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Economy

Merkel, Sarkozy And The Blind Waltz Of Europe's Rescue Plans For Greece

Op-Ed: After being forced to shelve their proposal for a European-appointed Greek budget commissioner, the German-France "Merkozy" duo now are floating the idea of a special account for Greek debt. But this is just one more symbolic atte

Students demonstrating last October in Florence (Collettivo Politico Scienze Politiche)
A quick fix won't do (kevinpoh)
Jan Dams

BERLIN - Over the past two years there has been no shortage of suggestions about how to rescue Greece. And none has received as much attention as the diplomatically unwise German proposal to appoint a "budget commissioner" to Athens.

Having gotten the thumbs down on that one from other euro-zone countries, Angela Merkel along with her French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy have now come up with an equally spectacular plan. This time, the idea is for a special account to be opened into which Greece would pay the interest it owes on debts, thus ensuring that holders of Greek debt were paid off.

Unfortunately, this proposal is as peculiar as the commissioner idea – in this case, because all that is likely to accrue in the account is negative interest from being permanently overdrawn.

The idea is little more than an expression of the deepest kind of desperation. Europe's most powerful politicians don't have a clue how to bring this small country into line. Merkel and Sarkozy, aka "Merkozy," have long recognized that not only is the will for change missing in Greece – so are the bureaucratic structures needed to implement promises of reform.

But both Merkel and Sarkozy are afraid to admit this publicly, and draw the necessary conclusions. It's better to take a symbolic stab at policy. And the Greeks understand that only all too well.

They know that the only thing driving these proposals is short-term fear of severe turbulence in the rest of the euro zone if they are kicked out. And as long as that's the case, nothing's going to change in Athens. It's high time, instead, that this or that new idea gives way to a whole new strategy.

Read the original article in German

Photo - kevinpoh

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Ideas

Joshimath, The Sinking Indian City Has Also Become A Hotbed Of Government Censorship

The Indian authorities' decision to hide factual reports on the land subsidence in Joshimath only furthers a sense of paranoia.

Photo of people standing next to a cracked road in Joshimath, India

Cracked road in Joshimath

@IndianCongressO via Twitter
Rohan Banerjee*

MUMBAI — Midway through the movie Don’t Look Up (2021), the outspoken PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is bundled into a car, a bag over her head. The White House, we are told, wants her “off the grid”. She is taken to a warehouse – the sort of place where CIA and FBI agents seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Hollywood movies – and charged with violating national security secrets.

The Hobson’s choice offered to her is to either face prosecution or suspend “all public media appearances and incendiary language relating to Comet Dibiasky”, an interstellar object on a collision course with earth. Exasperated, she acquiesces to the gag order.

Don’t Look Upis a satirical take on the collective apathy towards climate change; only, the slow burn of fossil fuel is replaced by the more imminent threat of a comet crashing into our planet. As a couple of scientists try to warn humanity about its potential extinction, they discover a media, an administration, and indeed, a society that is not just unwilling to face the truth but would even deny it.

This premise and the caricatured characters border on the farcical, with plot devices designed to produce absurd scenarios that would be inconceivable in the real world we inhabit. After all, would any government dealing with a natural disaster, issue an edict prohibiting researchers and scientists from talking about the event? Surely not. Right?

On January 11, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), one of the centers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), issued a preliminary report on the land subsidence issue occurring in Joshimath, the mountainside city in the Himalayas.

The word ‘subsidence’ entered the public lexicon at the turn of the year as disturbing images of cracked roads and tilted buildings began to emanate from Joshimath.

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