Friday, November 10, 2017

Lamda says new obstacles emerge over Hellenikon resort

NOVEMBER 10, 2017 / 12:02 PM / UPDATED 22 MINUTES AGO
Reuters Staff
2 MIN READ


ATHENS, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Greek property developer Lamda said on Friday new obstacles had appeared in its plans to develop the disused Hellenikon airport site, one of the largest projects on the country’s privatisation agenda.

Lamda said Greece’s culture ministry had declared a new archaeological area over parts of the airport compound and imposed other restrictions, a move it said was an ‘unexpected change in the contractual agreed terms’.

Greece's Eurobank close to deal to sell Romanian assets to Banca Transilvania

NOVEMBER 10, 2017 / 10:47 AM / UPDATED AN HOUR AGO
Reuters Staff
1 MIN READ

Reuters

ATHENS, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Greece’s Eurobank said it is close to finalising a deal to sell its Romanian subsidiaries to Banca Transilvania.

The potential sale is part of a restructuring plan agreed by Greece’s third largest lender with European Union authorities, and includes Romanian units Bancpost, ERB Retail Servces IFN and ERB Leasing IFN.

Public debt, unemployment, big NPL pile weigh on Greece: central bank governor

NOVEMBER 10, 2017 / 11:57 AM / UPDATED 16 MINUTES AGO
Reuters Staff
2 MIN READ


Reuters

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s banks have shown progress in tackling a stockpile of non-performing loans, Bank of Greece governor Yiannis Stournaras said on Friday, but said it would remain a challenge for the country.

Greek banks are saddled with 103 billion euros in bad loans, equal to almost 60 percent of the economy, after years of financial crisis and crippling recession. The European Central Bank wants that reduced by 38 billion euros by the end of 2019.

Monday, November 6, 2017

A Turning Point for Greece

By Marcus Ashworth

Bloomberg

Nov 6, 2017 1:00 AM EST
Greece is taking a step closer to get the respect it deserves from Europe.Yields on the country's government bonds, which have already taken great strides lower this year, hit a new low last week on news the government is preparing a major debt swap. The exercise, first reported by Bloomberg News, should allow Greece to sell bonds in future -- and help end its dependence on the largess of its main creditors.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Refugees in Greece demand transfer to Germany, start hunger strike

NOVEMBER 1, 2017 / 3:35 PM / UPDATED 18 HOURS AGO
Karolina Tagaris, Deborah Kyvrikosaios
3 MIN READ
ATHENS (Reuters) - A group of mainly Syrian women and children who have been stranded in Greece pitched tents opposite parliament in Athens on Wednesday in a protest against delays in reuniting with relatives in Germany.

Some of the refugees, who say they have been in Greece for over a year, said they had begun a hunger strike.

“Our family ties our stronger than your illegal agreements,” read a banner held up by one woman, referring to deals on refugees between European Union nations.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Papadopoulos Claimed Trump Campaign Approved Russia Meeting

By Greg Farrell , David Voreacos , and Henry Meyer
1 Νοεμβρίου 2017, 12:29 π.μ. EET Updated on 1 Νοεμβρίου 2017, 3:45 π.μ. EET
Plan to include top aides ‘approved by our side,’ he wrote
Ex-adviser’s claim unsubstantiated; no sign meeting took place

Former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos made a significant claim in an email: Top Trump campaign officials agreed to a pre-election meeting with representatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Divided and Conquered, Catalonia Weighs the Damage


 It might look over, but the Spanish region’s independence bid has long-lasting repercussions.
By Charles Penty , Manuel Baigorri , and Esteban Duarte
Bloomberg

The drama in Catalonia may have reached its epilogue, but the economic and political consequences are still to emerge for a region Spain could never afford to let go.For now, the separatist leadership has been deposed, a would-be European republic snuffed out and a potential bank run avoided.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has gone from lame duck premier dogged by a party corruption scandal to the country's unlikely savior. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont painted himself on Tuesday as a victim of the vengeful state after fleeing to Brussels to avoid arrest.
Yet that winner-and-loser narrative masks a delicate balance. Catalonia's 7.5 million people remain as torn as ever in the stop-start push for their own state since the death of General Francisco Franco four decades ago. A tumultuous month started with an illegal independence referendum on Oct. 1 that police tried to forcibly extinguish. It culminated with a loss of autonomy that’s cherished even by those who want to remain part of Spain.

Five Argentines among 8 dead in New York City terror attack

By Renae Merle, Devlin Barrett, Wesley Lowery, Rachel Siegel and Samantha Schmidt November 1 at 12:19 AM

The Washington Post

NEW YORK — A 29-year-old man driving a rental truck plowed down people on a Manhattan bike path Tuesday in what authorities described as a terrorist attack that killed eight and injured 11 before the suspect was shot and arrested by police.

A sunny fall day along the Hudson River erupted in chaos just around the time students were getting out from nearby Stuyvesant High School, when a rented Home Depot truck turned on to the bike path along the West Side Highway.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Don't blame others for your problems, Germany's Schaeuble tells Greece

OCTOBER 25, 2017 / 12:03 AM / UPDATED 14 HOURS AGO

Reuters Staff

3 MIN READ


REUTERS

ATHENS (Reuters) - Outgoing German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble urged debt-wracked Greece to stop blaming others for its financial woes and stick to a reform agenda instead of relying on debt relief.

Schaeuble, a leading advocate of Greece’s tough austerity programs and one of Germany’s most powerful politicians, was elected speaker of its lower house of parliament on Tuesday.

The 75-year-old lawyer, whose no-nonsense approach on austerity made him a popular hate figure among Greeks, told Greek Skai TV that Athens must take responsibility for its fiscal difficulties and act on them.

Xi Jinping's ‘New Era’ China a new era for the world?

Carrie Gracie
China editor

As Mr Xi declares China ready "to move towards centre stage in the world", it's not clear whether his mission to control will help or hinder him.

Officially no reason was given for barring the BBC, Financial Times, Economist, New York Times and Guardian, but unofficially journalists were told that their reporting was to blame. Another sign of Xi's determination to control the message at home and abroad.


BBC

Western media is still wrong. China will continue to rise.

By Eric Li October 24 at 2:28 PM

The Washington Post

SHANGHAI — As the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China draws to a close, analysts are parsing through President Xi Jinping’s 30,000-plus-word report — delivered in a three-and-a-half-hour address without breaks — to decipher the direction of the most populous nation in the world. It is a laborious effort, especially considering the report’s extensive official jargon and policy details.

But there is a much easier way. Read The Economist’s coverage of the congress, which is considerably shorter in length, and bet on the opposite being true. Let me explain.

Xi Jinping Unveils China’s New Leaders but No Clear Successor

By CHRIS BUCKLEYOCT. 24, 2017


The New York Times

BEIJING — President Xi Jinping thrust China into a new era of strongman politics on Wednesday, unveiling a leadership team without a likely successor among the six officials who will help him rule for the next half decade.

In a nationally televised ceremony, Mr. Xi introduced the new members of China’s highest council of power, the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee, on the red carpet of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. In addition to Mr. Xi and China’s premier, Li Keqiang, the committee included five new members, all men in their 60s.

“Over the past five years, we’ve done a lot. Some work has been finished, some we must continue with,” Mr. Xi, 64, said after briefly introducing the committee members, who stood stiffly in line. “A new era needs a new look, and even more needs new accomplishments,” he added.

Friday, October 20, 2017

China’s leader Xi Jinping declares the start of a “new era”


It sounds much like the old one—only more so

The Economist

Oct 21st 2017 | BEIJING
IN THE days before the opening on October 18th of the Chinese Communist Party’s quinquennial congress, the country’s security officials put their surveillance efforts into overdrive. On Chang’an Avenue, the boulevard that passes by the venue in Tiananmen Square, naked flames were banned. Tough luck for restaurants, family dinners and smokers. Out-of-towners driving to the capital were stopped at checkpoints and made to sign papers promising not to get into trouble during the week of the congress. Foreigners were barred from travelling to Tibet. The region is well over 1,000 miles from the capital, but the party fears that even a lone banner-waving separatist sympathiser that far away could spoil the event in Beijing.

Monday, September 25, 2017

EU ends Greece's deficit procedure in positive signal to markets

SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 / 12:04 PM / UPDATED AN HOUR AGO
Reuters Staff
2 MIN READ


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union states decided on Monday to close disciplinary procedures against Greece over its excessive deficit after improvements in Greece’s fiscal position, confirming the country’s recovery is on the right track.

The move, although largely symbolic, sends a new signal that Greece’s public finances are again under control, facilitating the country’s plans to tap markets after a successful issue of bonds in July which ended a three-year exile.

EU fiscal rules oblige member states to keep their budget deficits below 3 percent of their economic output or face sanctions that could entail hefty fines, although so far no country has received a financial penalty.

Greece had a 0.7 percent budget surplus in 2016, and is projected to maintain its fiscal position within EU rules’ limits this year.

“In the light of this, the Council (of EU states) found that Greece fulfils the conditions for closing the excessive deficit procedure,” the EU said in a note.

“After many years of severe difficulties, Greece’s finances are in much better shape. Today’s decision is therefore welcome”, Estonia’s finance minister Toomas Toniste said.

The EU states’ decision confirmed a proposal by the EU executive commission in July to end the disciplinary procedure for Greece.

The economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the decision was “a recognition of the tremendous efforts and sacrifices the Greek people have made to restore stability to their country’s public finances.”

But he stressed that Greece still needs to positively exit its bailout program which ends in August after a third review of the country’s reforms by international creditors.

“There needs to be constructive cooperation between all institutions and the Greek authorities to ensure a smooth and swift conclusion of the third review, with no unnecessary drama,” Moscovici said.

Like Germany’s Social Democrats, left-wing parties are losing ground across Europe

By Rick Noack September 25 at 3:19 AM

The Washington Post

BERLIN — The 2017 German election fits at least three bigger trends. There was Merkel who convinced Germans to grant her a fourth term in office, reaffirming her position as the preferred choice in the center. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) joined a number of other far-right parties across Europe in gaining seats in parliament for the first time, becoming the most likely choice of those drawn to the political side-lines on the right.

And then there was the Social Democratic Party (SPD) which suffered a humiliating defeat, in yet another indication of the challenges some traditional left-wing groups across the continent are facing.

Denmark’s Social Democrats were ousted by a center-right coalition headed by the mainstream Venstre party in 2015. In Austria, the Social Democrats are similarly facing record-losses in upcoming elections, and France’s Socialist Party remains in a deep crisis following its defeat earlier this year.

The decline of Europe’s social democrats is closely associated with the rise of the far-right, experts said.

In Germany, core issues usually believed to play into the hands of the Social Democrats, such as social justice and fair wages, have become less of a concern over the last four years. Instead, immigration and security are now some of the most dominating topics.

“The core competencies of the Social Democrats currently don't really play a big role,” said Timo Lochocki, a political researcher with the German Marshall Fund, an American think tank.

“The last year really did mark a collapse of the social democrats across Europe, as the immigration debate gained momentum,” agreed Tarik Abou-Chadi, a researcher at Humboldt University in Berlin. “Many European social democratic parties are quite divided on the issue of immigration, which is why they are refraining from discussing it,” he said.

As the social democrats mostly remained silent, many voters shifted either to right-wing populist parties or to more outspoken parties on the left.

Other trends, such as a growing number of higher education graduates and a shift away from traditional industries has further eroded social democrats’ support base. Despite that process having dragged on for decades, the social democrats were still able to win elections in the past, however. Prior to the Merkel era, Social Democrat Gerhard Schröder achieved victories with record margins over the conservatives only a little more than a decade ago.

In Great Britain, the Labour Party still appears to be able to make significant gains even today, as it showed during general elections in June. Their unexpected rise in the polls may not be a sign of a social democratic revival more generally, however.

“The momentum created by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union makes Britain a special case which is hard to compare. The U.K.’s electoral system also clearly favors the biggest parties — which makes it distinct from many other European nations,” said researcher Abou-Chadi.

“It also probably has to do with the fact that Theresa May is so deeply unpopular among many in Britain. Of course, Germany’s Merkel is in a far different position,” he said. 68 percent of Germans stated in a recent Gallup poll, conducted prior to Sunday’s vote, that they were satisfied with Merkel’s leadership.

Yet, only a little more than 30 percent of the population ended up voting for her party, the CDU, and Bavaria’s CSU.

Instead of voting for the mainstream alternative, the SPD, some of them chose the far-right instead.

At a leftist protest against the far-right on Sunday evening, hundreds encircled the AfD’s election party location near the Alexanderplatz in central Berlin. “All of Berlin hates the AfD,” some protesters were shouting, as others held up posters with slogans such as “Not my party.”

Responses by protesters here reflected the dilemma the Social Democrats are now in. “I just hope that the response of mainstream politicians to today’s result won’t be a shift toward the right. Simply adopting the same policy positions won’t solve the problem,” said 29-year old designer Henrik Dagedorn. Elsewhere in Europe, some social democratic parties have experimented with adopting more anti-immigration positions, but faced a backlash by its urban and young supporters.

There was uncertainty among the protesters about how to stop the rise of the far-right instead, however.

“I fear that they might stay in parliament longer than we expect, because there won’t be any imminent solution for the problems that got them elected in the first place,” said Martina Schnepka, 51, a nurse.

For Germany's Social Democrats, there does not appear be any imminent solution, either.

Friday, September 22, 2017

As Crisis Ebbs, Tsipras Promises Doubters a 'New' Greece


By REUTERSSEPT.
21, 2017, 9:57 A.M. E.D.T.

ATHENS — Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has found a precious commodity he hopes can help him and the nation turn a corner after years of crisis and austerity -- time.

Since taking power in early 2015, he has spent most of his days and nights in firefighting mode, battling Greece's creditors to renegotiate the harsh terms of a series of bailout deals.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Merkel’s Problem: Booming German Economy Is So 20th Century

Low unemployment and high exports are masking a backlog in technology and investment.
By Rainer Buergin  and Tony Czuczka
Bloomberg

20 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017, 6:00 π.μ. EEST
Germany’s steady economy is a boon for Chancellor Angela Merkel as she seeks a fourth term on Sunday. Even the diesel-vehicle emissions scandal is barely denting national pride in German high-end manufacturing. Yet a closer look reveals a backlog in 21st-century benchmarks such as broadband and education, pointing to costly catch-up efforts facing the next government. 

It's Bailout-Review Time in Greece and Markets Are Wary - Again

By Sotiris Nikas  and Viktoria Dendrinou
20 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017, 5:00 π.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

Crunch time for Greece as review tests bailout-exit capability
IMF demands on Greek banks, debt relief among review issues
The moment of reckoning may soon be upon Greece.

As the country enters the final year of its bailout, questions remain on whether it will be able to stand on its own feet when the rescue program ends. In the immediate term, with creditor representatives descending upon Athens last week for the third review, other concerns loom large: Will this review of the bailout program be different from the previous two? What role will the International Monetary Fund play? Will Greece complete the 95 measures in the review in time?

With Combative Style and Epithets, Trump Takes America First to the U.N.

By PETER BAKER and RICK GLADSTONESEPT. 19, 2017


The New York Times

UNITED NATIONS — President Trump brought the same confrontational style of leadership he has used at home to the world’s most prominent stage on Tuesday as he vowed to “totally destroy North Korea” if it threatened the United States and denounced the nuclear agreement with Iran as “an embarrassment” that he may abandon.

In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Trump framed the conflicts as a test of the international system. The bombastic flourishes that generate approving roars at political events were met by stony silence, interrupted a few times by a smattering of applause, as Mr. Trump promised to “crush loser terrorists,” mocked North Korea’s leader as “Rocket Man” and declared that parts of the world “are going to hell.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Greece Must Complete Most Pending Bailout Reforms by November-PM

By REUTERSSEPT. 18, 2017, 6:48 A.M. E.D.T.


The New York Times

ATHENS — Greece must complete most of the pending reforms agreed with its official creditors by November in order to speed up the conclusion of a key progress review and exit the bailout in time, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told his cabinet on Monday.

Greece's bailout progress is being reviewed by its lenders on a quarterly basis and the next review is expected to start in October. Tsipras has promised to make the country financially independent by 2018, when its third rescue programme expires.

World Wildlife Fund sues over Greece oil spill from tanker

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ATHENS, Greece — Sep 18, 2017, 3:37 PM ET

The World Wildlife Fund filed a lawsuit Monday over extensive pollution to the coastline outside Athens following the sinking of a tanker near Greece's largest port.

The environmental group's Greek branch filed the lawsuit in the port city of Piraeus against "anyone found responsible," a common practice when a party that could be held legally accountable has not been identified formally.

The IMF Needs to Stop Torturing Greece

The fund should write down the country's debt, not demand another bank recapitalization.
By J. Kyle Bass

19 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017, 7:30 π.μ. EEST

“Beware of Greeks bearing gifts,” wrote the ancient Roman poet Virgil. In the 21st century, it’s the Greeks who should have been more careful about accepting offerings -- specifically from the International Monetary Fund, which is now torturing the country in a misguided effort to get its money back.

Greek officials have worked hard to shore up their economy and finances. From 2010 through 2016, the government achieved the all-but-impossible task of shrinking its primary budget deficit by nearly 18 percent of gross domestic product, and is finally in surplus. After a brutal contraction of almost 30 percent, the economy is exhibiting positive signs in almost every area -- industrial production, new automobile registrations, construction permits, tourist arrivals.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Breakingviews - Dixon: No escape from debtors’ prison for Greece

SEPTEMBER 11, 2017 / 4:51 PM
Hugo Dixon
6 MIN READ

Reuters

Tinos, GREECE (Reuters Breakingviews) - Alexis Tsipras is desperate to avoid “suffocating supervision” of Greece’s actions when the country’s third bailout programme ends next August. At the weekend, he promised as much. But the best the Greek prime minister can hope for is that Athens will move from its current high-security prison to an open one – and that will happen only if he behaves.

Greek PM urges IMF to decide on bailout participation by end of year

George Georgiopoulos, Angeliki Koutantou
Reuters

ATHENS (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund should decide whether it will fund Greece’s current bailout program by the end of the year and help Greece conclude a key bailout review on time, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Sunday.

Euro zone governments in June approved another 11th-hour credit line for Greece, worth nearly $10 billion, after the IMF said it would join the country’s current bailout, the third since 2010, in principle.

Greece: Oil from tanker's sinking prompts beach warnings

Updated 5:27 pm, Wednesday, September 13, 2017

San Francisco Gate

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek authorities have appealed to swimmers to stay away from some popular beaches on the coast of Athens after oil spilled from a sunken tanker started to reach the area.
Small slicks were reported at beaches in the suburbs of Glyfada and Piraeus Wednesday. Glyfada Mayor Giorgos Papanikolaou says municipal workers have set up floating booms offshore and used chemicals to try to dissolve the oil.
The small Agia Zoni II tanker sank Sunday while anchored off the coast of Salamina island, just off Greece's main port of Piraeus. It was carrying 2,200 tons of fuel oil and 370 tons of marine gas oil.

Merchant Marine Minister Panagiotis Kouroumplis says divers have sealed the ship's cargo holds and work is due to start on pumping out the remaining fuel.

Greece to Beat Budget Target, Plans More Bonds-Finance Ministry Official

By REUTERS
SEPT. 13, 2017, 7:48 A.M. E.D.T.

ATHENS — Greece expects a larger-than-targeted primary budget surplus this year and plans to tap bond markets again within seven months, a senior finance ministry official said on Wednesday.

Athens is keen to quickly conclude a third bailout review with its international creditors, helping smooth its return to market financing, as its rescue programme ends next August.

Greece returned to bond markets for the first time in three years in July. It sold 3 billion euros of new five-year bonds alongside a tender to buy back outstanding 5-year paper issued in 2014.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Greece: Where Literally Sitting on Goldmine Is Not Enough to Make Money

By Sotiris Nikas , Paul Tugwell , and Danielle Bochove
11 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017, 3:50 μ.μ. EEST 11 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017, 8:31 μ.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

“Irrespective of what will happen next, the damage for Greece as an investment destination is done and it is very significant,”

Eldorado Gold Corp. has put Greece on the spot.

The Canadian mining company’s decision on Monday to suspend all its operations in Greece, citing delays in acquiring routine permits, puts the Syriza government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a difficult position. Eldorado Gold is the largest foreign investor in Greece and its decision comes as the country, which is working on creating a sustainable path to exit its bailout program, tries to lure foreign investments.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Why Europe's Central Bank Shouldn't Worry About the Euro

Instead, it should focus on increasing flexibility in the conduct of monetary policy.
By Ferdinando Giugliano
8 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017, 9:30 π.μ. EEST

The European Central Bank has spent much of this decade convincing markets that the euro is irreversible. It is therefore mildly ironic that policy makers in Frankfurt may be in trouble because of the sudden return of confidence in the single currency.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Greece Offers Latest Effort to Reform Public Sector, a Key Bailout Demand

Aug. 30, 2017, at 1:08 p.m

US News

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's government presented a three-year plan to overhaul the country's public sector on Wednesday, the latest attempt to fix a problem that helped plunge the country into its worst crisis in decades seven years ago.

Athens, which has signed up for three international bailouts since 2010, has promised its lenders to shrink and modernize its administration to cut costs, make it more efficient and end a legacy of patronage hiring.

The leftist-led government says it aims to evaluate and educate state workers, distribute staff according to the sector's needs and seek candidates with digital skills, create online databases and simplify regulation by 2019.

UPDATE 1-Greece's Eurobank, Piraeus profitable in Q2, bad debt levels ease

AUGUST 30, 2017 / 7:43 PM / 15 HOURS AGO
Reuters Staff
4 MIN READ
* Eurobank posts 8.8 percent rise in Q2 profit

* Non-performing loans ease to 34.6 pct of book

* Piraeus Bank swings to 7 mln euro profit in Q2 (Adds Eurobank, Piraeus CEOs comment, details)

By George Georgiopoulos

ATHENS, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Greece’s Eurobank reported a sixth straight quarterly profit on Wednesday and Piraeus Bank swung back into the black, pointing to a recovery from the nation’s economic crisis as banks slowly reduce their pile of bad debts.

Greek banks have been struggling with problem loan portfolios after a protracted recession pushed unemployment to record highs, making it hard for borrowers to service debts.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

First on CNN: US troops exchange fire with Turkish-backed rebels in Syria



By Ryan Browne, CNN
Updated 1927 GMT (0327 HKT) August 29, 2017

(CNN)US troops in northern Syria came under direct attack last week by Turkish-backed rebels, a military official with the coalition fighting ISIS told CNN Tuesday. The official said that while US troops returned fire there were no casualties on either side.

The coalition believes the attackers are part of the Turkish-backed opposition forces, a loose grouping of Arab and Turkmen fighters that have helped the Turkish military clear ISIS from the Turkish-Syria border area.

Iran Building Weapons Factories in Lebanon and Syria, Israel Says


By ISABEL KERSHNERAUG. 29, 2017

The New York Times

JERUSALEM — Israel is using a visit this week by the United Nations secretary general, Antonio Guterres, to highlight concerns about what it says are Iran’s efforts to produce advanced, precision weapons in Lebanon and Syria.

“Iran is busy turning Syria into a base of military entrenchment,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a news conference with Mr. Guterres on Monday, “and it wants to use Syria and Lebanon as war fronts against its declared goal to eradicate Israel.”

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Chastised by E.U., a Resentful Greece Embraces China’s Cash and Interests


By JASON HOROWITZ and LIZ ALDERMANAUG. 26, 2017

The New York Times

ATHENS — After years of struggling under austerity imposed by European partners and a chilly shoulder from the United States, Greece has embraced the advances of China, its most ardent and geopolitically ambitious suitor.

While Europe was busy squeezing Greece, the Chinese swooped in with bucket-loads of investments that have begun to pay off, not only economically but also by apparently giving China a political foothold in Greece, and by extension, in Europe.

Last summer, Greece helped stop the European Union from issuing a unified statement against Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. This June, Athens prevented the bloc from condemning China’s human rights record. Days later it opposed tougher screening of Chinese investments in Europe.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Who Will Be Europe’s Alexander Hamilton?

AUG 7, 2017 4

Project Syndicate

SYLVESTER EIJFFINGER
Sylvester Eijffinger is Professor of Financial Economics at Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

TILBURG – Not too long ago, the European Central Bank’s actions were usually met with cheers. But more recently, the ECB has drawn criticism from not just bankers and economists, but also citizens and politicians.
With returns on fixed-income investments decreasing, investors are being forced into equity investments, which have become riskier and more expensive, owing to increased uncertainty about financial and economic stability. That uncertainty reflects the fact that the ECB’s extremely low interest rates are serving to prevent desperately needed structural reforms in eurozone countries with high deficits and debt.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Greece launches new offshore oil and gas tenders

AUGUST 7, 2017 / 3:38 PM / 15 MINUTES AGO

Reuters

ATHENS, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Greece launched two tenders on Monday for offshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the west and south of the country, the energy ministry said.

The move follows expressions of interest by a consortium of Total, Exxon Mobil and Hellenic Petroleum for exploration in two sites off the island of Crete, and by Greece's Energean for a block in the Ionian Sea in western Greece.

Greece scapegoats a statistician who only did his job


The Washington Post

By Editorial Board August 4
IN GREECE, the lucrative tourism industry is threatened this summer by millions of oversized jellyfish washing ashore on the nation’s beaches. An even slimier development is the ongoing persecution of the country’s first independent chief statistician, whose tough-minded steps to straighten out Greece’s notoriously fraudulent economic data have been repaid with farcical prosecutions by a judicial system rapidly discrediting itself in the world’s eyes.

Andreas Georgiou, an American-trained economist who spent two decades working at the International Monetary Fund, was hired as Greece’s top statistician in 2010 as the country’s debt crisis was spiraling out of control. His goal was to honestly report economic data that for years had been fudged by politicians and officials seeking to minimize their own fateful fiscal mismanagement.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The IMF Has Approved a $1.8 Billion Conditional Loan For Greece

Reuters
10:31 PM ET
The International Monetary Fund on Thursday approved in principle a $1.8 billion standby loan arrangement for Greece, making a conditional commitment to help underpin the country's long-running bailout program for the first time in two years.

But the IMF's approval-in-principle means the fund will not make any money available until after it receives "specific and credible assurances" from Greece's European lenders to ensure the country's debt sustainability.
The approval is also conditional on Greece keeping its economic reforms on track. The current bailout, Greece's third since 2010, is now shouldered exclusively by European institutions.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Yes Greece Can


by Marcus Ashworth

Bloomberg

July 19, 2017 8:08 AM EDT
Greece's hopes of returning to the debt markets after a three-year absence have been held up by one of its main creditors, the International Monetary Fund.Under the strict conditions of its bailout, the country's debt burden is still too high to contemplate selling more debt, according to the IMF. But there is a compromise option, which Greece should pursue.The Hellenic Republic had been laying the groundwork to issue as much as 4 billion euros ($4.6 billion) in five-year bonds after repaying 6 billion euros of its existing debt this week. But the funds to pay down that debt came from the European Stability Mechanism, so Greece's overall debt hasn't been reduced, simply extended.The IMF's opposition to issuing new debt doesn't stop Greece from shuffling its debt stack by lengthening maturities.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Greek Bond Sale Is Said to Be Delayed by IMF Debt Cap Rule


By Viktoria Dendrinou  and Nikos Chrysoloras
19 Ιουλίου 2017, 12:43 π.μ. EEST 19 Ιουλίου 2017, 11:48 π.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

Greece’s much anticipated return to bond markets this week has been held off partly due to a ceiling set by the International Monetary Fund on the amount of debt the country can hold, according to three officials familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified as the talks are confidential.

Turkey has agreed to buy Russia's advanced missile-defense system, leaving NATO wondering what's next

Christopher Woody

Jul. 17, 2017, 1:48 PM

Business Insider


Turkey reached an agreement with Russia to purchase the latter's most sophisticated missile-defense system, the S-400, a senior Turkish military official told Bloomberg last week.

Under the $2.5 billion agreement Ankara would receive two batteries of the antiaircraft missile from Moscow within the coming year and then produce two more batteries in Turkey.

At the beginning of June, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was ready to deliver the missile system, and a Russian military-industry official said an agreement on technical details had been reached in mid-June.

Turkey Leaks Secret Locations of U.S. Troops in Syria

Ankara has long been angered by the alliance between Washington and Kurdish factions. But a new report exposing secret American bases is a dangerous way to strike back.

Roy Gutman
ROY GUTMAN
07.19.17 1:00 AM ET

The Daily Beast

ISTANBUL—In the latest display of Turkish anger at U.S. policy in Syria, the state news agency has divulged the locations of 10 U.S. military bases and outposts in northern Syria where the U.S. is leading an operation to destroy the so-called Islamic State in its self-styled capital of Raqqa.
The list published by the Anadolu news agency points to a U.S. presence from one end to the other of the Kurdish self-administration region—a distance of more than 200 miles. The Anadolu news agency even listed the number of U.S. troops in several locations and in two instances stipulated the presence of French special forces.

Countries That Broke Ties With Qatar Indicate Some Flexibility on Demands

By RICK GLADSTONEJULY 18, 2017

The New  York Times

Senior diplomats from the four Arab countries that have broken ties with Qatar indicated Tuesday that they were no longer insisting on 13 precise demands that the Qataris must satisfy, or on a specific deadline for them to comply.

The remarks by the diplomats from Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates seemed to indicate a slight easing in their position and a desire to make some progress in the bitter dispute, which began in early June.

How EU Reckons Greece Can Make a Successful Return to Markets

By REUTERSJULY 18, 2017, 10:51 A.M. E.D.T.
Continue reading the main storyShare This BRUSSELS — Greece's imminent return to markets will be a step towards a successful exit from its euro zone-funded bailout programme, but it will not be an overnight change.

The New York Times

The process, European Union officials say, will require a series of successful bond sales and the build-up of a "sizeable" cash buffer.

Euro zone creditors are keen to see Athens develop a strategy to tap the markets well before the end of its current 86-billion-euro financial aid programme, so that when the bailout expires in August 2018 the country will be more likely to stand on its own feet.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

EU Commission Says Greece Public Finances Back in Order

By REUTERS
JULY 12, 2017, 7:57 A.M. E.D.T.
The New York Times

BRUSSELS — Greece's fiscal position has improved and the European Union should end disciplinary procedures against it over its excessive deficit, the EU commission said on Wednesday, paving the way for the country to return to international bond markets.

EU fiscal rules oblige member states to keep their budget deficits below 3 percent of their economic output or face sanctions that could entail hefty fines, although so far no country has received a financial penalty.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Turkey detains academics for alleged links to cleric Gulen

By Associated Press July 10

The Washington Post

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s official news agency says police have detained 42 people, including academics, for alleged links to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric less than a week before the anniversary of the failed coup.

Anadolu news agency said the operations Monday targeted people working at Turkey’s Bogazici and Medeniyet University. Prominent Bogazici academic and government critic, Koray Caliskan, and 19 professors from Medeniyet’s medical school are among the detained.

American tourist killed in Greece was fatally beaten over a selfie, police say

By Kristine Phillips July 11 at 3:17 PM

The Washington Post

American Bakari Henderson was killed by a group of as many as 15 men because of an argument over a selfie at a bar on a Greek island, police said.

A confrontation began after Henderson, who was vacationing with friends, asked to take a picture with a waitress, and quickly escalated into a fistfight involving other customers and two bar employees, Greek police spokesman Theodore Chronopoulos told The Washington Post. Video surveillance shows that the 22-year-old recent graduate of the University of Arizona was fatally beaten in a span of just 30 seconds, Chronopoulos said.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Greece expects minimum $456 mln offers in gas grid sale - newspaper

 Mon Jul 10, 2017 | 7:28am EDT

Reuters

Greece expects potential investors will offer at least 400 million euros ($456 million) for a majority stake in its gas grid operator DESFA, Energy Minister George Stathakis said in an interview with Naftemporiki newspaper.

Greece, under pressure by EU lenders to conclude the sale as it has earmarked about 180 million euros of the proceeds in this year's budget, relaunched the tender in June after a 400 million euro deal with Azerbaijan state oil company SOCAR fell through over gas tariffs among other issues.

Friends say Texan killed in Greece was easygoing, fun-loving

By Jamie Stengle | AP July 10 at 6:03 PM

The Washington Post

DALLAS — A 22-year-old Texas man who was beaten to death at a bar on a Greek island recently graduated from college and was known to his friends for his fun-loving and friendly demeanor.

Bakari Henderson, of Austin, was beaten to death early Friday at the bar in Lagana on the island of Zakynthos.

Authorities haven’t disclosed a possible motive for the attack, but eight people have been arrested. Greek police said among them were a 34-year-old Greek and a 32-year-old British man of Serbian origin. Serbia’s foreign ministry said six of its citizens were arrested.

Greece: Protest and fire break out at Lesbos migrant camp

By Associated Press July 10 at 10:19 AM

The Washington Post

ATHENS, Greece — Authorities on the Greek island of Lesbos say a fire has broken out at a large migrant camp following a protest at the site.

Police said no injuries were reported from Monday’s protest and that the fire believed to have been set deliberately at the Moria camp is still burning.

ESM Urges Greece to Ready Market Borrowing Strategy

By REUTERSJULY 10, 2017, 3:09 P.M. E.D.T.

The New York Times

BRUSSELS — Greece should develop a strategy for its return to market borrowing and raise private finance before its euro zone bailout programme ends in a year's time, the head of the European Stability Mechanism said on Monday.

Klaus Regling told reporters "Greece will not need that much borrowing from the markets in the future" once bailout funding via the ESM ends in August 2018. It would be required only to replace maturing debt, given Athens' predicted fiscal surpluses.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Euro Zone Set to OK Release of Loans to Greece This Week-EU Official

By REUTERSJULY 6, 2017, 3:21 P.M. E.D.T.


The New York Times

BRUSSELS — Eurozone creditors are set to give their final go-ahead to the release of loans to Greece on Friday under a political agreement reached in June, a euro zone official said on Thursday.

Greece needs new loans under its current 86 billion euro (76 billion pounds) bailout programme, the third since 2010, to pay debt due this month.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Το κείμενο είναι από τον απολυμένο Κ Μπογδάνο λόγω της κριτικής προς τον Α Τσίπρα

Πρωθυπουργικοί σύντροφοι (το ρεπορτάζ που φιμώθηκε)

Αλήθεια τώρα; Ενοχλήθηκαν από το "πρώην σύντροφοι"; Να αρχίσουμε να μετράμε; Είναι πολλές δεκάδες τα στελέχη και οι βουλευτές του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, που έμμεσα ή άμεσα τα τελευταία χρόνια έχουν ενεργά στηρίξει κατηγορούμενους και καταδικασθέντες ως μέλη τρομοκρατικών οργανώσεων. Μόλις πριν μερικές εβδομάδες το τελευταίο κρούσμα. Δεκαπέντε νυν βουλευτές (αλφαβητικά οι υπογραφές: Γκιόλας Ιωάννης, Θελερίτη Μαρία, Θεοπεφτάτου Αφροδίτη, Θηβαίος Νικόλαος, Ιγγλέζη Αικατερίνη, Καββαδία Αννέτα, Καραγιαννίδης Χρήστος, Κυρίτσης Γεώργιος, Μπαλαούρας Γεράσιμος, Πάλλης Γεώργιος, Παπαδόπουλος Χριστόφορος, Σταματάκη Ελένη, Σταμπουλή Αφροδίτη, Φιλης Νικόλαος και Ψυχογιός Γεώργιος) έσπευσαν να υπογράψουν κοινή δήλωση για την Ηριάννα Β. Λ. (δύο επίθετα – χαρακτηριστική αναρχική επιλογή), υποστηρίζοντας ότι η καταδίκη της ως μέλος της Συνομωσίας των Πυρήνων της Φωτιάς θα αποτελέσει, μεταξύ άλλων, "συντριπτικό χτύπημα στο δικαίωμά της στη μόρφωση και στην επιστημονική εξέλιξη". Να σημειωθεί, ότι τον Λουκά Παπαδήμο, που ο Τσίπρας ακόμα δεν έχει επισκεφθεί στον Ευαγγελισμό, η ΣΠΦ τον χτύπησε.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Britain Isn't Greece, Prime Minister

Enough austerity. The government can afford to raise spending where that would help the economy.
By The Editors
7 Ιουλίου 2017, 9:39 π.μ. EEST
Bloomberg
Britain’s government isn’t due to announce a new budget until the autumn, but debate is already raging over public-sector pay. With Brexit bearing down, the embattled prime minister, Theresa May, will have to choose between making another embarrassing U-turn and defending a policy that is both unpopular and unnecessary.

Sadly for May, the U-turn makes better sense.

Greece Aims to Complete Former Athens Airport Deal by December

By REUTERSJULY 6, 2017, 6:42 A.M. E.D.T.


The New York Times

THENS — Greece aims to complete a deal on the former Athens airport of Hellenikon by December, the country's privatisations agency Chairwoman Lila Tsitsogiannopoulou said on Thursday.

A consortium of Abu Dhabi and Chinese investors backed by conglomerate Fosun, led by Greece's Lamda, signed a deal in 2014 to develop the Hellenikon coastal area, one of Europe's biggest real estate development projects.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Greece fires at Turkish freighter in Aegean, Ankara protests

03-07-2017
Deusche Welle


Greece's coast guard has fired "warning shots" at a Turkish freight ship near Rhodes island, prompting a protest from Ankara. Greek police say they acted on an anonymous call that it was "transporting drugs."

Turkey's foreign ministry condemned Greece on Monday over the shooting that left no one injured - but 16 bullet holes in the freighter's hull, according to its captain.
The vessel, the M/V ACT, had left the southern Turkish port of Iskenderun, near the Syrian border, and was heading west to the Gulf of Izmit when, according to Greek coast guards, it entered Greek waters northeast of Rhodes island.
"Warning shots were fired but the ship did not change course," said the Greek coast guard.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Φτωχά έσοδα από τις λίστες του πλούτου
Αργοί ρυθμοί και πενιχρά ποσά φόρων και προστίμων - Χαμηλές οι εισπράξεις και από τους τελωνειακούς ελέγχους
Παρασκευή, 30 Ιουνίου 2017 09:44
Ναυτεμπορική
Του Γιώργου Παλαιτσάκη
gpal@naftemporiki.gr



Thursday, June 29, 2017

Greece Gets Investor Thumbs Up on Possible Return to Bond Market

By Sotiris Nikas  and Anchalee Worrachate
29 Ιουνίου 2017, 5:04 π.μ. EEST
A new issuance in the second half looks increasingly possible
Government is in contact with investors to test the waters

Bloomberg

If Greece returns to the bond market this year, Mark Dowding would be a buyer.

“We have been bullish on Greece over the past year or so,” said the partner and portfolio manager at BlueBay Asset Management in London, which owns some long-dated Greek bonds. “We’ve also formed the view that lenders would remain committed to helping Greece. I feel relatively confident that Greece will be returning to market in the second half of this year.”

Greece eyes market return as debt dispute still simmering

The Washington Post

Derek Gatopoulos | AP June 28 at 11:12 AM

LAGONISSI, Greece — Greece is on target to tap bond markets for money again by the end of this year and exit its bailout program next summer, European creditors said Wednesday.

But a spat with the International Monetary Fund over how to deal with the country’s enormous debt showed no sign of being resolved swiftly.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Greece Says Needs to Step Up Privatisations

By REUTERSJUNE 28, 2017, 5:30 A.M. E.D.T.

The New York Times

ATHENS — Greece needs to step up its privatisation programme, deputy finance minister George Chouliarakis said on Wednesday.

Privatisations have been a main pillar of the country's international bailouts since 2010 but have reaped only 3.4 billion euros in revenues due to political resistance and red tape.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Prime Real Estate On Fire Sale -- In Greece

Forbes

Panos Mourdoukoutas ,   CONTRIBUTOR

A deep and prolonged economic contraction has placed prime real estate on fire sale in Greece, creating good opportunities for bargain hunters. But they may not last too long.

Buying prime real estate is all about good location and good timing. Good location is usually a place with a limited amount of land for development, like a city center or a waterfront. Good timing is a period when real estate in these places goes on fire sale due to catastrophic events or prolonged economic contractions.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Europe's Unserious Plan for Greece

The latest deal on debt won’t work, and everybody knows it.
By The Editors

21 Ιουνίου 2017, 9:00 π.μ. EEST


  • Grace periods come to an end. As interest rates creep up, Greece’s debt repayments will rise too. The perpetual primary surpluses creditors are demanding will squeeze the economy so hard that they’ll be self-defeating even in narrow fiscal terms.


Bloomberg

Brexit Bulletin: The New Political Reality

By Simon Kennedy  and Robert Hutton
21 Ιουνίου 2017, 9:52 π.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

Prime Minister Theresa May will make her first attempt to engage with Britain’s new political landscape on Wednesday as she publishes a Brexit-heavy legislative program.

Queen Elizabeth II will read out the plan for the next two years. It’s set to include a bill designed to convert thousands of European Union rules into British law and another to regain control of trade policy from the bloc.

Rick Perry just denied that humans are the main cause of climate change

By Steven Mufson June 19

The Washington Post

Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Monday denied that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of climate change.

Asked in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” whether he believed that carbon dioxide was “the primary control knob for the temperature of the Earth and for climate,” Perry said that “No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Greece says court decision not to extradite Turkish soldiers must be respected

Mon Jun 19, 2017 | 9:07am EDT

Reuters

A court ruling to not extradite eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece following the failed coup attempt last year must be respected, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Monday.

His comments came at a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim in Athens

"The Greek justice system has ruled on this issue ... and this decision must be fully respected," Tsipras said in response to a question.

In Greece, China Finds an Ally Against Human Rights Criticism


By NICK CUMMING-BRUCE and SOMINI SENGUPTAJUNE 19, 2017


GENEVA — China has long won diplomatic allies in the world’s poor countries by helping them build expensive roads and ports. Now, it appears to have similarly won over a needy country in Europe.

At a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council this month in Geneva, the European Union sought to draw renewed attention to human rights abuses in China — only to be blocked by one of its member countries, Greece. A spokesman for the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens called it “unproductive criticism.”

Monday, June 19, 2017

Greece’s Open Wound of Division

Nikos Konstandaras JUNE 16, 2017

The New York Times

ATHENS — Many Greeks were surprised when a mild-mannered former prime minister who tried to use unity and consensus to lead the country out of an economic and political impasse was seriously injured by a parcel bomb last month.

What followed was even worse: The attack was not greeted with unanimous condemnation, suggesting that Greece has a long way to go to heal divisions that were exacerbated by the economic crisis, that have shaped politics and that obstruct efforts to get Greece on its feet.

EU's Wieser-Hope Greece Can Tap Markets by Spring 2018: ORF

By REUTERSJUNE 17, 2017, 7:30 A.M. E.D.T.


The New York Times

VIENNA — Thomas Wieser, the EU official who runs preparations for Eurogroup meetings, hopes Greece will be able to tap international markets for money between autumn this year and spring 2018, he told ORF radio on Saturday.

Greece blocks EU statement on China human rights at U.N.

Sun Jun 18, 2017 | 5:43pm EDT

Reuters

By Robin Emmott and Angeliki Koutantou | BRUSSELS/ATHENS
Greece has blocked a European Union statement at the United Nations criticizing China's human rights record, a decision EU diplomats said undermined efforts to confront Beijing's crackdown on activists and dissidents.

The EU, which seeks to promote free speech and end capital punishment around the world, was due to make its statement last week at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, but failed to win the necessary agreement from all 28 EU states.

Friday, June 16, 2017

E.U. Reaches Debt Deal for Greece Worth 8.5 Billion Euros

By JAMES KANTER and NIKI KITSANTONISJUNE 15, 2017


LUXEMBOURG — European Union officials agreed on Thursday to unlock loans of 8.5 billion euros for Greece, to ensure it meets huge payments on its debt next month.

The deal, reached by eurozone finance ministers, will ensure that Greece can pay about €7 billion, or $7.9 billion, next month on its towering pile of loans. If Greece defaulted on its debt, it could set off an economic crisis, reviving fears about the future of the eurozone.

The agreement included formal participation by the International Monetary Fund, said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the president of the Eurogroup of finance minsters.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Greece Declares Emergency After Earthquake Hits Lesbos

By NIKI KITSANTONIS
JUNE 13, 2017

The New York Times

ATHENS — The Greek government declared a state of emergency on the island of Lesbos on Tuesday, the day after a strong earthquake struck the island, killing a woman, injuring several people and leaving hundreds of residents homeless.

Israel’s prime minister in Greece to tout energy projects

By Costas Kantouris | AP June 15 at 8:40 AM

THESSALONIKI, Greece — Under heavy security, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited northern Greece on Thursday to discuss plans to become a key supplier of European energy through an ambitious Mediterranean undersea natural gas pipeline project.

Netanyahu met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city.

More than 3,500 police officers were deployed around the city, which historically had a large Jewish community that was almost wiped out during the Nazi occupation in World War II.

Greece to Get Some Cash-And Some Idea of Future Debt Relief

By REUTERSJUNE 15, 2017, 8:54 A.M. E.D.T.
 The New York Times

LUXEMBOURG — Greece's international lenders prepared on Thursday to unblock as much as 8.5 billion euros (7.44 billion pounds) in loans that Athens desperately needs next month to pay its bills, and to give some idea of what debt relief they may offer over the long-term.

The chairman of euro zone finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem told reporters the size of the payment to Athens would be discussed during the meeting, since lenders agreed that Greece had pushed through all the requested reforms.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Britain’s Theresa May comes under pressure to soften her stance on Brexit


The Washington Post

By Griff Witte and Karla Adam June 12 at 3:30 PM
LONDON — When Britain voted last week in an election that ended with Prime Minister Theresa May hanging onto her job by a thread, Brexit wasn’t on the ballot.

Even though the country had split nearly down the middle in last year’s referendum – 52 percent to 48 – and continues to be closely divided, none of the major parties ran on a platform of reversing the public’s decision to leave the European Union.

ECB Said to Be Unlikely to Include Greece in QE in Coming Months

by Alessandro Speciale
13 Ιουνίου 2017, 2:00 π.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

The European Central Bank is unlikely to include Greek bonds in its asset-purchase program for the foreseeable future, a person familiar with the matter said, as European creditors aren’t prepared to offer substantially easier repayment terms on bailout loans to improve the nation’s debt outlook.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Greece puts faith in France to solve bailout impasse


The Washington Post

By Derek Gatopoulos | AP June 12 at 8:43 AM
ATHENS, Greece — France’s finance minister says Greece is on course to reach a crucial funding deal with bailout lenders this week.

“A new crisis on the Greek issue must be calmly avoided,” Bruno Le Maire said after meeting Monday with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The French minister traveled to Athens ahead of a meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday of finance ministers from countries using the euro currency.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Comey: White House lied about me, FBI


The Washington Post

By Devlin Barrett, Ellen Nakashima and Ed O'Keefe June 8 at 8:38 PM
Former FBI director James B. Comey on Thursday used a dramatic appearance before a national audience to sharply criticize the character of the president, accusing Trump of firing him over the Russia investigation and then misleading the public about the reasons for the dismissal.

Trump and his team, Comey said, told “lies, plain and simple,” about him and the FBI in an effort to cover up the real reason for his sudden sacking last month. Comey said that after one particularly odd private meeting with the president, he feared Trump “might lie” about the conversation, prompting him to begin taking careful notes after each encounter.

Theresa May Loses Overall Majority in U.K. Parliament

By STEVEN ERLANGER and STEPHEN CASTLE

JUNE 8, 2017


LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain suffered a major setback in a tumultuous election on Thursday, losing her overall majority in Parliament and throwing her government into uncertainty less than two weeks before it is scheduled to begin negotiations over withdrawing from the European Union.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

UPDATE 1-Greece targeting sub-5 percent yields for market return

Wed Jun 7, 2017 | 2:17pm EDT

Reuters

* Greece wants yields below 5 pct before debt market return

* ECB support would boost chances considerably

* Decisions will depend on outcome of Eurogroup meeting (Adds detail, background, quotes)

By Lefteris Papadimas and Marc Jones

Trump offers to help resolve Gulf crisis, UAE tightens squeeze on Qatar

 Wed Jun 7, 2017 | 8:40pm EDT

Reuters

By William Maclean and Tom Finn | DUBAI/DOHA
U.S. President Donald Trump offered on Wednesday to help resolve a worsening diplomatic crisis between Qatar and other Arab powers as the United Arab Emirates invoked the possibility of an economic embargo on Doha over its alleged support of terrorism.

In his second intervention in the row in as many days, Trump urged action against terrorism in a call with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, a White House statement said.

Greece Calls on Europe to Offer Growth Incentives, Help Break Debt Impasse


By REUTERS
JUNE 7, 2017, 10:39 A.M. E.D.T.



The New York Times

ATHENS — Greece urged its European lenders on Wednesday to offer incentives that will boost growth and help break an impasse between the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund on the size of relief the country needs to make its debt sustainable.

During a meeting of euro zone finance ministers last month, Greece, its euro zone lenders and the IMF failed to agree on the debt relief measures to be implemented after its current bailout expires in 2018, mainly because of different growth assumptions. They are now aiming for a deal at a June 15 Eurogroup meeting.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Greek Ruling Party Says IMF Debt Proposal Not Helpful in Impasse

By REUTERSJUNE 6, 2017, 10:12 A.M. E.D.T.

The New York Times

ATHENS — A proposal by IMF Chief Christine Lagarde offering a way out of Greece's debt impasse with its European lenders does not contribute towards reaching an "honourable solution," Greece's ruling Syriza party said on Tuesday.

Greece to Launch New Tender for Gas Grid Sale in June-Energy Minister

By REUTERSJUNE 6, 2017, 10:21 A.M. E.D.T.
The New York Times

ATHENS — Greece will launch a new tender competition for the privatisation of its natural gas grid operator DEFSA in June, Energy Minister George Stathakis said on Tuesday.

Stathakis announced the tender in an interview with Greek news website liberal.gr without disclosing details.

The Latest: Hamas ‘shocked’ by Saudi comments on Qatar


The Washington Post
By Associated Press June 7 at 1:00 AM
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The Latest on the Gulf crisis after Saudi Arabia and other nations cut ties to Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism (all times local):

8:30 a.m.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas says it is shocked by Saudi Arabia’s call on Qatar to stop supporting the Islamic militant group.

Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, have cut ties with Qatar and moved to isolate the Gulf nation, accusing it of harboring extremists. Qatar has denied the allegations.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in Paris on Tuesday that Qatar must sever ties with Hamas and its historic parent, the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood.

Hamas said in a statement early Wednesday that al-Jubeir’s remarks “constitute a shock for our Palestinian people and the Arab and Islamic nations.”

Hamas alleged that Israel “exploits these statements to carry out more violations against the Palestinian people.”

Qatar has hosted Hamas leaders and has financed major projects in Gaza.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Despite Economic Problems, Greece's Tourism Looking Good In 2017

JUN 5, 2017, 11:23 AM

Lea Lane ,   CONTRIBUTOR

Forbes

The past few years have been tough ones for the Greek economy and for its tourism industry. As a traveler who has written two guidebooks on Greece, I've felt sure that tourism there would eventually bounce back, but when?

News is good: The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) announced that it expects a record-breaking 30 million international visitors to Greece for 2017. This represents a growth rate of 7%, or an additional 2 million additional visitors over the previous year. 900,000 U.S. travelers are expected to visit the country this year.

Cementing a long-term deal with Greece

Souda Bay gives the U.S. a singulary valuable port in the Eastern Mediterranean

The Washington Times

By John Sitilides - - Monday, June 5, 2017
ANALYSIS/OPINION:
Since World War II, the Mediterranean Sea has been the home to the U.S. Sixth Fleet, whose mission is to conduct “the full range of Maritime Operations and Theater Security Cooperation missions to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.” It was an essentially uncontested naval force through the mid-2000s, operating with near impunity from the Strait of Gibraltar to Israel, from the Black Sea to the Suez Canal.
Today, Russia and China are operating within the Eastern Mediterranean region with growing ambition and determination to challenge America’s historic naval posture and extensive power projection reach.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Τα προβλήματα με την ελάφρυνση του χρέους

Μιράντα Ξαφά
Huffington Post

Μετά την κατ' αρχήν αποδοχή από την κυβέρνηση των μέτρων που ζητούν οι δανειστές για να κλείσει η δεύτερη αξιολόγηση, μόλις ψηφιστούν τα μέτρα προβλέπεται να ανοίξει η συζήτηση για το χρέος. Παρά το γεγονός ότι το θέμα αυτό συζητείται παρασκηνιακά μεταξύ Ευρωπαίων και ΔΝΤ εδώ και μήνες, λύση που να είναι πολιτικά αποδεκτή από όλους τους εμπλεκόμενους στη  διαπραγμάτευση δεν θα είναι εύκολο να βρεθεί. Μία πρόσφατη μελέτη τριών επιφανών οικονομολόγων εξηγεί γιατί.

Greece Seeks Debt Clarity as Creditors Resist Concessions

by Alessandro Speciale  and Viktoria Dendrinou
31 Μαΐου 2017, 6:27 μ.μ. EEST 1 Ιουνίου 2017, 1:12 μ.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

Greece may not be offered a substantially improved debt-relief package when euro-area finance ministers discuss its bailout in Luxembourg next month, officials directly involved in the negotiations said.

Euro-zone creditors are unlikely to commit to further details of measures beyond the extension of maturities in rescue loans that they discussed last week, the officials said, asking not to be named because the ongoing talks are private. Such a deal on its own might still not be enough to convince the European Central Bank to start buying Greek bonds, they said.

Ending Greece’s Perpetual Debt Crisis

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
JUNE 1, 2017

The New York Times

For nearly a decade, Greece has struggled under suffocating debt, which now totals more than 300 billion euros ($338 billion), or nearly double its annual economic output. Waves of austerity measures to satisfy creditors have inflicted great suffering: More than a quarter of Greeks are unemployed, and vital services, like health care and transportation, are running as bare-bones operations. The economy is in recession, and there is virtually no way Greece can dig itself out of such a deep hole.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Greece Seeks to Lure U.K.-Based Shipowners, Brokers on Brexit

by Paul Tugwell  and Sotiris Nikas
31 Μαΐου 2017, 2:05 π.μ. EEST
Bloomberg

The Greek government wants to persuade shipowners and shipping-insurance companies based in London to move their European Union headquarters to Greece as the U.K. prepares to exit the bloc.

“We’re in contact with five large ship-insurance brokers who are considering various EU member countries for the transfer of their headquarters,” Shipping Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis said in an interview in Piraeus, Greece’s biggest port. Kouroumblis declined to name the firms as the talks are private. “We’ll meet by the latest in June to discuss the terms they’d like in order to choose Greece,” he said.

Greece denies report it may opt out of receiving more bailout money

Tue May 30, 2017 | 10:34am EDT

Reuters

By Renee Maltezou | ATHENS
Greece on Tuesday denied a German newspaper report it could refuse receipt of bailout loans needed to make a July debt repayment if its lenders fail to offer clear debt relief terms, despite it having passed more reforms.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Greek Creditors, IMF Seek to Bridge Split Over Debt Relief

by Viktoria Dendrinou  and Rainer Buergin
21 Μαΐου 2017, 4:11 μ.μ. EEST 22 Μαΐου 2017, 7:16 μ.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

Euro-area finance ministers gathered in Brussels on Monday, seeking a compromise with the International Monetary Fund on debt relief for Greece that could signal the final act in the seven-year-old drama for the continent’s most indebted state.

The IMF is reluctant to participate in a bailout unless the euro area ensures the country’s 315 billion-euro ($355 billion) debt load is sustainable. Some nations like Germany that are resisting a change to Greece’s debt profile won’t release any new funds until the Washington-based fund joins the program. Athens needs the new aid installment before it has to repay about 7 billion euros to lenders in July.

Constantine Mitsotakis, Who Forged Greek-EU Ties, Dies at 98

by Eleni Chrepa
29 Μαΐου 2017, 3:03 π.μ. EEST 29 Μαΐου 2017, 9:38 π.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

Constantine Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister who strengthened ties with the European Union and attempted unpopular cuts to state spending in the 1990s, has died. He was 98.

He died in the early hours of Monday morning, according to a statement from his family.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

White House considers naming Reince Priebus ambassador to Greece: Report

by Melissa Quinn | May 27, 2017, 4:30 PM

Washington Examiner

As President Trump and his advisers consider making changes in the White House amid the flurry of reports involving Trump's campaign associates and Russia, one such change could involve making Chief of Staff Reince Priebus the ambassador to Greece, according to a report.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Scientists just published an entire study refuting Scott Pruitt on climate change


By Chris Mooney May 24 at 1:46 PM

The Washington Post

In a sign of growing tensions between scientists and the Trump administration, researchers published a scientific paper Wednesday that was conceived and written as an explicit refutation to an assertion by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt about climate change.
The study, in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, sets up a direct test of a claim by Pruitt, made in written Senate comments following his confirmation hearing, that “over the past two decades satellite data indicates there has been a leveling off of warming.”

Turkey’s leader confronted by France, Germany at NATO summit


The Washington Post

By Raf Casert | AP May 25 at 2:22 PM
BRUSSELS — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was confronted by key allies France and Germany with diplomatic complaints despite him traveling to Brussels to celebrate the unity of the NATO alliance.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both raised the issue of nationals from their countries currently held in custody in Turkey. It was the latest example of steadily decreasing relations between Erdogan and several of his European allies in the wake of last year’s coup attempt.

Ex-Premier of Greece Is Hurt When Bomb Explodes in His Car

By NIKI KITSANTONISMAY 25, 2017

The New York Times

ATHENS — A bomb exploded on Thursday in a car carrying Lucas Papademos, a former prime minister of Greece, through central Athens, the police said. Mr. Papademos, 69, was injured in the explosion, along with the driver and another person in the car.

A government spokesman, Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, said Thursday evening that the three were in “stable condition, are conscious and are undergoing all the necessary medical tests.”

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Debt relief or a fourth financial assistance programme for Greece?

The Eurogroup faces a difficult choice on Greece — implementing a debt reduction plan drastic enough to make a return to market borrowing possible, or agreeing to a fourth financial assistance programme and continuing to fund Greece at the preferential lending rate.
BY: ZSOLT DARVAS DATE: MAY 22, 2017

Bruegel

No Greek debt relief needed if primary surplus above 3 percent/GDP for 20 years: paper

Wed May 24, 2017 | 9:24am EDT

Reuters

By Gernot Heller | BERLIN
Greece will not need any debt relief from euro zone governments if it keeps its primary surplus above 3 percent of GDP for 20 years, a confidential paper prepared by the euro zone bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), showed.

The paper, obtained by Reuters, was prepared for euro zone finance ministers and International Monetary Fund talks last Monday, which ended without an agreement due to diverging IMF and euro zone assumptions on future Greek growth and surpluses.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

BlueBay Turns Short Pound as 'All Roads' Point to Hard Brexit

by Anooja Debnath
24 May 2017, 7:00 π.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

Sterling could drop to $1.20 toward end of this year: Dowding

Bundesbank’s Dombret says Brexit to be hard or very hard
The pound is heading lower whatever the outcome of the U.K.’s elections, according to BlueBay Asset Management.

New deadline for Greece set after another stalemate

By Pan Pylas | AP May 23 at 8:26 AM

The Washington Post

BRUSSELS — Hopes for a breakthrough in negotiations for cash-strapped Greece were dashed again and another deadline was set.

Greece once again failed to get approval from its European creditors to receive the next batch of bailout loans that it needs to meet a debt repayment hump this summer. It also failed to secure an agreement on the sort of debt relief measures it can expect to get when its current bailout program ends next year.

Greece Has the Resources to Heal Itself

But it will have to curb tax evasion or remain an eternal ward of the euro zone.
By Leonid Bershidsky

Bloomberg

23 May 2017

The euro area's finance ministers again failed to come to an agreement on debt relief for Greece. No surprise there. Hammering out the details would force them to accept an uncomfortable reality: Greece won't be ready to tap private debt markets for years to come. In the meantime, if it wants to get off life support, it will have to find a way to cut tax evasion.

Lone wolf or complex plot? Analysing the Manchester bombing


The use of an improvised bomb may suggest a more elaborate plan than other recent attacks


Economist

Britain
May 23rd 2017

DETAILS of the Manchester Arena bombing are slowly emerging. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. The police have confirmed that the murderous act last night was carried out by a single suicide-bomber who detonated an improvised explosive device packed with shrapnel in a crowded foyer. He has been named as Salman Abedi, reportedly a Manchester-born 22-year-old with family of Libyan origin. Separately, a 23-year-old man has been arrested in a Manchester suburb in connection with the crime. Wrenching photos of the first young victims and missing concert-goers have been posted online.

What an Attack at an Ariana Grande Show Means for Teen Girls

By NATALIE SHUTLERMAY 23, 2017

The New York Times

The pink balloons, floating above the maelstrom of panicked concertgoers, are what struck me first. Images of innocence, bumping along above hordes of shrieking children, many of whom refused to release their balloons even as they fled the arena.

Do you remember your first pop concert? That first time you watched a female hero belt it out onstage without apologies? I was in eighth grade when my dad agreed to drive me and my best friend to see Garbage, a Scottish pop band led by the coolest woman of all time, Shirley Manson. Her anger, confidence and sexuality stood in for stirrings of teenage passion that I had no way to express. I was awkward and insecure — weren’t we all? — but when I stood in the presence of a woman who stared down the system with a growl in her voice, I forgot about how weird it felt to be 13.

British prime minister raises nation’s threat level, saying another attack ‘may be imminent’


The Washington Post

By Griff Witte, Karla Adam and Souad Mekhennet May 23 at 5:32 PM
MANCHESTER, England — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday night raised the nation’s threat level and deployed the military to guard concerts, sports matches and other public events, saying another attack “may be imminent” following a bombing Monday night that left 22 people dead.

The announcement, which takes Britain’s alert level from “severe” to its highest rating, “critical,” clears the way for thousands of British troops to take to the streets and replace police officers in guarding key sites.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Did Donald Trump brief the Russians?



Another scandal in the Oval Office—and it’s a big one


The Economist

Democracy in America
May 16th 2017by J.A. | WASHINGTON, DC

DONALD TRUMP‘S decision to sack James Comey as FBI director on May 9th seemed to many like a defining moment in his chaotic early stab at governing. Even some Republicans wondered whether it could spell the beginning of an early end to Mr Trump’s crisis-ridden presidency. But already that looks like last week’s story—following claims, first published by the Washington Post on May 15th, that Mr Trump divulged highly classified information to Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador to Washington, DC, in the Oval Office.

German foreign minister Gabriel demanded debt relief for Greece


Deutsche Welle
22-05-2017

Shortly before an Euro Group meeting, German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel demanded debt relief for Greece. Indirectly, Gabriel is standing up against fellow German cabinet minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

See video of Mr Gabriel's speech here:http://www.dw.com/en/german-foreign-minister-gabriel-demanded-debt-relief-for-greece/av-38930200

Greek Creditors Seek to Break Impasse on Stalled Bailout Review

by Viktoria Dendrinou
21 May 2017, 4:11 μ.μ. EEST
Euro-area finance ministers gather in Brussels on Monday to try to clinch a deal on easing Greece’s debt burden, which would resolve a stalled review of the country’s bailout and pave the way for a new set of rescue loans.

While Greece and its bailout supervisors have agreed on economic overhauls, the completion of the country’s review has been held back by disagreements between key creditors over how much debt relief is needed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Greece cuts 2017 growth forecast

Sat May 13, 2017 | 5:24pm EDT

Reuters

Greece cut its 2017 growth forecast to 1.8 percent from 2.7 percent, according to a mid-term budget plan unveiled late on Saturday, driven by uncertainty caused by delays in concluding the latest review of bailout reforms.

Greece and its foreign creditors reached a deal on reforms in early May after six months of tense negotiations but the wrangling hurt economic activity. The Greek central bank governor had warned the delays could hobble economic recovery.

China's Xi offers indebted Greece strong support

Sat May 13, 2017 | 12:50am EDT
Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping offered the prime minister of deeply indebted Greece strong support on Saturday, saying the two countries should expand cooperation in infrastructure, energy and telecommunications.

Xi told Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that Greece was an important part in China's new Silk Road strategy.

"At present, China and Greece's traditional friendship and cooperation continues to glow with new dynamism," China's Foreign Ministry cited Xi as saying.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Συνέντευξη του Ιβάν Σαββίδη στο Πρώτο Θέμα 02-05-2017









   

Ιβάν Σαββίδης: Ο Τσίπρας στη Βουλή μου θύμισε τον Πούτιν
Δημήτρης Μαρκόπουλος02/05/2017

Με  πρωτοφανή σφοδρότητα, ασυνήθιστη για επιχειρηματία, μιλάει σήμερα στο protothema.gr ο κ. Ιβάν Σαββίδης, πρόσωπο των ημερών μετά τη σύγκρουση κυβέρνησης και αντιπολίτευσης για την τροπολογία που αφορούσε στη διαγραφή προστίμου 38 εκατ. ευρώ από λαθρεμπόριο της ΣΕΚΑΠ που σήμερα ανήκει στον ομογενή επιχειρηματία.

Ο κ. Σαββίδης με μια συνέντευξη 8.500 χιλιάδων λέξεων που διήρκεσε τρεισήμισι ώρες στον αρχισυντάκτη του ΠΡΩΤΟΥ ΘΕΜΑΤΟΣ Δημήτρη Μαρκόπουλο:

-Τάσσεται 100%  στο πλευρό του Αλέξη Τσίπρα συμβουλεύοντας τους Έλληνες, «Να κρατηθείτε από τον Τσίπρα. Είναι προϋπόθεση επιτυχίας του μέλλοντος».

-Τον παραλληλίζει με τον  Ρώσο Πρόεδρο Βλαντιμίρ Πούτιν, λέγοντας πως ακούγοντας τον Τσίπρα την Παρασκευή, ήταν έτοιμος να τον χειροκροτήσει και πως αυτός, ένα τέτοιο πρόεδρο θέλει.

- Επιτίθεται ανοικτά κατά του αρχηγού της αξιωματικής αντιπολίτευσης Κυριάκου Μητσοτάκη, υποστηρίζοντας πως με τη στάση του διώχνει τους επενδυτές  και... προβλέπει πως δεν θα γίνει ποτέ πρωθυπουργός!

-Διαχωρίζει τη θέση του από τον πρώην πρωθυπουργό Κώστα Καραμανλή λέγοντας πως τον θεωρεί φίλο του, ενώ  αφήνει πολλές αιχμές κατά του Αντώνη Σαμαρά  για τον τρόπο που του επέβαλλε την αγορά της ΣΕΚΑΠ λέγοντας χαρακτηριστικά  πως μου μεταβίβασε τον δικό του πονοκέφαλο.

-Δηλώνει  πως έτσι ή αλλιώς θα αποκτήσει  σύντομα ένα από τα κεντρικά τηλεοπτικά κανάλια της χώρας και δηλώνει ενδιαφέρον τόσο για τον Πήγασο όσο και για τον ΔΟΛ που βρίσκονται σε διαδικασία εύρεσης στρατηγικού επενδυτή.

-Και τέλος όταν ερωτάται αν η επόμενη συνέντευξη του θα είναι στα Ελληνικά τονίζει πως όταν θα δώσει συνέντευξη στα Ελληνικά τότε αυτό θα σημάνει και την έναρξη της πολιτικής του καριέρας στην Ελλάδα.

Monday, May 8, 2017

PM Tsipras says Greece has done its bit, now wants debt relief

Thu May 4, 2017 | 4:46pm EDT

Reuters

By Renee Maltezou | ATHENS
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called on Greece's international lenders on Thursday to reach an agreement on easing its debt burden by May 22, when euro zone finance ministers meet in Brussels to discuss the bailout progress.

Athens and its creditors reached a long-awaited deal this week on a series of bailout reforms Greece needs to unlock loans from its 86-billion euro rescue package, the country's third since in 2010.

Macron and the Revival of Europe


Roger Cohen MAY 7, 2017

The New York Times

It’s not just that Emmanuel Macron won and will become, at the age of 39, France’s youngest president. It’s not merely that he defeated, in Marine Le Pen, the forces of xenophobic nationalism exploited by President Donald Trump. It’s that he won with a bold stand for the much-maligned European Union, and so reaffirmed the European idea and Europe’s place in a world that needs its strength and values.

With Le Pen defeat, Europe’s far-right surge stalls



The Washington Post

By Michael Birnbaum and Anthony Faiola May 7 at 10:08 PM
BRUSSELS — The anti-E.U. French leader Marine Le Pen’s larger-than-expected defeat Sunday in her nation’s presidential election was a crushing reality check for the far-right forces who seek to overthrow Europe: Despite the victories for Brexit and Donald Trump, they are likely to be shut out of power for years.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Data is giving rise to a new economy

Fuel of the future

How is it shaping up?

The Economist

 May 6th 2017
AN OIL refinery is an industrial cathedral, a place of power, drama and dark recesses: ornate cracking towers its gothic pinnacles, flaring gas its stained glass, the stench of hydrocarbons its heady incense. Data centres, in contrast, offer a less obvious spectacle: windowless grey buildings that boast no height or ornament, they seem to stretch to infinity.

Yet the two have much in common. For one thing, both are stuffed with pipes. In refineries these collect petrol, propane and other components of crude oil, which have been separated by heat. In big data centres they transport air to cool tens of thousands of computers which extract value—patterns, predictions and other insights—from raw digital information.

The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data



The data economy demands a new approach to antitrust rules

Economist

A NEW commodity spawns a lucrative, fast-growing industry, prompting antitrust regulators to step in to restrain those who control its flow. A century ago, the resource in question was oil. Now similar concerns are being raised by the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era. These titans—Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft—look unstoppable. They are the five most valuable listed firms in the world. Their profits are surging: they collectively racked up over $25bn in net profit in the first quarter of 2017. Amazon captures half of all dollars spent online in America. Google and Facebook accounted for almost all the revenue growth in digital advertising in America last year.

The extraordinary ways in which China humiliates Muslims


Bans on “abnormal” beards and even the name “Muhammad”

Economist

CHINESE officials describe the far western province of Xinjiang as a “core area” in the vast swathe of territory covered by the country’s grandiose “Belt and Road Initiative” to boost economic ties with Central Asia and regions beyond. They hope that wealth generated by the scheme will help to make Xinjiang more stable—for years it has been plagued by separatist violence which China says is being fed by global jihadism. But the authorities are not waiting. In recent months they have intensified their efforts to stifle the Islamic identity of Xinjiang’s ethnic Uighurs, fearful that any public display of their religious belief could morph into militancy.

PM Tsipras says Greece has done its bit, now wants debt relief

 Thu May 4, 2017 | 4:46pm EDT

Reuters

By Renee Maltezou | ATHENS
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called on Greece's international lenders on Thursday to reach an agreement on easing its debt burden by May 22, when euro zone finance ministers meet in Brussels to discuss the bailout progress.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Pledging more austerity, Greece cuts deal with lenders

Tue May 2, 2017 | 3:47am EDT

Reuters

By Renee Maltezou | ATHENS
Promising to cut pensions and give taxpayers fewer breaks, Greece has paved the way for the disbursement of further rescue funds from international lenders and possibly opened the door to reworking its massive debt.

Officials from both sides reached a deal early on Tuesday on a package of bailout-mandated reforms, ending six months of staff-level haggling. Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos announced it with a term associated with papal elections.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I.M.F. Torn Over Whether to Bail Out Greece Once Again

By LANDON THOMAS Jr.APRIL 21, 2017

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — As the International Monetary Fund approaches the seventh anniversary of the contentious Greek bailout, it is torn over whether to commit new loans to a nearly bankrupt Greece.

For more than a year, I.M.F. officials have been saying — loudly — that they cannot participate in a new rescue package for Greece unless Europe agrees to ease Greece’s onerous debt burden.

Greece will legislate reforms but implementation hinges on debt relief: PM

Tue Apr 25, 2017 | 1:08pm EDT

Reuters

Greece will legislate additional reforms sought by its lenders but implementing them in 2019 and 2020 is contingent on securing further debt relief, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Turkey strikes Kurds in Iraq, Syria, drawing condemnation

The Washington Post

By Suzan Fraser | AP April 25 at 2:26 PM
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish warplanes struck suspected Kurdish rebel positions in Iraq and Syria on Tuesday, drawing condemnation from Baghdad and criticism from the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, which is allied with Kurdish factions in both countries.

Syrian activists said the attack killed at least 18 members of the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, which is a close U.S. ally against IS but is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group because of its ties to Turkey’s Kurdish rebels.

Deutsche Invest highest bidder for Greece's Thessaloniki Port

 Mon Apr 24, 2017 | 8:49pm IST


Reuters

German private equity firm Deutsche Invest Equity Partners was the highest bidder for a majority stake in Greece's Thessalonki Port with 231.9 million euros, the country's privatisation agency HRADF said on Monday.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Brexit Bulletin: What Macron Means for May


Macron has pledged to be tough on Britain.
by Simon Kennedy
24 Απριλίου 2017, 9:30 π.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

Theresa May’s first electoral test came on Sunday in France.

Even as she heads for a general election at home, the U.K. prime minister will have been looking across the English Channel at the weekend in the knowledge that whoever wins the French presidency will have a key influence on Brexit negotiations.

Emmanuel Macron, the favorite to win next month’s run-off after the first round of votes, pledged on the campaign trail to be “pretty tough” on the British “because we have to preserve the rest of the European Union.” He also promised to coax “banks, talent, researchers, academics” to relocate to France.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Greece Hits a Bailout Target. The IMF Is Not Convinced

by Sotiris Nikas
20 Απριλίου 2017, 10:19 π.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

Greece achieved a 2016 primary surplus almost seven times higher than its bailout target, but the International Monetary Fund is skeptical the country can sustain that performance.

The Hellenic Statistical Authority is set on Friday to unveil data on last year’s primary surplus, which Eurostat is expected to validate on Monday. The surplus will be close to 4 percent of gross domestic product, according to a finance ministry official who asked not to be identified in line with policy. The bailout target was for a primary surplus of 0.5 percent of GDP.

Greece attains primary surplus of 3.9 pct of GDP in 2016- stats service

Fri Apr 21, 2017 | 5:24am EDT

Reuters

Greece improved its public finances last year, achieving a general government surplus of 0.7 percent of gross domestic product compared to a 5.9 percent of GDP deficit in 2015, the country's statistics agency ELSTAT said on Friday.

Venezuela opposition plans silent procession, road sit-ins


The Washington Post

By Joshua Goodman | AP April 21 at 12:04 AM
CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s energized opposition is planning sit-ins on roads, silent marches in white to commemorate the dead and other nontraditional protests as it tries to build on the momentum of recent street demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of the South American country again Thursday to demand elections and denounce what they consider an essentially dictatorial government. They were met by curtains of tear gas and rubber bullets as they tried to march to downtown Caracas.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

At Least 3 Die in Venezuela in Violent Protests Across the Country


By NICHOLAS CASEY and PATRICIA TORRESAPRIL 19, 2017

The New York Times

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — Protesters demanding elections and a return to democratic rule jammed the streets of Caracas and other Venezuelan cities on Wednesday. National Guard troops and government-aligned militias beat crowds back with tear gas, rubber bullets and other weapons, and at least three people were killed, according to human rights groups and news reports.

Monday, April 10, 2017

EU should consider billion-euro investment boost for Greece - Austrian finmin

 Mon Apr 10, 2017 | 3:46am EDT

Reuters

The European Union should consider a one-billion-euro ($1.1-billion) special investment programme to spur growth in debt-ridden Greece, Austria's finance minister told daily Der Standard in an interview published on Monday.

Hans Joerg Schelling said Greece would only be able to get back on track and regain access to capital markets if it was able to generate sustainable growth in the mid- and long-term. It was important to help the country participate in a pick-up in growth in the euro zone, he added.

Greek PM says debt relief is a condition for more austerity

Sun Apr 9, 2017 | 6:53am EDT

Reuters

By Renee Maltezou and George Georgiopoulos | ATHENS
Greece will implement additional austerity measures agreed with its official creditors on condition of further debt relief that will enable the country to be included in the ECB's bond buying scheme, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Sunday.

Athens struck a deal with its international creditors at Friday's meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Malta on key elements of a reform package that could unlock bailout funds for the country to help it repay maturing debt in July.

"Medium-term debt relief measures, able to include us in (the ECB's) quantitative easing, and a fiscal path that will not be unattainable, is the condition for us to implement the measures we decided," Tsipras told his leftist Syriza party's central committee.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

EU, Greece seek bailout deal by Friday

 Wed Apr 5, 2017 | 8:57am EDT

Reuters

By Renee Maltezou and Jan Strupczewski | ATHENS/BRUSSELS
Greece and its international lenders remained at odds in talks to release fresh bailout loans to Athens on Wednesday as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said a deal was needed this week and accused creditors of 'playing games' and causing delays.

Talks between Greece, the European Union and International Monetary Fund have stuttered for months due to differences over Greece's fiscal progress, labor and energy market reforms, rekindling worries of a new crisis in Europe.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Abu Dhabi’s Plowing Ahead With These 10 Mega Projects During an Oil Slump


Abu Dhabi is building $37 billion worth of projects, including a Louvre and a new airport terminal, despite the oil slump.
Bloomberg

by Zainab Fattah
2 Απριλίου 2017, 9:12 π.μ. EEST
Abu Dhabi, which sits on about 6 percent of the world’s oil reserves, has pushed ahead with a construction program that began before crude prices slumped in 2014. From Louvre Abu Dhabi, a new airport terminal and a nuclear power plant, here are the 10 biggest projects underway in the sheikdom. With a combined value of 134 billion dirhams ($37 billion), they're expected to be completed by 2020, according to a list provided by the government this month in response to questions from Bloomberg.


At least 10 dead as blast hits St. Petersburg metro station in Russia, reports say


By David Filipov April 3 at 8:23 AM

The Washinhton Post

MOSCOW — A large explosion tore apart a train at a central St. Petersburg metro station Monday, killing at least 10 people, Russia’s state news agency reported.

The Tass news agency said “preliminary information” placed the death toll as at least 10. The report could not be independently verified, but images on social media indicated a significant number of injuries.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

In historic break, Britain plunges into Brexit with hard negotiations still to come



The Washington Post

By Griff Witte and Michael Birnbaum March 29 at 4:17 PM
LONDON — The end came not with a bang but a letter.

Over six crisp and unsentimental pages, Britain said goodbye to the European Union on Wednesday, spelling out its hopes, ­wishes, threats and demands for divorce talks that will strain ­alliances, roil ­economies and consume attention across the continent over the next two years.

Coming a little over nine months after British voters stunned the world by choosing to withdraw from the E.U., the hand-delivery of the letter in Brussels officially triggered Article 50, the bloc’s never-before-used escape hatch.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

'Grexit' is back

Business Insider UK
Jim Edwards, Business Insider UK
Mar. 23, 2017, 12:16 PM

Greece's banks lost about €4 billion in bank deposits since the turn of the year as Greeks fear a return of capital controls that ban them from making cash withdrawals over set limits. Separately, the country looks as if it is tipping back into recession — GDP shrank by 1.2% in Q4 2016.

Does this story sound familiar?

It should. A collapsing economy followed by a run on the banks were the signal events of the Greek debt crisis that began in 2009 and never really ended.

So now people are asking — again — whether Greece might be forced out of the eurozone:

UPDATE 1-Lenders do not confirm preliminary deal on Greek bailout


Reuters

Wed Mar 29, 2017 | 7:03am EDT

Greece's lenders on Wednesday could not confirm what sources said was a preliminary deal on open issues of the country's bailout and said possible debt relief measures will be decided only at the end of the financial aid programme, contrary to Athens' will.

Negotiations between Greece, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund - which has yet to decide if it will participate in Greece's current bailout - have dragged on for months, rekindling fears of a new financial crisis in the euro zone.

British PM May to fire starting gun on Brexit

Wed Mar 29, 2017 | 7:15am EDT

Reuters


By Guy Faulconbridge and Elizabeth Piper | LONDON
Prime Minister Theresa May will file formal Brexit divorce papers on Wednesday, pitching the United Kingdom into the unknown and triggering years of uncertain negotiations that will test the endurance of the European Union.

Nine months after Britons voted to leave, May will notify EU Council President Donald Tusk in a letter that the UK really is quitting the bloc it joined in 1973.

The prime minister, an initial opponent of Brexit who won the top job in the political turmoil that followed the referendum vote, will then have two years to settle the terms of the divorce before it comes into effect in late March 2019.

Friday, March 24, 2017

London Attack Echoes, Faintly, in a Europe Anxious but Inured

By STEVEN ERLANGER and ALISSA J. RUBINMARCH 23, 2017

The New York Times

LONDON — The terrorist attack in London, with its combination of random deaths and the strong symbolism of Parliament shut down, comes in an important election year in critical European countries, as well as at a moment of high anxiety — about the rise of populism, migration and the integration of Muslims.

With France, Germany and possibly Italy going to the polls, analysts have long wondered whether an act of terrorism could jolt electoral dynamics and boost the broader “Europe in crisis” narrative that has elevated far-right parties across the Continent.

“This will have an echo in France and in Germany,” said Mark Leonard, the director of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “It becomes part of a pattern. It’s another link in the chain.”

A Bad Brexit Deal May Be Better Than No Deal After All

by Simon Kennedy
24 Μαρτίου 2017, 2:01 π.μ. EET 24 Μαρτίου 2017, 11:24 π.μ. EET

Bloomberg

The mantra within the British government as it prepares to hammer out the terms of its break-up with the European Union is that no deal is better than a bad deal.

Walking away with no regime for 230 billion pounds ($287 billion) of annual exports to the bloc and the 3.3 million Europeans in the U.K would be “perfectly OK,” says Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Not “frightening” at all, says Brexit czar David Davis.

Greece to draw up boundaries for huge Athens riviera resort

BUSINESS NEWS | Thu Mar 23, 2017 | 11:01am EDT


Reuters

Greece will soon define the boundaries of a site where investors plan to spend 7.9 billion euros ($8.5 billion) to build one of Europe's biggest coastal resorts, the culture ministry said, in a sign the delayed project may eventually go ahead.

A consortium of Abu Dhabi and Chinese investors (0656.HK), led by Greece's Lamda (LMDr.AT), signed a deal in 2014 for the 99-year lease of a sprawling area at the former Athens airport in Hellenikon and the development of a coastal town.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Greece, creditors stepping up talks as debt deadline looms


The Washington Post

By Associated Press March 20
BRUSSELS — Greece and its international creditors are stepping up talks on issues holding up the release of more loans to keep the country’s debt-wracked economy afloat.

Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said finance ministers from the 19 nations that used the shared euro currency agreed Monday on more talks “intensified in the coming days here in Brussels.”

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lenders and Greece 'wide apart' on bailout review: euro zone official

 Thu Mar 16, 2017 | 12:44pm EDT


Reuters

By Francesco Guarascio and Lefteris Papadimas | BRUSSELS/ATHENS
Greece and its international creditors remain divided over the terms of a review of the country's bailout program, a senior euro zone official said on Thursday, a gap that will prevent Athens from getting fresh financial support.

Police find 8 parcel bombs in Greece headed to EU countries

No one was hurt when the parcels were discovered. Police gave no further details.

The Toronto Star

By The Associated Press
Mon., March 20, 2017

ATHENS, GREECE—Police in Greece have discovered and neutralized eight parcel bombs, addressed to European Union finance officials and businesses in various European countries, at a postal sorting office near Athens.

EU Pressures Greece to Resolve Issues as New Debt Crisis Looms

by Nikos Chrysoloras , Corina Ruhe , and Rainer Buergin
March 20, 2017, 2:00 AM GMT+2 March 20, 2017, 8:29 PM GMT+2
Bloomberg
Further delay would hurt investor, consumer confidence
Eurogroup reiterates calls for Greece to meet loan clauses

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

‘Brexit’ Fuels Feeling in Scotland That Time Is Right for Independence

By KATRIN BENNHOLDMARCH 14, 2017

LONDON — Scotland’s nationalists wasted no time: Just minutes after the country’s leader, Nicola Sturgeon, called on Monday for a new independence referendum, a website went live asking people to show their support on Twitter and donate to the campaign.

By Tuesday morning, 204,345 pounds, or about $249,000 — more than a fifth of the £1 million target — had been raised; pro-independence banners in Scotland’s blue-and-white colors had gone up across the country; and celebrities were offering support, including the actor Alan Cumming, who shared a Twitter post by Ms. Sturgeon, with the comment “It’s showtime!”

It was an early glimpse of the Scottish nationalists’ formidable campaign machine, evidently little diminished since the last referendum, in 2014. Support for independence rose from about 27 percent at the start of that campaign to 45 percent at the final count.

IMF Said to Move Toward Greek Bailout Loan in Merkel Boost

by Rainer Buergin  and Birgit Jennen
10 March 2017, 5:46 μ.μ.

The International Monetary Fund is moving toward rejoining Greece’s bailout, according to people familiar with the discussions, suggesting it will meet a condition set by Germany and other euro-area nations for continued aid.

In a shift that may help break the impasse over its participation, the IMF is ready to offer Greece a smaller loan than the last one provided five years ago, two people said, making it easier for the fund to justify its involvement to its shareholder countries. The amount under discussion is $3 billion to $6 billion, one of the people said, compared with a 29 billion-euro ($31 billion) IMF credit line under Greece’s second bailout in 2012.

Monday, March 13, 2017

How does jailing the statisticians fix Greece’s financial crisis? It doesn’t.

By Anbar Aizenman, Anisha Chinwalla and Benjamin A.T. Graham
 March 13 at 5:00 AM

The Washington Post

The Greek government’s ongoing attempts to imprison Andreas Georgiou will reshape the Greek economy — in ways that may last for decades. Georgiou is a statistician who’s been accused by the government of inflating data on the size of the Greek deficit. He’s awaiting trial — for telling the truth about the Greek economy.

Georgiou has been acquitted in four trials since 2011, most recently in December. Greek politicians are still pushing the case, which is now at the Greek Supreme Court. Georgiou appears to be a convenient scapegoat for Greek politicians trying to avoid blame for their country’s ongoing financial crisis.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Time Has Come To Cut Greece Loose

 06/03/2017 00:48

Dr Ioannis Glinavos
Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Westminster

The beginning of March saw Athens grudgingly welcome back the “Troika” inspectors. After months of haggling over Greece’s progress towards the goals of its bailout programme and following non-stop negotiations since January 2015, we are back where we started, the creditor inspectors are allowed in to investigate. However, something is different this time. Greece’s cash-for-reforms deal is coming apart while at the same time relationships between its creditors are breaking down. We now face a situation where Greece, the IMF and the Eurozone are operating at cross purposes. It is legitimate to ask therefore whether 2017 will be the year when this all stops. Is Greece still worth saving?