Archive for the ‘rioting’ Category

Greek fighting: the eurozone’s weakest link starts to crack

December 10, 2008

The last time I visited Greece, I was caught in the middle of a tear-gas charge by police in Thessaloniki – a remarkably unpleasant experience, if you have not tried it. My eyes were in screaming pain for an hour.
Protesters smashed up the shops on the main drag, broke the windows of my hotel, and torched a few cars.

So the latest four-day episode in Athens and other Greek cities comes as no great surprise. The Greeks are a feisty people. This is meant as a compliment – broadly speaking – just in case any Greek readers should take it the wrong way. Hitler was so impressed by Greek bravery that he accorded Greek soldiers full military honours, almost the sole example among captive nations in the East – or at least professed to do so at first.

That said, these riots are roughly what eurosceptics expected to see, at some point, at the periphery of the euro-zone as the slow-burn effects (excuse the pun) of Europe’s monetary union begin to corrode the democratic legitimacy of governments.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
The Telegraph (UK)

Gallery Photo
Protesters throw stones at police in the Greek city of Thessaloniki

Note two stories in Kathimerini (English Edition)

“Athens riots spin totally out of control”

And an editorial: “Greece has gone up in flames and the concept of democracy and law and order has been eliminated”

Without wanting to rehearse all the pros and cons of euro membership yet again, or debate whether EMU is a “optimal currency area”, there is obviously a problem for countries like Greece that were let into EMU for political reasons before their economies had been reformed enough to cope with the rigours of euro life –  over the long run.

In the case of Greece, of course, Athens was found guilty by Eurostat of committing “statistical achemy” to get into the system – ie, they lied about their deficits.

Be that as it may. Greece’s euro membership has now led to a warped economy. The current account deficit is 15pc of GDP, the eurozone’s highest by far. Indeed, the deficit ($53bn) is the sixth biggest in the world in absolute terms — quite a feat for a country of 11m people.

Year after year of high inflation has eroded the competitive base of the economy. This is an insidious and slow effect, and very hard to reverse. Tourists are slipping away to Turkey, or Croatia. It will take a long time to lure them back.

The underlying rot was disguised by the global credit bubble, and by the Greek property boom. It is now being laid bare.

Greece has a public debt of 93 per cent of GDP, well above the Maastricht limit. This did not matter in 2007 when bond spreads over German Bunds were around 26 basis points, meaning that investors were willing to treat all eurozone debt as more or less equivalent.

Read the rest:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/ambrose_evan
s-pritchard/blog/2008/12/10/greek_fightin
g_the_eurozones_weakest_link_starts_to_crack

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Riots in Greece, Day Three

December 8, 2008

Hundreds of students threw fire bombs at police in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Monday in a third day of riots triggered by the fatal shooting of a teenager by police and fueled by rising economic hardship.

By Daniel Flynn and Dina Kyriakidou

Dozens of people have been injured and scores of businesses destroyed in Athens and Thessaloniki during Greece‘s worst rioting in decades, which has piled pressure on a conservative government already falling behind in opinion polls.

The streets of Thessaloniki filled with tear gas on Monday as police chased some 300 left-wing protestors, detaining two youths. More trouble was expected later in the day in Athens, where the Greek Communist Party has called a protest rally despite the arrest of two police officers for the boy’s killing.

A rioter clashes with police on December 7 during a massive ... 
A rioter clashes with police on December 7 during a massive demonstration near the main police station in Athens. A fragile calm has returned to Greece after the country was rocked by heavy rioting at the weekend following a police shooting that left a 15-year-old boy dead.(AFP/Aris Messinis)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081208/w
l_nm/us_greece_shooting

Pakistan’s Government Surrounded by Terrorists, U.S., Indian and internal Pressure

December 1, 2008

The Pakistan government of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani today acutely feels the heat of terrorists as well as international pressure from a tradional friend, the U.S., and a traditional enemy, India.

This television frame grab shows Pakistani President Asif Ali ... 
President Zardari of Pakistan (AFP)

In the tribal areas of Pakistan, the U.S. wants the assistance of Pakistan’s army in controlling the Taliban and al-Qaeda that surge into Afghanistan to kill U.S. and NATO troops.  Pakistan wants to keep the U.S. out of the tribal areas so the U.S. hammers terrorists from unmanned drones with missiles when the intelligence says results will be favorable.  But the people of Pakistan have protested these air assaults from the U.S. upon Pakistan and the government has expressed extreme displeasure at almost losing control of Pakistan’s sovereignity in the northwest tribal areas.

Now, because of tensions from the terrorism in Mumbai, India, Pakistan is saying it will withdraw troops from the tribal areas to move to the border with India; a nation that seems to already be blaming Pakistan for the bloodshed in Mumbai.

Troops from Pakistan's army secure an area in the troubled ...
Troops from Pakistan’s army secure an area in the troubled Kabal Khas district on the outskirts of Swat valley November 26, 2008.  The U.S. wants the Pakistani troops facing Afghanistan and not India.
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Finally, in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, at least 13 people were killed and more than 70 injured when activists from rival political parties clashed this weekend.
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Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire after rioters set ... 
Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire after rioters set ablaze several shops at a timber market in Pakistan’s largest city Karachi. At least 13 people were killed and more than 70 injured when activists from rival political parties clashed in Karachi, officials said Sunday.(AFP/Asif Hassan) 

Last week’s terror violence in Mumbai and india’s subsequent investigation and likely blame, which will likely be supported by the U.S., putes extreme pressure on a Pakistani government the Times of India rightly calls “dodgy” due to its own undermining terrorist influences and actors. 

By John E. Carey

Related:
Pakistan warns India of troop redeployment