Σάββατο, 25 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

Bierdusche für Merkel

marilena: wearable technology....

marilena: wearable technology....: http://www.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/click_online/9699488.stm

wearable technology....

marilena: floccinaucinihilipilification....

marilena: floccinaucinihilipilification....: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17156658


marilena: Alcoholic Artworks in close-up

marilena: Alcoholic Artworks in close-up: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinkpicturegalleries/8975727/Alcoholic-artworks-in-close-up.html

Alcoholic Artworks in close-up

marilena: Holy mackerel! Comic-book collection sells for $3....

marilena: Holy mackerel! Comic-book collection sells for $3....: A treasure-trove of comics bought by an American enthusiast when he was a boy has fetched $3.5m (£2.2m) at auction in New York. The "jaw...

Holy mackerel! Comic-book collection sells for $3.5m !!!

A treasure-trove of comics bought by an American enthusiast when he was a boy has fetched $3.5m (£2.2m) at auction in New York.
The "jaw-dropping" collection of 345 comics features some of the world's most sought-after issues, including a pristine copy of Detective Comics No 27, in which Batman made his debut. Despite being published with a cover price of 10 cents in 1939, it sold for $523,000 (£333,000) as the top lot on Wednesday.
The hoard had once been the prized possession of childhood comic collector Billy Wright, who died in 1994. The carefully arranged stack had been left untouched in the basement of his house in Virginia ever since.
"It was amazing seeing what they went for," said Michael Rorrer, Wright's great-nephew, who found the comics when he was cleaning out the house after his aunt's recent death. Wright reportedly never told his family about his collection, which also included Action Comics No 1 from 1938, the first comic to feature Superman. It is one of only around 100 of the 200,000-strong print run which survive today and fetched around £190,000 at auction.
The collection was made more valuable because the issues were bought by a boy who cared for them, and had an eye for purchasing the right comic at the right time, according to experts. "This really has its place in the history of great comic-book collections," said Lon Allen of Heritage Auctions, which oversaw the sale. He described the comics as "jaw-dropping".
"This is just one of those collections that all the guys in the business think don't exist any more," Mr Allen said.

marilena: OSCARS 2012 !!!! PICK YOUR WINNERS !!!

marilena: OSCARS 2012 !!!! PICK YOUR WINNERS !!!: http://static.guim.co.uk/interactivesaved/2012/2/20/1329746342125/325792/index.html#quiz


marilena: 'Only for love' !!!

marilena: 'Only for love' !!!: Supporters of Vladimir Putin have posted tongue-in-cheek video adverts likening first-time voters in Russia to virgins who should choose M...

'Only for love' !!!

Vladimir Putin posing bare-chested in Siberia, August 2007
Supporters of Vladimir Putin have posted tongue-in-cheek video adverts likening first-time voters in Russia to virgins who should choose Mr Putin.

Two slickly produced ads on a website called The First Time feature actresses depicting young women consulting doctors about their "first time".
The punch line is they are actually discussing their voting intentions.
Anti-fraud campaigners are circulating an anti-Putin video featuring Russian celebrity socialite Ksenia Sobchak.
Mr Putin is standing for a third term as president on 4 March, three months after alleged widespread ballot-rigging at a general election sparked Russia's biggest anti-government protests in decades.

Putin supporters have long played up his masculine appeal, and he has famously posed bare-chested for the cameras on holidays.

The website introduces the videos under the slogan "Putin. Only for love the first time".
In one video, a young woman tells a consultant: "You know doctor, I am very scared, although my choice is one of love."
"Of course I understand," the "doctor" replies.
"Everyone is afraid the first time. The main thing is to trust your choice. Because trust is love. And you can trust your choice."
To romantic music, the camera then closes in on a picture of Mr Putin, and the girl is shown walking to a polling station.
In the second video, the doctor tells another young woman: "The main thing is to be sure it's safe. Especially the first time."
Advertising agency Aldus ADV said it had made the videos with the aim of "attracting a young audience to take part" in the presidential election, AFP news agency reports.
The agency did not say who had commissioned the ads.
Russian bloggers were quick to mock them, pointing out that Mr Putin is standing for a third term.
"Putin. Only for love the first time?" asked one tweeter known as @step_42. "Obviously the third time is by force."
Ms Sobchak, daughter of the late mayor of St Petersburg, Anatoly Sobchak, and one of Russia's most popular bloggers, appears looking bedraggled and abused in her spoof video.
In a close-up to the camera, she lists reasons for voting for Mr Putin.
"Now is not the time to rock the boat and we should rally round one leader," she says.
When she finishes speaking, the camera pulls away to show her bound to a chair, after which she is gagged by thugs and bundled away.
bbc news

Παρασκευή, 24 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

Γ.Βαρουφακης @ real fm

marilena: The last of the glass eye makers

marilena: The last of the glass eye makers: Glass eye technology was perfected in Germany about 200 years ago Losing an eye through illness or accident can devastate a person's ...

The last of the glass eye makers

Glass eyes
Glass eye technology was perfected in Germany about 200 years ago

Losing an eye through illness or accident can devastate a person's life. A "glass" eye can help some people come to terms with it, but others choose to wear them for more nuanced reasons, writes Jolyon Jenkins.
In a tiny room in a north London suburb, Jost Haas makes a glass eye.
He holds a glass tube over a bunsen burner, twirling it constantly, blows through the molten glass, and turns it into a sphere.  His patient Dan Light has only one working eye.  Haas uses coloured glass sticks to match the colour of that eye - not just the pattern of the iris, but the red veins of the sclera.  He also has to make the glass eye fit the shape of Dan's bad eye, and there is only one chance to get it right.
A glass eye is not, as you might think, like a large solid marble. It is a hollow half sphere, a thin shell that fits over the non-working eye, if it is still there. Otherwise it goes over a ball that has been surgically implanted into the eye socket and attached to the eye muscles.  Most prosthetic eyes will have a degree of movement.
Behind each of Haas's customers is a tragic story. Of cancer, of assault, even of a moment's inattention with a bungee cord.
Jost Haas holds a glass eye and heats it with a bunsen burner
Light, now in his 30s, has been coming to Haas since early childhood
He lost his eye when he was four in an accident caused when he and his brother were fooling around with equipment left lying about by a plumber.
Haas is from Germany, which has always made the finest glass eyes. He came here in the 1960s. But now he is close to retirement, and when he switches off his bunsen burner for good there will be no more glass eye makers in Britain.
Light is taking the opportunity to stock up against that day.
Jost Haas making a glass eye
Most modern prosthetic eyes are made from acrylic rather than glass
An artificial eye is not like an artificial leg, or a false tooth. It does not do anything a real eye can do.  Its benefits are purely social and psychological - to make other people feel comfortable and to make the wearer feel normal.
For a while, says Dan, he chose not to wear a prosthetic eye, feeling that the world should accept him as he was. But the glass eye became a battleground between his mother and his girlfriend.
His girlfriend told him that the "bad" eye was beautiful. His mother said that wearing the prosthetic was like wearing deodorant - something you did for the benefit of others. His mother won.
For many people, a face without two identical eyes is disconcerting. Even if it takes only a moment to adjust, for a one-eyed person, life is made of such moments.  We read a great deal into eyes, or their absence.  According to the saying, they are the window to the soul, so is Haas creating an artificial piece of character?
"I might create a piece of character, but if there isn't a soul there I can't change that either, can I?"
Haas gave me one of his eyes - a reject - to take as a souvenir. For days I carried it round and showed it to people. The reactions were extraordinary.  Although they knew it was nothing but a piece of glass, they recoiled from it as if it possessed an evil power.
Haas's eventual retirement may cause difficulties for his long-standing clients, but nowadays most false eyes are made of acrylic not glass.  The pattern is painted on with a fine brush. Unlike a glass eye, an acrylic one can be repolished if the surface loses its shine.
A false eye maker is known as an ocularist, and ocularists are possibly the world's most practical artists.  The senior ocularist at Moorfields Eye hospital, Peter Coggins, went to art college but rebelled against the intellectualised language of conceptual art.
The relationship between ocularist and patient is intimate, he says. "Quite a big part of the job is the first appointment when you see the patient, where things can be emotional - there's a lot of talking and reassuring.  "But you can't promise to make you something that even your own mother won't recognise. It's impossible to do that."
For some people getting the prosthetic eye is liberating and transforming.  Bob Lewis lost an eye to cancer two years ago. The first time he was fitted with his new one was overwhelming.
"I cried," he says. "I was whole again. I would never have vision through it, but I was visually perfect again."
Others struggle with the whole concept of a prosthetic eye.
Vera White, who also had a tumour, had to undergo counselling to reconcile herself with the new eye.  "It's the falseness of it, and the fakeness. I actually wanted my eyelid stitched closed."  In the end she cut a deal with it. "I looked in the mirror and said to it: 'I don't like you. I'll never like you.  "But this is the deal, you can just stay there."
The fact that she found herself talking to a piece of plastic is, in its own way, a tribute to the power of the unseeing eye.


Τι αξία έχουν οι Ελληνες για τους Γερμανούς;
Μια ελληνική σημαία με... κουρέλια που φιλοτέχνησε ο Τόμας Κούλενμπεκ εικονογραφεί το άρθρο της «Die Zeit» για την «αξία» της χώρας μας που βρίσκεται στη δίνη του κυκλώνα.....





Τρίτη, 21 Φεβρουαρίου 2012




marilena: ΑΥΤΑ ΥΠΟΓΡΑΨΑΜΕ....

marilena: ΑΥΤΑ ΥΠΟΓΡΑΨΑΜΕ....: Eurogroup statement The Eurogroup welcomes the agreement reached with the Greek government on a policy package that constitutes the bas...


Eurogroup statement 
The Eurogroup welcomes the agreement reached with the Greek government on a policy 
package that constitutes the basis for the successor programme. We also welcome the 
approval of the policy package by the Greek parliament, the identification of additional 
structural expenditure reductions of € 325 million to close the fiscal gap in 2012 and the 
provision of assurances by the leaders of the two coalition parties regarding the 
implementation of the programme beyond the forthcoming general elections.  
This new programme provides a comprehensive blueprint for putting the public finances and 
the economy of Greece back on a sustainable footing and hence for safeguarding financial 
stability in Greece and in the euro area as a whole. 
The Eurogroup is fully aware of the significant efforts already made by the Greek citizens but 
also underlines that further major efforts by the Greek society are needed to return the 
economy to a sustainable growth path.  
Ensuring debt sustainability and restoring competiveness are the  main goals of the new 
programme. Its success hinges critically on its thorough implementation by Greece. This 
implies that Greece must achieve the ambitious but realistic fiscal consolidation targets so as 
to return to a primary surplus as from 2013, carry out fully the privatisation plans and 
implement the bold structural reform agenda, in both the labour  market and product and 
service markets, in order to promote competitiveness, employment and sustainable growth.  
To this end, we deem essential a further strengthening of Greece's institutional capacity. We 
therefore invite the Commission to significantly strengthen its Task Force for Greece, in 
particular through an enhanced and permanent presence on the ground in Greece, in order to 
bolster its capacity to provide and coordinate technical assistance. Euro area Member States 
stand ready to provide experts to be integrated into the Task  Force. The Eurogroup also 
welcomes the stronger on site-monitoring capacity by the Commission to work in close and 
continuous cooperation with the Greek government in order to assist the Troika in assessing 
the conformity of measures that will be taken by the Greek government, thereby ensuring the 
timely and full implementation of the programme. The Eurogroup also welcomes Greece's 
intention to put in place a mechanism that allows better tracing and monitoring of the official 
borrowing and internally-generated funds destined to service Greece's debt by, under 
monitoring of the troika, paying an amount corresponding to the coming quarter's debt service 
directly to a segregated account of Greece's paying agent. Finally, the Eurogroup in this 
context welcomes the intention of the Greek authorities to introduce over the next two months 
in the Greek legal framework a provision ensuring that priority is granted to debt servicing 
payments. This provision will be introduced in the Greek constitution as soon as possible. The Eurogroup acknowledges the common understanding that has been reached between the 
Greek authorities and the private sector on the general terms of the PSI exchange offer, 
covering all private sector bondholders. This common understanding provides for a nominal 
haircut amounting to 53.5%. The Eurogroup considers that this agreement constitutes an 
appropriate basis for launching the invitation for the exchange  to holders of Greek 
government bonds (PSI). A successful PSI operation is a necessary condition for a successor 
programme. The Eurogroup looks forward to a high participation of private creditors in the 
debt exchange, which should deliver a significant positive contribution to Greece's debt 
The Eurogroup considers that the necessary elements are now in place for Member States to 
carry out the relevant national procedures to allow for the provision by EFSF of (i) a buy back 
scheme for Greek marketable debt instruments for Eurosystem monetary policy operations, 
(ii) the euro area's contribution to the PSI exercise, (iii) the repayment of accrued interest on 
Greek government bonds, and (iv) the residual (post PSI) financing  for the second Greek 
adjustment programme, including the necessary financing for recapitalisation of Greek banks 
in case of financial stability concerns.  
The Eurogroup takes note that the Eurosystem  (ECB and NCBs) holdings of Greek 
government bonds have been held for public policy purposes. The Eurogroup takes note that 
the income generated by the Eurosystem holdings of Greek Government bonds will contribute 
to the profit of the ECB and of the NCBs. The ECB’s profit will be disbursed to the NCBs, in 
line with the ECB’s statutory profit distribution rules. The NCBs’ profits will be disbursed to 
euro area Member States in line with the NCBs’ statutory profit distribution rules.  
• The Eurogroup has agreed that certain government revenues that emanate from the SMP 
profits disbursed by NCBs may be allocated by Member States to further improving the 
sustainability of Greece's public debt. All Member States have agreed to an additional 
retroactive lowering of the interest rates of the Greek Loan Facility so that the margin 
amounts to 150 basis points.  There will be no additional compensation for higher funding 
costs. This will bring down the debt-to-GDP ratio in 2020 by 2.8pp and lower financing 
needs by around 1.4 bn euro over the programme period. National procedures for the 
ratification of this amendment to the Greek Loan Facility Agreement need to be urgently 
initiated so that it can enter into force as soon as possible. 
• Furthermore, governments of Member States where central banks currently hold Greek 
government bonds in their investment portfolio commit to pass on to Greece an amount 
equal to any future income accruing to their national central bank stemming from this 
portfolio until 2020. These income flows would be expected to help reducing the Greek 
debt ratio by 1.8pp by 2020 and are estimated to lower the financing needs over the 
programme period by approximately 1.8 bn euro. The respective contributions from the private and the official sector should ensure that 
Greece's public debt ratio is brought on a downward path reaching 120.5% of GDP by 2020. 
On this basis, and provided policy conditionality under the programme is met on an ongoing 
basis, the Eurogroup confirms that euro area Member States stand ready to provide, through 
the EFSF and with the expectation that the IMF will make a significant contribution, 
additional official programme of up to 130 bn euro until 2014.  
It is understood that the disbursements for the PSI operation and the final decision to approve 
the guarantees for the second programme are subject to a successful PSI operation and 
confirmation, by the Eurogroup on the basis of an assessment by the Troika, of the legal 
implementation by Greece of the agreed prior actions. The official sector will decide on the 
precise amount of financial assistance to be provided in the context of the second Greek 
programme in early March, once the results of PSI are known and the prior actions have been 
We reiterate our commitment to provide adequate support to Greece during the life of the 
programme and beyond until it has regained market access, provided that Greece fully 
complies with the requirements and objectives of the adjustment programme. 




"Tighten that belt!" (From Basler Zeitung, Bale)




marilena: 'Germany Has Been the Winner in the Globalization ...

marilena: 'Germany Has Been the Winner in the Globalization ...: US Economist Kenneth Rogoff In an interview with SPIEGEL, Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff, 58, says it was a mistake to bring all the ...

'Germany Has Been the Winner in the Globalization Process'

A Feb. 12 protest in Athens: "It was a grave mistake to bring all the south European states into the euro zone."

US Economist Kenneth Rogoff

In an interview with SPIEGEL, Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff, 58, says it was a mistake to bring all the southern European countries into the common currency. He also argues that Greece should be granted a "sabbatical" from the euro and that a United States of Europe may take shape far sooner than many believe.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Rogoff, the eurozone finance ministers are likely to soon provide Greece with new loans totalling €130 billion ($171 billion), with the aim of stabilizing the country for the next few years. Will that save the euro?

Rogoff: It is hardly the final word, even for Greece. The mountain of debt in Greece is simply too big and the country is not competitive. Indeed, it's going to be very difficult to keep Greece in the euro zone.
SPIEGEL: But the government has announced tough austerity measures. Pensions are being cut, wages frozen. Those kinds of measures are almost unheard of in Europe.
RogoffBut they're still not enough. To make Greece competitive, wages would have to be halved. That is impossible to implement politically, but without a steep wage cut, the economy will continue to stagnate. Greece urgently needs the prospect of growth. It is currently experiencing its fifth consecutive year of recession. This is a failure of historic dimensions.
SPIEGEL: But surely it can't get any worse? Many economists are saying that the crisis in Greece has bottomed out and the worst is over.
RogoffI would be more cautious. The problem in Greece is not an ordinary recession but a full-blown financial crisis, something which countries usually take a lot longer to recover from. This kind of economic collapse goes much deeper than a normal slowdown. The longer the economy continues to shrink, the more restless the trade unions get, and the more pressure builds up on politicians to put an end to the misery.
SPIEGEL: What cure would you prescribe?
RogoffThe government in Athens should be granted a kind of sabbatical from the euro, while otherwise remaining a full member of the European Union. The country would leave the monetary union and reintroduce the drachma, for example. The drachma would immediately trade at deep discount to the euro, making Greece's export and tourism sectors competitive again. Once the country had achieved a higher level of social, political and economic development, it could return to the euro zone.
SPIEGEL: Most European politicians seem to dismiss that as unviable. They see a Greek exit as the beginning of the end for the euro zone.
Rogoff: I don't see it that way. Of course, Europe would have to assure Greece that it would not be punished in any way for taking such a step. And there would have to be a credible road map for Greece's eventual return.
SPIEGEL: If Greece were to leave the euro zone, a wave of panic might engulf other countries struggling with debt, such as Portugal. How can we prevent the contagion from spreading?
RogoffIf Greece leaves the euro, the markets will demand sensible answers to two questions. First, which countries should definitely keep the euro? And second, what price is Europe prepared to pay for that? The problem is that the Europeans don't have convincing answers to those questions.
SPIEGEL: What advice would you give Merkel and her counterparts? Should they tear the euro zone apart?
Rogoff: No, certainly not. We are talking about bending not breaking, with one or more periphery countries allowed to leave temporarily in order to enjoy greater flexibility. There is currently no simple solution for this unparalleled crisis. The big mistakes were made in the 1990s.
SPIEGEL: Does that mean the whole idea of the euro was a mistake?
RogoffNo, a common currency for countries like Germany and France was a reasonable risk, given the political dividends. But it was a grave mistake to bring all the south European states into the euro zone purely for reasons of political union. Most of them were not ready for it economically.
SPIEGEL: That may well be, but the fact is that now they are part of the monetary union, and that can't simply be unravelled.
Rogoff: Which is why there is only one alternative: Either the euro completely collapses -- with all the catastrophic consequences that would entail -- or the core members of the currency union manage to turn the euro zone into a genuine political union.
SPIEGEL: Europe has recently agreed on a fiscal compact committing all members to better budgetary discipline. Is that a step in the right direction?
Rogoff: Yes, but it will by no means suffice. All this treaty does is give the markets the temporary illusion that the problems have been solved for now. It has achieved nothing more than that.
SPIEGEL: What is needed instead?
Rogoff: What the monetary union needs more than anything is a central government, including a a finance minister, with significant tax and spending authority. The individual countries should also stop insisting on national control of banking regulation. That is a matter that should be dealt with exclusively at European level.
SPIEGEL: Do you honestly believe that the countries in the euro zone can bring themselves to hand over that much more power to Brussels?
Rogoff: The terrible thing is that few countries in Europe seem genuinely prepared for that. Those politicians who know what is needed keep quiet, fearing opposition from the voters. But the pressure of this crisis will create a momentum whose scope and impact we cannot yet imagine. At the end of the day, the United States of Europe may well come about a lot quicker than many would have thought.
SPIEGEL: With all respect to your optimism, the Europeans are unlikely to play along with that. The popular opinion in most member states is that Europe has far too much power, not too little.
Rogoff: Europe is in an interim stage, quite similar to that in late 18th century America. The ratification of the United States constitution in 1788 was preceded by 12 years of a loose confederation, which sometimes worked but usually didn't. Europe is in a similar situation today. States are like people, it is difficult to sustain a stable half-marriage; either you go for it or you forget it.
SPIEGEL: Many politicians in Europe think that the introduction of euro bonds would pave the way for a marriage later. Do you share that opinion?
Rogoff: No. In the current situation euro bonds would be absolutely the wrong solution. How could Germany protect itself if the French minister of finance makes a few bad decisions? The subject of euro bonds will only become relevant once the political union has been established.
SPIEGEL: Economic imbalances within the euro zone are regarded as one of the main reasons behind the current mess. The southern European states accuse the Germans of exporting too much. Do they have a point?
RogoffThat is absurd. Portugal's and Spain's problem isn't Germany, it's China. The south Europeans have to understand that they cannot maintain their current standard of living in the context of globalization without significant economic reform. There are great opportunities for those who can adapt to the new realities.
SPIEGEL: That's not really music to Spanish or Italian ears.
Rogoff: Perhaps, but I think most Italians and Spaniards well understand the challenges.
SPIEGEL: What reforms do the governments need to implement?
RogoffWages in southern Europe have risen sharply over the past few years, but these countries traditionally produce relatively simple goods like textiles. They are no longer competitive in a global context, which is why production has shifted to Asia. The Federal Republic of Germany, by contrast, has an innovative industrial sector whose high-quality products are very much in demand in emerging economies. That is why Germany has been the winner in the globalization process, while Portugal, Spain, Italy and others are among the losers.
SPIEGEL: That is why some economists have suggested that Germany should increase wages to strengthen demand in Europe. Would you agree with that?

Rogoff: No, because Germany faces many competitors outside Europe, who would jump at the chance of seeing a less competitive Germany. There are only two options. First, the south European states have to invest a lot more money in education and aim to produce better-quality goods. At the same time, they also have to lower wages in some industries to keep up with the competition from emerging economies like China, India or Brazil.
SPIEGEL: Do you think the euro zone will have the same members in 2015 as it does now?
Rogoff: It may well be the case that all current members remain in the euro zone, and that Germany keeps on shouldering the ever-increasing debts of other countries. But the price of such a scenario is very high for all involved: southern Europe would become embroiled in permanent stagnation and the German economy would eventually be dragged down to a slower growth trajectory.





Δευτέρα, 20 Φεβρουαρίου 2012




marilena: 520 ΜΟΝΟ !!!!!!!!!

marilena: 520 ΜΟΝΟ !!!!!!!!!: Έναρξη προωθημένου μηνύματος: Αν κάθε Έλληνας καταφέρει μέσα στο 2012 να αγοράσει ελληνικά προϊόντα αξίας 1.000 ευρώ στη θέση ξένων προϊ...

520 ΜΟΝΟ !!!!!!!!!

Έναρξη προωθημένου μηνύματος:

Αν κάθε Έλληνας καταφέρει μέσα στο 2012 να αγοράσει ελληνικά προϊόντα αξίας
1.000 ευρώ στη θέση ξένων προϊόντων που αγόρασε πέρυσι, τότε θα προστεθεί
στην προβληματική ελληνική οικονομία το αστρονομικό ποσό των 12
δισεκατομμυρίων ευρώ. Ολόκληρο το περιβόητο ΕΣΠΑ που υποτίθεται ότι θα
αναζωογονούσε τη χώρα, είναι 18 δισεκατομμύρια για τέσσερα χρόνια.
Στροφή στο ελληνικό τρόφιμο, στο ελληνικό ποτό, στροφή στον Έλληνα παραγωγό.
Και σιγά-σιγά, στροφή στο ελληνικό ρούχο και το ελληνικό παπούτσι.


marilena: Εκεί που είσαι ήμουνα....κι εδώ που είμαι θα' ρθει...

marilena: Εκεί που είσαι ήμουνα....κι εδώ που είμαι θα' ρθει...

Εκεί που είσαι ήμουνα....κι εδώ που είμαι θα' ρθεις.......




Evangelos Venizelos, Jean-Claude Juncker, Lucas Papademos and Wolfgang Schauble.

marilena: Ένα παιδί μετράει τ΄άστρα......

marilena: Ένα παιδί μετράει τ΄άστρα......: Graffiti depicting a young girl reaching for stars on a wall in Athens, on Feb. 18, 2012. Photographer: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Ένα παιδί μετράει τ΄άστρα......

Greece Moves Toward Second Bailout
Graffiti depicting a young girl reaching for stars on a wall in Athens, on Feb. 18, 2012. Photographer: Oli Scarff/Getty Images


marilena: ΜΙΑ ΕΥΤΥΧΙΣΜΕΝΗ ΟΙΚΟΓΕΝΕΙΑ.......: "We expect today the long period of uncertainty -- which was in the interest of neither the Greek economy nor the euro zone as a whole --...


(L to R) Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Greece's Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble attend a Eurogroup meeting at the European Union council headquarters in Brussels February 20, 2012. REUTERS-Yves Herman

"We expect today the long period of uncertainty -- which was in the interest of neither the Greek economy nor the euro zone as a whole -- to end," Venizelos said in a statement.

marilena: INDEPENDENT.....χωρίς σχόλια

marilena: INDEPENDENT.....χωρίς σχόλια

INDEPENDENT.....χωρίς σχόλια

marilena: (Απόσπασμα άρθρου από τον Independent)

marilena: (Απόσπασμα άρθρου από τον Independent): Countries encouraged profligate spending on arms that Athens could not afford, say critics... Over much of the last decade, Greece - which ...

(Απόσπασμα άρθρου από τον Independent)

Countries encouraged profligate spending on arms that Athens could not afford, say critics...
Over much of the last decade, Greece - which has a population of 11 million people - has been one of the top five arms importers in the world. Most of the vastly expensive weapons, including submarines, tanks and combat aircraft, were made in Germany, France and the US.
The arms purchases were beyond Greece's capacity to absorb, even before the financial crisis struck in 2009. Several hundred Leopard battle tanks were bought from Germany, but there was no money to pay for ammunition for their guns. Even in 2010, when the extent of the financial disaster was apparent, Greece bought 223 howitzers and a submarine from Germany at a cost of ?403m.
In the new bailout agreement, Greece will pledge to reduce its defence spending by some ?400m. Eurozone leaders have hitherto been notably more tolerant of Greece's arms expenditure - though this is twice the size of the Nato average as a proportion of GDP - than it has of excessive spending on health or pensions.
"It is easily forgotten when Greece is criticised that there has been not very subtle pressure from France to buy six frigates," says Thanos Dokos, the director general of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy.
He adds that Greece was unwise to be the first purchaser of new weapons systems, such as German submarines, that still had technical glitches.
There is now a serious disparity between the limited resources of the Greek state and its very expensive weapons.
Simos Kedikoglou, an MP of the New Democracy party, says that "pilots of F-16 [combat aircraft] are paid ?1,200-a-month salary while they fly aircraft worth ?60-70 million."
Exercises are now being cancelled to save small sums of money.
Greece also has the world's largest merchant marine, but its navy is cutting back on its anti-piracy patrols to protect vessels in the Indian Ocean.
The justification for Greece's large army - 156,000 men compared to 250,000 in the German army - is the perceived threat from Turkey, which requires the Greeks to keep some form of military parity with a nation with seven times as many people.
Mr Dokos says that fear of being labelled unpatriotic has prevented the opposition in parliament from seeking a in defence expenditure. There has never been a debate in parliament about how far a Turkish threat really exists.
Many contracts signed at the height of Greece's spending spree cannot now be cancelled because of penalty clauses and such money that is left will be spent on maintenance.

Κυριακή, 19 Φεβρουαρίου 2012


marilena: EGGS AND GREECE FOR BREAKFAST.....: RICHARD QUEST CNN New York (CNN) – I love a New York breakfast. Eggs over easy, hash browns, whole wheat toast – and diner coffee, wh...



New York (CNN) – I love a New York breakfast.  Eggs over easy, hash browns, whole wheat toast – and diner coffee, which seemingly may never have actually seen a coffee bean. Now I add to that mix a robust discussion about the Greece crises.
When I came to New York I had thought I might escape from the woes of Greece and the eurozone, if only for a weekend. I had not reckoned with the owner and manager of the local hotel diner, where I was staying – part of the large and ever-present Greek population in New York.
Some of them, like the manager, were born in Greece, and even though they haven't lived there for decades still have family there and visit once or twice a year. Others, like their sons and daughters, have an interest in the place, as if they had just got off the boat.
Forget the U.S. election – every one of them was obsessed with talking to me about what was going to happen to Greece and the battle of austerity over growth.
Enjoying eggs over easy while arguing the merits of the PSI debt relief package ain’t easy, especially when they believe that Greece is being pushed mercilessly towards bankruptcy and default by its heartless eurozone partners.
The Greeks I spoke to recounted tales of relatives and friends back home who were out of work and could no longer afford the basics of life. They were worried that all Germany and the European leaders were concerned about was cutting Greece down to size.
Ominously, they warned me that Greek people would rather be bankrupt and free than bankrupt and under the lash of the eurozone cuts.
So what did they think should happen?  They told me Greece should be given more time to restructure and sort out the economy – that the Greek people should be helped through this over a period of years.
Pointing out that the IMF and troika have criticized the reform program for being "off-track," or that there needed to be a boost to the reforms, does not go down well.  It will take time, they say. Germany is the beneficiary of the low interest rates, and it is in Germany's interest to make sure Greece survives. Germany needs to do more, they argue.
As for the role of the ECB: The bank should stimulate growth and do what is necessary, they say. Arguments about “moral hazard” are not high on the agenda at this diner.
What did I learn over breakfast? That the Greeks here believe there is a serious risk of instability – and ultimately civil unrest – if the downtrodden people of Greece are pushed too far. That they view the euro as a dog with fleas, and most of all, that whatever Greece does to solve its own problems, its eurozone partners must do more.
I may have hoped to forget Greece for a few days – but instead, in an unlikely place, I ended up with a lesson in perspective and how things are seen from afar.
More coffee?

Max Keiser Έλληνες επαναστατήστε!

Max Keiser Έλληνες επαναστατήστε!

marilena: Γεώργιος Σουρής (1853-1919)Γεώργιος Σουρής (1853-1...

marilena: Γεώργιος Σουρής (1853-1919)Γεώργιος Σουρής (1853-1...: ΑΝΑΤΡΙΧΙΑΖΕΙΣ, ΑΠΟ ΤΟ 100 ετών ΠΟΙΗΜΑ, ΔΕΝ ΜΠΟΡΕΙΣ ΝΑ ΑΛΛΑΞΕΙΣ ΟΥΤΕ ΕΝΑ ΣΤΙΧΟ ΩΣ ΞΕΠΕΡΑΣΜΕΝΟ. Ποιος είδε κράτος λιγοστό σ' όλη τη γ...

Γεώργιος Σουρής (1853-1919)Γεώργιος Σουρής (1853-1919)


Ποιος είδε κράτος λιγοστό
σ' όλη τη γη μοναδικό,
εκατό να εξοδεύει
και πενήντα να μαζεύει;
Να τρέφει όλους τους αργούς,
νά 'χει επτά Πρωθυπουργούς,
ταμείο δίχως χρήματα
και δόξης τόσα μνήματα;
Νά 'χει κλητήρες για φρουρά
και να σε κλέβουν φανερά,
κι ενώ αυτοί σε κλέβουνε
τον κλέφτη να γυρεύουνε;
Όλα σ' αυτή τη γη μασκαρευτήκαν
ονείρατα, ελπίδες και σκοποί,
οι μούρες μας μουτσούνες εγινήκαν
δεν ξέρομε τί λέγεται ντροπή.
Σπαθί αντίληψη, μυαλό ξεφτέρι,
κάτι μισόμαθε κι όλα τα ξέρει.
Κι από προσπάππου κι από παππού
συγχρόνως μπούφος και αλεπού.
Θέλει ακόμα  -κι αυτό είναι ωραίο-
να παριστάνει τον ευρωπαίο.
Στα δυό φορώντας τα πόδια που 'χει
στο 'να λουστρίνι, στ' άλλο τσαρούχι.
Σουλούπι, μπόϊ, μικρομεσαίο,
ύφος του γόη, ψευτομοιραίο.
Λίγο κατσούφης, λίγο γκρινιάρης,
λίγο μαγκούφης, λίγο μουρντάρης.
Και ψωμοτύρι και για καφέ
το «δε βαρυέσαι» κι «ωχ αδερφέ».
Ωσάν πολίτης, σκυφτός ραγιάς
σαν πιάσει πόστο: δερβέναγ
Δυστυχία σου, Ελλάς,
με τα τέκνα που γεννάς!
Ώ Ελλάς, ηρώων χώρα,
τί γαϊδάρους βγάζεις τώρα;

marilena: Greece is being destroyed by 'respectable' fanatic...

marilena: Greece is being destroyed by 'respectable' fanatic...: Greek democracy is being destroyed. Not by soldiers marching with insane slogans on their lips about the inevitable triumph of the Germ...

Greece is being destroyed by 'respectable' fanatics The EU, which boasts that solidarity is its founding principle, is forcing Greece into destitution and chaos


Greek democracy is being destroyed. Not by soldiers marching with insane slogans on their lips about the inevitable triumph of the German master race, international proletariat or global jihad, but by moderate men and women who think themselves immune to ideological frenzy.Greece's enemies are novel, but no less frightening for that: extremists from the centre ground; the respectable running riot.
Which ever way you cut it, Greece can't win. The EU "bailout" cannot perform the first function of a rescue and save the sufferer from suffering. The Germans, with Dutch and Finnish assistance, are pushing Greece into a death spiral. The EU demands that Greece cuts 150,000 public jobs over three years – the equivalent in terms of population of our government taking 800,000 jobs from the UK public sector. Greek politicians must also accept without a quibble a 22% cut in the minimum wage and further reductions in the welfare state.
Greece is in permanent recession. The economy shrank by 7% in the three months to December 2011. Tens of thousands of family businesses have gone bust. Europe is now offering to revive Greece by impoverishing it; to heal it by harming it. As Tacitus said of the Roman legions' earlier attempt to impose a European union: "They make a desert and call it peace."
Whether Greek society can stand the pressure remains an open question. The parties of the far left and right are flourishing in the polls as the public comes to see its centrist politicians as traitors for trying to appease a hostile EU. Once the Grecian fringe was reserved for the unhinged. The last time I asked Liana Kanelli, spokeswoman for the Greek Communist party, about her country's crisis, she flew off into a rage about how the 1999 Nato intervention to stop Serb nationalists slaughtering Kosovo Muslims was an imperialist plot to extend capitalism into the Balkans. Nothing I could say could wake her from her land of make-believe and return her to the subject at hand.
Her fellow citizens no longer see Kanelli and her kind as dangerous fools, however. Because they oppose the EU, cranks from the left and racists from the right now make more sense to Greeks than their mainstream politicians. The parallels with the 1930s are too obvious to labour.
Whatever the political consequences, every sensible financial commentator understands that the Greek economy can take no more. The "bailout" will merely push it deeper into the mire. The EU's terms do not begin to match the altruism the United States showed to the defeated Germans after 1945. America did not pauperise West Germans as many in France and indeed Washington wanted. America guaranteed their security, then gave them loans from the Marshall Plan that allowed the West German economic miracle to begin. Greece has invaded no one and committed no crimes against humanity. Yet the EU, which boasts that solidarity is its founding principle, is forcing it into destitution and chaos.
The alternative to bowing to the demands of their German overlords is not noticeably better. If Greece were to leave the euro, there would be hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of law suits, as parties argued whether contracts should be honoured in the old or new currency. Hyper-inflation might set in. The European banking system might collapse. As William Hague says, the euro is a burning building with no exits.
The EU cannot take responsibility for what it has done and be magnanimous for reasons British readers may not grasp. Raised in a Eurosceptic country, we do not understand how an absolute commitment to the European project was a mark of respectability on the continent. Like going to church and saying your prayers for previous generations, a public demonstration of commitment to the EU ensured that the world saw you as a worthy citizen. If you wanted to advance in Europe's governing parties, judiciaries, bureaucracies and culture industries, you had to subscribe to the belief that ever-greater union was self-evidently worthwhile.
Currency union is – self-evidently – a disaster. Admitting that would bring a loss of face too great for the European elites to bear. To take the most discreditable example, Germany and Holland have benefited enormously from the single currency holding down the exchange rate for their goods, while imposing effective tariff barriers on southern Europe.
Instead of saying: "We are rich because they are poor", Angela Merkel and her boorish colleagues imitate the smug, parochial, selfish Bildreader, who thinks that foreigners' problems would be solved if only they could turn themselves into him. Germany insists that the Greek crisis is the result of the corruption of Greek public life. Greek politics is undoubtedly corrupt, although I should add that the first victims of corruption are poor Greeks who cannot afford to bribe officials or hide their savings from the taxman.
But Greek corruption cannot explain why Portugal is in crisis, any more than Italian corruption can explain why Ireland and Spain are in crisis. All five countries are suffering – and France may soon be suffering – because the euro is a monumental mistake. Rather than rectify it, European leaders attack the welfare states, employment protections and public services that the best of the European centre-left fought for after 1945. In the name of saving the euro, everything must go.
As the poverty deepens and the protests swell, the EU's image will change – and not for the better. It was once seen as a haven, which offered Europeans an escape from the terrors of the past. The EU, wrote the perceptive British diplomat Robert Cooper in 2002, is at the forefront of the "postmodern world". Instead of invading each other, Europeans allowed negotiators at Brussels to settle conflicts and regulate everything "right down to beer and sausages".
The EU may have been petty and irritating. It may not have been very democratic. But its avoidance of conflict produced a pleasant, prosperous and peaceful continent.
Europe does not seem pleasant, prosperous or peaceful today. When historians write about the end of its postmodern utopia, they will note that it was not destroyed by invading armies anxious to plunder Europe's wealth or totalitarian ideologues determined to install a dictatorship, but by politicians and bureaucrats, who appeared to be pillars of respectability, but turned out to be fanatics after all.