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Links 1 through 10 of 134 by Michael Duff tagged europe

Yea! The Europeans have managed to come up with a default that isn't really a default. Isn't that clever? Everything's fixed now. Business as usual.

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Labour unions have called a 48-hour strike to protest against the measures and more than 5,000 police were deployed to the centre of the capital to deal with expected trouble as a crowd officials estimated at some 20,000 rallied in Syntagma Square, in front of the parliament building.

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The latest austerity measures must pass in two parliamentary votes Wednesday and Thursday if Greece is to receive bailout funds from the EU and the IMF to stave off a possible default in July. If the votes don’t pass, Greece could become the first eurozone nation to default on its debts, sending shock waves through the global economy.

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Consider what's really happening here. A completely un-elected entity (the EU) is about to tell the citizens of a sovereign nation how much to pay workers, how much they must levy in taxes, how much they must cut government, and what specific goods their citizens are allowed to buy and sell. These measures over overwhelmingly opposed by the people, but their politicians are about to vote for them. Say it with me, "When the time comes to cut spending, it won't matter which party is 'in charge.'"

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I was mildly surprised when the EU nations agreed to pool their credit and sign up for a mutually-assured Keynesian death spiral, but I was certainly not expecting China to join the party. What's the endgame here? Are they expecting to buy up real assets when the PIIGS can't pay? Seems like a good ol' fashioned war would be cheaper.

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Chef Olivier Douet said he had initially cherished the coveted accolade but that the 2008 financial economic crisis forced him into a painful rethink.

"I am not spitting in the soup – to have a Michelin star is a distinction, a very important recognition of merit," he said.

However, he added that the onerous demands of the gastronomic restaurant barely allowed him to break even.

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"This is not a program to salvage the economy, it's a program for pillage before bankruptcy," said Alexis Tsipras, head of the small opposition Left Coalition.

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"An audit released in February found IMF economists missed signs of fragility that led to the 2008 financial collapse, partly because agency staff were “in awe of” monetary authorities in the U.S. and other major economies." We can't wait for the Tweet pics released from the tete-a-tete sessions behind close doors between Bernanke and "in awe of" Lagarde.

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Pressures to avoid bankruptcy intensified as rating agency Fitch said it would consider a voluntary rollover of Greek bond maturities – something European officials have been hoping to achieve – as a default and would cut the country's rating.

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"We must make no bones about it, according to the EU and the IMF there is no alternative. The people of Greece must do as they are told. They cannot countenance default and leaving the single currency. What then is the price of democracy in its birthplace?"

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