In Greece talks, trust is another currency in short supply


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has begun the tricky task of attempting to win domestic support for unpopular austerity measures to help secure a third bailout by creditors, after a marathon overnight meeting ended in a “deal” that would keep Greece in the European Union.

As Reuters reports,

..he must pass legislation to cut pensions, increase value added tax, clamp down on collective bargaining agreements and put in place quasi-automatic spending constraints. In addition, he must set 50 billion euros of public sector assets aside to be sold off under the supervision of foreign lenders and get the whole package through parliament by Wednesday.

So perhaps understandably, he faces something of a revolt, not least from within his own party.



An emergency summit of Eurozone leaders is still meeting in Brussels in the early hours of Monday, in a bid to find some resolution to the quagmire that is the Greek financial crisis, and agree some immediate practical next steps.

German chancellor Angela Merkel said that “the situation is extremely difficult if you consider the economic situation in Greece and the worsening in the last few months, but what has been lost also in terms of trust and reliability.” The Washington Post writes that “this echoes what a lot of other Europeans are saying – that Greece simply cannot be trusted to deliver on its end of any deal.” But the lack of trust goes both ways.

Athens has been told its government must pass a series of sweeping austerity measures by Wednesday for discussions to begin on a possible bailout. But as the Wall Street Journal reports, supporters of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras are “struggling to understand how the new deal on the table is tougher than the one they rejected.”

Amid talk of a “humiliation” of Greece, details had spread of the creditor demands, including a €50bn transfer of Greek state assets, required ahead of discussions over a new loan. The hashtag #ThisIsACoup was quickly trending on Twitter.

Paul Krugman writes at the New York Times that the Eurogroup’s demands constitute “pure vindictiveness”.

It is, presumably, meant to be an offer Greece can’t accept; but even so, it’s a grotesque betrayal of everything the European project was supposed to stand for.

John Cassidy writes at the New Yorker on Germany’s “indecent proposal” and the claims of former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis that his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schäuble, isn’t interested in a deal to keep Greece in the Eurozone.

Dirk Kurbjuweit, in an editorial in Spiegel writes that, with so much at stake, it’s time for “realpolitik” and “small steps.”

This means that Germany must display forbearance. Germans have been forgiven for so much in their own history that they should also be capable of forgiving others. Despite mistakes made by the Greeks, solidarity remains the correct course. That’s not to suggest that the Tsipras administration can ignore the treaties Greece has with the EU. Nor should there be a debt haircut, because Spain and Portugal would demand equal treatment and that would place an unbearable strain on the euro zone. However, deferments and interest rate discounts are possible. No one should be too proud to talk about the possibility of concessions.

* Follow live updates at The Guardian here.

* Follow live updates at the BBC here.

* Follow live updates from CNBC here.

* Follow live updates from Politico here.

Meanwhile, CNN reported that Russia was preparing to throw Greece an “energy lifeline.”

Again, here are some explanations of why what’s happening, and how it gets resolved, is important:


* WORLD * An announcement of an Iran nuclear deal is thought to be possible on Monday, according to diplomats.

But the agreement has already attracted criticism from Republicans in the US and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

After the escape of drug baron El Chapo from Mexico‘s most secure prison, Patrick Radden Keefe writes at the New Yorker that 

Details are still emerging about the nature of the escape, but, at a press conference this morning, Mexico’s Commissioner of Public Security, Monte Alejandro Rubido, announced that Guzmán had entered a tunnel, which appears to have started inside the shower in his cell. In the tunnel, he hopped onto a motorcycle that was specially modified to run on rails, and escaped. Chapo is not one to dig his own tunnels, and according to Rubido, this passage was an industrial feat.  It featured lighting and ventilation, and extended 1.5 kilometers to a house outside the prison walls. By the time authorities searched the house, Guzmán had vanished.

And perhaps predictably..


* POLITICS * In what passes for “real” politics, the GOP field grows again on Monday when Wisconsin Gov Scott Walker is expected to declare his candidacy, after jumping the gun slightly on Twitter the other day. His entry brings a potential midwest electoral strategy into play for the national election, if he makes it out of the primary.

Patrick Healy at the New York Times writes that while Walker has been running strongly in GOP opinion polls in Iowa, some previous gaffes have had donors and the party hierarchy concerned.

The goal is to no longer sow doubts with comments like comparing pro-union protesters to Islamic State terrorists, refusing to answer a question about evolution, or saying he does not know if President Obama is a Christian or if he loves America.

Whether Mr. Walker can demonstrate that he has a command of the challenges facing America, and is big enough for the presidency, will be tested in the coming weeks on the campaign trail and in televised debates.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton delivers a business-themed speech at the New School in New York on Monday in which she will say that “businesses are too fixated on short-term profits, especially on Wall Street, and she will pledge to help workers get better pay and more family-friendly workplaces,” Reuters reports.

According to Politico, the end of the campaign might be closer than you think..

With the exception of the 2000 election—which was an outlier on every front—voters locked in their attitudes about the direction of the country, the state of their own well-being and the presidential candidates—and their political party—prior to the start of the general election. Once voters’ views solidified, subsequent campaign events or activities simply served to reinforce their initial perceptions about the candidate and party best prepared to lead the country.


* MEDIA * The government has announced details of its advisory panel which will review the future of the BBC.


* BUSINESS * Nintendo President Satoru Iwata died aged 55. “Video games are meant to be just one thing. Fun. Fun for everyone.”

Tiffany Hsu writes at the Los Angeles Times on the boom in luxury real estate marketing, and why it takes a $40,000 video to sell a $33million house.


* SPORTS * Raheem Sterling is set to become the most expensive English footballer after a £49m transfer was agreed between Liverpool and Manchester City.

express sport(Tomorrow’s Papers Today/Daily Express)

Finally with Baseball’s All Star Game festivities under way in Cincinnati, CBS’s Major Garrett makes total and absolute sense, writing at the Washington Post that it’s finally time to End the Home Run Derby.

Baseball is a beautiful game with a startling array of subtle skills displayed within the varied geometric dimensions of every ballpark. Let the stadium for each All-Star Game become a shrine for the best baseball produces — not this clownish descent into slow-pitch slobbery.


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