- International Monetary Fund to Greece: Drop Dead!
- IMF's Lagarde softens her remarks about Greece after backlash
- UK to block immigration into UK if Greece leaves euro
- Israel's attitude towards West Bank becomes increasingly nationalistic
- Dozens dead in biggest one-day massacre by Syria's Assad regime
International Monetary Fund to Greece: Drop Dead!
International Monetary Fund managing director, Christine Lagarde, has ratcheted up the hostility between European officials and Greeks with blunt warnings that it's "payback time" for the Greeks. Lagarde indicated that there will be no softening of the terms of Greece's austerity package:
I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day, sharing one chair for three of them, and who are very keen to get an education. I have them in my mind all the time. Because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens. ...
Do you know what? As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time. All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax. I think they should also help themselves collectively. ... By all paying their tax.
Lagarde's remarks come after the release of figures indicating a sharp fall in tax revenues – down by a third in a year. Under the terms of the country's bailout, Athens has agreed to improve Greece's poor record for tax collection in order to reduce its budget deficit, and Lagarde's remarks are evidence of a growing impatience in the international community. Reports surfaced in Germany and France of preparations being made to cope with Greece's possible departure from the single currency after its election on 17 June. Guardian
IMF's Lagarde softens her remarks about Greece after backlash
In a statement late on Saturday, the IMF's Christine Lagarde expressed sympathy for Greeks “and the challenges they are facing” and said that her comments regarding tax evasion were in reference to the “most privileged." She issued the statement after furious responses from Greeks, some suggesting that Lagarde was racist. Evangelos Venizelos, leader of the left-of-center PASOK party, said:
Nobody should humiliate a people during a crisis and I call on Mrs Lagarde, who insulted the Greek people with her attitude, to rethink what she wanted to say.
The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), the party leading in the polls for the June 16 election, and whose leader Alexis Tsipras has said he would terminate the austerity measures and has indicated that he thought that the EU and IMF have been bluffing when they said that Greece would receive no more aid in that case, issued a statement:
The Lagarde comments reveal the cynicism and true role of the International Monetary Fund, which is responsible for the destruction of whole societies. PASOK and New Democracy bear huge responsibility for submitting the country to an IMF program, which leads to bankruptcy and poverty.
UK to block immigration into UK if Greece leaves euro
Britain's Home Secretary, Theresa May, says that "work is ongoing" to implement emergency immigration controls to restrict an influx of Greeks and other European Union residents into Britain if Greece leaves the eurozone. However, there are growing concerns that if Greece was forced to leave the euro, it would effectively go bankrupt and millions could lose their jobs and consider looking for work abroad. The crisis could spread quickly to other vulnerable countries such as Spain, Ireland and Portugal, although Britain is regarded as a safe haven because it is outside the single currency. Telegraph
Israel's attitude towards West Bank becomes increasingly nationalistic
We recently reported that nationalist political parties are gaining strength in Israel. This increase in nationalism is also being reflected in attitudes towards settlements in the West Bank, according to the left-wing Peace Now activist group:
Without us noticing, the Right is creating a real revolution in public opinion regarding the territories. A bloated right-wing network is working on a few fronts: tours for the media, bloggers and influential figures in [the West Bank], a complete takeover when it comes to explaining diplomacy in pre-army programs...
However, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this increased nationalism is not being "created" by right wing media or politicians. Rather, increased nationalism is a feature of every country during a generational Crisis era, and it leads inevitably to a major crisis war. Israel National News
Dozens dead in biggest one-day massacre by Syria's Assad regime
When the Kofi Annan "peace plan" was announced in March, I called it "farcical", and time has shown that criticism to be, if anything, an understatement. The peace plan has proven to be a fig leaf behind which the United Nations could pretend that nothing was going, while the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad could claim that he was the victim of terrorist violence, and have those claims parroted by the BBC and al-Jazeera. But what happened on Saturday was so horrific that the fig leaf has been blown away, if only for one day. In one of the bloodiest single incidents in the 14-month-old protest against Assad's rule, Syrian regime forces slaughtered over 90 people, including dozens of children, and wounded hundreds other, by attacks on unarmed residential neighborhoods. According to the statement issued by the United Nations:
The Secretary-General and the Joint Special Envoy condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing, confirmed by United Nations observers, of dozens of men, women and children and the wounding of hundreds more in the village of El-Houleh, near Homs. Observers from the UN Supervision Mission in Syria have viewed the bodies of the dead and confirmed from an examination of ordnance that artillery and tank shells were fired at a residential neighbourhood.
This appalling and brutal crime involving indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force is a flagrant violation of international law and of the commitments of the Syrian Government to cease the use of heavy weapons in population centres and violence in all its forms. Those responsible for perpetrating this crime must be held to account.
Unlike typical U.N. statements, this one clearly and unequivocally blames the Assad regime, based on an examination of the artillery and tank shells fired at a residential neighborhood. As shocking as this is, it's not going to change anything for more than a day. By Monday, the BBC and other mainstream media will be back to parroting the lines about the Kofi Annan peace plan. Washington Post and Day Press News