* ICELAND INDICTS 2 FORMER EXECUTIVES OF FAILED BANK
By Julia Werdigeir, NYTimes
The former chief executive and former chairman of the failed Icelandic lender Kaupthing Bank were indicted on Wednesday on charges of fraud and market manipulation.
Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, the bank’s former chief executive, and Sigurdur Einarsson, the former chairman, are expected to stand trial at the beginning of March in Iceland, their lawyers said. The court hearings could last for several months. Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The indictments are the latest step by Iceland’s special prosecutor to investigate the executives behind the 2008 collapse of Kaupthing, which crippled the country’s banking system and paralyzed its economy. […]
* MONSANTO FOUND GUILTY OF CHEMICAL POISONING IN FRANCE
By Anthony Gucciardi, Truthout
In a major victory for public health and what will hopefully lead to other nations taking action, a French court decided today that GMO crops monster Monsanto is guilty of chemically poisoning a French farmer. The grain grower, Paul Francois, says he developed neurological problems such as memory loss and headaches after being exposed to Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller back in 2004. The monumental case paves the way for legal action against Monsanto’s Roundup and other harmful herbicides and pesticides made by other manufacturers.
In a ruling given by a court in Lyon (southeast France), Francois says that Monsanto failed to provide proper warnings on the product label. The court ordered an expert opinion to determine the sum of the damages, and to verify the link between Lasso and the reported illnesses. The case is extremely important, as previous legal action taken against Monsanto by farmers has failed due to the challenge of properly linking pesticide exposure with the experienced side effects.
When contacted by Reuters, Monsanto’s lawyers declined to comment. […]
* WE ARE ALL GREEKS – THANK U.MOV
We asked for solidarity
and your answer was
We just want to say
Thank you all !!!!!!
equality justice dignity
* WHAT IS NOT BEING SAID ABOUT GREECE #SYNTAGMA
Posted by Carolina, Take the Square
The story below is has been sent to us by a Spanish friend from the marches, that is in Greece and is an example of what is not being said about Greece.
“The international media have talked about last night in Greece. They talked about fire, chaos, violence …
They talk about the 100,000 people gathered in Syntagma, but not the 200,000 who really had or the 300,000 who could not reach the place because the streets and subways were blocked by police.
They have talked about how the police provoked the start of the riots at 17:00 throwing tear gas indiscriminately throughout Syntagma Square, the demonstrators dispersed around the center of Athens, in order not to bother outside parliament.
The media has spoken of destruction indiscrimanada, have run the rumor that the National Library of Athens burned in flames. False. […]
* GREECE BEGRUDGINGLY CEDES SOVEREIGNTY IN EXCHANGE FOR BAILOUT FUNDS
The conditions the European Union set for Greece in exchange for a second bailout represent a very unusual amount of outside control and oversight of a sovereign country.
By Robert Marquand, CSMonitor
The $172 billion Greek bailout package hammered out in Brussels Tuesday averts a looming Greek default and, its architects hope, will ward off dangerous financial consequences for neighbors.
The sheer size of the bailout and a promised debt write-off of roughly 100 billion euros ($132 billion) represents a more favorable outcome than Greek officials expected. But the bailout comes with rigorous budget cuts demanded by northern European states and other requirements that represent an unprecedented amount of European Union control over a sovereign member.
“We have been learning for years how to share sovereignty in Europe,” says Loukas Tsoukalis of the University of Athens and head of the think tank Eliamep, which deals with European and foreign policy. “With the crisis, we are all being asked to take some difficult steps further. It is uncharted territory. If you are a country on the verge of default, such as Greece, sovereignty and economic survival may create awkward tradeoffs.” […]
* VICE PRESIDENT OF GREEK GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS LOSS OF NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY
The person posing as a Vice President of the Greek Government,representing the banksters and loan sharks, Theodoros Pagkalos stated during an interview on the French radio program ‘Europe 1′ that he is not against of one country’s loss of its national sovereignty.
Expressing officially the traitors, led the country to the present historic catastrophe, the grandson of a former dictator of Greece added:” I know that the loss of the national sovereignty is a problem for the Greek population but I am not against a country’s loss of its national sovereignty”. […]
* MASSIVE DEMONSTRATIONS CHALLENGE ANTI-WORKER POLICIES IN PORTUGAL, SPAIN
By Emile Schepers, People’s World
Franco and Salazar are long dead, but their spirit still moves among the ruling classes of Spain and Portugal. In both countries, workers are being put through the wringer with austerity measures that include massive cuts in wages and pensions, elimination of the social safety net, privatization of public property and attacks on labor rights. But Portuguese and Spanish workers are fighting back to a degree not seen in many years.
In Portugal (population 11 million) on February 11, more than 300,000 workers turned out in the historic Terreiro do Paço (Palace Square) in Lisbon to protest neo-liberal policies imposed by the coalition government of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho. This government, composed of the conservative Social Democratic and People’s parties, was elected in June 2011 when voters abandoned the ruling Socialist Party of then Prime Minister Jose Socrates en masse, as a protest against its own austerity polities. (In Portugal, the Socialist Party represents what would be called social democracy in other countries; the Social Democratic Party is a right wing party). The new government merely intensified those policies. The result has been extreme suffering for millions of Portuguese, as wages and pensions have been slashed, thousands of public sector workers have been laid off and the safety net shredded, all quid pro quo for a projected new $103 million European Union organized bailout.
The mass demonstration on the 11th was initiated by General Federation of Portuguese Workers-National Inter-union Coordinator (CGTP-IN) but also supported by other labor, youth and citizens’ organizations.
Armenio Carlos, Secretary General of the CGTP and a member of the Central Committee of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), has demanded that Portugal’s national debt be renegotiated, and that the austerity measures be cancelled.. The PCP summarized the immediate goals of the struggle as follows:
“Better wages, defense of rights, against the closing of enterprises, payment of back wages … against unjust and illegal against irregular [employment] and deregulation, against increased work hours, against making firing easier, for an increase in the minimum wage, for a development of the productive sector, for universal and free public services, against privatization and attacks on the transport sector, for Portugal’s future” […]
* ANTI-PIRACY PACT FALTERS AFTER PROTESTS
By Stanley Pignal, FT
An anti-piracy agreement reviled by internet freedom campaigners faces delays of over a year after the European Union opted on Wednesday to ask its own courts whether the treaty was in line with European law.
The anti-counterfeiting trade agreement, or Acta, is the latest high-profile copyright measure to falter in late stages as a result of concerted opposition campaigns organised on the internet.
The setback came after US lawmakers last month ditched Sopa and Pipa – the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act – amid a debate about online piracy. […]
* MERKEL’S LEADING GERMANY INTO THE ABYSS
Source: The Automatic Earth
Despite weakening economic growth and industrial production in recent months, Germany continues to look much better than the rest of Europe on the surface. It boasts a very low unemployment rate (although uber low-wage work has grown tremondously) and relatively small public deficits. However, none of that is stopping Merkel and her administration from betting their re-election on the fact that they can implement significant austerity in the next 2 years, while also containing the Euro crisis, and “lead by example”. Sven Böll, Peter Müller and Christian Reiermann report for Der Spiegel:
Just how healthy German finances are was revealed at the beginning of last week, in the form of an early-warning report by the European Commission. Germany was the only large country to be given an almost perfect grade.
And yet, if Merkel and Schäuble have their way, the country many in Europe already see as a model of sound budget management will become even more exemplary. “We cannot expect Greece and the other crisis-stricken countries to accept more and more austerity measures, while nothing changes in Germany,” says a close associate of the chancellor.
As such, Merkel and Schäuble want to significantly ratchet up consolidation efforts. The 2013 budget, currently being prepared at the Finance Ministry, will include many billions in savings. In addition, the last stage of the so-called debt brake — Germany’s constitutionally anchored law regulating state borrowing — will be brought forward by two years instead of going into effect as planned in 2016. Measures under discussion include cuts in social benefits and a reduction in government services. Merkel and Schäuble believe that Germany can only remain credible in the euro crisis by demonstrating that it is not simply reaping the benefits of past efforts. Germany wants to lead by example.
In other words, the German populace is about to find out just how destructive austerity can be to an economy when the world is in the midst of an ongoing Depression, in a system that values credit creation above all else. […]
* THE POST-2009 NORTHERN AND WESTERN EUROPEAN HOUSING BUBBLE
By Jesse Colombo The Bubble Bubble
It is simply mind-boggling that the world is back to blowing massive property bubbles so soon after the U.S. and peripheral European housing bubbles popped and caused such incredible economic carnage. The Western and Northern European housing bubble is proof that we are living in the era of The Bubble Bubble (a bubble of bubbles) as well as an era characterized by the most outrageous arrogance and hubris that humanity has ever experienced. The 2008 global financial crisis should have taught everyone their lesson once and for all, but we are clearly living in a world filled with excruciatingly slow-learners. More punishment is coming our way and will keep coming until we finally learn from our mistakes. Sadly, by the time we learn from our mistakes, it will likely be too late.
READ and CHARTS @ http://www.thebubblebubble.com/european-housing-bubble/
* OUTSOURCING: THE HARSH TRUTH, IT’S KILLING US
Outsourcing is not a mutually beneficial trade practice — it’s outright labor arbitrage.
By Thomas Heffner, Economy in Crisis
Economists are blind to the loss of American industries and occupations because they believe these results reflect the beneficial workings of free trade. Whatever is being lost, they think, is being replaced by something as good or better. This thinking is rooted in the doctrine of comparative advantage put forth by economist David Ricardo in 1817.
It states that, even if a country is a high-cost producer of most things, it can still enjoy an advantage, since it will produce some goods at lower relative cost than its trading partners.
Today’s economists can’t identify what the new industries and occupations might be that will replace those that are lost, but they’re certain that those jobs and sectors are out there somewhere. What does not occur to them is that the same incentive that causes the loss of one tradable good or service — cheap, skilled foreign labor — applies to all tradable goods and services. There is no reason that the “replacement” industry or job, if it exists, won’t follow its predecessor offshore. […]
* OBAMA OFFERS TO CUT CORPORATE TAX RATES TO 28%
By Jackies Calmes, NYTimes
President Obama will ask Congress to scrub the corporate tax code of dozens of loopholes and subsidies to reduce the top rate to 28 percent, down from 35 percent, while giving preferences to manufacturers that would set their maximum effective rate at 25 percent, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.
Mr. Obama also would establish a minimum tax on multinational corporations’ foreign earnings, the official said, to discourage “accounting games to shift profits abroad” or actual relocation of production overseas.
With the framework for changes that the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, will outline on Wednesday, Mr. Obama will enter an election-year debate with Republicans in Congress and in the presidential race who seek even lower taxes for businesses. But an overhaul of the corporate code is unlikely this year, given that political backdrop and the complexity of an undertaking that would generate a lobbying frenzy as businesses vie to defend old tax breaks or win new ones. […]