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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 27th, 2012 at 09:55:10 AM EST
Greek pro-bailout conservatives regain lead - polls | Reuters

(Reuters) - Greece's conservatives have regained an opinion poll lead that would allow the formation of a pro-bailout government committed to keeping the country in the euro zone, a batch of new surveys showed on Saturday.

Greece was forced to call repeat elections for June 17 after a May 6 vote left parliament divided evenly between groups of parties that support and oppose the austerity conditions attached to a 130 billion euro bailout agreed with the European Union and International Monetary Fund in March.

Polls up to Saturday had showed pro- and anti-bailout parties running neck-and-neck ahead of the vote which could determine the country's future in the single currency.

Five polls published in the weekend press showed the conservative New Democracy party, which supports the bailout, with a lead of between 0.5 and 5.7 points over the anti-bailout leftist SYRIZA party - though analysts said the race was still too close to call.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 27th, 2012 at 11:55:41 AM EST
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Lloyd's of London preparing for euro collapse - Telegraph

Richard Ward said the London market had put in place a contingency plan to switch euro underwriting to multi-currency settlement if Greece abandoned the euro.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph he also revealed that Lloyd's could have to take writedowns on its £58.9bn investment portfolio if the eurozone collapses.

Europe accounts for 18pc of Lloyd's £23.5bn of gross written premiums, mostly in France, Germany, Spain and Italy. The market also has a fledgling operation in Poland.

Lloyd's move comes as a major Franco-German provider of credit insurance for eurozone trade, Euler Hermes, said it was considering reducing cover for trade with Greece because of the risk the country might leave the eurozone.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 27th, 2012 at 11:59:26 AM EST
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Greek Socialist leader slams IMF chief's tax comments - ECONOMY - FRANCE 24

AFP - Greece's Socialist party leader accused IMF chief Christine Lagarde of trying to "humiliate" the crisis-hit country by saying Greeks dodge taxes as he campaigned Sunday for crucial June elections.

"Nobody can humiliate the Greek people during the crisis, and I say this today addressing specifically Ms. Lagarde... who with her stance insulted the Greek people," Evangelos Venizelos told an election rally.

Lagarde told Britain's Guardian newspaper in an interview published Friday that Greeks must "help themselves collectively" by all paying their taxes, saying she was more concerned about sub-Saharan Africans in poverty than Greeks hit by the economic crisis.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 27th, 2012 at 12:02:59 PM EST
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France criticises IMF chief's view on Greeks - FRANCE 24

AFP - The French government spoke out on Sunday against comments by International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde suggesting that Greeks were dodging taxes.

"I find (Lagarde's comments) rather simplistic and stereotypical," government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told French television after the IMF managing director's comments last week outraged Greece.

Lagarde told Britain's Guardian newspaper in an interview published Friday that Greeks must "help themselves" by all paying their taxes, saying she was more concerned about Africans in poverty than Greeks hit by the economic crisis.

Her comments were also criticised by French radical-left politician Jean-Luc Melenchon who said Lagarde should resign.

"What gives her the right to speak in this manner to the Greeks?" he said in an interview with France 3 television, describing her comments as "undignified".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 27th, 2012 at 12:03:36 PM EST
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All that talk about bank runs and return to military dictatorship has the Greek population selling out their childrens' futures and scurrying to their masters' knees. How pathetic; how human.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon May 28th, 2012 at 09:07:20 AM EST
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Richard Branson: coalition has failed to invest in businesses | Politics | The Observer

Richard Branson, whose support for Tory economic plans was enthusiastically trumpeted by George Osborne in the runup to the last general election, has dramatically turned on the coalition for failing to promote growth.

Britain's most famous business tycoon said ministers' rhetoric on reinvigorating the economy had not been matched by action. He demanded that the government show more support for small and medium businesses which were "the engines of any healthy economy".

In an outspoken intervention, the founder and chairman of the Virgin Group called for a renewed focus from ministers on bringing unemployment down and promoting the country's entrepreneurial spirit.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 27th, 2012 at 12:01:15 PM EST
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Georgia opposition holds rally in Tbilisi - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Tens of thousands of Georgians have rallied in the capital as the ex-Soviet state's richest man launched his bid to oust President Mikheil Saakashvili's governing party at elections later this year.

Supporters of billionaire tycoon-cum-opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream opposition alliance packed into Tbilisi's Freedom Square on Sunday for the lavishly-staged rally intended as a show of strength ahead of October's polls.

It was the biggest rally since 2009 by an opposition revitalised by the super-rich businessman's intervention, although opinion polls suggest his alliance trails behind the governing party.

Georgia's most famous footballer Kakha Kaladze, who recently retired from playing in Italy's Serie A, told the crowd that Saakashvili must quit.

"Misha [Saakashvili], your time is up. Go!" Kaladze said.

Before the rally, columns of Ivanishvili supporters marched through the city.

"We need real democracy, real freedom, not Saakashvili's fairy tales," said one participant, unemployed Juliet Tsulaia

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 27th, 2012 at 12:09:42 PM EST
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Khodorkovsky Lawyers Deny Report That Tycoon Asked for Olympic Visa Ban | News | The Moscow Times

Lawyers for imprisoned tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky denied a report circulating Sunday in the British media that their client sent a letter to the British prime minister urging a visa ban on 308 Russian officials at the London Summer Olympics.

In an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio, lawyer Yury Schmidt said: "I am absolutely convinced that Khodorkovsky could not compile such a list. It's some kind of intentional error or an overt provocation," Interfax reported.

The Sunday Telegraph said that Khodorkovsky had passed the newspaper a letter via his lawyers that said President Vladimir Putin had the power to push Russia toward democracy but had no impetus without pressure.

"It is the role of other world leaders to spell out the price Russia tragically pays for being semi-detached from the family of modern democratic nations," the paper quoted him as saying.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 27th, 2012 at 12:26:19 PM EST
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Jeremy Hunt will quit, says David Mellor - Telegraph

David Mellor, who ran Mr Hunt's department under the last Tory government in the 1990s, said Mr Hunt had only survived to protect Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Mellor said that he thought there would be a "number of scalps" from the fallout of the Leveson inquiry into press standards.

He told Sky News' Murnaghan: "Jeremy Hunt will probably have to go. But I think the real scalp is the Prime Minister - he won't have to resign but his credibility is blown away.

"He has been exposed as a shallow, callow sort of guy who doesn't have too many aims and ambitions and cant even get basic judgement calls right."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 27th, 2012 at 03:38:40 PM EST
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Mr Monti speaks of the war on tax evasion, but put the title of his newly acquired villa on Lake Maggiore into Goldman Sachs' name, which because it is a banking society will pay no tax on the 6 million euro property.

plus ca change...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon May 28th, 2012 at 08:59:35 AM EST
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Presseurop: Berlin to save Europe like it saved GDR 28 May 2012 (Der Spiegel)
Merkel wants to launch Europe-wide programs to promote start-ups and small and mid-sized business, like the programs offered by the KfW development bank in Germany.... Merkel also wants EU countries with high unemployment to use Germany as a model in reforming their labour markets.... This would mean relaxing protections against wrongful dismissal and introducing more limited employment circumstances, called "mini-jobs" in Germany, with lower tax and contribution burdens [...] These countries would also be expected to develop a dual education system.... [In the countries of the South, where many companies enjoy state protection], privatisation funds like those that existed in East Germany will be created. [...] The advisors also recommend the establishment of so-called special economic zones, like the ones that once ushered in China's economic ascent. Finally, the Germans want Europe's southern countries to invest more in renewable energy, reduce tax barriers and promote worker mobility.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 28th, 2012 at 10:04:18 AM EST
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The Guardian editorial: Eurozone crisis: Ms Lagarde's morality tale (27 May 2007)
Not only should Christine Lagarde know better, she does know better. When the head of the IMF agreed in this paper on Saturday that the crisis across southern Europe was "payback time", she contravened both common sense and her own arguments. Imprudent borrowers require foolhardy lenders, and in Greece and elsewhere that role has often been played by northern European banks. In summer 2010, just as the eurozone crisis kicked off, the country whose banks were most exposed to Greece was France. Similarly, French banks were only just behind German institutions in their loans to Spain. By easing these huge flows of hundreds of billions across borders, the single currency played a material role in causing the continent's crisis.

Ms Lagarde knows all this. Indeed, as France's finance minister at the tail end of the boom, she must be held partly responsible. On moving to the Fund last year, one of her early interventions was to state that European banks were in dire need of more capital. At the time, she came in for barracking from the finance industry - but she was absolutely right. It was notable that when the IMF reiterated the call last month, bankers did not argue.

Which is what makes this weekend's outburst so surprising - and important. The morality tale Ms Lagarde sets out is not a new one: feckless southern Europeans ran riot for the euro's first decade and now have to be bailed out from their mess. Indeed, it has justified austerity programmes in Greece, Portugal and Ireland, and allowed the rest of Europe to avoid sorting out their vulnerable banks. But it is neither accurate nor useful. Until the financial crisis, Spain's government had a tighter grip on public finances than France: it was Spain's private sector that went berserk. And when it comes to total debt as a proportion of annual GDP, France is not far behind either Spain or Italy. That possible black-sheep status will be confirmed if the eurozone crisis intensifies any further.



guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 28th, 2012 at 10:06:14 AM EST
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Reuters Brekingviews: Hugo Dixon: Greece needs to go to the brink (28 May 2012)
It is conceivable that Tsipras will blink first, if he wins the election and finds he can't shift the Germans. But this is unlikely. The typical weasel words of a politician won't be enough to get him out of a tight spot; he would have to perform a complete somersault. It is doubtful the Marxists in his party would let him get away with this and, if they did, he would certainly lose all credibility in the country.

That said, a victory for Tsipras may paradoxically be Greece's best chance of staying in the euro because it would bring things to a head rapidly. The country is being kept alive by a dual life-support system: the euro zone and IMF are channelling cash to the government, while the European Central Bank is authorising cash transfers to the banks. If the first tap is turned off, the government will not be able to pay salaries and pensions from July. If the second tap is turned off, the banks could run out of cash within days.

Cutting off Greece's life support could be the trigger for reintroducing the drachma as the people found the cash machines ran dry. But it could also finally force the people to decide whether they were prepared to back reform - provided the euro zone simultaneously rolled out a proper plan to help the country. A key element of that would have to be to take over the Greek banks and guarantee their deposits, putting the country into a form of financial protectorate.



guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 28th, 2012 at 10:55:37 AM EST
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Need.Shower

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 28th, 2012 at 11:07:01 AM EST
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London Review of Books: Save us from the saviours: Slavoj Žižek on Europe and the Greeks (28 May 2012)
Here is the paradox that sustains the `free vote' in democratic societies: one is free to choose on condition that one makes the right choice. This is why, when the wrong choice is made (as it was when Ireland rejected the EU constitution), the choice is treated as a mistake, and the establishment immediately demands that the `democratic' process be repeated in order that the mistake may be corrected. When George Papandreou, then Greek prime minister, proposed a referendum on the eurozone bailout deal at the end of last year, the referendum itself was rejected as a false choice.

There are two main stories about the Greek crisis in the media: the German-European story (the Greeks are irresponsible, lazy, free-spending, tax-dodging etc, and have to be brought under control and taught financial discipline) and the Greek story (our national sovereignty is threatened by the neoliberal technocracy imposed by Brussels). When it became impossible to ignore the plight of the Greek people, a third story emerged: the Greeks are now presented as humanitarian victims in need of help, as if a war or natural catastrophe had hit the country. While all three stories are false, the third is arguably the most disgusting. The Greeks are not passive victims: they are at war with the European economic establishment, and what they need is solidarity in their struggle, because it is our struggle too.

Greece is not an exception. It is one of the main testing grounds for a new socio-economic model of potentially unlimited application: a depoliticised technocracy in which bankers and other experts are allowed to demolish democracy. By saving Greece from its so-called saviours, we also save Europe itself.



guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 28th, 2012 at 11:11:49 AM EST
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Solar power generation world record set in Germany | Guardian
German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity - equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity - through the midday hours of Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank has said.

Germany's government decided to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, closing eight plants immediately and shutting down the remaining nine by 2022. They will be replaced by renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-mass.

Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry in Muenster, said the 22 gigawatts of solar power fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50% of the nation's midday electricity needs.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon May 28th, 2012 at 03:54:50 PM EST
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La Repubblica interviews one of the informers.
How are they taken out?

"By hand. The Vatican intelligence service has integrated security systems in the basement of the Apostolic Palace, directed by a 35-year-old ex-hacker, that are more advanced than anything the CIA has, sophisticated systems, but they're no use. Because the Cardinals are used to writing their messages by hand and dictating them. They are then delivered by hand. And the leaked documents are their way of fighting this war. The primary objective was to attack the Pope, to weaken him and convince him to give up control of the political and economic affairs of the Church. Something had to be done."

And how do they know what the CIA has?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon May 28th, 2012 at 04:09:00 PM EST
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