Σάββατο, 19 Μαΐου 2012

marilena: TA ΦΑΙΝΟΜΕΝΑ ΑΠΑΤΟΥΝ.....Transgendered beauty que...

TA ΦΑΙΝΟΜΕΝΑ ΑΠΑΤΟΥΝ.....Transgendered beauty queen

Transgendered contestant Jenna Talackova takes part in Miss Universe Canada competition while wearing her bikini in Toronto May 17, 2012. Talackova was originally disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada contest because she was not a 'naturally born female.' Talackova, 23, who underwent gender reassignment surgery when she was 19, was then reinstated to the Canadian competition by businessman Donald Trump, who owns the Miss Universe organization. REUTERS-Mark Blinch

Transgendered contestant Jenna Talackova takes part in Miss Universe Canada competition while wearing her bikini in Toronto May 17, 2012.  REUTERS-Mark Blinch

Transgendered contestant Jenna Talackova takes part in Miss Universe Canada competition while wearing her bikini in Toronto May 17, 2012.  REUTERS-Mark Blinch

Transgendered contestant Jenna Talackova takes part in Miss Universe Canada competition while wearing her bikini as she leaves the stage in Toronto May 17, 2012.   REUTERS-Mark Blinch

Transgendered contestant Jenna Talackova takes part in Miss Universe Canada competition wearing her evening gown in Toronto May 17, 2012.   REUTERS-Mark Blinch

Transgendered contestant Jenna Talackova takes part in Miss Universe Canada competition wearing her evening gown in Toronto May 17, 2012.  REUTERS-Mark Blinch

Transgendered contestant Jenna Talackova takes part in Miss Universe Canada competition wearing her evening gown in Toronto May 17, 2012.   REUTERS-Mark Blinch

Transgendered contestant Jenna Talackova takes part in Miss Universe Canada competition wearing her evening gown in Toronto May 17, 2012.   REUTERS-Mark Blinch


REUTERS

marilena: Greek euro exit could be fast if needed: Slovenia

marilena: Greek euro exit could be fast if needed: Slovenia: By  Michael Winfrey LONDON  |  Sat May 19, 2012 10:09am EDT (Reuters) - The message the  euro  zone is sending Greece  ahead of its...

Greek euro exit could be fast if needed: Slovenia


LONDON | Sat May 19, 2012 10:09am EDT
(Reuters) - The message the euro zone is sendingGreece ahead of its June election is there is a chance it could be forced out of the single currency union and that it could happen quickly if necessary, the finance minister of euro member Slovenia said on Saturday.
This month's inconclusive election in the debt-stricken Mediterranean state has forced a second vote to be scheduled for June 17 and many feel the outcome could dictate the future shape of the bloc.
Janez Sustersic told Reuters the final decision would be up to Greekvoters but a euro exit was a real option.
"We are still ready to have Greece in the euro zone, and everyone would be happy because this would be the best possible scenario," he said.
"If not, there are other options, a real option, which is the option of Greece not being in the euro zone anymore... It's not impossible to envisage a euro zone without Greece."
Euro zone policymakers insist they want Greece to stay in, but European Union trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said this week the European Commission and the European Central Bank were working on scenarios in case the country had to leave.
A poll this week showed that voter sentiment in Greece was shifting away from a scenario in which the radical leftist SYRIZA party, which has threatened to tear up Athens' 130 billion euro bailout, would win, meaning a Greek exit may be avoided.
But Sustersic said if Greece did have to leave, it could happen fast, and staying in would not free Greece from its obligations to get its finances under control.
"It could happen quickly if necessary," he said. "Of course, the most important message is being in the euro zone and doing the necessary reforms or the measures that were agreed on go hand in hand, so you cannot separate the two issues."
Under its European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout package, Greece has agreed to slash spending and hike taxes over the next two years to cut its budget deficit so it can eventually stop its mountain of debt from growing.
Greek Centre-left leader Evangelos Venizelos, whose party came in third in the hung election, has suggested Greece could negotiate a longer period to enact the reforms, a move that some euro zone officials have rejected.
Sustersic said such a move would be a mistake.
"It would create a strong moral hazard and it would create a lot of disappointment on the part of other countries that have taken the same medicine, but perhaps in smaller measures," he said. "So I don't think that would be a good message. It would be very unwise from the Greek's side to count on anything like that."

reuters
(Editing by James Jukwey)

marilena: Olympic torch starts 70-day journey round UK

marilena: Olympic torch starts 70-day journey round UK: cnn

Olympic torch starts 70-day journey round UK

A broad view sets the scene of the ceremony surrounding the arrival of the Olympic flame in the United Kingdom.

The Olympic torch relay will culminate in the flame's arrival at the Olympic Stadium for the opening of the Summer Games on July 27.

Britain's Princess Anne, from left, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, 2012 Chairman Lord Sebastian Coe and former England footballer David Beckham, right, cross the tarmack with the Olympic flame lantern.

The relay kick-off with begin an 8,000-mile (12,875 kilometer) trip around England with a detour to Dublin, Ireland.

The Olympic torch relay will begin on Saturday at Land's End in the southwestern tip of England.

Former England footballer David Beckham, left, lights the Olympic torch upon its arrival at RNAS Culdrose Air Base in Cornwall, southwest England, on Friday, May 18.

Olympic sailor and the first London 2012 torchbearer, Ben Ainslee, poses next to the Land's End sign in Cornwall.

cnn


marilena: G8 summit: French €57bn financial tax plan rejecte...

marilena: G8 summit: French €57bn financial tax plan rejecte...: Barack Obama sees François Hollande as an ally in promoting his pro-growth ideas to tackle the eurozone crisis. Photograph: Eric Fefe...

G8 summit: French €57bn financial tax plan rejected by UK Eurozone set to dominate talks, with Obama caught between two competing visions of how to solve crisis

Barack Obama and François Hollande


Barack Obama sees François Hollande as an ally in promoting his pro-growth ideas to tackle the eurozone crisis. Photograph: Eric Feferberg/AFP
Barack Obama was caught between two competing European visions of how to solve the financial crisis at the G8 summit when David Cameronrejected outright a French proposal to raise €57bn (£46bn) through a tax on financial transactions.
The eurozone crisis is set to dominate four days of intense diplomacy which began in Washington Friday morning and continued through a meeting of G8 leaders at the presidential retreat Camp David on Friday evening. Discussions will continue there on Saturday and on to a Nato meeting in Chicago.
In talks at the White House, only hours before the Camp David summit, Obama met the new French president, François Hollande, for a one-to-one conversation in which he explored the possibility of a new approach to the eurozone crisis based on a pro-growth, stimulus strategy. Obama has been pressing for such a strategy for the past three years and has a potential ally in Hollande.
The White House welcomed what it sees as a change in the debate since Hollande's election that tilts the balance slightly more in favour of a growth strategy.
The French president is proposing an EU-wide financial transaction tax (FTT) that could raise up to €57bn a year that could be used to stimulate the 27-nation bloc.
After meeting Obama, Hollande was scheduled to meet David Cameron in Washington before flying to Camp David.
However on arriving in the US, Cameron said: "On the financial transactions tax I'm very clear. We are not going to get growth in Europeor Britain by introducing a new tax that would actually hit people as well as financial institutions. I don't think it is a sensible measure. I will not support it."
Cameron pointedly backed Hollande's conservative rival, Nicolas Sarkozy, in the presidential election and refused to meet Hollande in London during the campaign. However, the prime minister has now been trying to forge an alliance with the new French government to press Germany to do more to solve the euro crisis. The FTT is proving a sticking point between them.
In his meeting with Obama, Hollande hinted at a compromise over his election pledge to pull French combat troops out of Afghanistan early. The US and Britain fear a premature exit by France could also send other countries rushing to the exit ahead of the 2014 deadline for withdrawal.
At the White House, Hollande insisted he was standing by his pledge but left the door open for a compromise. He said he was committed to providing assistance on Afghan security but in a different way and this would be discussed at the Nato summit held in Chicago on Sunday and Monday. It is thought Hollande and Obama discussed French troops switching to a training role.
Obama was looking for a good relationship with Hollande, hoping to enlist him as an ally in support of the US push for a pro-growth/stimulus approach to the eurozone crisis.
The two appeared to get along, with Obama teasing Hollande about having studied fast food. Hollande said he had nothing against "cheeseburgers", prompting Obama to add lamely that cheeseburgers "go very good with French fries".
The G8 leaders were set to discuss national security issues such as Syria and Iran over dinner and aid for the developing world in the morning. But the bulk of the time was being devoted to the European crisis.
It is the first time a US president has gathered so many leaders at the relatively small Camp David venue. Most meetings normally involve invitations to just one or two others. With space at a premium, each of the G8 leaders has been assigned a cabin and they will gather for discussions around a communal dining table.
As well as Hollande, Cameron and Germany's Angela Merkel, there will be Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, the Italian prime minister, Mario Monti, the Japanese prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, and the Russian prime minister, Dmitri Medvedev, who is attending in place of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
Although there is little motivation in either the G8 or Nato for military intervention in Syria, Cameron is to call for more military observers to be sent to Syria. He is offering to send a senior Ministry of Defence official at colonel rank to act as chief of staff to General Robert Mood, the chief military observer at the UN supervision mission in Syria.
In a speech in Washington that kicked off the weekend of diplomacy, Obama announced $3bn (£2bn) in new money to help tackle hunger, mainly projects to help small farmers in Africa. Crucially, however, the cash is to come from the private sector. There has been no announcement yet about whether there will be any funds from the G8 countries on top of the $22bn they committed in 2009 to deal with hunger over the following three years.
Obama said it was important the G8 focused on "the urgent challenge that confronts some 1 billion men, women and children around the world – the injustice of chronic hunger". He added: "As the wealthiest nation on earth, I believe the United States has a moral obligation to lead the fight against hunger and malnutrition, and to partner with others."
Oxfam expressed concern that Obama's announcement "focuses too heavily on the role of the private sector to tackle the complex challenges of food insecurity in the developing world". It called on the G8 to commit substantial funds.

guardian

marilena: Southern Europe fears summer of violence

marilena: Southern Europe fears summer of violence: Authorities are warning that rage could tip over into serious unrest and are concerned at the knock-on effect on tourism Riot polic...

Southern Europe fears summer of violence

Authorities are warning that rage could tip over into serious unrest and are concerned at the knock-on effect on tourism
Riot police clash with protestors in Thessaloniki, Greece


Riot police clash with protesters in Thessaloniki, Greece. Photograph: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images
Europe's debt-mired southern rim is becoming increasingly concerned by the prospect of anarchy on the streets this summer, as seething anti-austerity threatens to boil over into something more sinister.
Protests, strikes and sit-ins have long since become the norm forGreeceItaly and Spain. But some authorities are warning that rage is on the verge of tipping over into serious violence, and concerns are mounting over the knock-on effect on tourism, a vital source of income for southern Europe.
In Italy, military, police and intelligence officials are hammering out an emergency security plan for combating violent anarchy in the wake of a recent spate of violent attacks on individuals and institutions.
"The risk of escalation exists," said interior minister Annamaria Cancellieri, adding that the government was prepared to send out the armed forces to protect sensitive targets if necessary.
The Equitalia tax offices in charge of collecting unpaid debts seems to be taking the brunt of public anger. Laid-off Fiat factory workers recently occupied a tax office in Sicily, and protests outside the Naples office turned violent. Several petrol bombs were thrown against a tax office in Tuscany last week.
Last week a small but violent group of Greek and Italian anarchists claimed responsibility for kneecapping the head of Ansaldo Energia, a nuclear engineering firm owned by Finmeccanica. Roberto Adinolfi was shot in the leg as he left home for work last Monday. Authors of the letter claiming responsibility said they were the Olga cell of the Federazione Anarchiste Informale (FAI). The group said it was named after Olga Ikonomidou, one of eight anarchists jailed in Greece. They said there would be seven more attacks to avenge the jailing of the other activists.
Government officials began heightening security at approximately 400 "sensitive" locations this week, with 24-hour surveillance initiated at Finmeccanica and Equitalia tax offices, as well as for several at risk individuals. Another 1,500 soldiers were detailed to maintaining public order, bringing the total to more than 4,000. As well as corporate offices, they will protect the contested high-speed train (TAV) line under construction between Turin and Lyons, according to Corriere della Sera.
In Spain, protests have largely been peaceful, with the exception of masked radicals in Barcelona who smashed windows and lit street fires during a general strike in March. But the conservative government is taking no chances, promising to tighten up laws on public protest. Street violence, it claims, will send the country's already dangerously high bond yields soaring.
Proposals for toughening up laws include making trades unions, associations and political parties pay for any vandalism by its members during protest marches.
"I am deeply worried about the proposed changes to the law," said Cándido Méndez, head of the General Workers Union.
Sanctions for "disobeying public authorities" (meaning the police), are also set to be increased.
In Greece, bursts of anarchy and civil disobedience have sporadically infected the anti-austerity protest movement. Far from subsiding, it shows every sign of growing as Greeks prepare to head back to the polls in a climate of deepening political division and uncertainty.
"We are at the end of our tether and, of course, are planning protests and strikes against policies that have done nothing but lead to poverty and wretchedness," said Nikos Kioutsoukis, general secretary at GSEE, the country's biggest labour force.
"In the private sector, wages went down by 25.4% in 2011 alone. Overload a donkey, and as they say, its back will eventually give in."
Much, says Kioutsoukis, will depend on what government emerges next month. "If they decide to continue with measures that are taking us to the bottom of the sea," he insists, "the summer won't be hot it will be boiling."
It is a view shared in the cafes and student campuses around the capital. "The time has come to show those wankers in the IMF and EU that we are not going to take any more lying down," said Takis Tasios, a computer programmer who said he had been out of work for the past year. "I'm sick of being treated as a number by some technocrat who has no idea."
Authorities admit they are worried. Athens, once one of Europe's sleepiest capitals, now resembles a garrison town with riot police stationed on every corner. The police force is the only part of the public sector that is expanding. Greece, after all depends on tourism, and none more so than this year when unemployment has reached a record 21.7 %.
In a country with a thriving anarchist community and anti-establishment bloc, 'resistance' is a word that is never far away: it is scrawled in graffiti, large and small, over the facades of buildings nationwide.
"The system is rotten and it has to be destroyed," the KKE communist party which has also vowed to step up opposition against keeping Greece in the EU proclaimed last week. "The battle has to be unremitting."
guardian

marilena: Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras: 'It's a war b...

marilena: Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras: 'It's a war b...: Greece's eurozone fate may  now  be in the hands of the 37-year-old political firebrand and his Syriza party Alexis Tsipras in his ...

Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras: 'It's a war between people and capitalism'

Alexis Tsipras
Greece's eurozone fate may now be in the hands of the 37-year-old political firebrand and his Syriza party



Alexis Tsipras in his office at the Greek parliament building on Friday. He says Greece has been used as a guinea pig for the rest of Europe. Photograph: Martin Godwin
"I don't believe in heroes or saviours," says Alexis Tsipras, "but I do believe in fighting for rights … no one has the right to reduce a proud people to such a state of wretchedness and indignity."
The man who holds the fate of the euro in his hands – as the leader of the Greek party willing to tear up the country's €130bn (£100bn) bailout agreement – says Greece is on the frontline of a war that is engulfingEurope.
A long bombardment of "neo-liberal shock" – draconian tax rises and remorseless spending cuts – has left immense collateral damage. "We have never been in such a bad place," he says, sleeves rolled up, staring hard into the middle distance, from behind the desk that he shares in his small parliamentary office. "After two and a half years of catastrophe Greeks, are on their knees. The social state has collapsed, one in two youngsters is out of work, there are people leaving en masse, the climate psychologically is one of pessimism, depression, mass suicides."
But while exhausted and battle weary, the nation at the forefront of Europe's escalating debt crisis and teetering on the edge of bankruptcy is also hardened. And, increasingly, they are looking towards Tsipras to lead their fight.
"Defeat is the battle that isn't waged," says the young politician who almost overnight has seen his radical left coalition party, Syriza, jump from representing fewer than 5% of Greeks to enjoying ratings of morethan 25% in polls.
"You ask me if I am afraid. I'd be afraid if we continued on this path, a path to social hell … when someone fights there is a big chance that he will win and we are fighting this to win."
Before Greeks went to the polls on 6 May, neither Tsipras nor his party were a name to be reckoned with. If anything both were the butt of vague mockery: a former pony-tailed student communist leading a rag-tag band of ex-Trotskyists, Maoists, champagne socialists and greens. Tsipras's assistants – wielding Louis Vuitton bags and fashionable sunglasses – readily admit they are signed up "militants" mostly of the anti-globalisation cause.
But today I am the third person to pass through Tsipras's second-floor parliamentary office. The others have been the German ambassador to Greece and the president of the European parliament, Martin Schulz. As Greeks prepare to head to the polls again on 17 June, Tsipras, the politician poised to win the greatest number of votes – after Syriza came in second place in this month's inconclusive election – is the man everyone wants to see. "He is not as dangerous as he appears on TV, but he does have some risky positions," says Schulz emerging form the talks.
"The [upcoming] vote in Greece will decide not just what happens here but what will happen internationally", adds the German before saying what he really wants to say. "If the memorandum [loan agreement] is cast in doubt, the payment [of rescue funds from the EU and IMF] to Greece is cast in doubt."
Tsipras, who turns 38 in July, wants me to know that the war is not personal. The enemy is not Berlin, until now the biggest provider of the monumental rescue funds keeping the debt-stricken economy afloat. "It is not between nations and peoples," he says. "On the one side there are workers and a majority of people and on the other are global capitalists, bankers, profiteers on stock exchanges, the big funds. It's a war between peoples and capitalism … and as in each war what happens on the frontline defines the battle. It will be decisive for the war elsewhere."
Greece, he says, has become a model for the rest of Europe because it was the first country to fall victim to the enforcement of hard-hitting "growth through austerity" policies pursued in the name of resolving the crisis.
"It was chosen as the experiment for the enforcement of neo-liberal shock [policies] and Greek people were the guinea pigs," he insists.
"If the experiment continues, it will be considered successful and the policies will be applied in other countries. That's why it is so important to stop the experiment. It will not just be a victory for Greece but for all of Europe."
Under the current rescue plan, which has subjected the nation to relentless austerity – the average Greek's purchasing power has dropped by 35% – the international financial system, and especially banks, are gaining most, he says. "Who is surviving, tell me?" he asks. "Greeks aren't … The loans are going straight to interest payment and banks."
The other point that Tsipras wants to make is that he is not against the euro or monetary union. Fears that the country is about to exit the eurozone are about terrorising people to keep the status quo, he claims. They are why the nation has seen "more then €75bn" of cash taken out of Greek banks since the outbreak of the crisis in Athens in December 2009.
But Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, should know she has "a huge historical responsibility" – a point he will be making when he holds talks with representatives of the German government in Berlin next week.
"We are not against a unified Europe or monetary union," he insists. "We don't want to blackmail, we want to persuade our European partners that the way that has been chosen to confront Greece is totally counter-productive. It is like throwing money at a bottomless pit."
Over the past two years, Athens had received two bumper bailouts from the EU and IMF: €110bn in May 2010 and then €130bn in March this year, but the stringent fiscal adjustment programmes demanded in return for the aid are clearly not working, he says.
If the emphasis is not now put on re-energising Europe's most moribund economy through development and growth, "in six months we will be forced to discuss a third package and after that a fourth," he predicts,
"European tax payers should know that if they are giving money to Greece, it should have an effect … it should go towards investments and underwriting growth so that the Greek debt problem can be confronted because with this recipe we are not confronting the debt problem, the real issue."
All this sounds remarkably toned down from the fiery rhetoric Tsipras has come to be associated with – until, that is, the mention of rescue funds drying up if (as seems likely) his party emerges as the governing force in a hung parliament.
The first thing Syriza will do in power is tear up the controversial "memorandum of understanding" Greece signed up to with creditors, which details the onerous conditions under which the country receives quarterly injections of cash.
The agreement, he says, was reached without the Greek people ever being consulted. And now in the wake of the 6 May vote, when more than 70% of those opposing the policies voted for "anti-bailout" parties, it is clear it has lost all legitimacy, he insists
It is a high stakes game but, he argues, Europe is holding the gun because ultimately, under European law, Greece can't be ejected from the 17-nation bloc.
"Europeans have to understand that we don't have any intention of pushing ahead with a unilateral move. We will [only] be forced to act if they act unilaterally and make the first move," he says. "If they don't pay us, if they stop the financing [of loans] then we will not be able to pay creditors. What I am saying is very simple."
And if Athens stops paying its creditors, the problem then takes on a different hue. Greece is in a much stronger position than most think.
"Keynes said it many years ago. It's not just the person who borrows but the person who lends who can find himself in a difficult position. If you owe £5,000 to the bank, it's your problem but if you owe £500,000, it's the bank's problem," he said. "This is a common problem. It's our problem. Its Merkel's problem. It's a European problem. Its a world problem."
With his good looks, raven black hair and propensity for rousing oratory, Tsipras comes across more as a pin-up (which is how many in Greece see him) than a saviour, which is how a great deal of others see him.
His aides add in passing that one of his heroes is Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, with whom he shares the same birthday. Nor does he believe in political tags "at this time of crisis".
But though he appears to be preparing for power and moderating his tone, he says the war will continue.

guardian

marilena: Does Greece have the energy for a fight? By Mark ...

marilena: Does Greece have the energy for a fight? By Mark ...: If Greece were a man, he would have aged decades in the past two weeks. The grey hairs would be sprouting, the wrinkles showing. It ...

Does Greece have the energy for a fight? By Mark Lowen

A man begs on a street during a demonstration in Athens February 12, 2012.


If Greece were a man, he would have aged decades in the past two weeks.
The grey hairs would be sprouting, the wrinkles showing. It has been an extraordinarily tumultuous time here.
This country has overcome so much in its long and rich history. But even Greeks are bewildered by what has happened in the last fortnight.
Roll back to 6 May: election day beneath a beautiful early summer sun. As predicted, an austerity-weary nation seized the chance to punish the much-reviled political establishment.
The two main parties that had together previously garnered about 80% of votes, now reduced to barely 30%; a virulently anti-immigrant, neo-Nazi party grabbing 21 seats in parliament for the first time; huge support for parties wanting to tear up Greece's international bailout.
The election was inconclusive and Greece was left without a government during the worst financial crisis in its modern history. Days of political wrangling began.
Three party leaders were successively given the mandate to form a coalition. Three failed. The politicians seemed unable to agree on whether to adhere to - or reject - the bailout and further austerity.
And so Greece's president had one final try, summoning party leaders to call for an emergency government. A man who had fought the Nazis in the Greek resistance during the Second World War was forced to receive the head of the neo-Nazi party in his presidential office as part of the consultations.
But then, the inevitable: the negotiations collapsed amidst a barrage of acrimony. Fresh elections were announced for 17 June.
Greek tragedy
The country has been left in a perilous power vacuum, a limp caretaker government providing a thin veneer of leadership.
University professors and businessmen are among those in the unconventional cabinet. The foreign ministry has been given to an 83-year-old former diplomat.
The 300 MPs elected on 6 May had just 24 hours to enjoy the trappings of office: sworn in last Thursday, the parliament was dissolved a day later to prepare for the second election. For the new faces in the chamber, it might just be the shortest political career in history.
It could all read like a script from an Aeschylus tragedy - but the drama is real and the consequences potentially severe. For this country's membership of the euro is at stake.
European leaders maintain that Greece cannot hope to secure its place in the Eurozone unless it sticks to the bailout and cost-cutting.

Start Quote

Financial recovery and market stability are based on confidence. And there is none of that here for now.”

Any deviation, say Brussels and Berlin, would lead Greece's loan to be withheld. That would force the country to default on its debt and probably leave the euro.
On the face of it, the carrot should work. Polls show the vast majority of Greeks want to keep the euro. But it is more complex than that. For most here are also deeply opposed to the austerity measures that have pushed a third of Greeks below the poverty line and led unemployment to record highs of 21% - or 54% among the youth.
And if it came down to a choice between years more punishing austerity or an exit from the euro and a leap into the unknown, it's still unclear how many would jump.
The leftwing party Syriza came second in the election, pledging to revoke the bailout and reject further spending cuts, despite the threat from Brussels that it could mean Greece kisses the euro goodbye.
Now polls show the party could come first next time: a scenario that sends the fear of God into European leaders.
Hopes fading
Ultimately, both sides will count on brinkmanship. Germany knows that most Greeks like the Euro. Greeks know Germany fears that one country leaving could lead the whole European project to unravel. Which side will blink first?
Not Mrs Merkel, it seems, who - according to the Greek government spokesman - suggested that Greece even hold a referendum on the euro, though her office denies the claim.
It would be an astonishing suggestion if true - and a high-stakes gamble that she could come to regret.
Amidst it all, any hope remaining that Greece might pull itself out of the quagmire has crumbled. News that hundreds of millions of euros were withdrawn from Greek accounts with the present uncertainty sparked rumours of a bank run.
It is not happening, but if it were to come about, it could send this country under. A Twitter message that Greek banks had limited individual withdrawals to fifty euros prompted yet more panic. Again it was untrue. But financial recovery and market stability are based on confidence. And there is none of that here for now.
And so Greece limps on towards its second election in six weeks.
It will inevitably be framed here as a referendum on euro membership: the message from the pro-bailout parties and Europe's leaders being that Greece must vote for cost-cutting to keep the currency.
But this is a nation that feels pushed around by Berlin and beaten by austerity. It has battled to stay in the Euro throughout this recession. Maybe it is just too exhausted to keep on fighting.






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independent

Παρασκευή, 18 Μαΐου 2012

marilena: Market jitters over troubles for Greece and Spain

marilena: Market jitters over troubles for Greece and Spain: Market Data LAST UPDATED AT 16:32 GMT Dow Jones 12424.18 Down -18.31 -0.15% Nasdaq 2807.41 Down -6.28 -0.22% FTSE 100 5267.62 Down -...

Market jitters over troubles for Greece and Spain

Market Data

LAST UPDATED AT 16:32 GMT
Dow Jones12424.18Down-18.31-0.15%
Nasdaq2807.41Down-6.28-0.22%
FTSE 1005267.62Down-70.76-1.33%
Dax6271.22Down-37.74-0.60%
Cac 403008.00Down-3.99-0.13%
BBC Global 305744.87Down-21.94-0.38%

European markets suffered a jittery session on Friday as concern continued over Greece and Spain.
Spain's main index recovered after losingmore than 2% early on.
Some investors moved money into German bonds, which are seen as low-risk. The oil price also fell, reflecting worries about the global economy.
Confidence in European banks was undermined by ratings agency Moody's, which cut the credit ratings of 16 Spanish banks late on Thursday.
It also cut the debt rating on Santander UK, a subsidiary of the Spanish banking giant.
However, shares in Santander reversed early losses to trade 2% higher, and Bankia shares jumped 23% following Thursday's 14% slump.
Moody's said there were several reasons behind the downgrade, including Spain's slide back into recession, the financial challenges facing the Spanish government and bad loans in the property industry.
But Moody's also recognised that banks had made progress in improving their financial situation, and noted the European Central Bank was providing support.
The proportion of loans that have gone bad at Spanish banks hit a record 8.37% in March, according to figures from the Bank of Spain.
Perfect storm
On Monday, Spain will announce the names of two firms who will audit the nation's banking industry, Spain's Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, has announced.
She said the analysis will start with a stress test followed by a closer look at the assets held by the industry.
The Spanish government hopes the audit will reassure investors who fear that Spanish banks are not revealing the full extent of bad loans.
Despite rising bad debts and downgrades, and reports of large withdrawals by worried savers from troubled banking group Bankia, the Spanish government does not expect a run on the country's banks.
Spanish Treasury Minister, Inigo Fernadez de Mesa, told the BBC: "This is a scenario I do not contemplate. The Spanish banks have plenty of liquidity. They have been funded through the central government for the next two years, so there is no problem of liquidity at all in Spain."
Philippe Bodereau, lead analyst on European banks at Pimco, the world's biggest manager of bond investment funds, said: "You do have a perfect storm for Spanish banks in the form of contagion sequence coming from Greece, hitting Spanish government bonds, hitting the Spanish banks as well.
"The Spanish banking system has been under stress for quite sometime, at least portions of the Spanish banking system... we're talking primarily about the small savings banks as well as a one large one called Bankia," he said.
Confidence has also been knocked by the political crisis in Greece, where politicians are preparing for the second election in six weeks.
It is possible that the election on 17 June will result in a government that would refuse to implement the austerity measures that Greece's last remaining international creditors are insisting on.
Speculation is increasing that Greece may have to leave the eurozone.
The challenges facing Greece and Spain will be under discussion this weekend at the Group of Eight (G8) summit at the US Presidential retreat Camp David in Maryland.
President Barack Obama will host leaders from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, Canada, and the European Union.
"The G8 meeting in Camp David today and tomorrow will be used to pressure eurozone politicians to take immediate and decisive action to stop contagion ripping the region apart," said the Dutch bank Rabobank in a research note on Friday.
"Whether the meeting will bring any signs that eurozone politicians may be willing to allow Greek to exit the system remains to be seen, but this type of rhetoric would likely have to be pre-empted by policies designed to limit contagion tightening its grip on Spain," the note said.
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NEGATIVE MESSAGES
On the oil markets, the price of Brent crude fell to its lowest level for the year, at $106.40 a barrel, before recovering.
Meanwhile the yield on 10-year German bonds, that is, the return it has to pay to attract investors, fell to a record low.
In Asia, stock markets registered heavy losses. Tokyo's Nikkei average fell 3%, the biggest one day fall since last August.
Asian markets were also hit by losses in New York, where the Dow Jones closed more than 1% lower.
Investors were discouraged by two weak reports on the US economy.
"There is no resolution to the [European] problem yet, and we also we had very disappointing US data, so overall, it's negative and further denting market sentiment," said Frances Cheung, a senior strategist, at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong.
In Asia, banking shares were hurt after the chief executive of ANZ said volatile market conditions meant that Australian banks were not lending to each other.
The wholesale lending markets are an important source of funds for banks.
"Right now, markets are closed again, and this is what happens in this sort of situation," said ANZ chief executive Mike Smith

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