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Missile Strike on Malaysia Airlines Flight Killed About 100 AIDS Researchers and Advocates

Missile Strike on Malaysia Airlines Flight Killed About 100 AIDS Researchers and Advocates | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
About 100 passengers on the Malaysia Airlines plane shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday were headed to the biennial International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia. It is one of the largest research conferences in the world, begun in 1985, where scientists, advocates, and policymakers gather to share the latest...
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Among the many lost were two giants of the HIV research community. “Both Joep Lange and Jacqueline van Tongeren meant a lot to us, as colleagues and as friends,” an anguished Brandon O’Dell of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development told me. Lange was once the president of the International AIDS Society, which organizes the conference. Van Tongeren, his partner, was a nurse and advocate and head of communications for the AIGHD.

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Greek Left’s New Issue: All-Inclusive Resorts άρχισαν τα όργανα νο 2

Greek Left’s New Issue: All-Inclusive Resorts άρχισαν τα όργανα νο 2 | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
The travel industry may not emerge unscathed in any electoral outcome. In addition to Syriza’s threat to go after all-inclusive deals — Mr. Tsipras has said the business model “largely alienates tourism from the local economy” — the party has said it will reopen big privatization deals already agreed upon. That could include deals to sell public land to resort developers and a plan to privatize 14 small but crucial airports that serve Greek cities and islands.
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Labor Minister: We will restore the minimum wage to 751 euros” #φασιστερα

Labor Minister: We will restore the minimum wage to 751 euros” #φασιστερα | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
The new Minister of Labor and Social Solidarity Panos Skourletis announced that he intends to immediate restore the minimum wage to 751 euros, in an interview he gave to the ANT1 television network.

[ATHENS JAN 28]

Mr. Skourletis explained the first bills the government intends to pass include acts related to collective labor agreements, civil mobilization, collective redundancies and the minimum wage.

According to Mr. Skourletis the serious problems in employment pose a challenge to the SYRIZA-led government, but he was confident and noted that the legislative acts are nearly ready for submission.

The Alternate Minister of Social Insurance Dimitris Stratoulis also told ANT1 that the government intends to restore pensions.
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Opa! After radical left-wing win in Greece, eurozone leaders open to dialogue on debt issues

Opa! After radical left-wing win in Greece, eurozone leaders open to dialogue on debt issues | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
The election of Tsipras and his radical Syriza party had been accompanied by much hand-wringing in European capitals. Besides calling for the cancellation of some of Greece's rescue loans, Tsipras has pledged to undo some of the spending cuts and tax hikes eurozone countries had required in exchange for the loans.

Politicians and investors worried that a tough stance on either side could even lead the country to drop out of the euro, a move that would devastate Greece's economy and destabilize the currency union.

But while discussions on Greece's debt have yet to start — and could yet turn sour — the rhetoric on Monday from both sides was one of compromise rather than ultimatums. Financial markets retained their poise.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:

It won't give quite the fireworks that some people were expecting," said Professor Hendrik Vos of the University of Ghent. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Union's executive commission, agreed: "I am not excessively nervous about this."

That may be an attempt to calm down the political rhetoric before Greece's new government enters negotiations with its eurozone counterparts.

But at the very least, Tsipras' election is likely to give new momentum to policymakers in Europe who want the region to focus less on debt reduction, as Germany has insisted for years, and more on spending to get growth going.

The recognition that the region needs more action to encourage growth was highlighted by the European Central Bank's announcement last week it would start buying 1.1 trillion euros in bonds to stimulate the economy. The European Commission earlier launched a 315 billion euro investment plan.

Greece has since 2010 needed 240 billion euros ($270 billion) in loans from fellow eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund to avoid bankruptcy.

Those loans came only on strict conditions that Greece cut its debts sharply. It cut spending and raised taxes — measures that had the side-effect of hurting growth. Greece suffered an economic depression and a surge in unemployment to above 25 per cent.

Riding popular discontent over this austerity imposed by the eurozone creditor nations, Tsipras rode to power on a promise to undo some of the painful policies and demand a cut on the rescue loans it owes.

Despite the tough rhetoric, both Syriza officials and eurozone leaders said they were willing to be flexible.

"France will be at Greece's side," said French President Francois Hollande.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutchman who chairs eurozone finance ministers' meetings, said that even though "there is very little support for debt write-offs," there is room to consider ways to make Greece's debt more sustainable, if necessary.

His views were echoed by the leaders of Belgium and Finland, a country that has long been among the most unmovable on austerity issues.

Regional heavyweight Germany, however, was non-committal beyond stressing that Greece needs to honour its commitments. "Greece is still in the process of building a new government," said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Yanis Varoufakis, a Syriza member who is tipped by some to become the next finance minister, sought to downplay concerns that the new government would take an aggressive stance in negotiations.

He said the government would seek to convince its euro partners that reducing Greece's debt burden by linking repayments to growth, say, would be positive for all sides. At present, Greece has to repay its loans whatever the state of its economy, further worsening the country's debt. At over 170 per cent of GDP, Greece's debt is way beyond levels most economists consider manageable.

He has also dismissed suggestions that Syriza would threaten to pull Greece out of the euro, so-called Grexit.

"We, who happen to be in the eurozone, must be very careful not to toy with loose and fast talk about Grexit or fragmentation," he told BBC radio. "Grexit is not on the cards; we are not going to Brussels and to Frankfurt and to Berlin in confrontational style. There is plenty of room for mutual gains and benefits."

Amid the calmer rhetoric, the main stock market in Athens recovered much of its sharp losses of the day to close down 3.2 per cent. European stocks also largely closed higher while the euro clambered up from 11-year lows.

At the height of Europe's debt crisis a few years ago, the main concerns was that a possible Grexit would spell the end of the euro project as investors looked for other countries to fall out as well. However, many European politicians have said that contagion fear is not applicable now as Europe has built up institutions and financial firewalls to prevent it.

Not everyone in the markets is convinced with that argument.

"Once one country exits, who is to say that more would not follow," said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital.

Whatever transpires, Syriza's victory sends a message to European policymakers that voters are rejecting austerity and could bolster other anti-bailout parties, such as Podemos in Spain. It is an election-heavy year in Europe.

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U.S. Futures Slip as Euro Fluctuates on Greece; Oil Falls

U.S. Futures Slip as Euro Fluctuates on Greece; Oil Falls | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
U.S. equity-index futures slid and
Treasuries rallied as the euro fluctuated near a more-than 11-year low after Greek voters handed victory to a party that’s
pledged to renegotiate the terms of an international bailout.
Asian stocks dropped with crude oil and industrial metals.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures sank 0.6 percent by 3:51 p.m. in Tokyo and the yield on 30-year Treasuries fell to a record. The 19-nation euro dropped to as low as $1.1098, the lowest since September 2003, before gaining 0.1 percent. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) lost 0.3 percent. U.S. crude declined 1.6 percent and nickel slid 2.2 percent in London. China’s yuan headed for its biggest two-day drop since 2008 versus the dollar.

Greece’s Syriza won a more decisive victory than polls predicted, coming within two seats of an absolute majority with most votes counted. The success of Syriza, which pledged to secure a writedown of the nation’s debt and end austerity measures, is spurring concern that opponents of the European Union’s efforts to impose fiscal discipline elsewhere may also win power. Germany’s Ifo Business Expectations survey is due, while fighting in Ukraine spread to the port city of Mariupol.

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How Europe reacted to Syriza's win - Telegraph

How Europe reacted to Syriza's win   - Telegraph | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
How Europe reacted to Syriza’s win
Greece's election has sharply divided Europe's leaders, but which of them will work with the new anti-austerity party?
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“It is the people’s hour,” the party tweeted, and Miguel Urbano, a Podemos leader in Athens to support Syriza said: “We have come to . . . see with our own eyes the change that is starting in Greece but which is happening for the people of the south of Europe.”

Another, Pablo Iglesias, said: "The Greeks are going to have a true Greek president and not a delegate of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, (a president) who will put the interests of his country and his people first.

"We will work to support Syriza but we will also work in Spain, acknowledging that it is a different economic and political reality."

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Greece Chooses Anti-Austerity Party in Major Shift

Greece Chooses Anti-Austerity Party in Major Shift | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
Greece rejected the harsh economics of austerity on Sunday and sent a warning to the rest of Europe as the left-wing Syriza party won a decisive victory in national elections, positioning its tough-talking leader, Alexis Tsipras, to become the next prime minister.

With almost 98 percent of the vote counted, Syriza had 36 percent, almost nine points more than the governing center-right New Democracy party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who conceded defeat. The only uncertainty was whether Syriza would muster a parliamentary majority on its own or have to form a coalition.

Appearing before a throng of supporters outside Athens University late Sunday, Mr. Tsipras, 40, declared that the era of austerity was over and promised to revive the economy. He also said his government would not allow Greece’s creditors to strangle the country.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:

Many analysts say Mr. Tsipras must moderate his campaign promises and take a more centrist approach if he wants to save the economy and keep Greece solvent. “That will be the best possible outcome for Greece and for Europe, because it would show that these protest movements ultimately recognize reality — which is that they are in the euro, and they have to play by the rules,” said Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

Otherwise, he warned, “things could get a lot worse.”

“Very, very quickly,” he added.

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Over-taxed, over-regulated, over-watched: Under-represented

Over-taxed, over-regulated, over-watched: Under-represented | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
Democracy is neither an American monopoly for export, nor a British privilege. It is an Athenian invention and is well described by Pericles in 430 BC, in his epitaph speech delivered at the Keramikos cemetery in honor of the first dead in the Peloponnesian war.

The original concept of democracy was based on the direct vote of all eligible (adult males) Athenian citizens who gathered at Pnyka, a hill next to the Acropolis of Athens and voted for each and every issue of common concern. 
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:

If the mainstream parties leading and ruling Europe don’t start to clean up their houses, the current trends could evolve into an entirely new beast.

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Financial Times: Fears of Fresh Greek Crisis | GreekReporter.com

Financial Times: Fears of Fresh Greek Crisis | GreekReporter.com | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
A new Greek crisis is on the horizon after the snap general elections that could bring leftist SYRIZA to power which may lead the country to a direct confrontation with its international creditors, according to the Financial Times.

The elections in Greece next month and the likely victory of far left SYRIZA will scare politicians and investors. Once again, there would be the gloomy debate of related potential disasters: default, mass exit of depositors, social unrest and a possible exit of Greece from the eurozone.

The dormant question about Greece’s place in the eurozone has returned, just two years after the country’s debt crisis nearly triggered a break-up of the currency union and shook the European project to its core, says the Financial Times article.

It comes with several eurozone countries struggling with weak growth, the rise of populist anti-EU parties and widespread disenchantment with the politics of austerity promoted by Germany.

European policy has forced many voters to rise against economic austerity and to cast their vote in antisystemic parties who reject the European consensus on how to preserve monetary union.

Investors are worried at the prospect of a victory by SYRIZA, which has pledged to write off much of Greece’s debt and renegotiate the terms of its bailout. The Athens stock exchange fell almost 11 percent to a two-year low before regaining some ground. Greek 10-year bond yields jumped to a year high of 9.8 percent while the government’s short-term borrowing costs hit a record high of 12 percent.

Germany is cautious with SYRIZA as a big haircut of the Greek debt may be economically feasible, but will certainly open the door for other similar requests from Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and even France.
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Get ready for a new Greek drama

Get ready for a new Greek drama | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
Greece's parliament will be dissolved and the country will hold snap elections within the next month, risking a nasty fallout for Greece's fragile economic recovery.
The need for snap elections was triggered Monday after Greece's parliament was unable to secure enough votes to install a new president.
The main Greek stock market index plunged by as much as 11% after the voting results came out, but then recovered slightly. The main indexes in Spain and Italy also dipped by about 2%.
The yield on Greek 10-year government bonds jumped by one percentage point to 9.3%, reflecting growing concern that Greece may be heading for another debt crisis.
Opinion polls indicate the popular anti-austerity party -- Syriza -- could win the most voter support at the upcoming elections. This is a party that wants to renegotiate the terms of Greece's 240 billion euro ($293 billion) bailout package with the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank.
The party has also vowed to reverse many of the reforms that have helped Greece return to economic growth, and said it plans to introduce billions in spending programs that would hike wages and increase pensions.
While Syriza's plans are popular among Greeks who have been hurting from high unemployment and years of recession, experts say they are unrealistic and irresponsible and could trigger a crisis that would ultimately lead to Greece leaving the eurozone.
However, Syriza has been softening its tone recently and says it wants to stay in the eurozone.
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Greece on brink of new ‘catastrophe’ as PM battles to avert snap elections

Greece on brink of new ‘catastrophe’ as PM battles to avert snap elections | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
Greece’s embattled prime minister, Antonis Samaras, issued an eleventh-hour appeal to parliamentarians on Saturday in an attempt to avert snap elections that would almost certainly plunge the eurozone into renewed crisis.

In an impassioned plea, he urged MPs to rid the country of “menacing clouds” gathering over it by supporting the government’s presidential candidate when they gather for the final round of a three-stage vote on Monday.
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Comet landing named Physics World 2014 Breakthrough of the Year

Comet landing named Physics World 2014 Breakthrough of the Year | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it


History was made at 15:35 GMT on 12 November 2014 when the Philae module touched down on the surface of 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, a comet 511 million km from Earth and hurtling towards the inner solar system at nearly 55,000 km/h. The module bounced twice before coming to rest, and then began collecting data, which has now been sent back to Rosetta scientists for analysis. The landing followed a seven-hour journey for Philae after it separated from the main Rosetta spacecraft. Launched in 2004, Rosetta itself reached the comet after completing a journey of 6.4 billion km that involved three gravity-assisted fly-bys of Earth and one of Mars (see "Rosetta scientists land probe on comet for first time").

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Building The Content Marketing Stack 2015 | Visually Blog

Building The Content Marketing Stack 2015 | Visually Blog | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
In a recent report, Altimeter put forth the idea of the Content Stack Hierarchy,largely to describe the growing trend towards convergence and consolidation within the content marketing landscape. Like ad stacks, a content stack organizes available content tools across a hierarchy of user needs. Moving up through the stack, the complexity and reach of tools increases, and the levels of needs builds upon the levels before it.

While we focused less on convergence, and adapted our own use case categories, we did recognize the convergence and cross application of many tools. This is most apparent in the growth of “end-to-end” content tools such as Adobe and Salesforce. Other tools just don’t fit into one category and aren’t limited to a single use. Many tools interconnect and many marketers may simultaneously access tools from different rungs of the stack. Likewise, needs change with each unique situation, the workflow, who the user is, and what the intended outcome is. Our stack aims to help content marketers locate their needs within the landscape and identify what tools are available to satisfy their needs and capabilities.
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Should we cancel our Greek holiday? άρχισαν τα όργανα !

Should we cancel our Greek holiday? άρχισαν τα όργανα ! | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
The election in Greece has triggered more political and economic instability in the euro zone, and great uncertainty about the year ahead. Around two million British holidaymakers visit the country annually. Should they reconsider? Simon Calder answers travellers’ concerns.
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Greece to freeze plans to privatize power utility PPC #φασιστερα

Greece to freeze plans to privatize power utility PPC #φασιστερα | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it

#The new Greek government of leftwing SYRIZA will freeze plans to privatize the country's dominant power utility PPC, its energy minister said on Wednesday.

[ATHENS JAN 28]

“We will halt immediately any privatization of PPC,” Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis told Greek television.

The previous government had passed legislation last year to spin-off part of PPC and privatize it as part of its efforts to liberalize its energy market.[Reuters]

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Greece 'leaves behind the austerity that ruined it,' party leader vows after vote - CNN.com

Greece 'leaves behind the austerity that ruined it,' party leader vows after vote - CNN.com | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
Greece 'leaves behind the austerity that ruined it,' Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras vows after Sunday's election win.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:

A radical left-wing party vowing to end Greece's painful austerity program won a historic victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections, setting up a showdown with the country's international creditors that could shake the eurozone.

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the communist-rooted Syriza party, immediately promised to end the "five years of humiliation and pain" that Greece has endured since an international bailout saved it from bankruptcy in 2010.

"The verdict of the Greek people ends, beyond any doubt, the vicious circle of austerity in our country," Tsipras told a crowd of rapturous flag-waving supporters.

Syriza appeared just shy of the majority that would allow it to govern alone. With 97.6 percent of polling stations counted, Syriza had 36.4 percent — and 149 of parliament's 300 seats — versus 27.8 percent for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' conservatives.

If Tsipras, 40, can put together a government, he will be Greece's youngest prime minister in 150 years, while Syriza would be the first radical left party to ever govern the country.

The prospect of an anti-bailout government coming to power in Greece has revived fears of a bankruptcy that could reverberate across the eurozone, send shockwaves through global markets and undermine the euro, the currency shared by 19 European countries.

The already battered euro was down 0.3 percent Monday, at $1.117, on the news of Syriza's victory. That was its lowest since April 2003.

Syriza's rhetoric appealed to many in a country that has seen a quarter of its economy wiped out, unemployment above 25 percent and average income losses of at least 30 percent.

Tsipras won on promises to demand debt forgiveness and renegotiate the terms of Greece's 240 billion euro ($270 billion) bailout, which has kept the debt-ridden country afloat since mid-2010.

To qualify for the cash, Greece has had to impose deep and bitterly resented cuts in public spending, wages and pensions, along with public sector layoffs and repeated tax increases.

Samaras soon conceded defeat Sunday, saying he had received a country "on the brink of disaster" when he took over in 2012 and was close to ushering it out of the crisis.

"I was asked to hold live coals in my hands and I did," he said.

The country's progress in reforms is reviewed by inspectors from the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank, collectively known as the troika, before each installment of bailout funds can be released.

Tsipras pronounced the troika and its regular debt inspections "a thing of the past."

Greece's creditors insist the country must abide by previous commitments to continue receiving support. In Germany, Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann told ARD network that he hoped "the new Greek government will not make promises it cannot keep and the country cannot afford."

The election results will be the main topic at Monday's meeting of eurozone finance ministers. Belgium's minister, Johan Van Overtveldt, said there is room for some flexibility, but not much.

"We can talk modalities, we can talk debt restructuring, but the cornerstone that Greece must respect the rules of monetary union — that must stay as it is," Van Overtveldt told VRT network.

JPMorgan analyst David Mackie said negotiations between the new government in Athens and creditors "are likely to be very difficult" but cannot drag on indefinitely.

"If Greece is unable to honor its obligations this year, then economic, financial and banking stress is likely to lead either to an agreement, or to a second round of elections, or to an EMU exit," he said, referring to Greece's membership in the eurozone.

But Re-Define think tank analyst Sony Kapoor said that while Greece has failed the eurozone and EU authorities, they have also failed Greece.

"The Greek rescue package was financially unsustainable, economically wrong-headed, politically tone-deaf and socially callous," he said. "Syriza deserves a chance, and their victory will force the EU to confront the elephant in the room: unpayable debt and bad policy decisions."

He noted that Syriza's moderation of its rhetoric before the election "is promising, making it likely that it will govern closer to the center than many think."

A Syriza official said Tsipras would meet Monday with the head of the small Independent Greeks party, which elected 13 lawmakers, "to confirm the support and possible participation of the Independent Greeks in the new government." Apart from their mutual opposition to austerity, the two parties disagree on practically every other issue.

The official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the record, said Tsipras would likely be sworn in as prime minister later Monday, and the new government would be formed in the following couple of days.

The centrist Potami (river) party was battling for third place with the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn, whose leader and several lawmakers campaigned from prison, where they are awaiting trial on charges of participating in a criminal organization.

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Tsipras declares end to 'vicious cycle of austerity' after Syriza wins Greek election – live updates

Tsipras declares end to 'vicious cycle of austerity' after Syriza wins Greek election – live updates | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
Here’s summary of a momentous election result for the future of Greece and Europe:

The anti-austerity far left party Syriza has won the Greek election by a decisive margin, but just short of an outright majority. With more than three-quarters of the results in Syriza is projected to win 149 seats in the 300 seat parliament.
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said his party’s victory marked an end to the “viscious cycle of austerity”. Referring to the neoliberal conditions set by the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, he said: “ The verdict of the Greek people renders the troika a thing of the past for our common European framework.”
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
Outgoing prime minister Antonis Samaras conceded defeated by acknowledging some mistakes. But he added: “We restored Greece’s international credibility”. To Potami, the centre-left party could be the kingmakers in the new parliament, with a project 16 seats. Its leader Stavros Theodorakis has not ruled out a deal with Syriza. “It’s too early for such details,” he said.The far-right Golden Dawn party is projected to come third in election, despite having more than half of its MPs in jail. Speaking from prison its leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos said the result was a “great victory” for the neo-fascist party.Syriza victory has been greeted with alarm in Germany. The ruling CDU party insisting that Greece should stick to the austerity programme. But Belgium’s finance minister said there is room for negotiation with Syriza.Leftwingers across Europe have hailed Syriza win. Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos said Greece finally had a government rather than a German envoy. Britain’s Green Party said Syriza’s victory was an inspiration.
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Global stocks, euro slip as Greece set to reject austerity

Global stocks, euro slip as Greece set to reject austerity | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
The euro skidded to an 11-year low and stock prices fell on Monday as Greece's Syriza party promised to roll back austerity measures after sweeping to victory in a snap election, putting Athens on a collision course with international lenders.

The euro fell to an 11-year low of $1.1098 on the vote outcome before recovering to $1.1186, still down 0.2 percent from last week.

The election was the second blow since last week for the euro, still smarting after the European Central Bank unveiled a huge bond-buying stimulus programme.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:

European shares are expected to take a beating, with spreadbetters seeing a fall of 1.0-1.1 percent in Germany's DAX and other core countries. Southern European countries could see a fall of almost 2 percent.

As concerns grew that the Greek election results could lead to renewed instability in Europe, U.S. stock futures fell 0.5 percent in Asia. Japan's Nikkei closed down 0.3 percent, and MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was also off 0.3 percent

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Infographic: Over 600 Journalists Were Killed in 10 Years

Infographic: Over 600 Journalists Were Killed in 10 Years | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
Many journalists have died, while fighting for free information and freedom of speech.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:

The horrible attack on the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo opened the list of murdered journalists in 2015. In the past 10 years more than 600 journalists have been killed around the globe. According to data from the US news website GlobalPost Iraq, Syria and the Philippines are the top three death locations for media representatives. Most of the victims were local journalists. 

Europe is represented in these statistics by Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Greece, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Will there be more attention to the security of media after the tragic events in France?

What measures should be taken to protect the freedom of speech?

Do you believe there is freedom of speech in your country?

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On the Continuing Downward Slide of Olive Oil Prices in Greece

On the Continuing Downward Slide of Olive Oil Prices in Greece | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
In Crete, bulk prices for premium quality EVOO with less than 0.3 acidity have dropped as low as €2.60 ($3.16) per kilo. Olive growers desperate for cash flow are selling at alarmingly low prices. The Greek media are blaming Italians buyers for not offering higher prices. They also blame the Cretan olive mills for not storing it and waiting for higher prices. Some are even blaming the olive growers for harvesting too quickly and creating a temporary oversupply.

Why are olive mills so quick to unload their highest quality EVOO at the lowest prices in Crete? Most are deeply in debt and need to sell to keep operating. The banks are not lending or extending credit at reasonable interest rates or terms, so many are forced to sell now. Prices in other provinces in Greece are barely holding above €3.00 to €3.20.
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Greece: End of austerity?

Greece: End of austerity? | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
Snap elections raise concerns that far-Left opposition could go back on multi-billion bailout deals.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:

Parliamentary polls were announced after Greek MPs failed to choose a new president. According to the constitution, the vote's failure means parliament has to be dissolved.

Uncertainty over the outcome of the January 25 parliamentary election is raising concerns that Greece’s long simmering debt crisis could be re-ignited.

Greece is showing signs of recovery after six years of recession, thanks to multi-billion dollar bailouts from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Resentment remains though, over stringent austerity measures imposed as part of that rescue package.

Germany's finance minister is warning that Greece has 'no alternative' to hard reforms.

But the leader of the opposition Syriza party is already announcing “austerity will be history” if his left wing party triumphs at the ballot box.

Alexis Tsipras told supporters in Athens: "Let it be clear to everyone both inside and outside the country: only the Greek people can decide, and only them. Greeks hold the key to the country.

"Today my friends is the beginning of the end of the regime that sunk the country into poverty, unemployment, grief and desperation. The beginning of the end of those who were shamelessly servants of catastrophic policies."

So could Greece go back on its multi-billion dollar bailouts? And what are the implications for the Eurozone?

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Greek Patience With Austerity Nears Its Limit

Greek Patience With Austerity Nears Its Limit | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
Greece’s unemployment rate was supposed to top out at 15 percent in 2012, according to International Monetary Fund calculations. But it roared to 25 percent that year, reached 27 percent in 2013 and has ticked downward only slightly since.
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About 900,000 of the more than 1.3 million who are out of work have not had a paycheck in more than two years, experts say.

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Greece heading for snap elections - live

Greece heading for snap elections - live | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
There has been a distinct sense over recent weeks that the government has lost the appetite to see through the adjustment programme it has repeatedly argued is the only option for Greece to exit the crisis. The final troika review was meant to be wrapped up within a few weeks of the meetings in Paris in early September. However, as the review dragged on so it became apparent that the government did not have the political will (and perhaps the necessary votes in Parliament) to push things over the line. Each troika demand squeezed a little more life out of the coalition until it became clear that a new plan had to be devised.

At this point, Samaras made what was a deeply political calculation: He realised that passing the latest clutch of troika demands through Parliament would guarantee that his government had no chance of electing a president in February and would force it to go to national polls having only just approved a new round of unpopular measures. In these circumstances, bringing forward the presidential vote gave the coalition a slightly better chance of success or, if snap elections were not avoided, meant that a SYRIZA or SYRIZA-led government would be left with the task of closing out the troika negotiations.
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Ferry catches fire between Greece and Italy with hundreds on board

Ferry catches fire between Greece and Italy with hundreds on board | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
Coastguard says 150 rescued from Norman Atlantic after fire broke out, and two ships collide in thick fog elsewhere in Adriatic
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Eight Italians suffering from hypothermia were reported to have been rescued and flown to the military airport in the south-eastern Italian region of Puglia. From there they were moved to a civilian hospital in the town of Galatina

The rest of the passengers were reported to have taken refuge on the upper decks of the vessels. “The fire is still burning,” Greek passenger Sofoklis Styliaras told Mega television. “On the lower deck, where the lifeboats are, our shoes were starting to melt from the heat … There’s nowhere else for us to go. It’s impossible to walk on the lower deck because of the heat.”

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5 Very Smart People Who Think #Artificial #Intelligence Could Bring the #Apocalypse

5 Very Smart People Who Think #Artificial #Intelligence Could Bring the #Apocalypse | Politically Incorrect | Scoop.it
On the list of doomsday scenarios that could wipe out the human race, super-smart killer robots rate pretty high in the public consciousness. And in scientific circles, a growing number of artificial intelligence experts agree that humans will eventually create an artificial intelligence that can think beyond our own capacities. This moment, called the singularity, could create a utopia in which robots automate common forms of labor and humans relax amid bountiful
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Stephen Hawking

“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” the world-renowned physicist told the BBC. “It would take off on its own and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.” Hawking has been voicing this apocalyptic vision for a while. In a May column in response toTranscendence, the sci-fi movie about the singularity starring Johnny Depp, Hawking criticized researchers for not doing more to protect humans from the risks of AI. “If a superior alien civilisation sent us a message saying, ‘We’ll arrive in a few decades,’ would we just reply, ‘OK, call us when you get here—we’ll leave the lights on’? Probably not—but this is more or less what is happening with AI,” hewrote.

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