World View: Spain Nationalizes Bank in Descent to Greece-Level Crisis

This morning's key headlines from

  • Greece will make one last desperate attempt to form a government
  • Spain follows Greece into crisis, as Bankia bank is nationalized
  • Al-Qaeda establishes a safe haven in northern Mali

Greece will make one last desperate attempt to form a government

For a while, some people thought that Greece's political leaders might come up with a deal on Friday to form a new government from the wreckage of last week's elections, where numerous splinter parties got almost as many votes as the two major parties. But in the end, Alexis Tsipras, 38, leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), refused to make any deal that would allow EU-imposed austerity measures to continue:

"I want to stress that the rejection of this offer is not being given by me or by SYRIZA but by the Greek people and their vote on Sunday.

The [austerity] memorandum has been rejected by the Greek people. No government has the right to apply it. The issue is the austerity measures the Greek people have suffered for two years."

There will be new attempts to form a government in the next couple of days, and if they fail, then there will be new elections in June. Tsipras has stated that he expects his Syriza party to receive a lot more votes in the June elections. EU leaders have said that if Greece abandons the austerity program, then they will not receive any more bailout money. It ought to be interesting. Kathimerini

Spain follows Greece into crisis, as Bankia bank is nationalized

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has previously said that Spain's banks are doing fine, and need no bailout. That was until earlier this week, when he flip-flopped and said that Bankia, the country's fourth-largest bank, would need a bailout, and that details would be announced on Friday. Then he changed his mind again late on Wednesday, and said that Bankia would be nationalized.

The takeaway from the sordid little incident is that it shows, once again, that politicians openly lie, and are not punished for it, in the current culture of fraud and extortion. Lots of people have been aware for years that Spain's real estate bubble in the mid-2000s decade was enormous, and that it's deflating rapidly. It's currently estimated that Spain's cajas (banks) are saddled with $233 billion in trouble mortgage loans -- loans that they carry on their books as assets, but which will never be paid back. Spain's banks are among the worst problems in the eurozone, as Spain's economy follows Greece's down the drain. Spiegel

Al-Qaeda establishes a safe haven in northern Mali

The international community is raising alarms that al-Qaeda poses, as Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is moves rapidly to take control of northern Mali and establish a safe haven there, along with its terrorist ally, Ansar al-Din. Hundreds of militans from Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, and northern Africa have been flocking to Timbuktu, Kidal and Gao to join al-Qaeda brigades. In order to win the hearts of the local population, militants have been storming food stores, stealing the food, and distributing it to displaced people. One livestock trader quoted them as saying, "We're your neighbours and our goal is to raise the word of Allah alongside our brothers." Magharebia


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