Archive for the month “Οκτώβριος, 2012”

Progress in euro zone talks on Greece, no deal yet

Euro zone finance ministers made progress on Wednesday on ways to keep Greece afloat, Germany said, as talks between Athens and its foreign lenders near conclusion over reforms it must implement to receive fresh emergency loans.
After a two-hour conference call of ministers from the 17-nation Eurogroup, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a news conference: «There was considerable progress.»
Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement he expected a deal at the finance ministers’ face-to-face meeting on November 12 provided Greek authorities had completed a list of prior actions.
Schaeuble said ministers expected to receive a crucial report from the so-called «troika» of international lenders on November 11 or 12, near the deadline, but insisted: «Time pressure cannot lead to irresponsible solutions.»
The ministers received more bad news earlier when Athens slashed its forecast for a budget surplus before debt servicing costs next year, dimming one of its few bright spots as rounds of austerity deepen a recession already into its fifth year.
The government forecast a 4.5 percent economic contraction in 2013, which will push public debt to a record 189.1 percent of gross domestic product. The primary budget surplus is forecast to be just 0.4 percent, well down on the 1.1 percent pencilled in previously.
Greece’s lenders are not discussing at present another debt write-off, or «haircut», Thomas Wieser, the coordinator of euro zone finance ministers said, but EU diplomats say other ways of stretching out official loans are on the table.
The options included lengthening the maturities and reducing the interest rate on existing loans, an interest payment holiday, letting Greece buy back its own debt at a discount with borrowed money and allowing it to issue more short-term T-bills.
Even though IMF and EU officials say privately Greece’s debt is unsustainable and will have to be restructured, Schaeuble said that for a large majority of euro zone countries accepting a «haircut» was legally impossible.
-Reuters

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Progress in euro zone talks on Greece, no deal yet

Euro zone finance ministers made progress on Wednesday on ways to keep Greece afloat, Germany said, as talks between Athens and its foreign lenders near conclusion over reforms it must implement to receive fresh emergency loans.
After a two-hour conference call of ministers from the 17-nation Eurogroup, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a news conference: «There was considerable progress.»
Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement he expected a deal at the finance ministers’ face-to-face meeting on November 12 provided Greek authorities had completed a list of prior actions.
Schaeuble said ministers expected to receive a crucial report from the so-called «troika» of international lenders on November 11 or 12, near the deadline, but insisted: «Time pressure cannot lead to irresponsible solutions.»
The ministers received more bad news earlier when Athens slashed its forecast for a budget surplus before debt servicing costs next year, dimming one of its few bright spots as rounds of austerity deepen a recession already into its fifth year.
The government forecast a 4.5 percent economic contraction in 2013, which will push public debt to a record 189.1 percent of gross domestic product. The primary budget surplus is forecast to be just 0.4 percent, well down on the 1.1 percent pencilled in previously.
Greece’s lenders are not discussing at present another debt write-off, or «haircut», Thomas Wieser, the coordinator of euro zone finance ministers said, but EU diplomats say other ways of stretching out official loans are on the table.
The options included lengthening the maturities and reducing the interest rate on existing loans, an interest payment holiday, letting Greece buy back its own debt at a discount with borrowed money and allowing it to issue more short-term T-bills.
Even though IMF and EU officials say privately Greece’s debt is unsustainable and will have to be restructured, Schaeuble said that for a large majority of euro zone countries accepting a «haircut» was legally impossible.
-Reuters

Greek coalition allies snub PM’s appeal on austerity

By Renee Maltezou, Reuters
The Greek prime minister’s appeal for a united front to push through more austerity fell on deaf ears on Tuesday, with one ally promising to vote against reforms and another scolding him for prematurely saying talks had ended.
A flurry of contradictory statements from the three parties in Greece’s ruling coalition highlighted the chaos ahead of a crucial vote on austerity measures, which is turning into the government’s biggest test since taking power in June.
After months of negotiations on the austerity plan, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras announced on Tuesday that talks had been completed and implored his allies to back the package.
«What would happen if the deal isn’t passed and the country is led to chaos?» Samaras said in a statement.
«Such dangers must be avoided. That is the responsibility of each party and every lawmaker individually.»
The Democratic Left party immediately responded by reiterating it would vote against labour reforms.
«The Democratic Left has fought on the issue of labour relations, to protect workers’ rights which have been already weakened,» the party said in statement.
«It does not agree with the result of the negotiations. The Democratic Left sticks to its position.»
The other junior partner in Samaras’s coalition, the Socialist PASOK, then interrupted a party meeting to put out a statement chiding Samaras for saying talks had concluded.
«A rushed press release that says ‘the government did what it could, it is moving ahead and whoever wants to should follow it’ … is at best unfortunate,» the party’s chief said in the statement.
The bickering among the allies threatens to bring next week’s vote down to a numbers game, undermining Samaras’s pledge that Greece’s government is committed to doing everything it can to restore credibility in the eyes of European partners.
The Democratic Left party has the support of 16 deputies in the 300-seat parliament, meaning the government – which has a 176-seat majority – could pass the reforms without its support as long as PASOK deputies vote in favour.
But the smaller party’s stance has emboldened some in PASOK and speculation has grown that some rebel lawmakers could vote against the measures. The austerity bill could be defeated if more than 10 of the 33 PASOK lawmakers oppose them.

m.guardian.co.uk

Kostas Vaxevanis, the Greek investigative journalist who was arrested on Sunday after publishing a list of more than 2,000 suspected tax dodgers, has written about his case for the Guardian today:

http://m.guardiannews.com/commentisfree/2012/oct/30/greece-democracy-hot-doc-lagarde-list?cat=commentisfree&type=article

Greek coalition ally confirms will vote against reforms

A Greek coalition partner confirmed on Tuesday it would vote against labour reforms proposed by foreign lenders, ignoring the prime minister’s appeal for a united front to push through more unpopular austerity.
The Democratic Left party’s refusal to back the reforms leaves the government facing an unpredictable vote when they are presented in parliament next week, making it the fragile coalition’s biggest test since taking power in June.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras earlier announced Athens had completed talks with European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders on a package of 13.5 billion euros ($17.4 billion) in austerity measures and implored allies to back the plan.
«What would happen if the deal isn’t passed and the country is led to chaos?» Samaras said in a statement. «Such dangers must be avoided. That is the responsibility of each party and every lawmaker individually.»
The government is expected to include a large chunk of the austerity measures in the 2013 budget bill to be presented on Wednesday, with the remaining measures and contested labour reforms in a separate bill to be put to parliament on Monday.
The Democratic Left party has the support of 16 deputies in the 300-seat parliament. The government — which has a 176-seat majority – could pass the reforms without its support.
But a vote against the package by the party would undermine the already fragile coalition and could encourage other lawmakers to defect and vote against unpopular measures, leaving the outcome uncertain till the end.
Already some lawmakers from the other junior partner in the coalition, the Socialist PASOK, have threatened to vote against the measures, though the party’s leader has hinted the group will vote in their favour to ensure stability in Greece.
-Reuters

Spirit and Courage

image

Soldiers of the 3rd Inf Reg. continue to stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, despite the worsening weather conditions surrounding Hurricane Sandy. The tomb has been guarded continuously since 1948.
– From the First Army Division East.
(Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army)

Germany Supports ECB Greek Debt Buyback Plan, Rejects Write-off

By Brian Parkin and Tony Czuczka, Bloomberg

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government said it is willing to consider a European Central Bank proposal for a buyback of Greek debt, as it stepped up opposition to imposing more losses on Greece’s creditors.
A restructuring of Greek sovereign debt held by its public sector partners “is out of the question” for Germany and “not in Greece’s interests,” Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s chief spokesman, told reporters in Berlin today. At the same time, Seibert noted that Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said yesterday that a buyback “is worth serious discussion.”
The comments suggest the German government has changed its view on debt buybacks. Schaeuble said earlier this month that he had “a number of questions for which I don’t see an answer yet” on the buyback proposal. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Oct. 13 that the government rejected the idea, citing officials it didn’t name.
Euro area finance ministers will hold a conference call on Greece on Oct. 31 after German news magazine Der Spiegel reported in this week’s edition that the so-called troika of international creditors proposes a debt restructuring for Greece that would require public-sector lenders to take heavy losses.
The troika of the European Commission, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund is compiling its report on the progress made by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s government in meeting internationally agreed targets that are a prerequisite for the next tranche of aid Greece needs to stay in the euro.
Schaeuble said that his government received an interim troika report last week, according to an interview with German radio Deutschlandfunk broadcast yesterday.
After agreeing to the biggest-ever write-off on private bondholders, it would “a bit unrealistic” to impose more losses on them, he said. Members of the euro area are meanwhile restricted by law from participating in losses, therefore so- called official sector involvement “is a discussion that has little to do with the reality” of euro member states, he said.
Asked about the buyback proposal, Schaeuble said that is “something one could consider more seriously,” according to a transcript of his comments.
ECB Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen first aired the plan in an interview with German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung released on Oct. 12. Greece’s efforts to reduce debt to 120 percent of its gross domestic product by 2020 may be eased if it were lent money to buy back its own bonds, which have a current market worth below their nominal value, he said.
Such a move, which he said was being considered among other instruments to help Greece, would not amount to a debt write- off, Asmussen was cited as saying. He reiterated that the ECB could not buy the debt for the Greek government.
While there is “no concrete model” as yet for a debt buyback, “fundamentally there’s a difference between deferring debt and writing it off altogether,” Finance Ministry spokeswoman Marianne Kothe said in Berlin today.

Download the October 28 Ta Yp’ Opsin podcast

The October 28 Ta Yp’ Opsin (Consider These) news roundup podcast (in Greek) available for download:
(Podcasting is the new face of radio journalism; a podcast is similar to a news radio program, delivers information on a regular basis and can even be listened to directly on your computer or smartphone. To listen to our Ta Yp’Opsin podcast, simply click the link to the podcast and choose to download it to your computer safely from Google in mp3 format, ready to listen to and replay at any time) 

In the First Hour of Ta Yp’ Opsin:

– The East Coast is bracing for “Superstorm.» Sandy

– Countdown of the White House race

– Impasse on Greek austerity package prolonged

– ‘Lagarde List’ publication leads to journalist’s arrest

– Syria: A ceasefire only in name

– Ukraine’s parliamentary election and future direction

– China rejects New York Times «hidden riches» claims

Plus, in the Second Hour:

– Halloween headlines (not tainted candy)

– Cooking and brain cell production

– Landownership tug of war in Arizona

– A shark falls from the sky and a beard is tinted a rusty red

– French ministers learn anti-sexism lessons

– Virginity for sale over the internet

Download here:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1KU27prGcwUUS1nQjd1RWZVNGc/edit

 Ta Yp’Opsin (Consider These) weekly podcast with Greek Chicago journalists Elena Spilioti and George Zorbas. Discussion, analysis and great music! 

Like our Ta Yp’Opsin (Consider These) Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/taypopsin

Greek editor’s arrest sought over list with Swiss accounts

Greek police are seeking to arrest the editor of a weekly magazine for publishing a list of more than 2,000 names of wealthy Greeks who have placed money in Swiss bank accounts, police said.
The so-called «Lagarde List» – given to Greece by French authorities in 2010 with names to be probed for possible tax evasion – has been a topic of heated speculation in Greek media in recent weeks. It is named after International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, who was French finance minister when the list was handed over.
The «Hot Doc» magazine published the list of 2,059 names including some well-known figures on Saturday. The magazine said it had been sent the list anonymously. Authorities did not confirm if the list was authentic.
A prosecutor ordered the arrest of editor Costas Vaxevanis for violating laws on releasing private data, police said.
«The prosecutor issued a warrant for Vaxevanis’s arrest because he published a list of names without special permission and violated the law on personal data,» a police official said.
«There is no proof that the persons or companies included in that list have violated the law. There is no evidence that they violated the law on tax evasion or money laundering,» the official added.
The list has inspired heated discussion in near-bankrupt Greece, where public anger at politicians and the wealthy elite grows as austerity measures take a toll on the poorer sections of society.

-Reuters

Ακούστε το podcast Τα Υπ΄ Οψιν της Κυριακής 21 Οκτώβρη 2012

Στα Υπ’ ‘Οψιν αυτής της εβδομάδας, συζητάμε:

-Τρίτο προεδρικό debate: ο μέσος  Αμερικανός και ο κόσμος.

-Ελλάδα: πρός τη δόση κατά …δόσεις ενώ οι αποσχίσεις απειλούν την ευρωπαϊκή ενότητα

-Κόσμος: η γειτονιά της Συρίας εκρήγνυται, το Ιράν κάτι θέλει να μας πεί και οι γυναίκες στη Μ. Ανατολή που τιμωρούνται λόγω…φύλου

Και στη δεύτερη ώρα:

Ο αντιπολεμικός ΜακΓκόβερν που έφυγε και οι επέτειοι της Κούβας και του Μεγάλου Κράχ

Η αμερικανική gay ψήφος

Κινηματογραφικές πολιτικές συνωμοσίες  και  κλέφτες με καλλιτεχνική ευαισθησία και γνώση

Τέχνη εναντίον πεταλούδας

Ο ερημίτης με το κινητό

Αρραβώνες  με όπλα για δαχτυλίδι

Το χοιρινό που ντύθηκε…μοσχάρι

Ακούστε μας στο https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1KU27prGcwUNUl6cWh6NTFQVm8/edit

για  ενημέρωση, συζήτηση και πολλή μουσική!

 A, ναι: και μην ξεχάσετε να μας κάνετε Like στο http://www.facebook.com/taypopsin !

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