Greeks fearing collapse of eurozone bailout pulled record sums from bank

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/dec/16/greeks-fearing-collapse-of-eurozone-bailout-pulled-record-sums-from-bank

Bank of Greece reveals that investors fearful of political instability and economic collapse pulled €12.3bn from local banks as Papandreou referendum threatened debt deal

in Athens
guardian.co.uk
, Friday 16 December 2011

An unprecedented exodus of capital from Greece – peaking in a record number of withdrawals from banks in recent months – has exacerbated the liquidity crisis now wracking the recession-hit country.

The latest figures released by the Bank of Greece reveal that in September and October alone investors pulled €12.3bn (£10.3bn) from domestic banks, spurred by fears of political uncertainty and economic collapse.

Overall, outflows have reached a record 25% since September 2009 – when household and corporate deposits stood at a peak of €237.5bn, the data showed.

Theodore Pelagidis, an economics professor at the University of Piraeus, said: “This is part of the death spiral of the recession as a result of austerity measures. People realise that contagion has come to banks and they are very afraid of losing their deposits. On average around €4bn-€5bn in capital flees the banking system every month.”

The extraordinary figures back up anecdotal evidence that it is not just the super-rich behind the flight of funds.

Over the past year, as the eurozone debt crisis has intensified in the nation where it largely began, there have been countless cases of ordinary depositors hauling suitcases stuffed with cash to the safer destinations of Cyprus, London and Switzerland.

Continue reading at:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/dec/16/greeks-fearing-collapse-of-eurozone-bailout-pulled-record-sums-from-bank

Posted in Anti-Globalization, Class War, Corporate Abuse, Depression, Globalization, Hard Times, Uncategorized. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Greeks fearing collapse of eurozone bailout pulled record sums from bank

Markets of Shame Before the Collapse: Crisis, Crisis, Everywhere

From Common Dreams:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/14-4

by Danny Schechter
Published on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

Earlier this week, Stephen Colbert announced dramatically that there were important developments underway in Europe that we should know about.

True to form, Colbert’s Repor didn’t talk about the big problem. His story, ha ha ha, was about a butter shortage in Norway.  Talk about going from the obscure to the ridiculous.

We all know that European countries have been wrestling with what to do about saving the Euro.

There have been warnings of an economic catastrophe if the Euro falls, and it’s plain that the already shaky American economy will take a big hit if it happens.

The drama in Europe seems to be beyond the ability of both comedy and financial programs to explain. Perhaps it’s more of a divine comedy in the Dantean sense, because we are all perched on the edge of circle of hell that many of us don’t want to wrap our minds around.

While many news outlets prefer to recycle endless soundbites of Gingrich bashing Romney and vice versa, and as American diplomats seem to be cranking up a war against Iran as if that can save the economy the way World War 2 pulled us out of a depression, the world economy is tottering thanks to all the debt American firms sold Europeans who then managed it so stupidly and corruptly.

Now we have Timesman Paul Krugman, for years an economist holding up the liberal middle, finally admitting that nothing is working;

It’s time to start calling the current situation what it is: a depression. True, it’s not a full replay of the Great Depression, but that’s cold comfort. Unemployment in both America and Europe remains disastrously high. Leaders and institutions are increasingly discredited. And democratic values are under siege.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/14-4

Posted in Anti-Globalization, Austerity, Corporate Abuse, Depression, Economic Issues, Globalization, Uncategorized. Tags: , . Comments Off on Markets of Shame Before the Collapse: Crisis, Crisis, Everywhere

Under Industry Pressure, USDA Works to Speed Approval of Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered Crops

From Truth Out: http://www.truth-out.org/under-industry-pressure-usda-works-speed-approval-monsantos-genetically-engineered-crops/1323453319

by: Mike Ludwig
Monday 12 December 2011

For years, biotech agriculture opponents have accused regulators of working too closely with big biotech firms when deregulating genetically engineered (GE) crops. Now, their worst fears could be coming true: under a new two-year pilot program at the USDA, regulators are training the world’s biggest biotech firms, including Monsanto, BASF and Syngenta, to conduct environmental reviews of their own transgenic seed products as part of the government’s deregulation process.

This would eliminate a critical level of oversight for the production of GE crops. Regulators are also testing new cost-sharing agreements that allow biotech firms to help pay private contractors to prepare mandatory environmental statements on GE plants the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering deregulating.

The USDA launched the pilot project in April and, in November, the USDA announced vague plans to “streamline” the deregulation petition process for GE organisms. A USDA spokesperson said the streamlining effort is not part of the pilot project, but both efforts appear to address a backlog of pending GE crop deregulation petitions that has angered big biotech firms seeking to rollout new products.

Documents obtained by Truthout under a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request reveal that biotech companies, lawmakers and industry groups have put mounting pressure on the USDA in recent years to speed up the petition process, limit environmental impact assessments and approve more GE crops. One group went as far as sending USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack a timeline of GE soybean development that reads like a deregulation wish list. [Click here and here to download and read some of the documents released to Truthout.]

Continue reading at:    http://www.truth-out.org/under-industry-pressure-usda-works-speed-approval-monsantos-genetically-engineered-crops/1323453319

Posted in Activism, Anti-Globalization, Ecology, Food, Globalization, International. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Under Industry Pressure, USDA Works to Speed Approval of Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered Crops

Keystone XL: The Pipeline That Won’t Die

From Rolling Stone:   http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/keystone-xl-the-pipeline-that-wont-die-20111213

By Jeff Goodell
POSTED: December 13, 2011

The zombie pipeline lives!

You might think that the Obama administration’s decision last month to delay the construction of the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline pending further review would have put an end to Big Oil’s pipeline dreams. After all, the whole approval process, which dragged on for three years, was a textbook example of corrupt energy politics and shoddy science working in the service of Big Oil. The U.S. State Department, which had final say in the pipeline’s approval, wisely and deftly put the pipeline on ice for at least a year.

But you don’t kill off Big Oil’s pet project that easily.

Last week, Keystone re-emerged as a bargaining chip in end-of-the-year negotiations over extending the payroll tax break for 160 million U.S. workers, which is set to expire Dec. 31.  House Majority leader John Boehner has attached a “project rider” to the tax bill, essentially trying to force Obama – and Senate Democrats – to approve the pipeline as a price for passing the tax-relief bill.  Boehner and House Republicans are playing up the Keystone policy rider as a jobs project, suggesting that the Obama administration failed to approve last month it because the president is beholden to crazy enviros. A vote on the bill could come as early as today.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/keystone-xl-the-pipeline-that-wont-die-20111213

Posted in Anti-Globalization, Ecology, Environment, Globalization. Comments Off on Keystone XL: The Pipeline That Won’t Die

IMF slashes growth forecast for Greece

From The Guardian UK:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/dec/13/imf-slashes-greek-growth-forecast

MF report likely to fan financial market fears over debt default as Greece struggles to cope with austerity and recession

, economics editor, and in Athens
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 13 December 2011

The International Monetary Fund slashed its growth forecasts for Greece and warned that ever-deepening recession was making it harder for the debt-ridden country to meet the tough deficit reduction targets under its austerity programme.

In a report likely to fan financial market concerns about a possible debt default, the regular health check by staff at the Washington-based Fund said the situation in Greece had “taken a turn for the worse”.

Poul Thomsen, deputy director of the IMF‘s European department and its mission chief to Greece, said: “We have revised growth down significantly to -6% in 2011 and -3% in 2012. We expected 2011 to be an inflection point when the recession bottomed out, followed by a slow recovery. But the economy is continuing to trend downwards. The hoped for improvement in market sentiment and in the investment climate has not materialised.”

The IMF, together with the European Union and the European Central Bank has imposed tough conditions on Greece as the price of financial support that has allowed the government in Athens to continue paying its bills. In the fifth report carried out since the start of the crisis 18 months ago, IMF officials suggested that the austerity programme might need to be eased in view of the damage being caused to the economy by the recession.

“Discussions [at the IMF] focused on recalibrating the programme’s macroeconomic framework and adapting the implementation of reform and adjustment policies to an appropriate and feasible pace.”

Continue reading at:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/dec/13/imf-slashes-greek-growth-forecast

Posted in Anti-Globalization, Economic Issues, Globalization, Social Justice. Tags: , . Comments Off on IMF slashes growth forecast for Greece