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Posts Tagged ‘spain’

Why Portugal May Be the Next Greece

Posted by Admin on May 22, 2012

http://business.time.com/2012/03/27/why-portugal-may-be-the-next-greece/

Why Portugal May Be the Next Greece

The worst is over for the euro zone, the experts say. But Greece isn’t really fixed and Portugal could become a second big problem before year-end

By Michael Sivy | @MFSivy | March 27, 2012

When Greece celebrated its Independence Day on Sunday, there were scattered protests over the harsh austerity program aimed at stabilizing the country’s finances. The government reportedly removed low-hanging fruit from bitter-orange trees along the parade route, so it couldn’t be thrown by protesters. But, basically, the most recent bailout appears to be successful. As a result, worries about the European financial crisis have diminished somewhat. Indeed, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi has said that the worst is over for the euro-currency zone.

Such optimism may be premature, however. Not only does Greece remain a long-term financial concern, but in addition Portugal is on track to become a second big problem.

The dangers Greece still poses are clear. Higher taxes and government-spending cuts may reduce new borrowing, but such austerity policies also undermine a country’s ability to pay the interest on its existing debt. Unless accompanied by progrowth policies, austerity can become the financial equivalent of a medieval doctor trying to cure patients by bleeding them. In addition, the bailout plan for Greece consisted of marking down the value of much of the country’s debt held by banks and other private lenders. That means entities such as the European Central Bank now hold most of Greece’s remaining debt. And so, in the event of a default, important international institutions would suffer the greatest damage.

(MORE: Is Germany’s Euro-Crisis Strategy Actually Working?)

The net result has been to postpone the Greek financial crisis for months or even a couple of years, while raising the stakes if things go wrong. That could be seen as a considerable achievement, if you believe Greece is a unique case and that the problem has been successfully contained. The trouble is that other countries — and especially Portugal — seem to be heading down the same path. Here’s why forecasters are worried:

Portuguese interest rates haven’t come down. Because of the Greek crisis, bond yields rose to dangerous levels in several financially troubled European countries. Then after Greece was bailed out, yields fell in most of them. In Italy, yields on bonds with maturities of around 10 years dropped from more than 7.2% to around 5%; in Spain, from 6.7% to 5.4%; and in Ireland, from 9.7% to 6.9%. The notable exception was Portugal, where bond yields came down a bit but still remain above 12%. Double-digit borrowing costs are impossible for a heavily indebted country to sustain for any significant period of time. Yet Portugal’s bond yields have been above 10% for the past nine months.

Portugal’s total debt is greater than that of Greece. In one way, Greece really is unique — the country’s massive debt is largely the result of borrowing by the government rather than by the private sector (corporations and households). By contrast, Portugal, Spain and Ireland have far more private-sector debt. As a result, while government debt in Portugal is less than that of Greece, relative to GDP, total debt (including private-sector debt) is actually greater.

(MORE: The Most Important Man in Europe)

The Portuguese economy is shrinking. Portugal’s economy has been weak ever since the financial crisis began in 2008, and the country has actually been in recession for more than a year. Moreover, last month the Portuguese government projected that the country’s economy would contract by 3.3% in 2012. As Portuguese companies struggle to pay off their own massive debt, it’s hard to imagine that they will be able to help pull the country out of recession.

Thanks to a bailout last year, Portugal has enough money to make it into 2013, despite brutally high interest rates and a shrinking economy. But the markets are unlikely to wait that long to go on red alert. In the case of Greece, bond yields topped 13% in April 2011, and by September they were above 20% and heading for 35%. Portuguese yields have been above 11.9% for the past four months and have topped 13% several times. If the country follows the same timeline as Greece, Portugal could suffer a serious financial crisis before the end of the year.

There are a number of reasons such an outcome would be serious, despite the relatively small size of Portugal’s economy. First, the European Union has been operating on the assumption that Greece is a unique case, a poor country suffering from rampant tax fraud and an unusually dysfunctional government bureaucracy. If another euro-zone country experiences similar problems — and they occur partly because of private-sector debt rather than government borrowing — then the flaws in the system start looking more general, and the stability of the entire euro zone is called into question.

(LIST: The 10 Most Memorable Ads Featuring Celebrities And Their Kin)

Moreover, much of the borrowing by Portuguese companies has been financed by Spanish banks. That creates the possibility of a domino effect, whereby a financial squeeze in Portugal leads to a crunch in the Spanish banking sector. Moreover, the debt structure in both Spain and Ireland — with large amounts of private-sector borrowing — is similar to that of Portugal. Germany and the Netherlands are already balking at making further loans to Greece. And although Northern European countries could afford to bail out Portugal, their resources are limited. If a second country goes the way of Greece, several more might well follow.

Since Europe’s problems seem to have receded for the moment, U.S. investors are understandably focused on other risks — like conflict with Iran that could sharply push up oil prices, or fights over taxes and the federal budget in the run-up to the elections. But the danger of a European financial crisis has not gone away — and the ultimate costs could run to more than half a trillion dollars.

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How Valencia reflects Spain’s economic crisis

Posted by Admin on May 19, 2012

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/photos/recession-in-spain-seen-through-pictures-slideshow/to-match-feature-spain-valencia–photo-1336628003.html

To match Feature SPAIN-VALENCIA/
A view of the City of Arts and Sciences, by architect Santiago Calatrava, is pictured in Valencia. The complex’s cost escalated from an initial 625 million euros ($808.93m) up to 1280 million euros, according to local media. ( REUTERS/Heino Kalis)
A panoramic view of the City of Arts and Sciences, by architect Santiago Calatrava, is seen in Valencia
Once the beacon of Spain’s new economic grandeur, the Mediterranean region of Valencia has become a symbol of all that is wrong with the country. (REUTERS/Heino Kalis)
The Palace of Arts Reina Sofia at the City of Arts and Ciences is pictured in Valencia is pictured in Valencia
The Palace of Arts Reina Sofia at the City of Arts and Sciences, by architect Santiago Calatrava. The palace’s cost escalated up to around 380 million euros, according to local media. (Heino Kalis/ Reuters)
A pedestrian walks past the Agora building and the Azud D'or bridge at the City of Arts and Sciences, designed by architect Calatrava, in Valencia
Agora building and the Azud D’or bridge at the City of Arts and Sciences.The cost of both structures escalated up to 150 million euros, according local media. (REUTERS/Heino Kalis)
A view of the City of Arts and Sciences, by architect Santiago Calatrava, is pictured in Valencia
A view of the City of Arts and Sciences. Years of free spending, coupled with a hangover from a burst real estate bubble and the collapse of local banks, have put Valencia on the brink of being bailed out by the central government – which has huge budget problems of its own. (REUTERS/Heino Kalis)
The Agora building at the City of Arts and Ciences is pictured in Valencia
The Agora building at the City of Arts and Sciences. The building’s cost escalated up to 86 million euros, according to local media. (REUTERS/Heino Kalis)
A view of the University and Polytechnic Hospital La Fe is seen in Valencia
A view of the University and Polytechnic Hospital La Fe is seen in Valencia April 25, 2012. The complex’s cost escalated up to 300 million euros. (REUTERS/Heino Kalis)
A building of the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia is seen in Valencia
A building of the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia is seen in Valencia April 25, 2012. (REUTERS/Heino Kalis)
To match Feature SPAIN-VALENCIA/
The control tower of the Costa Azahar airport is seen, one year after its official inauguration, near Castellon, in this April 24, 2012 file photo. The airport, whose cost escalated up to around 150 million euros, remains inactive due to construction failures, lack of permits and insufficient commercial interest from international airlines, according to local media. (REUTERS/Heino Kalis/Files)
Apartments for sale are seen, beside an unfinished block, in Valencia
Apartments for sale are seen, beside an unfinished block (back), in Valencia. The building sector’s implosion has forced into the open allegations that corrupt Valencian politicians, developers and bankers were in cahoots during a decade of easy money at low interest rates after Spain joined the euro in 1999. (REUTERS/Heino Kalis)
Demonstrators Protest European Central Bank Meeting
Thousands of Spaniards are protesting against austerity measures that politicians have proposed to ease the country’s economic crisis. (Left) A woman passes as police officers stand guard at Paseo de Gracia in the city centre as the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting is held at the Hotel Arts on May 3, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images).
A man rides his bicycle between policemen in riot gear who are guarding the venue of a meeting of the ECB in Barcelona
Click on Next to see images of daily life in Spain and public demonstrations across the country over the past year, protesting against the government’s spending cuts, labour market reforms, recession and overall economic crisis. (Image: Reuters)
People wait at a bus stop in front of an Asian shop after shopping in Malaga
People wait at a bus stop in front of an Asian shop after shopping in downtown Malaga, southern Spain May 4, 2012. The euro zone economy worsened markedly in April, according to business surveys. (REUTERS/Jon Nazca)
Homeless man walks at the financial district in Madrid
A homeless man walks at the financial district in Madrid April 19, 2012. France and Spain sold all the bonds they wanted at auction, though for Spain the cost was rising yields, indicating growing concerns the government will not be able to tame its deficit. After a brief respite fuelled by a trillion euros of cash the European Central Bank (ECB) lent Europe’s banks in December and February, markets are becoming nervous again about euro zone debt loads, with fears that Spain might follow Greece, Ireland and Portugal in needing a bailout from international lenders. (REUTERS/Andrea Comas)
Daily Life In Madrid Ahead Of General Elections
An unemployed man, Enrique, writes poems in return for a cash handout on the eve of the Spanish general elections on November 19, 2011 in the center of Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Demonstrations Against Eurozone Leaders' Agreed Pact For The Euro
Thousand of ‘indignants’ hold banners and shout slogans against the Euro zone leaders’s agreed ‘Pact For The Euro’ on June 19, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. Thousands of Spaniards joined marches across Spain to protest against how the country’s economic crisis is being handled and the so-called “Euro Pact”, aimed at increasing the bloc’s competitiveness and economic stability. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Economic Crisis In Spain Worsens As A General Election Looms
People queue up outside the Ave Maria charity food centre on November 9, 2011 in Madrid, Spain. Poor people and homeless are given a free breakfast at the centre run by the Fundacion Real Congregacion de Esclavos del Dulce Nombre de Maria. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
A protester, wearing an anonymous mask, protests after being prevented by police from gathering in Puerta del Sol square on August 2, 2011 in Madrid, Spain. The indignants were protesting high levels of unemployment, the austerity measures and what they consider a stagnant and corrupt political system. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
General Strike Hits Spain
A demonstrators sets fire to a barricade during rioting as a 24-hour strike is called, on March 29, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. Spanish workers staged a general strike to protest the government’s latest labour reforms, which are designed to help Spain lower its deficit within EU limits. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
General Strike Hits Spain
Riot police walk past burning garbage containers during heavy clashes with demonstrators during a 24-hour strike on March 29, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Spanish Unions Protests Planned Government Cutbacks
People attend a demonstration organized by Unions against the financial cuts in health and education on April 29, 2012 in Madrid. Trade Unions CCOO and UGT called for a demonstration against the severe austerity plans of the Spanish government. In April, unemployment reached a record rate and the government has announced that immigrants with no legal status will not be covered by the health public services. The government aims to get the deficit down to 5.3 percent this year and 3.0 percent in 2013. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
Spanish Unions Protests Planned Government Cutbacks
MADRID, SPAIN – APRIL 29: A girl carries a vuvuzela during a demonstration organized by Unions against the financial cuts in health and education on April 29, 2012 in Madrid. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

People wait at a bus stop in front of an Asian shop after shopping in downtown Malaga, southern Spain May 4, 2012. The euro zone economy worsened markedly in April, according to business surveys. (REUTERS/Jon Nazca)

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Your True Inner Self

Posted by Admin on May 17, 2012

Your True Inner Self
by Owen K Waters

Your inner self is your complete self. Often referred to as your soul or higher self, your inner self includes all aspects of your consciousness as an individual.

Your inner self encompasses all levels of your consciousness – subconscious, superconscious and waking consciousness. You can think of your waking consciousness as an “outer self,” because it’s function is to focus upon a world which has the appearance of being external. The human brain is designed to translate the concepts of space and time into something that appears real. Your outer self’s focus is directed at the physical world, which it perceives through the five physical senses.

People habitually think of their soul as being something elsewhere, and not something that encompasses their waking consciousness. They also think of the world as being “out there” rather than what it really is – an internal projection of theatrical props which make life appear to be a real drama.

It is more useful to use the term “inner self” to describe the complete self because, compared to the external world, it appears to be inside of you.

When you look at the reality of life, everything is inside of you. As a spark of Infinite Being, the entire universe is inside of you because the universe was created within the consciousness of Infinite Being. The definition of “Infinite Being” is “consciousness which encompasses all.” Nothing can be outside of an all-encompassing consciousness, therefore all must be within and, as an aspect of Infinite Being, it is within you.

Before you were born, you carefully planned the possibilities for this incarnation. Your inner self had access to all of the probabilities which would unfold in your current life, thus enabling you to make a life plan. You examined several possible lives and chose this one for the experiences that it would let you explore.

Think of your inner self as a nonphysical, spiritual personality which chose to enter your body at the time of birth. Gradually, over a period of months, your conscious mind formed a greater attachment to this new body and eventually became completely identified with it.

The current system of incarnation on earth involves spiritual amnesia – we are born with blank physical memories as part of the challenge of reconnecting with our spiritual essence during physical incarnation. That system will change in the coming centuries as human consciousness rises to new challenges and opportunities but, in the meantime, it still provides a fresh start to every incarnation that we choose to experience.

Each incarnation occurs in different locations and historical times, with different sets of parents and societal environments. This creates the opportunity for you to play many roles as different personalities. Your inner nature does shine through into your outer personality as an influence, but the variety provided by different incarnations is enormous. Imagine, over the last two thousand years, experiencing incarnations as a centurion defending Rome against the barbarians, then a quiet life as a peasant farmer’s wife in Spain, then plying the Mediterranean trade routes as first mate on a spice ship, then as an English nun and finally a talk show host. Now that’s variety!

Personalities vary from life to life because of the societal environment in which they are formed. Shining through that outer personality, however, is the real you, your spiritual inner self. The wisdom of knowing how to handle a challenge often comes from the inner knowing gained from the experience of countless lifetimes.

You can get in touch with your inner self if you take the time to simply go within using a meditation technique such as the Infinite Being meditation.

In that contemplative state, ask yourself what it feels like when you get in touch with your inner self. How does life look when seen from its perspective? How does it feel to be connected to that part of you which is, in turn, consciously connected to the entire universe? How does it feel to live beyond the confines of space and time?

Words like freedom, expansion, joy and harmony spring to life while you are in the presence of your true, spiritual self.

Your inner self is eternal. It can never cease to exist, any more than Infinite Being can cease to exist. This eternal part of you has wisdom and love beyond the confines of any single incarnation. Feel the security of knowing this eternal part of yourself. While you are in the conscious presence of your inner self, see how meaningful the affirmation from the Infinite Being meditation becomes:

“I am Infinite Being.”

*If you enjoyed today’s article, forward it to a friend! They will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Owen Waters is the author of Love, Light Laughter: The New Spirituality, which is available both as a paperback and a downloadable e-book, at:

http://www.infinitebeing.com/ebooks/love.htm

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Protests continue in Spain as ruling Socialist Party suffers electoral defeat

Posted by Admin on May 24, 2011

by Paul Mitchell

Global Research, May 23, 2011

Tens of thousands of protestors continued to occupy Madrid’s Puerta del Sol and other centres in numerous cities and towns across Spain through the weekend, despite a government ban. Spain held regional and municipal elections on Sunday, which returned a big defeat for the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government of José Luis Zapatero.

The main driving force behind the PSOE’s defeat was the massive austerity measures imposed by the government, which have compounded the economic crisis. Early results showed the PSOE won less than 28 percent of the vote.

The biggest beneficiary of the collapse in support for the PSOE was its main rival, the right-wing Popular Party, which won 38 percent. The PP also supports the attack on the working class. The PSOE also lost control of the country’s second largest city, Barcelona, for the first time in more than 30 years, with a coalition including Catalan nationalists taking power.

“The results show that the Socialist Party has clearly lost today’s elections”, Zapatero said on Sunday. He blamed the economic crisis for the defeat, as if the policies of the PSOE government had nothing to do with the disastrous conditions facing Spanish workers and youth.

The elections were overshadowed by the protests, known as the M-15 movement, the day they were first called by social network and Internet groups. They have drawn a big response from younger workers, students, the unemployed and broad sectors of Spanish working people. Organisers have indicated that they will continue the protests past the election.

The protests were banned by various local electoral boards and the central election commission ahead of yesterday’s elections. Spanish law prohibits party political activity on election day and the preceding 24 hours, which are designated a “day of reflection”. This does not cover the M-15 protests, but has been the pretext for the ban. So far, the PSOE government has refrained from sending in police to enforce the ban, although there have been reports of police intimidation and violence.

The opposition right-wing Popular Party (PP) is demanding tough action to break up the “illegal” encampments that protesters have said will continue past the elections.

The majority of the demonstrators, dubbed “los indignados” [the angry ones], have been young people who have been hit especially hard hit by the crisis. Almost half of 18 to 25-year-old Spaniards are out of work, more than double the European Union average. Most of those that are able to find work end up on temporary contracts.

However, increasing numbers of families and older workers have joined the occupations in Madrid and other cities including Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza and Bilbao, in protest over unemployment, government austerity measures and a political system that serves only the banks and big business.

Those participating in the protests have said that they are hostile to all of Spain’s major political parties. Over the weekend, they urged people not to vote for either of Spain’s two main parties, the PSOE or the PP.

Puerta del Sol serves as one large assembly, with many discussions taking place over what to do after the elections. Some have called for the occupation to become permanent, and that the movement should be broadened by creating popular assemblies throughout Madrid. Several committees have been set up looking after food supplies, legal matters and communications.

The Puerta del Sol assembly has adopted a list of 16 demands, including the democratisation of the election process; the proclamation of basic rights, such as housing, health care and education; greater government control over banks and businesses; reduced military spending; and the renationalisation of privatised public enterprises.

One protester, Alejandro, told the BBC, “I hope this changes our situation. We have a right to regular jobs, a future and a decent salary, to more opportunities in life, the chance to get a house, to pay for that house without being enslaved, but especially a better quality of life”.

Carlos Gomez said, “We have no option but to vote for the two biggest parties in Spain, who are more or less the same. They are unable to solve any problem; it is just a nest of corruption. We are tired. In short, we want a working democracy. We want a change”.

Milena Almagro García added, “These protests are not only about unemployment. They are about the unfair political situation that exists in Spain. We protest against the political situation that allows more than 100 people who are accused of corruption across the country to stand in the next elections.

The demonstrations and the election results expose the vast gulf between the interests and sentiments of the majority of the population and the policies dictated by the financial elite and supported by all the official parties―in Spain and throughout Europe.

While the organising forces behind the protests have claimed to be apolitical, they do have a political perspective, namely that mass demonstrations by themselves can force the political system to change. This is false. As the European debt crisis enters a new stage, the ruling class is determined to enforce even more brutal austerity measures, which will increasingly require the abrogation of the most basic democratic rights.

The PSOE government has already imposed one of the most brutal programmes in all of Europe, introducing a €15 billion package of spending cuts that includes 5 to 15 percent cuts in civil servants’ salaries, attacks on pensions and reformed labour protection laws.

As part of the campaign to force deeper cuts, financial markets have sent Spanish interests rates to their highest level since January. Regional governments, which are responsible for one third of public spending, have carried out cuts in healthcare, education and other essential public services. There are indications that this week newly-elected regional governments will begin to reveal debts much higher than previously published, which will only escalate the pressure for more austerity.

To combat this drive, the working class needs its own organisations of struggle. Noticeably absent in the protests over the past week have been the official trade unions, which have worked closely with the PSOE in enforcing cuts and demobilising the mass resistance that erupted last year. These unions represent barely 14 percent of the workforce according to data from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

To carry forward a struggle, workers must build independent rank-and-file committees to unite all sections of the working class with unemployed youth.

Above all, a new political party must be built–on the basis of an uncompromising revolutionary and internationalist perspective. It is not only a question of protest, but of building a new leadership to fight for the socialist transformation of the economy in Spain, throughout Europe and internationally.

Global Research Articles by Paul Mitchell

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Hybrid Newsletter – 1 for 02.12.2010 A.D

Posted by Admin on December 2, 2010

Spain arrests seven over links to Mumbai attacks

By Teresa Larraz, writing Nigel Davies, editing by Tim Pearce | Reuters – Wed, Dec 1 7:09 PM IST

http://beta.in.news.yahoo.com/spain-arrests-seven-over-links-mumbai-attacks.html

Spain arrests seven over links to Mumbai attacks

Spain arrests seven over links to Mumbai attacks

MADRID (Reuters) – Seven men have been arrested in Barcelona, accused of providing fake identification documents to al Qaeda-linked groups including the one that carried out the Mumbaiattacks in 2008, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.

Six Pakistanis and one Nigerian were arrested on Tuesday and early Wednesday accused of stealing passports and other travel documents from tourists in Barcelona and sending them toThailand where they were falsified and passed to extremist organised crime groups, it said in a press release.

Among the groups the documents were sent to was the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was blamed for the attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 in which 166 people were killed, as well as Sri Lanka’s separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The ministry said the arrests were part of an international operation in which two Pakistanis and one Thai were also arrested in Thailand, accused of leading the group set up in Spain and other European countries.

The ministry said the group robbed people whose age and nationality enabled members of the militant groups holding the falsified documents to travel freely across borders.

“This large-scale operation neutralises an important cell providing passports to al Qaeda, weakening the falsification apparatus of this organisation at an international level, and as such its operational capabilities,” the ministry said.

Spanish police recovered numerous identification documents in the homes of those arrested, as well as hard discs, memory sticks, 50 mobile phones and SIM cards, and cash in dollars, euros, and British pounds.

(Reporting by Teresa Larraz, writing Nigel Davies, editing by Tim Pearce)

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India incapable of quick strike against Pak, US believes

Yahoo! India News – Thu, Dec 2 11:59 AM IST

http://beta.in.news.yahoo.com/india-incapable-of-quick-strike-against-pak–us-believes.html

India USA Joint Military Exercises

India USA Joint Military Exercises

America suspects India is not agile enough to launch a concerted military attack against Pakistan, Wikileaks cables disclosed on Wednesday. The disclosures also underlined contradictions between what America tells India and what it puts down on its internal records.

America feels it would take India 72 hours to mobile its military resources and launch an attack against Pakistan. Its ambassador to India describes India’s process of mobilisation as “slow and lumbering”.

Officially, Pakistan and America were talking about reining in militant groups after the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, and again after the 2008 attack on Mumbai, but America had no hope that any good would come of it.

The US ambassador to Pakistan had told her state department in 2009 that generous aid would not help in convincing Pakistan to stop supporting the Taliban and the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The Telegraphreports: “There is no chance that Pakistan will view enhanced assistance levels in any field as sufficient compensation for abandoning support to these groups, which it sees as an important part of its national security apparatus against India. The only way to achieve a cessation of such support is to change the Pakistan government’s own perception of its security requirements,” she wrote.

Pakistan had received more than 16 billion dollars in American aid since 2001. In other words, the Americans were trying to buy peace from Pakistan while being fully aware that they were up against a stubborn supporter of extremist groups.

Disclosures on Wednesday also indicated that the US thought the Indian army had been slow to respond to the parliament attack: … India commenced ‘Cold Start’, a military doctrine developed by Armed Forces, which involves joint operations between Army, Navy, and Air Force, after 2001 Parliament attack but the Army was not able to execute it properly.

The cables sent by US ambassador to India Timothy Roemor on Feb 16, 2010 said that, “Indian forces could have significant problems consolidating initial gains due to logistical difficulties and slow reinforcement.”

Pakistan’s hypocrisy was well in evidence even earlier this year. In April, its prime minister Gilani promised he would act firmly against anti-India groups in his country. In June, the US kept up the pretense that Pakistan could be persuaded to stop supporting deadly groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

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Assange’s legal options narrow

By RAPHAEL G. SATTER and MALIN RISING, Associated Press – 1 hr 32 mins ago

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101202/ap_on_bi_ge/wikileaks

Julian Assange

Julian Assange

 

LONDON – Julian Assange’s legal options narrowed Thursday as the WikiLeaks founder lost an appeal against a court order for his arrest and his British lawyer said authorities knew his precise location.

Sweden’s Supreme Court upheld a order to detain the 39-year-old Australian for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual molestation that could lead to his extradition. The former computerhacker has been out of the public eye for nearly a month, although attorney Mark Stephens insisted that authorities knew how to find him.

“Both the British and the Swedish authorities know how to contact him, and the security services know exactly where he is,” Stephens told The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, cables published to WikiLeaks’ website detailed alleged financial support for North Korea and terrorist affiliates by Austrian banks; an allegation by a Pakistani official that Russia “fully supports” Iran’s nuclear program; and a deeply unflattering assessment of Turkmenistan’s president.

Accused in Sweden of rape, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of unlawful coercion, Assange’s last public appearance was at a Geneva press conference on Nov. 5.

Swedish officials have alerted Interpol and issued a European arrestwarrant in a bid to bring him back in for questioning. Stephens, Assange’s lawyer, said that the Swedish prosecution was riddled with irregularities and turning into an exercise in persecution.

Assange denies the charges, and Stephens has said they apparently stemmed from a “dispute over consensual, but unprotected sex.”

It is unclear if or when police would act on Sweden’s demands. Police there acknowledged Thursday they would have to refile their European arrest warrant after British authorities asked for more details on the maximum penalties for all three crimes Assange is suspected of.

Scotland Yard declined comment, as did the Serious and Organized Crime Agency, responsible for processing European arrest warrants for suspects in England — where The Guardian claims Assange is hiding out.

Stephens — who also represents The Associated Press — said that, if Assange were ever served with a warrant, he would fight it in British court.

“The process in this case has been so utterly irregular that the chances of a valid arrest warrant being submitted to me are very small,” he said.

WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said late Wednesday the organization was trying to keep Assange’s location a secret for security reasons. He noted commentators in the United States and Canada had called for Assange to be hunted down or killed.

Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

The latest batch of leaked documents included a frank assessment from the American envoy to Stockholm about Sweden’s historic policy of nonalignment — a policy which the U.S. ambassador, Michael Woods, seemed to suggest was for public consumption only.

Sweden’s military and intelligence cooperation with the United States “give the lie to the official policy” of non-participation in military alliances, Woods said. He added in a separate cable that Sweden’s Defense Minister Sten Tolgfors fondly remembers his time as a high school student in America and “loves the U.S.”

Woods cautioned American officials not to trumpet Sweden-U.S. cooperation in the fight against terrorism too openly.

“The extent of this cooperation in not widely known within the Swedish government,” he said. “Public mention of the cooperation would open up the government to domestic criticism.”

Woods’ comments were front page news in Sweden Thursday, while WikiLeaks dominated the British news agenda as well.

A front page story in The Guardian alleged that one of the leaked cables showed British politicians trying to keep parliament in the dark over the storage of American cluster bombs on U.K. territory — despite an international ban on the weapons signed up to by British authorities. Britain’s Foreign Office denied the charge.

___

Gillian Smith contributed to this report.

=======================================================================================================================================================================

NEWSLETTER CLOSED

 

Posted in Geo-Politics, India Forgotten, Press Releases | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hybrid Newsletter – 1 for 02.12.2010 A.D

Spanish Economy Continues to Falter

Posted by Admin on June 20, 2010

9 Reasons Why Spain Is A Dead Economy Walking

JUNE 16, 2010

in ANALYSIS,INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY

By Michael Snyder

Barring an economic bailout of mammoth proportions, the economy of Spain is completely and totally doomed.  The socialist government of Spain is drowning in debt, unemployment is running rampant and everywhere you turn there are major economic problems.  So will Spain be the next Greece?  No.  When the economy of Spain implodes it is going to be a whole lot worse for the world economy.  The economy of Spain is more than four times the size of the economy of Greece.  Spain accounts for 11.5 percent of eurozone GDP while Greece only accounts for approximately 2.5 percent.  Spain is the 4th largest economy in the 16 nation eurozone and it is the 10th largest economy in the world.  If the economy of Spain fails it will cause a shockwave that will be felt in every corner of the globe.  In fact, there are quite a few analysts that believe if Spain defaults it would ultimately lead to the breakup of the eurozone.

So will the EU step up and bail out Spain?  Well, there are rumors that EU officials have begun work on a bailout package for Spain which is likely to run into the hundreds of billions of dollars, but on Monday the European Commission, the Spanish government and the German government all denied that the European Union was preparing a bailout for the Spanish economy.

Of course we all know that politicians don’t always tell us the truth.

So who knows what is going on over there right now.

But the reality is that the economy of Spain is not going to make it much longer without serious help, and some EU officials are already using apocalyptic language to describe what an economic collapse in Spain would mean.

For example, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso recently warned that democracy could completely collapse in Greece, Spain and Portugal unless urgent action is taken to tackle the burgeoning European debt crisis.

So could democracy actually fail in those nations?

Well, considering the fact that Greece, Spain and Portugal only became democracies in the 1970s, and that all three of those countries have a history of military coups, such a scenario is not that far-fetched.

Without a doubt there would be serious public unrest in those nations if public services collapsed because their governments ran out of money.

So are there signs that the economy of Spain is about to collapse?

Well, yes, there are quite a few of them.

The following are 9 reasons why Spain is a dead economy walking….

#1) Even before this most recent crisis, unemployment in Spain was approaching Great Depression levels.  Spain now has the highest unemployment rate in the entire European Union. More than 20 percent of working age Spaniards were unemployed during the first quarter of 2010.  If people aren’t working they can’t pay taxes and they can’t provide for their families.

#2) In an effort to stimulate the economy, Spain’s socialist government has been spending unprecedented amounts of money and that skyrocketed the government budget deficit to a stunning 11.4 percent of GDP in 2009.  That is completely unsustainable by any definition.

#3) The total of all public and private debt in Spain has now reached 270 percent of GDP.

#4) The Spanish government has accumulated way more debt than it can possibly handle, and this has forced two international ratings agencies, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, to lower Spain’s long-term sovereign credit rating.  These downgrades are making it much more expensive for Spain to finance its debt at a time when they simply can’t afford to pay more interest on their debt.

#5) There are 1.6 million unsold properties in Spain.  That is six times the level per capita in the United States.  Considering how bad the U.S. real estate market is, that statistic is incredibly alarming.

#6) The new “green economy” in Spain has been a total flop.  Socialist leaders promised that implementing hardcore restrictions on carbon emissions and forcing the nation over to a “green economy” would result in a flood of “green jobs”.  But that simply did not happen.  In fact, a leaked internal assessment produced by the government of Spain reveals that the “green economy” has been an absolute economic nightmare for that nation.  Energy prices have skyrocketed in Spain and the new “green economy” in that nation has actually lost more than two jobs for every job that it has created.  But Spain so far seems unwilling to undo all of the crazy regulations that they have implemented.

#7) Spain’s national debt is so onerous that they are now caught in a debt spiral where anything they do will harm the economy.  If they cut government expenditures in an effort to get debt under control it will devastate economic growth and crush badly needed tax revenues.  But if the Spanish government keeps borrowing money their credit rating will continue to decline and they will almost certainly default.  The truth is that the Spanish government is caught in a “no win” situation.

#8) But even now the IMF is projecting that the Spanish economy is going nowhere fast.  The International Monetary Fund says there will be no positive GDP growth in Spain until 2011, at which point it will still be below one percent.  As bleak as that forecast is, many analysts believe that it is way too optimistic considering the fact that Spain’s economy declined by about 3.6 percent in 2009 and things are rapidly getting worse.

#9) The Spanish population has gotten used to socialist handouts and they are not going to accept public sector pay cuts, budget cuts to social programs and hefty tax increases easily.  In fact, there is likely to be some very serious social unrest before all of this is said and done.  On May 21st, thousands of public sector workers took to the streets of Spain to protest the government’s austerity plan.  But that was only an appetizer.  Spain’s two main unions are calling for a major one day general strike to protest the government’s planned reforms of the country’s labor market.  The truth is that financial shock therapy does not go down very well in highly socialized nations such as Greece and Spain.  In fact, the austerity measures that Spain has been pressured to implement by the IMF have proven so unpopular that many are now projecting that Spain’s socialist government will be forced to call early elections.

So what is going to happen in Spain?

The truth is that nobody can predict for sure how things are going to play out over the coming weeks and months.

But what everyone can agree on is that the stakes are incredibly high.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, world famous economist Nouriel Roubini put it this way: “If Greece goes under, that’s a problem for the eurozone. If Spain goes under, it’s a disaster.”

But right now the entire population of Spain (along with much of the rest of the world) is completely distracted by the World Cup.  As long as the Spanish team does well, that is likely to keep the Spanish population sedated.  But if the Spanish team gets knocked out of the tournament early that will put the entire Spanish population in a really, really bad mood and that could mean a really chaotic summer for the nation of Spain.

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