World View: Eurozone Demands Six-Day Work Week for Greece

This morning's key headlines from
  • Bullfights to the death being televised in Spain and Portugal
  • Eurozone demands that Greeks should work six days a week
  • Six thousand would-be immigrants wait in Turkey to be smuggled into Greece
  • Televised speeches
  • Israel's government flailing over whether to attack Iran

Bullfights to the death being televised in Spain and Portugal

Televised bullfights were banned by Spain's Socialist government in 2005, but that government was ousted last November, and the prime minister Mariano Rajoy is a staunch defender of bullfights. So bullfights returned to Spain's state TV in a glittering display on Wednesday evening. Bullfighting is a major part of Spain's psyche and history, and the centuries-old events inspired the likes of Goya, Picasso and Hemingway. Televising bullfights is illegal in most of Portugal, the exception being Barrancos, near the Spanish border. The issue there has been the televising of bullfights where the bull is killed, but a special law authorizing airing bullfights to the death was passed in 2002. Animal rights activists say that bullfighting is cruel and vulgar, while bullfighting proponents point out that it's a popular tourist attraction. Newser and The Portugal News

Eurozone demands that Greeks should work six days a week

A leaked letter from the "troika" of organizations bailing out Greece -- the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) -- contains a list of demands that Greece must implement in return for further bailouts. The demands include the following: 

  • Increase the number of maximum workdays to six days per week for all sectors.
  • Increase flexibility of work schedules; set the minimum daily rest to 11 hours; delink the working hours of employees from the opening hours of the establishment; eliminate restrictions on minimum/maximum time between morning and afternoon shifts; allow the consecutive two-week leave to be taken anytime during the year in seasonal sectors.
  • Have a permanent single-rate statutory minimum wage.
  • Reduce employers' welfare contributions.

Greece's prime minister Antonis Samaras is pleading with the Troika to give him two more years to implement austerity reforms, and the leaked letter reveals the detail of eurozone intrusion into Greece's economy and social culture that will be demanded in return for the delay, which would require a third bailout. However, many Greeks say that they will refuse to work six days per week. 

One policeman is quoted as saying: "They have slashed our salary by 50 per cent and are threatening even more cuts - now they are demanding that we work even more days for less money? No one in their right mind will stand for it!"

Troika officials will be arriving in Athens on Friday to discuss the plan. Guardian (London) and Deutsche-Presse Agentur

Six thousand would-be immigrants wait in Turkey to be smuggled into Greece

The land border between Turkey and Greece has been effectively closed to illegal immigration, because of a massive crackdown by Greek border guards. Migrants try to get into Greece as a pathway to the rest of Europe, where they hope to find jobs. But with the land border closed, the last two weeks have seen a surge of migrants from the Turkish coast entering Greece via the islands of the Aegean Sea. As many as 6,000 would-be immigrants are currently gathered in neighboring Turkey, waiting their turn to board smuggling ships to bring them to Greece. Kathimerini

Televised speeches

With all the economic and geopolitical problems in the world, I can't believe that as I'm writing this I'm listening to a speech televised on all networks by a young female whining that some women have to pay for their own contraceptives. To paraphrase Clarence Thomas in 1991, this is a national disgrace. 

Israel's government flailing over whether to attack Iran

Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately adjourned a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, because there had been leaks from the previous day's meeting. According to the leaked story, the members of the security cabinet were shocked to hear that the country's different intelligence agencies – the Mossad, Shin Bet, and Army Intelligence – do not agree about the time frame for a potential Iranian attack. I've been reading for almost ten years that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities was imminent, but it's never happened. I continue to expect that it won't happen at all, and the confusion within Israel is an example of why I don't expect it to happen. We'll see. Jerusalem Post

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