Archive for April, 2010

Greek Police uses tear gas against Teachers

April 29, 2010

Pictures from troktiko.blogspot

The Greek police have  used tear gas to prevent demonstrating teachers to storm  at the Finance Ministry in central Athens. Teachers and members of the lelft party SYRIZA were protesting  the austerity measures of the government. Among others they provide also  a hiring freeze for teachers.



Stricter austerity measures by IMF/EU shock Greeks!

April 29, 2010

Stricter austerity measures imposed by EU/IMF “troika” shock Greeks!

In a clear message PM G. Papandreou informed representatives from trade unions and businessmen associations about the conditions imposed by EU and IMF in order to activate the ‘rescue package’ of 120 billion Euros, the largest economic package ever given to bailout a country.

According to Greek media and websites the measures will be:

–        Repeal the 13th and 14th salary in the public sector

–        Abolition of the 13th and 14th pension in the public & private sector

–        Replacement of the 13th and 14th salary as ‘bonus’ given on a voluntary basis in the private sector.

  ****    13th & 14th salary refer to Christmas-, Eastern- and Holiday-Bonuses

–        Increase in VAT rates to 23%

–        Increase of Taxes in alcoholic beverages & tobacco products

–        Raising the dismissal quotas (currently 2%) in the private sector

******   VAT was raised by 2 units from 19% to 21% last month.

 The new measures have shocked the Greeks, who already suffer through the recent raises in the VAT and the dried out of the market.

 The measures are expected to be officially announced probably on Sunday, one day after the 1st of May, apparently out of government fear of public outcry.

The 1st of May is traditionally  celebrated in Greece as Labor Day/Strike Day with trade unions , demonstrating in major Greek cities.

Talking about crisis… Katie Holmes as Jackie O?O-M-G!

April 29, 2010

First Lady Jackie Kennedy displays her trademark chic - pillbox hat, pearls, and stylish suitStory photo: Katie Holmes To Star As Jackie O In 'The Kennedys'Story photo: Katie Holmes To Star As Jackie O In 'The Kennedys'

I was looking for news about the additional austerity measures in Greece at when I was caught by surprise to read that “Katie Holmes will star as iconic former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the History Channel’s original miniseries “The Kennedys,” the network announced Wednesday”.

“Katie Holmes…”, I wondered “as the epitome of all time classics and elegance, as the trend setter per se Jackie O?”

Being a movie freak and having watched my first movie at the age of 5, I can say, I have almost half a century experience on mostly good movies & actors.

So I asked myself, what do I know about “Katie Holmes”? The answer came with the speed of a bullet! OMG! She is the wife of Tom Cruise and proud mom of 4 years old, who walks on yellow high heels shoes. Or were they green?

So can the ‘smart girl next door’ (NYT magazine) ever be a First Class Lady of impeccable style?

Does mashmallow Katie have enough acting talent to play Jacqueline Kennedy-Onasis?

Maybe Katie should keep walking on this path of an elegant mother of a growing daughter.

But, we’re talking here about a History Channel miniseries and not a Hollywood film, right?

Greek Stock Exchange:Mini Crash! What analysts and bankers say

April 27, 2010

The Athens Stock Exchange experienced today one of the worst session of the last two decades with the Index having returned to the low of March 2009. “Trapped” in the scenarios of debt restructuring and state bankruptcy, Greek Stock Exchange became once again the vulnerable target of speculators.

The Athens Stock Exchange plunged -6% and the banks became target of generalized divestiture down to -9%.

The General Index closed at 1.696,68 units with the turnover being total 333,91 million Euros

At the same time the spreads of 10 –year Greek bond climbed to 700.2 basis points.

What Market Analysts & Bankers say

Today’s dramatic session, where the General Index faced losses also down to -7%, prompted economic websites and forums participant to call for closing the Stock Exchange session.

The panic did not touched only to markets, but urged empty-headed
internet bloggers to call for “immediate release of new austerity measures”.

Economy analysts foresee a further slide and widen of spreads until the full activation of the IMF-EU support mechanism in May.

Not a few blame German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Minister aides (Westewelle, Schauble) for their reluctance to give full support to the EU mechanism extending the unsecure climate.

An important factor to mention here is that Greece is not seeking currently for loans.

A fact that makes other analysts and bankers to suspect a “crazy game of speculators dancing over the Greek bonds and their security premiums.”

A banker, working in a prominent Greek bank was telling me today that he cannot understand what is going on and why. “It is pure exaggeration; the situation has gone out of control. There is no logical explanation. It is a heavy speculators’ game coming from the big investors’ houses like Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Citibank”.

C. Vergos, Chairman of the Greek Association of Certified Analysts & Market Shares, talking to SBC-TV mentioned the scenario of an upcoming Greek bankruptcy as the cause for the uproar in the markets “The script dictates that Greece will announce stop of payments and will go officially bankrupt. If that were true we would see a greater fall of the Euro against the Dollar, which is not the case. So it is a pure profit-driven game”, he said.

**** Breaking News:

Standard & Poor’s cut Greece’s sovereign credit ratings  to BB+ (longterm) and B (shortterm) with negative outlook.

Greece: Taxman Invasion!

April 25, 2010

Dominique Strauss-Kahn – IMF 

Taxman – The Beatles
Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman 

Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman 

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet. 

Don't ask me what I want it for
If you don't want to pay some more
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman 

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
And you're working for no one but me.

Greece: Officially Bankrupt! What people say to EU/IMF bailout

April 23, 2010

PM Papandreou iin Castelorizo

Greece: Officially Bankrupt! Bailout Plea from EU/IMF

It took PM George Papandreou several hundred miles to travel to the fringe and picturesque island of Castelorizo, near Turkey, to make the long-expected rescue appeal for the Greek bankrupt economy.

Greece admits, it is now officially bankrupt, unable to pay salaries, pensions and expenses, unable to find loans in low-interest rates, unable to pay back loans and credits. So it asks for the activation of the bailout mechanism as it is set by its European partners, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Well done, kids! It took armies of corrupt politicians and corrupted citizens of all ideological colors and shades to degenerate the state and lead the country in the leg hold traps of IMF. Pockets full of money, villas and yachts and a multitude of mishandling and mismanagement of the last 36 years bring up their fruits today. Well done!
Greece will remain in history as the first country of the euro-zone going bankrupt. Well done!

First reactions: What people say….

I quote some first reactions from Greek blogs and websites.

Even though people do not know yet the measures the IMF will require for the 12 billion Euro loan with 2.64% interest, the majority of anonymous or nicknamed commentators focus – and hope! – that the IMF and its European partners will first of all ask the dramatic decrease in the number of civil servants.

There is also harsh criticism against PM Papandreou for not telling the truth about the state’s economy during his election campaign, last October. Where he was promising there was enough money to get out of the crisis. Or recently, where he was clamming, the government is able to lead the country out of the crisis without bailout from EU or IMF.

People say….

“Goodbye rotten state, goodbye tyrants of creativity and entrepreneurship. Go down to the political hell. “

“The state is bound to thousands of laws and thousands of court dismissal decisions (of civil servants). If you do not radically change the legal framework, little can be done in the matter of arithmetic government relief. What to do, if you dismiss them (the civil servants) and your courts put them through. It takes a lot of time and huge organization. You must reset the institutional functioning of the government from the beginning”

“The regime of politicians received a blow today that similar, I have no seen in our history.”

“A pathological liar chose his name day to show how unreliable he is. He used to say “Money is here”,”we will manage it by ourselves”. Lies of a common Greek people’s fraudster.”

“The IMF is to safeguard the interests of our creditors and not to make Greece the ‘Denmark of the South’ (election campaign quotation of PM promising to turn Greece into prosperous, social state).”

“An appeal with 200 days delay, which we pay double. This is amateurism, failure to act and boundless populism.”

“I hope the current day will trigger a turnaround for the better. Let’s make an end with the bad and the useless”.

“If it takes the IMF to impose us to do the obvious, then we deserve it. The “re-establishment of the State” will eventually be done externally imposed, whether we like it or not…”
Μy Way by Frank Sinatra

Greece: Economy Collapse – Who is crying? Not the Civil Servants!

April 22, 2010

Economy Collapses – Who is crying over there? Not the Civil Servants!

The economic collapse for Greece is officially here, this very sunny Thursday, 22nd of April, year 2010. Higher budget deficit, higher spreads and ratings downgrading force Greece to ask officially the emergency loans from EU and IMF. As soon as possible? No! Yesterday!

The EU’s Statistics office, Eurostat, revealed the budget deficit of Greece as 32,34 billion (32.340.000.000) Euros, i.e. 13,6 % of Gross Domestic Product for the year 2009.
The markets pushed the 10-year bond yield up to 8.79 %. A fact that makes it unattractive for the Mediterranean country to gets credits and loans from the free market.
Within hours the Moody’s Ratings Agency cut the credit rating to A3 from A2, not excluding further possible downgrade. The markets seem to have an endogenous mistrust towards Greece’s accounting procedures and ability to pay back credits.

News Like a Bomb! Who cares?

The news fell like a bomb amid the general one-day strike of tens of thousands public workers protesting the austerity measures announced by the Greek government a while ago. But you think Greek public servants were scared or hurt by the bomb explosion? I can tell you, no, they weren’t.

Having attended thousands of protests myself when I was younger, I can tell you what happens when the protest is over.

When the protest is over… the party begins!

Some go shopping, some go to their kitchen & kids, but many end up in small restaurants drowning their fighting spirit in real spirits.

By Ouzo and Wine and mouth-watering starters the exhausted and –meanwhile hungry – protesters soothe their feet on a bistro chair and start exchanging views and make plans about their fighting future, about blocking further salary and bonuses cuts, even about organizing a possible uprising against any plan to impose additional measures if demanded by the International Monetary Fund.

When I was younger, at the last months of junta and the years after, we were protesting for more freedom, for more rights, for more air to breathe.

Nowadays the civil servants protest for no more government’s spending cuts. They consider the 30% cuts on their bonuses as more than enough.

The civil servants in Greece constitute a special caste of their own. Their number varies between 800.000 – 1.200.000 people. But even the official statistics can tell you exactly how many they are. Or how many hours do they work – if they work at all, if they go to work and for how many hours per day. Or what work do they do.

You might see a female civil servant having a contract, let’s say as an ‘asphalt worker’. Of course, the lady doesn’t wake up every morning at 6 to go on the streets and shovel asphalt. No, the lady sits in an office, preferably from 9 to 13. Or is it 9 to 12? She only happened to have gotten her job as permanent civil worker through a … friend or a relative or a friend of a friend or even through direct contact with a politician or parliament deputy, who definitely wants to be reelected in the next legislative period.
But why ‘asphalt worker’, you will ask? It is simple! Because that was the only ‘official’ job available in the area where our ‘money shoveling’ lady was living.

I have a friend, she is civil worker. Last year she decided deliberately she works too much after 24 years in service, so she decided to cut her duty hours. From 36 hours/week, she went down to 25. This year she works hardly 20 hours, some weeks even less. Her salary remains, of course, the same. Nobody controls the unit where she works. It is not only her!
I assume, the whole unit, 6-7 people, work deliberately “part time” and are paid “whole time”. There is simply and absolutely no control.

I know also another one, who takes one day off per week to clean her house. 56 days per year with the official leave being only 27 days!

They both justify the reduction in working time as “official and legitimate leave”.

The absence of any control in the public administration, the corruption and scandals, the salaries and almost tax-free bonuses of the civil servants have created a huge salary gasp and animosity within the Greek society. The private sector is under immense economic pressure with the markets to have dried out , with the unemployment on the rise and the future from ‘uncertain’ to ‘pessimistic’.

You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs

Can the civil servants blackmail the Government? Yes and No!

The civil servants build the voters basis of the two big political parties, the socialist PASOK and the right Nea Dimokratia, governing Greece for the last 36 years. If the current PASOK government breaks with its civil servants, it will find millions of non-civil servants Greeks voting for them. Yes? The answer could turn negative again. It is difficult for a government that brought the IMF and recession in the country to win another election. But if PM Papandreou breaks the eggs (civil servants and their rights) millions of Greeks might be willing to applaud him.

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