Wednesday 15 July 2015


  Inside parliament building members debate the new austerity tax measures, outside the riot squads are skirmishing with protesters.  Rioters throwing Molotov cocktails are setting fire to cars, rubbish bins, attacking the press and breaking windows.  The Molotovs are the 'traditional' kind so I heard.  They spread fire spectacularly along their path, as seen live on TV,  but do not explode.

The riot squad is out in full battledress, shields, helmets, battons and guns.  Police are also guarding the Ministry of Finance and other key sites of possible violence.

Syntagma Square, famous for the changing of the guard in their snowy white skirts ,  is now a battlefield.  Parliament building is at the top of the square and THE Hotel Grande Bretania on its left.  Guests paying thousands of euros are right above the action getting a close up of a different sound and light show.

When the anger dies, this is  realityThe end result of five months of negotiations.

By Peter Gelling. Follow him on Twitter.

Need To Know:

For five months European leaders have been negotiating with Greek leaders over Greece's need for a new bailout. And for five months the news media have been reporting on every incremental development. Well, an end — and not the dystopian one we all predicted — might have finally come this morning.

Overnight talks, which might be described as strained or perhaps frantic, or both, appear to have been successful. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who came to power promising to stand up to the demands for austerity from European leaders, agreed to a series of austerity reforms.

In exchange for up to almost $100 billion in bailout money — which would bring the total bailout money Greece has received since 2010 to more than $350 billion — Tsipras will have to rush through his own parliament tax hikes, pension cuts, and the creation of a debt repayment fund. It's going to be awkward since many of his own party object to such harsh reforms.

And the Greek people? Well, they aren't going to be happy either. They are going to have to pay higher taxes and lose some of their hard-earned pensions because they were led for so long by an ineffectual and corrupt government. It hardly seems fair. One Athens resident described the deal as "misery, humiliation and slavery."

But Tsipras hardly had much of a choice. Such austerity was what the creditors — who had already loaned the country hundreds of billions — demanded. And without more money, Greece's economy would have sputtered and by some predictions the country would have collapsed and ended up as some kind of failed state.

.So the fact that a deal has been reached comes as a relief to much of the world. For the Greek people, however, relief is a long way off.
AND YET ANOTHER QUOTE and oh so true
So much has been written about Greece and its crisis.      Corruption is everywhere, not just in Greece.  We must preserve  this country  with its unique traditions, its vibrant people, its laid back attitude and zest for life . Forgive us oh mighty Europe for we have sinned 
A society that has learned to survive on tax evasion, lawlessness and corrupt practices, from the Prime Minister to the last newspaper kiosk owner, and from the hospital manager to the small tavern owner. A society with 35-year-old pensioners, blind taxi drivers, paid sinecures in the public sector, people who receive pensions 10 years after they died, doctors who declare 10,000 euros yearly income and countless other categories of happy Greeks who live splendidly while destroying the economy.
 Now all these people, and they are not just a few, see the new reforms as a danger to their well-being. They see the “greedy” Europeans as the ones who want to impose evil things such as tax audits, public employee evaluations, debt repayments and retirement after 60. In other words, they hate to see practices and rules that apply to normal countries apply to Greece because… “we are unique, special people.” So on Wednesday, public sector employees, municipal workers, pharmacists and doctors will go on strike to protest against the harsh reforms the Greek government is about to bring in order for the country to stay afloat and (hopefully) get on the path of economic recovery.

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