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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Greece imposes capital controls as crisis deepens

'V for Varoufakis!' Greek finance minister burns EU with laser eyes (VIDEO) Published time: February 26, 2015 12:32 Edited time: February 26, 2015 20:37 Get short URL Still from Youtube video Still from Youtube video Tags Art, Bailout, EU, Economy, Germany, Government Spending, Greece, Media, Music, Politics As Greece’s finance minister clashes with the EU and his German counterpart over Athens' debt to the Troika of European lenders, a German show has uploaded a YouTube video spoof of the economic standoff between them, entitled ‘V for Varoufakis’. READ MORE: Eurozone backs Greek reforms, enabling €172bn rescue extension “He’s the lost son of Zeus with a heart made of stone!”… "his body screams of sex”… “his leather jacket is made of skin from German shepherd puppies”… “He doesn’t negotiate, he simply kicks ass”. These are just some of the lyrics to the awfully catchy metal tune about Yanis Varoufakis that is taking YouTube by storm, with 6,300 views in just four hours. The video, courtesy of Now Magazine Royale, proudly, and in an almost mock-Germanic tone, lists the Germany’s achievements – the positive (like the economy, the large gold reserves etc.) and the negative ones (like starting two world wars and "almost" winning). All the while, tense and poignant music plays in the background, while a slender military-looking German with a mustache proudly recites the achievements. This is all done to tongue-in-cheek montage of Oktoberfest girls carrying beer and other traditional symbolism, interlaced with Germans doing back-up singing to the music, “Varoufakis! Relentless Varoufakis!”, as the whole thing descends into a heavy metal song. It’s topped off with a devilish Varoufakis, grinning away, his bald head gleaming in the dark as he plays the bouzouki like an electric guitar. “Dear Greek Folks, the time has come: we surrender! Take all our money, you may also take Helene Fischer, but please, keep this financial Hercules off us. We could only just bear with Costa Cordalis [a German singer of Greek origin], so this is clearly way too much!” the description to the video reads. The current economic standoff reached a new high, as Varoufakis claimed his country’s acceptance of Brussel’s bailout strategy for Greece amounted to a “sell-off of family silver at rock-bottom prices and in a way that doesn’t lead to development for the economy.” ================== Athens (AFP) - Strapped for cash in crisis-hit Greece but desperate to visit the Acropolis? Tourists faced with empty ATMs need not despair, visitors to the ancient site can now pay by card for the first time. People have long been asking to be able to use debit or credit cards to purchase the 12 euro ($13.5) entrance tickets to Athens's hill-top citadel, the culture ministry said Monday, insisting that families wanting to admire the Parthenon up close would not be penalised for running short on cash. Long queues have sprung up at ATMs around the city after Greece imposed capital controls and closed banks across the country, hoping to prevent a run on banks following a breakdown in its bailout talks. Cash machine withdrawals have been capped at 60 euros per day, per card. Cards issued by foreign banks are exempt, but some tourists were coming up short Monday as ATMS across the city began to run dry. The ministry said tour operators could also buy entry passes to the site on an IOU basis, with the money to be paid once the banks re-open. The 2,500-year-old temple complex was used by ancient Greeks to worship Athena, the goddess of wisdom. =================== Nobody in the halls of the International Monetary Fund in Washington has any illusion: Greece is going to default Tuesday, delivering a new blow to the global crisis bank's credibility. Just weeks ago, the Fund refused to accept the idea that Athens, which has received some 32 billion euros from the IMF to rescue its economy since 2010, would be unable to make the 1.5-billion-euro ($1.7 billion) payment. At the beginning of June, Managing Director Christine Lagarde insisted she had the assurance of Greek leader Alexis Tsipras. "The prime minister said 'do not worry,'" she said confidently. A Fund spokesman reiterated that confidence again last week. But Tsipras's announcement of a referendum on an adjusted bailout plan -- which he urged his people to reject -- made clear that the country is not going to reach a deal with official creditors in time to finance any new debt payment. How "is it possible the creditors are waiting for the IMF payment while our banks are being suffocated?" Tsipras asked. Greece will be the first country to default on the IMF since Zimbabwe in 2001, and in terms of standards of living, the wealthiest. The IMF will undoubtedly wait to the final minute before declaring Athens "in arrears," but then the country will be immediately cut off from further IMF aid, including disbursements planned on the existing bailout program. - Reputation, resources at stake - The IMF has less at stake than Greece in that event, but still stands to lose, experts told AFP. "A default by Greece, even if a short-lived one, would stain the reputation of the IMF and make it less likely future IMF programs would trigger private (capital) inflows into troubled countries," said Eswar Prasad, a former Fund official. It is not the first time that the IMF, traditionally called on by economically troubled governments to help when they run short of liquidity, faces the breakdown of a bailout program. And it has already confessed errors in prescribing austerity as a cure when that ended up stifling economic growth. The institution has been criticized from outside as well as inside. Some member states have objected to the way rules have been bent to keep supporting Greece. They note that the Fund can only lend to a country if its debts are judged sustainable, and Greece's clearly are not. A default by Athens will only aggravate that open wound. "Non-payment would signal in a way that is clear to the person in the street worldwide that IMF engagement with the euro and Greece has gone very badly wrong," said Peter Doyle, who used to work for the IMF European Department. What happens with Greece could also impact the IMF's likewise high-risk loan program for Ukraine, said Doyle. In March, Kiev obtained a new lifeline from the IMF amid huge questions over whether its debt load is sustainable. The fund has more to guard than its image: it needs to protect the hundreds of billions of dollars provided it by its 188 members. It has been able to, without much controversy, write off loans made to certain countries, mainly those in the most dire circumstances. That includes Haiti, whose $268 million in debt was forgiven after the devastating 2010 earthquake, and $100 million written off for the West African countries hardest hit by Ebola last year. But the Greek case is different. The size of the loans is many times larger and the losses would impact the IMF's financial integrity. The Fund needs Greece to keep going and eventually pay up, but "has few cards left to play," Prasad said. "It's in no one's interest to escalate the implications of this missed payment," said Domenico Lombardi, a former board member of the IMF. "They're going to play that down in the hope that this is not going to jeopardize the start of future negotiations." Lagarde clearly understands that. Over the weekend, with Greece's default in motion, she took a measured approach, withholding criticism and saying the Fund "stands ready to provide assistance as needed." Greece imposes capital controls as crisis deepens Sun, Jun 28 21:36 PM EDT image 1 of 15 By Lefteris Papadimas and George Georgiopoulos ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece moved to check the growing strains on its crippled financial system on Sunday, closing its banks and imposing capital controls that brought the prospect of being forced out of the euro into plain sight. After bailout talks between the leftwing government and foreign lenders broke down at the weekend, the European Central Bank froze vital funding support to Greece's banks, leaving Athens with little choice but to shut down the system to keep the banks from collapsing. Banks will be closed and the stock market shut all week, and there will be a daily 60 euro limit on cash withdrawals from cash machines, which will reopen on Tuesday. Capital controls are likely to last for many months at least. "The more calmly we deal with difficulties, the sooner we can overcome them and the milder their consequences will be," a somber-looking Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a televised address. He promised bank deposits would be safe and salaries paid. Even as Tsipras spoke late on Sunday, lines forming at petrol stations and in front of the dwindling number of bank machines that still contained cash highlighted the scale of the disaster facing Greeks, who have endured more than six years of economic decline. The failure to reach a deal with creditors leaves Greece set to default on 1.6 billion euros of loans from the International Monetary Fund that fall due on Tuesday. Athens must also repay billions of euros to the European Central Bank in the coming months. The impending default on the IMF loans leaves Greece sliding toward a euro exit with unforeseeable consequences for Europe's grand project to bind its nations into an unbreakable union by means of a common currency. It also carries broad implications for the global financial system. After months of wrangling, Greece's exasperated European partners have put the blame for the crisis squarely on Tsipras' shoulders. The 40-year-old premier caught them by surprise in the early hours of Saturday by rejecting the demands of lenders and calling a referendum on the bailout. The creditors wanted Greece to cut pensions and raise taxes in ways that Tsipras has long argued would deepen one of the worst economic crises of modern times in a country where a quarter of the workforce is already unemployed. After announcing the referendum, Tsipras asked for an extension of Greece's existing bailout until after the July 5th vote. Euro zone officials refused, and in his televised address Tsipras bemoaned the refusal as an "unprecedented act". Despite the hardening of positions, officials around Europe and the United States made a frantic round of calls and organized meetings to try to salvage the situation. U.S. President Barack Obama called German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and senior U.S. officials including Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who spoke to Tsipras, urged Europe and the IMF to come up with a plan to hold the single currency together and keep Greece in the euro zone. The German and French governments announced emergency political meetings. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls urged the Greeks to come back to the negotiating table. "I cannot resign myself to Greece leaving the euro zone ... We must find a solution," Valls told Europe 1, Le Monde and iTELE in a joint interview. SAFE HAVENS SOUGHT The euro fell sharply against the dollar and safe-haven U.S. government debt futures rallied as investors exhibited fears of a Greek default and exit from the euro zone. "That is going to have a real big impact on markets and that will generate increased volatility," said Ian Stannard, European head of FX strategy at Morgan Stanley in London. The euro EUR= fell nearly 2 U.S. cents to a one-month low in early Asia Pacific trade. The fear of contagion produced a sharp move into safe-haven government debt. U.S. 10-year Treasury futures rose 1 27/32 in active trading early. The bank holiday announced by Tsipras will last at least until Monday, July 6, the day after the planned referendum, an official said after a late-night meeting of the cabinet. The Athens stock exchange will be closed as the government tries to manage the financial fallout. It remains unclear how long capital controls will remain in force. In Cyprus, which imposed similar measures in 2013, they were not fully lifted until April this year. Tsipras faces growing political pressure with some opinion polls suggesting a majority of Greeks could turn their back on his call to reject the bailout and instead decide to support the lenders' package in next Sunday's referendum. If they do, he would face pressure to resign, leaving the way open for new elections. Former conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who on Sunday met Greek head of state President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, said Tsipras should drop the referendum plans and return to the negotiations or make way for a government of national unity. As speculation of capital controls have increased over the past two weeks, Greeks have pulled billions of euros out of their accounts. Long queues formed in supermarkets on Saturday as shoppers stocked up on essentials. Greece's top refiner, Hellenic Petroleum, said it had enough fuel reserves on hand to last for many months, but there were reports of long queues forming at petrol stations as motorists rushed to fill up. The broader consequences for Greece's economy, now back in recession, are likely to be severe, with the tourism sector, which accounts for almost a fifth of economic output, about to start its vital summer season. Anxious to reassure tourists, the government said the 60 euro cash withdrawal limit would not apply to people using foreign credit or debit cards. Travel companies had been warning tourists for some weeks that they should be prepared to take extra cash, given the likelihood of problems with the system. But the sight of cash machines that had run dry was a visible shock to many tourists. "I am trying to go over to the bigger banks," said Cassandra Preston, a Canadian tourist who was searching around in central Athens for a machine that had cash. "I am here for another month and I would like to make sure I have some cash on me." Many leading economists have voiced sympathy with the Greek government's argument that further cuts in spending risk choking off the growth that would give Greece some prospect of servicing debts worth nearly twice its annual national income. However, in economic powerhouse Germany, other southern states that have endured austerity in return for EU cash and poor eastern countries with living standards much lower than Greece's, many voters and politicians have run out of patience. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble openly questioned the solvency of Greek banks, a key condition to qualify to receive such finance. "The ECB has always said that as long as Greek banks are solvent, then emergency loans, the ELA, can be granted," he said on Saturday. "And now there is naturally a new situation that because of the developments the liquidity and solvency of Greek banks, or some Greek banks, could be in doubt." (Additional reporting by Deepa Babington, George Georgiopoulos, Karolina Tagaris, Michele Kambas, Lefteris Karagiannopoulos, Matthias Williams in Athens; Writing by Anna Willard and James Mackenzie; Editing by Alastair Macdonald, Janet McBride, Alessandra Galloni, Toni Reinhold) =================== Greece in shock as banks shut after snap referendum call Mon, Jun 29 07:27 AM EDT image 1 of 15 By Karolina Tagaris and Michele Kambas ATHENS (Reuters) - Greeks struggled to adjust to shuttered banks, closed cash machines and a climate of rumors and conspiracy theories on Monday as a breakdown in talks between Athens and its creditors plunged the country deep into crisis. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who blindsided creditors by calling a referendum on the austerity cuts in the aid package proposed by the creditors, appeared on television on Sunday night to announce capital controls to prevent banks from collapsing. Their imposition capped a dramatic weekend for Greece that has pushed the country towards a likely default on 1.6 billion euros ($1.77 billion) of International Monetary Fund loans on Tuesday and closer to an exit from the euro currency bloc. French President Francois Hollande appealed to Tsipras to return to the negotiating table and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was willing to talk to the 40-year-old Greek leader if he wanted. "There are a few hours before the negotiation is closed for good," Hollande said after a cabinet meeting on Greece. But with Greece's bailout program expiring in less than 48 hours, hopes of a last-minute breakthrough were fading fast. Greeks - used to lengthy talks with creditors before a eleventh-hour deal materializes - were left stunned. "I can't believe it," said Athens resident Evgenia Gekou, 50, on her way to work. "I keep thinking we will wake up tomorrow and everything will be OK. I'm trying hard not to worry." European officials sent confusing signals about their next move. A spokesman for the European Commission told French radio that Brussels would not make any new proposals on Monday, appearing to contradict comments by EU Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici. He said a new offer was forthcoming and that the two sides were "only a few centimeters" away from a deal. European bank shares fell sharply on Monday. Top banks in Spain, France and Germany were down more than 6 percent as the risk of a spillover to banks in other peripheral euro zone countries spooked investors. The Greek government will keep banks shut at least until after July 5, the date of the referendum, and withdrawals from automated teller machines were limited to 60 euros a day when they reopened at midday. The stock exchange will also stay shut. After months of talks, Greece's exasperated European partners have put the blame for the crisis squarely on Tsipras's shoulders. The creditors wanted Greece to cut pensions and raise taxes in ways that Tsipras has long argued would deepen one of the worst economic crises of modern times in a country where a quarter of the workforce is already unemployed. As Tsipras announced the emergency measures late on Sunday, there were long queues outside ATMs and petrol stations as people raced to take out cash before it was too late. Lines of over a dozen people formed at ATMs when they reopened on Monday. "I've got five euros in my pocket, I thought I would try my luck here for some money. The queues in my neighborhood were too long yesterday," said plumber Yannis Kalaizakis, 58, outside an empty cash machine in central Athens on Monday. "I don't know what else to say. It's a mess." "DRAMATIC HOURS" Newspapers splashed pictures of long lines outside cash machines on their front page. The Nafetemporiki daily headlined Monday's edition "Dramatic hours" while the Ta Nea daily simply said: "When will the banks open". The conservative-leaning Eleftheros Typos newspaper accused Tsipras of announcing the referendum as a ruse to tip the country into early elections in the hopes of winning them. "Mr Tsipras's decision to call a referendum and a possible euro exit constitutes a premeditated crime," it said in an editorial. "It is clear that Mr Tsipras has lost the trust of citizens. That's obvious from the queues at ATMs and petrol stations, and it will become obvious at next Sunday's ballot." As rumors flew about, dozens of pensioners queued outside at least two offices of the National Bank of Greece (NBGr.AT) on Monday after hearing they could withdraw pensions from some branches. They were turned away, Reuters photographers said. "I've worked all my life, only to wake up one morning to a disaster like this," said one shop owner, who was there to collect his wife's pension. Despite the financial shock, parts of daily life went on as normal, with shops, pharmacies and supermarkets in the city opening and Greeks meeting to discuss their country's fate at cafes and restaurants. Tourists gathered as usual to watch the changing of the presidential guard outside parliament. A rally called by Tsipras's Syriza party to protest against austerity measures and urge voters to say "No" in the referendum on bailout terms is expected later on Monday. Officials around Europe and the United States made a frantic round of calls and organized meetings to try to salvage the situation. U.S. President Barack Obama called Merkel, and senior U.S. officials including Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who spoke to Tsipras, urged Europe and the IMF to come up with a plan to hold the single currency together and keep Greece in the euro zone. "While the program is active until Tuesday, they aren't providing the necessary liquidity for Greek banks just to blackmail and to terrorize us," Administrative Reforms Minister George Katrougalos told Antenna television. "If we vote a yes, they will demolish pensions, you will have to pay for medicare in public hospitals. When your kids can't go to school you will say 'thanks' and they will say 'you asked for it'. "But if you say no you have the ability to fight for a better future." ($1 = 0.9026 euros) (Additional reporting by Deepa Babington, Lefteris Karagiannopoulos, Yannis Behrakis and Alkis Konstantinidis; Writing by Matthias Williams and Deepa Babington; Editing by Anna Willard) =========================== Sailor Benny Good! They will leave the euro, the new dracma crashes 80 percent. An then begin to recover. Under the austerity system they would have never recovered and never stopped having to pay. This is a good thing. Sad that it will lead to possible extremist right wing party's gaining more ground though. People will blame Syriza for the inevitable part where things get worse before they begin to get better. So they will swing to the other extreme, that's historically when the extreme right wins support. When people stop thinking what's best for the country/society and can only afford to think about themselves and their immediate families. I dont think it's going to be a short crisis. 5+ Years before recovery really begins I would predict!Well they aren't doing a whole lot of recovering at the moment Bindy peppercorn! Funny that the rhetoric coming from the EU is that 'they are going to let grandma vote on economic policy, what would she know?' .. Seems they believe people only deserve a vote in a democratic society when you can't effect any real change, or something. Damien Cruickshank A short crisis, then recovery? That's what austerity promised. Funding a lifestyle on debt promises long-term pain when struggling to pay back creditors. There was a 1922 crisis in the US, by all metrics promising to be worse than the 1929 one.. nothing was done, no spending, no debt.. it disappeared in less than 2 years according to current research. Greece being mugged? No, Greece had been dipping into the savings of caring friends.. who are now getting nasty because they realise they're not going to be paid back. I would say it's the fault of both parties. They all knew Greece would struggle. Austerity would have been softer back then. for individual citizens it's not a boring case of currency monopolies and productivity differences.. but if Greek politicians listened to both proper economists and common sense, they would have seen the case for deficit reduction, grexit, and there would be no crisis now. This is a textbook example of how not to live off neighbours until even the country's future wealth is spent. Between Greek government debt spending, and US government interest bubbles / bad debt encouragement... Truly free markets are the only solution. Everything government touches becomes a Greek Tragedy... Literally. Edit: to prevent folks claiming the GFC was caused by "the free market economy" I must point out the Australia has a freer economy than the USA. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/.../Economic_Freedom_of_the_World Xenia Ambatzidis Mugged and bullied, it's disgusting what they're doing to the Greek people! Paying off a debt of which they have only received 1% of the money but being charged interest for the whole amount? It's disgusting, unethical and illegal! Shame to the previous greek governments and politicians, shame to all who support this! I hope they vote NO and stand up against the bullies and pave the way for Italy and Spain etc. Make no mistake, Greece is not alone. “A boring case of…?”. Last night I spoke to my mum who lives in Greece. She is an older lady and was crying because she is scared. Next time I speak to her I’ll make sure I pass on your comment of “boring case of…” I’m sure she (or anyone else in Greece) doesn’t see it as a boring case of anything. Do you know what they see? They see their family homes and shops sold for next to nothing so they can feed their kids. They see their 70+ year old parents crying for the first time in their lives out of shame because they have to ask their children for money to buy a loaf of bread. They see older people having their fingerprints taken etc by police because they couldn’t afford to pay the latest tax. They see people everywhere trying to feed a 4 member family on one part time job (and that’s a good case scenario). I can’t believe you see it as boring case of anything. Some people have been living without electricity (in winter that means no heating) to say the least. Children have died from cold. Some people work and don’t get paid for 5-6 months. How do they feed their families? Don’t ask. Have you read the reports of people looking through rubbish? Yep. That would be them. I am so ashamed of the fact that in the past when people would discuss Greece with me and referred to the Greeks as lazy etc I would nod. Do you know why I nodded? Because I couldn’t be bothered setting them straight. I thought ‘let them believe what they want, whatever…’. I’m setting things straight now. I am 38 years old and I only have ever met one lazy Greek person in Greece. Yes they enjoy their outings for coffee with their friends etc. But they drink that same coffee/drink for 2-3 hours….because that’s all they can afford. The important thing is to catch up with their friends. I’m envious. Why? Because as I go on with my life here and spend $250 every time I visit my psychologist to get things off my chest, they don’t need to do that. Because they catch up with each other on a daily basis. The only thing you can blame the Greek people for, is voting for incompetent and corrupt politicians in the past (Current government not included). Even then, how much can you blame them? Do you know a lot of them the last few elections didn’t know who to vote for? They saw all politicians and political parties pretty much the same. Yet they had no other choices! Do you know with what criteria they voted? By trying to judge who is the LEAST CORRUPT! Can you imagine having to make that choice? Knowing they are all corrupt, pocketing bribes left, right and centre and still having to vote for someone? I am not an economist or an expert on politics. I can only say that I see the current government in Greece as truly trying to help the Greek people. At the very least, they are giving people back their dignity and their pride. They are giving people hope that not all politicians are the same. They are at least making people such as myself who have never had any interest in politics in the past (re: Greece) interested. My generation in its majority grew up (in Greece) having an off button when it comes to politics. As soon as any political conversation started, we would be ‘they’re all the same, there’s no hope’. So making even us interested is a huge feat in itself. They are ruling with transparency and accountability, which has not happened for a very long time in Greece, if ever. Again, that is a huge step forward. The unfairness of it all chokes me. I will not rest until all the past politicians of Greece who stole money, were bribed, etc are in prison for treason. If Greece were able to get that money back out of all the overseas bank accounts in which they have been stashed, they would have a left over amount after they paid off their debts. Clearly and realistically, that is not to be but we can dream… As for conspiracy, let’s address that. I can think of one conspiracy. In fact, it’s already happening… Greeks have to sell their homes, land etc so they can afford to eat and pay the huge taxes that are constantly introduced. Other Greeks can’t afford to buy…so guess who buys the land? Greece’s richest neighbours, Germany. And is it so hard to believe that once they own a large chunk of Greece they will then claim its natural resources for their benefit? Do you know that a previous Greek government has sold the sun to the Germans? That’s simplifying it I know…but still. They sold the freaking sun! I could seriously keep going with my rant but I won’t. The Greeks may starve in the next few months but at least they’ll starve with their head held up high. Lachlan Wells Err, Xenia Ambatzidis you're deliberately taking what I said out of context. I don't appreciate being construed in such a way. Plight of Greeks is anything but boring. The economic theories behind how they got there is well-known and textbook-worthy. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimum_currency_area Also you'll never see me claiming Greeks are lazy (nor did I say it in the above explanation). In fact in the OECD they work more hours / year that the average (and a staggering amount more than the Germans!). See http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?DataSetCode=ANHRS Never did I once brush this off in the manner you are describing I did. I suggest you re-read my comment if you think that is true. Daniel Mclachlan They just need to stop spending work longer and return later or pay allot more tax Ron James Yep ... the euro politicians are afraid that Putin will offer to bail them out in exchange for a warm water navy base, the new Greek leader was playing this as a bluff card, but the bankers called his bluff ...now when the Poms vote to leave the Eurozone ... shame really ... could have been a great force but politicians setting up an economic block was never going to succeed when 'photo ops and signing ceremonies' take precedence over fiscal rigor. Except there's no logic to that at all. If the proposition of going it alone was better than staying in the EU/eurozone they would have done it already. No, they want to have their cake and eat it too. There's no obligation for the ECB, IMF and the EU's stronger members to lend to Greece; without those loans they would have had to balance the books much quicker and harsher (read: more severe austerity) since nobody would fund their deficit. There's no grand conspiracy here; it is quite a boring case of non-optimal currency areas and misaligned productivity levels. Greece is in a trap due to its currency situation. It's best long-run strategy is to leave the euro, but no politician wants to be the one presiding over the depression that such a transition entails. Michael Wilson Bankruptcy and a euro exit won't solve the structural problems in Greece (no one bothers to pay taxes or keep govt spending within sensible limits). They'll have to find money from somewhere, and most likely that'll be Russia. So Greece will end up either a 4th rate basketcase state on the edge of Europe, or a 2nd rate basketcase state allied with Russia. In the long term, structural changes may occur, but that's a very long way off. In the short term there'll be serious poverty and unrest in Greece, and in the medium term, Russia will have an extra ally. A great result all round then... NOT. Paul Mccluskey Give it a rest ABC !Greece is being mugged by the EU ! Greece will have a referendum next Sunday to ask its people what they think of the latest bailout ( real democracy) but the f*ckers in the IMF don't want this ! (Profit before people ) Syriza scares the f*ck or of Europe because finally a govt has stood by its own mandate to protect its population from Austeriry ! Rebecca Mcintosh 2 or 3 of the bigger banks will be lucky to survive. Some people will lose everything but never fear the smart and rich got their money out of Greece a long time ago. This should only affect the poor. Rebecca Mcintosh 2 or 3 of the bigger banks will be lucky to survive. Some people will lose everything but never fear the smart and rich got their money out of Greece a long time ago. This should only affect the poor. Yllek Notlim That article doesn't explain how Greece got into so much debt in the first place. "Finance is global and the linkages are often hazy, breeding suspicion and fear about who is exposed and for how much. When that happens, no-one will lend and finance grinds to a halt. The merest hint of bank collapses sends fear through financial markets." This indicates that people running our economies do so without much of a clue as to what they're doing and don't care. The Greek debt crisis is escalating. Business editor Ian Verrender explains what it might mean, who will be worst affected, and how we got here in the first place. Austin Dewey All you need to know...led RADICAL LEFT to power. Closing banks, restricting amount of own money citizens can withdraw and stubbornly failing to negotiate with those indebted to... Michael Michellis Puerto Rico is an unincorporated state of the USA and has just been declared "INSOLVENT" and about to collapse like Greece due to austerity measures failing to arrest it Marilyn Hunt Just make Greece (and Italy) an electronic-only economy for a while. Then the economy can be tracked and fixed. The repayments can be made when people pay taxes rather than operating as a cash/barter economy riddled with tax dodgers at every (EVERY) level. Try asking for a receipt in either country! It is a beautiful country, But you can see the poverty everywhere! I was there in May and I thought things I bought were a reasonable price. The food was beautiful along with the scenery... I hope this country sorts its finances soon. Zoran Mitrevski They should not have to be a part of EU anyway. Look at the different wage structure and the earnings for each country but the difference in the cost of living is not that big. What Germans can afford, Greeks can not. Brett Archer Sounds like zero interest rates. Where by depositors, were paying banks to keep money, in deposits. Called a bail in. When depositors take their money out called a bail out. Can happen here too. Where depositers are offered ridiculous interest rates, for deposits, and then pay tax on that interest. Bail outs occur. Judy Green Reminds me of stables and closing doors!! He's run out of money so now he's going to grab everybody's savings???? James Carthew Government should only be involved in the economy to provide progresssive taxation, regulate environmental issues, protect customers, and bust monopolies when market share is over 85% and income is over $1 billion AUD. Government should not be involved in business subsidies for large businesses at all. Brett Archer Royalty has an affect on price of gold, as soon as Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth touched German ground, Gold fell $30 AU / ounce. Immediately. Deborah Snavely Austerity = betraying one's citizens with failed pensions and 50% unemployment while kowtowing to the bankers who drove the world off a cliff once ALREADY, in just the past decade! Mitch Andrews Just opened my money lending store in Athens...#capitalism all the way Ben: Because people are drawing to much money out ... most money is digital . there's never even close to enough money if there is any kind of bank run ... same will happen here as soon as people figure it out ... Danny Hughes Not so sure it's as easy as leaving the euro, reinstating the drachma and heading to recovery in the modern world. If they don't want to pay back the debt, who will want to do business with them? Powerhouses of Europe will shun them, and rightly so ============================ Athens (AFP) - Strapped for cash in crisis-hit Greece but desperate to visit the Acropolis? Tourists faced with empty ATMs need not despair, visitors to the ancient site can now pay by card for the first time. People have long been asking to be able to use debit or credit cards to purchase the 12 euro ($13.5) entrance tickets to Athens's hill-top citadel, the culture ministry said Monday, insisting that families wanting to admire the Parthenon up close would not be penalised for running short on cash. Long queues have sprung up at ATMs around the city after Greece imposed capital controls and closed banks across the country, hoping to prevent a run on banks following a breakdown in its bailout talks. Cash machine withdrawals have been capped at 60 euros per day, per card. Cards issued by foreign banks are exempt, but some tourists were coming up short Monday as ATMS across the city began to run dry. The ministry said tour operators could also buy entry passes to the site on an IOU basis, with the money to be paid once the banks re-open. The 2,500-year-old temple complex was used by ancient Greeks to worship Athena, the goddess of wisdom.

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