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16-Jul-11 World View — EU Prepares For Emergency Financial Summit


This morning’s key headlines from

EU president calls emergency summit for Thursday

Greece 2yr (33.1%), Italy 10yr (5.8%), 7/15/2011
Greece 2yr (33.1%), Italy 10yr (5.8%), 7/15/2011

It’s been another chaotic week for the European Union finance ministers, as the debt crisis has measurably worsened every day. Greece has received bailout money to last them until September, and there was supposed to be an EU summit on Friday to discuss the terms of the next bailout, but the meeting was cancelled because of bitter disputes over the terms of the next bailout. Desperate EU officials had hoped to keep the crisis contained to Greece, Ireland and Portugal, but now it’s spreading rapidly to Italy and Spain, whose bond yields (interest rates) have been skyrocketing. On Friday, EU president Herman Van Rompuy called an emergency summit meeting for Thursday. “Our agenda will be the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and the future financing of the Greek program,” he tweeted. “I have asked for the preparatory work to be brought forward inter alia by the finance ministries.” Irish Times and Wall Street Journal (Access)

Greece braces for a ‘selective default’

Ever since the financial crisis began, it’s been strictly forbidden to utter the D-word in Greece, even though it was mathematically unavoidable. Now, for the first time, Greece’s cabinet met to discuss how the government would manage a “selective default” on its debt, after being repeatedly told (lied to) by politicians saying that it would never happen. Prime Minister George Papandreou told his ministers that they have to be properly briefed on the meaning and implications of a selective default. However, Papandreou’s finance minister lied again, saying, “If some people choose to translate irresponsibly, in populist terms and for petty political reasons the term ‘selective default,’ I respond by stressing that it is not the same as a credit event, nor default or bankruptcy but a temporary rating of Greek bonds.” This is a lie because it certainly WILL BE a credit event. Kathimerini

Greek Orthodox Church comes under attack in financial crisis

More than 100,000 people have joined a Greek Facebook page “Tax the Church,” urging the state to harness “the huge fortune of churches” to reduce Greece’s budget deficit. The Church angrily denies accusations it doesn’t pay its fair share. “This is a lie. We pay more land tax than ordinary businesses and we pay 20 percent of our rental income in tax,” said a Church spokesman. Kathimerini

Defense Dept. victimized by massive cyber attack

In March, a cyber attack on a defense company’s network captured 24,000 files containing Defense Department information. Stolen documents include plans for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, secret information about American satellites, and plans for a new fighter plane. An unnamed foreign intelligence, probably China or Russia, had access to the data for months before it was detected. There are thousands of attempted attacks on DoD’s 15,000 computer networks every day, and several of them have been successful. Dept. of Defense and Information Week

Department Of Defense Strategy For Operating In Cyberspace, July, 2011 (PDF)

Syrian forces massacre civilians in enormous protests

In some of the hugest anti-government demonstrations since the protests began, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Damascus for the first time. Vengeful Syrian security forces of president Bashar al-Assad massacred civilians with live ammunition and teargas, killing 32. Reuters

A report from the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) indicates that Syria is engaging in nuclear activities, in violation of its nonproliferation obligations. Hurriyet (Istanbul)

U.S. recognizes Libyan opposition as ‘legitimate’

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that that the U.S. is recognizing the Libyan opposition as the country’s “legitimate governing authority”: “The United States views the Gaddafi regime as no longer having any legitimate authority in Libya. And so I am announcing today that, until an interim authority is in place, the United States will recognize the TNC [Transitional National Council] as the legitimate governing authority for Libya, and we will deal with it on that basis. The TNC has offered important assurances today, including the promise to pursue a process of democratic reform that is inclusive both geographically and politically.” The announcement is more than symbolic. Legally, it means that billions of dollars in frozen Libyan assets can be made available to the TNC. BBC

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez returns to Cuba for chemotherapy

Hugo Chavez with Fidel Castro
Hugo Chavez with Fidel Castro

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez will travel to Cuba this weekend for chemotherapy treatment. “I am going to continue with the road to recuperation… This second phase will begin in the coming days with the application of chemotherapy. Now I must fulfill the treatment plan designed by the doctors, in order to recover my health.” The exact details on Chavez’ cancer operation, including the location of the tumor extracted and subsequent medical reports have not been made public. Havana Times

Yemen’s president Saleh will remain in Saudi Arabia

Yemen officials are denying a report that president Ali Abdullah Saleh will be returning to Yemen as early as this weekend. “the doctors will decide on the president’s return,” according to an official. Saleh has been in a Saudi hospital since he was injured in a June 3 bombing attack. There are still thousands of people each day protesting to demand that Saleh step down. Reuters

Afghan civilian deaths up sharply, as war effort deteriorates

The United Nations reports that 1,462 Afghan civilians were killed mostly by insurgents, between January and June of this year, up 15% from last year, painting a picture of deteriorating safety across the country. The grim figures contrast with the relatively upbeat security assessments presented recently by senior U.S. military officials as an American troop drawdown gets underway. LA Times


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