Thursday, March 15, 2018

Euro zone to unlock new loans to Greece, working on debt relief

MARCH 12, 2018 / 8:12 PM / 2 DAYS AGO

Francesco Guarascio, Jan Strupczewski

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone creditors are expected to disburse new loans to Greece this month and are working on debt relief measures, the head of the bloc’s finance ministers said on Monday, steps that should help underpin its economic recovery.

Greece’s 86-billion-euro bailout program, its third since 2010, is due to end in August and international lenders are debating how to ensure the country makes its exit on a sustainable footing.

Among options under consideration in Brussels are support measures that could run into tens of billions of euros and help ease servicing costs on a public debt pile that, in terms of economic output, is among the biggest in the world.

Greece Is Quietly Backsliding on Reform

Greece needs public sector reform and investment, not more debt-fueled consumption.
By Phylis Papadavid

Greece’s planned August exit from its third European Stability Mechanism bailout has triggered investor optimism. Its July 2017 bond issuance, the first in three years, was oversubscribed, as were subsequent issuances in February of this year. And yet financial investors should curb their optimism. Greece’s return to the markets, and its economic recovery, are likely to be a bumpy and slow -- especially if it continues to delay key reforms.

Clashes break out in Greece over foreclosures

By Associated Press March 14 at 12:34 PM
ATHENS, Greece — Five people were detained Wednesday during clashes between riot police and protesters attempting to disrupt a central Athens auction of foreclosed properties.

Left-wing activists have stepped up protests in recent weeks against online auctions as the government remains under pressure from bailout lenders to speed up the process and ease the strain on banks stemming from a huge backlog of nonperforming loans.

The auctions are required as part of the country’s international bailout, which is due to end in August. Creditors have also promised to deliver some debt relief for Greece if it fulfils all the conditions of the bailout.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Greeks vent fury over soldiers being 'held hostage' in Turkey

Defence minister says arrests have aggravated already strained ties between two countries

The Guardian

Protesters have taken to the streets of northern Greece demanding the release of two Greek soldiers detained by Turkey, amid rising tensions between the two countries.

Greece’s defence minister, Panos Kammenos, described the pair as “hostages” and ordered border patrols to be stepped up along the heavily defended land frontier the two nations share.

Sgt Dimitris Kouklatzis, 27, and Lt Angelos Mitretodis, 25, were seized 11 days ago after allegedly being found in a “forbidden military zone” deep in Turkish territory. The soldiers say they inadvertently strayed across the frontier in bad weather.

Last week a court in the Turkish border town of Edirne, where the two are being held in a high-security prison, rejected a plea for their release pending further investigation.

Daily chart
The temperature of the ocean is rising
Further improvements in data-gathering technology could improve forecasting of extreme weather events

The Economist

MEASURING the temperature of something as stratified as the ocean has never been easy. Before the 1980s, ships automatically recorded the temperature of water flowing through their ports, but the great depth variance of these ports and the dearth of data outside major shipping routes made the figures incomplete and unreliable. Next came satellites, which were able to capture more surface-temperature data in three months than the total compiled in all the years prior to their advent. Nonetheless, they too have limitations: for example, their infrared sensors are susceptible to cloud contamination.

Friday, March 2, 2018

2 Greek soldiers on patrol accidentally stray into Turkey

By Associated Press March 2 at 4:35 AM

The Washington Post

THESSALONIKI, Greece — Greece says two of its soldiers on patrol on the Greek-Turkish border accidentally strayed into Turkey and have been taken to the city of Edirne by Turkish authorities.

The Greek army said Friday the two-man patrol strayed into Turkish territory on Thursday because of bad weather, and that Greek and Turkish authorities were in contact with each other and were undertaking procedures for the two to be returned to Greece.

Most of the Greek-Turkish border is marked by a river, and a fence runs along much of the land section. Some parts, however, aren’t clearly marked, and the area where the soldiers strayed was reportedly in woodland.

Although NATO allies, relations between Greece and Turkey are often strained.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Σκάνδαλο Novartis

Γιατί ξέσπασε το σκάνδαλο, γιατί είναι τόσο σημαντικό;  Γιατί τους αρκούν τα λίγα αυτά για να εκτοξεύσουν τόσο ατιμωτικές κατηγορίες; Γιατί ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ διώκει όλους όσους ανέφεραν οι κρυφοί μάρτυρες τους;
Είναι η δίψα για την εξουσία; Είναι και αυτό. Δεν είναι όμως μόνο αυτό.
Είναι γιατί επιτέλους, όπως περιέγραψε ο Βαλδουίνος της Φλάνδρας την άλωση της Κωνσταντινούπολης, ''..., αυτοί που αρνήθηκαν μικρά πράγματα σε μας, μας παρεχώρησαν τα πάντα ως αποτέλεσμα της Θείας Κρίσης...''. Είναι γιατί τώρα πια θα αρπάξουν όλη την εξουσία, τώρα είναι η ευκαιρία τους, τώρα ήρθε η ώρα.

Ακολουθεί η εξήγηση του κ Θανάση Καρτερού. Είναι επικεφαλής του γραφείου του πρωθυπουργού. Μια βαρύνουσα θέση, θεσμικά τουλάχιστον.
Δεν φιλοξενώ την άποψή του επειδή είναι σε αυτή την βαρύνουσα θεσμικά θέση.

Την φιλοξενώ γιατί είναι μια πειστική, για μένα, εξήγηση των όσων συμβαίνουν. ΄

"Στην Αριστερά είμαστε ανέκαθεν επαγγελματίες, κατά κάποιο τρόπο, κατηγορούμενοι. Χιλιάδες και χιλιάδες έχουμε κάτσει στο σκαμνί. Άλλες φορές για ήσσονα αδικήματα, όπως η διατάραξη της τάξεως, η αντίσταση κατά της αρχής, η εξύβριση οργάνων της τάξεως, η εν γένει πεζοδρομιακή δραστηριότητα. Και άλλες φορές με κατηγορίες που οδηγούσαν σε βαριές ποινές, σε ισόβια, ή και στον τοίχο. Αφήστε που πλήθη ανθρώπων βρέθηκαν στα σύρματα χωρίς καμιά δίκη. Έφτανε η απόφαση μιας Επιτροπής Ασφαλείας, στην οποία συμμετείχαν ο κύριος νομάρχης, ο κύριος αστυνόμος, και ο κύριος εισαγγελέας, και άντε να καθαρίσει ο κατηγορούμενος με τη Γυάρο, τον Άι Στράτη, ή τη Μακρόνησο.
Τούτων δοθέντων μπορείς να πεις ότι είμαστε η παράταξη των κατηγορουμένων. Άλλοι έλειωναν παντελόνια στο Χάρβαρντ, κι εμείς τα λειώναμε σε εδώλια δικαστηρίων. Άμα ψάξεις στις γραμμές όλων των αριστερών κομμάτων και σχημάτων, θα είναι είδηση να βρεις κάποιον που δεν πέρασε από τη βάσανο μιας δίκης, ενός κρατητήριου, ή και μιας κλοτσοπατινάδας. Ανυπερθέτως εθνικού χαρακτήρα.
Ελάτε τώρα στη θέση των άλλων. Των απέναντι. Των νομιμοφρόνων. Της ελίτ που ανέδειξε αστυνόμους, ασφαλίτες, εισαγγελείς, υπουργούς, πρωθυπουργούς, στυλοβάτες του καθεστώτος, απηνείς διώκτες κάθε ανατρεπτικού στοιχείου –κόκκινου, ροζ, ακόμα και κίτρινου. Της ελίτ που μας μπαγλάρωνε, μας δίκαζε, μας καταδίκαζε, μας επιφύλασσε κάθε είδους αστυνομικές και δικαστικές περιποιήσεις."

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Greece enters final round of reform talks with creditors

The Washington Post

By Associated Press February 26 at 11:21 AM
ATHENS, Greece — Greece entered a last round of reform talks with creditors Monday, just five months before the country’s massive rescue program ends — and with the government and central bank publicly disagreeing on how to finance the nation after the bailout.

Government officials said the talks with representatives of Greece’s European partners and the International Monetary Fund in Athens would cover privatizations and energy.

But the negotiations were upstaged by a continued spat between Greece’s central bank governor, Yannis Stournaras, and the government over financing policies after the bailout runs out in August. The country will then have to raise money from international investors in bond markets — at a much higher rate than bailout creditors charge.

Turkey's Erdogan tells crying girl, 6, she'd be honored if killed in battle: report

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last weekend raised eyebrows when he called a visibly emotional girl, 6, onstage during a military rally and talked about the possibility of her becoming a martyr.

The New York Times reported Monday that Amine Tiras, a first grader and cadet, was in the crowd during the Saturday event. At some point Erdogan called on  Tiras and she was “lifted into the air” and sent towards him.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Work has begun on whether Greece needs debt relief: EU rescue fund head

Reuters Staff

TOKYO (Reuters) - Technical work has begun to determine if Greece requires debt relief after its expected exit from a bailout program later this year, the head of Europe’s rescue fund said on Friday.

Requiring investors to take a haircut, or accept losses on the value of government debt, would not be part of any restructuring once Greece exits its bailout program, said Klaus Regling, head of the European Stability Mechanism, the euro zone rescue fund.

“The technical work has started so that we are ready by the summer when the program ends,” Regling told reporters after giving a speech in Tokyo.

Greece Approves Bribery Investigation Involving Political Elite

By Niki Kitsantonis

Feb. 22, 2018
ATHENS — After 20 hours of acrimonious debate, Greek lawmakers on Thursday approved the formation of a parliamentary committee to investigate accusations linking 10 high-profile politicians to bribery by a Swiss drug manufacturer.

The investigation, which will follow separate and secret votes for each of the 10 politicians, was backed both by members of the coalition government and by some in the opposition. It will examine whether the politicians took kickbacks from the pharmaceutical company Novartis, or were aware of illicit payments.

The list of people to be investigated is dominated by the Greek political elite: It includes two former prime ministers, Antonis Samaras and Panagiotis Pikramenos; the current central bank governor, Yannis Stournaras; and the European Union commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The United States and Turkey should fix their relationship—Before it’s too late

Amanda SloatFriday, February 16, 2018

The Brookings Institute

Editor's Note: It is positive that Washington is going to Ankara this week. Engagement by America’s three most senior national security officials with their Turkish counterparts in the same week sends a strong signal about the seriousness with which the United States takes this relationship. At the same time, U.S. officials must express their concerns about Turkish actions that are contributing to fractious ties. This piece originally appeared on Foreign Policy.

American diplomats are out in force in Turkey this week. On Sunday, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster met in Istanbul with Ibrahim Kalin, his nominal counterpart. On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis met with Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli in Brussels on the margins of the NATO ministerial summit. Later this week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to visit Ankara for talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The new geopolitics of Turkey, Syria, and the West

Kemal Kirişci
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Brookings Institute

As the turmoil in Syria enters its seventh year, its adverse geopolitical consequences stretch far beyond the Middle East. Developments in Syria have affected Turkey, too. Before the Arab Spring, Turkey was a rising star in its neighborhood, but has become a troubled nation in the years since. Its president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is increasingly cited as a model for authoritarians around the region and the world, and if tensions between Turkey and the West lead to a fracture, more adverse geopolitical consequences could follow.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Turkey Is Out of Control. Time for the U.S. to Say So.

There’s a real danger of a clash between U.S. and Turkish forces. The administration should make clear that it won’t tolerate any more bad behavior—now.

By ERIC EDELMAN and JAKE SULLIVAN February 13, 2018

Following Turkey’s incursion into Syria, the once unthinkable prospect of a direct clash between Turkish and American soldiers has become alarmingly real. Turkey’s current fight, against U.S.-backed Kurdish troops in the northwestern Syria territory of Afrin, is destabilizing enough. But the real risk will come if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan follows through on his repeated promises to press further east toward the Kurdish-controlled and U.S.-patrolled city of Manbij. The only way to prevent a conflict is for U.S. policymakers to adopt a clear and tough-minded approach to Turkey now, before things get worse.

Greece, Turkey Try to Calm Tensions After Aegean Sea Crash

The prime ministers of Greece and Turkey worked to calm tensions after Greek coast guard vessel is damaged in a collision with a Turkish patrol boat in Aegean Sea.
Feb. 13, 2018, at 4:58 p.m.

US News


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The prime ministers of Greece and Turkey worked late Tuesday to calm escalating tensions after a Greek coast guard vessel was damaged in a collision with a Turkish patrol boat in the Aegean Sea, the site of a boundary dispute.

A government official in Athens said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece and Turkish Prime Minister Benali Yildirim spoke by telephone about the circumstances of the boat crash. The official asked not to be named pending an official announcement.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Turkey slams Cyprus for gas search, blocks rig with warships

Cyprus was split into an internationally-recognized Greek Cypriot south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north in 1974.
The ministry said the Cyprus government was acting like "the sole owner of the island" and warned it would be responsible for any consequences.
Published 6:02 AM ET Sun, 11 Feb 2018


Turkey's foreign ministry has criticized Cyprus for a "unilateral" offshore hydrocarbons search after Turkish warships prevented a rig from reaching an area off Cyprus where it's to start exploratory drilling for gas.

Turkey assails US over ties with Syrian Kurdish militia

By Associated Press February 12 at 7:39 AM
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s foreign minister assailed the United States on Monday, claiming that American forces in Syria are intentionally stalling the fight against Islamic State militants as an excuse not to cut ties with Syrian Kurdish militiamen as Ankara has demanded.

Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Istanbul that U.S. forces are leaving “pockets” with IS militants intact to justify continued cooperation with the Kurdish militia.

Speaking ahead of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later this week, Cavusoglu said Turkey’s ties with the U.S. are at a make-or-break stage and that Washington needs to take “concrete steps” to regain Turkey’s trust.

“Our relations are at a very critical stage,” Cavusoglu said. “Either we will improve ties or these ties will totally break down.”

Η σχέση της Novartis με τα μνημόνια

Τρία χρήσιμα συμπεράσματα από την υπόθεση της φαρμακευτικής. Διότι η κυβέρνηση επιτέλους εντόπισε τα 23 από τα €150 δισ. της αύξησης του δημόσιου χρέους. Περιέργως, βέβαια, αυτά δεν εντοπίστηκαν στην έρευνα της Επιτροπής της Ζωής, παρά την υποστήριξη τότε του ΠτΔ, του Τσίπρα και του Κραουνάκη
 Γιώργος Στρατόπουλος
Γιώργος Στρατόπουλος
11 ΦΕΒΡΟΥΑΡΙΟΥ 2018, 00:45   facebook  twitter 21 email
Από την υπόθεση Novartis, εκτός του τοξικού πολιτικού κλίματος, αντλούμε και χρήσιμα συμπεράσματα

1: Η ανάγκη των μνημονίων
Τον τελευταίο καιρό, η κυβέρνηση δείχνει απολύτως εξοικειωμένη με την άποψη ότι το ελληνικό Δημόσιο ζημιώθηκε κατά €23 δισ.1 από την αυξημένη φαρμακευτική δαπάνη την περίοδο 2000-2009, ότι μόνο από τη Novartis η ζημιά ανέρχεται στα €3 δισ. και ότι πολιτικά πρόσωπα και κρατικοί αξιωματούχοι έλαβαν μίζες περί τα €40 εκατ. μέχρι το 2010.

Πιθανότατα, τα νούμερα είναι ανακριβή, φουσκωμένα, αν όχι εντελώς λανθασμένα, ωστόσο η υπόθεση συνεισφέρει στη συλλογική αυτογνωσία.

Πρώτον, διότι η κυβέρνηση, επιτέλους, εντόπισε τα 23 από τα €150 δισ. της αύξησης του δημόσιου χρέους στο διάστημα 2000-2009! Πρόκειται για σπατάλες και κακοδιαχείριση στη φαρμακευτική δαπάνη. Περιέργως, αυτό δεν εντοπίστηκε στην ενδελεχή έρευνα της Επιτροπής Λογιστικού Ελέγχου του Χρέους της Ζωής Κωνσταντοπούλου, παρά την υποστήριξη του ΠτΔ, του Πρωθυπουργού και του Σταμάτη Κραουνάκη.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Greece Takes Step to Normalcy With Bond as Bailout Nears End

By Sotiris Nikas  and Lyubov Pronina
8 Φεβρουαρίου 2018, 12:19 μ.μ. EET Updated on 8 Φεβρουαρίου 2018, 4:52 μ.μ. EET
Country to price seven-year bonds to yield-hungry markets
Debt relief discussion and a new monitoring scheme to come


Greece will sell 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion) of seven-year bonds in another step toward exiting a bailout program in August that has kept the nation afloat.

The offer for the 2025 notes will price to yield 3.5 percent, inside an initial target of about 3.75 percent, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named because they’re not authorized to speak about it. Investor orders for the sale topped 6 billion euros, the people said. Barclays Plc, BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Nomura Holdings Inc are the bookrunners for the bond.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Σκάνδαλο Novartis. Άρθρα από την εφημερίδα των συντακτών.

Το άρθρο είναι στην διεύθυνση

Γιατί τα δημοσιεύω;
1. Δίνουν μια εικόνα για τις δωροδοκίες της Novartis, οι οποίες απευθυνόταν κυρίως σε γιατρούς και φαρμακοποιούς (δώρα ταξίδια συνέδρια κλπ). Αυτή την εικόνα διαπίστωση και η έρευνα της (παραιτηθείσας) κα Ράικου, τ. εισαγγελέως για την δίωξη της διαφθοράς και υπεύθυνης για την υπόθεση Novartis. 
2. Καταλήγει (το πρώτο άρθρο) σε δήλωση του υπουργού Υγείας κ Ξανθού, στην οποία η παραπάνω εικόνα αναπαράγεται.
3. Η εικόνα επομένως που προβάλλει η κυβέρνηση σήμερα είναι σε αναντιστοιχία με τα όσα έχουν διαπιστωθεί και τεκμηριωθεί μέχρι σήμερα.  
4. Το FBI έχει έρθει στην Ελλάδα για να πάρει καταθέσεις. Στις καταθέσεις αυτές δεν προέκυψε η συμμετοχή των προσώπων που σήμερα φέρονται αναμεμιγμένα (υπουργοί πρωθυπουργοί κλπ)
5. Η παροχή προστασίας στους τρεις μάρτυρες προυποθέτει την πειστική και αληθοφανή μαρτυρία που καταθέτουν. 
6.Η πηγή που το δημοσιεύει είναι φιλοκυβερνητική. 

Ακολουθούν τα άρθρα.