Spain: Jobless Rate Tops 20 Percent

Spain Jobless Rate Tops 20 Percent

MADRID (AFP) – Spain’s jobless rate topped 20 percent in the first quarter, national statistics institute INE said Friday, fueling fears over the country’s public finances which have rattled global financial markets.

The number of unemployed jumped by 280,200 to 4.61 million, more than in Germany which has nearly twice Spain’s population, for a jobless rate of 20.05 percent. The unemployment rate rose from 18.83 percent in the fourth quarter.

The last time the unemployment rate topped 20 percent in Spain was in the fourth quarter of 1997 when it hit 20.11 percent.

Spain’s jobless rate has soared since the global credit crisis hastened the collapse of its labour-intensive construction industry at the end of 2008.

Read moreSpain: Jobless Rate Tops 20 Percent

The Unforgivable Persecution of The Bushmen

This is one of the most poignant tragedies of the modern world

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Bushmen from the Khomani San community strike poses in the Southern Kalahari desert, South Africa Photo: GETTY

Ever since 1996, I have been following one of the most poignant tragedies of the modern world – the ruthless drive by the Botswanan government to expel the last remaining Bushmen, the original inhabitants of Africa, from their ancestral homeland in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

Although, in 2006, the country’s high court upheld the Bushmen’s right to remain in the reserve under Botswana’s constitution, the authorities have continued to persecute them, not least by denying them access to the borehole that provided them with water,

Now, in a further cynical twist to this inhuman policy, the authorities have permitted a supposedly eco-conscious company to open a tourist lodge in the reserve, complete with a swimming pool full of what the firm describes as “the most precious commodity in the desert”. Guests can even enjoy a “Bushman Walk”.

Not the least shocking feature of this official campaign of racial persecution is that it has been supported by our own Government (which first set up the reserve as a haven for the Bushmen in 1961), and also by the EU, which has poured aid worth millions of euros into Botswana’s tourist economy.

The UN’s rapporteur for indigenous peoples recently condemned the cutting off of the Bushmen’s water supply, and in June their plea for their water supply to be restored (which is supported by the admirable charity Survival International) will be heard in the courts. Meanwhile, weary Kalahari ecotourists can continue to cool off in the very water the Bushmen are denied.

Read moreThe Unforgivable Persecution of The Bushmen

Max Keiser on Greece: ‘The IMF is a Financial Mafia’

Don’t miss:

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, on April 26, 2010:

Greek Junk Contagion Presses EU to Broaden Bailout – ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet at CFR (April 26, 2010)


Translation via Helen Skopis of the recent interview with Max Keiser in Proto Thema newspaper in Athens.

Article in Proto Thema online – April 23, 2010 By Vassili Daliani

“The IMF is a Financial Mafia”

At a time when Greece is being dragged through the mud by the international press, Max Keiser, one of the most radical and outspoken financial analysts, stands by our side and talks openly about a “financial mafia” and “financial terrorists” that drove this country to its destruction.

As a former Wall Street broker for almost 25 years, he knows how the financial system operates. Max Keiser had foreseen the financial collapse of Iceland, he asks for the arrest of Goldman Sachs bankers and encourages Greeks to hold a referendum on whether the country should turn to the International Monetary Fund.

He is a presenter of financial shows on major worldwide TV networks, including the BBC, the English Al Jazeera and Russia Today. Max Keiser told “THEMA” that the government’s measures are unsubstantial maintaining that the IMF will impose the real measures. He believes that Greece is a country that will be sacrificed by the international markets and urges the Greek people to fight this prospective.

PT: Is the International Monetary Fund Greece’s only solution, or are there other alternatives?

MK: The only solution for Greece is to arrest the Goldman Sachs bankers immediately and all those involved in the fabrication of Greek economic data in 2000, when you became a member of the eurozone. The next step is to nationalize all banks like Sweden did in 1993. The International Monetary Fund is that last thing you need. You will lose your sovereignty. It exercises terrorism. You will be raped in such a way, that it will be the worst pain you have ever felt.

PT: There are those who believe that the IMF is not the “bad wolf” but the only solution for Greece

MK: If someone burns down your house in order to sell you charcoal, would you consider this logical? That is exactly what Goldman Sachs did to the Greek economy. They burned you down like arsonists and then they tell you not to worry they’ll give you charcoal. It’s outrageous. The IMF has said that it can provide Greece with help. The Wall Street investment hedge funds are attacking Greece’s bond market so that the Greek economy collapses. And they’re doing this for a simple reason; to force the Greek people to ask for help from the IMF. The IMF will say, we came because you asked for our help. Wall Street bankers work very closely with the IMF. It’s a financial mafia and the hedge funds are the assassins. Research conducted on Goldman Sachs in the USA and in Europe show how big a mafia it is. They are involved in illegal activity throughout the world.

PT: Where is the European Union? How would you explain the stance of France and Germany?

MK: Germany is on the side of the Wall Street bankers. Germany doesn’t care about Greece or the euro. The euro replaced a cheap capital in order to uphold competitiveness in its export market. As long as Greece is a problem, the euro falls, which is something that is in Germany’s interest.

The European Union and the euro are competing with the dollar. Unfortunately, the crisis will destroy the euro. The financial terrorists on Wall Street intend to destroy Portugal, and other countries, after Greece. The destruction of the euro will allow the dollar to be the only international currency, the only fiscal reserve. If a country wants to buy petroleum, it must purchase dollars first. If a country wants to buy copper, it must purchase dollars first. Because these and many other commodities are only sold in dollars. This means that the U.S. is making a continuous profit. The whole world is obliged to buy dollars. The euro threatened the empire of the dollar. It was naturally not appreciated by Wall Street bankers. They are using the crisis to destroy the euro. The Greek people must stand up to the bankers, just like the Icelandic people did.

Read moreMax Keiser on Greece: ‘The IMF is a Financial Mafia’

Greek Junk Contagion Presses EU to Broaden Bailout – ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet at CFR (April 26, 2010)

At the end of the following article famous investor Marc Faber had to say this:

“The best would be to kick out Greece and the countries that abuse the system,” Faber said in an interview. “They didn’t have the fiscal discipline that was essentially imposed by EU.”

It seems that there are more important things for ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet to do right now than to speak at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, unless you know that those elitists at Bilderberg, CFR and the Trilateral Commission, that rule the governments, the central banks, the corporations and the media have created this entire financial crisis.

The elite is looting the people in the US, Europe and everywhere else.

The elite is bankrupting the people until they beg for world government and the New World Order.

What could Greece do?

The Solution For Greece (Max Keiser, Matt Taibbi and Catherine Austin Fitts)

Message to the people of Greece: Avoid the IMF like hell, because the IMF is hell.

The people in Greece seem to have a much better understanding of what is happening to them than the people in the US and the UK.


Greek Junk Contagion Presses EU to Broaden Bailout (Update2)

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Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, on April 26, 2010. (Bloomberg)

April 28 (Bloomberg) — Europe’s worsening debt crisis is intensifying pressure on policy makers to widen a bailout package beyond Greece after a cut in the nation’s rating to junk drove up borrowing costs from Italy to Portugal and Ireland.

As German Chancellor Angela Merkel delays approval of a 45 billion-euro ($59 billion) Greek rescue, the crisis is spreading. Portugal’s benchmark stock index yesterday fell the most since the aftermath of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s collapse, while the extra yield that investors demand to hold Italian and Irish debt over bunds remained near yesterday’s 10-month high.

Read moreGreek Junk Contagion Presses EU to Broaden Bailout – ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet at CFR (April 26, 2010)

Prof. Nouriel Roubini: ‘In A Few Days Time, There Might Not Be A Eurozone For Us To Discuss’

‘Spain is worse than Greece.’

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Prof. Nouriel Roubini

Roubini on Greece (Reuters):

Meanwhile, Tony Barber has already come to the conclusion that as far as Greece is concerned, “the political conditions for extra financial help from Germany just do not exist”.

Nouriel, of course, takes that kind of thinking to its logical conclusion, and kicked off the panel by announcing that it was just in time: “in a few days,” he said, “there might not be a eurozone for us to discuss.” There’s no way that Greece can implement the 10% spending cut it needs to do in order to stop its debt spiralling out of control at current interest rates — and even if it did, the economic effects would be disastrous.

Nouriel’s base case, then, is Argentina 2001: after all, Greece has a much higher debt-to-GDP ratio, much higher deficit-to-GDP ratio, and much higher current-account deficit than Argentina had back then. And if that’s the base case, there’s no way that Greek debt should be trading anywhere near its current levels.

Of course, this being Nouriel, it goes downhill from there: if Greece is worse than Argentina, he says, then Spain is worse than Greece. Its housing bubble and bust has left the banking sector much weaker than Greece’s; its unemployment situation, especially with the under-30 crowd, is much worse than Greece’s; and the cost of any Spain bailout would be so much more enormous than the cost of a Greek bailout as to be almost unthinkable. The only thing that Spain has going for it is that it isn’t quite at the edge of the abyss yet; if it gets its political act together and implements tough fiscal and structural reforms now, it can save itself. But clearly no one saw that happening, given Spain’s political history over the past 20 years.

Apr 27, 2010 22:14 EDT

See also:

Greece: Bondholders May Lose $265 Billion as S&P Sees 70% Loss (Bloomberg)

Standard & Poor’s Downgrades Greece’s Credit Rating to Junk (Bloomberg)

Greece: Bondholders May Lose $265 Billion as S&P Sees 70% Loss

Standard & Poor’s Downgrades Greece’s Credit Rating to Junk (Bloomberg)


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April 28 (Bloomberg) — Holders of Greek bonds may lose as much as 200 billion euros ($265 billion) should the government default, according to Standard & Poor’s.

The ratings firm cut Greece three steps yesterday to BB+, or below investment grade, and said bondholders may recover only 30 percent and 50 percent for their investments if the nation fails to make debt payments. Europe’s most-indebted country relative to the size of its economy has about 296 billion euros of bonds outstanding, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The downgrade to junk status led investors to dump Greece’s bonds, driving yields on two-year notes to as high as 19 percent from 4.6 percent a month ago as concern deepened the nation may delay or reduce debt payments. Prime Minister George Papandreou is grappling with a budget deficit of almost 14 percent of gross domestic product.

“It’s now not just market sentiment, but a top rating agency sees Greek paper as junk,” said Padhraic Garvey, head of investment-grade strategy at ING Groep NV in Amsterdam.

Before yesterday, Greece’s bonds had lost about 17 percent this year, according to Bloomberg/EFFAS indexes. The 4.3 percent security due March 2012 fell 6.54, or 65.4 euros per 1,000-euro face amount, to 78.32.

Read moreGreece: Bondholders May Lose $265 Billion as S&P Sees 70% Loss

Standard & Poor’s Downgrades Greece’s Credit Rating to Junk

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George Papandreou, Greece’s prime minister, speaks at a press conference following the European Union Summit in Brussels, on March 26, 2010. (Bloomberg)

April 27 (Bloomberg) — Greece’s credit rating was cut three steps to junk by Standard and Poor’s, the first time a euro member has lost its investment grade since the currency’s 1999 debut. The euro weakened and stock markets throughout the region plunged.

Greece was lowered to BB+ from BBB+ by S&P, which also warned that bondholders could recover as little as 30 percent of their initial investment if the country restructures its debt. The move, which puts Greek debt on a par with bonds issued by Azerbaijan and Egypt, came minutes after the rating company reduced Portugal by two steps to A- from A+.

The turmoil comes as European Union policy makers struggle to agree on measures to ease the panic over swelling budget deficits. Leaders of the 16 euro nations may hold a summit after the Greek government’s decision last week to tap a 45 billion- euro ($60 billion) emergency-aid package failed to reassure investors, a European diplomat and Spanish official said.

“The markets are demanding their pound of flesh and want everything to be signed, sealed and delivered as of yesterday,” said David Owen, chief European financial economist at Jefferies International Ltd. in London.

The euro fell 1.3 percent to $1.3215 as of 2:58 p.m. in New York. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 3.1 percent to 261.65 points.

Read moreStandard & Poor’s Downgrades Greece’s Credit Rating to Junk

Greece Faces Bond Rout as Budget Deficit Worsens, Greek Workers Strike

See also:

– Portugal, Not Greece, Poses The Greater Existential Threat To Europe’s Monetary Union (Telegraph)

CDS Traders Are Betting That France Is Next Up For A Sovereign Shakedown (As Are Spain And Portugal) (ZeroHedge)

Q&A With Billionaire Jim Chanos Part I: ‘Greece Is A Prelude’ (Business Insider)


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Protestors stand in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens, on April 22, 2010. (Bloomberg)

April 22 (Bloomberg) — The European Union said Greece’s budget deficit last year was worse than previously forecast and may top 14 percent of gross domestic product, fueling investor concern about a default and sending its bond yields soaring.

The EU’s statistics office said Greece’s deficit was 13.6 percent of GDP last year, topping the government’s two-week-old forecast of 12.9 percent and the EU’s November prediction of 12.7 percent. “Uncertainties” about the quality of the Greek data may lead to a further revision of as much of 0.5 percentage point, Luxembourg-based Eurostat said.

Greece’s benchmark 10-year bond yield rose to 8.49 percent, the highest since 1998 and more than twice the comparable German rate. The cost of insuring government debt against default climbed to a record today.

Greece’s widening deficit and questions about the accuracy of its economic data have undermined the credibility and enforcement of the EU’s budget rules and contributed to the 6.9 percent slide in the euro this year. The EU and the International Monetary Fund offered Greece as much as 45 billion euros ($60 billion) in emergency loans to assure investors the country can make its debt payments and shore up the euro.

Breaking the Rules

“They have played against the rules and now they’re getting the bill,” said Sylvain Broyer, chief European economist at Natixis in Frankfurt. “It’s a very uncomfortable situation for the Greek government. Greece has very much benefited from the currency region, but ignored the rules.”

Read moreGreece Faces Bond Rout as Budget Deficit Worsens, Greek Workers Strike