all the schemes Republicans have resorted to game the electoral system. Democrats had a majority of votes in the House of Representatives election yet not majority of seats. This is due to unfair redistricting, voter exclusion, and mostly the power of money, which they appropriately call the "Money Power." Dollarocracy is a neologism for plutocracy and many writers have pointed out that the U.S. is a plutocracy or an oligarchy in which only a few get to decide what happens in Washington. The few are the rich and corporations. Sheldon Wolin in his landmark book, Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, had already identified the problem. The Tea Party wreckers are a minority within a minority party and yet they have the power to wreck everything around them. In Congressional elections the turnout is low for many feel voting has become irrelevant, but their depoliticization is encouraged by the media and the money power. The voice of the underprivileged and the middle class is not heard. What happens within the Beltway is totally at odds with what the people want. This diagnosis is well-known and anyone who cares about the U.S. and wants to know how it ticks is aware of it. (See Domhoff ) Although racism does play a part in the current shenanigans and also anti-feminism, which is common among those who favor guns and the death penalty but oppose abortion, it would be an error to imagine that the wreckers are primarily racists or sexists. They may welcome a Herman Cain and a Michele Bachmann while depriving the poor of any color, creed or background from access to food stamps. While the shutdown is happening in the U.S., "the whole world is watching" (to adapt a phrase used by Todd Gitlin as the title of one of his books). The U.S. had already lost a lot of its prestige with its constant wars of choice, its use of drones and its outlandish TV debates during election campaigns. Now, the promoter of democracy the world over appears as a bunch of childish politicians who bicker, break up their institutions and foul their own nest. Democracy has brighter colors in Finland, Iceland, Germany or Sweden. Britain, Brazil and France, for all their many problems also have a more vibrant democracy than the U.S. While ALEC happily wrecks institutions, blocks people from voting and destroys the environment, and while the 1 percent arrogantly pocket more and more wealth when the poor get poorer, the world keeps changing and the nation which believes itself exceptional is losing its grip and endangering its hegemony. The Chinese have to contend with a very unfair system but they may rejoice about the havoc caused by Tea Party bunglers. Brazilians may find compensation for the NSA bugging the computers and phones of their leaders in this picture of Uncle Sam paralyzed by its own imbecility. Instead of being the city upon a hill, a beacon of hope, the U.S. is fast becoming a laughing-stock among nations: a permanent warrior which keeps killing but also keeps losing wars, an expert at shooting itself in the foot. The professor of democracy should take lessons from others and buy a looking-glass to realize how pathetic its exceptionalism is in the eyes of others. There are "Americas" that the world likes, it liked Obama when it thought Obama could return the U.S. to its senses and stop permanent war, it liked Occupy Wall Street, and many areas of the world from Greece to Spain to Egypt and Tunisia felt a bond with the outraged protesters in New York or Seattle. The world likes American creativity, artists, singers and philosophers. I personally like America's alternative media, for instance the wonderful and fair Democracy Now! TV network. Democracy Now! Actually quite a good motto, echoed in Spain by the Democracia Real slogan. With the shutdown the U.S. can expect a lot of schadenfreude in all the areas where the U.S.'s armed fist has been active. This schadenfreude, of course, is misguided for like the poor and middle class in the U.S., the world can only suffer from the wreckers' games on Capitol Hill. A strong America that does not choose war and drones but gets its house in order, repairs its almost defunct democracy and starts greening its industrial activities might indeed become a beacon for all the peoples aspiring to be free. There is no magic wand to get there and it can only be a long drawn out process. If the wreckers win, the U.S. will go where empires go to die.


Politics and beauty go hand in hand

The inauguration of the fourth edition of the Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art coincided with the day Greek society woke up from what seemed to be a profound sleep. The date was September 18, the day after hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas was fatally... ...


Greek PM meets ZTE chief on investment plans

ATHENS, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras held a meeting with head of Chinese telecoms firm ZTE Corporation Hou Weigui in Athens on Thursday to discuss a series of investment plans in Greece. In statements to the press ...


10 of the world's most powerful women

If Janet Yellen becomes as head of the Federal Reserve, as she is expected to in January, she will become one of the most powerful women in the world. But who are the others?

Janet Yellen, nominated yesterday as chairman of the US Federal Reserve

Yellen will be the first woman to head the mighty US Federal Reserve if she takes over at the central bank in January. Her job will be to maintain the stuttering recovery of the world's largest economy. Yellen is an expert on the causes and impact of unemployment and is regarded as an economic "dove" who will stick with current chairman Ben Bernanke's massive support programme for the economy. Yellen first joined the Fed in 1977 but left in 1978 to lecture at the London School of Economics with her Nobel-winning economist husband George Akerlof. She has straddled academia and public office since and advised Bill Clinton for two years of his presidency. Her appointment as the Fed's vice chairwoman in 2010 set her up to succeed Bernanke.

Indra Nooyi, chair and chief executive of PepsiCo

Nooyi has proved herself a tough operator leading PepsiCo – the world's second biggest food and drinks business – for the last seven years. Two years ago there was pressure for her to stand down but she held on and increased sales. In July, she faced down activist investor Nelson Peltz, who was applying pressure for Pepsi to split its drinks business off from the more successful snacks arm. Nooyi, 57, was born and educated in India. After various strategy and consulting jobs, and postgraduate study at Yale, she joined Pepsi in 1994, aged 29. By 2001 she was chief financial officer, running the group's strategy and overseeing purchases of Tropicana and Quaker Oats Co on her way to the top job.

Gina Rinehart, mining magnate

Gina Rinehart's $17bn fortune appreciates by about $1bn every year, which makes her Australia's richest person and one of the wealthiest women in the world. Still, last year she felt able to urge Australians to work for a day. She has also made the news as a result of a legal battle with three of her four children, who she cut out of the family trust. Rinehart, 59, left the University of Sydney after a year after finding a leftwing economics lecturer and fellow students not to her taste. Instead, she returned to her native Perth to work at Hancock Prospecting, the mining business owned by her father, Lang. Despite hitting the headlines, Rinehart has generally shunned the press, yet she has bought stakes in media businesses Channel 10 and Fairfax.

Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil

Hardly a household name – even in Brazil – for much of her career, Dilma Rousseff, a career civil servant who had never so much as run for elected office, has become the first woman president of the world's sixth-largest economy in 2011. A former 1960s revolutionary who spent three years in jail and was reportedly tortured, she joined President Lula da Silva's government in 2003 as energy minister and two years later was made his chief of staff (during her election campaign, Lula helpfully dubbed her "mother of the nation"). Brusque and short-tempered, the 66-year-old is known to favour a strong state presence in key areas including oil, energy and banking . She has also pledged to fight corruption and invest more in transport, health and education following mass street protests earlier this year that revealed how Brazil's boom has failed to improve the lives of many ordinary citizens. She is not afraid to take on the big guns, either, berating the US at the United Nations and postponing a visit to Washington over the recent NSA spying revelations.

Christine Lagarde, managing director, IMF

After the downfall of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, in 2011 Lagarde became the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund. She was plunged straight into fighting the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis. Lagarde, 57, was a labour and competition lawyer at Baker & McKenzie for more than 20 years, rising to become the firm's first female chairman. After a spell as French trade minister she became the first woman to head France's economic ministry. Lagarde was elected as a safe pair of hands at the IMF but caused outrage when she told the Guardian that Greek citizens were going through payback time for not paying their taxes. A run at the French presidency could be next.

Hillary Clinton, politician

"Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate," begins Hillary Rodham Clinton's Twitter profile, before continuing: "FLOAR [First Lady of Arkansas], FLOTUS [First Lady of the United States], Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker" and concluding, coyly, "TBD …" [To Be Determined]. It's the last bit that everyone is interested in: will the 56-year-old, Yale-educated lawyer be the Democrats' 2016 presidential candidate? Clinton, who in 2008 won more primaries and delegates than any other woman candidate in US history, has said only that she will start thinking about it "some time next year". Polls suggest that if she does run, 65% of Democrats would vote for her and she would beat the two current Republican frontrunners to become the first woman president of the US. In the meantime, now a fully private citizen for the first time in 30 years, she says she is mostly at home with husband Bill "laughing at our dogs, watching stupid movies, taking long walks." Of course.

Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany

One of only two EU leaders to have survived the economic crisis, Angela Merkel is on course to become Europe's longest-serving elected female head of government after romping home for the third time as Germany's chancellor last month. A quantum physicist by training, the 59-year-old has little style, less charisma, no apparent ideology and a marked aversion to risk in all its forms: her job, she has said, is "to advance, even if only by a few centimetres, and solve problems". But behind her motherly aura (not for nothing do Germans call her "Mutti") and solid stewardship of Europe's largest economy in a time of crisis is a ruthless politician who has seen off all challengers within her own CDU party and consistently outmanoeuvred the opposition. Merkel dodges confrontation, never shows her hand, and always wins.

Melinda Gates, co-chair, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

As co-chair of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates and her husband Bill – the richest man in the world – hold the purse strings to an endowment of .3bn. The foundation is best known for its work fighting diseases, including malaria and polio, and for speaking out on sensitive subjects, such as birth control, a tricky topic given Gates' own Catholic faith. Having studied for a BA and an MBA at Duke University, Gates joined Microsoft as a product developer in 1987. She met Bill the same year, married him in 1994 and left the company in 1996 to raise the couple's three children, before becoming increasingly involved with philanthropy. Though the family's public mission to save the world is not without controversy, Gates herself is widely regarded as a thoughtful campaigner who works methodically to drive change without seeking the limelight.

Park Geun-hye, president of South Korea

The daughter of the strongman who ruled South Korea for much of the 1960s and 1970s, Park Geun-hye was inaugurated as the east Asian powerhouse's first woman president in February. Five times an MP, the 60-year old conservative had earlier served as her father Park Chung-hee's de facto first lady after her mother, Yuk Young-soo, was killed by a sniper's bullet intended for the president (who was himself killed five years later by his own intelligence chief in 1979). Gracious but tough (she once continued campaigning after requiring 60 stitches following a knife attack), Park, who has devoted herself to her father's legacy and never married, says one of her key priorities will be repairing the country's vitally important relations with North Korea. Some are optimistic for the cause of women following Park's election in a country which, despite its advanced economy, ranks only 108 out of 135 for gender equality. Others fear she is merely the latest in a line of prominent Asian daughters and widows of powerful fathers or husbands.

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, Facebook

Sandberg divided opinion earlier this year with Lean In, her book of advice for women in business. Some criticised her for patronising readers but it sold 150,000 copies in its first week. Sandberg, 44, negotiated a stake in Facebook and became the first woman on the company's board when she joined four years ago from Google. Since Facebook's flotation last year she has been worth about $400m. Sandberg's contacts span business and politics – she was chief of staff to US Treasury secretary Larry Summers from 1996 to 2001. But she hasn't always been so ambitious. After graduating from Harvard she moved to Washington DC to find an eligible husband, married at 24 and divorced a year later. "Pretty shocking," she told the Guardian.

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GDP growth? Public sector cuts explain why business failed to invest

The OBR's reasons for lack of GDP growth originated from a government policy leaving business leaders without a life raft

The government's independent economic forecaster says optimistic predictions for GDP growth it made in 2010 were off target because businesses failed to invest as expected.

In a look back at its record since the last election, the Office for Budget Responsibility wants to set the record straight. It says public sector cuts hurt the economy and exaggerated the recession, but no more than expected (Jonathan Portes at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research discusses this in his latest blog). The unexpected came from a different quarter. It was the private sector's refusal to put its profits to work by buying new equipment and processes.

In 2010 the OBR boldly claimed a business investment boom was imminent as firms looked to capitalise on the shake-out from the recession. Opportunities from a rise in export orders and increased consumer demand would drive the investment cycle into an upswing, went the story. Once in train, business investment would drive GDP back above its previous peak and end the depression.

It didn't happen. UK GDP is still 2.7% below its peak. That a lack of business investment wrecked the OBR's forecasts is obvious. That it undermined GDP growth is also pretty obvious.

The grittier problem, one that needs more digging and sifting, relates to why business investment has sagged and, according to the latest data, is still falling.

The OBR blames the eurozone crisis and the inflation spikes borne of commodity price shocks. In addition, lower than expected corporate profits and uncertainty about government policy played a part. According to this view, businesses were paralysed by a bleak world economic outlook.

But there is another view:

1. What we know about investment is that it is mostly carried out by larger companies and their profits bounced back quickly from 2011. For some time now they have sat on a cash mountain.

2. Commodity inflation is a problem, but has been offset by low wages, which have kept input costs in check.

3. The eurozone crisis was difficult, but effectively ended in July 2012 when the European Central Bank said it would underwrite every country to save the euro.

4. The OBR mentions that uncertainty over government policy was a factor. Surely this underplays the conservative risk/reward debate that goes on in every boardroom.

It underplays the effect on what the economist John Maynard Keynes referred to as animal spirits? There are many of us who had their head in their hands when George Osborne embarked on his Broken Britain campaign and capped it off in his first budget by likening Britain to Greece. David Cameron did it again in his recent Tory conference speech. Vote Labour and you'll be voting for Greek-style bankruptcy, was Cameron's message.

Austerity, as Portes points out, probably hurt the economy more than the OBR believes. And an easing in the pace of cuts has helped lift the economy in the last year.

Yet public sector cuts, and the rhetoric that went with them, killed off the idea that the government was standing behind the recovery. An ideological commitment to reduce public sector spending to clear the path for private sector firms left business leaders swimming without a life raft. The safety first reaction of many businesses, hoarding cash and cutting investment, betrayed the entrepreneurial spirit that justifies executive bonuses, but more importantly gave the lie to claims by free marketeers that, given a clear path, businesses will take a risk.

With infrastructure spending cut in half in Osborne's first budget, businesses rightly took the view that the fabric of our transport networks, education system and health service would soon begin to fray.

It could be that the business sector, already using outdated software and ageing equipment, is about to embark on an investment spending spree. It could be that just as debt-fuelled consumer spending begins to wane, the business sector steps into the breach. Manufacturers' association EEF and accountants BDO said on Monday a balance of 24% of companies intended to buy machinery and equipment, up from 7% in the May poll.

Yet it is also possible that a large proportion of our largest firms will make their new investments abroad, in countries less weighed down by debts, with better growth prospects and governments that invest in infrastructure. Government investment is complementary to private sector ambitions and allows firms to increase productivity. An administration that cannot understand how a modern economy is intertwined in this way will be abandoned, not rewarded by the business community.

Economic growth (GDP)Office for Budget ResponsibilityRecessionEconomic recoveryEconomic policyPublic sector cutsManufacturing dataManufacturing sectorGeorge OsborneEurozone crisisEuropean Central BankDavid CameronPhillip © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Greek Youth Unemployment Hits 55% as Labour Market Buckles

According to the Greek Statistical Authority Elstat, the agency revealed that the youth unemployment rate shot up in July 2013, up from 54.9% in July 2012 and an increase from 42.6% in July 2011. The body also found that the total amount of Greek people in ...