Saturday, 21 February 2015

Hitler's American Business Partners

This documentary uncovers the unholy alliance between Nazi Germany and some of the biggest corporations in the US — companies which were indispensable for Hitler to wage war. Henry Ford, the automobile manufacturer; James D Mooney, the General Motors manager; and Thomas Watson, the IBM boss were all awarded the Grand Cross of the German Eagle — the Nazi's highest distinction for foreigners for their services to the Third Reich.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Greek Crisis Talks Collapse in Acrimony as Syriza Defies EMU

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: 'The only way to solve Greece is to treat us like equals; not a debt colony,' says Greek finance minister

Greece is on a collision course with the eurozone’s creditor powers after emergency talks ended in acrimony on Monday night, triggering the most serious political crisis since the launch of the euro.

The Leftist Syriza government reacted with fury to eurozone demands that it must stick to the country’s discredited austerity plan, describing the draft text as “absurd and unacceptable”.

Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, said Eurogroup finance ministers had ignored a deal already agreed with the European Commission for a four-month delay and a “new contract for growth”, returning instead to old demands. "The only way to solve Greece is to treat us like equals; not a debt colony,” he said, predicting that EU authorities would soon have to withdraw their latest “ultimatum”.

The talks were halted after four hours of stormy exchanges, risking a traumatic showdown that could precipitate the biggest default in world history and force Greece out of the euro by the end of the month. » | Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor | Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday, 9 February 2015

Greece's Leaders Stun Europe with Escalating Defiance

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: "The euro is like a house of cards. If you pull away the Greek card, they all come down,” says Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister

Greece’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has spelled out the negotiating strategy of the Syriza government with crystal clarity.

“Exit from the euro does not even enter into our plans, quite simply because the euro is fragile. It is like a house of cards. If you pull away the Greek card, they all come down,” he said.

“Do we really want Europe to break apart? Anybody who is tempted to think it possible to amputate Greece strategically from Europe should be careful. It is very dangerous. Who would be hit after us? Portugal? What would happen to Italy when it discovers that it is impossible to stay within the austerity straight-jacket?”

“There are Italian officials – I won’t say from which institution - who have approached me to say they support us, but they can’t say the truth because Italy is at risk of bankruptcy and they fear the consequence from Germany. A cloud of fear has been hanging over Europe over recent years. We are becoming worse than the Soviet Union,” he told the Italian TV station RAI. Read on and comment » | Ambrose Evans-Pritchard | Monday, February 09, 2015

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Tsipras favours Greek Jobless Over Creditors In Defiant Policy Speech

Greece prime minister Alexis Tsipras delivering his first speech
at the parliamentary session of Syriza.
THE GUARDIAN: Prime minister says government’s first priority is to tackle humanitarian crisis caused by years of austerity

The Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has announced his anti-austerity government programme in a defiant address that prioritised the jobless and destitute over international creditors who have lent the country more than $300bn (£200bn).

In his first policy speech before parliament, he said his government did not have the right to prolong the five-year bailout deal that has foisted austerity on Greece, and felt a duty “not to disappoint” those who had voted him into power.

“We see hope, dignity and pride returning to Greek citizens. Our obligation and duty is not to disappoint them,” he told the 300-seat house. “We realise that negotiations [with foreign lenders] won’t be easy … but we have faith in our struggle, because justice is on our side.”

Declaring his administration “a government of national salvation”, Tsipras said he would also pursue claims to win back from Germany wartime loans that Greece had been forced to make to Nazi occupiers. “I can’t overlook what is an ethical duty, a duty to history … to lay claim to the wartime debt.” » | Helena Smith in Athens | Sunday, February 08, 2015

Monday, 26 January 2015

What Does Syriza’s Victory Mean for Greece and the Eurozone?

Greece must bow to austerity or go bust, says EU » Bruno Waterfield, Brussels | Monday January 26, 2015

'Hospitals with No Medicines, Graduates with No Jobs, Children with No Hope'

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Nick Squires witnesses unheard-of poverty and long-gone diseases return to Greece, the birthplace of the European ideal

On a dusty street corner in a grimy port on the outskirts of Athens, a public health crisis that has no precedent in Europe is unfolding.

After five years of unrelenting austerity, doctors working in a charity-run clinic are witnessing daily what they never thought they would see in their entire careers - children and adults suffering from malnutrition.

In Perama, one of the poorest parts of Athens, unemployment has reached 60 per cent and many families do not have enough money to put food on the table.

The town once prospered on the back of building and repairing ships but it has been hammered first by a drastic contraction of the sector and then by the unremitting tax rises, pension cuts and other austerity measures introduced by the government at the behest of its international creditors.

The health clinic was originally set up to provide free health care and medicines to the growing number of poor, but now it hands out emergency boxes of food as well. » | Nick Squires, Perama | Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Greeks Hand Stunning Victory to Anti-austerity Syriza

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Greece on collision course with rest of Europe after handing general election victory to far-left party that has vowed to reject austerity

Greece set itself on a collision course with the rest of Europe on Sunday night after handing a stunning general election victory to a far-Left party that has pledged to reject austerity and cancel the country’s billions of pounds in debt.

In a resounding rebuff to the country’s loss of financial sovereignty, Greeks gave Syriza 36.5 per cent of the vote, according to the first official projections.

It means they will be able to send between 149 and 151 MPs to the 300-seat parliament, putting them tantalisingly close to an outright majority.

The final result was too close to call - if they win 150 seats or fewer, they will have to form a coalition with one of several minor parties. » | Nick Squires, Athens | Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Greek Election: Rena Dourou of Syriza Poised to Sweep Away Austerity

Newly[-]elected governor of the wider Athens region
Rena Dourou, who was backed by leftist Syriza party,
waves to supporters in front of the University of Athens
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: “Is it really right for thousands of people to commit suicide because of austerity policies?" asks Syriza's most senior politician ahead of Sunday's general election

After her mother’s pension was cut over 30 times, Rena Dourou knew that Greece could no longer cope with austerity.

Now, as Syriza, her political party, leads the polls ahead of the country’s general election on Sunday, she stands ready to reverse the five years of pain imposed by the European Union.

“Since the beginning of the implementation of the austerity policies, many people have had the experience of becoming second-class citizens, with no access to health care or education,” she said.

“We want to create a shield of protection for the most vulnerable.”

Ms Dourou, 40, is the only member of Syriza, a radical left-wing coalition, to hold high office. Since she was elected as governor of Attica, the vital region that surrounds Athens, last May she has increased the state’s budget for social welfare more than six-fold, from a mere Eu1.9 million (£1.46 million) to Eu13 million. It is a premonition of the huge spending splurge that Syriza has promised if it is elected nationally. » | Nick Squires, and Menelaos Tzafalias in Athens | Thursday, January 22, 2015

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Entscheidung der Schweizer Notenbank: Was Sie über die Franken-Aufwertung wissen müssen

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Der Mindestkurs von 1,20 Franken je Euro ist Vergangenheit. Warum hat die Schweizer Notenbank so entschieden, was bedeutet das für die Schweizer Wirtschaft, und welche Folgen hat das für die Eurozone? Die Antworten im Überblick.

Zürich/Hamburg - Mehr als drei Jahre lang hielt die Schweizerische Nationalbank (SNB) den Franken mit Euro-Käufen künstlich billig. Seit Donnerstag ist das vorbei, völlig überraschend gab die SNB ihre Politik des Mindestkurses auf - mit erheblichen Auswirkungen auf Finanzmärkte und Realwirtschaft.

Wer profitiert, wer verliert, und was hat die Notenbank konkret beschlossen? Antworten auf die wichtigsten Fragen: » | fdi/dpa | Freitag, 16. Januar 2015

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Out with the Litas and In with the Euro in Lithuania

Read the Euronews article here | Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Vœux du président François Hollande aux Français pour l'année 2015

Retrouvez les vœux du président François Hollande aux Français pour l'année 2015.

Happy New Year! Bonne année ! Gutes Neues Jahr! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Felice Anno Nuovo! Felix sit annus novus! Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! ! سنة سعيدة L'Shannah Tovah!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my visitors, followers, and Twitter followers a wonderful, healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year. May 2015 be your year! Thanking you all for your continued and loyal support. – © Mark

Friday, 26 December 2014

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Russia Risks Soviet-style Collapse as Rouble Defence Fails

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: 'What is happening is a nightmare that we could not even have imagined a year ago,' says Russia's central bank

Russia has lost control of its economy and may be forced to impose Soviet-style exchange controls after "shock and awe" action by the central bank failed to stem the collapse of the rouble.

“The situation is critical,” said the central bank’s vice-chairman, Sergei Shvetsov. “What is happening is a nightmare that we could not even have imagined a year ago."

The currency crashed to 100 against the euro in the biggest one-day drop since the default crisis in 1998 as capital flight gathered pace, despite a drastic rise in interest rates to 17pc intended to crush speculators and show resolve.

Yields on two-year Russian bonds spiralled to 15.36pc, while credit default swaps are pricing in a one-third chance of a sovereign default. The shares of Russia’s biggest lender, Sberbank, fell 18pc.

Neil Shearing, from Capital Economics, said the spectacular failure of the rate shock may bring matters to a head. “If a rise of 650 basis points won’t do the job, we are near the end. That means stringent capital controls,” he said. » | Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor | Tuesday, December 16, 2014