Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Progress in euro zone talks on Greece, no deal yet

Euro zone finance ministers made progress on Wednesday on ways to keep Greece afloat, Germany said, as talks between Athens and its foreign lenders near conclusion over reforms it must implement to receive fresh emergency loans.
After a two-hour conference call of ministers from the 17-nation Eurogroup, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a news conference: "There was considerable progress."
Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement he expected a deal at the finance ministers' face-to-face meeting on November 12 provided Greek authorities had completed a list of prior actions.
Schaeuble said ministers expected to receive a crucial report from the so-called "troika" of international lenders on November 11 or 12, near the deadline, but insisted: "Time pressure cannot lead to irresponsible solutions."
The ministers received more bad news earlier when Athens slashed its forecast for a budget surplus before debt servicing costs next year, dimming one of its few bright spots as rounds of austerity deepen a recession already into its fifth year.
The government forecast a 4.5 percent economic contraction in 2013, which will push public debt to a record 189.1 percent of gross domestic product. The primary budget surplus is forecast to be just 0.4 percent, well down on the 1.1 percent pencilled in previously.
Greece's lenders are not discussing at present another debt write-off, or "haircut", Thomas Wieser, the coordinator of euro zone finance ministers said, but EU diplomats say other ways of stretching out official loans are on the table.
The options included lengthening the maturities and reducing the interest rate on existing loans, an interest payment holiday, letting Greece buy back its own debt at a discount with borrowed money and allowing it to issue more short-term T-bills.
Even though IMF and EU officials say privately Greece's debt is unsustainable and will have to be restructured, Schaeuble said that for a large majority of euro zone countries accepting a "haircut" was legally impossible.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Greek coalition allies snub PM's appeal on austerity

By Renee Maltezou, Reuters
The Greek prime minister's appeal for a united front to push through more austerity fell on deaf ears on Tuesday, with one ally promising to vote against reforms and another scolding him for prematurely saying talks had ended.
A flurry of contradictory statements from the three parties in Greece's ruling coalition highlighted the chaos ahead of a crucial vote on austerity measures, which is turning into the government's biggest test since taking power in June.
After months of negotiations on the austerity plan, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras announced on Tuesday that talks had been completed and implored his allies to back the package.
"What would happen if the deal isn't passed and the country is led to chaos?" Samaras said in a statement.
"Such dangers must be avoided. That is the responsibility of each party and every lawmaker individually."
The Democratic Left party immediately responded by reiterating it would vote against labour reforms.
"The Democratic Left has fought on the issue of labour relations, to protect workers' rights which have been already weakened," the party said in statement.
"It does not agree with the result of the negotiations. The Democratic Left sticks to its position."
The other junior partner in Samaras's coalition, the Socialist PASOK, then interrupted a party meeting to put out a statement chiding Samaras for saying talks had concluded.
"A rushed press release that says 'the government did what it could, it is moving ahead and whoever wants to should follow it' ... is at best unfortunate," the party's chief said in the statement.
The bickering among the allies threatens to bring next week's vote down to a numbers game, undermining Samaras's pledge that Greece's government is committed to doing everything it can to restore credibility in the eyes of European partners.
The Democratic Left party has the support of 16 deputies in the 300-seat parliament, meaning the government - which has a 176-seat majority - could pass the reforms without its support as long as PASOK deputies vote in favour.
But the smaller party's stance has emboldened some in PASOK and speculation has grown that some rebel lawmakers could vote against the measures. The austerity bill could be defeated if more than 10 of the 33 PASOK lawmakers oppose them.

Kostas Vaxevanis, the Greek investigative journalist who was arrested on Sunday after publishing a list of more than 2,000 suspected tax dodgers, has written about his case for the Guardian today:

Greek coalition ally confirms will vote against reforms

A Greek coalition partner confirmed on Tuesday it would vote against labour reforms proposed by foreign lenders, ignoring the prime minister's appeal for a united front to push through more unpopular austerity.
The Democratic Left party's refusal to back the reforms leaves the government facing an unpredictable vote when they are presented in parliament next week, making it the fragile coalition's biggest test since taking power in June.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras earlier announced Athens had completed talks with European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders on a package of 13.5 billion euros ($17.4 billion) in austerity measures and implored allies to back the plan.
"What would happen if the deal isn't passed and the country is led to chaos?" Samaras said in a statement. "Such dangers must be avoided. That is the responsibility of each party and every lawmaker individually."
The government is expected to include a large chunk of the austerity measures in the 2013 budget bill to be presented on Wednesday, with the remaining measures and contested labour reforms in a separate bill to be put to parliament on Monday.
The Democratic Left party has the support of 16 deputies in the 300-seat parliament. The government -- which has a 176-seat majority - could pass the reforms without its support.
But a vote against the package by the party would undermine the already fragile coalition and could encourage other lawmakers to defect and vote against unpopular measures, leaving the outcome uncertain till the end.
Already some lawmakers from the other junior partner in the coalition, the Socialist PASOK, have threatened to vote against the measures, though the party's leader has hinted the group will vote in their favour to ensure stability in Greece.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Germany Supports ECB Greek Debt Buyback Plan, Rejects Write-off

By Brian Parkin and Tony Czuczka, Bloomberg

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government said it is willing to consider a European Central Bank proposal for a buyback of Greek debt, as it stepped up opposition to imposing more losses on Greece's creditors.
A restructuring of Greek sovereign debt held by its public sector partners “is out of the question” for Germany and “not in Greece’s interests,” Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s chief spokesman, told reporters in Berlin today. At the same time, Seibert noted that Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said yesterday that a buyback “is worth serious discussion.”
The comments suggest the German government has changed its view on debt buybacks. Schaeuble said earlier this month that he had “a number of questions for which I don’t see an answer yet” on the buyback proposal. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Oct. 13 that the government rejected the idea, citing officials it didn’t name.
Euro area finance ministers will hold a conference call on Greece on Oct. 31 after German news magazine Der Spiegel reported in this week’s edition that the so-called troika of international creditors proposes a debt restructuring for Greece that would require public-sector lenders to take heavy losses.
The troika of the European Commission, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund is compiling its report on the progress made by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s government in meeting internationally agreed targets that are a prerequisite for the next tranche of aid Greece needs to stay in the euro.
Schaeuble said that his government received an interim troika report last week, according to an interview with German radio Deutschlandfunk broadcast yesterday.
After agreeing to the biggest-ever write-off on private bondholders, it would “a bit unrealistic” to impose more losses on them, he said. Members of the euro area are meanwhile restricted by law from participating in losses, therefore so- called official sector involvement “is a discussion that has little to do with the reality” of euro member states, he said.
Asked about the buyback proposal, Schaeuble said that is “something one could consider more seriously,” according to a transcript of his comments.
ECB Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen first aired the plan in an interview with German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung released on Oct. 12. Greece’s efforts to reduce debt to 120 percent of its gross domestic product by 2020 may be eased if it were lent money to buy back its own bonds, which have a current market worth below their nominal value, he said.
Such a move, which he said was being considered among other instruments to help Greece, would not amount to a debt write- off, Asmussen was cited as saying. He reiterated that the ECB could not buy the debt for the Greek government.
While there is “no concrete model” as yet for a debt buyback, “fundamentally there’s a difference between deferring debt and writing it off altogether,” Finance Ministry spokeswoman Marianne Kothe said in Berlin today.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Download the October 28 Ta Yp' Opsin podcast

The October 28 Ta Yp' Opsin (Consider These) news roundup podcast (in Greek) available for download:
(Podcasting is the new face of radio journalism; a podcast is similar to a news radio program, delivers information on a regular basis and can even be listened to directly on your computer or smartphone. To listen to our Ta Yp’Opsin podcast, simply click the link to the podcast and choose to download it to your computer safely from Google in mp3 format, ready to listen to and replay at any time)

In the First Hour of Ta Yp' Opsin:
- The East Coast is bracing for “Superstorm." Sandy
- Countdown of the White House race
- Impasse on Greek austerity package prolonged
- 'Lagarde List' publication leads to journalist’s arrest
- Syria: A ceasefire only in name
- Ukraine’s parliamentary election and future direction
- China rejects New York Times "hidden riches" claims

Plus, in the Second Hour:
- Halloween headlines (not tainted candy)
- Cooking and brain cell production
- Landownership tug of war in Arizona
- A shark falls from the sky and a beard is tinted a rusty red
- French ministers learn anti-sexism lessons
- Virginity for sale over the internet

Download here:

Ta Yp’Opsin (Consider These) weekly podcast with Greek Chicago journalists Elena Spilioti and George Zorbas. Discussion, analysis and great music!

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Greek editor's arrest sought over list with Swiss accounts

Greek police are seeking to arrest the editor of a weekly magazine for publishing a list of more than 2,000 names of wealthy Greeks who have placed money in Swiss bank accounts, police said.
The so-called "Lagarde List" - given to Greece by French authorities in 2010 with names to be probed for possible tax evasion - has been a topic of heated speculation in Greek media in recent weeks. It is named after International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, who was French finance minister when the list was handed over.
The "Hot Doc" magazine published the list of 2,059 names including some well-known figures on Saturday. The magazine said it had been sent the list anonymously. Authorities did not confirm if the list was authentic.
A prosecutor ordered the arrest of editor Costas Vaxevanis for violating laws on releasing private data, police said.
"The prosecutor issued a warrant for Vaxevanis's arrest because he published a list of names without special permission and violated the law on personal data," a police official said.
"There is no proof that the persons or companies included in that list have violated the law. There is no evidence that they violated the law on tax evasion or money laundering," the official added.
The list has inspired heated discussion in near-bankrupt Greece, where public anger at politicians and the wealthy elite grows as austerity measures take a toll on the poorer sections of society.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Army dog who died in Afghanistan honored


A bomb-sniffing army dog who died in Afghanistan on the day his handler was killed has been honored with Britain's highest award for animal bravery.
Springer spaniel mix Theo was posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal on Thursday at a London ceremony.
Theo worked for five months in Afghanistan with Royal Army Veterinary Corps Lance Cpl. Liam Tasker, searching out roadside bombs.
Tasker was killed in a firefight with insurgents in Helmand Province in March 2011. Theo suffered a fatal seizure hours later at a British army base, likely brought about by stress.
The soldier and his dog were brought back to Britain on the same military flight.
Since 1943 the Dickin Medal has recognized wartime gallantry by animals, from carrier pigeons to a World War II commando collie.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ακούστε το podcast Τα Υπ΄ Οψιν της Κυριακής 21 Οκτώβρη 2012

Στα Υπ’ ‘Οψιν αυτής της εβδομάδας, συζητάμε:
-Τρίτο προεδρικό debate: ο μέσος  Αμερικανός και ο κόσμος.
-Ελλάδα: πρός τη δόση κατά ...δόσεις ενώ οι αποσχίσεις απειλούν την ευρωπαϊκή ενότητα
-Κόσμος: η γειτονιά της Συρίας εκρήγνυται, το Ιράν κάτι θέλει να μας πεί και οι γυναίκες στη Μ. Ανατολή που τιμωρούνται λόγω...φύλου
Και στη δεύτερη ώρα:
Ο αντιπολεμικός ΜακΓκόβερν που έφυγε και οι επέτειοι της Κούβας και του Μεγάλου Κράχ
Η αμερικανική gay ψήφος
Κινηματογραφικές πολιτικές συνωμοσίες  και  κλέφτες με καλλιτεχνική ευαισθησία και γνώση
Τέχνη εναντίον πεταλούδας
Ο ερημίτης με το κινητό
Αρραβώνες  με όπλα για δαχτυλίδι
Το χοιρινό που ντύθηκε...μοσχάρι

για  ενημέρωση, συζήτηση και πολλή μουσική!

Α, ναι: και μην ξεχάσετε να μας κάνετε Like στο !

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Download the October 21 Ta Yp' Opsin podcast

The October 21 Ta Yp' Opsin (Consider These) news roundup podcast (in Greek) available for download:
(Like our Facebook page,, and tell your friends to "like" it, too… We like being “liked”!)

In the First Hour of Ta Yp' Opsin:
-State of the race: the last debate
- George McGovern dies at 90
- Greece wins EU Summit praise
- Separatists push for change in Europe
- Clashes in Beirut and the latest from Syria 
- Jordan uncovers al-Qaeda plot

Plus, in the Second Hour:
- The 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis
- Election prophesiers and third-party debates
- Iran sees conspiracy in box office
- Thieves with an arty eye
- Measuring the nation's gay population
- Art-massacre of 9,000 butterflies and animals for cheap laughs
- Shotgun weddings and dyed pork sold as beef

Download here:

Ta Yp’Opsin (Consider These) weekly podcast with Greek Chicago journalists Elena Spilioti and George Zorbas. Discussion, analysis and great music!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

“Like” our Ta Yp' Opsin Facebook page

“Like” our Ta Yp' Opsin Facebook page,, and tell your friends to "like" it, too… We like being “liked”!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Greece Wins EU Summit Praise

By Jonathan Stearns, Bloomberg

At his first European Union summit since becoming prime minister in June, Antonis Samaras said record unemployment showed the price Greece was paying for austerity demanded by the euro area as a condition for emergency loans. He urged parallel steps to kick- start the economy and stuck to a request for two extra years until 2016 to meet targets for narrowing the budget deficit, prompting signs of European goodwill.
“We welcome the determination of the Greek government to deliver on its commitments and we commend the remarkable efforts by the Greek people,” the 16 other euro-area leaders said in a statement released today in Brussels after the first session of the EU meeting. “Good progress has been made to bring the adjustment program back on track.”
The Samaras government has been negotiating with the euro area and theInternational Monetary Fund
 over 13.5 billion euros ($17.6 billion) of austerity measures for 2013 and 2014 needed to qualify for the release of more loan instalments. Transfers have been frozen since June.
The next aid payout is scheduled to total 31 billion euros, most of which would be to recapitalize banks. That disbursement would be under a 130 billion-euro rescue package approved earlier this year after an initial 110 billion-euro bailout in 2010.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a meeting with Samaras today in Brussels as the second part of the EU summit got under way.
“One has to recognize that a lot has already been done and that they’re pressing ahead” in Greece, Merkel told reporters afterward. She said she works “very well” with Samaras, who, at his own press conference, said “the climate has changed. All our European partners have recognized that we have made big progress lately. The Greek economy and society are on the brink," he said.
“We expect Greece to continue budgetary and structural policy reforms and we encourage its efforts to ensure swift implementation of the program,” the euro-area leaders said. “These conditions will allow Greece to achieve renewed growth and will ensure its future in the euro area.”
French President Francois Hollande
 said the next aid tranche for Greece must be paid in “the coming weeks” once the euro area and IMF complete their current review of the nation’s finances.
Samaras said his request for a two-year extension to meet fiscal-austerity targets is tied to the questions of a 12 billion-euro funding gap that would result from the longer timetable and of the sustainability of Greece’s debt, which is supposed to fall to 120 percent of GDP in 2020. He said these issues would likely be decided after the creditors’ review.
EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said he expected Greece to win the green light for the next disbursement within a month.
“I’m confident that we will be able to come to a positive conclusion of this review,” Rehn told Bloomberg Television in Brussels yesterday. “I expect that this will happen in the early part of November, before mid-November.”
Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker signaled the onus is on euro-area governments to unblock the aid for Greece.
“I am very happy with the performance the Greek government has undertaken,” Juncker, who also heads the group of euro-area finance ministers, told reporters as he emerged from the first EU summit session. “Now it’s up to the other 16, after Greece will have delivered, to deliver.”

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bullets, taxes and Chicago crime

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle wants to tax the sale of every bullet and firearm - an effort even she acknowledges could spark a legal challenge.
The budget proposal Thursday that calls for a tax of a nickel for each bullet and $25 for each firearm sold in the county. Preckwinkle's office estimates the tax will generate about $1 million a year, money that would be used for various county services including medical care for gunshot victims. Law enforcement officials would not have to pay the tax, but the office said it would apply to 40 federally licensed gun dealers in the county.
Preckwinkle insists the ordinance is far more about addressing gun violence than raising money for a county that faces a deficit of more than $100 million next year.
Richard Pearson, the executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, says the tax wouldn't do anything to address gang violence but would harm local businesses and law-abiding citizens.
"If she wants to get to the people causing all the problems she ought to put a tax on street gangs," he said. "All this is going to do is drive business out of Cook County, into other counties, Indiana and Wisconsin."
One suburban gun shop owner agreed, saying that his customers, many of whom are hunters and police officers, will simply go elsewhere.
Through last week, the city reported 409 homicides this year compared to 324 during the same period in 2011. Although the violence still doesn't approach the nearly 900 homicides a year Chicago averaged in the 1990s, officials say gang violence was largely to blame for a rash of shootings earlier this year.

SOURCE: AP     Edited by TYO

Sylvia Kristel 1952-2012


Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel, who starred in the 1974 erotic French film Emmanuelle, has died at the age of 60.
"She died during the night during her sleep," her agent, Marieke Verharen, told the AFP news agency.
The actress, who had cancer, was admitted to hospital in July after suffering a stroke.
Emmanuelle, which told the story of a sexually promiscuous housewife, spawned numerous sequels and played in a cinema on the Champs-Elysees for 11 years. Kristel went on to star in several Emmanuelle sequels, as well as more mainstream films - many of which, like Lady Chatterley's Lover and Mata Hari, played on her reputation as an erotic film star. Born in Utrecht, Holland, in 1952, Kristel grew up with her younger sister Marianne in Room 21 of The Commerce Hotel, which her parents owned. Convent-educated, she fled her strict Calvinist upbringing for Amsterdam as a teenager, where she worked as a secretary and a waitress before becoming a model. Aged 21, she won two beauty competitions - Miss TV Holland and Miss TV Europe - and, shortly afterwards, was encouraged to pursue acting by her boyfriend, Belgian author Hugo Claus. She had already appeared nude in the film Because of the Cats, when she stumbled into the audition for Emmanuelle, having been sent to a casting call for a soap powder commercial next door. Speaking to The Evening Standard in 1994, she said she had no problem convincing director Just Jaeckin of her suitability for the part. Set in Thailand, the film was based on the erotic novel by Emmanuelle Arsan. It told the story of a bored wife, who had followed her diplomat husband to Asia, and filled her time with romantic trysts. On release, Emmanuelle inevitably caused controversy. It was banned in Paris, where it was supposed to have its premiere, for six months. But it also made Kristel a star. She spent seven years in Hollywood, appearing in such films as The Concorde: Airport '79, and Private Lessons. But the actress, whose parents were both alcoholics, soon found herself addicted to drink and drugs. "I sometimes needed a shot before doing certain scenes," she said. "It definitely comforted me and gave me courage. But then it turned out that I almost couldn't start a day without a drink." By this time she had left Claus, with whom she had a son, for British actor Ian McShane. Their relationship was volatile. In her autobiography, she described it as "awful - he was witty and charming but we were too much alike". Further relationships followed. She wed American millionaire Alan Turner, who ended their marriage after five months, telling Kristel he had made a terrible mistake. Her second husband, would-be director Philippe Blot, persuaded her to bankroll his films. They were disastrously received. Kristel said she left the marriage with $400 (£247) to her name. "If I'd known then what I know now, I probably wouldn't have gone ahead with any of the relationships I was involved in, with the exception of Hugo," she told the Daily Mail in 1993. She stopped appearing nude on screen in the 1980s because her son, Arthur, was being "teased at school", but returned to the Emmanuelle series in 1994, in a direct-to-video sequel where she appeared, fully-clothed, reminiscing about the exploits of her younger alter-ego. After leaving America, she retreated to the South of France to paint, specialising in female portraits and pictures of roses. She was diagnosed with both throat and lung cancer in the early 2000s and fought the disease over the last decade. Her agent declined to say whether Kristel died at home or at hospital, but said her funeral would be private. -BBC

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ακούστε το podcast Τα Υπ΄ Οψιν της Κυριακής 14 Οκτώβρη 2012

Στα Υπ΄’Οψιν της Κυριακής 14 Οκτώβρη, συζητούμε:
-Αμερικανικές εκλογές: Συνέχεια συνεχών αναμετρήσεων
-Ελλάδα και Ευρωζώνη:  και ξαφνικά όλοι μας αγαπάνε αλλά δεν μας συγχωρούνε
-Μαυριτανία:  ατύχημα ή απόπειρα; Τραυματισμός  του προέδρου στη γειτονιά του Μάλι
-Συρία –Τουρκία: ώρα για διαμεσολάβηση
- Οι Ιορδανοί που δεν πείθονται , οι Ιρακινοί που προτιμούν  ρωσικά όπλα
-Οι Κορέες που διαγωνίζονται και η  Κίνα που μετριάζει την ανάπτυξη του κόσμου
- Τυνησία: οι καχύποπτοι  της κυβέρνησης συνασπισμού
-Η Παγκόσμια Ημέρα Τροφίμων: τρόφιμα υπάρχουν αλλά ο κόσμος δεν τα λαβαίνει
Και στη δεύτερη ώρα:
-Αντιδράσεις  για τα Νόμπελ Ειρήνης
-Θρησκευτικός φανατισμός στο Πακιστάν, θρησκευτικός και πολιτικός στην Ελλάδα: η τέχνη και πάλι στο στόχαστρο εκκλησίας και Χρυσής Αυγής
-Ταξίδι μετ’επιστροφής στον Παράδεισο
-Άλλοι είναι πάνω από χρήματα και άλλοι ληστεύουν τράπεζα για $1
- Η τελευταία λέξη στους ...επικήδειους  και ο καυγάς  με μιά πινακίδα STOP
-‘Αμεση Δράση εκεί;   Να συλληφθεί το ...σέρβις  του εστιατορίου εδώ !
-Σαρκοφάγος γλάστρα 150000 δολλαρίων και η μικρή ιστορία της  ευτυχισμένης μαριχουάνας

 Ακούστε μας στο

ΤαΥπ΄’Οψιν για ενημέρωση , συζήτηση και πολλή καλή μουσική! 

Download the October 14 Ta Yp' Opsin podcast

The October 14 Ta Yp' Opsin (Consider These) news roundup podcast (in Greek) available for download:
First Hour:
-State of the race: the pressure now on Obama
-Free falling Felix and Endeavour’s final journey
- Grueling bargain in Greece and the EU- IMF rift
- Damascus tense and Ankara boiling
- Drone aircrafts and Iranian currency woes
- The two Koreas’ missiles range competition
- China’s slowdown and a "friendly fire" in Mauritania
- Hunger numbers and World Food Day

Plus, in the Second Hour:
- The 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis
-The EU Nobel Peace Prize irony
-Greek Neo-Nazis and zealots attack the arts
-Madonna’s striptease for Malala
- A glimpse of Heaven and Einstein letter on God
- Hot funeral trends and a $150K flower pot sarcophagus
-Apple and an iconic Swiss clock
- A quadrillion euro phone bill and13,000 clowns
- $1 robbery and a fight with a stop sign

Download here:

Ta Yp’Opsin (Consider These) weekly podcast with Greek Chicago journalists Elena Spilioti and George Zorbas. Discussion, analysis and great music!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Do you know the answers?

There are a couple of questions we'd like to ask and solicit feedback from the Romney/Ryan middle class supporters out there, based on an exchange in last night's VP debate, over Mitt Romney's 20 percent tax-cut plan. ABC's Martha Raddatz questioned Ryan:
MS. RADDATZ: Well, let's talk about this 20 percent.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well – (chuckles) –
MS. RADDATZ: You have refused yet again to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20 percent across-the-board tax cut. Do you actually have the specifics, or are you still working on it, and that's why you won't tell voters?
REP. RYAN: Different than this administration, we actually want to have big bipartisan agreements. You see, I understand the -"
MS. RADDATZ: Do you have the specifics? Do you have the math? Do you know exactly what you're doing?
REP. RYAN: Look – look at what Mitt – look at what Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill did. They worked together out of a framework to lower tax rates and broaden the base, and they worked together to fix that. What we're saying is here's our framework: Lower tax rates 20 percent – we raise about $1.2 trillion through income taxes. We forgo about 1.1 trillion [dollars] in loopholes and deductions. And so what we're saying is deny those loopholes and deductions to higher-income taxpayers so that more of their income is taxed, which has a broader base of taxation –..
Ryan, fair to say, again here refuses to answer Raddatz's yes-or-no question about specifics.
There are no specifics.
So here are our questions:
1. Do you know of any specifics on the 20 percent across-the-board tax cut that convinced you to support the Romney/Ryan ticket?
2. Have you paid off your mortgage and no longer care about interest or charity deductions?
3. Is it simply a case of "anyone but Obama/Biden"?

More bad news ...for Jack Welch

By Shobhana Chandra and Mike Dorning (Bloomberg)

It isn’t only the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics that is issuing surprisingly good news about the U.S. economy these days.
If former General Electric Co. Chief Executive Officer Jack Welch's charges of a political fix to manipulate economic data ahead of the presidential election are true, there must be a vast econometric conspiracy embracing auto dealers, real estate agents, the Federal Reserve and corporate America’s 96-year-old Conference Board.
The economy is improving more than professional forecasters anticipated, particularly in data on employment and housing, according to the Bloomberg Economic Surprise Index, which compares 38 indicators with analysts’ predictions. The index, based on gauges compiled by private businesses and trade groups in addition to government, confirms U.S. growth is generating jobs in the face of a global slowdown and looming federal spending cuts and tax increases known as the fiscal cliff.
President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are each trying to convince voters ahead of the Nov. 6 election that they are best equipped to spur growth and accelerate hiring. Nonpartisan forecasters who have developed models to predict the outcome of elections disagree on how the economy will shape the results this time.
An Oct. 5 report from the BLS showed the jobless rate fell in September to 7.8 percent, the lowest since Obama took office in January 2009, from 8.1 percent in August. The rate was forecast to rise to 8.2 percent, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 88 economists.
“Unbelievable jobs numbers. . . theseChicago guys will do anything. . . can’t debate so change numbers,” Welch wrote in a Twitter message immediately after the report. Obama’s campaign is based in Chicago.
The BLS data also showed that employers added 114,000 workers to payrolls last month after a revised 142,000 gain in August. The September figure was in line with economists’ estimates for an increase of 115,000.
Gallup’s daily tracking of likely voters conducted Oct. 4 through Oct. 10 shows Obama with 47 percent and Romney with 48 percent support. The tracking is a rolling average of seven days of surveys with a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

" NO to the 4th Reich"


Demonstrators display a banner that reads " NO to the 4th Reich" prior to an protest in Athens on Tuesday Oct. 9, 2012. German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes her first visit to Greece since the eurozone crisis began here three years ago. Her five-hour stop is seen by the government as a historic boost for the country's future in Europe's shared currency, but by protesters as a harbinger of more austerity and hardship. More than 7,000 police will be on hand, cordoning off parks and other sections of central Athens, to keep demonstrators away from the German leader who is due to arrive Tuesday in the Greek capital for talks with conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Greeks protest Merkel visit


Demonstrators, dressed as Nazis, wave a Greek and a swastika flag as they ride in an open-top car in Syntagma Square in Athens as they protest against the visit of Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, October 9, 2012. Germany's Angela Merkel arrived in Greece on her first visit since Europe's debt crisis erupted here three years ago, braving protests to deliver a message of support - but no new money - to a nation hammered by recession and fighting to stay in the euro. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

Merkel Urges Greece to Maintain Austerity as Way to Stay in Euro

By Brian Parkin and Marcus Bensasson 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
used her first visit to Greece in five years to maintain pressure on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to meet austerity pledges, proclaiming her desire to keep the country in the euro.
The two leaders stood side by side at a press conference as protesters massed outside the Parliament building in a capital city on virtual lockdown. Merkel has become the face of austerity in a country suffering a fifth year of recession, which many Greeks blame on German-led conditions attached to emergency loans.
“I want Greece to remain in the euro,” Merkel told reporters today halfway through her six-hour visit. “A lot has been done, much remains to be done.”
At stake is Greece’s membership in the 17-nation euro and the payment of 31 billion euros ($40 billion) from bailout commitments first made in 2010. Since then, the debt crisis has frustrated policy makers and stunted the region’s economy. Spain
 is considering asking for help and Cyprus is in talks for a lifeline, following Ireland, Portugal and Spanish lenders.
“Merkel is on a carrot and stick exercise: show support and hope for the plight of Greeks with the reminder that there has to be a quid pro quo,” Ralph Brinkhaus, a lawmaker from her Christian Democratic Union and a member of parliament’s finance committee, said in an interview today. “Merkel’s primary constituency is Germany, not Greece: she knows what millions of voters back home expect her to say.”
Athens was the scene of protests on and around its main Syntagma Square as thousands of Greek citizens vent frustration over Merkel’s perceived role in the country’s economic misery. Some 7,000 police were deployed in the capital, with some firing tear gas. Merkel’s destinations are cordoned off.
Merkel’s trip to Athens, her first since July 2007, reciprocated a visit by Samaras to Berlin in August this year and underscored her desire to silence the calls from her own coalition to kick Greece out of the currency union.
“Merkel’s visit to Greece first of all proves that we are breaking an international isolation that existed to now. And this was due to our mistakes as well. The political power and image of a country corresponds to its credibility.”
Merkel has softened her tone on Greece since Samaras’s election earlier this year. He formed a coalition after beating back a challenge by parties that advocated tearing up the terms of Greece’s rescues and calling the bluff of the so-called troika of international creditors -- the IMF, theEuropean Central Bank and European Commission -- at the risk of triggering global meltdown in financial markets.
Calling Greece a friend contrasts with the threat she delivered in November 2011, when former Prime Minister George Papandreou
 proposed a referendum on austerity measures. She said the ballot, subsequently rescinded, “will revolve around nothing less than the question: does Greece want to stay in the euro, yes or no?”


Monday, October 8, 2012

Τα Υπ’Όψιν podcast 7/10/2012

Στα Υπ’Όψιν αυτής της εβδομάδας, συζητάμε:
-Τα μεθεόρτια του αμερικανικού προεδρικού debate
-Ανεργία στο7,8%: είναι το εισιτήριο για το Λευκό Οίκο;
-Μέρκελ – Έλληνες: μαζί για 6 ώρες. Τί θα μάθει; Τί θα μάθουν;
-Τουρκία-Συρία: πόσο ελέγχει τα όπλα ο Ασάντ;
-Βενεζουέλα: ιστορικές εκλογές
-Ανθρώπινα Δικαιώματα και αμερικανικό Ανώτατο Δικαστήριο

Και στη δεύτερη ώρα:
-Βραβεία Νόμπελ Ειρήνης: αλλάζοντας τον κόσμο χωρίς βία
-Μηνιγγίτιδα και Ιός του Δυτικού Νείλου ξαναγυρίζουν στις ΗΠΑ
-Υπέρβαροι και οι κριτές τους: ποιός καταπιέζει ποιόν;
-Το μπλέ μέλι και το μενού με τα κέρατα
-Η  Ρώμη απαγορεύει να κλειδώνεις την αγάπη
-«Ημέρα Επιστροφής της Κλεμμένης Πετσέτας»: μέχρι εδώ και μή παρέκει!

Τα Υπ΄’Οψιν για πληροφόρηση, σχόλια και πολλή μουσική!
Ακούστε μας στο

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Download the October 7 Ta Yp' Opsin podcast

The October 7 Ta Yp' Opsin (Consider These) news roundup podcast (in Greek) available for download:
First Hour:
- First presidential debate performances
- 7.8%, a number that delights and divides
- Merkel visits Athens, Troika deliberates
- Turkey responds to Syrian fire
- Venezuela election
- Human Rights concerns around the world

Plus, in the Second Hour:
- Nobel Prize speculations
- Meningitis fears and West Nile virus relief
- Who is the bully in 'Cruel words' about obesity?
- Blue honey and a roadkill delicacy
- Rome breaks the bonds of love
- Denver schedules a towel amnesty day

Download here:

Ta Yp’Opsin (Consider These) weekly podcast with Greek Chicago journalists Elena Spilioti and George Zorbas. Discussion, analysis and great music!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012



An Italian man has eluded Vatican security and scaled the 130-meter (426-foot) high dome of St. Peter's Basilica to protest the austerity measures that Italy has enacted.
Officials said Wednesday that the man, who said he was the owner of a beach resort, refused appeals from government ministers offering to meet with him if he would come down. He scaled the dome on Tuesday night.
He put up a banner saying "Help! Enough Monti!" That referred to Italian Premier Mario Monti, who has been implementing tough austerity measures and economic reforms to bring down Italy's debt and deficit and spur economic growth.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Τα Υπ’Όψιν podcast της 30/9/2012

Στα Υπ’Όψιν της 30/9/2012, μεταξύ άλλων, ακούστε:

-Αμερικανικά προεδρικά ντημπέϊτ: ποιός φοβάται ποιόν
-Ελλάδα: η έκθεση που αργεί και η λίστα του ΣΔΟΕ που σπεύδει
-Ευρωπαϊκοί προϋπολογισμοί που αναστατώνουν
-Κίνα: ξεκαθάρισμα δημοφιλών υποψηφίων προς το Συνέδριο του Νοέμβρη
-Η ζωγραφιά του Νετανιάχου και απρόβλεπτες ιστορικές στιγμές στην έδρα του ΟΗΕ

Και στη δεύτερη ώρα:
-ΧΡΟΝΟΛΟΓΙΟ: Η γέννηση της σημερινής Κίνας και ο λόγος του Ρούζβελτ στο Σικάγο
-Εκλογές ΗΠΑ: αξιόπιστα γκάλοπ με κούπες του καφέ ( και άλλες ανορθόδοξες μεθόδους)
- Η Εβδομάδα Απαγορευμένων Βιβλίων και οι Ναζί του Άϊνταχο: απαγορεύσεις εκφράσεων συνέχεια
-Το μέλλον σε σπίτια-σπιρτόκουτα και αυτικίνητα χωρίς οδηγό
-Οι δύο Μόνα Λιζες και ο κλεμμένος Ρενουάρ
-Αστυνομικοί ...τυροκομιστές

Τα Υπ’Όψιν εδώ:

για ενημέρωση , συζήτηση και πολλή μουσική!