Posts Tagged ‘referendum’

Curse of Inca king!

Through wounded Catalan pride

Franco’s ghost lives on.



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Greece is a developed country, with a high standard of living and “very high” Human Development Index, ranking 22nd in the world in 2010, and 22nd on The Economist’s 2005 worldwide quality-of-life index. According to Eurostat data, GDP per inhabitant in purchasing power standards (PPS) stood at 94 per cent of the EU average in 2008. Greece now has become the prodigal son of the Modern Europe. How come?
I am no Alan Greenspan and my financial wizardry consists only from hand to mouth so let me try to figure out in my own way where the fault lies.
Something is terribly wrong with Greece so much for sure. Consider these basic facts:
1. The Greek labor force, which totals approximately 5 million, works the second highest number of hours per year on average next to South Korea.
The Groningen Growth & Development Centre has published a poll revealing that between 1995 and 2005, Greece was the country whose workers worked the most hours/year among European nations; Greeks worked an average of 1,900 hours per year, followed by Spaniards (average of 1,800 hours/year)
2. Greece’s main industries are tourism, shipping, industrial products, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products, mining and petroleum. Greece’s GDP growth has also, as an average, since the early 1990s been higher than the EU average.
3. Global economic malaise affected Greece as well. As a result of the on-going economic crisis, industrial production in the country went down by 8% between March 2010 and March 2011
4. Corruption is endemic. .( Greece has the EU’s lowest Corruption Perceptions Index, Index of Economic Freedom and Global Competitiveness Index, ranking 78th, 88th and 90th in the world respectively.)
5. Tax evasion or laxity in collecting tax is also a way of life. Between 2008 and 2011 unemployment skyrocketed, from a generational low of 7.2% in the second and third quarters of 2008 to a high of 16.6% in May 2011, leaving more than 820,000 unemployed. In the final quarter of 2010, youth unemployment reached 36.1%
Greece was accepted into the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union by the European Council on 19 June 2000, based on a number of criteria (inflation rate, budget deficit, public debt, long-term interest rates, exchange rate) using 1999 as the reference year. After an audit commissioned by the incoming New Democracy government in 2004, Eurostat revealed that the statistics for the budget deficit had been under-reported.
Members of the European Union signed an agreement known as the Maastricht Treaty, under which they pledged to limit their deficit spending and debt levels. However, a number of European Union member states, including Greece and Italy, were able to circumvent these rules and mask their deficit and debt levels through the use of complex currency and credit derivatives structures. The structures were designed by prominent U.S. investment banks, who received substantial fees in return for their services and who took on little credit risk themselves thanks to special legal protections for derivatives counterparties. Ack: wikipedia ( To Be Continued)

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Statesman, founder of modern Turkey.

Ottoman Empire had by WWI come to be regarded as dry stubble sucked dry by excesses of a few. While conflagrations of social changes went on all around the Empire had settled itself as though business as usual. In order to bring it down all it needed was Kemal Ataturk who came to prominence through hard way.
Kemal Ataturk founded the Turkey’s national party at the end of WWI. And in 1920 a provisional government elected him president of Turkey and gave him a chance to restructure the country and bring it up-to-date. For his reforms he had the cooperation of a large majority of his people.
The founder of modern Turkey won fame as the defender of Gallipoli. After the first World War he served as a leader for Turks, who wished to resist Allied plans to divide and subject their country and Greek’s attempt to occupy a part of it. He remade the Turkish army and defeated the Greeks and deposed the Sultan. He made a treaty with the Allies (Lausanne 1923), which recognized the independence of his people. Out of the Ottoman Empire, the nation state of Turkey was born. Abolishing the Sultanate was easier than doing away with the Caliphate. This produced a two-headed system with the new republic on one side and an Islamic form of government with the Caliph on the other side. In the early centuries the caliphate was the core political concept of Sunni Islam. ‘The religion of Islam will be elevated if it will cease to be a political instrument, as had been the case in the past’(Ataturk).
It was a time when totalitarian and Fascist ideas were in the air. He repudiated both. He ruled the state as president for the rest of his life and westernized the country, replaced the Islamic law by western law, emancipated women, abandoned Arabic for the Latin alphabet. He abolished the caliphate on 3 March 1924.
“The best, the truest order is the order of civilization. To be a man it is enough to carry out the requirements of civilization. The leaders of dervish orders will understand the truth of my words, and will themselves close down their lodges [tekke]…” On 30 August 1925, Mustafa Kemal’s Kastamonu speech. Only by hindsight one can appreciate what this son of a lowly militia officer in the Ottoman Empire was taking on.
Postscript: the caliphate was officially abolished and its powers within Turkey were transferred to the ruling single party GNA. The debate as to the validity of Turkey’s unilateral abolition of the caliphate was taken up by other Muslim nations in order to decide whether they should confirm the Turkish action or appoint a new caliph. A “Caliphate Conference” was held in Cairo in May 1926 and a resolution was passed declaring the caliphate “a necessity in Islam”, but failed to implement this decision in Mecca (1926) and Jerusalem (1931). Even this day the issue remains deeply controversial.
Born as Mustafa, Ataturk’s second name in Arabic Kemal (meaning Perfection or Maturity) was given to him by his mathematics teacher in recognition of his academic excellence.


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