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Posts tagged Financial crisis

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Italy deploys 20,000 to protect sensitive targets

SOURCE

ROME — Italy increased security Thursday at 14,000 sites, and assigned bodyguards to protect 550 individuals after a nuclear energy company official was shot and letter bombs directed to the tax collection agency.

Under the enhanced measures, Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri deployed 20,000 law enforcement officers to protect individuals and sensitive sites. In addition, 4,200 military personnel already assigned throughout Italy will be redeployed according to new priorities.

"Based on a thorough analysis of the situation, Interior Cancellieri has confirmed the need to maintain a high level of vigilance, strengthen the security measures against sensitive targets and those exposed to specific risks," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Authorities will also increase intelligence to “neutralize” the risk of subversive actions “that can be nourished in moments of tension,” the statement added.

A group calling itself the Informal Anarchist Federation last week claimed responsibility for the shooting of Ansaldo Nucleare CEO Roberto Adinolfi, and pledged in a letter to the daily Corriere della Sera to carry out further actions against Ansaldo’s parent company, the state-controlled Finmeccanica.

Italian anarchists sent a letter bomb that exploded at the Rome headquarters of the Equitalia tax collection agency last December, injuring the directory. FAI also claimed responsibility for a series of letter bombs sent to embassies in Rome in December 2010.

More recently, a letter bomb was intercepted at the same office this month, and a Molotov cocktail exploded outside an Equitalia office in Livorno. In addition, there have been numerous reports of letters with suspicious powdery substances sent to Equitalia offices.

Filed under News Italy Anarchy Anarchism Police State Financial Crisis

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The Bank Runs In Greece Will Soon Be Followed By Bank Runs In Other European Nations

Michael Snyder

The bank runs that we are watching right now in Greece are shocking, but they are only just the beginning.  Since May 6th, nearly one billion dollars has been withdrawn from Greek banks.  For a small nation like Greece, that is an absolutely catastrophic number.  At this point, the entire Greek banking system is in danger of collapsing.  If you had money in a Greek bank, why wouldn’t you pull it out?  If Greece leaves the euro, all euros in Greek banks will likely be converted to drachmas, and the value of those drachmas will almost certainly decline dramatically.  In fact, it has been estimated that Greek citizens could see the value of their bank accounts decline by up to 50 percent if Greece leaves the euro.  So if you had money in a Greek bank, it would only make sense to withdraw it and move it to another country as quickly as possible.  And as the eurozone begins to unravel, this is a scenario that we are going to see play out in country after country.  As member nations leave the eurozone, you would be a fool to have your euros in Italian banks or Spanish banks when you could have them in German banks instead.  So the bank runs that are happening in Greece right now are only a preview of things to come.  Before this crisis is over we are going to see bank runs happening all over Europe.

If Greece leaves the euro, the consequences are likely to be quite messy.  Those that are promoting the idea that a “Grexit” can be done in an orderly fashion are not being particularly honest.  The following is from a recent article in the Independent….

“Whoever tells you a Greek exit would be no big deal is an idiot, lying or disingenuous,” said Sony Kapoor of the European think-tank Re-Define. Economists fear that a disorderly exit would prompt a huge run by investors on Spanish and Italian debt, forcing those countries to seek support from an EU bailout fund, which, with a capacity of just €500bn, is widely regarded as too small to cope with those pressures.

Greek exit from the euro would not only result in a run on Spanish and Italian bonds, but it would also likely result in a run on Spanish and Italian banks.

If Greece is allowed to leave the euro, that will be a signal that other countries will eventually be allowed to leave as well.  Nobody in their right mind would want their euros stuck in Spanish or Italian banks if those countries end up converting back to national currencies.

Fear is a powerful motivator.  If Greece converts their euros back to drachmas, that will be a clear signal that all euros are not created equally.  The race to move money into German banks will accelerate dramatically.

And a Greek exit from the euro is looking more likely with each passing day.  Even the IMF is now admitting that it is a very real possibility….

Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, warned she was “technically prepared for anything” and said the utmost effort must be made to ensure any Greek exit was orderly. The effect was likely to be “quite messy” with risks to growth, trade and financial markets. “It is something that would be extremely expensive and would pose great risks but it is part of options that we must technically consider,” she said.

Meanwhile, banks in other troubled European nations are already on shaky ground.  The Spanish banking system is an absolute disaster zone at this point and on Monday night Moody’s downgraded the credit ratings of 26 Italian banks.

The situation in Italy is especially worth keeping a close eye on.  As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard recently noted, things are not looking good for Italy at all….

Italy’s former premier Romano Prodi said the EU risks instant contagion to Spain, Italy, and France if Greece leaves. “The whole house of cards will come down”, he said

Angelo Drusiani from Banca Albertini said the only way to avert catstrophe is to convert the European Central Bank into a lender of last resort. Otherwise Italy faces “massive devaluation, three to five years of hyperinflation, and unbearable unemployment.”

So what can be done about any of this?

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Filed under Bank Runs Commentary Euro Europe Financial Crisis Greece News Italy

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Greece on brink of collapse

Europe’s financial crisis lurched into a perilous new phase as dire predictions emerged of a collapse in Greece’s economy, with a run on its banks bringing an inevitable end to its membership of the euro.

SOURCE

As leaders in Athens accepted the need for a new general election to end a national stalemate, the International Monetary Fund said Europe’s leaders should prepare for the possibility of a Greek departure from the single currency.

Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, warned she was “technically prepared for anything” and said the utmost effort must be made to ensure any Greek exit was orderly. The effect was likely to be “quite messy” with risks to growth, trade and financial markets. “It is something that would be extremely expensive and would pose great risks but it is part of options that we must technically consider,” she said.

Raising tensions still further, Germany warned Greek voters that the wrong result in next month’s election will force their country out of the single currency.

Greece’s president warned, perhaps most alarmingly, that its banks risk running out of money, posing a “threat to our national existence”.

The escalating turmoil sharpened fears in financial markets, with European shares and the euro itself falling again. On the stock markets, the Eurostoxx 600 fell 0.7 per cent to a year-low; Germany’s Dax dropped 0.8 per cent and Spain’s Ibex was down 1.6 per cent. In London the FTSE100 slid 0.5 per cent. Following this month’s inconclusive election, Greek parties yesterday failed again to agree a new government. A new election, most likely to be held in mid-June, could see more gains for parties that want to reject the austerity measures that are a condition of international efforts to bail out the debt-crippled state.

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Filed under News Greece Austerity IMF financial crisis

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Fascism rises from the depths of Greece’s despair

A neo-Nazi party that wants work camps for immigrants is on course to win its first seats in parliament on Sunday

DANIEL HOWDEN 

It started, as many days do in Greece, with a trip to the kiosk to buy cigarettes. Still half-asleep, Panayiotis Roumeliotis was surprised to be asked to show his identity card by two young men with shaved heads. It was his first direct contact with the vigilante groups that have become a feature of everyday life in some areas of the Greek capital.

"They were calling themselves the residents association but they were just fasistakia (little fascists)," said the 28-year-old.

Over the last two years, Mr Roumeliotis has watched the central Athens neighbourhood of Ayios Panteleimonas, where he grew up, undergo an ugly transformation. Taking the bus on another morning soon after, a gunshot shattered the back window and a gang of men forced the driver to stop. When the doors opened, they came on to the bus and started to assault the non-Greek passengers. The attackers were wearing T-shirts from the right-wing extremist group Golden Dawn. While panicked people were trying to escape from the bus the men were hitting them with flagpoles.

"They were beating people with the Greek flag," said Mr Roumeliotis.

When the police arrived they stood off until the thugs had finished. When he asked the police why no one had been arrested one of the officers replied to him: “Why, did they do something to you?”

Formerly a solid middle-class neighbourhood, the economic crisis and waves of new arrivals have changed the area and erased old certainties.

Property prices here have dropped to as little as one quarter of what they were five years ago. The Greeks who could afford to have left. For rent signs are plastered over almost every one of the area’s shabby five-storey apartment blocks. On the side streets among the North African-run mini markets and Nigerian internet cafes, newcomers from West Africa push shopping trolleys full of scrap metal stripped from deserted buildings. Large-scale drug dealing has overtaken an entire street in the neighbourhood. Violent crime has rocketed.

The square in front of the local church, daubed in anti-immigrant slogans such as “foreigners don’t fit in our square”, has witnessed pitch battles between anarchists and Golden Dawn supporters.

Among the Greeks who remain, Mr Roumeliotis’ own circumstances are fairly typical. He was made redundant from the “job for life” that his grandfather had got for him at the state-run airline Olympic Airways. Of his 10 closest friends, eight are unemployed.

Anger against the socialists and the conservatives, who have swapped power since the end of the dictatorship in 1974, has been building to unprecedented proportions. The former airline steward said he would not be supporting the fascists himself, but that other family members may well be doing so.

"People here have been forgotten by the government," said Mr Roumeliotis. "They have done nothing about immigration." The skinheads are now talked of as "good boys" who are looking out for their community. What was happening in Ayios Panteleimonas – which has the highest concentration of immigrants in Athens – came to the attention of the rest of Greece when members of Golden Dawn were voted on to its local council.

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Filed under News Greece Financial Crisis Fascism Golden Dawn Fascist Greek

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Greek Town Implements Revolutionary Barter System Without Euro

Activist Post

Greece continues along a path toward self-sufficiency that could very well see them break free from their debt servitude.

In the wake of their pillaging by international financiers, Greeks who have realized that protesting is likely to bring little relief have begun to implement barter systems to meet their local community needs.  Through a combination of decentralization from the Euro, free markets, local cooperation, and the creation of a new currency based on productivity, markets like the one below in Volos are leading the charge to a restoration of the principles that build truly sustainable economies.

This is an encouraging sign, and one that is replicating throughout austerity-ridden economies the world over.  International currencies are increasingly being rejected in the face of reduced living standards through inflation and outright theft by global banksters.

Americans would do well to learn from the truly revolutionary actions taken by individuals in deliberately collapsed countries, because if global (mis)managers have their way, a similar scenario is guaranteed to unfold in the United States.


Filed under News Greece Revolution Financial Crisis United States Euro

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Increasingly in Europe, Suicides ‘by Economic Crisis’

NYT

TREVISO, Italy — On New Year’s Eve, Antonio Tamiozzo, 53, hanged himself in the warehouse of his construction business near Vicenza, after several debtors did not pay what they owed him.

Three weeks earlier, Giovanni Schiavon, 59, a contractor, shot himself in the head at the headquarters of his debt-ridden construction company on the outskirts of Padua. As he faced the bleak prospect of ordering Christmas layoffs at his family firm of two generations, he wrote a last message: “Sorry, I cannot take it anymore.”

The economic downturn that has shaken Europe for the last three years has also swept away the foundations of once-sturdy lives, leading to an alarming spike in suicide rates. Especially in the most fragile nations like Greece, Ireland and Italy, small-business owners and entrepreneurs are increasingly taking their own lives in a phenomenon some European newspapers have started calling “suicide by economic crisis.”

Many, like Mr. Tamiozzo and Mr. Schiavon, have died in obscurity. Others, like the desperate 77-year-old retiree who shot himself outside the Greek Parliament on April 4, have turned their personal despair into dramatic public expressions of anger at the leaders who have failed to soften the blows of the crisis.

A complete picture of the phenomenon across Europe is elusive, as some countries lag in reporting statistics and coroners are loath to classify deaths as suicides, to protect surviving family members. But it is clear that countries on the front line of the economic crisis are suffering the worst, and that suicides among men have increased the most.

In Greece, the suicide rate among men increased more than 24 percent from 2007 to 2009, government statistics show. In Ireland during the same period, suicides among men rose more than 16 percent. In Italy, suicides motivated by economic difficulties have increased 52 percent, to 187 in 2010 — the most recent year for which statistics were available — from 123 in 2005.

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Filed under News economic crisis Suicide Greece Europe Financial crisis China Ireland

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Biggest Weekly Stock Plunge In 2012 As Financials FUBAR’d

Side Note: I’m going to start writing more of my own blog-posts - soon - which was the original intent of this blog, until I began to “Facebook-it” by posting all these news stories and commentaries. At any rate, all posts that are exclusively written by me will be tagged “essay”, “golden platform”, “original”. I do have a few that are tagged like that, and from this point forward, I hope to make posts written by me more of the ‘norm’ here on The Golden Platform.
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Source: Zero Hedge

The heaviest weekly loss (down 2%) in the S&P 500 since mid-December and largest two-week drop since the rally began in November was dominated by losses in financials (and energy). Themajor financials most notably have been crushed from the start of April (MS -13%, Citi/BofA -11%, GS -8.5% since the European close on 4/2). Credit broadly underperformed on the day (after ripping to pre-NFP levels yesterday) but HYG (the high-yield bond ETF) outperformed surprisingly but this appears to be related to an equity-credit (SPY-HYG) convergence trade as HYG looks very rich now once again to its NAV. The dismal close in ES (S&P futures) on significantly heavier volume and block size. VIX pushed back above 19.5% and we worry that the violent swings that we saw in credit and equity markets this week are very reminiscent of the beginning of the chaos mid-Summer last year - and perhaps rightfully so given the European situation that is escalating. FX markets were much more active today with EURUSD breaking back under 1.31 and AUD leaking lower after gapping down on China GDP news last night. Interestingly the USD ended basically unchanged from last week’s close while Gold managed to hold onto its gains for the week (+1.5% at $1655) despite drops in Silver and Copper also today (Silver and Gold retracing the spike highs from yesterday). Copper kept sliding -4.7% on the week. Treasuries slipped lower in yieldfrom late last night exaggerated by China’s news with the entire complex notably lower (5-9bps on the week) in yield and flatter as the long-end outperformed. Stocks pulled back towards CONTEXT with broad risk assets at the close today though it remains rich to Treasuries and credit on a medium-term basis.

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Filed under News Stocks Financial crisis Wall Street Money

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McGrath: “The Control Grid is Being Put Into Place to Handle What They Know Is Coming.”

SOURCE

Charlie McGrath of Wide Awake News offers an insightful and succint breakdown of what’s really going on behind the scenes of government and finance, and says that the people have had enough. The push-back has been growing for quite some time, starting first with Tea Party protests in 2009 and then with widespread Occupy protests in 2011.

With the system already in the midst of collapse and slowly destabilizing, many have not yet realized what’s happening.

Excerpted from Charlie McGrath (video follows excerpt):

You’re going to see what’s happening in the rest of the world come to this country. It Is Inevitable. It Is Going To Happen.

Do you think for one second Department of Homeland Security is ordering 450 [million] man shredder rounds so that they can sit back and plink at gofers on the weekend? Absolutely not.

Do you think this one internet bill after another, this trying to clamp down on the sharing and free ideas on the internet because it’s not good for people? No. The control grid is being put into place to handle what they know is coming. They already know this is coming. A kinder gentler government is on its way out the door. Par tyranny is what’s on the menu.

Two days ago we have an elderly pharmacist go before parliament [in Greece], put a gun to his head, and blow his head off. In his suicide note he writes “I would rather die than rummage through the garbage. This is sparking a new onslaught of riots inside of Greece.

But it’s not going to stop with Greece. Just like the Greek debt deal did not fix the problem.

The problem is people are being abused and thrown away like trash; they’re being treated like serfs. At some point they’re going to push back.

So, isn’t it fortunate that we have all these pieces of legislation waiting in the wings? Isn’t it fortunate for the government that we have the security industrial complex squarely aiming 450 million forty caliber human shredder rounds at the people that might want to push back.

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Filed under Commentary Surveillance State Financial Crisis DHS Economy

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Spain Will Exit The Eurozone First—This Year

In the LiraSPG Scenario “When The Euro Breaks”, I discussed what would happen to the euro and the eurozone when those countries—unable to continue under their massive debt burdens—began exiting the European monetary union. 

One of the assumptions I made was that one of the smaller nations of the eurozone would leave the monetary union first, thereby encouraging one of the bigger nations to follow their example and leave as well. I postulated that the small country would likely be Greece, and that the large country would probably be Spain. 

From this exodus, I analyzed what would happen to the euro vis-à-vis gold and the rest of the world’s currencies—namely, that the euro would suffer a staggered loss of value against commodities and other currencies: An initial drop-and-recovery when the smaller nation exited the eurozone, followed by a sustained drop when the big nation exited the monetary union. 

The Scenario was written and published on the LiraSPG site in May 2011. 

Since then, I have changed my mind: I no longer think that a small country will exit the eurozone first, followed by one of the bigger countries. 

I now think that Spain will exit the eurozone first—precipitously and without warning—and that the impact on the euro will be much more sudden and dramatic than I had earlier thought. 

In this SPG Supplement, I will explain my thinking. First I will discuss the general European situation; then the Greek debacle, and how the European leadership has lost sight of what salvaging Greece was supposed to be about; then the current Spanish situation, how it is unsustainable, and how the new Fajoy government’s only escape—politically and economically—is to default and then exit the eurozone. 

Plus Ça Change, Plus C’est La Même Chose

There has nominally been major changes in the European political situation since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008—which in fact have proven to be minor: To wit, the Italian, Spanish, Irish, Portuguese and Greek governments have been replaced by the opposition, and the French government of Nicolas Sarkozy looks like it will fall in this coming May’s elections. Of the replacement governments, the Italian, Greek and Portuguese are dominated by “technocrats”—that is, austerity hawks that will genuflect to Brussels’ and Frankfurt’s desire for the debtor countries to pay every last pfennig back to the bond holders. 

Excuse me, did I say “pfennig”? I meant “euro cent”. 

I can prove quite easily that the political “change” has been totally cosmetic because the economic prescriptions remain the same: On the one hand, austerity for the smaller countries (Greece, Portugal, Ireland), coupled with surreptitious bank bailouts by the European Central Bank (ECB) via Long Term Refinancing Operations (LTRO). 

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Filed under News Commentary Financial crisis Greece Eurozone Spain Europe Germany IMF

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Greek man shoots himself over debts

Elderly man takes life outside Athens parliament after saying in note that he did not want to pass debts on to his child

By Helena Smith

An elderly man who took his life outside the Greek parliament in Athens , in apparent desperation over his debts, has highlighted the human cost of an economic crisis that has not only brought the country to the brink financially, but also seen suicides soar.

As Greeks digested the news, with politicians clearly as shocked as society at large, mourners made their way to Syntagma square, where the retired pharmacist shot himself with a handgun.

The 77-year-old pensioner pulled the trigger as people were emerging from a nearby metro station in the morning rush hour. One witness told state TV that before shooting himself he had shouted, “I’m leaving because I don’t want to pass on my debts.”

In a handwritten note, the unidentified man, who was described as an “upstanding and decent” father of one, said he had decided to end his life because he did not want to be reduced to foraging through rubbish bins to survive.

"The Tsolakoglou occupation government has nullified any chance of my survival which was based on a decent salary that for 35 years I alone (without state support) paid for, " said the note, likening the Athens government to that run by Giorgos Tsolakoglou who headed a collaborationist administration when the Nazis invaded and occupiedGreece during the second world war.

"Because I am of an age that does not allow me to forcefully react (without of course excluding that if some Greek took a Kalashnikov first, I would be the second) I see no other solution than a decent ending before I start looking in the garbage to feed myself. I believe that youth who have no future will one day take up arms and hang the national traitors upside-down in Syntagma square just as the Italians did in 1945 to Mussolini."

Within hours, dozens of handwritten notes and flowers had been pinned to the tree under which he had stood. A rally “to ensure that we don’t get used to such deaths” was organised in Greece’s northern capital, Thessaloniki. Despite the stigma attached to suicide in a country whose official church refuses to bury those who take their own lives, Wednesday’s death quickly acquired a very different significance, with priests being among those who rushed to express their regrets.

For many, the suicide encapsulated the desperation of Greece’s older generation whose pensions and benefits have been cut by up to 25% as government officials desperately try to rein in runaway public finances.

Athens is under intense pressure from international creditors now keeping its economy afloat to make further radical reforms and cutbacks.

Police data show a 20% increase in suicide rates in the two years since the outbreak of Europe's debt crisis in Greece in late 2009, although the health ministry estimated the figure was almost double that in the first five months of 2011 compared to the first five months of 2010. Suicide hotlines have been deluged with appeals for help.

"Calls have doubled in the last year," said Eleni Bekiari, a psychiatrist who runs a suicide helpline at Klimaka, a refuge set up to provide psycho-social support for the needy and homeless.

"Economic reasons are invariably cited as the main cause," she said.

The symbolism of the suicide outside parliament was not lost on politicians. “It’s such a shocking event that any political comment is inappropriate and cheap,” said Evangelos Venizelos, leader of the centre-left Pasok party.

Filed under News Financial crisis Greece Suicide Martyr Athens debt Giorgos Tsolakoglou Economy Europe

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