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?

North Korea fires four ballistic missiles into sea, angering Japan and South

Mon Mar 6, 2017 | 3:43am EST

Reuters

By Ju-min Park and Kaori Kaneko | SEOUL/TOKYO
North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan's northwest on Monday, angering South Korea and Japan, days after it promised retaliation over U.S.-South Korea military drills it sees as a preparation for war.

South Korea's military said the missiles were unlikely to have been intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), which can reach the United States. The missiles flew on average 1,000 km (620 miles) and reached a height of 260 km (160 miles).

Greece's fiscal targets should be eased to help growth, central bank chief says

Sat Mar 4, 2017 | 9:17am EST

Reuters

Greece's international lenders should lower the country's fiscal targets from 2021 onwards to help boost its growth potential, central bank governor Yannis Stournaras said on Saturday.

Stournaras told an economic forum in Delphi that primary surplus targets - excluding debt servicing costs - should be lowered to 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from 2021 onwards from 3.5 percent that is now envisaged.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Carl Bildt: In defence of globalization


World Economic Forum

I must confess that I am a firm believer in the benefits of globalization. To my mind, the gradual interlinking of regions, countries, and people is the most profoundly positive development of our time.

But a populist has now assumed the United States presidency by campaigning on a platform of stark economic nationalism and protectionism. And in many countries, public discourse is dominated by talk of globalization’s alleged “losers,” and the perceived need for new policies to stem the rise of populist discontent.

When I was born, the world’s population was 2.5 billion. I vividly recall a time in my life when many people feared that starvation would soon run rampant, gaps between the rich and poor would grow ever wider, and everything would eventually come crashing down.

Paul Krugman: The Economic Fallout



 By PAUL KRUGMAN

The New York Times

2016-11-09T00:42:44-05:0012:42 AM ET

It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?

Frankly, I find it hard to care much, even though this is my specialty. The disaster for America and the world has so many aspects that the economic ramifications are way down my list of things to fear.


Still, I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Greece Said to Expect Revised Bailout Proposal for Tuesday Talks


by Sotiris Nikas
28 February 2017, 4:03 π.μ. EET
Bloomberg
Greece’s auditors are pulling together a list of policies the country needs to implement to unlock additional bailout funds as they prepare for the resumption of talks with Athens on Tuesday, two people familiar with the matter said.

Greece has asked European lenders for a draft Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding and the International Monetary Fund for a Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies as it braces for details of creditor demands, the people said, declining to be identified as negotiations between the two sides aren’t public. The government expects an accord in March or early April, but the scale of pending issues raises concerns they may be politically hard to sell at home, they said.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Half of Germans against debt relief for Greece, survey shows

Fri Feb 24, 2017 | 4:05am EST

Reuters

Around half of Germans are against granting debt relief to Greece and around three in 10 want the debt-laden country to quit the euro zone, a survey showed on Friday.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

IMF Signals Greek Debt to Be Dealt With at End of Aid Program


by Birgit Jennen
22 February 2017, 8:41 μ.μ. EET

Bloomberg

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde signaled that Greek debt restructuring can wait and the country should focus on overhauling its economy for the duration of its latest bailout, which expires in 2018.

Brexit Bulletin: What Can By-Elections Tell Us About Brexit?Bre


Labour is facing a stiff challenge in its traditional heartlands.
by David Goodman
23 February 2017, 9:30 π.μ. EET

Bloomberg

Voters in Copeland and Stoke Central take center stage today in by-elections that will have an impact beyond the borders of the two constituencies.

Both districts have traditionally elected Labour MPs but voted for Brexit, putting it firmly on the agenda during the campaigns, alongside more granular local issues. That, coupled with timing of the polls and the positions of the parties involved, mean they matter more than the average by-election, according to Bloomberg’s Robert Hutton.

Greece Teeters Back to the Edge of the European Union


The bailout program has fallen far behind schedule and is on the verge of falling apart.

The Wall Street Journal

"It is inconsistent to attack the government both for not completing the review and for the measures needed to complete it."


By YANNIS PALAIOLOGOS
Feb. 21, 2017 4:07 p.m. ET
20 COMMENTS
Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been in a defiant mood lately. Some say it’s just a ploy, others believe he’s sincere. Either way, he could be pushing his country back to the brink of Grexit.

Speaking to his party’s central committee earlier this month, the prime minister had harsh words for Wolfang Schäuble, speaking of the German finance minister’s “constant aggressiveness” against Greece and his “contemptuous remarks” toward the country.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Save Greece by Saving Its Economy First


By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
FEB. 21, 2017


The New York Times

With the Greek government set to run out of cash by the end of July, the country’s main creditors in Europe continue to demand harsh budget cuts as a condition for crucial loans. But after a decade of failing to save Greece, Germany and other European nations, along with the International Monetary Fund, ought to try a different approach, one that makes reviving the economy a priority.

Greece’s creditors appear willing to provide new loans to pay off debts coming due this year as long as the country commits to achieving a fiscal surplus of 3.5 percent of gross domestic product before interest payments by 2018. The I.M.F., more sensibly, has argued for a surplus of 1.5 percent. It also says that European officials should commit to reducing the Greek government’s debt, which is so huge that it equals about 180 percent of the country’s annual economic output. That debt relief could come in various forms, including giving the country more time to repay or reducing the amount owed.

Eurozone Agrees to Greece Talks in Exchange for Bailout Payments


By JAMES KANTER and NIKI KITSANTONISFEB. 20, 2017

The New York Times

BRUSSELS — Eurozone finance ministers agreed on Monday to begin negotiations in Athens as soon as next week over much-needed overhauls in exchange for bailout payments, with Greece appearing to win a reprieve from the crippling austerity that it has faced for years.

The agreement fell short of an all-encompassing deal, with key questions unresolved over the shape of the changes to Greece’s pensions, as well as its tax and labor rules. But it is a positive sign ahead of a meeting this week between Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, who have taken contrasting positions on debt relief toward Athens.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Greece needs 'far less' money than agreed in third bailout: ESM head

Mon Feb 20, 2017 | 3:20am EST
Reuters

Greece will need less in emergency loans from international lenders than originally agreed in its third bailout program due to a better-than-expected budgetary developments, the head of the euro zone bailout fund was reported on Monday as saying.

Klaus Regling told German newspaper Bild that at the end of Greece's money-for-reforms package in August 2018, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) will "probably have paid out far less than the agreed maximum amount of 86 billion euros" because the Greek budget was developing better than expected.

Schaeuble denies 'Grexit' threat, says Greece on right pathGre

 Sun Feb 19, 2017 | 12:13pm EST

Reuters

By Erik Kirschbaum | BERLIN
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble denied on Sunday that he had said Greece would have to leave the euro zone if it failed to implement economic reforms.

Schaeuble said in an ARD television interview that Greece would not have problems if it implemented agreed reforms, but would if it fails to carry these out.

"I never made any ('Grexit') threats," Schaeuble told ARD's Bericht aus Berlin program just before the network played recent comments in which he said Greece was "not yet over the hill" and the "pressure needed to stay on" Greece or it "couldn't stay in the currency union".

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Swift deal on Greece needed to avert fresh uncertainty: EU's Dombrovskis

Thu Feb 16, 2017 | 4:45am EST

Reuters

There are costs in delaying agreement on Greece's bailout review, the European Commission's vice president responsible for the euro was quoted as saying on Thursday, and a solution needs to be found swiftly.

Inconclusive talks between Greece and its international creditors on economic reforms and debt relief have cast doubt over the future of Greece's 85 billion euro bailout program.

"There is a common understanding that time lost in reaching an agreement will have a cost for everyone," Valdis Dombrovskis told Greek news portal Euro2day.

EU Sends Envoy to Salvage Greece Deal as February Date Looms


by Eleni Chrepa  and Marcus Bensasson
15 February 2017, 2:00 π.μ.

Greece and its creditors are intensifying efforts to complete a stalled review of the nation’s bailout that would unlock much-needed aid before more than 6 billion euros ($6.3 billion) in obligations come due in July.

EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos in Athens Wednesday to try to reconcile differences over what reforms are needed to stabilize the country’s economy. European rescue monitors had wanted a deal reached by Feb. 20 when euro-area finance ministers gather in Brussels.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Germany wants Greece in euro zone, IMF says no special deals


BUSINESS NEWS | Mon Feb 13, 2017 | 5:20pm EST


By Jan Strupczewski and Joseph Nasr | BRUSSELS/BERLIN
Germany on Monday voiced support for Greece to stay in the euro zone and the European Commission dispatched a senior official to Athens to persuade it to take on further reforms to salvage its bailout accord.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, meanwhile, remained firm that as a lender the IMF could not cut any special deals for the crisis-hit country, which has received three bailouts since 2010.

The moves came as the European Commission forecast a large jump in economic growth for Greece of 2.7 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively, this year and next.

Brexit Bulletin: Can Britain Split the Difference?

The U.K. may need to drive a wedge between EU states in Brexit talks. So far the Continent is singing with one voice.
by Simon Kennedy
14 February 2017, 9:30 π.μ. EET

It now looks like Theresa May was a little naive.

Back in October, the U.K. prime minister said she hoped her commitment to start the Brexit process by the end of March would prove enough for the European Union to engage in some “preparatory work” beforehand.

“This is important,” she told the BBC. “It’s not just important for the U.K.; it’s important for Europe as a whole.”

Instead, European officials held their line that there would be “no negotiation without notification” that Britain was definitely leaving.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

As Ties With U.S. Cool, Europeans Look to Forge Other Alliances

By GARDINER HARRISFEB. 10, 2017

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The weather, and her reception here, were far colder than when she visited last summer during the Obama administration, but Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign minister, made it clear that she can handle a chill in the air.

“I think we are entering into a different phase of our relationship,” Ms. Mogherini said Friday in a 30-minute interview, adding, “A more transactional approach means Europeans will be more transactional, and we will base our approach on our interests.”

But Ms. Mogherini said she had received important reassurances from top administration officials on the Iran nuclear deal and on Russian sanctions.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The IMF Staff Has It Right on Greece


FEB 8, 2017 2:00 AM EST
By Mohamed A. El-Erian
Bloomberg

When the International Monetary Fund’s board met Monday to discuss Greece, it was heartening to read that “most Executive Directors” agreed with the staff’s view that the country’s debt, at 179 percent of gross domestic product at the end of 2015, was “unsustainable.” Yet “some directors had different views on the fiscal path and debt sustainability.” This division within the board also applied to what Greece still needs to do with its budget. With the medium-term primary fiscal surplus heading to 1.5 percent of GDP, “most Directors agreed that Greece does not require further fiscal consolidation at this time.” But, again, “some Directors favored a surplus of 3.5 of GDP by 2018.”

Brexit Bulletin: Victory, But at What Price?

Theresa May is now a technicality away from starting Brexit.
by Simon Kennedy  and Tim Ross
9 February 2017, 9:30 π.μ. EET

Theresa May was celebrating on Wednesday night as the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly to approve starting the Brexit process.

Not only that, but the government managed to avoid any amendment to its 137-word bill, leaving it on track to invoke Article 50 by the end of March. The unelected House of Lords will now debate the legislation, but doesn’t have the authority to derail it.

Brexit Secretary David Davis hailed the 494-122 vote as “historic” and said it was time for the county “to unite to make a success of the important task at hand.” Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage was exultant, as was one-time Tory leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Greece: Priorities for a Return to Sustainable Growth

(From the IMF site)
February 7, 2017

Greece should deepen and accelerate reforms, which, together with further debt relief, are needed to allow the economy to return to a sustainable growth path, the IMF said in its latest annual assessment of the Greek economy.

The IMF’s Article IV report notes that the country has made progress in reining in its fiscal and external deficits, although this has taken a heavy toll on society. The report identifies a path to sustainable growth and prosperity that requires a two-pronged approach: ambitious policies on the part of the Greek authorities and significant debt relief on the part of Greece’s European partners.

The Q&A below highlights some of the key issues about the country’s progress and its reform priorities for the period ahead.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Το διαμέρισμα της συζύγου του κ Μητσοτάκη στο Παρίσι.



Το άρθρο που ανακίνησε το θέμα είναι αυτό:
http://www.documentonews.gr/article/kyriakos-mareba-se-bolikh-diastash

Αφού το διάβασα (όχι όλο) κατέληξα στις παρακάτω παρατηρήσεις:
Στο κείμενο δίνει τιμή συμβολαίου 1.470.000 Ευρώ τα οποία σύμφωνα πάντα με το κείμενο πληρώθηκαν με 900.000 Ευρώ δάνειο (3.000 ευρώ ανά μήνα δόση) και με 470.000 μετρητά. Το άθροισμα του ποσού του δανείου και του ποσού των μετρητών που καταβλήθηκαν για την αγορά του συγκεκριμένου διαμερίσματος δεν είναι ίσο με το ποσό που αναγράφεται ως τιμή αγοράς στο συμβόλαιο. Συγκεκριμένα το ποσό της τιμής του συμβολαίου είναι κατά 100.000 Ευρώ μεγαλύτερο από το άθροισμα του δανείου (900.000 Ευρώ) και των μετρητών (470.000 Ευρώ). 
Επίσης λέει ότι η τιμή στο έβδομο διαμέρισμα του Παρισιού (εκεί όπου είναι το διαμέρισμα) κυμαίνονται στις 20.000-28.000 Ευρώ το τετραγωνικό, και τέλος ότι η επιφάνεια του διαμερίσματος είναι 92 τ.μ. Αν όμως διαιρέσουμε την αξία του συμβολαίου με την μέγιστη τιμή της αξίας του τ.μ. στο έβδομο διαμέρισμα (28.000 Ευρώ), όπως την δίνουν οι συγγραφείς του άρθρου, έχουμε 52,5 τ.μ. Δηλαδή, με την τιμή που δίνει το άρθρο για το τετραγωνικό μέτρο στο συγκεκριμένο διαμέρισμα του Παρισιού, μπορούσε να αγοράσει διαμέρισμα με περίπου τα μισά τ.μ. Επειδή το διαμέρισμα είναι 92 τ.μ. και η αξία του συμβολαίου είναι 1.470.000 Ευρώ συμπεραίνουμε ότι ότι το άρθρο δίνει, κατά προσέγγιση, διπλάσια αντικειμενική αξία για το συγκεκριμένο διαμέρισμα του Παρισιού, όπως αυτό προκύπτει από τα δεδομένα του άρθρου. Η ίδια διαδικασία με την ελάχιστη τιμή για το τ.μ. στο έβδομο διαμέρισμα του Παρισιού δίνει 73,5 τ.μ. για το διαμέρισμα. Με βάση την τιμή του συμβολαίου και τα 92 τ.μ. του διαμερίσματος η τιμή ανά τ.μ. είναι 15.978 Ευρώ ανά τ.μ. Επειδή τα δύο τελευταία στοιχεία (αξία διαμερίσματος σύμφωνα με το συμβόλαιο και επιφάνεια του διαμερίσματος) ήταν γνωστά στους συγγραφείς του άρθρου ήταν γνωστή και η πραγματική τιμή του τ.μ. του διαμερίσματος της κ. Μητσοτάκη. Η τιμή αυτή όμως δεν αναγράφεται στο άρθρο. Αντί αυτής, της πραγματικής τιμής του τ.μ. του διαμερίσματος, αναγράφονται τιμές (20.000 και 28.000) που είναι σημαντικά υψηλότερες της πραγματικής.

Από το ίδιο κείμενο:
Η τιμή των ακινήτων με βάση το συμβόλαιο είναι 1.470.000 ευρώ. Το 95% του ακινήτου ανήκει στην ίδια και το 5% στον Γιώργο Παπαζήση. Εκτός από το τίμημα αγοράς, πληρώνει ακόμη 80.000 ευρώ σε μεσιτικό γραφείο και 74.823 ευρώ σε φόρους και συμβολαιογραφικά έξοδα. Δηλαδή η Μαρέβα Μητσοτάκη πληρώνει περίπου 2 εκατομμύρια για να αποκτήσει το σπίτι του Βολταίρου.
Εάν προσθέσουμε το τίμημα αγοράς (1.470.000 Ευρώ), την δαπάνη για το μεσιτικό γραφείο (80.000 Ευρώ) και την δαπάνη για τους φόρους το σύνολο είναι 1.624.823 Ευρώ που απέχει μακράν των “περίπου” 2 εκατομμυρίων που ισχυρίζεται το άρθρο.

Για τους λοιπούς ισχυρισμούς του άρθρου και των συγγραφέων περί υποχρέωσης υποβολής δήλωσης πόθεν έσχες από την σύζυγο σε περίπτωση διάστασης και όχι διαζυγίου, και τα όρια του νόμου που επικαλούνται, μπορώ να υποθέσω ότι είναι το ίδιο πρόχειρα και αυθαίρετα με τα οικονομικά στοιχεία για την αγορά του διαμερίσματος. Ο ίδιος δεν είμαι νομικός για να τα ελέγξω ούτε και έχω τα στοιχεία στην κατοχή μου που θα μου επέτρεπαν κάτι τέτοιο ακόμη και αν ήμουν νομικός.




IMF says Greece should meet lower fiscal surplus target

 Mon Feb 6, 2017 | 9:36pm EST

Reuters

By David Lawder | WASHINGTON
The International Monetary Fund said on Monday that Greece's economy would only grow by just under 1.0 percent in the long run given the constraints of its bailout program, but should meet the fiscal surplus target preferred by most IMF directors.

In its annual review of Greece's economic policies, the IMF said most of its board directors favor a Greek fiscal surplus target of 1.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2018, while some directors favor the higher 3.5 percent target sought by Greece's European lender group.

Trump: militant attacks 'all over Europe,' some not reported

Mon Feb 6, 2017 | 9:06pm EST

Reuters

By Steve Holland | TAMPA, FLA.
President Donald Trump on Monday accused the news media of ignoring attacks by Islamist militants in Europe.

Trump, who has made defeating Islamic State a core goal of his presidency, did not specify which attacks were going unreported, which news media organizations were ignoring them, or offer any details to support his claims.

"All over Europe, it's happening. It's gotten to a point where it's not even being reported," he told a group of about 300 U.S. troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

Syria has secretly executed thousands of political prisoners: rights group


The Washington Post

By Liz Sly February 6 at 8:18 PM
BEIRUT — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government secretly executed between 5,000 and 13,000 people in just one prison as part of its campaign to eliminate opposition to his rule, a new report by the watchdog group Amnesty International has found.

The killings took place over a four-year period between 2011 and 2015 in the notorious Sednaya facility outside Damascus, and the bodies were later disposed of in mass graves, according to the report released Monday by Amnesty.

Split by ‘Brexit,’ May and Merkel Diverge on Wider Issues, Too


By KATRIN BENNHOLD and ALISON SMALEFEB. 5, 2017


The New York Times

LONDON — In another era they could have been allies.

Both vicars’ daughters and born just a few years apart, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain share an understated pragmatism and conservative roots, and have made their way in the still largely man’s world of politics. But there could be so much more.

At a time when President Trump is lashing out at friend and foe, and when the macho politics of strongmen is resurgent from Moscow to Manila, when not just the European Union but high-minded Western values, free trade and security alliances are under attack, the two women might have worked together to defend the liberal global order.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Greece’s Response to its Resurgent Debt Crisis: Prosecute the Statistician

Andreas Georgiou, who became Athens’s statistics chief in 2010 to fix data fraud, now faces repeated accusations he manipulated figures to help impose austerity programs

By MARCUS WALKER
Feb. 6, 2017 10:53 a.m. ET
38 COMMENTS
ATHENS—Greece is struggling under its austerity regime and new questions are mounting as to whether it can satisfy its bailout terms. Some people in high places know just whom to blame—a statistician in rural Maryland.

Before Greece’s debt crisis, its governments manipulated statistics and masked the size of budget deficits, waste and patronage. The statistician, Andreas Georgiou, moved from the U.S. to become Greece’s first independent head of statistics in 2010. The European Union certified he subsequently fixed the omissions and reported the deficit in full.

On the contrary, Mr. Georgiou’s foes claim, he manipulated the deficit figures as part of a plot to force severe austerity on Greece under the 2010 bailout “Memorandum” imposed by the EU and International Monetary Fund.

Russia, Turkey, Iran discuss Syria ceasefire implementation in Astana

Mon Feb 6, 2017 | 12:42am EST

Ruters

Experts from Russia, Turkey, Iran and the United Nations have started a technical meeting in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, to discuss in detail the implementation of the Syrian ceasefire agreement, Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

"Representatives of Jordan are expected to take part for the first time," a ministry spokesman said of the talks.

U.K. Business Says Brexit Already Having a Negative Effect

by Tim Ross  and Lucy Meakin
6 February 2017, 10:22 π.μ. EET 6

Brexit has already damaged businesses even before Prime Minister Theresa May triggers the start of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, according to a survey of the country’s largest companies.

More than half -- 58 percent -- of top executives at Britain’s biggest firms said the vote to quit the bloc has had a negative impact on their businesses, the Ipsos MORI “Captains of Industry” poll found. Two-thirds of the chief executives, chairmen and directors interviewed for the survey said they believed the business situation would worsen in the next 12 months.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Germany's Gabriel condemned Berlin's handling of Greece in letter: report

Thu Feb 2, 2017 | 3:31pm EST

Reuters

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel criticised the German government's handling of Greece in a letter he wrote to Chancellor Angela Merkel last month, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

Handelsblatt newspaper said Gabriel - who swapped the Economy Ministry for the Foreign Ministry last week - had expressed his "great concern" about the talks on Greece's financial rescue and thought the government in Berlin should play a "more constructive role".

Germany wants the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to have a stake in Greece's bailout to give the rescue plan greater credibility, but also opposes granting Athens significant debt relief. The IMF says it will only join in if this rescue is the country's last and it includes significant debt relief.

The IMF Should Get Out of Greece


FEB 3, 2017 1:00 AM EST

Bloomberg

By
Ashoka Mody
The International Monetary Fund's involvement in Greece has been an unmitigated disaster: Time and again, its failure to heed crucial lessons has visited suffering upon the Greek people.  When the fund's directors meet on Monday, they should agree to forgive the country's debts and get out.


The IMF should never have gotten into Greece in the first place. As late as March 2010, with concerns about the Greek government's ability to pay its debts roiling markets, Europe's leaders wanted the IMF to stay away. Europeans feared that the fund’s financial assistance to one of their own would signal broader weakness in the currency union. As Jean-Claude Juncker famously put it: “If California had a refinancing problem, the United States wouldn’t go to the IMF.”

Syrian army says it will press on against Islamic State near Aleppo

WORLD NEWS | Thu Feb 2, 2017 | 9:08am EST

Reuters

By John Davison and Tom Perry | BEIRUT
The Syrian army signaled on Thursday it would press on with operations against Islamic State northeast of Aleppo, in a veiled warning to Turkey which backs a separate military campaign in northern Syria.

Syrian government forces have rapidly driven Islamic State back in the last two weeks, advancing to within 6 km (4 miles) of the city of al-Bab that the jihadists are fighting to hold.

The army's gains risk sparking a confrontation with Turkey, which has sent tanks and warplanes across the border to support Syrian insurgents who are trying to seize al-Bab in a separate offensive.

U.K.’s Brexit Plan: Prepare for Failure, Hope for Success


by Tim Ross , Robert Hutton , and Alex Morales
2 February 2017, 11:31 μ.μ. EET
Bloomberg
Prime Minister Theresa May is making plans for emergency laws to protect the U.K. economy in case Brexit negotiations break down without a free-trade deal, as concerns grow that she’ll fail to achieve the sweeping agreement she wants.

In its 75-page plan for Brexit, May’s government said on Thursday that while it was expecting to find common ground with the 27 other members of the European Union, it will prepare contingency measures to avert economic chaos if the discussions collapsed.

Oil edges up on threat of U.S. issuing new Iran sanctions

Fri Feb 3, 2017 | 2:23am EST

Reuters

By Keith Wallis and Osamu Tsukimori | SINGAPORE/TOKYO
Oil prices edged up on Friday on news that U.S. President Donald Trump could be set to impose new sanctions on multiple Iranian entities, firing geopolitical tensions between the two nations.

Comments by Russian energy minister Alexander Novak that oil producers had cut their output in accordance with a pact agreed in December also helped support prices, analysts said.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Trump's administration is prepared to roll out new measures against more than two dozen Iranian targets following Tehran's ballistic missile test, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

This Ancient City Would Still Be Among The Wealthiest In The World Today


By Sovereign Man on February 1, 2017 2:02 pm

Value Week

In the year 440 BC, more than two decades into the reign of Pericles, an audit of treasury in Athens showed a massive surplus of more than 9700 “talents”.

A talent was a common unit of measurement in the ancient world, especially for gold and silver.

And, based on today’s precious metals prices and the traditional gold/silver ratio (14:1) used by the ancient Greeks, 9700 talents is equivalent to about $700 million today.

At the time, Athens boasted a population of around 43,000 citizens and 28,500 foreign residents… so on a “per capita” basis, the ancient Athenian surplus amounted to just under $10,000 per person in today’s money.

Turkey and Greece Trade Jabs in Island Dispute


By PATRICK KINGSLEYFEB. 1, 2017

The New York Times

STANBUL — Turkey and Greece have reignited a decades-old disagreement over the sovereignty of a pair of uninhabited Aegean Islands, in a spat that analysts say risks aggravating other diplomatic disputes between the two countries.

The Greek defense minister, Panos Kammenos, flew over the two disputed islands on Wednesday, the Greek government said, in a pointed response to a visit three days earlier to nearby waters by the commander of the Turkish armed forces, Hulusi Akar.

The exchange is the most public disagreement over the tiny islands’ sovereignty since 1996, when soldiers from both countries landed on them before American-led mediation persuaded both sides to leave the area.

Europe gets creative to win banks after Brexit

Wed Feb 1, 2017 | 10:56am EST

Reuters

By Anjuli Davies, Andrew MacAskill and John O'Donnell | LONDON/FRANKFURT
Regulators in European countries competing for post-Brexit banking business are offering London-based banks a range of short-term workarounds to help them relocate, bankers, regulators and lawyers say.

Global banks have warned they might have to move their European bases from Britain if its departure from the European Union means they lose "passporting" rights to operate across the bloc under the supervision of just one member state's regulator.

Brexit negotiations have yet to start and will take years but big centers like Frankfurt and Paris, as well as smaller ones like Dublin, Amsterdam and Luxembourg, are encouraging banks, insurers and fund managers to consider moving to them.

Europe’s threat list includes jihadists, Russia — and Donald Trump


By Ishaan Tharoor February 2 at 1:00 AM
Want smart analysis of the most important news in your inbox every weekday along with other global reads, interesting ideas and opinions to know?

The Washington Post

Nothing illustrates the crisis facing the world order more than a letter circulated this week by Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council. Tusk's message, addressed to the leaders of the European Union's member states, pointed to the other Donald, describing the Trump administration as one of the potential "external" threats facing Europe.

Theresa May Gets Parliament’s Backing on ‘Brexit’ Bill


By STEPHEN CASTLEFEB. 1, 2017

The New York Times

LONDON — Easily winning a crucial vote among lawmakers, Prime Minister Theresa May was well on her way Wednesday to winning the parliamentary approval that Britain’s highest court said she needed before she could begin talks on ending more than four decades of European integration.

Wednesday’s vote, in the House of Commons, will not be the final parliamentary verdict on Mrs. May’s plans, but with 498 lawmakers in favor and 114 against, it was emphatic enough to show that any subsequent efforts in Parliament to complicate, or slow, the path to withdrawal would probably be in vain.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Η Επιστολή Τσακαλώτου

 "Σε απάντηση της προκαταρκτικής αξιολόγησης των θεσμών για το επίδομα για τις συντάξεις και τν ΦΠΑ που ψηφίστηκαν από την ελληνική Βουλή και εφαρμόστηκαν από τις ελληνικές αρχές αλλά και τις απόψεις που εκφράστηκαν στην έκτακτη τηλεδιάσκεψη του Eurogroup στις 20 Δεκεμβρίου, θα ήθελα να καταστήσω σαφές τα ακόλουθα:

Σε ό,τι αφορά το μέτρο για τις συντάξεις, παρακαλώ να σημειωθεί ότι τόσο ο πρωθυπουργός όσο και εγώ ο ίδιος καταστήσαμε δημοσίως ξεκάθαρο, και θα συνεχίσουμε να το πράττουμε, ότι πρόκειται για ένα εφάπαξ ποσό που δεν θα έχει μόνιμη επίδραση στην πρόσφατη μεταρρύθμιση για τις συντάξεις. Σχετικά με την προσωρινή αναστολή της αύξησης του ΦΠΑ στα νησιά για συγκεκριμένα νησιά του Αιγαίου το μέτρο θα εφαρμοστεί μόνο για το 2017 και χρηματοδοτείται πλήρως από τον προϋπολογισμό του 2017.

Οι ελληνικές αρχές δεσμεύονται πλήρως να ακολουθήσουν το δημοσιονομικό πλαίσιο που έχει συμφωνηθεί και που βασίζεται στους στόχους για πρωτογενές πλεόνασμα 0,5%, 1,75% και 3,5% για το 2016, 2017 και 2018 αντίστοιχα. Οι ελληνικές αρχές θα ενεργοποιήσουν τον «δημοσιονομικό κόφτη» που θεσμοτήθηκε στο πλαίσιο της πρώτης αξιολόγησης όπως προβλέπεται στο νόμο 4389/16, σε περίπτωση που τα αποτελέσματα που θα επικυρωθούν από την Eurostat αποδεικνύουν ότι δεν έχουν επιτευχθεί οι στόχοι.

Turkish servicemen in Greece seek release from custody



The Washington Post

By Associated Press January 30
ATHENS, Greece — A group of Turkish servicemen seeking asylum in Greece have appeared before an Athens court to contest their continued detention despite the rejection of Turkey’s request for their extradition.

The pilots and flight engineers fled to Greece in a military helicopter a day after the failed July 15 military coup in Turkey.

New loans for Greece depend on IMF participation: German Finance Ministry

Tue Jan 31, 2017 | 5:13am EST


Reuters

Further financial assistance for Greece depends on the successful completion of a review of its bailout program and the participation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a spokesman for the German Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.

"Further payments depend on the successful completion of the program's review and the participation of the IMF," the spokesman said.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

IMF Warns Eurogroup Loan Measures Not Enough for Greek Debt

by Eleni Chrepa  and Andrew Mayeda
28 January 2017, 4:07 μ.μ. EET

Bloomberg

Greece’s public debt and financing needs will prove “explosive” in decades to come unless Europe overhauls its bailout program to ease the load, the International Monetary Fund says in a draft report as the country seeks a fresh loan payout.

In the IMF’s baseline scenario, Greece’s government debt will reach 275 percent of its gross domestic product by 2060, when its financing needs will represent 62 percent of GDP, the report obtained by Bloomberg says. The government estimates public debt around 180 percent of GDP at present.

Greek Markets Tumble as EU Holds Up Payment Amid IMF Doubts


by Sotiris Nikas  and Nikos Chrysoloras
30 January 2017, 3:44 μ.μ.
Government said to admit most bailout actions still pending
IMF says reforms still needed, debt is highly unsustainable

Bloomberg

Greek stocks and bonds fell on Monday after the government in Athens failed to bridge differences with European creditors over the conditions attached to the country’s latest bailout review and the International Monetary Fund warned that its debt is on an unsustainable path.

Almost two-thirds of the actions creditors have demanded for the disbursement of the next tranche of emergency loans have yet to be completed, the government conceded in a memo discussed between Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and bailout auditors last week in Brussels, a person familiar with the matter said.

This could be Greece’s last chance to save itself


Nasos Koukakis, special to CNBC.com
Friday, 27 Jan 2017 | 3:01 PM ET

CNBC

Despite decisive action proposed by the International Monetary Fund to ease Greece's financial burden, more turbulence lies ahead for the debt-ridden European nation, reveals the latest IMF report, which was delivered to the Fund's board members for consultation. CNBC has received the report through a close source to the IMF.

According to IMF deputy spokesman William Murray, the report will be discussed at the IMF's board meeting on Feb.6.

Third migrant dies in a week in harsh Greek camp conditions

Mon Jan 30, 2017 | 1:07pm EST

Reuters

By Karolina Tagaris | ATHENS
The third migrant to perish in a week was found dead in his tent on Monday on Greece's Lesbos island, raising alarm about the grim winter conditions in overcrowded camps that critics have denounced as deplorable.

The dead man is believed to be about 20 and from Pakistan, a police official on the island said. Another migrant who shared his tent was critically ill and taken to hospital.

The death at the island's Moria camp follows those of a 22-year-old Egyptian and a 46-year-old Syrian who shared a tent and died days apart. Greek media reported they had inhaled fumes from a heater, but authorities would not confirm or deny that.

Germany says expects IMF to participate in Greece's bailout

Mon Jan 30, 2017 | 8:28am EST

Reuters

Germany believes the International Monetary Fund will participate in Greece's bailout and it is too early to start thinking about other arrangements should the IMF bow out, a spokesman for the German finance ministry said on Monday.

The IMF said around two years ago that it would take part in Greece's aid package, the spokesman said at a regular government news conference, and added: "Nothing has changed about that and it's much too early to think about 'what if'".

Friday, January 27, 2017

Turkey angered as Greece blocks extradition of soldiers over coup attempt

Thu Jan 26, 2017 | 11:28am EST

Reuters

Greece's Supreme Court ruled against the extradition of eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece in July after a failed coup attempt in Turkey, a decision which angered Ankara and further strained relations between the two neighbors.

Turkey has demanded Greece extradite them, alleging they were involved in the coup attempt and has branded them traitors.

The men -- three majors, three captains and two sergeant-majors -- landed a helicopter in northern Greece on July 16 and sought political asylum saying they feared for their lives in Turkey.

Greece and Creditors Fail to Make Progress on Bailout Deal


Eurozone finance ministers met in Brussels as a possibly troublesome election season looms in Europe

The Wall Street Journal

By VIKTORIA DENDRINOU and  NEKTARIA STAMOULI
Updated Jan. 26, 2017 4:00 p.m. ET


BRUSSELS—Greece and its creditors failed to resolve their differences Thursday during talks held in hopes of finding a solution for the country’s deadlocked bailout before Europe’s coming election season dominates the Continent’s agenda.

A meeting of eurozone finance ministers here didn’t reach a breakthrough that would clear the way for the conclusion of negotiations on the current review of Greece’s aid package of as much as €86 billion. But there is pressure to get a deal by February, because after that, a series of elections in the Netherlands, France, Germany and possibly Italy could distract attention and reduce governments’ interest in making any unpopular concessions on Greece.

Britain’s excruciating embrace of Donald Trump shows how little independence it has gained from Brexit

The Economist
27-1-2017
Leaving the European Union means the country has less, not more, control over its circumstances

THERESA MAY’S private opinion of Donald Trump goes unrecorded, but she is surely not a natural fan. Before Mr Trump’s election the prime minister called his remarks on Muslims “divisive, unhelpful and wrong”. Fiona Hill, one of her powerful chiefs of staff, declared him a “chump” and Nick Timothy, the other, tweeted: “As a Tory I don’t want any ‘reaching out’ to Trump.” Mrs May flannelled in a television interview on January 22nd when asked about the president’s treatment of women, his disregard for NATO and his protectionism. In temperament the two leaders could hardly be less alike: one brash and operatic, the other cautious and meticulous. So expect the prime minister’s visit to the White House on January 27th to be a study in awkwardness: the mother superior dropping in on the Playboy Mansion.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Δηλώση στελέχους του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ το 2014

Από την συνέντευξη της Ράνιας Σβίγκου κάπου στο 2014:
"...Η ηγεσία του ΚΚΕ, με το να θεωρεί ότι ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ και μια κυβέρνηση της Αριστεράς θα πράξει πάνω κάτω ό,τι κάνει και η συγκυβέρνηση, κάνει αυτή τη στιγμή ένα σοβαρό ιστορικό λάθος, που απογοητεύει και τον κόσμο και τους ψηφοφόρους του...."

http://rednotebook.gr/2014/05/rania-sbigkou-rixi-me-tin-europi-tou-au/

Και ένα σχόλιο:

Greece’s Top Court Rejects Extradition of Turkish Officers

By NIKI KITSANTONIS
JAN. 26, 2017


The New York Times

ATHENS — Greece cannot extradite eight military officers who fled Turkey after a failed coup in July, the country’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. The Turkish government had demanded that the officers be handed over, and it immediately protested the court’s decision.

The court, Greece’s highest, ruled that the eight officers — two majors, four captains and two noncommissioned officers — would face “the curtailment of their fundamental human rights” if sent back to Turkey, and it called for their immediate release. The decision is irreversible.

The officers fled to northern Greece in a Turkish Army helicopter on July 15, saying they feared for their lives, and there was pressure on the court to deal with two seemingly irreconcilable demands: ensuring that the officers’ human rights were respected without angering a sometimes prickly neighbor.

Greece to rule on Turkish servicemen later this week



The Washington Post

By Associated Press January 23
ATHENS, Greece — A group of Turkish servicemen who fled to Greece in a military helicopter after last year’s failed coup have appeared at Greece’s Supreme Court in a closely watched extradition hearing.

Court officials said Monday that a decision would be announced on Thursday.

Trump Advances Border Wall to Start Immigration Crackdown


by Margaret Talev  and Jennifer Jacobs
25 Ιανουαρίου 2017, 6:28 π.μ. EET 26 Ιανουαρίου 2017, 6:06 π.μ. EET

Bloomberg

President Donald Trump acted on two of the most fundamental -- and controversial -- elements of his presidential campaign, declaring on Wednesday that he would build a wall on the border with Mexico and greatly tighten restrictions on who can enter the U.S.

Trump signed a pair of orders to set in motion the construction of a "physical wall" across the 1,989-mile length of the southern border and to strengthen immigration enforcement within the U.S. The second order includes an attempt to crack down on "sanctuary cities" that refuse to allow their police to enforce federal immigration law.

Greece Bailout Deadline Looms Ahead of Busy EU Election Schedule


by Eleni Chrepa  and Nikos Chrysoloras
26 Ιανουαρίου 2017, 2:00 π.μ. EET

Bloomberg

Greece has less than a month to iron out disagreements with its creditors over how to move forward with a rescue package that has been keeping the country afloat since 2010.

Euro-area finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Thursday will discuss how to complete a stalled bailout review, assure the involvement of the International Monetary Fund and unlock additional financial aid. A deal must be struck by the end of February, before as many as five European nations hold elections that will make negotiations politically difficult, according to an EU official familiar with the talks.

Brexit’ Ruling Reveals Cracks in Britain’s Centuries-old Institutions


By KATRIN BENNHOLDJAN. 24, 2017

The New York Times

LONDON — It remains unclear whether Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans or timetable for taking Britain out of the European Union will be altered by the Supreme Court’s ruling on Tuesday that she must secure Parliament’s approval before beginning the process. Most analysts, even those who opposed “Brexit,” as the departure from the bloc is known, doubt that it will.

And Mrs. May had already said in her speech on Brexit last week that Parliament would have a vote on whether to accept the final deal negotiated with the European Union.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Trump to Unveil Plans for Mexico Border Wall and Limiting Refugees' Entry


by Margaret Talev  and Nick Wadhams
25 January 2017, 6:28 π.μ. EET

Bloomberg


President Donald Trump plans to unveil actions on national security starting Wednesday that are expected to include steps toward building a wall on the Mexican border and limiting refugee inflows to the U.S., moving to fulfill key promises he made during his election campaign.

“Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!” the president wrote Tuesday night in a message on his personal Twitter feed.

The announcement on the border wall is expected during a Wednesday afternoon visit by the president to the Department of Homeland Security, the federal agency that has primary jurisdiction over securing the border and would carry out most of the other immigration-related steps that Trump talked about in his run for office.

Greece’s Tsipras Insists on ‘Not One Euro More’ of Austerity


by Marcus Bensasson
25 January 2017, 11:40 π.μ. EET 25 Ιανουαρίου 2017, 12:59 μ.μ. EET

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras dug in against creditor demands for more pension cuts and tax increases before a meeting of euro-area finance ministers to unblock the country’s bailout review.

“There is no way we are going to legislate even one euro more than what was agreed in the bailout,” Tsipras said in an interview with Efimerida ton Syntakton, to mark the two-year anniversary since he was elected on an anti-austerity platform. “The demand to legislate more measures, and contingent ones, no less, is alien not just to the Greek Constitution but to democratic norms.”