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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Both sides are playing a risky game over Greece. Are we approaching the end?

Is this it? Are we reaching the event horizon beyond which the gravitational pull of Greece’s debts becomes so great that escape is rendered impossible? Time and money are both dwindling. No one knows precisely when the Athenian coffers will contain ...


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Bundesbank President says "time is running out for Greece"

ECB board member and president of the Bundesbank Jens Weidmann has warned that time is running out for Greece, but says it is up to politicians not the central bank to decide who is ...


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Swiss banks swell as Greek ones empty

More and more Greeks are deciding that leaving their money in a Greek bank is not worth the risk. The Economist reported that households and ...


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Greek ministers to meet Swiss delegation on tax evasion

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Anti-Corruption Minister Panagiotis Nikoloudis will meet on April 14 with the Swiss Finance Ministry delegation, headed by State Secretariat for International Financial Matters Dr. Jacques de Watteville.  The issue of the meeting will be ...


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I just watched five hours of Scientology DVDs and here's what I learned

One of the most common misconceptions about the Church of Scientology is that it doesn't get truly strange for new members until you go deep inside the religion and reach its higher levels after decades of faithful attendance.  I put myself through an introduction to the controversial church by watching over five hours of the promotional DVDs it shows to people who express an interest in joining. In my opinion, it didn't take that long to get strange. During my brief exploration of the religion, I heard many outlandish claims and received a number of emails from church members.  'Madness'  Scientology has been in the spotlight this week following the release of the HBO documentary "Going Clear," which details allegations that the church has mistreated its followers by physically abusing some of them and charging exorbitant sums for courses required to advance through the religion. The Church of Scientology has disputed many of the claims made in the HBO documentary and by Wright. The church has released detailed rebuttals in response to both the movie and Wright's book. A church spokesperson pointed to some of these past statements in response to a request for comment on this story.  My experience with the church is influenced by the time in 2010 and 2011 that I spent reporting on it in Los Angeles, one of Scientology's strongholds. During that time, I spoke to many people about their experiences in the church including high-ranking defectors, members, and even some high-profile celebrity adherents, including Travolta's wife, Kelly Preston, Kirstie Alley, and Leah Remini, who has since left the religion. This background made me well aware of the controversies surrounding Scientology. Even so, immersing myself in what is basically the church's DVD starter kit was stranger than I imagined. Flag Base I first stepped inside a Scientology church last year near the religion's spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. I was in town to catch some spring training baseball. While there, I did some sightseeing around Scientology's massive "Flag Base" in downtown Clearwater. On my way out of town, I had a few hours to kill and found myself nearby the church's facility in Tampa. A sign outside encouraged visitors to come in. I went for it. Watching DVDs is the main activity for new visitors to the Church of Scientology. Inside the Tampa facility, I was brought into a main room. There were several stations to watch videos. Tables offered cookies, drinks, and copies of the DVDs to take home. I was also shown an empty office maintained for the church's founder, Hubbard, who died in 1986. The church publicly says this tradition is done merely to "honor" Hubbard, though there have been reports that the facilities are kept in case the founder is ever somehow resurrected. One of the first films I watched in Tampa was a biography of Hubbard. It included many claims of Hubbard's military exploits, international explorations, and almost miraculous achievements that have been questioned by Wright's reporting.  Other videos dealt with the church's social programs. After a few minutes of watching, I went to leave and a uniformed Scientologist who had shown me around the facility encouraged me to take a "personality test" in an an adjacent room. I politely declined, took copies of the DVDs, and signed a guest book. As a result of giving them my email address, I received at least five emails from the man who I spoke to over the course of the next year. The first message came after three months. The subject line was "Long time no talk." "It has been a while and I don't think i ever heard back from you," he wrote before inquiring whether I visited a Scientology church after leaving Florida. I never responded, but a month later, there was another email.  "What do you think of Scientology?" he asked. "Does it interest you?" Once again, I didn't write back. A subsequent message two weeks later simply asked, "Do you get my emails?" After almost two more weeks without me responding, he wrote again and encouraged me to come visit a church for "a film or a personality test." Perhaps this persistent Scientologist would be happy to know I finally watched the movies this week, although I definitely didn't have the reaction he was hoping for.  'A Dynamic Principle Of Existence'  I started with a two-disc DVD set titled "SCIENTOLOGY AN OVERVIEW." It began with a ten-minute biography of Hubbard that I had seen in Tampa. The narrator outlined a series of claims about Hubbard's life. "He spent his formative years in a rough and tumble Helena, Montana where he rode barely broken range broncs at the age of three-and-a-half," the narrator said. The film went on to describe Hubbard as a record-setting Boy Scout who developed an "enduring interest in unraveling the mysteries of the human mind" after meeting a naval officer "who had studied under Sigmund Freud." According to the narrator, as a young man Hubbard trekked more than a quarter of a million miles through Asia, India, and other exotic locales "pursuing very fundamental questions on the origins of man and the ultimate source of life." On this journey, the movie says Hubbard "witnessed wonders beyond any known scientific explanation." According to the narrator, Hubbard returned to America in 1929 when he would have been about 18. The movie said he then went on to college and went on several expeditions and adventures designed for him to "fathom life." "The first decisive breakthrough came in 1937 when he isolated the single common denominator between all living things, a dynamic principle of existence," the narrator said. This incredible revelation was not detailed in the movie, but it went on to make even more dramatic claims about Hubbard's research and the power of his ideas. It described his time in a naval hospital during World War II as the start of his "final road to discovery." While there, the film said Hubbard worked with "injured servicemen who had failed to recover despite intensive medical treatment" and found "mental blocks" that were "inhibiting recovery." The movie claimed Hubbard helped eliminate these blocks and that, after the war, he "continued refining procedures on people from all walks of life" including "actors and writers in Hollywood's film community" and "street gang members." "So it was, having developed a workable technology of the mind, he authored a definitive text on the subject," the narrator said before introducing Hubbard's main book, "Dianetics." At this point, the movie began to allude to the sci-fi mysticism that's reportedly contained in the materials given to believers who reach Scientology's upper levels. "Contained within ['Dianetics'] was the discovery of the reactive mind, the hidden source of nightmares, unreasonable fears, upsets, and insecurity," the narrator said. "The techniques of 'Dianetics' provided the means by which practitioners soon began discovering past lives." After just ten minutes of Scientology's introductory DVDs, it became clear to me that the church views Hubbard as a miraculous, almost messianic figure. However, I hadn't seen much concrete evidence to back up the incredible claims about the religion's leader. It also was apparent to me that diving deeper into Scientology doctrine would involve some rather unorthodox mystical concepts. Between the Hubbard biography and the repeated emails I got from the Scientologist in Tampa, I was personally turned off after barley dipping my toe into the water.  'You have a mind. You are a Thetan.' Part two of the DVD was an overview of the religion's "beliefs and practices." It began with the claim, "Scientology is a religion that contains tools and methods to assist you in finding your own answers to life's questions." The movie then went on to introduce a series of concepts and questions that seemed like they were designed to dazzle.  "Who are you? Are you a body? Well, let me ask you this, if you have your appendix removed does your personality change?" a narrator asked before adding, "You instinctively know that your body is something you have, not what you are. Your body is something you use. So, if you're not your body, what are you?" As stock footage of people that appeared to be from the 1990s rolled across the screen, the narrator defined the mind as having "a memory bank containing pictures." The filmmakers broke out some computerized graphics as they introduced one of Scientology's core concepts, the "Thetan." "What is it that's looking at the pictures?" the narrator asked. "It's you, you are a being, an intelligence, a consciousness. That part of you that's aware of being aware, in Scientology we use the word Thetan." Diagrams illustrated with sparkles, shadows, and Greek letters flew by as the narrator continued to explain. "We use the Thetan to avoid confusions with other concepts and beliefs regarding the soul or spirit. It isn't something you have. You wouldn't say 'my Thetan.' You'd simply say 'me,''" the narrator said. "You have a body, you have a mind, you are a Thetan." 'My reaction time is night and day better.' The overview DVD went on to outline more of the religion's main concepts. It detailed how Scientologists believe life can be "subdivided into eight parts" or "dynamics." It also described how all human emotions fall within a "tone scale." The movie claimed mastering these concepts can aid with "handling" life by "taking the mystery out of human behavior."  After presenting these concepts, the DVD took me inside the church. It showed glimpses of the Scientology "auditing" process, which involves believers being asked questions about their lives while holding a Hubbard-designed device called an "e-meter." Critics have alleged the e-meter is non-functional and that information gained during auditing sessions has been used to blackmail people who try to leave the church. The DVD included claims that Scientology auditing helps "bring an individual from a condition of spiritual blindness to the joy of spiritual enlightenment and freedom." Another scene in the DVD showed Scientology's "purification rundown." People are seen running on treadmills in a facility identified as a "purification center." Over the years, there have been questions the controversial practice has caused injuries and even death. The church disputes many of these accusations and claims the procedure has helped "hundreds of thousands" of people.  The purification rundown involves believers supposedly detoxifying by taking copious amounts of vitamins and being encouraged to sweat through saunas and exercise. The movie described it as "an all-natural regimen" that "frees one from the harmful effects of drugs and toxins." "You sweat all these things out of your system," said a speaker in the movie. Church spokeswoman Karin Pouw provided Business Insider with a statement defending the purification rundown wherein she reiterated the claim it has helped "hundreds of thousands" of people. "As to the Purification Rundown, it is important to note as we do on our website that the Purification Rundown is a tightly supervised regimen of exercise, sauna and nutrition. It is conducted in a properly ordered schedule to include sufficient rest," Pouw said. Pouw also pointed to a website that offered what she described as scientific research into the purification rundown. "The program has been being delivered steadily for 35 years. As used in the Church, it is a spiritual program, but its use in other detoxification contexts has been researched extensively and there are numerous scientific papers about its safety and effectiveness," she said.  The longest portion of the overview DVD featured 50 testimonials from church members claiming Scientology has helped them. None of the major celebrities involved with the church like John Travolta or Tom Cruise were included. The people were identified via their job titles including "a rapper," a "safari leader," and a "fashion designer." There were also two testimonials that seemed clearly designed to show Scientology can supposedly work in concert with other religious practice. One showed a "Buddhist monk" explaining how the church's teachings have helped him and the other featured a "Pentecostal minister." Many of the Scientologists shown in the testimonials claimed to have experienced almost superhuman benefits from the church. "My reaction time is night and day better," race car driver Kenton Gray said.   In total, I got four Scientology DVDs on my visit to the church in Tampa. In addition to the overview, there was a film about Hubbard that contained his ten-minute biography as well as several "vignettes" depicting scenes from his life. The second disc of the overview, which was titled "How We Help," and the two other movies depicted the church's social programs including their "Citizens Commission on Human Rights," which is dedicated to fighting psychiatry. In the movie, there were scenes shot at CCHR's Los Angeles museum, "Psychiatry: An Industry of Death." It noted the group is dedicated to "investigating and exposing psychiatry's inhumane and often lethal practices." Wright's book notes that Hubbard and "Dianetics" faced early opposition from psychiatrists. He describes this as the root of Hubbard's opposition to the profession. "Whenever 'Dianetics' or Scientology was attacked in the press or by governments, Hubbard saw the hand of psychiatrists," Wright wrote. The other social programs shown in the DVDs are more conventional: disaster relief, anti-drug programs, criminal rehabilitation, and efforts to promote religious freedom. Mike Rinder is a former high-ranking Scientologist who oversaw some of the church's public relations operations prior to leaving the religion in 2007. Since then, Rinder has become a prominent critic of the church and he figures prominently in both the movie and book versions of "Going Clear." I spoke to Rinder about the church's humanitarian programs shown in the DVD's. He emphasized that "certain individuals who involve themselves in those activities" may be doing good work. But Rinder dismissed the majority of Scientology's claims about its social programs as "strictly P.R."  "You step back and take the overview and the church promoting itself at the largest humanitarian organization on Earth ... those things are all bullshit," Rinder said. "They do as much as they need to in order to be able to shoot a video to then have videos to show." Scientology has responded to Rinder's claims in the past with statements describing him as a "known liar" and "rabid anti-Scientologist who was removed in disgrace" from the church. Karin Pouw, the Scientology spokeswoman, highlighted a video the church made about Rinder when asked for a comment on his claims. She also pointed to a website featuring some of the same footage about the social programs that was included on "SCIENTOLOGY AN OVERVIEW."  "On Mike Rinder’s claims about our humanitarian efforts, you can see for yourself on our website the tremendous responses we receive from people we help through these programs: families who have their children back; towns and villages rebuilt; students who can read and on an on," Pouw said. Forget what we say. Look at the videos from these people. They are real. Mike Rinder’s cynicism prevents him from seeing what is before his eyes. He is has long since lost any hope himself and tries to pretend everybody else shares that attitude."  Whether or not you believe Rinder's claims about the church's social programs, there was one scene in their "How We Help" DVD that I personally found crass. In a segment outlining Scientology's "volunteer minister" programs, there was footage praising the church's work during the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks in  New York City. A man identified as a FDNY lieutenant said the presence of the church's aid workers at ground zero was vital. "When the Scientologists arrived, an air of order like entered in," the fireman said, adding, "There was something that was being organized and run very, very efficiently." While the man spoke, the smoldering wreckage of the Twin Towers was visible on the screen behind him.  The final email I received from the Scientologist I met when I got the DVDs in Tampa came last August. I had totally ignored all of his previous entreaties.. "Hi Hunter, What happene [sic] to you?" he wrote. After watching over five hours of Scientology DVDs, I think I'm finally ready to respond. I'm not interested.  Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 14 things you didn't know your iPhone headphones could do


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Vast gap remains in EU-Greece debt talks despite new measures

While EU institutions remain closed until Tuesday because of the Easter holidays, negotiations with Greece about its latest reform plan are to resume ...


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Fitch Affirms 4 Greek Covered Bond Programmes; Outlook Negative

(The following statement was released by the rating agency) MILAN/LONDON, April 02 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has affirmed the 'B-' ratings on four Greek ...


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Six Turkish jets violate Greek airspace

A formation of six Turkish fighter jets violated Greek air space over the northeastern Aegean on two occasions on Thursday, Greek defense officials said.


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Greek PM due in Moscow on April 8 and 9

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is to visit Moscow on April 8 and 9 and will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev among others, the premier’s press office said on Thursday.


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Alexis Tsipras looks to Moscow, but he risks becoming Putin’s useful idiot

Hostility to Germany has brought the Greeks and Russians closer but for Athens the move is riskyThere is nothing wrong with travelling to Moscow these days if you are a European politician. The problem is what you say, or do, when you’re there. The danger isn’t so much ending up in prison – Russia is not North Korea. Nor is it that no one should talk to Putin or his regime. Russia is a player that cannot be ignored across many international fields, from the Middle East to nuclear proliferation and even climate change. It attacked Ukraine and trampled on a half-dozen treaties and rules that uphold the post-1945 European security order, but no one has considered breaking off diplomatic relations. The risk of a trip to Moscow is that you may be taken for a “useful idiot”: the expression, often attributed to Lenin, applies to those who become instrumentalised when they take a position that serves Moscow’s propaganda aims much more than their own interests or intentions. Related: Alexis Tsipras calls western sanctions against Russia 'road to nowhere' Hugging close to Putin is not the best way to show that you are 'a proud member of the European Union' Continue reading...


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I'm Business Insider's math reporter, and these 10 everyday things drive me insane

Math, statistics, empirical analysis, and data visualization are all incredibly powerful tools for understanding the world. Unfortunately, there are many ways in which these tools are misused and abused that, to greater or lesser degrees, lead to confusion rather than clarification, and make the world just a slightly worse place. Here are ten such things that personally aggravate me. 1. Misleading vertical axes There are a few ways in which graphs can have badly misleading y-axes. Column or bar charts are a great way to compare values, since the lengths of the columns or bars should be proportional to the values being displayed. But things can go horribly wrong if the base of the vertical axis is not set at zero. A classic example was a chart shown on Fox News last year comparing Obamacare enrollment numbers just before the enrollment deadline to the administration's goal: As Media Matters pointed out in their post on the chart, the actual enrollment figure of 6 million was about 85% of the goal of a little over 7 million, while the column representing the current enrollment is about a third the height of the column representing the goal. This is a deeply misleading way to represent these figures. Fortunately, Fox News later presented a corrected and more responsible version of the chart: The "start at zero" rule mostly applies to column and bar charts. For line charts, it's fine to use whatever axis boundaries you need in order to show the trend you're interested in. This chart from FRED shows the decline in the labor force participation rate, or the percentage of adults either employed or looking for work, since 2007. It has an axis ranging only from 62.5% to 66.5%:  That roughly 3% drop in labor force participation, however, represents millions of Americans who have stopped working or looking for work, and is one of the biggest mysteries of our current economic situation. The downward trend is the main story here, and so it's fine to choose axis bounds that clearly tell that story. 2. Multiple vertical axis scales Another unfortunately common abuse of axes is putting multiple scales on a graph. This is usually done to show some kind of relationship or correlation between two time series. Unfortunately, because one can basically choose any scale one wants for the two axes, it's very easy to insinuate relationships that may or may not actually exist or matter. Further, even if there is a valid relationship between the two series, the dual y-axis design can still be visually confusing, making it difficult to see the nuances of that relationship. Scatter plots are usually a better option for showing the relationship between two sets of values. One of the most egregious examples of a misleading multiple scale graph is this chart combining the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the runup to the 1929 stock market crash with more recent stock market movements: The implication is that the vague similarities between the two time periods means that a 1929-like stock crash is imminent. This, of course, makes no sense, since this apparent pattern only emerges with a very selective choice of vertical axis scales, and because two lines looking somewhat alike tells us nothing about the similarities and differences between the underlying market and economic situations — the things that actually matter when trying to figure out the likelihood of a crash — during the two time periods. 3. Horizontal axis disasters Things can go wrong with the horizontal axis as well. One of the biggest problems is a missing horizontal axis on a time series chart. Showing how a quantity changes over time is a lot less useful if the actual time period being analyzed is unclear: Just having an x-axis for a time series graph doesn't necessarily mean you're in the clear however. Business Insider Deputy Editor Sam Ro tweeted out this intriguing chart from a Bank of America research note, ostensibly showing technological development and population growth over time: The time scale is uneven, and appears to have no actual relationship with the data being presented. Apparently Greece and Rome peaked around 1000 AD, and the industrial revolution, moon landing, and invention of railroads all occurred within the last fifteen years. When big events happen, Twitter will frequently visualize activity on the social network related to those events. Unfortunately, their charts usually lack both an x-axis and a y-axis, making it rather difficult to get any insight at all: 4. The lottery Taking a break from aggravating things in charts, I am not a huge fan of playing the lottery. Buying a lottery ticket is almost always a losing proposition: Even in the case of immensely large jackpots, the probability of winning is so low that the expected value of a lottery ticket will almost certainly be negative. Of course, this is a matter of personal taste. I'd rather not waste a dollar, but other people can certainly enjoy buying a ticket for non-monetary reasons like fear of missing out on a jackpot, or the simple rush of taking the gamble. 5. The concept of wind chill Wind chill combines temperature and wind speed into a single index value, represented as an adjusted temperature. The goal is to capture the interaction between wind and cold: Wind blowing over exposed skin will pull heat away more quickly than still air of the same temperature. This measure, however, is flawed. First, there are several other factors that go into a person's experience of weather: Is it raining? Is it sunny or overcast? What time of day is it? Wind chill, while bringing together two important parts of weather, ignores these others. Second, representing the combination of temperature and wind as another temperature is odd. A 35° F (1.7° C) day with 25 mile per hour (40 km per hour) winds doesn't really "feel like" a 23° F (-5° C) day. Most immediately, a glass of water left outside on a windy 35° F day will never freeze, as the actual temperature is still above the freezing point, while a glass left outside on a still 23° F day will eventually freeze. Temperature is temperature, and wind speed is wind speed. That said, wind speed (and other factors) are still very important! In conditions of extreme cold, exposed skin will suffer from frostbite faster in windy situations than in still situations, all other things being equal. I just find the representation of a combined temperature and wind speed as a new "temperature" somewhat odd. I'm perfectly happy looking up all the relevant forecasted weather conditions for a day when I wake up in the morning, and can decide on my own what type of clothing I should wear on that day. 6. Pie charts Pie charts are intended to show how some whole is broken into component parts. In most cases, they completely fail at that goal. When we're breaking a big circle into many pieces, it can be hard to directly compare the sizes of those pieces and thus the proportions of interest. Here's a chart breaking down the popularity of various pizza toppings. Note that each pie wedge needs to be labeled with its percentage, since otherwise it would be hard to tell, say, whether sausage or mushrooms are more popular, given the similar size of the two wedges: Bar or column charts tend to do a better job of representing these kinds of breakdowns for a large number of subcategories. On the flip side, pie charts can be somewhat clearer when looking at just a small number of categories with large differences between the percentages: Of course, given that the relevant information from this pie chart is directly printed as text, and we're basically just looking at a single number — the proportion of climate scientists who reject human-caused global warming — one might wonder why we'd bother with the chart at all. 7. Bad map coloring schemes Maps can be an incredibly useful way to display geographically varying information. However, they must be designed carefully in order to clearly convey their data. One somewhat frequent problem in creating maps is using arbitrarily chosen colors to display data. This map, from Imgur via @BeautifulMaps on Twitter, uses a very unintuitive color scheme to show speed limits around the world: There isn't a natural flow in the color scheme to go along with the naturally increasing scale of speed limits. I have no idea, at a glance, whether Texas' blue speed limit is higher or lower than neighboring Mexico's light green speed limit. I have to reference the key every time I look at a different country to have any idea what that country's color means. A better option is to stick with one color, but vary the saturation, brightness, or intensity of that color. This map from the Census Bureau showing the minority proportion of each state's population in 2000 has a scale from light blue to dark blue, making regional patterns immediately apparent: We can clearly see, even without looking at the key, that minorities tend to be a larger percentage of the population in the South and in more urban states, while the less densely populated states of the Midwest and Great Plains tend to have smaller proportions. Two colors, varying by intensity, can be helpful in situations where there is a natural midpoint. Comparing Democratic to Republican votes in an election, seeing where incomes are above the national average or below the national average, or seeing where populations increased and declined in a given year are all cases where a two-color scheme can work well. As an example of the last case, here's a map we made using Census data showing which US counties had population growth or loss between 2013 and 2014. Growing counties are in blue, with darker shades indicating faster growth; shrinking counties are in red, with darker shades indicating faster loss: 8. Questionable psychological measures The human mind is an incredibly complex thing, and we know very little about how it works. This does not stop us from making often clumsy attempts to measure and compare people based on intelligence or personality. One of the worst offenders is the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, which attempts to assign a personality "type" to test-takers. The test sorts people into 16 categories, based on four binary personality trait variables: introverted vs. extroverted, intuitive vs. sensing, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving. The test has numerous problems. First off is the dichotomous nature of the four trait scales: A person who takes the test and scores just slightly more extroverted than introverted is placed solidly in the "extrovert" bucket, despite having a mixture of traits. Related to this problem is the reliability of the test: It's not uncommon for people who take the test and then re-take it a few weeks later to end up assigned to a completely different personality type. Since the test is supposed to be measuring something fundamental about a person's psyche, that variability is extremely problematic. The MBTI also has somewhat questionable origins. It was developed by a mother-daughter team in the 1940s, neither of whom had any formal psychological training. The test also has come under strong criticism from social scientists for its lack of empirical validity or theoretical justification in the decades since its development. 9. General bad chart design In addition to the sins of axes, pie charts, and map colors mentioned above, there are plenty of other ways charts and infographics can fail at their task of conveying data. In his seminal 1983 book "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information," data visualization pioneer Edward Tufte coined the word "chartjunk" to describe unnecessary and distracting elements of a graph that either add nothing to the reader's understanding of the information being presented or even actively detract from that understanding. Chartjunk can take on many forms. Some common forms include poorly chosen shading, background, or border options that draw the eye away from the information being presented, excessively distracting decorative elements, and the use of poorly scaled 3D and related design effects that distort the reader's perception of the data. Tufte includes the chart to the left of the age breakdown of college students in his book, writing, "This may well be the worst graphic ever to find its way into print." The chart essentially only displays five numbers: the proportions of college students 25 and older over a five year period. To do this, the chart has four brightly colored regions, two of which are there just to provide an off-center 3D perspective effect that is both distracting and makes the graph harder to read. Like the misleading y-axis of the initial Fox News Obamacare chart above, the blue region draws the reader's eye up, confusingly suggesting that the earlier years' proportions are higher than they actually are. Further, the top half of the chart, showing the proportions of college students under the age of 25, is entirely redundant: This is literally the mirror image of the lower half of the chart, since the percentage of students under the age of 25 is just 100% minus the percentage of students over the age of 25. The chart and charts like it that have poor chartjunk-laden design decisions take very simple data sets and present them in an almost incomprehensibly over-complicated and ugly way. Former Business Insider reporter Walt Hickey found several examples of extremely poor chart design and compiled them here. 10. The number 10, and other big round numbers On December 23, 2014, the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 18,000 for the first time in the index's history, and the headline on that morning's Business Insider market update post reflected this "milestone". Several of my friends will be turning 30 this year, which seems somewhat more momentous and important than my upcoming 29th birthday. Privately held tech startups that raise money at a valuation of at least $1 billion are labeled "unicorns", while presumably an app developer worth only $990 million on paper would just be a run of the mill horse. There are 10 items on this list, rather than 9 or 11, either of which would have been certainly possible either by removing an item or finding more things that annoy me. In each of these cases, and in several other everyday situations, multiples of powers of ten are favored over other numbers as important cutoffs or milestones. But this is an essentially arbitrary thing: The big round numbers we view as important are only seen as such because the most common number system in the modern world is the base ten decimal system. The most likely reason we use decimal rather than a different number system is because human beings generally tend to have ten fingers. This itself is an arbitrary side effect of human evolution. This arbitrary nature of big round numbers, and of related decimal-biased numerical events, is a thing that annoys me. Sigh.SEE ALSO: Everything About The Way We Teach Math Is Wrong Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 14 things you didn't know your iPhone headphones could do


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Talks in limbo ahead of Tsipras visit to Moscow

Greece has presented its latest list of reform proposals to its Eurozone partners. This new revised plan would prevent Greece running out of money. Although the Greek Economy minister appeared confident about a deal next week, there so far is no sign of a deal soon. The former Greek Prime Minister Samaras said he would […]


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National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NBG): ECB Raises Bank's Emergency Funding By $760 Million

National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NYSE:NBG) has hit another low, stumbling over 3% and leveling in at $1.24 as markets closed yesterday. Conversely ...


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Former Greek PM Offers Unity Government With Syriza

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L) reacts during a speech by former Prime Minister and leader of conservative New Democracy party Antonis ...


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Greek life benefits campus

Many people question the relevancy of Greek life, but it is ultimately relavent to most colleges. Sororities and fraternities are a long-standing college ...


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Dijsselbloem: The clock continues to tick for Greece

Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem said there' s a "long way to go" to strike a deal on Greece' s reform proposals. "It' s continuously improving," Dijsselbloem told reporters in Hague. "They deliver more and more proposals that ...


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Euro working group to meet on April 8/9 as Greek deadline nears

Eurozone deputy finance ministers will meet on the afternoon of April 8 and on the morning of April 9, Germany's representation in Brussels said on Thursday, as time runs out for an agreement on Greece's list of reforms aimed ...


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Report: Ex-NBG CEO hospitalized with a stroke

Alexandros Tourkolias, former CEO of National Bank of Greece, has been taken to an Athens hospital, reportedly with a stroke. According to reports, Tourkolias was at the bank's Piraeus headquarters. Tourkolias had been the bank's CEO from June 2012 until last month, ...


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Finance ministry: Reuters report false, 'undermines European institutions'

Greece's finance ministry reacted strongly to a Reuters report, which, citing anonymous sources, said Greek officials asked the Euro Working Group Wednesday for an emergency cash infusion before reforms were agreed, because otherwise Greece would run out of ...


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Get up to speed with the Greek debt crisis 3.0

Here is what you need to know to get up to speed with the third round of Greece's debt crisis.


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Greece denies it will run out of cash next week

Rolling economic and financial news, as financial markets hunker down for the Easter break without a Greek breakthrough in sightVaroufakis hits out over leaksIntroduction: Greek reform plan needs more workFrench finance minister: Plus progr├Ęs n├ęcessairesGreek bond yields risingOpposition leader: I’d join unity government 5.54pm BST On the last full trading day before the break, stock markets had a cautious air about them. There was not much in the way of economic news - a slowdown in growth in UK construction, better than expected US weekly jobless claims - but there were plenty of other things to cause concern. A resolution to Greece’s financial problems is still elusive as time runs out, the European Central Bank said it was concerned geopolitical risks could derail the recovery, and a nuclear deal with Iran was yet to be agreed. The final scores showed: 5.05pm BST Over in Athens finance ministry officials are categorically denying any suggestion that Greek representatives said the country would run out of cash by April 9, reports Helena Smith: Denying reports citing European officials privy to Wednesday’s Euro Working Group teleconference, Greek insiders insisted that cash-strapped Athens would be able to cover its €450m loan to the IMF on April 9. “Such reports undermine the European Union institutions and are simply not true,” one official said. “A deliberate rumour campaign is being waged against us.” Officials also rejected reports that international creditors had advised the Greek government to continue dipping into pension funds and pther public assets to keep the debt-stricken economy afloat. 3.52pm BST Over in Italy:*ITALY GOVT SEES 0.7% GDP GROWTH THIS YEAR, OFFICIAL SAYS*ITALY TO KEEP 2015 DEFICIT-TO-GDP TARGET AT 2.6%, OFFICIAL SAYS 3.15pm BST US markets are moving higher in early trading, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average currently up around 100 points after two days of decline.The rise follows better than expected weekly jobless figures, a day ahead of the non-farm payroll numbers.Goldman: "We expect nonfarm payroll job growth of 220k in March, below the consensus forecast of 245k" 3.00pm BST Reuters is reporting that Greece told creditors on a conference call on Wednesday that it would run out of cash on April 9:Greece has told its creditors it will run out of money on April 9, making an appeal for more loans before reforms on which new disbursements hinge are agreed and implemented, but the request was rejected, euro zone officials said.The appeal was made by Athens at a teleconference of euro zone deputy finance ministers on Wednesday organised to assess how far Athens still was from meeting the conditions for unlocking new financial aid. 2.48pm BST Next week, Greece is due to make a debt payment to the IMF, which the country says it will not miss. But there is much more to come after that .....@lindayueh And here the view of BofA-ML pic.twitter.com/EhGlhJ6xph 2.29pm BST The link to the full interview with Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann is here: 2.27pm BST More from Weidmann:Don’t you think that it would be wise to impose capital control measures now? 2.23pm BST ECB board member and president of the Bundesbank Jens Weidmann has warned that time is running out for Greece, but says it is up to politicians not the central bank to decide who is in the eurozone.Here’s part of his interview, published in Focus on 28 March and just up on the Bundesbank website: 2.16pm BST Janet Yellen, chair of the US Federal Reserve, is currently speaking at a community development research conference. Live feed is here. 1.47pm BST Good news on the US job front ahead of Friday’s non-farm payroll numbers.Weekly jobless claims unexpectedly fell 20,000 to 268,000 last week, down from a revised 288,000 the previous week (the original data showed 282,000 claims) and better than the forecast figure of 285,000. 1.42pm BST Oil has lost its early gains and is now sharply lower on the prospect that nuclear talks with Iran - although dragging on - might ultimately be successful.A deal would release extra crude oil onto the markets where there is already oversupply, and falling demand.Investors seem to have taken the view that there will be a deal and the market is already oversupplied. 1.12pm BST The European Central Bank is worried that the eurozone recovery is more fragile than thought. The downside risks to growth were seen as stemming from geopolitical and political risks inside and outside the euro area. The possibility of weaker than expected investment growth was also considered to be a downside risk. In addition, it was remarked that the materialisation of the baseline scenario depended on a number of assumptions – including the closure of the output gap, a recovery in investment growth, the strengthening of corporate pricing power and a significant pass-through of the fall in oil prices to spending – each of which might be seen as being associated with some downside risks. The question was posed as to whether the strong rebound in the economy, in part also as a result of monetary policy measures, was fully consistent with the underlying financial market assumptions, since expectations of a pronounced recovery in growth appeared not to square easily with interest rates and monetary conditions remaining very accommodative far into the future. At the same time, it could also be argued that, while a constant level of the exchange rate was embedded in the technical assumptions, a further weakening would affect other variables such as export growth and investment activity.The risk of insufficient progress on structural reforms was also highlighted as a major downside risk. In that context, the argument was advanced that the projected pick-up in growth could weaken incentives for governments to pursue the necessary structural reforms and thereby adversely affect potential growth. ECB "Minutes" confirm GC commitment to QE through Sept 2016 ... sees some uncertainty in Staff economic projections ...Shorter ECB accounts: cautiously optimistic about QE effect; no change to QE modalities for now, but (vague) flexbility retained. 1.09pm BST "When planning to kick a can down the path, you must first go to the wire". Ancient Greek proverb... allegedly 12.44pm BST Here’s another handy reminder of the many funding hurdles facing Greece.....Deutsche: basically, even if Greece makes its April 9 IMF payment, no way will it get through May without bailout €. pic.twitter.com/QmWMXDQtlf 12.41pm BST Readers looking for a better grasp of the crisis may enjoy this video:It is either complicity, or idiocy..... and as I believe the people who represented the Troika in Athens are very smart folks I tend to come down on the side of complicity. 12.10pm BST Alexis Tsipras’s visit to Moscow on April 8 has raised concerns that Greece is cuddling up to Russia to force its European creditors to offer more help.Officially, the visit is billed as a chance to build bridges:"#Greece, as a member of the #EU, can be a link and a bridge between the West and #Russia" ~Kremlin official to TassGreece looks to China and Russia for help but cannot get around its euro zone partners http://t.co/h6GYk5T8XZ pic.twitter.com/CsW3SAbMsHLeaked IMF minutes from 2010 confirm what Syriza has always argued: the country was already bankrupt and needed debt relief rather than new loans. This was overruled in order to save the euro and to save Europe’s banking system at a time when EMU had no defences against contagion.Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis rightly calls it “a cynical transfer of private losses from the banks’ books onto the shoulders of Greece’s most vulnerable citizens”. A small fraction of the €240bn of loans remained in the Greek economy. Some 90% was rotated back to banks and financial creditors. The damage was compounded by austerity overkill. The economy contracted so violently that the debt-ratio rocketed instead of coming down, defeating the purpose. 12.00pm BST Economists at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch point out that any Greek default would probably occur in May, if it finds itself unable to meet various repayments due this month:BofA-ML: If Greece is cashless in April, the trouble will come in May pic.twitter.com/K0Wvnx8gPZ 11.32am BST Over in Athens officials say they are flummoxed as to how the government’s proposed reform programme was leaked to the press.Helena Smith reports from Athens:“The leak did not happen through the Greek government,” Gavriel Sakellarides told Mega TV this morning. “I don’t know who put it out, but in no way is this leak through the government. “Remember, though, that Greek officials, exasperated with what they believe to be deliberate obstructiveness by EU/IMF negotiators, had privately threatened to release the full reform plan to prove that the finance ministry had proposed constructive structural reforms – and not the vague proposals that it is so often accused of. HS 11.06am BST Greece’s prime minister has been pressing on with tackling the country’s humanitarian crisis. Greek PM Tsipras heralds 4,500 hirings in health sector, abolition of a 5-euro fee patients pay for outpatient treatment at state hospitals. 11.04am BST In case you missed it, here’s Helena Smith’s take on last night’s (leaked) reform list:Troika gives Greece an ultimatum: sign up to our failed system or else we starve your country http://t.co/xQdQ4n1F7T #grexit 10.30am BST 10.18am BST Over in the Athens parliament, Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has hit out at yesterday’s leaking of his 26-page reform plan.Varoufakis told MPs that the disclosure was not acceptable, and blamed Greece’s creditors for passing the information to the Financial Times.#Varoufakis slams press leaks on EU-Greece negotiations @FT #bailout #eurogroup #Greece- http://t.co/KEUwjNWjok pic.twitter.com/XOm8NxcPB3Varoufakis blames the 'Institutions' for leaks of reform proposals. "Citizens' trust is undermined by such actions" http://t.co/SNcfSvP01v#Greece FinMin Varoufakis claims the 'Institutions' insisted on confidentiality (although he disagreed) yet leaked the reform list. 10.01am BST Heard the one about the bishop, the baroness and the union chief? They’ve all agreed to join a new body to keep Britain’s banking sector on the straight-and-narrow. Related: Bishop and baroness join Banking Standards Board 10.00am BST This chart, via the FT, shows how Greek two-year bond yields have fluctuated wildly in recent months --HT @lindayueh short-dated Greek debt washing machine http://t.co/3Dtq80mbwH pic.twitter.com/VOK6mpCRun 9.50am BST Shares in Marks & Spencer have soared by 5% to a seven year high, as traders welcome the long-awaited turnaround in clothes sales.M&S shares have been rising since Nov, up 4% today and higher than when Bolland became boss 5 years ago. pic.twitter.com/1jF7aURWyFBryan Roberts of Kantar on M&S: "The occasional screamer into top corner doesn't negate smashing ball over the bar for the last four years" 9.48am BST Extra Easter eggs for Marks & Spencer’s staff, after it *finally* reported a rise in clothes sales in four years.The high street retailer grew clothing and household sales by 0.7% in the last quarter, suggesting it has got its online operations under control.The rise in sales comes despite a tricky spring for fashion retailers with the weather much chillier than this time last year.The company credited improvements in style and quality, and positive press coverage, particularly of a suede skirt which has yet to arrive in stores, for the sales turnaround. But performance was also lifted by a return to growth at M&S.com, where sales rose 13.8%, a considerable bounce from the 6% slump over Christmas, when business was affected by problems at the group’s hi-tech distribution centre in Castle Donington. Related: Marks & Spencer clothing sales rise for first time in four years 9.40am BST Just in: Growth in Britain’s construction sector slowed last month as builders wait for next month’s general election to play out.Some construction firms noted that uncertainty related to the forthcoming general election had encouraged clients to delay spending decisions.The latest survey pointed to an element of caution among construction companies in terms of additional job hiring, with overall employment numbers rising at the least marked pace since December 2013. The good news is that the UK Construction #PMI continues to show strong growth. The bad news is the dip from 60.1 to 57.8 #GBP #ukhousing 9.33am BST Have City traders already bunked off for Easter?Europe’s stock markets are moribund this morning, with the main indices either up a bit or down a bit ahead of the bank holidays.There’s a lot of uncertainty still hanging over the market and with events including the US non farm payrolls and a meeting between Tsipras and Putin - which has the potential to see more political grandstanding from Greece – set to occur [on April 8th], there’s going to be a degree of risk mitigation in play. 9.19am BST Former European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has laid into the new Greek government this morning.Ex-Maoist Barroso didn’t show much sympathy for Greece’s leftist administration, accusing it of inexperience.“It is not helpful if Greece attacks countries that are trying to help it.”“We should remember that there are poorer countries that are lending money to Greece, so to propose a cut to their debt would be certain to receive a no from their partners.” 8.56am BST Greek sovereign debt is weakening this morning as traders fret about the state of its finances.This has driven the yield on two-year bonds up to 23.27%, up from 22.99% last night. [yields rise when prices fall]. 8.53am BST And here’s the quote from French finance minister Sapin: “There is progress with the last [Greek reform] list ... Is there a need for more progress? Yes - in the quantification of the measures.” 8.45am BST Newsflash from France: French finance minister Michel Sapin has warned that Greece’s economic reform plan still needs more detail: 8.43am BST With political tensions rising in Greece, the previous prime minister has suggested he could form an alliance to avoid the country leaving the euro.“If the plan is to keep Greece in the euro area, we will provide support....Exit would signal a total catastrophe.”“I see a lot of words, a lot of theory, a lot of lies, and no action...All of these add up to a big question mark.”“If they ideologically decide they won’t abide by this agreement, then you may have a default.”.#Samaras says he'd join the coalition to keep Greece in #euro http://t.co/odjPrIvh36 pic.twitter.com/9JL1Xmlx0A 8.22am BST Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.We’re heading into the Easter break without any signs of a deal to unlock some bailout cash for Greece, despite some encouraging signs on Wednesday.The Hellenic Republic considers itself to be a proud and indefeasible member of the European Union and an irrevocable member of the Eurozone. Yet the viability of that Union, and especially of the common currency, is now in question, in the minds of many Greek citizens as it is in the minds of many among our European partners.The question before us all, as Europeans, is whether the European Union can rise to the challenge before it.....The list is a “very long way from being a basis [for a deal],” a eurozone official said. “They should negotiate in competence and good faith with the institutions first, and then we will see.”“It still lacks detail and substance in many places.”A great deal of scepticism remains about the prospect of any type of deal before the next EU finance ministers meeting on April 24th, which given that Greece needs to make various payments of nearly €2.5bn, between now and then, doesn’t bode well for any sort of resolution this week, or next week, for that matter.Greece threatens to default on IMF says the front page of @TeleFinance. pic.twitter.com/kKc5WMdobm Continue reading...


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How Greece Can Make It Through 2015

(Bloomberg Economics) -- Greece won't exit the monetary union this year, in our judgment. The country's near-term financing gap is small relative to ...


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Greek-style stuffed red peppers recipe

Greek-style stuffed red peppers recipe. After a speedy supper? These red peppers stuffed with couscous are quick to make and incredibly satisfying.


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Turkish gov't slammed for turning blind eye to Greek seizure of Aegean islands

While the Turkish Foreign Ministry has called on Greek officials to refrain from inflammatory remarks that could hamper efforts to bring a lasting ...


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Tsipras Aims to Bolster Public Health Care

ATHENS — Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Thursday his government will bolster public health care in Greece through the hiring of 4,500 specialized staff and the abolition of a compulsory 5-euro ($5.4) fee for treatment at public hospitals. Speaking at the Health Ministry, Tsipras said some reforms passed during the last few years as part […] The post Tsipras Aims to Bolster Public Health Care appeared first on The National Herald.


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Greece vs Creditors: Tsipras will never be able to satisfy the big neurotic mama

Greece “defaults” each and every month since the new coalition government came into power, should we believe the Cassandras of various nationalities and interests. The first default scenario “saw” a default by end February, the second by end of March. Bogeyman’s words “Grexit” and “Grexident” started to whirl around. Again. […]


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We will go bankrupt in a week, Greece warns creditors as trust frays in debt drama

Greece will go bankrupt in seven days, government officials have told their creditors as the fragile trust between the debtor country and its lenders ...


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Greece denies saying it will exhaust cash April 9

Reuters had reported that Greece told its creditors it will run out of money on April 9, making an appeal for more loans before reforms on which new ...


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Italy, Not Greece, at Heart of Euro Question

Greece may be the canary in the eurozone coal mine. But Italy is the elephant in the room. For the eurozone to prosper, its members must be better off ...


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Cost of Greek borrowing spikes as fears over reforms deal rises

Trading in Greek sovereign bonds turned extremely volatile on Thursday as a nervous market fretted ahead of an agreement between Athens and ...


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The Take: Greek life – Friendships from Greek life

Will you make friends in college if you don't join Greek life? Yes. Would I have made many close connections during my freshman year without a ...


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The take: Greek system – Don't hate the player; hate the game

The Greek system, the network of fraternities and sororities that span the nation, has been looking rather guilty lately. Whether it's Sigma Alpha ...


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Greece's Syriza Confronts Reality

This is why it's worthwhile to compare Greece's first "full summary" of reforms, released today, to be undertaken so the country can unlock financing ...


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Cynthia Lennon obituary

First wife of the Beatle John Lennon who never escaped his shadowAs the first Mrs John Lennon, the former Cynthia Powell witnessed at first hand the reality-distorting effects of pop stardom on a hitherto unknown scale. Cynthia, who has died of cancer aged 75, married Lennon in 1962, just before the Beatles released their first single, Love Me Do. By the time the couple’s marriage foundered in 1968, the Beatles had become more like a religion than a pop group.Cynthia had done her best to share Lennon’s journey through drugs, mysticism and superstardom, but it proved an impossible challenge. When she returned that year from a trip to Greece to their Surrey mansion to find Lennon and the artist Yoko Ono, in matching towelling robes, gazing at each other, she realised the game was up. “The Beatles had overdosed on everything that fame can bring,” she reflected later. Continue reading...


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Greece's Syriza Confronts Reality

This is why it's worthwhile to compare Greece's first "full summary" of reforms, released today, to be undertaken so the country can unlock financing ...


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Greek prison hunger strike continues despite concessions

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Supporters of 21 hunger strikers in Greek prisons say they have refused to give up their monthlong protest against ...


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More anti-establishment action in Athens

Friends and family members of jailed terrorist suspects and convicts currently on hunger strike, staged a protest outside Greek Parliament on Syntagma Square on Thursday. Raising a banner in front of the monument of the Unknown Soldier, a popular tourist spot, the protesters called for “victory” for the prisoners.


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Greek anti-racists pledge 'watch' on neo-Nazi trial

Greek anti-racism groups on Thursday said they would offer daily coverage of the landmark trial of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn this month to raise awareness


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Dijsselbloem Says 'Still Long Way' to Go on Greek Proposals

Eurogroup Chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said there's a “long way to go” to strike a deal on Greece's aid proposals even after the Athens government ...


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A great Greek escape

As might be expected, Anthony's, owned and run by the Yiannarakis family, has a strong Greek menu, with stuffed grape leaves, spinach and feta ...


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Greece warns funds would be 'post mortem' after 9 April

by  NEOnline | KT  As Eurozone officials warn that discussions with Greece may last until the end of April before an agreement is reached, the Athens government has told its creditors it will run out of money on April 9, according to Reuters. Quoting “Eurozone officials” Reuters writes that Greece made an appeal for more loans before reforms on which new disbursements hinge are agreed and implemented, but the request was rejected. The appeal was made by Athens at a teleconference of euro zone deputy finance ministers on Wednesday organised to assess how far Athens still was from meeting the conditions for unlocking new financial aid. The Greek representative said that a deal on the reforms should not be a "post mortem" for the country as "there is no way we can go beyond April 9th", eurozone officials said. He added that holding off with new loans until a deal with creditors can be reached was unrealistic. But others on the call, including Germany, reiterated that for Greece to get the reminder of the 240 billion euro bailout, Athens would have to agree on the reforms and implement them and there was no chance of releasing the funds on April 9. Euro zone officials pointed out to Greece that it could manage its liquidity by tapping funds of various entities in the Greek general government and those of state-owned companies, even if it had to pass appropriate laws to do so if necessary. But Greece repeated that this would not be enough to cover both the IMF repayments and its wage and pension obligations in April after next week. No resolution was reached on the call regarding what would happen if the talks continue beyond April 9 says Reuters.


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We’ll run out of cash by April 9th, Greece tells creditors

Greece has told its creditors it will run out of money on April 9th, making an appeal for more loans before reforms on which new disbursements hinge are agreed and implemented, but the request was rejected, euro zone officials said. The appeal was made by ...


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Greece scraps hospital visit fee, to hire health workers

In a package of reforms sent to lenders on Wednesday, Greece said it planned comprehensive healthcare reform with the universal right to quality ...


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Germany urges Greece to win ECB as friend in quest for funds

Germany's top envoy for Europe urged Greece to end its spat with the European Central Bank, saying ECB President Mario Draghi is an ally in the ...


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Trevor Noah's troubles show Twitter isn't always a comic's friend

The South African standup has come under fire for offensive tweets, but as fellow comedian Liam Williams explains, the pressure to tweet often leads to disasterIn a sequence of events which may confound the mythographers of the distant future, comedian Trevor Noah became a new iteration of an old archetype this week. But the contemporary Noah’s predicament bears more resemblance to that of the prophet Jeremiah than to his namesake’s. The future prospects of the South African stand-up seem suddenly compromised, just as they were for Jeremiah and his people, by past actions. The 31-year-old funnyman may soon come to suffice as a specific sort of exemplar for our times where biblical figures, Greek tragic heroes and Arthur Miller protagonists no longer do – because those lucky lads weren’t on Twitter. Related: Did Trevor Noah and Lena Dunham’s jokes offend Jewish people? It depends “So she gets fat? RT @missdanibagel: When a woman is loved correctly, she becomes 10 times the woman she was before”“South Africans know how to recycle like israel knows how to be peaceful.” Related: Trevor Noah – from Soweto to The Daily Show Twitter does bad things to people, especially comediansSome people really make Twitter into an art form, but Noah isn’t one of them Continue reading...


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Exclusive: Greece tells creditors it will run out of cash on April 9

The appeal was made by Athens at a teleconference of euro zone deputy finance ministers on Wednesday organized to assess how far Athens still was from meeting the conditions for unlocking new financial aid. Greece's appeal echoed remarks by Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis on Wednesday that the country would have to choose whether to pay back 450 million euros to the International Monetary Fund ...


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The election of Syriza in Greece: Marxism vs. the pseudo-left A lecture series by David North

The recent elections in Greece are of immense international significance. The Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza, was able to exploit the mass ...


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Greece: We'll run out of cash on April 9

Greece has told its creditors it will run out of money on April 9, making an appeal for more loans before reforms are agreed and implemented.


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Greece comes kicking and screaming to reform table

Greece is coming kicking and screaming to the reform table. The Syriza government's latest proposals include some concessions to its public creditors ...


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Ankara raises tensions before bilateral talks

As Greek and Turkish diplomats prepare for talks on confidence-building measures that are expected to start on April 22, Ankara appears to be fueling a debate that began in Turkey’s National Assembly last week which questions the status of 16 Greek islands in the Aegean.


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