Sabtu, 07 April 2012

Angry dock workers and meat lorry drivers chant Bin Laden's name and regrets they can't fly into Parliament ... this before the next round of protests , strikes , riots and further austerity.

7 Apr 2012
Workers from the Athens central groceries market clash with police during a rally in front of the Bank of Greece, Athens, 6 April 2012 (Reuters)
Workers from the Athens central groceries market clash with police during a rally in front of the Bank of Greece, Athens, 6 April 2012 (Reuters)

Angry dock workers and meat-lorry drivers added the name of dead terror mastermind Osama bin Laden to their protest chants after clashing with police outside the Bank of Greece on Friday.
About 200 protesters chanted: "Hey, bin Laden, sorry I can't fly an aeroplane, tell them to crash it into the brothel [AN: referring to parliament], so they know not to f**k with the workers."
In an apparently unprovoked response, police used truncheons and tear gas against the protesters as they approached the main entrance of the Panepistimiou St building. One of the protesters required treatment in hospital for facial wound. 
Dressed in orange high-visability waistcoats and waving black flags, the protesters also marched to the nearby finance ministry to voice opposition to cuts in lump-sum retirement payouts as a result of the recent bond-swap deal that saw pension funds lose billions of euros. (Athens News/gw)


Seamen insist on two-day strike next week

The union representing the country’s seamen decided on Friday to press ahead with a two-day strike next Tuesday and Wednesday which is expected to seriously disrupt the travel plans of thousands of Greeks planning to go away for Orthodox Easter, which falls on April 15.
The Panhellenic Seamen’s Union (PNO) announced its decision after talks with Development Minister Anna Diamantopoulou collapsed and despite the repeated appeals of tourism sector professionals and traders on the islands of the Aegean and Ionian who had been hoping to do some business over the Easter period.
Immediately after the announcement by the unionists, Diamantopoulou expressed disappointment that PNO was “holding Greek citizens hostage and damaging the economy and the country’s image abroad.” “By anchoring ferries, the unionists of PNO do not understand that they are doing themselves more harm than good,” the minister said, noting that they were undermining the ferry firms which also give them work.
Earlier this week Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos also appealed to PNO, saying that the union’s planned action would cause serious problems for Greek families that depend on tourism for their economic survival.
Ferry companies were also up in arms over the move as they have seen business dwindle over the past two years due to the repercussions of the debt crisis.
One ferry company told Kathimerini that it alone has already issued some 7,000 tickets for the two days of the strike to the islands.
For his part, the general secretary of PNO, Yiannis Halas, said he and his colleagues had decided to press ahead with the action as they were “not satisfied.” “There were no new proposals,” he said.
PNO, which has held several walkouts in recent months, is protesting the government’s plans to merge its health service provider with the state’s main healthcare provider (EOPYY). Unionists are also angry over cuts to state benefits and pensions.


Venizelos warns of more cuts to come

Further cuts are possible for Greece to adhere to the midterm fiscal plan it voted last year, said PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos in an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, but about one month before the elections he promises that the bailout program’s terms “could be adjusted.”
“Had we applied earlier certain elements of the second bailout package, such as the reduction of the debt and the smaller cost of interest rates, we would have progressed much more by now,” said Venizelos in the interview to be published on Monday.
He goes on to warn of reforms that will be painful and notes that “without the people’s support we will be unable to apply them.”
Asked whether he intends to renegotiate the bailout program should he become prime minister -- as New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras has promised -- Venizelos says that the program is monitored every three months, before stressing that “we are willing to implement its terms, but they could be adjusted.” He does add that Greece will need to accept its creditors’ terms given it has committed errors.
In response to German popular criticism to loans to Greece, Venizelos rushes to defend Berlin’s decision to bail Greece out along with the rest of the eurozone saying “the German taxpayer is benefiting from the sound investment of his money by his government,” as “the German Finance Minister can borrow money almost at no cost and then lend it to us at a certain interest rate.”
That way Germany has already earned some 400 million euros in the last couple of years, Greece’s former Finance Minister says in his interview with the German magazine, while highlighting the fact that this country is not the biggest focal point in this crisis as it accounts for no more than 2.5 percent of the eurozone members’ debt.

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