Σάββατο, 28 Ιουλίου 2012

Dimitris Papaioannou - Athens 2004 Opening Ceremony

ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑΚΟΙ 2012 σε φωτογραφίες !

marilena: Greek team starts parade of Olympic athletes

marilena: Greek team starts parade of Olympic athletes: Greece’s Alexandros Nikolaidis carries the flag during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in L...

Greek team starts parade of Olympic athletes

Greece’s Alexandros Nikolaidis carries the flag during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. AP/Matt Slocum
LONDON — Greece’s Olympic team has entered the stadium at the head of a parade of athletes from the 204 nations participating in the 2012 London Games.
The Greeks are being led by flagbearer Alexandros Nikolaidis, a two-time taekwondo silver medalist. The beleaguered country’s athletes always come out first in honor of Greece’s place as the birthplace of the Olympic Games. After that, countries parade in alphabetical order, with host Britain last.
Roughly 10,500 athletes are participating, although some have skipped the three-hour ceremony in order to be well-rested for competition.

sports inquirer.net

Παρασκευή, 27 Ιουλίου 2012

marilena: MoveTube: Why Akram Khan will command the Olympic ...

marilena: MoveTube: Why Akram Khan will command the Olympic ...: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saVedjlrAU4&feature=player_embedded It's no surprise that Danny Boyle picked  Akram Khan  to be a fea...

MoveTube: Why Akram Khan will command the Olympic stadium No wonder Danny Boyle chose this talented British-Bangladeshi artist, who straddles the worlds of Kathak and contemporary dance, to dance at the Olympic opening ceremony


It's no surprise that Danny Boyle picked Akram Khan to be a featured dancer in his Olympic opening ceremony. As well as being an embodiment of modern, multicultural Britain, he's one of our most talented artists.
Born in Wimbledon, Khan grew up with an ability to dance as well as speak in two languages. He was sent to classical Kathak classes from the age of seven by his Bangladeshi mother, but by the age of 10 had perfected a Michael Jackson Thriller routine that won him first prize at a school disco contest.
By the time he was 18, Khan had toured the world in Peter Brook's epic production of the Mahabarata and had a dance career mapped out for him by his Kathak guru Sri Pratap Pawar. But that classical future felt too small and too safe for him, and instead he left the close-knit community at home to study contemporary dance.
At De Montfort University, then at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Khan encountered thrilling new worlds of movement – Pina Bausch, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, political dance theatre. He also discovered his own appetite to choreograph and experiment. Since launching his own company in 2002, he's straddled two worlds – Kathak and modern dance. He has forged a unique talent from them.
This extract of his 2002 work Kaash above (starting at 1.58) is a reminder of how fast and how radically Khan was able to reinvent his classical roots: it's a group work rather than a traditional solo performance, and while it's possible to see elements of Kathak's percussive footwork, wheeling body shapes and spins in the choreography, they are stripped-down and re-assembled into linear, minimalist configurations.

In the 2010 work Gnosis, Khan returns to a much more intimate conversation with his history: the first few seconds are a sequence of almost improvisatory arm movements; liquid, eloquent, gestures that chase each other like a train of thought. From 0.22 and 0.37 the gestures have a more classical shaping, phrased into the larger dipping and curving trajectories of Kathak dance.
Even in this short clip, it's clear what a powerful presence Khan has as a performer – I predict he'll have no trouble commanding the vast Olympic stadium. While he's physically quite compact, he can move with lightning speed and rare delicacy, making a moment of stillness feel climactic. But Khan is just as interesting when he's dancing with others as he is when performing solo. Another feature of his career has been collaborations he's set up with performers from very different backgrounds, like the2005 duet Zero Degrees, created with the Moroccan-Flemish dancer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (also with the artist Antony Gormley and composer Nitin Sawhney). Here the opening dialogue of gestures and the fierce spinning sequence both have a strong Kathak flavour, but the embattled argument with Cherkaoui – the rebounding floor work, the interrogation of Gormley's figures – are all new discoveries for Khan.
A year later he created the duet Sacred Monsters with Sylvie Guillem. The title was a reference to both dancers having been youthful prodigies in their respective worlds: the work itself was created out of the dance journey they made towards each other. Guillem, the long, thin, pale opposite of Khan, was an unlikely partner, and in the first sequence they make comedy out of their struggles to accommodate each other. By contrast the second sequence from 0.58 is one of moving unity. As Guillem straddles Khan's waist with her legs, her torso and arms echo his as if joined by invisible strings, they enact a conversation in music and dance that's almost shocking in its intimacy.

The final clip I've chosen is of Khan's most recent work DESH. It's a visionary piece of dance theatre about his own relationship with his parents' homeland. And even in these brief extracts it's clear how masterly Khan's range has become as he occupies different characters and different imaginative worlds: the angry, questing dynamic of the opening sequence: the confusion of a Bangladeshi street at 0:45, where a cacophony of impulses rages through the classical contours of his dancing. DESH happens to be the best creation of Khan's career so far, but it also has the feel of a summation, a taking stock – an artist's attempts to connect with his roots while embracing the passionate contradictions of his present.


marilena: OLYMPICS 2012.... πριν όλα ξεκινήσουν....

marilena: OLYMPICS 2012.... πριν όλα ξεκινήσουν....: guardian

OLYMPICS 2012.... πριν όλα ξεκινήσουν....

Slovenia's Eva Tercelj has a rest during training for the women's K1 kayak slalom

A diver prepares for training at the Aquatics Centre

Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant

Vittoria Panizzon shows of her mount Borough Pennyz

archer Alison Williamson


Jaele Patrick

Mun Yee Leong

New Zealand men's cycling team

The Australian hockey team

archer Brady Ellison of the United States

The New Zealand cycling team train at the Velodrome


marilena: Olympic opening ceremony: the challenges of televi...

marilena: Olympic opening ceremony: the challenges of televi...: Fireworks explode over the Olympic Stadium during a rehearsal for the London 2012 opening ceremony. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP Dan...

Olympic opening ceremony: the challenges of televised spectaculars Danny Boyle's "live film" must satisfy both viewers in the stadium and at home. Can the director pull it off?

Olympic ceremony rehearsal

Fireworks explode over the Olympic Stadium during a rehearsal for the London 2012 opening ceremony. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP
Danny Boyle is unusual among Oscar-winning film-makers in also having had sustained success as a theatre director. This makes him an inspired choice to produce the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, as the special challenge of such events is that they must simultaneously satisfy two audiences: the select set watching live in the stadium, who become the equivalent of theatre-goers, and the millions watching on screen. It may also be useful that another of the rare screen-theatre hybrids — Stephen Daldry, who, like Boyle, once worked at the Royal Court Theatre in London – is one of the creative consultants to the Olympics.
By saying in advance interviews that he is aiming to create a "live film", Boyle shows that he understands the existence of this forked audience and the hybrid art form that is most likely to satisfy both. The risk is that an element which seems startling in front of the eyes of ticket-holders – the participation of live animals, for example, or the involvement of vast numbers of participants – may look less impressive on a flat screen to billions of viewers potentially jaded by television's long record of spectacle. But Boyle has shown the ability to meet these contrasting demands: having filled multiplexes, but also creating, in his recent National Theatre production of Frankenstein, thrilling live optical effects.
The risk in the selection of Boyle is that he has an erratic cinematic record: the London Olympic Organising Committee will be praying that they have hired the director of Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting (though perhaps with slightly fewer references to intravenous drug use) rather than the director of A Life Less Ordinary and The Beach. And the film that got Boyle the gig is surely Slumdog Millionaire, in which he marshalled large crowds of non-actors and supervised lavish musical sequences within a narrative that had a strong sense of place (in that case, India).
A few teaser sequences, filmed during dress rehearsal and released by BBC News on Thursday night, were a well-chosen show reel to advertise Boyle's plans and ambitions: they suggested a range of tones (comic, musical, political) and the use of camera angles that best present spectacular images, including aerial views and wide sweeps of focus.
What's new to Boyle – and represents the largest variable tonight – is that, for the first time in his career (except, possibly, when his Frankenstein was beamed to cinemas for one night as part of NT Live) what he has produced and directed will be mediated, for the majority of the audience, through another set of hands: the BBC production team. Indeed, as the experienced TV event director, Hamish Hamilton (a veteran of Oscar ceremonies and other screen jamborees) is part of Boyle's team, there are effectively three levels of visual input.
In this context, it's concerning that there is a history of difficulty in television during occasions when there is uncertainty over whether the broadcaster is presenting the event or reporting on it. An annual example is the Eurovision Song Contest, when the BBC is part of the consortium that organises and stages the competition but traditionally frames its own coverage of the evening in twinkling, distancing irony.
More problematically, Royal events (weddings, funerals, jubilees) have often left the Corporation looking confused between being a dumb conduit for the images and a journalistic interpreter of them. Most notoriously, in the recent River Pageant for the Diamond Jubilee, it was never clear whether the BBC was pointing cameras at someone else's event or hosting its own programme.
In the Olympics, this blurred role occurs again: host broadcaster in the host nation, is the BBC's job tonight simply to make sure that what Boyle has created reaches viewers digitally crisp and clear and advantageously framed? Or to comment on whether what he has delivered is any good? During the expected sequence hymning the achievements of the NHS, does BBC balance demand that Huw Edwards or Hazel Irvine drop in a few distancing statistics about waiting lists and healthcare rationing?
There could have been no better choice than Danny Boyle for this event but, in the presentation of his presentation, the broadcasters will have difficult choices of their own.


How to watch the London Olympic opening ceremony

The BBC coverage goes on for over five hours, so here are some top tips on how to prepare – what bits to focus on, and what to ignore
Beijing 2008 Olympic Games opening ceremony
It's difficult to top the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony's synchronised drummers, but as long as you ignore athletes parade you should be fine. Photograph: Adrees Latif/REUTERS
It's Eurovision without the voting, the X Factor final without the local mayors whooping into Stacey Solomon's face, the jubilee flotilla without crowds of people scowling in the rain. (Or so organisers hope). Tonight's Olympic opening ceremony is going to be brilliant.
Or at least it will be, so long as you do it correctly. Trust me – if you approach the opening ceremony incorrectly, you're in for a world of pain. You'll drop off halfway through and wake up on your sofa at 3am with a drool-covered remote control embedded into your face and a vague recollection of Sue Barker haunting your dreams. This is why I've compiled a brief list of instructions for you. Stick to them, and Olympic heaven will be yours.

Prepare well

The BBC's coverage of the opening ceremony starts at 7pm and doesn't finish until 12:30am. That's five and a half hours. Don't forget to stay active for as long as you can before it begins, to drink lots of water and to move around as much as possible during the ceremony, maybe by mimicking the dancers or decanting all your Pepsi into old Coke cans so as not to offend any sponsors.

Ignore the bit with the athletes

When people talk about the Beijing opening ceremony, what do they always mention? The levitating rings? Yes. The millions of perfectly syncronised drummers? Yes. The really long bit in the middle where all of the athletes competing in the Olympics trundled around the stadium really slowly in what basically amounted to single file? No. Be honest – on television it is always the least essential part of the ceremony, and you'd do well to avoid it completely. Yes, you'll miss Chris Hoy carrying a flag, but everyone knows what Chris Hoy looks like. He's the man from all the Bran Flakes adverts, right?

Forget the storyline

On paper, the opening ceremony will be the realisation of Danny Boyle's grand vision – an epic opera about a land recovering from its industrial legacy. Who knows whether that will translate to your television screen. But if not – don't worry: even if the concept goes out the window within a minute or two, we'll still have a load of people in silly costumes charging about and flapping their arms around a lot in an entertaining manner.

Be social

Look, you're not going to make it on your own. The ceremony was designed as a communal experience, so you'll need company. Ideally this company will be real-life and tangible, but if that's not possible you can always machine-gun out your pithy string of observations on Twitter. Failing that, you can anthropomorphise a volleyball like Tom Hanks did in Castaway. He'll appreciate your bon mots, even if nobody else will.

Drinking games

The traditional response to televised spectaculars looks rather dangerous in this case – the ceremony is on TV for five and a half hours, after all – so proceed with caution. You'll also need a lot of booze if you're going to drink whenever the words "glorious", "spectacle", "majestic" or "pinnacle" are used, whenever Huw Edwards looks vaguely like he's losing the will to live, whenever a wacky Fearne Cotton-alike presents a kooky segment from backstage, whenever one of the farm animals defecates on camera, whenever anyone struggles to pronounce the name of a foreign athlete and – just to promote responsible drinking – whenever the Queen looks visibly happy to be there. You're probably safe with that last one.
There. Now you can enjoy the Olympic opening ceremony the way it was meant be enjoyed – begrudgingly, on a sofa, possibly half drunk. It's how Danny Boyle meant you to watch it.

marilena: Jamaica's Miracle Myths, Legends and the Making of...

marilena: Jamaica's Miracle Myths, Legends and the Making of...: Few would deny that Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world -- but even fewer could say why. While his fans are hap...

Jamaica's Miracle Myths, Legends and the Making of Usain Bolt By Alexander Osang

Photo Gallery: Jamaica's Crown Jewel

Few would deny that Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world -- but even fewer could say why. While his fans are happy to call him a miracle, the man himself is lost in a cloud of legends, hype and marketing.

Here, Bolt celebrates after his team won the men's 4x100 relay final and set a...

The fastest men to run the 100-meter dash - and how they stack up to Bolt.

"They say there are 7 billion people in the world," Bolt says.  "There's nothing ...

Bolt celebrates in Oslo in June 2012: "Sixty thousand people came to the ...

Bolt after winning the 100-meter race in Oslo in June: The track-and-field...

Bolt (center) wins the 100-meter race at a meet in Jamaica in May: There are...

Bolt celebrates another victory in Berlin in August 2009, when he set a new...


marilena: OLYMPICS 2012

marilena: OLYMPICS 2012: The opening ceremony of the London Olympics is just hours away after seven years of preparations. The opening ceremony for the O...


Tower Bridge with rings

The Queen's rowbarge Gloriana outside the Houses of Parliament

The opening ceremony of the London Olympics is just hours away after seven years of preparations.
The opening ceremony for the Olympics starts at 9pm.

The torch has been carried down the Thames and is now being held at City Hall before being taken to the Olympic Stadium.

The identity of who will light the Olympic flame remains a secret. These are the contenders... www.independent.co.uk

Who do you think will light the flame? Enter our poll... www.independent.co.uk

Read the latest weather report for the Games here... www.independent.co.uk

For the rest of today's top news click here... london2012.independent.co.uk

For the best stories and features from today's Independent click here...london2012.independent.co.uk

Check out the schedule, medals table and results by clicking here...
by Simon Rice 4:32 PM

Τρίτη, 24 Ιουλίου 2012





marilena: Berlin, IMF To Refuse Fresh Aid for Greece

marilena: Berlin, IMF To Refuse Fresh Aid for Greece: Greece has fallen behind with its budget cuts and is asking lenders for more time to meet the conditions of the 130 billion euro aid pac...

Berlin, IMF To Refuse Fresh Aid for Greece

A street scene in Athens. Greece is in its fifth year of recession and has fallen behind with budget cutbacks and reforms demanded by international lenders.

Greece has fallen behind with its budget cuts and is asking lenders for more time to meet the conditions of the 130 billion euro aid package. But that would require fresh help of up to 50 billion euros, SPIEGEL has learned. Neither Berlin nor the IMF are prepared to make that money available.

Germany and other important international creditors are not prepared to extend further loans to Greece beyond what has already been agreed, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday. In addition, SPIEGEL has learned that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) too has signalled it won't take part in any additional financing for Greece.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung cited an unnamed German government source as saying it was "inconceivable that Chancellor Angela Merkel would again ask German parliament for approval for a third Greece bailout package."
Merkel has had difficulty uniting her center-right coalition behind recent bailout decisions in parliamentary votes and would be unwilling to risk a rebellion in a another rescue for Greece, the newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, German Economy Minister Philipp Rösler said on Sunday he was "more than skeptical" that Greece's reform efforts will succeed. "If Greece no longer meets its requirements there can be no further payments," he said in an interview with German public broadcaster ARD. "For me, a Greek exit has long since lost its horrors."
Athens wants to soften the terms of a €130 billion ($157 billion) bailout, the second rescue package for Greece, agreed to last March with the European Union and the IMF, to lessen their impact on an economy going through its worst recession since World War II.
Greece Going Through 'Great Depression'
Athens must reduce its budget deficit below 3 percent of GDP by the end of 2014, from 9.3 percent of GDP in 2011 -- requiring almost another €12 billion in cuts and higher taxes on top of the €17 billion successive governments have cut from the budget shortfall.
The left-right coalition of conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is under intense public pressure to ease the burden on Greeks. Samaras said on Sunday that Greece was in a "Great Depression" similar to the one in the US in the 1930s.
Athens has conceded it had slipped "in some respects" in implementing the cuts and reforms required by its creditors. Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras made the admission following a meeting with senior officials from the so-called "troika," made up of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF, which has been checking the country's accounts this month.
Greece argues that its reform efforts were slowed by the two national elections in May and June and wants its lenders to give it two more years to achieve the budget goals to avoid an even deeper economic slump. But its lenders have opposed the idea because it would require even more financial aid.

'Greece Must Catch Up'

SPIEGEL has learned that the troika expects that granting Greece more time would require additional aid of between €10 billion and €50 billion. The troika's report on Greece's reform progress could determine whether the country gets its next instalment of €31.5 billion in aid under the second aid package. If it doesn't get the instalment, Greece risks running out of cash within weeks.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble made guarded comments about Greece on Monday. Asked if the country would have to leave the euro if the troika inspectors filed a negative report on its reform progress, Schäuble told German newspaper Bild: "I won't pre-empt the troika. If there have been delays, Greece must catch up. When the troika submits its report, the Euro Group (of euro-zone finance ministers) will discuss it."
But even if the next tranche of aid weren't paid out and the Greek government were forced to declare bankruptcy this autumn, it is unclear what would happen. EU treaties don't give the bloc the power to evict a country from the single currency union.


marilena: 'Acropolis Adieu, You've Got to Go!'

marilena: 'Acropolis Adieu, You've Got to Go!': New speculation of a Greek exit from the euro zone hit financial markets on Monday after the IMF and major creditors including Germany w...

'Acropolis Adieu, You've Got to Go!'

Storm clouds over the Acropolis: A Greek is looming ever larger € exit.

New speculation of a Greek exit from the euro zone hit financial markets on Monday after the IMF and major creditors including Germany were reported to be intent on refusing further aid. 
German media commentators don't see how Greece can avoid quitting the euro -- and say Athens has mainly itself to blame.

The euro fell to its lowest level in over two years, reaching $1.2081 on Monday, due to market fears of a Greek euro exit and calls by Spanish regions for financial aid that triggered speculation Spain may have to seek a full bailout.

Reports that the International Monetary Fund, Germany and other major lendersare not prepared to extend fresh aid to Greece on top of the second bailout package of €130 billion ($157 billion) agreed to earlier this year have sparked new speculation that the country where the euro crisis erupted in 2010 may have to declare bankruptcy this autumn and quit the euro.
The Greek government has asked lenders to soften the terms of the bailout and give it more time to implement reforms and budget cuts demanded of it. But that would probably require the injection of even more aid to Greece, which Germany and the IMF are reportedly no longer prepared to do.
German media commentators say a Greek bankruptcy is looking more likely and that despite all the mistakes made in Europe's crisis management over the last two years, Greece itself is to blame for its problems.
Mass circulation Bild writes:
"At last someone is speaking the truth: The International Monetary Fund is threatening to pull the plug. No new loans, no new guarantees. Without fresh money Greece will be bankrupt and will have to try to make a fresh start without the euro. At last! This signal was overdue. Greece is neither able nor willing to solve its problems. The political class isn't daring to tell the rich to pay up. The administration isn't in a position to privatize unprofitable state enterprises, the tax administration is inefficient and corrupt. In such a situation, every additional euro wouldn't be a help but an additional premium for inability and a lack of will.
"The IMF is slamming on the emergency brake. That makes it easier for donor nations like Germany and the whole EU to also say: Acropolis adieu, you've got to go!"
Center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:
"In order to plug the new hole in the Greek restructuring program, the Greeks will either have to save more or the Europeans will have to provide billions more euros. As both seem to be out of the question, the government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will probably have to declare itself bankrupt in September.
"There is no script for such a state bankruptcy within the euro zone, just as there is no script for the entire management of the crisis. The only thing that's clear is that there is no judicial means and hardly any political means to simply throw the Greeks out of the currency union. The European Central Bank alone would have the indirect possibility of shutting off financing to Athens and thereby practically forcing Samaras to leave the euro zone.
"Such a step would entail incalculable risks for the Greek government, bigger risks than the remaining euro countries would face. But it will probably have to embark on this adventure. Maybe the crisis managers led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel are partly to blame, but one shouldn't confuse cause and effect: the main blame lies with the Greeks themselves. "

Business daily Handelsblatt writes:
"In truth, the German government's choice isn't between continuing its reform policy and the demise of the euro. Its only choice is between different routes towards completing monetary union. The critics of the euro rescue measures basically know that, which is why they become so tight-lipped when it comes to showing workable alternatives.
"The government is making it easy for them because it has evaded an honest debate about what the paths out of the euro crisis are, what they could cost and what it would cost to leave the euro. It should explain to citizens that solidarity with our euro partners is necessary but that this solidarity gives us a chance to create a globally competitive Europe than in large measure corresponds with German visions."
-- David Crossland


marilena: Global super-rich hide $21 trillion in tax havens ...

marilena: Global super-rich hide $21 trillion in tax havens ...: (CNN)  -- The world's super-rich had between $21 trillion and $32 trillion of wealth hidden in tax havens by the end of 2010, a new s...

Global super-rich hide $21 trillion in tax havens By Yenni Kwok, for CNN

Switzerland is among the world's most popular tax havens, according to the advocacy group Tax Justice Network

(CNN) -- The world's super-rich had between $21 trillion and $32 trillion of wealth hidden in tax havens by the end of 2010, a new study says.
The size of these unreported financial assets is equivalent to, or even larger than, the combined GDPs of the United States and Japan, representing up to $280 billion in lost tax revenues.
The study, titled "The Price of Offshore Revisited," was released Sunday by the advocacy group Tax Justice Network.
Written by James Henry, former chief economist at McKinsey & Co., the study drew data from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and central banks.
The number of the global elite who parked their fortune overseas is fewer than 10 million people, or 0.14% of the global population, the report says. It also shows that major private banks such as UBS, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and HSBC handled the most assets on behalf of the super-rich.
According to the group's 2011 Financial Security Index, which ranks nations and territories providing tax havens, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and Singapore are among the biggest destinations.
In a statement, Henry, senior adviser of the Tax Justice Network, said that "it turns out that this offshore sector --- which specializes in tax dodging -- is basically designed and operated, not by shady no-name banks ... but by the world's largest private banks, law firms and accounting firms, headquartered in First World capitals like London, New York and Geneva."
The report also calculates capital flight from 139 developing countries between 1970s and 2010. Of the top 20 developing countries that lost tax revenue overseas, China ranks first, with nearly $1.2 trillion siphoned offshore by 2010. Russia and South Korea follow, with $798 billion and $779 billion missing respectively.
"Since most of missing financial wealth belongs to a tiny elite, the impact is staggering," Henry said. "For most countries, global financial inequality is not only much greater than we suspected, but it has been growing much faster."
The Tax Justice Network says its estimated offshore fortune is conservative, adding it excludes non-financial assets such as real estate, yachts and artworks.

Δευτέρα, 23 Ιουλίου 2012

marilena: Analysis: Euro exit talk risks self-fulfilling pro...

marilena: Analysis: Euro exit talk risks self-fulfilling pro...: (Reuters) - To understand the impact of a potential Greek exit from the  euro zone , imagine an operating theater inside a betting shop....

Analysis: Euro exit talk risks self-fulfilling prophecy

A European Union (E.U.) flag (front) and a Greek flag flutter in front of the monument of Parthenon on Acropolis hill in Athens June 17, 2012. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

(Reuters) - To understand the impact of a potential Greek exit from the euro zone, imagine an operating theater inside a betting shop.

As surgeons prepare to amputate a gangrened foot to prevent infection spreading to healthier parts of the body, gamblers on the sidelines lay bets on which limb will be next for the chop.
Talk of a possible Greek exit has already sapped investors' confidence in the 17-nation single currency area and contributed to higher borrowing costs for Spain and Italy. It is making a planned return to market funding next year harder for Ireland and Portugal, which are implementing tough bailout programs.
Some European politicians and central bankers clearly see jettisoning a delinquent member as a salutory lesson to others not to abuse club privileges. Like the English in Voltaire's philosophical novel Candide, they believe "it's a good thing to execute an admiral from time to time, to encourage the others".
Other policymakers and market participants fear that pushing Greece towards the exit would start a chain reaction, materializing huge costs for investors and taxpayers and perhaps triggering a break-up of the euro.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe's most powerful political leader, has appeared to be on both sides of the argument at different times.
She said last November that ensuring the stability of the euro was a bigger priority than guaranteeing Greece's continued membership. But she has also said a Greek exit would cause a disastrous "domino effect", scaring investors away from Europe.
The election last month of a Greek government committed to sticking to an adjustment program agreed with the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for some 240 billion euros in loans has brought only a temporary respite.
Greece has slid further off course from its fiscal and economic reform targets, the man in charge of privatizing state enterprises resigned last week in despair at delays, and the European Central Bank stopped accepting Athens' bonds as collateral for lending to Greek banks.
Pundits are now vying to forecast which country may have an interest in leaving first - EU paymaster Germany or Greece, creditors states or debtors.
U.S. economist Nouriel Roubini, a regular doomsayer on Europe, has suggested that Finland, a triple-A rated fiscally prudent northern state, might be first out the door due to anxiety about ever growing liabilities for euro zone weaklings.
"If Greece moves closer to exit and Italy and Spain end up on the verge of losing market access and requiring even more risky financial support from the euro zone core, Finland may decide that the additional credit risk is not worth the benefit," Roubini wrote on his EconoMonitor website.
Regardless of their accuracy, such prophecies highlight how European governments and lawmakers are coming to see membership of the euro area as a zero-sum game, in which each state feels like a victim of its partners' actions and decisions.
Foreign exchange strategists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch enlisted game theory to analyze which euro zone country might see an economic interest in jumping ship.
Put simply, game theory states that players may not trust each other enough to cooperate or may see greater gains for themselves in non-cooperation, even though the outcome would be better for all players if they did cooperate.
Hence, while Germany and Greece would both stand to gain if Greece carried out its austerity program and German accepted common euro zone bonds, neither is likely to choose that course because each would be better off without making a sacrifice.
Applying the same techniques to the economics of a voluntary exit from the euro, strategists David Woo and Athanasios Vamvakidis concluded that Italy and Ireland both had a greater interest in leaving than Greece.
By contrast, Germany had the lowest incentive of any country to leave, despite its economic power and strong fiscal position, because it would suffer lower growth, possibly higher borrowing costs and a negative balance sheet effect, they said.
Italy had a relatively high chance of achieving an orderly exit and could make significant gains in competitiveness and growth with a weaker currency, they argued.
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is pondering a political comeback in a general election next year, has said that leaving the euro would be "no blasphemy".
European monetary union was officially declared to be irrevocable and irreversible. The Maastricht Treaty provides no exit clause once countries join the euro, although the 2009 Lisbon Treaty did for the first time make it legally possible for a country to leave the European Union.
An EU official involved in crisis management, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said it would be fatal for confidence if the euro area came to look "like a hotel lobby with a revolving door".
Yet some outside experts say the absence of an exit clause is one of the design flaws of the euro that should be fixed now.
U.S. Federal Reserve policymaker James Bullard said this month the possibility of an exit from Economic and Monetary Union was one of the principal issues facing EU policymakers.
"The common refrain that no country can ever be allowed to leave the EMU is altering the incentives for nations to take the actions necessary to maintain membership," he argued in a speech in London.
"The incentive effects for a member country to remain in the EMU must be considered very carefully going forward. Policies should be designed with an eye toward these incentives, and can no longer assume that the political processes will back the EMU in all circumstances," he said in a speech in London.
Bullard cited the work of economist Russell Cooper of the European University Institute, who has proposed creating a penalty called "Euroisation" in which a delinquent state would stay in the euro but lose its voting rights and its access to the ECB's lending window until its fiscal behavior improved.
That might satisfy the creditors' wish to see fiscal "sinners" pay a penalty, but it will not hold the euro zone together.
(Writing by Paul Taylor, editing by William Hardy)