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Apple Has Quietly Started Tracking iPhone Users Again, And It’s Tricky To Opt Out

Posted by Admin on October 21, 2012

http://www.businessinsider.com/ifa-apples-iphone-tracking-in-ios-6-2012-10

Jim Edwards| Oct. 11, 2012, 9:00 AM

Apple’s launch of the iPhone 5 in September came with a bunch of new commercialsto promote the device.But Apple didn’t shout quite so loud about an enhancement to its new mobile operating system, iOS 6, which also occurred in September: The company has started tracking users so that advertisers can target them again, through a new tracking technology called IFA or IDFA.Previously, Apple had all but disabled tracking of iPhone users by advertisers when it stopped app developers from utilizing Apple mobile device data via UDID, the unique, permanent, non-deletable serial number that previously identified every Apple device.

For the last few months, iPhone users have enjoyed an unusual environment in which advertisers have been largely unable to track and target them in any meaningful way.

In iOS 6, however, tracking is most definitely back on, and it’s more effective than ever, multiple mobile advertising executives familiar with IFA tell us. (Note that Apple doesn’t mention IFA in its iOS 6 launch page).

Users can switch off that targeting, but it’s tricky, as we discovered a couple of days ago. Although at least iOS 6 users are able to turn off tracking, which they weren’t before.

Here’s how it works.

IFA or IDFA stands for “identifier for advertisers.” It’s a random, anonymous number that is assigned to a user and their device. It is temporary and can be blocked, like a cookie.

When you look at an app, or browse the web, your presence generates a call for an ad. The publisher’s site that you’re looking at then passes the IFA to the ad server. The advertiser is then able to know that a specific iPhone user is looking at a specific publication and can serve an ad targeting that user. IFA becomes particularly useful, for instance, if an ad server notices that a particular IFA is looking at a lot of different car sites. Perhaps that user is interested in buying a new car. They’ll likely start seeing a lot of car ads on their iPhone.

More importantly, IFA will allow advertisers to track the user all the way to “conversion” — which for most advertisers consists of an app download. Previously, advertisers had no idea whether their ads actually drove people to download apps or buy things. Now IFA will tell them.

The IFA does not identify you personally — it merely provides a bunch of aggregate audience data that advertisers can target with ads.

iphone 5 limit ad tracking

iPhone Screengrab

Tracking is on by default

The new iPhone operating system comes with three things that make tracking easier for advertisers and reduce the likelihood that you’ll opt out.

  • iOS 6 comes in a default “tracking on” position. You have to affirmatively switch it off if you do not want advertisers to see what you’re up to.
  • The tracking control in iPhone’s settings is NOT contained where you might expect it, under the “Privacy” menu. Instead, it’s found under “General,” then “About,” and then the “Advertising” section of the Settings menu.
  • The tracking control is titled “Limit Ad Tracking,” and must be turned to ON, not OFF, in order to work. That’s slightly confusing — “ON” means ads are off! — so a large number of people will likely get this wrong.

Those three factors combined mean that a huge proportion of iPhone users are unlikely to ever opt out of tracking.

“It’s a really pretty elegant, simple solution,” says Mobile Theory CEO Scott Swanson. “The biggest thing we’re excited about is that it’s on by default, so we expect most people will leave it on.”

(His take on IFA’s capabilities was confirmed by two other mobile ad execs at rival companies.)

Again, IFA doesn’t identify you as a person to advertisers. What it does do, however, is provide advertisers with “a really meaningful inference of behavior,” Swanson says. “We haven’t had access to that information before.”

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Karnataka’s new ration card system goes hi-tech

Posted by Admin on September 28, 2012

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/karnataka%E2%80%99s-new-ration-card-system-goes-hi-tech.html?page=all

By | Yahoo! Finance India – Wed 26 Sep, 2012 1:00 PM IST

By K.R. Balasubramanyam

Risaldar Street is a little known Bangalore locality situated about a kilometre from the city’s main railway station. It has only one fair-price shop. More than a third of its 3,000-odd ration card holders belong to families living below the poverty line (BPL). But the fair-price shop now has one claim to fame – it is one of a handful of shops through which the Karnataka government has taken its first steps towards reforming its leaky public distribution system (PDS).

Consider the scene at the shop one evening in the last week of August. As usual, a group of people had gathered to buy their rationed monthly quota of foodgrains, sugar and kerosene. Among them was Sujatha, a helper at a hotel, in her mid-30s. When she handed over her ration card to the shopkeeper, he did not, as he used to once, scribble on it and return it to her. Instead he punched the card number into a biometric machine installed at the shop three months ago. The woman was then asked to put her left thumb on the machine, which promptly recognised her thumb impression as that of a genuine beneficiary. As each item Sujatha sought was placed on the weighing platform, the machine not only displayed the list of purchases along with their weight and price, but also announced these verbally in Kannada. Finally, the transaction complete, it printed a bill.

The process does not end there. After each transaction, the machine electronically relays its details to a National Informatics Centre (NIC) server, which uploads the data on a newly created portal of Karnataka’s PDS data centre. “Not just the officials, anyone from anywhere can access the information,” says B.A. Harish Gowda, Karnataka’s Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Secretary, who has been driving the change. “We can achieve results only by increasing transparency.”

Karnataka’s move is the latest in a series of efforts by states and the Centre to fix the inefficient system of distributing essential items at subsidised rates to the poor. The PDS is run through more than 500,000 fair-price shops across the country.

The Centre spends a huge amount on food subsidies – it has budgeted Rs 75,000 crore for 2012/13 – but many poor people do not get their allocated quota of grains as the system is notoriously leaky. Some estimates suggest more than half the subsidised grain meant for BPL families is siphoned off.

“Transparency puts pressure on people to perform,” says Sudhir Kumar, Union Food and Public Distribution Secretary. “We support all such positive moves, and are in the process of preparing a scheme that will encourage states to take up PDS reforms.”

Gowda says the state has installed biometric machines in 103 shops in Bangalore and Tumkur districts since July. He is satisfied with their performance. “We will now start installing them in all the 20,459 fair-price shops in the state,” he adds. Karnataka hopes the Centre will help fund the Rs 100-crore programme.

Continued on next page…

Gowda estimates there could be around 1.5 million ineligible ration cards in the state, which will go out of circulation once the machines are installed all over. He expects the move to save the state around Rs 150 crore a year.

In the first phase, the Bangalorebased Essae Teraoka is supplying 1,000 machines at Rs 46,011 apiece. “We had feared shop licensees would resist the new system, but things have gone smoothly till now,” says its Managing Director S.A. Prabhu Chandran. He is trying to persuade other states such as Tamil Nadu to follow Karnataka’s example.

To ensure only genuine beneficiaries buy from the fair-price shops, the state food department has collected fingerprints and photographs of all cardholders and fed the data into a server that links all the machines. To further eliminate fake ration cards, the government has also linked the cards to electricity meter numbers in urban areas and property tax numbers in rural.

Wherever more than one family has claimed the same electricity meter or property tax number, officials have visited the houses and allowed only the ones genuine.

The linking had another tangential effect – it cleaned up land records. “When we shared data relating to property details with village panchayats, it did not match in many cases with what the panchayats had. The panchayats were able to identify more than 200,000 new properties that had not paid taxes,” says P.V. Bhat, Senior Technical Director, NIC, Bangalore.

Karnataka is also using its information technology network to ensure fair-price shops lift their allocated stock from warehouses in time. Earlier, many shops would lift the stock only in the last week of each month – since lifting early meant locking up their working capital for a longer period. Today most shops are taking their quotas well in time and state officials keep tabs on the stock position. “A few warehouses had a month’s extra stock because many shops postponed lifting by one week every month,” says D.N. Jeevaraj, Karnataka’s Food and Civil Supplies Minister. “I have instructed that stocks should be lifted by the 10th of every month.”

How the new system works
1. The machine identifies beneficiaries with their thumb impressions
2. It displays weight and price of items, verbally announcing them too
3. It electronically transmits transaction details to a server
4. The data is uploaded on Karnataka PDS Centre’s portal

Reproduced From Business Today. © 2012. LMIL. All rights reserved.

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100 mln to die by 2030 if world fails to act on climate

Posted by Admin on September 27, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/100-mln-die-2030-world-fails-act-climate-095505632.html

By Nina Chestney | Reuters – 9 hours ago

               LONDON (Reuters) – More than 100 million people will die and global economic growth will be cut by 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change, a report commissioned by 20 governments said on Wednesday.

As global average temperatures rise due to greenhouse gas emissions, the effects on the planet, such as melting ice caps, extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels, will threaten populations and livelihoods, said the report conducted by humanitarian organisation DARA.

It calculated that five million deaths occur each year from air pollution, hunger and disease as a result of climate change and carbon-intensive economies, and that toll would likely rise to six million a year by 2030 if current patterns of fossil fuel use continue.

More than 90 percent of those deaths will occur in developing countries, said the report that calculated the human and economic impact of climate change on 184 countries in 2010 and 2030. It was commissioned by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a partnership of 20 developing countries threatened by climate change.

“A combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade,” the report said.

It said the effects of climate change had lowered global output by 1.6 percent of world GDP, or by about $1.2 trillion a year, and losses could double to 3.2 percent of global GDP by 2030 if global temperatures are allowed to rise, surpassing 10 percent before 2100.

It estimated the cost of moving the world to a low-carbon economy at about 0.5 percent of GDP this decade.

COUNTING THE COST

Responding to the report, Oxfam International said the costs of political inaction on climate were “staggering”.

“The losses to agriculture and fisheries alone could amount to more than $500 billion per year by 2030, heavily focussed in the poorest countries where millions depend on these sectors to make a living,” said executive director Jeremy Hobbs.

British economist Nicholas Stern told Reuters earlier this year investment equivalent to 2 percent of global GDP was needed to limit, prevent and adapt to climate change.

His report on the economics of climate change in 2006 said that without any action to tackle climate change, the overall costs and risks of climate change would be equivalent to a cut in per-capita consumption of perhaps up to 20 percent.

Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Almost 200 nations agreed in 2010 to limit the global average temperature rise to below 2C (3.6 Fahrenheit) to avoid dangerous impacts from climate change.

But climate scientists have warned that the chance of limiting the rise to below 2C is getting smaller as global greenhouse gas emissions rise due to burning fossil fuels.

The world’s poorest nations are the most vulnerable as they face increased risk of drought, water shortages, crop failure, poverty and disease. On average, they could see an 11 percent loss in GDP by 2030 due to climate change, DARA said.

“One degree Celsius rise in temperature is associated with 10 percent productivity loss in farming. For us, it means losing about 4 million metric tonnes of food grain, amounting to about $2.5 billion. That is about 2 percent of our GDP,” Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in response to the report.

“Adding up the damages to property and other losses, we are faced with a total loss of about 3-4 percent of GDP.”

Even the biggest and most rapidly developing economies will not escape unscathed. The United States and China could see a 2.1 percent reduction in their respective GDPs by 2030, while India could experience a more than 5 percent loss.

The full report is available at: http://daraint.org/ (Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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What is causing power grid failure in India?

Posted by Admin on August 1, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/what-is-causing-power-grid-failure-in-india-.html

Power failure hit India for a second day running, cutting power to more than 600 million people. Here are a few facts about the power crisis:

Yahoo! India News – 7 hours ago

NEW DELHI: Power failure hit India for a second day running on Tuesday due to the collapse of the Northern and Eastern grids, cutting power to more than 600 million people in the populous northern and eastern states including the capital Delhi and major cities such as Kolkata. Around over 300,000 passengers were stranded in over 300 trains across eight states after the northern and eastern grids failed, crippling operations across six railway zones in the country. Here are a few facts about the power crisis in India:

What is an electrical grid?

A power grid is an interconnected network of transmission lines for supplying electricity from power suppliers to consumers. Any disruptions in the network causes power outages. India has five regional grids that carry electricity from power plants to respective states in the country.

What leads to a grid failure?

Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia said the blackout may have been caused by a mix of coal shortages and other problems on the grid. The power deficit was worsened by a weak monsoon that lowered hydroelectric generation and kept temperatures high, feeding the appetite for electricity.

Farmers using energy-intensive water pumps for irrigation to save their recently sown crops may also have pushed up the demand.

If the monsoon does not pick up, the grids are expected to come under more stress. Hydro-power accounts for about 20 per cent of installed power capacity but reservoirs have only 24 per cent of the water they can hold — just about half of what they carried at this time last year.

Many state governments give farmers free or near-free electricity, triggering a vicious cycle of unviable power boards whose supply is so erratic that farmers are forced to pay a steep price to run diesel pumps and generators. Many states have not adjusted tariff for 10 years.

The industry has advocated abolishing a 1973 Act that nationalised coal mining. Changes to the law are expected to allow professional miners to scout for and mine coal.

India’s power shortage

India is slow to set up new power capacity principally because it is short of fossil fuels. Coal is mined hesitantly and natural gas, the other feedstock for power plants, is just beginning to flow in from new offshore finds. The government rations both.

The immediate response to a power sector in distress – thermal plants are idling a quarter of their capacity – is to give it a bigger slice of the pie. The sustainable response will need the pie to grow overall.

This January, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set up a committee to work through the issues that have been bedeviling electricity generation: a host of problems ranging from coal and gas shortages to environmental clearances to the price at which power is sold in the country.

India’s basic energy shortage is compounded by the policy of selling electricity to consumers at politically correct prices. The government-owned distribution monopolies in the states have all but lost their ability to buy power because their political bosses force them to sell it cheap, sometimes free, to voters. This opportunism is hurting the economy: the government estimates unaccounted for sale of power in India, at a third of the total, costs the country 1% of its gross domestic product.

The road ahead

The road ahead for reforms in the power sector is well lit. Introduce competition in all three areas of the business – generation, transmission and distribution – to enhance productivity and contain leakages. Create an independent watchdog that can withstand the political pressures playing on different links of the nation’s power supply chain.

Finally, free up pricing to make consumers more responsible for the electricity they use. This has been the broad course of electricity reforms the world over. India’s energy pricing, including transport and cooking fuels, is hopelessly caught in competitive populism. Serious attempt to extricate it will need more grids to trip.

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Floods kill 77 in Assam, two million affected

Posted by Admin on July 4, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/photos/floods-in-assam-slideshow/

At least 77 people have been killed and nearly two million affected by heavy monsoon rains that caused floods in Assam, in what the prime minister on Monday called one of the worst such disasters to strike recently.Prime Minister announced an aid package of Rs.500 crore. The mighty Brahmaputra river and many of its tributaries have breached their banks after downpours, washing away thousands of homes mostly made of bamboo and straw, as well as roads, bridges and power lines.Authorities have given shelter, food and medicines to thousands of homeless people, and deployed mobile medical teams to prevent the outbreak of disease.(Reuters)

Floods kill 77 in Assam, two million affected

This handout photograph received from the Press Information Bureau (PIB) and taken on July 1, 2012 shows an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter on a Relief and Rescue mission in the flood-affected areas of Assam. At least 79 people have died and 2.2 million forced to leave their homes over the last week as torrential monsoon rains triggered floods across India‘s northeast, officials said on July 2, 2012.

A view of flood-affected people, who are stranded, standing on a bridge in the flooded area of the Sonitpur district in Assam

A view of flood-affected people, who are stranded, standing on a bridge in the flooded area of the Sonitpur district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 1, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing more than 60 people, local media reported on Sunday. Picture taken July 1, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer (INDIA – Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)

An aerial view shows the flood-affected areas of the Sonitpur district in Assam

An aerial view shows the flood-affected areas of the Sonitpur district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 1, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing more than 60 people, local media reported on Sunday. Picture taken July 1, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer (INDIA – Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)

Floods kill 77 in Assam, two million affected

Villagers travel on a country boat through flood waters at the flood affected area of Tataliguri in Morigoan district, some 80 kms from Guwahati, the capital city of India’s northeastern state of Assam on June 29, 2012. At least 27 people have died and 10,00,000 others have been forced to leave their homes as monsoon rains swamp wide areas of the northeastern Indian state of Assam, officials said. AFP PHOTO/Biju BORO

Flood-affected residents are silhouetted against the setting sun as they travel on a boat through their submerged paddy fields at Himalua village

Flood-affected residents are silhouetted against the setting sun as they travel on a boat through their submerged paddy fields at Himalua village in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 1, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing more than 60 people, local media reported on Sunday. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

A view of flood-affected people with their domesticated animals stranded on an islet in a flooded area of the Sonitpur district in Assam

A view of flood-affected people with their domesticated animals stranded on an islet in a flooded area of the Sonitpur district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 1, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing more than 60 people, local media reported on Sunday. Picture taken July 1, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer (INDIA – Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS)

A flood-affected man pushes a temporary raft carrying his son through the flood waters after heavy rains at Mayang village

A flood-affected man pushes a temporary raft carrying his son through the flood waters after heavy rains at Mayang village in the northeastern Indian state of Assam June 30, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing at least a dozen of people, local media reported. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

A flood-affected girl uses a submerged hand-pump at Dhuhibala village

A flood-affected girl uses a submerged hand-pump to fetch drinking water at Dhuhibala village in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 1, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing more than 60 people, local media reported on Sunday. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

Flood-affected residents use a temporary raft to move their belongings to safer places in front of their submerged hut at Himalua village

Flood-affected residents use a temporary raft to move their belongings to safer places in front of their submerged hut at Himalua village in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 1, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing more than 60 people, local media reported on Sunday. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

Flood-affected residents sit inside their flooded house at Dhuhibala village

Flood-affected residents sit inside their flooded house at Dhuhibala village in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 1, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing more than 60 people, local media reported on Sunday. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

Flood-affected residents move to safer places on a temporary raft next to their submerged huts after heavy rains at Khalabhyan village

Flood-affected residents move to safer places on a temporary raft next to their submerged huts after heavy rains at Khalabhyan village in the northeastern Indian state of Assam June 30, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing at least a dozen of people, local media reported. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

Unidentified women weep next to the body of a victim of a boat that sank in India's Brahmaputra river, at Buraburi village

Unidentified women weep next to the body of a victim of a boat that sank in India’s Brahmaputra river, at Buraburi village in Dhubri district of the northeastern Indian state of Assam May 1, 2012. Rescue workers fought heavy wind and rain to search for survivors after at least 103 people drowned on an overloaded ferry carrying about 300 people that sank at night on one of India’s largest rivers on Monday, police said. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

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Pakistan SC disqualifies Prime Minister Gilani

Posted by Admin on June 20, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/pakistan-sc-disqualifies-prime-minister-gilani.html

Gilani was found guilty of contempt for refusing to ask Swiss authorities to re-open corruption cases against President Zardari.

Yahoo! India News – 10 hours ago

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Supreme Court on Tuesday disqualified Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani from holding his office following his conviction in a contempt case.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan had on April 26 convicted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for contempt of court for his refusal to comply with the order to write to Switzerland authorities asking them to re-open corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

“Since no appeal was filed (against the April 26 conviction) … therefore Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani stands disqualifed as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament)…,” said Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in a packed courtroom.

“He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan … the office of the prime minister stands vacant.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Supreme Court asked President Asif Ali Zardari to ensure that steps are taken for the continuation of democracy in Pakistan.

Gilani and his government have refused to obey the court’s order to write to Swiss authorities asking them to re-open money laundering cases against Zardari. The government argues that Zardari has immunity as the head of state.

Gilani was convicted for violating Article 63(1) (g) of Pakistan’s constitution by a seven-judge bench of the court, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk.

Accused of graft, Zardari had been granted amnesty under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in 2007 by the then President Pervez Musharraf to facilitate his return home and, primarily that of his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

The NRO that granted immunity to politicians and bureaucrats in corruption cases was struck down as void in 2009.

On January 16, 2012, the court issued a contempt notice against Gilani for not acting against Zardari.

Gilani was indicted for contempt of court on February 13.

The case stems from what many observers say is a political battle between the government and the military, which has held the whip in Pakistan’s political arena for most of the country’s 64 years of independence. Many say the army is using the court to keep the government on the back foot.

Thousands of corruption cases were thrown out in 2007 by an amnesty law passed under former military President Pervez Musharraf, which paved the way for a return to civilian rule.

Two years later, the Pakistan Supreme Court ruled that agreement illegal and ordered cases involving Swiss banks against President Asif Ali Zardari re-opened.

Pakistan’s Constitution says that anyone convicted of ridiculing the judiciary is barred from remaining in office as a member of parliament, but experts said that it would take a long time to disqualify Gilani.

Gilani has been the longest-serving Pakistani prime minister ever. This is the first time ever in Pakistan’s history that a prime minister appeared before the court and was convicted of contempt.

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French diplomat arrested for sexually abusing daughter

Posted by Admin on June 20, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/french-diplomat-arrested-sexually-abusing-daughter-045247308.html

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS India Private Limited – 16 hours ago

Bangalore, June 19 (IANS) Bangalore Police early Tuesday arrested French diplomat Pascal Muzurier on the charge of sexually abusing his minor daughter.

“We have arrested Mazurier and taken him into custody from his residence in the early hours…We will produce him in the court later in the day after medical examination,” Bangalore Additional Police Commissioner (Law & Order) T. Sunil Kumar told IANS here.

Mazurier is the deputy head of chancery in the French consulate here.

Muzurier,39, was charged June 15 under section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for allegedly raping his nearly four-year-old daughter Stella after his Indian wife Suja Jones complained to the police.

“We got clearance from the external affairs ministry and the union home ministry from New Delhi late Monday for arresting Muzurier. We will seek his custody for interrogating him as part of our investigation into the case,” Kumar added.

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The queen, UFOs, Bolt? Fancy an Olympic bet?

Posted by Admin on June 4, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/queen-ufos-bolt-fancy-olympic-bet-134146378–sector.html

By Belinda Goldsmith | Reuters – Fri 1 Jun, 2012

              LONDON (Reuters) – Would you bet on Queen Elizabeth lighting the Olympic flame? Or a UFO appearing above the opening ceremony? Or maybe on Usain Bolt winning the men’s 100 metre race?

With the London Olympics fast approaching, Britons are happily combining two of their favourite pastimes: sports and betting – no matter how ludicrous some of the bets.

“It is deep in the British psyche to have a bit of a flutter when it comes to sports. Sports and betting almost go hand-in-hand in this country,” said Joe Crilly, a spokesman from bookmaker William Hill.

Less than two months away from kickoff, bookmakers are starting to close their books on the most popular bet so far – who will light the flame, the symbol of the Olympic Games, at the opening ceremony on July 27.

The identity of the person who runs the final stretch with the Olympic torch after a 70-day relay is always a highlight at the opening extravaganza. China’s former champion gymnast Li Ning was awarded that honour in Beijing in 2008; at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics, legendary boxer Muhammad Ali lit the cauldron in an emotional show as he struggled with Parkinson’s disease.

Bookmakers William Hill, Ladbrokes, Stan James and Coral all agreed the favourite for that coveted task in London, with odds of 1-3, is former rower Steve Redgrave, 50, Britain’s most successful Olympian who won five gold medals from 1984 to 2000.

Bets were also running on the 83-year-old Roger Bannister, who made history as the first man to run the four-minute mile in 1954; Kelly Holmes, the retired British runner who won two gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics; and football star David Beckham.

“We also took some bets on Tom Daley at 16-1, Prince William at 66-1 and, incredibly, the queen at 500-1,” said Stan James spokesman Rory Jiwani.

BORIS HAIR ON FIRE?

William Hill has taken some bets on whether London Mayor Boris Johnson would have a mishap when he runs with the Olympic torch, setting his notoriously wild hair on fire, and has odds of 5-2 on it raining on the night of the opening ceremony.

But spokesman Crilly said the weirdest bet yet was a 15 pound wager that a UFO would appear above the Olympic Stadium on the night of the opening ceremony. The odds? A massive payout at 1000-1.

“It is mainly Brits really getting into the spirit of things as the Olympics draw closer and having fun,” said Crilly. “Once the torch arrived on these shores, we have seen people getting involved in the Olympics and betting not just on novelty bets.”

Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter and world record holder, is currently the favourite with odds of 4-7 to win the Olympics showpiece event, the men’s 100 metre race, while fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake is second favourite with odds of 3-1.

Most bookmakers were also running bets on which country would top the gold medal table when the Olympics close on August 12.

Coral spokesman David Stevens said the Olympics were not usually a major betting event but interest was likely to be higher at the London Games due to Britons’ love of gambling.

The most recent independent report by the Britain’s government-sponsored Gambling Commission on gambling participation showed that nearly three quarters of British adults, or 73 percent, had gambled in 2010 compared to 68 percent in 2007.

The Association of British Bookmakers estimates that bookmakers contribute 3 billion pounds annually to the UK economy, which is about 0.5 percent of gross domestic product.

“It will be the biggest Olympics in betting terms but this is starting from a very low base,” said Stevens.

“The Olympics are being held in a nation where betting is a part of everyday life. The real activity will kick off in the fortnight leading up to Games and then during the Games but we’re a bit in the dark over how much interest we will see.”

(Editing by Alessandra Rizzo)

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IPL: The Dirty Picture

Posted by Admin on May 30, 2012

http://cricket.yahoo.com/news/ipl–the-dirty-picture-.html

By Bhavna Vij-Aurora, Dhiraj Nayyar and Shantanu Guha Ray | India Today – Mon 28 May, 2012 1:01 PM IST

By Bhavna Vij-Aurora, Dhiraj Nayyar and Shantanu Guha Ray

A late-night bust-up involving charges of molestation and assault at a hotel suite in Delhi booked in the name of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Deccan Chargers on May 18. An early morning Income Tax raid at the offices of Pune Warriors and Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 23 following a TV sting operation in which five fringe players were caught striking deals on spot-fixing and switching teams for more money. A brawl at Wankhede Stadium leading to a five-year ban by the Mumbai Cricket Association on Shah Rukh Khan on May 16. It was a week from hell for IPL. And the week promised to stretch into a long year.

Around 6.30 p.m. on May 22, Zohal Hamid, 27, was giving yet another live interview on her now famous charge of molestation by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) player Luke Pomersbach. The incident acquired bizarre momentum, especially after her ‘fiance’ Sahil Peerzada, 33, was hit by Pomersbach and she turned out to be close to a defence agent. India Today was present at the plush farmhouse of her “rakhi” brother Abhishek Verma, an accused in the naval war room leak and under investigation for his suspected role in defence deals. Sahil made a dramatic entry while she was on camera. “How dare you speak to the media without my permission?” he asked. Zohal placated him and they then drove off in Verma’s Hyundai Sonata. Both she and Sahil then went incommunicado. Clearly, they had received instructions to go quiet. Some deal had been struck to cover up an intoxication-fuelled, unscripted drama that threatened to blow apart the nocturnal mix of sex and money that plays behind the televised scenes of IPL. Sahil and Zohal met their lawyer Rajneesh Chopra who had worked out a compromise with RCB owner Sidhartha Mallya, who had so charmingly described Zohal’s allegations against Pomerbasch as a “load of f…..g s..t” in a tweet. On May 22, Zohal agreed to withdraw her case against Pomersbach and drop the defamation threat against Mallya, who has not even deigned to remove the offending tweets from his account-another said “what this girl is doing is idiotic”. On May 23, though, he tweeted, “So glad all charges have been dropped and Luke can return Down Under a free man!”, followed by “Oh and btw, I know ppl can be cynical, so just so u know, the settlement wasn’t financial in any way!”

These shenanigans took TV cameras into the bedroom, the last thing IPL wanted as its oversold carnival becomes a sordid circus. The manufactured silence was designed to avoid some basic questions:

  • Why did Deccan Chargers book a Rs 20,000-a-day suite for Sahil at ITC Maurya?
  • What is Sahil’s connection, if any, with cricket and IPL?
  • What is Zohal’s real link with Sahil? She claims he is her “fiance”. Sahil is a trifle hesitant about the honour.
  • Why was Zohal sleeping in Sahil’s suite if she was not booked there?
  • Why were two men, Miraj and Moin, sleeping in Sahil’s room?
  • Why was RCB hosting an after-party despite an IPL ban on them in 2010?

The mystery became more mysterious with Verma’s involvement. His former New York-based business partner and lawyer C. Edmonds Allen claims that Zohal was an employee of Ganton Indian Private Limited, and that he recommended her for a visa to visit India on Verma’s request last year. Allen is the president of Ganton, which he claimed he set up to handle $205 million (Rs 1,127 crore) made by Verma through arms deals and lobbying for defence firms. Verma denies any link with Ganton and claims that Zohal too has nothing to do with Ganton. He says “my wife Anca Neacsu is best friends with Zohal” and recommended her for an Indian visa through Allen.

THE BOOKIE UNDERBELLY

Born in Afghanistan to an Afghan father and an Iranian mother, Zohal’s family migrated to US in the late 1980s. Now an American citizen, she works for a cosmetics company in New York as a sales manager. She did part of her schooling in India, where she picked up conversational though accented Hindi. She went to Rutgers University in New York. After watching her first IPL match on May 17, goes her story, she landed at the RCB party and in the room booked by Deccan Chargers at ITC Maurya. Every answer begs a further question.

But Rajiv Shukla, who took over as the IPL commissioner in September 2011 and is also a Union minister, has no answers, except an evasive one. “I am the IPL commissioner, not police commissioner. I have nothing to do with what is happening in the hotel room.” The fact that he mentioned “police commissioner” involuntarily speaks for itself. He believes media is exaggerating the problems of the league by highlighting stray off-field incidents. He does not deny knowing Sahil Peerzada. “He is the son of a Congressman,” he says. Sahil’s father, Peerzada Ghulam Mohammed, who died in 1994 at the age of 52, was a ticketing agent at the Sopore (J&K) bus stand in the 1970s, and went on to become a junior-level Congress leader. The family migrated to Mumbai in 1992.

Sahil’s brother, Feroze, says he has a real estate business in Mumbai, as well as two Kashmir handicrafts showrooms at the Leela in Bangalore and near Pavilion Mall in Kuala Lumpur. But Sahil’s reputation has been made in bedrooms rather than boardrooms. He is a serial dater of semi-famous women such as TV actors Shama Sikander and Gauhar Khan. Deccan Chargers is silent about why they rented such an expensive suite for him. Manjula Harpanahalli, media coordinator for Deccan Chargers, told India Today that they had no comments to offer. Repeated calls and text messages to E. Venkatram Reddy, director (operations), Deccan Chargers, went unanswered.

Investigating agencies are silent but taking a keen interest in the events. They have been busy. There has long been a suspicion that IPL is a breeding ground for bookies. Days before the start of the tournament, CID officers of Mumbai Police traced a conference of bookies from all over India huddled inside a five-star hotel room in Mumbai to plan their strategy: Essentially, to cooperate in the milking of those who like a flutter.

On May 17, when Chennai Super Kings was taking on Kings XI Punjab, Arun Chavan, head of Mumbai Police’s Property Cell, arrested two well-known bookies from a Lokhandwala flat. Devendra Kothari, 42, and Sonu Jalan, 30, were taking bets on the crucial match. Both were arrested immediately and 20 mobile handsets, a dozen SIM cards, two laptops, two voice recorders and an LCD T recovered. They led the police to another bookie, Mohammad Feroze Ansari, 38, from Nagpada in Mumbai. On May 19, the police arrested him too. The probe has now moved to Delhi. A team from Mumbai Police left for Delhi on May 21. Their goal: Check the truth in Kothari’s claim that he paid Rs 10 crore to a Sri Lankan cricketer to fix a one-day international match in 2006. “We cannot reveal the name of the Sri Lankan player. Investigations are still on,” said Mumbai Additional Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nangre-Patil.

In Delhi, the police confirmed that Kothari and Jalan were part of a global betting racket and among 170 suspects scheduled to visit Sri Lanka to fix matches. “There was to be a meeting in Colombo in anticipation of the fourth T20 World Cup which will take place in Sri Lanka. But it was cancelled,” says Brijesh Kumar Gupta, Delhi’s police commissioner. The police’s suspicions about a Colombo meeting were confirmed when a woman they picked up on May 19 from Delhi for possessing cocaine confessed to her involvement in the betting racket and said she was to travel to Colombo. On May 24, Delhi Police busted a betting racket in west Delhi, unearthing a mini-telephone exchange comprising 113 lines used for transmitting information about rates to over 300 betting syndicates across India.

India’s betting laws date back to the Public Gambling Act of 1867. Bail, therefore, is guaranteed for a paltry Rs 100 and allows bookies to get free within days of their arrest. No one has bothered to change this. “There’s very little time for questioning. And rarely are the big fish netted because the bookie chain is inordinately long,” says Gupta. This year alone, Delhi Police conducted more than 75 raids on bookies in Delhi and arrested over 100 people placing bets on IPL, the highest since the tournament started four years ago. The core problem hampering investigations is that there is no complaint, says Gupta.

ULTIMATE SECRET SOCIETY

Cricket is hardly the primary activity in IPL. The large, growing and dark circle around the field includes a secret society of franchise owners, pretty party girls and men of unknown means. Presiding over this is the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has ensured lack of transparency. BCCI is a registered society completely autonomous from the Government. It only started paying income tax in 2007 after authorities decided that it wasn’t simply a charitable organisation “promoting the sport of cricket”. In the effort to become successful, IPL has cut corners. Interpol wanted to investigate the bookie phenomenon and and asked for Rs 90 crore as expenses, just as it had asked FIFA when it set out to investigate football sleaze. FIFA paid. International Cricket Council (ICC) President Sharad Pawar refused. Very conveniently, ICC’s Anti Corruption Unit was hired. “If ICC had hired Interpol, cricket’s cleansing process would have begun. But that did not happen,” says Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken.

In 2011, IPL had hit a ratings low. A new model was sought to be created, as highlighted in broadcaster Set Max’s ads which encouraged viewers to watch the game on the ground. Rajiv Shukla says that the average gate receipts for the 2012 season will be Rs 30 crore for each franchise. He also argues that the decline in TAM TRP ratings, from an average of 4.81 in IPL-1 to 3.33 in IPL-5 so far, is misleading because the goalposts have changed. “The ratings of even the most popular entertainment programmes have fallen as a result. IPL is still doing very well on television,” he says. Shukla is also buoyant about overseas revenues.

EVADING THE TAX NET

All nine IPL franchises have been under the scanner of the Income Tax Department after a report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Finance in July 2011 instructed tax officials to scrutinise the accounts of all IPL teams. What aroused the suspicion of the Standing Committee was a wide discrepancy between the annual financial returns statements for the assessment year 2008-09 and the assessment year 2009-10. For the year 2008-09, also the first year of IPL, three of the eight franchises, Mumbai, Chennai and Deccan Chargers, showed nil loss. The remaining five showed minor losses-Rajasthan Rs 6 lakh, Punjab Rs 14 lakh, Kolkata Rs 50 lakh, Bangalore Rs 79 lakh and Delhi Rs 2.92 crore. In 2009-10, each franchise reported huge losses-Rajasthan Rs 35.5 crore, Punjab Rs 65.68 crore, Kolkata Rs 11.85 crore, Mumbai Rs 42.89 crore, Chennai Rs 19.3 crore, Bangalore Rs 5.58 crore, Deccan Rs 87.09 crore and Delhi Rs 47.11 crore.

There was no particular reason why losses should have mounted so steeply. The player auctions had been conducted before IPL-1. The cost of players would be the same for IPL-2. The revenue streams would have been greater-the success of IPL drew more advertisers and spectators to the second edition. The only reason for higher costs was the move to South Africa, but that alone could not explain the wide discrepancies. According to sources at the Income Tax Department, while the assessment is complete, investigation is ongoing and franchises have been asked to furnish details.

There are several other issues of apparent financial irregularities red-flagged in the report of the Standing Committee. At least four teams-Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians- received investments from abroad from tax havens such as Mauritius, Bahamas and British Virgin Islands. BCCI, in its reply to the committee, put all the blame on former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi. Even if true, and that is not proven, how does this exonerate the franchise owners who got the money from questionable unnamed sources? The Enforcement Directorate (ED), charged with investigating these violations, said its investigations have not been completed.

Even BCCI and IPL are under investigation by ED and Reserve Bank of India for operating bank accounts along with Cricket South Africa during IPL-2 without permission. IPL Commissioner Shukla shrugs aside the allegations of financial irregularities, just as he dismisses anything in convention with his usual bluster.

PLAYERS DON’T HAVE LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

There are other problems, inbuilt into IPL, which have created irregular incentives for players. In 2010, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was banned from season 3 of IPL for trying to negotiate a contract in violation of league rules. Jadeja, who at the time had not played for the IndianTP Sudhindra national team, was entitled to a salary of Rs 25 lakh, not more, set by the IPL Governing Council. Already a rising star in his franchise, Rajasthan Royals, Jadeja believed he deserved more money. This perverse rule on pay caps for Indian players who have never represented the country has made them vulnerable to the lure of illegal negotiations with franchises and offers from bookies. Curiously, no such cap is applicable to foreign players who have not represented their countries.

A recent TV sting operation on five Indian players who have never represented India revealed the dangerous consequences. The players- TP Sudhindra (Deccan Chargers), Shalabh Srivastava (Kings XI Punjab), Mohnish Mishra (Pune Warriors), Amit Yadav (Kings XI Punjab) and Abhinav Bali-were caught on camera either offering to indulge in spot-fixing or ready to negotiate with other franchises or admitting that their franchises paid them significantly more than the official figure, in cash. An underground economy is clearly thriving in IPL. Modi, the creator of IPL and commissioner in its first three editions, admits that not auctioning uncapped players was a mistake.

There are several possible reforms that can salvage the situation:

  • No player should be retained by a franchise without an auction. In 2008, for example, M.S. Dhoni was bought by Chennai Super Kings at the highest bid price of $1.5 million (Rs 7.5 crore). He was not put up for auction for the 2011 and 2012 seasons in which Gautam Gambhir came out on top with a bid price of $2.5 million (Rs 12.5 crore) from Kolkata Knight Riders. It would be unreasonable to expect Dhoni to have commanded anything less in an open auction.
  • The only players not subject to an auction in IPL-1 were the icon players-Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai), Rahul Dravid (Bangalore), Sourav Ganguly (Kolkata), Yuvraj Singh (Punjab) and Virender Sehwag (Delhi). Each was, however, to be paid a 10 per cent premium on the highest bid paid out by their team in the open auction. There was some transparency then. Now, with the icon system being replaced by the system of retaining players (icons or not), no one knows how much players are being paid, whether by cheque or in cash. Says Modi, “No one should be allowed to be retained. If a player is important for the franchise, let them bid for him.” Rajiv Shukla also recognises the opacity of retaining players. “We will consider revising this in our next Governing Council meeting,” he says.
  • There should be an independent regulator for sports. “No one is being able to self-regulate. If not for anything else, let the regulator look into the alleged financial bungling of the state cricket associations,” says Ajay Maken. “Put rules in place, things will start moving,” says Bishen Singh Bedi. The former Indian captain says it’s time BCCI auctions each player every year. “Let there be transparency, let us see who is paying what for whom. Let the juniors get a price for themselves so that they do not take money under the table,” adds Bedi.

POLITICS OF CRICKET

IPL would not have survived its serious flaws were it not for a strong cross-party political alliance lending its weight. Shukla is a prominent minister. Arun Jaitley, leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, is on IPL’s Governing Council and heads its legal and disciplinary committee. The cricket establishment of BCCI and its regional components are packed with powerful politicians. Four are members of the Union Cabinet-Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar (ICC president), Congressmen C.P. Joshi (president, Rajasthan Cricket Association) and Vilasrao Deshmukh (president, Mumbai Cricket Association), and Farooq Abdullah (president of the J&K Cricket Association) of the National Conference. The quartet has successfully stalled Maken’s attempts to legislate a sports bill that will force BCCI to be more accountable. “What can I do if no one wants to clean the dirt from cricket?” says Maken.

Shukla says there is no need for BCCI to be under the Government. “We don’t take a penny from the Government. And we have made a global name for ourselves,” he says. The cricket establishment can count on some support from outside the Government. Apart from Jaitley, Anurag Thakur, a BJP MP and son of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, is president of his state’s cricket association which hosts IPL games at its stadium in Dharamshala. His party colleague, Kirti Azad, is however a staunch opponent of IPL and went on dharna demanding the abolishing of the league after its string of recent scandals. Azad said that India’s image was being spoilt at an international level because of IPL debauchery and that he has written a letter to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to take action against IPL.

Politics is a power game, and for now Maken and Azad are weak before a muscular establishment. But a poisonous worm is corroding the IPL apple from within, and all the might of Pawar, Shukla and friends will not stop this disease from spreading, if they do not use a sharp scalpel.

– With Kiran Tare and Nishat Bari

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Ancient shipwrecks unearthed in China

Posted by Admin on May 30, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/ancient-shipwrecks-unearthed-china-120039966.html

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS India Private Limited – 9 hours ago

Beijing, May 29 (IANS) Archaeologists in China have unearthed two shipwrecks under an artificial waterway that remained buried forcenturies.

Over 600 artifacts have also been recovered from the site in Tianjin, the Tianjin Cultural Heritage Protection Centre said.

The wrecks, which date back to Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), first came to light in April, after workers dredged a section of the Grand Canal, said Mei Pengyun, centre director.

The 1,776 km-long Grand Canal passes through several provinces in northern and eastern China. The oldest sections of the canal were built 2,500 years ago, People’s Daily reported Tuesday.

The discovery will provide insights into construction of ships inancient China, archaeologists said.

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Is a Greek Exit from the Euro Inevitable?

Posted by Admin on May 22, 2012

http://business.time.com/2012/05/21/is-a-greek-exit-from-the-euro-inevitable/

Is a Greek Exit from the Euro Inevitable?

By Michael Schuman | @MichaelSchuman | May 21, 2012

Kostas Tsironis / AP

For 2½ years, the world has been watching and waiting to see if debt-laden Greece can remain in the euro zone. Many have been doubtful since the beginning of the debt crisis. Greece’s government debt is simply too burdensome, the fiscal adjustment imposed on Athens is too severe, the Greeks are too resistant to the tough reforms that are necessary and the rest of Europe is too bullheaded to change its approach to suit reality. But for 2½ years, Greece has nevertheless managed to scrape by and remain in the monetary union, thanks to two European Union–IMF bailouts (totaling $300 billion), which have kept Greece on life support, and repeated promises to reform by Greece’s major political parties.

Now, however, the Greek debt crisis may finally be reaching the endgame. The likelihood of a Greek exit from the euro zone has been growing, and that has scary consequences for the rest of Europe as well as the global economy.

(PHOTOS: Protests in Athens)

The spiral toward disaster has been tipped off by Greek politics. A general election earlier this month eliminated what little hope remained that Athens could press through with the painful austerity measures and structural reforms demanded by the euro zone in return for bailout cash. The fractured result made it impossible for a government to form, and a new election has been called for June 17. But even if that poll brings some political stability, the odds that the bailout can go ahead as planned are practically zero. A vast majority of the votes in the last election went to parties that either want to renegotiate the terms of the bailout or ditch the agreement entirely. Whether the bailout scheme can continue will depend on the willingness of the rest of Europe to make concessions to Greece in a better, softer rescue agreement and the willingness of Athens’ politicians to agree to new terms. These are very open questions.

The problem is that without that rescue money, Greece will very likely have to exit the euro zone. The Greek government would quickly run out of money to function, leaving Athens no choice but to return to its national currency, the drachma. This scenario could unfold with surprising speed. Here are Bank of America/Merrill Lynch analysts on that score:

If no government is in place before June, when the next instalment from the EU/IMF is due, we estimate that Greece would run out of money sometime between the end of June and early July, at which point a return to the drachma seems to us inevitable.

Even if the Greek government gets its act together and the bailouts continue, there is another force steadily pushing Greece out of the euro zone. Greeks are removing their deposits from Greek banks. They have been doing this for a while, but the pace seems to have accelerated recently. In just one day last week, Greeks yanked some $900 million of deposits from the banks. This process is quaintly called a “bank jog,” but it is much more dangerous than a quiet run through a park. It is effectively a slow-motion run on banks, and a natural consequence of the uncertainty surrounding Greece’s tenuous position in the euro zone. If Greece is forced to ditch the euro and return to the drachma, Greeks know full well that their drachmas will be sharply devalued relative to the euro. So keeping their money in Greek banks now could result in a big hit to their welfare. Instead of facing that risk, Greeks are withdrawing money from banks to preserve their wealth.

(MORE: After the Fall: Greece’s Former Prime Minister Assesses the State of His Nation)

That makes sense from the standpoint of the Greek saver, but not for the banking sector. As Greek banks empty of euros, the financial system comes closer to failure. So far, the European Central Bank has been plugging the hole by acting as a lender of last resort to the Greek banking system. But there is a limit to how much financing the ECB might be willing to inject. Gavyn Davies of the Financial Times did a great job of explaining how this bank run is happening, and why the ECB could eventually fail to contain it:

The problem is that [ECB support for Greek banks] potentially exposes the ECB to much bigger losses than anything which has been contemplated so far by the core economies. Up to now, the ECB has been willing to inject liquidity to cover the financing needs of the periphery banks as the inter-bank market has dried up. If instead, they have to contemplate providing semi-permanent funds to cover large further withdrawals of bank deposits, the size and timescale of the injection becomes extraordinarily large.

If the ECB doesn’t continue to finance Greek banks, Athens could be forced to withdraw from the euro zone and restore its currency. That on its own would be destabilizing. But even more worrisome, the bank jog in Greece has the potential to become a euro zone–wide bank run. Seeing what’s going on in Greece, depositors in other weak euro-zone economies (Portugal, Spain, Italy) have the same incentive to yank money out of their banks. That could end with the total unraveling of the monetary union. The fears that this theoretical scenario will become reality are increasing in Europe. Here’s how economist Paul Krugman explained it in the New York Times:

Right now, Greece is experiencing what’s being called a “bank jog” — a somewhat slow-motion bank run, as more and more depositors pull out their cash in anticipation of a possible Greek exit from the euro. Europe’s central bank is, in effect, financing this bank run by lending Greece the necessary euros; if and (probably) when the central bank decides it can lend no more, Greece will be forced to abandon the euro and issue its own currency again. This demonstration that the euro is, in fact, reversible would lead, in turn, to runs on Spanish and Italian banks. Once again the European Central Bank would have to choose whether to provide open-ended financing; if it were to say no, the euro as a whole would blow up.

(MORE: Will Greece Need Another Election to Form a Government?)

How can the euro zone stop this from happening? It will require a degree of political commitment and policy flexibility so far absent from the zone’s approach to the debt crisis. When a national government confronts a run on banks, the way to solve it is to guarantee deposits and ensure that banks have enough cash to meet withdrawals. The problem with the euro is that individual national governments don’t have control over their own money. So the euro zone as a whole has to step in and back up the banks like a national government would. The euro zone likely requires some sort of guarantee scheme akin to the U.S.’s Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. But supporting the euro banking system is this way might demand yet more resources from stronger euro-zone economies like Germany. It would also probably entail more E.U.-level control over national banking sectors. Both steps would prove difficult.

More broadly, Europe can squelch the bank jog if it shows more commitment to the euro and keeping Greece in the union. The longer this period of uncertainty over Greece’s status drags on, the more deposits will flee Greece, and the more likely a euro exit becomes.

Clearly, a Greek exit from the euro zone would be traumatic for Greece and the rest of Europe, and send shock waves through global financial markets. But can a Greek exit from the monetary union really take down the euro itself? That’s a topic for another post …

MORE: Election of French President François Hollande Heralds End to Austerity

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