World View: Iran's President-Elect Rouhani Corrects Quote on 'Removing' Israel

This morning's key headlines from

  • Greece's civil servants go on strike over 'mobility scheme'
  • Property values plunge 11.6% in Greece
  • Spain's unemployment rate to remain above 25% past 2018
  • U.S. State Dept. issues travel warning through end of August
  • Iran's president-elect Rouhani corrects quote on 'removing' Israel

Greece's civil servants go on strike over 'mobility scheme'

Civil servants on strike on Friday (Kathimerini)
Civil servants on strike on Friday (Kathimerini)

Greece's civil servants union, ADEDY, went on strike on Friday after the government published the names of more than 2122 primary and secondary school teachers who will be transferred to the new "mobility scheme," which will cut their salaries and require them to find other jobs or be fired after eight months. The teachers will be joined by some 3,000 municipal police officers, 1,500 administrative staff from universities and technical colleges, 1,500 public healthcare workers, and 600 staff from various social security funds and manpower organizations. As part of its commitment in return for two bailouts, the government has promised to have 12,500 civil service in the "scheme" by September, and 25,000 by the end of the year. However, as we reported two days ago, even with all the committee austerity measures, Greece's bailout will have a funding shortfall of €11 billion over the next two years. Kathimerini (Athens)

Property values plunge 11.6% in Greece

Property prices in Greece have plunged 11.3% in the last year and are poised to have fallen 40% since 2008. According to a Bank of Greece survey, a lot of the price collapse is caused by forced selling -- owners, especially of older buildings, who are desperate to sell in order to cover their obligations. As I've explained in the past, deflated bubbles, including stock market crashes, occur not because of emotional reasons, but because of forced selling. Kathimerini

Spain's unemployment rate to remain above 25% past 2018

An alarming new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) tries to put the best face on Spain's economy, and even congratulates Spain on implementing a number of austerity programs. But even with those austerity programs, the report forecasts that Spain's unemployment rate, which is currently at 27.2%, will remain above 25% past the year 2018. However, even that figure is based on optimistic assumptions that the economy will start growing again -- a forecast that's been made every quarter for several years and has repeatedly turned out to be wrong. International Monetary Fund

U.S. State Dept. issues travel warning through end of August

The State Department issued a worldwide alert to U.S. citizens traveling abroad on Friday, warning that al Qaeda and its affiliates are planning terrorist attacks that may materialize before the end of August, and suggesting that North Africa and the Middle East are the focus of the threat. The alert, which expires August 31, 2013, urges Americans traveling in that region to be aware of their surroundings: 

U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime service.

As of Friday morning, at least 21 facilities in 18 countries announced that they will close on Sunday pursuant to the State Department's guidance, including the U.S. embassies in Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Mauritania, Sudan, and Djibouti. 

The current heightened security posture in the Middle East and North Africa is a result of the lessons learned from the attack in Benghazi. 

Allegedly, the CIA is threatening anyone with knowledge of the Benghazi affairs who talks to Congress or the press will lose their job or face criminal prosecution. The Obama administration has refused to investigate anyone connected with the Benghazi incident, apparently for fear of being embarrassed, just as they adamantly refuse to investigate and prosecute anyone connected to the financial scandal, since those people are huge donors to the president. 

The only person who's gone to jail is the guy who made the video that the administration originally falsely accused of causing the Benghazi attacked. It's so wonderful to know that even though freedom of speech has been put in danger, the person who caused the Benghazi attack is no longer at large. CBS News and CNN

Iran's president-elect Rouhani corrects quote on 'removing' Israel

Female supporter holding up picture of Rouhani at a June campaign event.  Her loose hairscarf is an act of rebellion against the hardliners.  (BBC)
Female supporter holding up picture of Rouhani at a June campaign event. Her loose hairscarf is an act of rebellion against the hardliners. (BBC)

Hassan Rouhani won a surprise victory in Iran's presidential elections in mid-June and will be taking the oath of office on Saturday. (See "16-Jun-13 World View -- Iran's elections won by 'moderate' Hassan Rouhani".)

Two days ago, Iran's student news agency ISNA had quoted Rouhani as saying: "The Zionist regime is a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed." ISNA retracted this quote, and one reporter who has seen video of the actual event says that the quote was wrong and the retraction was correct. Here's what Rouhani actually said: 

In our region, in the shadow of the occupation of Palestine and dear Quds, a wound has been sitting on the body of the world of Islam, and this is a reminder that the Muslim people have not forgotten their historical right and will stand against oppression and invasion... 
In circumstances where the world of Islam is facing problems in the region, Zionists think that this is an appropriate opportunity to show a peace-seeking image of themselves while in reality they continue their invasions and transgressions of the Palestinian land.

On the other hand, at the same event, outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, "I will inform you with God as my witness, a devastating storm is on the way that will uproot the basis of Zionism," and added that Israel "has no place in the region." Jerusalem Post and American Enterprise Institute

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Greece, ADEDY, mobility scheme, Spain, unemployment, International Monetary Fund, IMF, U.S. State Department, North Africa, Mideast, Benghazi, Iran, Hassan Rouhani, Israel, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 

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