26-Oct-11 World View — Wednesday's Much-Hyped EU Finance Ministers' Meeting Is Canceled

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

* Wednesday’s much-hyped EU Finance Ministers’ meeting is canceled

* Greeks panic and withdraw money from banks

* Berlusconi’s government in Italy close to collapse

* Algeria imposes censorship to prevent an ‘Arab Spring’

* Thailand’s PM Yingluck concedes that Bangkok will be flooded

* Russia asks Security Council to end Libya’s no-fly zone

Wednesday’s much-hyped EU Finance Ministers’ meeting is canceled


Silvio Berlusconi's coalition government in Italy near collapse (AFP)
Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition government in Italy near collapse (AFP)

The EU’s 27 finance ministers were due to meet on Wednesday morning to work out final details of a much-hyped bailout announcement to be made on Wednesday evening, but the meeting has been canceled, indicating that the parties are too far apart to have any hope of reaching an agreement. The meeding of heads of state, scheduled for Wednesday evening, is still on, but there will be no “big bazooka” announcement that had been promised. Telegraph

Greeks panic and withdraw money from banks

Panicky citizens of Greece, fearing a national bankruptcy and loss of their savings, are withdrawing their money from Greek banks as quickly as they can. In the last week alone, €200 billion cash has been transferred from Greek banks to banks in Switzerland. According to the head of one Athens bank branch, 2,500 of his 5,000 customers have withdrawn their money, to transfer it abroad or hoard it at home. “There are cases where people leave with €300 000 in their bank bag. If this continues, there will soon be no more money.” Bild (Germany) (via EuroIntelligence)

Berlusconi’s government in Italy close to collapse

Italy’s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi French president Nicolas Sarkozy a couple of days ago, complaining that Italy wasn’t moving fast enough to implement reforms to bring down Italy’s budget deficit. Since Italy is apparently next in line for a bailout, Berlusconi has been desperately trying to put together a deficit reduction plan, but the unpopular measures are bringing his governing coalition close to collapse. However, Berlusconi has survived many crises before, including scandals where he appears able to get any number of hot young chicks into bed, so he may well survive this one. Guardian

Algeria imposes censorship to prevent an ‘Arab Spring’

Although the Arab Spring has not yet come to Algeria in full force, the country remains ripe for social unrest. Not only is poverty is widespread and unemployment high (especially among youth), but pervasive government corruption and deficient public services are persistent sources of significant popular dissatisfaction. And despite the “repeal” of the 1992 emergency laws in response to the major protests of January 2011, where two people were killed in clashes with security forces, the Algerian regime has continued to find ways to maintain the same level of control. In particular, broadcasters are required to “show respect for the Constitution” and avoid “excesses that might undermine [Algeria’s] unity and sovereignty.” Foreign Policy in Focus (FPIF)

Thailand’s PM Yingluck concedes that Bangkok will be flooded


A Thai resident wades past Ronald McDonald in Bangkok (EPA)
A Thai resident wades past Ronald McDonald in Bangkok (EPA)

After saying for weeks that the floods were sufficiently under control that central Bangkok would remain dry, Thailand’s prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra conceded on Tuesday that the floodwalls that have been erected to protect the inner city will not be able to withstand the massive inundation, probably this weekend. The floods north of Bangkok have been devastating. Water now covers a third of Thailand’s provinces, some 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) in the north, northeast and center of the country. Entire provinces have disappeared. Bangkok Post

Russia asks Security Council to end Libya’s no-fly zone

Russia is submitting a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council to abolish the no-fly zone over Libya, which has been in effect since March 17 due to a previous Security Council resolution. Russia notes that Muammar Gaddafi has died, and yet Nato has not announced an end to the air strikes. Russia is also asking the Security Council to create a mechanism to control the man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) in Gaddafi’s arsenal. It’s believed that hundreds of these surface-to-air missiles have been stolen from Libyan stockpiles, and may eventually be in the hands of al-Qaeda or Iran. Voice of Russia

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