13-Feb-12 World View: Greece Approves Austerity Measures Among Riots as Athens Burns

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • China's Xi Jinping visits Washington amid ideological battle back home
  • Arab League calls for U.N. joint peacekeeping force in Syria
  • Violent riots in Athens, Greece, as Parliament debates austerity measures
  • Greece's Parliament approves austerity measures demanded by EU-IMF
  • Greece to make official offer to private investors by Friday
  • Prosecutors refusing to investigate MF Global's 'vaporized' $1.2 billion

 

China's Xi Jinping visits Washington amid ideological battle back home

China's vice president, and presumptive president-to-be, Xi Jinping is visiting Washington this week. 2012 is the year of the next once per decade generational change in China's leadership, and if everything goes smoothly, then the Xi will replace Hu Jintao as president of China later this year. The generational shift will be more tumultuous than in the past, because the existing leadership that grew up during Mao's Communist Revolution will be replaced with a younger generation (like our Boomers) with personal memory of the bloody revolution, and with no fear of confrontations that might lead to violence. Today, there's an important ideological split. One camp promotes a Maoist revival, completely with red-song campaigns and revolutionary rallies. The other camp, favored by Xi, is more liberal, stressing the rule of law and land-rights protection. Wall Street Journal (Access)

 

Arab League calls for U.N. joint peacekeeping force in Syria

With the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad continuing to treat his people as cockroaches to be exterminated, the Arab League met on Sunday to decide what to do next. The result was another silly, toothless proposal: The United Nations Security Council should approve a joint peacekeeping force, with the Arab states. There are several minor problems with this proposal. First, al-Assad would never allow it. Second, Russia and China would veto the proposal. And third, there's no peace to keep anyway. AP


Violent riots in Athens, Greece, as Parliament debates austerity measures

Athens burning on Sunday

Athens burning on Sunday

Gangs of self-styled anarchists in hoods used Molotov cocktails to torch shops in Syntagma Square in central Athens, Greece. Hooded youths smashed the facades of several stores and witnesses reported instances of looting. Earlier, groups of youths had clashed with police, pelting them with rocks and firebombs. Police responded by firing large clouds of acrid tear gas. Branches of major foreign chains and banks were targeted with a branch of Starbucks among those to go up in flames. On the streets many businesses were ablaze, including the neo-classical home to the Attikon cinema dating from 1870 and a building housing the Asty, an underground cinema used by the Gestapo during World War Two as a torture chamber. Kathimerini

 

Greece's Parliament approves austerity measures demanded by EU-IMF

After a stormy day both inside and outside Greece's Parliament building, the lawmakers approved, by a vote of 199 to 74, a collection of austerity measures demanded by the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a condition for receiving a €14.5 billion bailout loan need to prevent Greece from bankruptcy on March 20. The austerity measures included a 22% reduction in minimum wage, 15,000 civil service job cuts this year, and reductions in pensions. Bloomberg

 

Greece to make official offer to private investors by Friday

The Parliamentary passage of austerity measures does not mean that the bailout money approval is a fait accompli. There is still another major task that's been hovering over Europe for several months, and it's easily as complex as the passage of the austerity measures. It's the "private sector involvement" (PSI) deal, where private investors holding short-term toxic Greek bonds "voluntarily" exchange them for bonds guaranteed by the EU -- 30-year bonds worth 70% less than the nominal value of the toxic bonds. There are hard issues still to be decided: Is the 70% haircut enough? Should the European Central Bank (ECB) take any loss on the €50 billion in Greek bonds in their portfolio? Will enough investors be willing to participate "voluntarily"? Will it be possible to avoid a "default event" that will trigger the payment of credit default swaps (CDSs), with a possible chain reaction with unpredictable results? Kathimerini

 

Prosecutors refusing to investigate MF Global's 'vaporized' $1.2 billion

It's been over three months since hedge fund firm MF Global Holdings Ltd. collapsed, and $1.2 billion in customer funds was "vaporized" in the last few days. As usual, the Obama Justice Department is refusing to investigate what happened to that money, according to blogger Francine McKenna. In the case, the reason is pretty obvious: the CEO was Jon S. Corzine, a favorite of the White House, and there's little question that the lost of the $1.2 billion was criminal fraud. Presumably, the fraud was committed by the pals in the Administration. Forbes


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