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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Greece: Europe at the Crossroads? Tsipras and the Creditors; Pour qui sonne le glas ?




For convenience, the complete text of the Le Monde Opinion Piece- 'Interview', in English (again), from the Office of the Prime Minister (Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ article in Le Monde newspaper: Europe at crossroads).

The French text in Le Monde

But: still little progress...(Kathimerini) - “The positive statements from Athens are necessary to mitigate the pressure on deposit outflows,” said Ricardo Garcia-Schildknecht, an economist at UBS AG.

A new draft Memorandum?

Wall Street Journal article - Greece’s Creditors Reach Consensus on Deal Proposal to Athens
"Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is expected to face tough demands for reform of pension system, labor laws"

Financial Times piece

Reuters update - Greece's creditors draft deal to unlock aid, Athens resists

The Economist reports

Cyprus Mail

Mignatiou

What Mrs Lagarde said (Mignatiou)

The Greek "Truth Committee" Investigates (EU Observer) - Greek 'truth' committee probes legality of EU bailouts - "The various initiatives are designed to delegitimise the austerity measures imposed by Greece’s creditors, the EU - the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB) - since 2010. They are being used as a “bargaining chip” in the bailout talks. They’re designed to help Syriza heal tensions inside its own ranks, with radical MPs growing more critical of the PM’s, Alexis Tsipras’, concessions. They are also designed to harm his political opponents, the conservative New Democracy (ND) and the socialist Pasok parties"

BBC News: A Realistic Debt Proposal? Read here
.
From The Independent - "Greece counts down to default after Tsipras slams EU demands as 'unreasonable' "

One can almost imagine Herr Schäuble's impatient reaction, perhaps tempted to borrow some words from Ringelnatz: "Unsinn! Was Quatsch! Kladderadatsch!"

More from PM Tsipras (Keep Talking Greece) - “The dilemma is between a realistic exit from the crisis or Europe’s division”

Wrapping up the proposal (Kathimerini)

Telegraph report - Greeks say they will pay the IMF as capital flight hits record - Athens' economics minister says country will not default next week as bank deposits hit a 10-year low

Bloomberg report - Merkel, Hollande and Juncker to Meet in Berlin in Attempt to Save Greece

EU Observer - "ECB chief Mario Draghi and IMF president Christine Lagarde joined the leaders of France, Germany and the European Commission in Berlin on Monday evening for talks on Greece. Athens and its creditors are trying to reach a deal to prevent the country from defaulting".

International Business Times article - Greek Tragedy: Germany holds emergency summit with Athens's creditors as deal deadline looms

The US in the background (Kathimerini) - Λευκός Οίκος: «Κάνουμε σημαντική δουλειά στο παρασκήνιο»

Keep Talking Greece - “There is no room for more compromises". No more concessions- Anger at Creditors - Snap elections?






SÖLDEN, ÖTZTAL, TIROL; HOCHSÖLDEN; MY FIRST OVERSEAS TRIP (1960); AUSTRIA



Where I 'learnt to ski' (a school trip to Austria in December, 1960) -
and where my "wanderlust' began?
Guernsey was my first offshore destination, in August, 1958
(and some other Channel Islands, Sark, Herm and Alderney).




Photos, Politzer

From "Mein schönes Ötztal".by Dr. V. Falkner, Innsbruck, 1947

Postcards Home:


A popular view (Lohmann-Photo)




Lohmann, Kajetan Fiegl and other photo postcards




It seems that I was much impressed by the scenery and that I found the skiing "smashing fun".
We stayed at the Hotel Pitze. An awful, sleepless and uncomfortable overnight journey on the train from Calais, through France, Switzerland and into Austria, after trying the "cheap duty-free booze" on the ferry (I'd made the mistake of buying a half bottle of rum). I found Austria "the most beautiful place you ever saw - green mountain rivers, fir trees, snow-capped mountains piercing the clouds and everything covered in snow". The food was less to my liking, "gherkins, raw cabbage - and olive oil and tape-worm soup with every meal" - and more such embarrassing, naive nonsense. 
We live and learn.


No, that's NOT me.

Greece: Smoking and Smokers; The Cost to the Greek Economy; οι καπνιστές



From antikleidi - Πόσο κοστίζουν οι καπνιστές στην οικονομία της Ελλάδας

That's where all the money goes...

Quite apart from the tax lost through cigarette smuggling

(The Greek state missed out on total taxes of 2.535 billion euros over the previous seven years (from 2008 to 2014) due to cigarette smuggling, according to an annual European survey on illegal tobacco trading by KPMG).

Hélène Ahrweiler; On Continuity, Crisis and Constantinople; Ελένη Γλύκατζη-Αρβελέρ



Three controversial articles by the eminent Greek professor and Byzantinologist


On Greek Continuity

On the Greek 'Crisis', 28/8/2014, iefimerida - Αρβελέρ: Οταν μου λένε ότι υπάρχει κρίση, γελάω

Myths about the Fall of Constantinople Dispelled?

About the author



Saturday, 30 May 2015

Greece and The Brussels Group; Property Tax (ENFIA) to Remain; VAT Rates; A Compromise? A US Warning; PM Tsipras Interview - Greece the Epicentre of Conflict?



From To Vima, International Edition

Brussels Group talks: Agreement closer than ever - ENFIA tax to remain in place in 2015

"The discussions at present are reportedly focused on deciding which VAT rate applies to the various categories of products and services. Food and medication is likely to have a low VAT rate, while hotels and tickets will be taxed more. Meanwhile, it appears that the controversial ENFIA real estate tax will remain in place in 2015, without any changes, as it may generate up to 2.6 billion euros. The creditors have also requested that it remains in place in 2016 as well. The Minister of Finances Yanis Varoufakis, who spoke to Vima 99.5 FM, revealed that any changes to the tax must be accompanied by alternative measures. He stated that the tax is “repulsive and unacceptable”.

Greece: The "final proposals" on VAT rates (FPA), from in.gr - Οι τελικές προτάσεις για τις αλλαγές στον ΦΠΑ

Greece Open To Compromise (Reuters)

US Warning (Reuters)

Locked in Talks (Kathimerini)

A denouement soon? One wonders, if SYRIZA can't even agree internally on the selection of Greece's IMF Representative.

Text of Le Monde Interview, in English

Some excerpts:

"Let's be be clear:

The lack of an agreement so far is not due to the supposed intransigent, uncompromising and incomprehensible Greek stance.

It is due to the insistence of certain institutional actors on submitting absurd proposals and displaying a total indifference to the recent democratic choice of the Greek people, despite the public admission of the three Institutions that necessary flexibility will be provided in order to respect the popular verdict.

What is driving this insistence?

An initial thought would be that this insistence is due to the desire of some to not admit their mistakes and instead, to reaffirm their choices by ignoring their failures.

Moreover, we must not forget the public admission made a few years ago by the IMF that they erred in calculating the depth of the recession that would be caused by the Memorandum.

I consider this, however, to be a shallow approach. I simply cannot believe that the future of Europe depends on the stubbornness or the insistence of some individuals.

My conclusion, therefore, is that the issue of Greece does not only concern Greece; rather, it is the very epicenter of conflict between two diametrically opposing strategies concerning the future of European unification.

The first strategy aims to deepen European unification in the context of equality and solidarity between its people and citizens...

The second strategy seeks precisely this: The split and the division of the Eurozone, and consequently of the EU.

The first step to accomplishing this is to create a two-speed Eurozone where the “core” will set tough rules regarding austerity and adaptation and will appoint a “super” Finance Minister of the EZ with unlimited power, and with the ability to even reject budgets of sovereign states that are not aligned with the doctrines of extreme neoliberalism.

For those countries that refuse to bow to the new authority, the solution will be simple: Harsh punishment. Mandatory austerity. And even worse, more restrictions on the movement of capital, disciplinary sanctions, fines and even a parallel currency.

Judging from the present circumstances, it appears that this new European power is being constructed, with Greece being the first victim. To some, this represents a golden opportunity to make an example out of Greece for other countries that might be thinking of not following this new line of discipline.

What is not being taken into account is the high amount of risk and the enormous dangers involved in this second strategy. This strategy not only risks the beginning of the end for the European unification project by shifting the Eurozone from a monetary union to an exchange rate zone, but it also triggers economic and political uncertainty, which is likely to entirely transform the economic and political balances throughout the West.

Europe, therefore, is at a crossroads. Following the serious concessions made by the Greek government, the decision is now not in the hands of the institutions, which in any case – with the exception of the European Commission- are not elected and are not accountable to the people, but rather in the hands of Europe’s leaders.

Which strategy will prevail? The one that calls for a Europe of solidarity, equality and democracy, or the one that calls for rupture and division?"

A. Tsipras. Two Diametrically-Opposed Strategies for Europe (Mignatiou)

From Kathimerini



IMF: Elena Panaritis Selected to Represent Greece at IMF



One year ago, in The Guardian (1st June, 2014)


"Leaders are asked to take brave decisions – these still haven’t been taken in Europe, and quite frankly I do not think they will be taken soon because Europe has become a big bureaucratic elephant with a life of its own. Large entities like this are not known for their ability to be flexible or adapt to the reality on the ground. I fear things will become worse before they start getting better...In general, the EU has disappointed the Greeks. Instead of making decisions, the EU postponed them. There was a lot of talk, endless meetings in Brussels; kicking the can down the road every time only prolonged the pain. This created anger, discontent and impatience".


From an article by Elena Panaritis, The Guardian, 1 June, 2014

Within SYRIZA, there appears to be some opposition to the appointment. The reasons are not clear; related to involvement in past Memorandum?

Ο κοινοβουλευτικός εκπρόσωπος του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ Ν.Φίλης έκανε την ακόλουθη δήλωση στο Βήμα: «Υπάρχει προβληματισμός στην Κοινοβουλευτική Ομάδα για την επιλογή της κυρίας Παναρίτη που συμματοδοτεί το μνημονιακό παρελθόν. Η απόφαση πρέπει να ληφθεί από τα αρμόδια συλλογικά όργανα.»

In.gr, Update - Παναρίτη: Αν δεν με θέλουν μία φορά, εγώ δεν τους θέλω δέκα

In.gr report

To Vima report

Wall Street Journal

Kathimerini report

Kathimerini Greek report - «Αναταράξεις» στον ΣΥΡΙΖΑ για τον διορισμό Παναρίτη στο ΔΝΤ

Mignatiou: an update

The outcome (Mignatiou)


Somerset Folk Press; R. R. C. Gregory; Poems in Dialect, 1922; Castle Cary; Somerset Dialect; Richard Robert Castell Gregory



Another Castle Cary discovery!


About R. R. C. Gregory
Richard Robert Castell Gregory
Teacher, Headmaster, Poet

1883-89: Headmaster of the school at North Cadbury, Somerset.
1890-1901: Headmaster of the larger school at Castle Cary, Somerset.

"For the North Cadbury Local Operatic Society in the 1880's he wrote musical cornedies. At Castle Cary he contributed to the popular monthly magazine "The Castle Cary Visitor", chatty historical pieces and poems in dialect".

Information from http://gregory.elthamhistory.org.uk/gregory/greg007.htm 
http://gregory.elthamhistory.org.uk/gregory/greg001.htm

"A Berkshire man by birth, Mr. Gregory migrated westward in 1881, and for some twenty years made Somerset his home, labouring as Schoolmaster, first at South Cadbury, and subsequently at Castle Cary. Always a keen student of folk life, he had in the "Camelot" district, rich opportunities of following this bent" (Selected Poems in Somerset Dialect, 1921).




From the poem:


I zed, ef Jim did marry she,
    He'd ketch a tartar.
An' zo my words a'comed out true, -
What she do arder Jim d'do;
Where she d'trapsey Jim mus' goo
    An ' volly arter....

When he d' come vrom work a' night,
A veeling tired as well he might,
Amoost avore he comes in sight,
      Out she d'holly,
"Now wipe your shoes James, do'ee hear?"
Or, "Goo an' clean thyself my dear",
"Doant put thee lags atheart thik cheer,"
      An' zich like folly.

Her tongue he allys on the wag
The ooman' s only barn to nag;
Ef she wer mine, I'd vine a gag
     That zoon ood stop 'er...

Poor Jim! To think a man like he,
A gurt big veller, six voot dree,
Should zo be put upon by she!
     A silly gawky!










Loose-leaf poem

More dialect poetry from Castle Cary, 1920s





Douglas Macmillan MBE (10 August 1884, in Castle Cary, Somerset– 1969) . Many titles, including poetry, in the Somerset Folk Press Series, also as 'D.M'. Editor of The Somerset Year Book.

My latest acquisition, a book by "Barney Hodger", 1924:










Friday, 29 May 2015

Greece: Tax Declarations Chaos



From Kathimerini - "Chaos in the system for tax declarations" - "Few taxpayers or even accountants have any idea of what is going on with tax declarations this year".

Pity the accountants in Greece.









Thursday, 28 May 2015

1944: A Seminal Year for the Rocking Blues; Nineteen Forty-Four - That's All There Is! The Boogie Rocks!



Recorded between October and December 1944. It's all there!

Big Joe Turner, Rebecca

Big Joe Turner, Little Bitty Girl's Blues

Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup, Who's Been Foolin' You

Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup, Rock Me Mamma

Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup, Keep Your Arms Around Me

T-Bone Walker, Low Down Dirty Shame


More from '44:

Some rocking gospel:

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Strange Things Happening Every Day

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, What is the Soul of Man?


Saxophone Up Front :

Louis Jordan, Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby

Tiny Bradshaw, Bradshaw Bounce

Blues, Part 2, Illinois Jacquet, Jazz at the Philharmonic

This was the first record listed in the book "What Was the First Rock 'n' Roll Record"  (1992) by Jim Dawson and Steve Propes

Jammin' The Blues (1944 film)

More Jazz, and Boogie Woogie:

Lester Young, Blue Lester

Lester Young, Kansas City Seven, Lester Leaps Again

Jimmy Rushing, Count Basie Orchestra, Jimmy's Blues

Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson, Boogie Woogie Dream

Albert Ammons, The Boogie Rocks

Albert Ammons, Bugle Boogie

Meade Lux Lewis, Lux's Boogie

Meade Lux Lewis, Randini's Boogie

The Andrews Sisters, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

Ella Mae Morse, The Patty Cake Man

Folk Blues:

Leadbelly, Rock Island Line (August 1944 version)

Leadbelly, Goodnight Irene (1944 version)

Dolceola Excerpts - from The Leadbelly 1944 Hollywood Sessions


Compare with what was popular in Country Music at the time::

Roy Acuff: Night Train to Memphis

Charlie Monroe, You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone

Cowboy Copas, Filipino Baby

Hank Snow, Blue Ranger

Bob Wills, San Antonio Rose





Greece: Illegal Landfills Fine; 11.4 Million Euros Fine; Waste Management



From Kathimerini

"As Greece struggles to scrape together cash reserves to meet its commitments, it faces a fine of 11.4 million euros from the European Court of Justice for failing to close down dozens of illegal landfills in line with European waste management directives".

Amongst other blog postings on this topic, this one and this one remain relevant. More (2014)...

An alternative site? The old Athens airport



Dorset: Burton Bradstock to Shipton Gorge; Impressions from a Walk

















Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Iraq: Latif Al Ani; Photographer; Venice Biennale, 2015; Invisible Beauty - and a remarkable, telling image, Ctesiphon; Κτησιφῶν




US Couple in Ctesiphon

Latif Al Ani
US couple is Ctesiphon
1965
B+W digital print on Hahnemühle Baryta Fine Art paper
25 x 25 cm
Courtesy the artist sand the Arab Image Foundation (AIF)


The father of Iraqi photography Latif al-Ani, aged 83.
Photograph: Ahmad Mousa/Corbis

Art in Iraq (The Observer)

ARTnews

Art Radar

Four Iraqi Photographers

e-flux

US couple

The National Pavilion of Iraq: Invisible Beauty - The 56th Venice Biennale 9 May – 22 November 2015

Commissioner: Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture in Iraq - Curator: Philippe Van Cauteren


 Iraqi Stamp, from Wikipedia

The road to Baghdad, Maqam from Iraq, Ahmed Mukhtar (YouTube)


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Greece: Car Taxation Overhaul?



From Kathimerini

"The government is said to be pondering major changes to the way that vehicles are withdrawn from circulation and road tax is calculated".

Wendy Holborow: Poems; After the Silent Phone Call





Wendy's collection, After the Silent phone Call,  book launch May 30th, 2015.




Link to issues of Poetry Greece

Wendy Holborow was born in South Wales but lived in Greece for 14 years where she founded and co-edited Poetry Greece. Poetry Salzburg Press have recently published her poetry collection After the Silent Phone Call (2015)


Saskia Handley; Saskia Priftis; Poems in North East Review and The Missing Slate



Some outstanding poems by Saskia

"Saskia Priftis (Saskia Handley) was born in Sierra Leone and educated in England, but has lived the greater part of her life in Greece. She was co-editor of Poetry Greece, and has translated a book of Greek poems, Gentle Hour by Maria Stamati into English. Her poem ‘The Woman Poet’ was on the BBC Radio Four programme and two of her poems were recently published in Askew Poetry Journal. She lives on the island of Corfu in Greece".

I'm looking forward to Saskia's first collection.

Update: Another brilliant poem - "AKHMATOVA’S NIGHTS"

Corfu, Greece: Lefkimmi Landfill Equipment and Machinery Mysteriously Destroyed By Fire



From 24 Corfu -  ΚΑΤΑΣΤΡΑΦΗΚΕ ΟΛΟΣΧΕΡΩΣ ΑΠΟ ΠΥΡΚΑΓΙΑ Ο ΧΥΤΑ ΛΕΥΚΙΜΜΗΣ, ΑΛΛΑ ΤΟ ΑΠΕΚΡΥΨΕ Η ΔΗΜΟΤΙΚΗ ΑΡΧΗ

Corfu Press. - Περίεργη όλο και περισσότερο είναι η υπόθεση της πυρκαγιάς που κατέστρεψε, σύμφωνα με ρεπορτάζ του τηλεοπτικού σταθμού Corfu, όλο τον ηλεκτρολογικό και ηλεκτρονικό εξοπλισμό της μονάδας ελέχγου του ΧΥΤΑ νότιας Κέρκυρας.

More EU and government money gone up in smoke. Cycle paths in Corfu...Lefkimmi landfill....


Greece: ATM Withdrawal Tax Confusion: On The Table? Not On The Cards? Varoufakis, the EWG and the Wider Context



Kathimerini 1

Kathimerini 2

Visitors and tourists might like to know with some more certainty whether to take cash or plastic on holiday.

A trivial issue, in the scheme of things?

Update from Kathimerini - "Varoufakis fuels confusion over reforms as Juncker questions his role"

New York Times - "With Money Drying Up, Greece Is All but Bankrupt".

Bloomberg: Nouriel Roubini interview from G7, Dresden "Pots of Money for Greece?"

EWG Ultimatum, in,gr 

Kathimerini on the EWG

Bloomberg - Greece Remains More Optimistic Than Its Creditors

Reuters - Greece might sidestep June 5 IMF payment deadline -" Greece could only use such a trick if there was a credible prospect of a funding deal that could be communicated to markets and its citizens. Otherwise, the missed payment could trigger market panic and a bank run in Greece".

Forbes -  "Greece, The EU And The IMF Are Dancing With Death"

Reuters: Can't pay, won't pay

Someone is trying to pull the wool over our eyes!

Juncker interview, Kathimerini

EU Funds at Risk - "Greece runs the immediate risk of missing out on 1 billion euros worth of European Union subsidies this year from the previous support framework, which expires on December 31, as a payment freeze by the state has blocked the proper implementation of projects that will have to finish by the end of the year".

The European Liberals and Democrats - ALDE president Guy Verhofstadt: "The unity and integrity of the euro area is at stake. The Greeks and the other European tax payers have the right to know why it has been impossible to find an agreement over the last months."

"We had expected the Greek government to propose a serious reform plan to dismantle the Greek clientelistic political system, open up the Greek economy, reinvigorate the labour market and to fight entrenched corruption in Greek society.”

"Unfortunately, so far we have only seen attempts to raise taxes and proposals to scrape together the last euros they can find, to reimburse their creditors. This is a quick-fix short term policy instead of a badly needed sustainable reform plan to give the Greek society the means to emerge stronger from this crisis.”


Klaus Regling, Kathimerini

Reuters, Good Cops and Bad Cops - "Some blame EU Commission for Greek obstinacy in debt talks"

Monday, 25 May 2015

Lyme Regis, Dorset: Expensive Seaside Property; Sea-Bathing Water Quality Data







From Dorset Echo - "Lyme Regis is seventh most expensive place to live in the UK" (compared to other seaside towns)

Lyme Regis and Bridport News

There appears to be no clear correlation between seaside property prices and EU swimming safety standards

Lyme Regis Front Beach

Church Cliff Beach

Environment Agency on Church Cliff Beach - 2015 Bathing Water Profile for Lyme Regis Church Cliff Beach

Water Quality data

There is a risk of reduced water quality after heavy rain

Environment Agency: Pollution risk forecasts

"This bathing water is subject to short term pollution. Short term pollution is caused when heavy rainfall washes faecal material into the sea from livestock, sewage and urban drainage via rivers and streams. At this site the risk of encountering reduced water quality increases after rainfall and typically returns to normal after 1-3 days. The Environment Agency makes daily pollution risk forecasts based on rainfall patterns and will issue a pollution risk warning if heavy rainfall occurs to enable bathers to avoid periods of increased risk. The Environment Agency works to reduce the sources of this pollution through pollution prevention measures, work with agriculture and water companies. 28 warnings advising against swimming due to an increase risk of short term pollution were issued in 2014 for Lyme Regis Church Cliff Beach bathing water. These warnings were issued because of the effects of heavy rain on the water quality".

Investigations statement

"The Environment Agency are using a DNA tracing technique to help identify if faecal pollution sources are human or animal in origin. The main source of river contamination within Lyme Regis is human in origin. Work in 2012 and 2013 found faecal bacterial pollution rises significantly once the river enters the town, even in dry weather when consented sewerage overflows are not discharging. A project during 2009 identified several properties wrongly connected to the surface water system. A further misconnection was identified and corrected in 2014, however a survey of surface water outlets to the river suggests new misconnection sources have since arisen. The Environment Agency is working with South West Water to carry out a review of sewerage performance within the Lyme Regis area. This work includes further surveys of surface water outfalls into the river, known to be contaminated from human sources, to identify misconnections and other sources of pollution".

BBC Report - Record number of England's beaches face water quality failures

EU Data

See Blog Posting from May, 2011, "Polluted Beaches" - and freedom of information.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Greece: Lafazanis; Strong Words on Foreign Creditors and Representatives of the "Institutions" - μοιάζουν με μαντρόσκυλα που επιτίθενται; the smiles hide the reality; "Like Mastiff Guard-Dogs on the Attack"




Obamo G7 Pressure on Creditors, Geopolitical (Keep Talking Greece)

From Mignatiou - Λαφαζάνης: “οι πιστωτές θέλουν την ρήξη και επιδιώκουν να εξοντώσουν την κυβέρνηση και την χώρα” - Extraordinary claim, that they are "trying to destroy the government and the country".

Από το βήμα της ΚΕ του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, ο κ. Λαφαζάνης άσκησε έντονη κριτική σε ξένους αξιωματούχους, τονίζοντας ότι τα χαμόγελα κρύβουν την πραγματικότητα και ότι μοιάζουν με μαντρόσκυλα που επιτίθενται.

Yanis Varoufakis, from his blog - The truth about Riga

"I stood firm against the torrent of lies that flowed for weeks like an out of control sewer. I desisted all provocation and refused to divulge anything of what was said in the meeting – not even to put out there the text of my own speeches (let alone the recording)".

"To fellow Europeans I add this: Perhaps it is time we became a little more sceptical about the journalism we rely upon as citizens. And perhaps we should query European institutions in which decisions of monumental importance are made, on behalf of Europe’s citizenry, but in which minutes are neither taken nor published. Secrecy and a gullible press do not augur well for Europe’s democracy"

.
Is there also a growing atmosphere of paranoia? Or are there simply too many smokescreens? 

Forbes, Stephen Pope - "Greece To Be Granted A Bailout Extension; Eurozone Lacks Credibility"

BBC News - "There is a theory that the Prime minister Alexis Tsipras allows his ministers to let off steam in interviews in order to give him leverage when negotiating with creditors in Brussels or Berlin".

That would seem to be the case...but see Protagon pieceΠολεμικό κλίμα στον ΣΥΡΙΖΑ -
on the 'climate of war' within SYRIZA 

Just a show of letting off steam to gain some negotiating leverage?

Kathimerini/Bloomberg on IMF, Lagarde View - No quick fix

Kathimerini on Greek Government View- A quick compromise

Ilias Makris cartoon: Sign here!

Telegraph - "Greece begs for leniency as investors warn 'time for complacency' on collapse is over"

Varoufakis: "Austerity is the only deal-breaker" Project Syndicate)

Klaus Regling, Further warnings









Sir Andrew Motion; Thomas Hardy; Max Gate; "Writing Places"; Brilliant Poetry Reading




Writing Places: the launch of a new project to open up National Trust properties: 
diversification and contemporary relevance.

A brilliant and moving reading by Sir Andrew Motion,
who also talked about his love of Hardy's poetry, and how he first discovered it.


His first visit to Max Gate, where he felt the shade of Hardy's presence:

Update, Dorset Echo

We briefly discussed his visit to Prague in  April 1989







 In 1899


"Should I, after tea and cakes and ices, 
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?"
T.S.Eliot

Stands the Church clock at ten to three? 
And is there honey still for tea?
Rupert Brooke


"Max Gate, the home that Thomas Hardy had built for himself in Dorchester, will host the launch of the National Trust Writing Places project on June 2, with a talk and a reading from award-winning poet Sir Andrew Motion, who will include a Hardy poem amongst his own work".

Gustav Holst, Egdon Heath, Homage to Hardy

Gustav Holst visited Hardy at Max Gate, and walked the Dorset heath-land

Details of Holst's visits here (pdf, pages 9-12))






"Poet Sir Andrew Motion is to leave Britain for a new job in the US, saying being known as a former poet laureate in the UK can be "suffocating". He will become professor of the arts at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore".

"Suffocating in UK" (Mail Online)

Writing Places Project:



Friday, 22 May 2015

EU: Relocating Refugees; The Good Samaritans?



From Kathimerini/Reuters Francesco Guarascio

"The European Commission is set to propose next week that 40,000 asylum seekers who have arrived by boat in Italy and Greece should be relocated across the continent in response to what it considers an emergency situation in both countries... The EU measure to be proposed next week is based on an article of the Lisbon Treaty regarding the functioning of the EU. It says that the EU members may adopt provisional measures if one or more states are confronted by an emergency situation caused by the sudden inflow of nationals from outside the bloc. Britain, Ireland and Denmark, which have exemptions on matters concerning asylum, immigration, visas and border controls, would not be expected to vote".

New York Times - Amid Perilous Mediterranean Crossings, Migrants Find a Relatively Easy Path to Greece

Cyprus Mail - Refugee ship leaves island for Greek mainland (19 August 2015)

Police Clash With Migrants on Border With Greece (New York Times)

Dark Germany, Bright Germany: Which Side Will Prevail Under Strain of Refugees? - Spiegel Online International, 31 August 2015

Common EU Asylum Policy? Euronews

Update 2 September, BBC - Migrant crisis: Thousands arrive in mainland Greece

Greece and Libya, Al Jazeera - "Recognising its similarities with Libya should be Greece's first step towards avoiding a similar fate" - Opinion column by Iason Athanasiadis

Euronews, 2 September 2015: EU plans new migration system

Hungary slams Germany (Deutsche Welle)

Washington Post, September 7, 2015 - In migrant crisis, German generosity comes under fire

Telegraph: Lesbos, Greece - Migrant crisis: tensions run high in Lesbos as refugees stage street protest

Greek News Agenda- Managing Migration

The Economist - Europe is finally confronting the migrant crisis

Washington Post, Rick Noack, 8 September, 2015 - This map helps explain why some European countries reject refugees, and others love them

Financial Times - Migrant crisis explained in numbers

Let refugees catch planes to Europe, Svenska Dagbladet

Washington Post - E.U. leader proposes plan to redistribute migrants across continent

Juncker speech

The Guardian, 9 September 2015, Ian Traynor

The Economist, 12 September - Europe should welcome more refugees and economic migrants—for the sake of the world and itself


Spiegel International Online - The Breaking Point? Germany's Asylum System Struggles to Cope

The Guardian, 14 September - EU showdown after Germany brings in border controls

Tighter border controls? 14 September, Svenska Dagbladet

Austria-Germany Border Controls: The End of Schengen? - Sueddeutsche Zeitung

The Schengen Pact Under Strain - Euronews

Frankfurter Allgemeine - "EU should follow the German and Swedish model"

Bloomberg - Europe Fortifies Borders as Germany Predicts 1 Million Refugees

Lesbos "inundated", The Guardian, 18 September 2015, video

BBC News 22 September - Migrant crisis: EU ministers approve disputed quota plan

The Guardian - EU governments push through divisive deal to share 120,000 refugees

Why Turkey isn't stopping the migrants, Euronews

Albanian migrants return home after asylum applications are rejected by Germany. Euronews

Simon Schama and Rod Liddle clash on BBC Question Time (The Spectator)

Tsipras: "Crocodile Tears" (The Pappas Post)

Update (The Pappas Post)

Greece carries out first relocation of refugees, to Luxembourg (eKathimerini)

A Brutal New Germany: What's Happening to My Country? A Commentary by Markus Feldenkirchen












Juncker and Tsipras Eye Deal...και μπράβο τους - η Αριστερή Πλατφόρμα - Ετοιμάζει παρέμβαση η Πλατφόρμαμ - Alternative Plans of the Left Platform







I can't imagine Mr Cameron in this position.

A satirical mock-up and comment from Protagon (Σημείωση: Το κείμενο αυτό και η φωτογραφία που το συνοδεύει, αποτελούν προϊόν επινόησης με στόχο τη σάτιρα και σε καμία περίπτωση δεν ανταποκρίνονται στην πραγματικότητα. Καταναλώστε τα υπεύθυνα)

The "tie" photos

The tie that binds (Enikos/FT)



Lagarde somewhat cooler.

Reuters overview

Telegraph report - "Christine Lagarde says she will not sign off on a piecemeal deal for cash-strapped Greece"

Merkel in Riga - Merkel Stamps Out Optimism on Greece After Tsipras Talks (Bloomberg)

Die Welt report

Tsipras: EU Officials undermining negotiations (Kathimerini)

Tsipras and the radicals - Tsipras faces down radicals within SYRIZA over terms of deal (Kathimerini)

Deal no closer

PM Tsipras: Να καταλάβουν επιτέλους ότι αυτό που διακυβεύεται εδώ δεν είναι ένα παιχνίδι ισχύος και επιβεβαίωσης, αλλά το ίδιο το μέλλον της Ευρώπης, το ίδιο το σχέδιο της ευρωπαϊκής ενοποίησης. Δεν πρόκειται λοιπόν να ανεχτούμε και να αφήσουμε στο απυρόβλητο όσους εξακολουθούν να παίζουν με τη φωτιά, όσους ποντάρουν στην αποτυχία της ευρωπαϊκής ενοποίησης, όσους εξωθούν τα πράγματα σε ρήξη. Όσους κάθε φορά που γίνονται βήματα διακινούν σενάρια εξόδου ταπείνωσης της Ελλάδας και κρίσης.
Kathimerini: The Left Platform has alternative plans - Ετοιμάζει παρέμβαση η Πλατφόρμα

Bravo tous (μπράβο τους)!

"Σύμφωνα με ασφαλείς πληροφορίες, η Πλατφόρμα έχει εργαστεί μεθοδικά και αθόρυβα στο παρασκήνιο εδώ και καιρό και, σε συνεργασία με Ελληνες και ξένους επιστήμονες, κυρίως οικονομολόγους, έχει ετοιμάσει μια εκτενή μελέτη, που συνιστά ουσιαστικά εναλλακτική πρόταση διακυβέρνησης της χώρας και αντιμετώπισης της κρίσης.Οπως αναφέρουν στελέχη που έχουν εργαστεί στην τελική μορφοποίηση του κειμένου, κατά καιρούς ορισμένες παράμετροί του έχουν τεθεί δημοσίως. Αναφέρονται στις θέσεις που αναπτύσσουν στελέχη της Πλατφόρμας για ύπαρξη εναλλακτικών λύσεων για τη χρηματοδότηση, στην αναζήτηση νέων συμμαχιών, που μπορούν να δώσουν διέξοδο στην πίεση που ασκείται από τους εταίρους για συνέχιση της τρέχουσας ασκούμενης πολιτικής κ.λπ."