10-Feb-12 World View: Austerity Negotiators in Greece Fail to Meet Another Deadline

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • Austerity negotiators in Greece fail to meet another deadline
  • Greece’s jobless rate rises to a fresh record high
  • China faces mass protests by Tibetans
  • Argentine outrage when Falklands newspaper calls president Cristina Kirchner a ‘bitch’
  • Germany expels four members of Syrian Embassy

 

Austerity negotiators in Greece fail to meet another deadline

IMF Chief Christine Lagarde and Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos (Kathimerini)

IMF Chief Christine Lagarde and Greece’s Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos (Kathimerini)

Greek politicians, working through much of Thursday night, and Greece’s Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos announced an austerity agreement with great fanfare, but it was immediately rejected as inadequate by the “troika” of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB), and European Union (EU). The Greeks had been required to find €3.3 billion in budget reductions, but the political parties could not agree on pension reductions, so they ended up almost half a billion euros short. Analysts had hoped that the Eurogroup finance ministers would approve Greece’s second bailout, for €130 billion, on Thursday. Instead, EU officials postponed a decision until next week. Until then, the Greeks will have to find the additional savings, and then get the Parliament to agree to them on Sunday or Monday. Kathimerini and Guardian

The basic problem is that the Greek politicians are not trusted. Greece joined the eurozone by using fraudulent accounting for years, until the debts overwhelmed. Then, Greece was given a €110 bailout in May of 2010. When it turned out not to be enough, the Europeans blamed the failure on Greece not fulfilling the austerity conditions of the bailout that it had committed to. The Europeans finally agreed to a new additional €130 billion bailout in July 21 of last year, provided that the Greeks implement new austerity measures. The Greeks have been stalling for months, and finally reached an agreement on Thursday morning that was rejected. Now the troika is demanding that the austerity measures pass Greece’s parliament on Sunday or Monday. And since Greece faces new elections in April, the troika is demanding that the leaders of each of the three parties sign a letter committing to implement the austerity commitments, in case that party wins the election. Bloomberg

 

Greece’s jobless rate rises to a fresh record high

It’s already clear that the €130 billion second bailout will not be enough, and a third bailout of €15-20 billion will be required. But on Thursday it was announced that Greece’s jobless rate rose to a fresh record of 20.9% in November, up from 18.2% in October. This means that even the €15-20 billion third bailout will not be enough. Kathimerini

 


China faces mass protests by Tibetans

China has cordoned off a vast region of western Sichuan province and parts of Qinghai province, in reaction to what are apparently large scale protests and riots by Tibetans. BBC reporters attempting to visit the region and were block, arrested for nine hours, and harassed. Thousands of Tibetans defied a security crackdown on Wednesday shouting slogans and carrying banners calling for a “free Tibet,” the release of all Tibetan political prisoners, and the return of Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. Wednesday was also the day of the latest Tibetan self-immolation in protest against China, the 21st such protest in two years. These self-immolations are of extreme concern to the Chinese security forces, since one of them may trigger a widespread protest, as happened in Tunisia. Radio Free Asia and BBC

 

Argentine outrage when Falklands newspaper calls president Cristina Kirchner a ‘bitch’

Filename for photo of Kirchner is 'bitch.jpg'

Filename for photo of Kirchner is ‘bitch.jpg’

With tensions between Argentina and the UK over the Falklands Islands growing, on the 30th anniversary of the Falklands war in which the UK defeated Argentina, Argentinians have been further infuriated when Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was indirectly called a “bitch” by the Penguin News, a Falklands newspaper. In a story about her vitriolic speech about the Falklands, called the Malvinas Islands by Argentinians, the author included a photo of Kirchner which had a filename of “bitch.jpg”. Daily Mail

 

Germany expels four members of Syrian Embassy

As the bloodbath continues in Syria, with president Bashar al-Assad treating his own people like cockroaches to be exterminated, Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle announced on Thursday that four members of Syria’s embassy in Germany have 72 hours to leave the country. This follows the arrest, on Tuesday, of two persons suspected of spying on Syrian opposition members demonstrating in Germany against the Assad regime. Westerwelle implied that the expulsions were linked to the arrests without actually saying so explicitly. According to a statement, “German government made clear its position to not accept actions against Syrian members of the opposition in Germany.” CNN


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