Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* CHRONICLES OF A EUROPEAN WINTER
A documentary series about austerity in Europe
The other greek-like drama.
Let’s imagine a country:
its economy is completely destabilized by an unprecedented financial crisis originating in Wall Street. In less than a year, the country plunges into recession. The slump in production is combined with a rise in unemployment from 9% to 14% of the working population. This seriously damages the country’s finances, which are already fragile because of a huge debt incurred in questionable circumstances. As the debt soars because of the economic crisis, the authorities begin to worry. They bring in a new government, headed by a bourgeois, conservative economist, a graduate from the London School of Economics.
This government has one priority: to reduce the national debt and kick-start the country’s economy. The solution appears to be simple to them : the State will have to make savings by cutting expenditure and increasing taxes. The suffering inflicted on the poorer classes is seen as a necessary evil in order to rebuild a “healthy” economy.
The political situation is very unstable and passing these measures through parliament is no easy task. Thanks to a series of special legislative decrees, four austerity packages are implemented successively over the next two years.
The list of austerity measures is endless: a 25 % reduction in public sector wages, cuts in social benefits and allowances (unemployment and social insurance, family allowance), hikes in income tax, VAT, and taxes on consumer goods such as cigarettes and alcohol. […]
* TROIKA OUT OF CONTROL: SUGGESTS GREEKS LIVING ON SMALL ISLANDS BE … RELOCATED!
By Keep Talking Greece
This morning I wrote about Troikans being paranoid with a disease developing at full speed. Just hours later, my prediction came true. It’s all over the Greek press, that the Troika suggested that Greeks residing on islands with less than 150 inhabitants should be relocated somewhere else! This insane demand was allegedly revealed by Minister of Maritime Affairs Kostas Mousouroulis while he was attending a meeting with representatives of the maritime sector.
”At a meeting I had with the troika representatives they asked me to evacuate Greek islands with up to 150 inhabitants, because they are a burden to the state budget,” the minister said. “I immediately told them, you are crazy. We do not negotiate on this.” (Proto Thema)
[….] Despite the official rejections of the news, it looks as if the proposal was made indeed by some member of the Troika technical team. […]
* GREEK PARLIAMENT OK’s 2013 AUSTERITY BUDGET
By Andy Dabilis, Greek Reporter
By a vote of 167-128, the Greek Parliament shortly after midnight on Nov. 12 easily approved an austerity-packed budget for 2013 that includes big pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions as part of a $17.45 billion package that narrowly passed just four days earlier. Four voted present and one lawmaker was absent. […]
[…] That did not include seven former PASOK members who were ejected from the party by leader Evangelos Venizelos for not backing the spending cut and tax hike plan earlier, nor one who later quit the party. Samaras had earlier ejected one member of his New Democracy Conservatives for not following his orders on how to vote.
Samaras had said that unless the Parliament adopted the spending cut plan for 2013-14 and the 2013 budget, that Greece’s lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) would not release a long-delayed $38.8 billion installment that is set to be the first in a second bailout of $173 billion. Greece has been surviving for the last 2 1/2 years on a first rescue package of $152 billion. Samaras had also warned that Greece would run out of money by Nov. 16 unless the Troika releases the money.
The vote came only hours before the finance ministers of the Eurozone, the 17 countries that use the euro as a currency, were to meet. Samaras had hoped that approval of the spending cut and tax hike plan and the budget would be enough for the EU leaders to sign off on the next installment but they have indicated they are going to wait for a report from Troika inspectors on whether Greece has made enough progress to reduce the deficit to 3 percent from nearly three times higher now.
The Troika said Greece must be on a path to reduce its debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio, now at nearly 180 percent, to 120 percent by 2020, although officials have said it seems unlikely that can be achieved because the austerity measures have worsened the country’s five-year recession, creating 25.4 percent unemployment, closing 68,000 businesses and shrinking the economy 7 percent. […]
* ATHENS NEWS – NEWSBITES
[….] 5. NORWEGIAN EXPEDITION A Norwegian research vessel scheduled to conduct hydrocarbon exploration in the Ionian Sea and around the island of Crete will arrive at the port of Patras on Sunday, former deputy energy minister and current Pasok Parliamentary secretary Yannis Maniatis said on Friday. The government has launched a tender of oil and gas exploration in the Ionian and southern Crete, with tests and results to be announced by the Norwegian company Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS). The state expects to benefit by around 12-13 million euros from the sale of data to oil exploration firms. […]
* FROM ARGENTINA TO GREECE: A GLOBAL ROLLER COASTER
By Diana Tussie, Truthout
In October 2012, a Cayman Islands-based fund, NML Capital Limited, controlled by Elliot Management (EM) won a court order in Ghana to seize the Argentine teaching ship Libertad . The fund claimed that Argentina owed it $350 million, and offered to let the ship leave if Argentina’s government put up a $20 million bond to be forfeited. EM´s CEO is Paul Elliot Singer, who specializes in piling up insolvent country debt. Singer is a major donor to the Republican Party.
If the court order goes into effect, Argentina would be prevented from discriminating between restructured bondholders and holdouts, thus potentially preventing the next payment due in December and leading to a technical default. Everyone who had accepted restructuring would be entitled to better terms if the funds’ demands are met. If the EM demands are accepted, the ruling will be a tipping point in the financial order.
Greece`s creditors are very much of the same kind. That means that their motivations and preferences are to a surprising level similar as well. If anything, the time elapsed and the geographical distance between these cases make even clearer how creditors are similarly contributing to the unfolding of these crises. In the Argentine case, those creditors were foreign banks, the IMF, and thousands of debt bond holders. In the Greek case, they are against foreign banks, the IMF, the European Central Bank and institutional investors such as mutual and hedge funds. […]
* TWO JOURNALISTS WERE FIRED BY THE GREEK PUBLIC TELEVISION ORGANIZATION (ERT) BECAUSE THEY ANALYZED CLAIMS IN A GUARDIAN ARTICLE ON TORTURE
We strongly ask you to spread this information
Two journalists (Kostas Arvanitis and Marilena Katsimi) were fired today by the Greek public television organization (ERT) because they analyzed claims in a Guardian’s article on tortures that took place at the General Police Directorate of Attica.
A few minutes later the directors of the Greek Public Television organization made an announcement according to which these two journalists do not belong any more to the staff of the organization.
This is an obvious violation against the right of having access to information which is supposed to be provided by any democratic state to its citizens.
The incident comes in continuation of the arrest of Costas Vaxevanis (publisher of the magazine of investigative journalism HOT-DOC) to publicize the list Lagarde, being hidden for more than 2 years by ministers and heads of political parties, as the list contained names of rich businessmen and politicians that are fraudsters. Vaxevanis has since been acquitted.
The continued imposition of austerity measures in the Greek society has led to excesses of the Greek Government that in order to keep in power imposes censorship on the media and applies measures of repression and cruel torture to citizens participating in demonstrations against fascism or the harsh austerity.
We strongly ask you to spread this information to aid us in making known worldwide the inhuman and undemocratic impositions of this government and to put an end to the violation of our human rights.