Archive for February 12th, 2012

Greece set to agree to bailout as Germany demands action

By Harry Papachristou and Matt Robinson
Sun Feb 12, 2012

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek lawmakers looked set to agree to a deeply unpopular bailout deal on Sunday to avert what Prime Minister Lucas Papademos warned would be “economic chaos,” and Germany demanded Athens dramatically change its ways to stay in the euro.

The austerity bill sets out 3.3 billion euros ($4.35 billion) in wage, pension and job cuts as the price of a 130-billion-euro rescue package from the European Union and International Monetary Fund – Greece’s second since 2010.

Greece needs the funds before March 20 to meet debt repayments of 14.5 billion euros and the bill has stirred anger on the streets and turmoil within the coalition government.

Addressing the nation late on Saturday, Papademos warned that failure to back the bill would mean a disorderly default and “set the country on a disastrous adventure.”

“It would create conditions of uncontrolled economic chaos and social explosion,” he said.

“The country would be drawn into a vortex of recession, instability, unemployment and protracted misery and this would sooner or later lead the country out of the euro.” Read the rest of this entry »


Is Greece facing disorderly default?

By Barry Neild and Irene Chapple, CNN
Feb 10, 2012

Greece is in negotiations over its latest bailout deal, but needs to meet harsh new terms
The country is implementing austerity measures but faces protests and deteriorating finances
The default of a eurozone member is politically and economically charged

London (CNN) — Will Greece default?

Greece is negotiating to repay some creditors less than what it owes in order to avoid a disorderly default. If Greece is unable to repay its bills at all on the day they fall due, this would trigger a sudden default which would send shockwaves through the market. Greece faces its next large bond redemption, of €14.5 billion, in March, and is in negotiations over its latest bailout deal as the deadline to this payment approaches.

However, it needs to meet harsh new terms laid out by Europe’s leaders. Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg and head of the Eurogroup, has said three elements must be nailed down in order for the country to access the funds.

The sweeping reform package agreed to by Greece and the so-called troika, made up of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, must be approved by parliament this weekend.

Secondly, Greece’s political leaders must pledge that they will continue to implement the measures after elections in April. Finally, Greece must also find a further €325 million in “structural expenditure” cuts for 2012.

Greece has been implementing harsh austerity measures to try to balance its books, but has faced protests on the streets, and finances that are worse than expected. Its economy is deteriorating, and it cannot raise money with investors due to the high premiums they demand — leaving it dependent on the bailout funds. Read the rest of this entry »

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How myths can be necessary and also dangerous

— Farish A. Noor
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 12, 2012

FEB 12 — Over the last two days I have been interviewed three times by three different media publications over the question of where I stand on the latest silly debate in Malaysia, namely the question of whether Hang Tuah existed or not, and whether it ought to be taught in schools.

This is, I have to confess, one of the smaller histories of Malaysia that has been in the footnotes of my mind for ages, and I recall how I was once asked by an elderly gentleman during a forum discussion in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 if it was true that Hang Tuah was of Chinese origin.

Let me state what little I know of the matter, and make my stand relatively clearer:

Firstly, I don’t know or care if Hang Tuah was Chinese, Malay, Japanese, Eskimo or Serbo-Croat. He could have been a mix of all of the above with a Martian wife and a Venusian mother-in-law, for all I care.

Secondly, no, there is no record of the keris Taming Sari either, and every antique shop that claims to have one is lying to get your money.

Thirdly, please note that in the Hikayat Hang Tuah, we also have stories of kerises that fly, magical potions, demons and monsters, and a magical bean that when swallowed allows you to speak all languages. (A bit like the Babel fish in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy methinks.) Read the rest of this entry »


Hasan Ali: Dari Umno dia datang, kepada Umno jugalah dia akan kembali

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 11, 2012

11 FEB — Dr Hasan Ali, bekas Exco kerajaan (PAS) negeri Selangor, yang dipecat dari PAS baru-baru ini nampaknya mendapat tempat di media perdana terutamanya di TV3. Setiap malam kita melihat Hasan Ali diliputi oleh TV3 dan beliau ditonjolkan sebagai seorang pelakon Bollywood seperti Shah Rukh Khan.

Kita melihat lakunannya setiap hari dengan berdoa sambil menangis serta kembali bercakap dengan nada yang tinggi beserta dengan gerak tangannya yang menunjukkan beliau memang hebat berlakon dan berdrama. Hasan akhir-akhir ini selalu menggunakan air mata beliau dalam membahaskan isu politik untuk menagih sokongan ramai. Beliau boleh menangis serta merta jika perlu dan air matanya jelas meleleh keluar.

Beliau mendapat liputan TV3 setiap hari dan kenapa beliau diberi tempat didalam media letronik ini tanpa henti itu memang sudah menjadi perkara yang maklum kepada orang ramai. Berbagai-bagai cara beliau menonjolkan diri seperti bintang filem Bollywood. Yang belum beliau lakukan hanyalah menari dari gunung hingga ketepi laut sambil menyanyi dan naik kembali kegunung dengan pakaian yang bertukar-tukar silih berganti.

Sesungguhnya Hasan tidak selayaknya menjadi ahli politik. Oleh itu selepas beliau dipecat dari PAS ini, saya mencadangkan supaya Hasan pergi ke India dan menguji bakat lakonan bersama ramai yang minat berlakon dalam Industri filem di Bollywood. Beliau sememangnya mempunyai bakat berlakon dan saya merasakan beliau tidak akan melalui jalan sukar untuk berjaya dalam uji bakat berlakon di situ. Beliau memang seorang yang sangat berbakat dalam lakonan. Read the rest of this entry »


Why revamp our healthcare system with 1 Care?

— CK Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 11, 2012

FEB 11 — Many have written on this subject. Most are concerned about the implementation, costs, bureaucracy and effectiveness of the 1 Care scheme. Perhaps there is another holistic approach the government can consider.

Best treatment for the rakyat

Even in most developed countries those who did not have medical insurance will have to accept public health care and those who can afford it are treated in private hospitals. This is a reality of life, all citizens accept this. Have we heard anyone complain that he should be treated in a five-star private hospital when he knows well that he cannot afford it? The government cannot lose votes on this score. Malaysian citizens are mature enough to realise this fact —not all men are equal! We have the poor, the middle class and the rich — every society has this social structure. Read the rest of this entry »