Apr 032013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* ERIC TOUSSAINT: “THE SOCIAL FORUM, UPON CONTACT WITH A REALITY AT BOILING POINT, HAS PRODUCED A POSITIVE CHEMICAL REACTION.”

By Sergio Ferrari, Eric Toussaint, CADTM

Eric Toussaint, CADTM

Eric Toussaint, CADTM

Assessment after the World Social Forum in Tunis 2013

The World Social Forum (WSF) wound up its ninth centralized edition on Saturday, 30 March in the Tunisian capital with a significant quantifiable end result. More than 50,000 participants, almost one thousand activities of many kinds; an opening march on Tuesday the 26th that brought out 25,000 people and a tightly-packed closing march in solidarity with the Palestinian people. “A very positive forum” according to the analysis of Belgian historian and activist Eric Toussaint, coordinator of the Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt (Comité pour l’Annulation de la Dette du Tiers Monde – CADTM) member of the FSM International piloting committee since its inception.

Question: What were the most important aspects of this new edition of the WSF?

Eric Toussaint: There was a strong Tunisian presence in many activities. For example, we observed this in the workshops and activities on the debt. Also in the Social Movements Assembly on Friday the 29th. The great interest youth and social movements showed towards this initiative was obvious. This is a very positive aspect of our evaluation.

Q: Does this mean that the WSF comes out of this Maghrebi session strengthened ?

E.T: No doubt about it. WSF has been going through an obvious crisis for some years now. In particular, its International Piloting Committee, as a facilitating body, has faced huge difficulties finding a new dynamic. At the same time, the Social Forum indisputably remains the only worldwide arena and framework where social movements can meet. In this sense, in the absence of an alternative, the WSF remains very important. Since Tunisian and the region’s civil society remain actively mobilized, this is a breath of fresh air and renewal for this international occasion. The Social forum, in coming into contact with a society in movement, in ebullition, has produced a chemical reaction; a very interesting interaction that we have observed during this edition.

Q: According to your assessment, holding the WSF in a country and region in turmoil could also be a future antidote against any risk of institutionalizing this global occasion…

E.T: Precisely. We could imagine an upcoming edition of the WSF in Egypt if a group of organizations there proposed to host it. In fact, Egypt is experiencing a completely electric situation with a trade union movement proportionally stronger in the industrial sector than in Tunisia, with a peasantry hard-hit by the World Bank’s neoliberal policies and land privatization; but social explosions could take place in other parts of the world and different scenarios are imaginable.

Q: How can the difficulties and the sort of paralysis faced by the WSF International piloting committee be unblocked?

E.T: I don’t have these solutions. I see that a series of forces on the committee want to continue to play this role. Tunis teaches us that a certain point we have to free the terrain and make way for new forces. The CADTM will continue to be a member of the International committee, there are very interesting and dynamic players within it, with whom we collaborate closely. We also know that there is a series of very institutionalized forces that manage the Social Forum “Brand” according to their interests.

Q: Despite all this, you think that we should continue to strengthen it?

E.T: Without a doubt the WSF is useful. We can see, as happened here, that a very positive dynamic is developing independently of operational problems.

Q: Within this optimistic assessment, what are the negative aspects that emerge from this edition?

E.T: USAID was among the organizations that set up stands. It is a US cooperation agency present in all destabilization operations around the planet. It is an instrument of US government international policy. This organization has no reason to be at the Forum. This is cause for concern, all the more so as it involves a violation of the 2001 Charter of Principles. So I understand the participants who ejected this organization from the perimeter of the El Manar university campus where the Forum was taking place.

We have also seen – just as happened during the earlier 2011 Social Forum in Dakar – that the Moroccan monarchy sent a hundred or so individuals paid to pose as members of non-governmental and social organizations. Some of these were police, whose mission was to prevent anyone from raising the demand for an independent Sahrawian State We saw that in Dakar, and it happened once again on Friday the 29th at the social movements assembly… Provocateurs linked to the Moroccan regime swarmed the floor in an attempt to prevent any reference being made, in the Social Movements declaration, to the necessary solidarity with the Sahrawian people. This was another negative aspect, though it was not the WSF’s responsibility. In particular, we have to find ways of defending Moroccan activists who have the courage to speak out for the democratic right to national sovereignty.

Sergio Ferrari, from Tunis

Translated by Marie Lagatta and Mike Krolikowski

FSM Asamblea de Movi­mientos Sociales. Fot­o: Sergio Ferrari

FSM Asamblea de Movi­mientos Sociales. Fot­o: Sergio Ferrari

READ @ http://cadtm.org/Eric-Toussaint-The-Social-Forum

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* REPORT: GOLD MINING IN CHALKIDIKI – PART 1: GREEK GOVERNMENTS IN THE SERVICE OF MINING COMPANIES

By Mariniki Alevizopoulou, BorderlineReports

Riot Police using teargas on protesters (left); Protester showing a scar from a plastic bullet used by police (center); A plastic bullet found in Skouries (right). (All photos via antigoldgreece.wordpress.com)

Riot Police using teargas on protesters (left); Protester showing a scar from a plastic bullet used by police (center); A plastic bullet found in Skouries (right). (All photos via antigoldgreece.wordpress.com)

The controversy over gold mining in Chalkidiki, a province of rare natural beauty in northern Greece, is dominated by the specter of far-reaching, long-term environmental destruction. However, dubious political machinations between Greek Government officials and private companies, scandalous agreements against the interests of the Greek State, and a violent police crackdown on locals who protest against the mines, also hang over this deeply divisive issue. Now, we learn that Eldorado Gold, the main investor, has a cunning plan to solidify its investment: It will use Article 107 of the Greek Constitution, on the protection of foreign capital. And the Greek Government is ready to dance to the company’s music. Yet, the question remains: Will the investment be overall beneficial to Greece? The evidence at hand suggests it will not.

A few days ago, after an attack by masked intruders, who destroyed machinery at the gold mining site, the Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal: “This kind of act cannot be tolerated. Greece is a modern European country, and we will at all costs protect foreign investment in the country”.

So, it appears that Canadian multinational Eldorado Gold, one of the biggest mining companies in the world, is winning the battle so far, having found a staunch ally in the Greek Government. This is hardly news. Greek Governments have supported the interest of mining companies for decades. The company has made assurances it will make “every effort possible” to protect Chalkidiki’s unique nature. In any case, according to the investment’s supporters in the Government, in the Council of State (the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece), and in most Greek Media, environmental concerns should not be made into such a huge issue: even if the environment suffers to a point, they say, that’s a fair price to pay for such an investment, which will bring much needed development to crisis-laden Greece.

But is this the case? Both the evidence at hand and the history of gold mining in Chalkidiki contradict the view of the investment’s supporters. They rather show that Eldorado Gold’s investment won’t be all that beneficial to Greece – at least within the terms the Greek Government appears so eager to offer. It will certainly be beneficial to the company though, which is poised to take advantage of a reserve estimated to be worth 13bn euros. […]

READ @ http://borderlinereports.net/2013/02/23/report-gold-mining-in-chalkidiki-part-1-greek-governments-in-the-service-of-mining-companies/

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* KOSTAS VAXEVANIS: GREEKS READ THE FOREIGN PRESS TO FIND OUT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN GREECE

Source: Guardian UK

Greek journalist, Kostas Vaxevanis

Greek journalist, Kostas Vaxevanis

Kostas Vaxevanis, the editor of Hot Doc, the Greek magazine which published the ‘Lagarde list’ of alleged Greek tax avoiders, faces a new trial on a charge of breaching private data. He says that Greek journalism has been compromised by its corrupt owners who have got too close to the politicians it should be exposing

VIDEO @ http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video/2013/apr/03/kostas-vaxevanis-greeks-foreign-press-video

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* A LINE OF DEMARCATION THROUGH THE EUROZONE IS TAKING SHAPE

Source: TestosteronePit

The Cypriot Deal

The Cypriot Deal

Everyone learned a lesson from the “bail-in” of the Cypriot banks: Russian account holders who’d laundered and stored their money on the sunny island; bank bondholders who’d thought they’d always get bailed out; Cypriot politicians whose names showed up on lists of loans that had been extended by the Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank but were then forgiven and written off. Even brand-new Finance Minister Michael Sarris who got axed because he’d been chairman of Laiki when this was going on. His lesson: when a cesspool of corruption blows up, no one is safe. And German politicians learned a lesson too: that it worked!

“With the Cyprus aid package, it was proven that countries like Germany, the Netherlands, and Finland, if they stick together, are able to push for a strict stability course,” Hans Michelbach told the Handelsblatt. The chairman of the finance committee in the German Parliament and member of the CSU, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partner, called for deeper collaboration of the triple-A countries in the Eurozone “to strengthen the confidence of citizens and investors in the common currency.”

There are still five in that euro triple-A club: Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland, and Luxembourg. “It would be good if we could also convince Luxembourg to participate more strongly in this stability collaboration,” he said. It would be in the best interest of Luxembourg as major financial center, he added. A reference to Luxembourg’s precarious status, as Cyprus had learned, of being a tiny country with outsized banks that it could not bail out by itself. […]

READ @ http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2013/4/2/a-line-of-demarcation-through-the-eurozone-is-taking-shape.html

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* THE CONFISCATION OF BANK SAVINGS TO “SAVE THE BANKS”: THE DIABOLICAL BANK “BAIL-IN” PROPOSAL

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

IMF = crimes against humanity ... repeat offender

Is the Cyprus Bank “Bail-in” a “dress rehearsal” for things to come?

Is  a “Savings Heist” in the European Union and North America envisaged which could result in the outright confiscation of bank deposits?

In Cyprus, the entire payments system has been disrupted leading to the demise of the real economy.

Pensions and wages are no longer paid. Purchasing power has collapsed.

The population is impoverished.

Small and medium sized enterprises are spearheaded into bankruptcy.

Cyprus is a country with a population of one million.

What would happen if similar ‘hair cut” procedures were to be applied in the U.S. or the European Union?

According to the Washington based Institute of International Finance (IIF) (right) which represents the consensus of the global financial establishment, “the Cyprus approach of hitting depositors and creditors when banks fail, would likely become a model for dealing with collapses elsewhere in Europe.” (Economic Times, March 27, 2013).

It should be understood that prior to the Cyprus onslaught, the confiscation of bank deposits had been contemplated in several countries. Moreover, the powerful financial actors who triggered the bank crisis in Cyprus, are also the architects of  the socially devastating austerity measures imposed in the European Union and North America.

Does Cyprus constitute a “model” or scenario?

Are there “lessons to be learned” by these powerful financial actors, to be applied elsewhere, at some later stage, in the Eurozone’s banking landscape? […]

READ @ http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-confiscation-of-bank-savings-to-save-the-banks/5329411

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* CYPRUS BAILOUT INSIDE INFO? 132 COMPANIES PULL OUT OVER $900mn IN DEPOSITS

Source: RT

People queue outside a Bank of Cyrpus (BoC)branch in the center of the capitol, Nicosia, on April 2, 2013 (AFP Photo / Patrick Baz

People queue outside a Bank of Cyrpus (BoC)branch in the center of the capitol, Nicosia, on April 2, 2013 (AFP Photo / Patrick Baz

One hundred and thirty-two companies reportedly had inside knowledge of Cyprus’ impending levy tax as they withdrew deposits worth US$916 million in the run-up to the bailout deal.

The companies withdrew their savings in the two week period (between March 1 to March 15) leading up to the rescue deal that enforced heavy losses on wealthy depositors in Cypriot banks, according to Greek newspaper Proto Thema.

Shortly after this the EU ministers and the IMF hammered out a 10-billion-euro (US$13 billion) bailout agreement with Cyprus, which included a one-time tax on deposits held in Cypriot banks.

In the meantime all banks in Cyprus temporarily froze the amounts required to pay the tax on their clients’ deposits and stopped all transactions while the government negotiated the details of the agreement.

The companies on the list withdrew their deposits in euro, USD, GBP and Russian rubles and later transferred to banks outside of Cyprus. The total amount withdrawn comes to US$916 million. […]

READ / LIST @ http://rt.com/news/cyprus-companies-withdraw-money-218/

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* THE LESSON FROM CYPRUS: EUROPE IS POLITICALLY BANKRUPT

Source: TheAutomaticEarth

The Fall Of Constantinople

The Fall Of Constantinople

Over the past week, Europe, or rather the present EU leadership, has done damage to itself it will never be able to repair.

It seems to escape everbody, but that doesn’t make it any less true: people from Portugal to Spain to Italy to Greece to Cyprus and Ireland are worse off today than they were when they first adopted the euro. Moreover, their economies are all getting worse as we speak and projected to plunge further. The once highly touted blessings of the common currency are by now lost on most of southern Europe; for them, the euro has been a shortcut to disaster.

Until Cyprus, the EU had always maintained two prime objectives (and spent €5 trillion over 5 years to prove it): keeping all members in the eurozone, and guaranteeing all bank deposits under €100,000. These objectives exist from now on only in words. Brussels has threatened to both grab deposits of small savers and throw Cyprus out of the monetary union. Two watershed moments in one.

The membership of the European Union, the subsequent introduction of the euro and the seemingly endless flow of credit that came with these “privileges” provided the region with a temporary illusion of increasing wealth and new-found prosperity. Today it knows that none of it was real, or earned; it was all borrowed. It’s time to pay up but there’s no money left. It needs to be borrowed. From the European core and its banking system.

The EU’s financial scorched earth strategies have left its Mediterranean members with highly elevated unemployment rates, fast rising taxation levels, huge cuts to pensions, benefits and services and above all insanely high debt levels, personal, corporate and sovereign. And now, as ironic as it is cynical, their savings. The only thing that keeps the nations from going bankrupt is more debt, largely in the form of ECB loans. […]

READ @ http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/the-lesson-from-cyprus-europe-is-politically-bankrupt.html

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* DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? – ANONYMOUS

Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiLZpuplzRw

Apr 022013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* POLITICAL FALLOUT BEGINS: FORMER CYPRUS PRESIDENT NAMED IN LOAN WRITE-OFFS LEADING TO BANKING INSOLVENCY

By Tyler Durden, zerohedge

6070958

A few days ago, when news hit that Cyprus has begun investigating who the people were who had managed to pull cash out of nation’s insolvent banks, both during the capital control “blackout” period and previously, we asked “how much longer will the rule of law remain in Cyprus once full blown class warfare is unleashed, and the 99% are generously handed the list of the 1% who were “informed” enough to pull their money from the flaming sovereign equivalent of Bernie Madoff, while every other uninsured depositor is facing losses of up to 80%, and soon 100%?” We may get the answer much sooner than expected, as the first iteration of this list: one naming the beneficiaries of millions of loans written off by the now insolvent Cyprus banks and therefore indirectly responsible for the “impairment” of the banks’ depositors, was released yesterday by Greece’s daily Ethnos newspaper. But what virtually assures substantial political fallout is that among the people listed is Cyprus’ former president, George Vassiliou.

Kathimerini summarized the situation as follows:

A list of Cypriot companies and politicians that allegedly had millions of euros in loans written off by the three Cypriot lenders at a center of an unprecedented banking crisis on the Mediterranean island has been forward to Cyprus’s parliamentary ethics committee after its publication in Greece’s daily Ethnos newspaper.

According to the revelations, Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank (Laiki) and Hellenic Bank — which were earlier this week acquired by Greece’s Piraeus Bank — has forgiven companies, MPs and local authority officials millions of euros in loans over the past five years. The list reportedly features the names of politicians from all Cypriot parties except Social Democracy (EDEK) and the Social Ecology Movement (KKO).

Readers may or may not be shocked to learn that corruption and cronyism, in broad terms, was alive and well in Cyprus in the months and years leading to the failure of the local banking system with its publicly elected politicians at the very forefront:

According to Ethnos, Bank of Cyprus wrote off the 2.8-million-euro loan of a hotel with ties to the communist-rooted Progressive Party (AKEL) and forgave significant portions of many other loans. For instance a national labor union is said to have been forgiven 193,000 euros of a 554,000-euro loan. An unnamed company was forgiven 110,000 euros from a 1.83-million-euro loan, a prominent deputy of the centrist Democratic Rally (DISY) party saw 101,000 euros of a 168,000-euro loan written off and a company owned by the brother of a former minister of the conservative Democratic Party (DIKO) had 1.28 million euros of a 1.59-million-euro loan written off.

The list refers to several other MPs and the mayor of large city who allegedly had significant portions of their loans forgiven by Bank of Cyprus. Companies linked to a member of the bank’s board, to the daughter-in-law of a DIKO deputy and several others also appear to have been offered significant loan relief by the Bank of Cyprus.

As for Laiki Bank, it is said to have written off several loans taken out by MPs of AKEL and DISY. The bank also appears to have written off 5.8 million US dollars in debt from a company whose majority shareholder is said to be a well-known Cypriot politician. The ex wife of a senior ministry official and a company owned by a local ambassador also appear to have been facilitated. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-03-30/political-fallout-begins-former-cyprus-president-named-loan-write-offs-leading-banki

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* LIST RELEASED WITH 132 NAMES WHO PULLED CYPRUS DEPOSITS AHEAD OF ”CONFISCATION DAY”

Source: SigmaLive

401 (1)Money transfers made within 15 days, namely from 1 until March 15. On Friday, March 15, had met the Eurogroup, which officially decided to impose a tax on deposits by companies and individuals in all financial institutions in Cyprus.

These 132 companies and individuals have withdrawn all deposits in euros, dollars and rubles, which were transferred to other banks outside Cyprus.

The disclosure of the list, which shows that the outflow of deposits from local banks other financial institutions outside Cyprus became massively raises suspicion that some had inside information about the decisions taken by the other 16 eurozone countries in exchange for financing deficits of the economy.

In listings, and the company is Loutsios & Sons Ltd, which carried 21 million deposit in a UK bank, while the owner of the company is alleged to have family ties with the President of the Republic, Nikos Anastasiadis.

The first column are names of companies and individuals in the second record of the amounts withdrawn in the third column refers to the amount withdrawn in the same currency, the currency in the fourth and the fifth and last column refers to the date of transfer. […]

READ / COMPLETE LIST@ http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=el&u=http://www.sigmalive.com/news/local/38012&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://sigmalive.com/news/local/38012%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D965%26bih%3D699&sa=X&ei=IwZbUf6sH4S3hQelmYCQBA&sqi=2&ved=0CDAQ7gEwAA

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* VIDEO: HOW 1% ASSET-HOLES’ OFFSHORE TAX HAVENS HIDE $21 – $32 TRILLION

Source: Washington’s Blog

McKinsey Chief Economist James Henry leads explanation in this brilliant 53-minute video tour of how the 1% hide $21 to $32 trillion in tax havens. The US top seven banks hide over $10 trillion, many top US corporations claim income losses, while the bottom 90%’s tax burden increases – in part to pay top corporations’ tax refunds.

Only the middle class and poor pay taxes.

Since 1966, inflation-adjusted annual income for the bottom 90% of Americans increased just $59, while the 1% increased income average by $625,000, and the 1% of the 1% increased average incomes by $18,700,000 per year.

Our choices seem to be only two:

  • Surrender all previous Americans’ sacrifices for our freedoms, and damn our children to escalating psychopathic policies of war-murders and debt slavery.

The video is from Taxodus.

VIDEO / READ @ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/03/video-how-1-asset-holes-offshore-tax-havens-hide-21-32-trillion.html

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* FOR CYPRUS, THE PAIN IS ONLY JUST STARTING

By Tyler Durden, zerohedge

SerfsIf the suffering, yet docile, Cypriot serfs thought deposit confiscation would be the end of their problems under the European feudal system, they are about to be shocked. Because as part of their banking sector bailout, the country is set to get a “loan” from the Troika, a loan which comes with a Memorandum of Understanding, aka a “blueprint for austerity”, with dictates terms for government revenue increases and spending cuts (of the variety that nearly caused America’s leader to blow a gasket when he was describing the untold devastation that would result if the rate of acceleration in US budget spending dared to be slowed down even by a tiny bit). Today, a draft of the revised Cypriot MOU being prepared by the head of the IMF mission to the island nation, Delia Velculescu, leaked and can be found in its 24 page entirety here.

However, for the benefit of our Cypriot readers, here is the important part: the listing of the anticipated austerity tsunami coming, not to mention healthcare system, “pension reform” changes and other proposals the ECB and the IMF are imposing on Cyprus as part of their generosity to keep the recently insolvent country as a well-behaving serf in the Eurozone.

Key highlights:

  • Freeze public sector pensions
  • Increase the statutory retirement age by 2 years for the various categories of employees
  • Reduce preferential treatment of specific groups of employees, like members of the army and police force, in the occupational pension plans, in particular concerning the contribution to the lump-sum benefits;
  • Reduce certain benefits and privileges for state officials and senior government officials, in particular by
    suspending the right to travel first/business class by state officials,
    senior government officials and employees with the exception of
    transatlantic travel.
  • Increase excise duties on energy, i.e., on oil products, by increasing tax rate on motor fuels (petrol and gasoil) by EUR 0.07
  • Increase the standard VAT rate from 17% to 18%.
  • Introduce a tax of 20% on gains distributed to winners of betting by the National Lottery for winnings of EUR 5,000 or more
  • Increase fees for public services by at least 17% of the current values
  • Increase excise duties on tobacco products, in particular on fine-cut smoking tobacco, from EUR 60/kg to EUR 150/kg. Increase excise duties on cigarettes by EUR 0.20/per packet of 20 cigarettes.
  • Introduce a permanent contribution of 3% on pensionable earnings to Widows and Orphans Fund by state officials who are entitled to a pension and gratuity. Introduce a contribution of 6.8% on pensionable earnings by officials, who are entitled to a pension and gratuity but are not covered by the government’s pension scheme or any other similar plan;
  • Actuarially reducing pension entitlements from the General Social Insurance Scheme by 0.5% per month for retirements earlier than the statutory retirement age at the latest from January 2013, in line with the planned increase in the minimum age for entitlement to an unreduced pension to reach 65 (by 6 months per year), between 2013 and 2016;
  • Ensure a reduction of seasonal hourly paid employees by 992 from 1806 in 2012 to 814.
  • Implement a four-year plan as prepared by the Public Administration and Personnel Department aimed at the abolition of at least 1880 permanent posts over the period 2013-2016.
  • Ensure additional revenues from property taxation of at least 70 million by updating the 1980 prices through application of the CPI index for the period 1980 to 2012
  • Increase the statutory corporate income tax rate to 12.5%; Increase the tax rate on interest and dividend income to 30%.
  • Increase the bank levy on deposits raised by banks and credit institutions in Cyprus from 0.11% to 0.15% with 25/60 of the revenue earmarked for a special account for a Financial Stability Fund
  • Undertake a reform of the tax system for motor vehicles, based on environmentally-friendly principles, with a view to raising additional revenues, through the annual road tax, the registration fee and excise duties, including motor fuel duties.
  • Ensure a reduction in total outlays for social transfers by at least EUR 113 million through: (a) the abolition of a number of redundant and overlapping schemes such as the mothers allowance, other family allowances and educational allowances; and (b) the abolition of supplementary allowances under public assistance, the abolition of the special grant and the streamlining of the Easter allowance for pensioners.
  • Ensure a reduction of at least EUR 29 million in the total outlays of allowances for employees in the public and broader public sector by i) taxing pensionable allowances provided to senior government officials and employees (secretarial services, representation, and hospitality allowances) in the public and broader public sector  ii) reducing the allowances provided to broader public sector employees and reducing all other allowances of broader public sector employees, government officials and hourly paid employees by 15%; and iii) reducing the daily overseas subsistence allowance for business trips by 15%. Ensure a further reduction the subsistence allowance of the current allowance when lunch/dinner is offered by 50% (20% – 45% of overseas subsistence allowance instead of 40% – 90% currently paid).

And last but not least:

  • Increase excise duties on beer by 25% from EUR 4.78 per hl to EUR 6.00 per hl per degree of pure alcohol of final product. Increase excise duties on ethyl alcohol from EUR 598.01 to EUR 956.82 per hl of pure alcohol. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-04-01/cyprus-pain-only-just-starting

READ CYPRUS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (pdf) @ http://mignatiou.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/EU_DraftMemorandumforCyprus-01APRIL20131.pdf

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* DEBT = SERFDOM

By Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds

ultimate-power

Debt-serfdom and the dominance of Financial Power are two sides of the same coin.

Let’s be clear about three things:

1. Too Big to Fail financialization is the metastasizing cancer that has crippled democracy and capitalism.

2. Financialization feeds on expanding debt and cannot survive without it.

3. Debt is serfdom. I have covered this in depth for years:

The New Road to Serfdom: A Negative-Equity Mortgage (May 9, 2006)

The Company Store, Debt and Serfdom (October 24, 2008)

Debt-Serfdom Is Now the New American Norm (October 18, 2011)

The Origins of American Debt-Serfdom (October 19, 2011)

EU Fiscal Union = EU Debt Serfdom (December 7, 2011)

Debt Serfdom in One Chart (May 4, 2012)

By Incentivizing Debt, We’ve Guaranteed Debt-Serfdom and Stagnation (June 12, 2012)

The Road to Debt-Serfdom (January 25, 2013)

There are three key dynamics to debt-serfdom:

A. The serf is never free of debt, i.e. he/she is programmed to being indebted for life.

B. Most of the serf’s income is devoted to servicing debt.

C. Most of the debt is unproductive: marginal-utility college education, needless auto loan, leveraged McMansion that loses value in the inevitable speculative bust, and so on.

There are many ways to state these fundamentals and shelfloads of books have been written to describe the many mechanisms of financialization and serfdom, but we can summarize the dynamics in a few additional points:

4. Financialization requires a corruptible, highly centralized State that enables the extreme concentration of financial assets and power. Recall that debt is the banks’ primary asset; every loan a debt-serf takes adds to the banks’ wealth and power:

5. This creates a feedback loop: the more concentrated the financial wealth and power, the more readily it can corrupt/influence the Central State to grant it quasi-monopolies and the privileges needed to gather even more concentrated power. This additional power makes it even easier to buy control of the State machinery. Democracy is reduced to a PR facade.

6. The Financial Powers need the Central State to encourage debt, which is the lifeblood of financialization. Without the State enabling and pushing debt (student loans, subsidized mortgages, mortgage interest deductions, Federal deficit spending funded by Treasury debt, etc.), the Financial Powers (i.e. the Dark Side) would be unable to continue concentrating wealth and power via metastasizing financialization, i.e. the dependence on ever-greater debt and leverage to generate profits, growth and taxes. […]

READ / VIDEO @ http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com.es/2013/04/debt-serfdom.html