A new ray of hope for Athens
A new ray of hope for Athens
Cerstin Gammelin, Brussels, and Claus Hulverscheidt

BERLIN - The euro zone has granted Athens two more years to rein in its debt, Süddeutsche Zeitung has learned.

Euro zone leaders have agreed to give Greece until 2016 instead of 2014 to push deficits down under to 3% of GDP. Deadlines for the implementation of employment and energy reforms and the selling of state-run companies and state-owned property have also been extended.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras can now count on his euro zone partners to free shortly the urgently needed next tranche of aid worth 32 billion euros.

Athens is projecting a sum of 8.8 billion euros (instead of the estimated 19 billion euros) from privatization income by the end of 2015, according to the draft of a Memorandum of Understanding that the Greeks hammered out with their international creditors.

On Tuesday it was still unclear, however, how the holes in the 2013 and 2014 budgets that the concessions bring with them are supposed to be closed. An additional 15-18 billion euros are now needed. The question of how Greece is supposed to finance itself after 2014 also remains open.

The reason for the concessions lies not only with the fact that Greece is courageously implementing reforms, but that new financial problems are due less to a lack of political will than to the deep recession Greece now finds itself in – something that the other states had not expected. Additionally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU heads of government believe it is too risky economically to throw Greece out of the euro zone.

Unless Greece receives the next tranche of aid, it will not be solvent by the end of November. Before the money is transferred, however, the EU Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) troika’s complete report about Greece’s situation must be available and the Memorandum of Understanding signed.

To deal with the extra 18 billion euros, Brussels is considering giving Athens additional funds to buy old government bonds that are being traded way under value. An indirect debt cut whereby the interest rate for already extended credit would be lowered is also under discussion.

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Ideas

How Facebook Knowingly Undermines The World's Largest Democracy

Facebook whistleblower Sophie Zhang says that the tech giant knowingly facilitates undermining democracy in India. Fair voting cannot be guaranteed if real people's voices are drowned out by armies of fake online commentators.

The Tek Fog app is allegedly used by online operatives to hijack social media

Sophie Zhang

-OpEd-

NEW DELHI — Earlier this month, The Wire published an exposé on Tek Fog, an app allegedly used by India's ruling, right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to make social engineering easier. The app is allegedly used by online operatives to hijack social media and amplify right-wing propaganda in the country.

The investigation immediately grabbed the attention of the Indian public. For the first time, everyday Indians were given insight into the inner workings of a major political party's Information Technology Cell (IT cell). Indians were forced to confront the possibility that their everyday reality was shaped not by the Indian public but the whims of shadowy political operatives.

They also discovered that their own ruling party would seek to phish their phones with spyware for the purpose of sending party-line propaganda impersonating them to friends and family. Such serious allegations more closely resemble an authoritarian dictatorship like the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and their hired online commentators, the 50 Cent Army (五毛党), than the world’s largest democracy.

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