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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Moscow deploys advanced SA-21 Growler missiles in rebuff to Obama

In a sign of the Kremlin’s increasing hostility toward NATO’s missile defense system, Moscow has begun deploying its most advanced surface-to-air missiles, the SA-21 Growler or S-400 Triumph, at its Baltic Fleet base in Kaliningrad, near Poland and Lithuania.

SA-21 Growler is a highly sophisticated, long- to medium-range surface-to-air missile system capable of intercepting and destroying targets within a range of 250 miles and an altitude of more than 18 miles.

This is the third such SA-21 Growler battery installation. The other two are in Russia’s Far East.

Moscow considers the missile system so essential to its defense that it will not allow the weapon to be exported anytime soon.

World Tribune 

Volcanic debris from Popocatepetl volcano closes Mexico airport

Ashes from Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano forced officials to close the airport in nearby Puebla for some 14 hours, to allow for cleanup after it spewed out heaps of ash and rock. The Puebla International Airport was able to reopen Wednesday after dozens of workers cleared its runways of volcanic ash that posed a risk to departing and arriving aircraft, said officials. 

The airport’s closing caused just one cancellation, a flight to Houston, Texas early Wednesday, said Puebla’s civil protection director Jesus Morales. 

Since Popocatepetl came to life several weeks ago, it has spewed gas and glowing rock as much as one mile (1.6 kilometers) beyond its crater, and has intermittently belched out water vapor and ash. Officials in this central Mexican state have prepared temporary shelters as a precaution and locals were wearing face masks to protect their lungs from ashes in a populous area around the volcano.  

The city of Puebla lies in the shadow of the volcano about 55 kilometers (35 miles) from the federal capital Mexico City. The country’s second highest peak, Popocatepetl, means ‘smoking mountain’ in the indigenous Nahuatl language. After moderate activity during most of the 20th century, the mountain registered intense rumblings beginning in 1994, with the strongest coming in December 2000, when nearby communities were evacuated
Extinction Protocol

The Code Of Life - Chuck Missler

How Dangerous Are Tehran's Subs?

Iran's fleet of twenty submarines poses a dangerous and unpredictable force in the Persian Gulf region.

The United States - with its Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain and carrier groups frequently deployed in the region - has not revealed what it knows about Iran's capabilities.

Military analysts believe the U.S. has been using aircraft, satellites, subs, and underwater sensors to monitor the activities of Iranian subs at sea.

Doing so requires entering Iranian territorial waters, but the Iranians would be unlikely to admit US warships entered their waters with impunity publicly.

Recent US war games which included achieving naval dominance, air superiority, and a coastal foothold in a fictional nation closely resembling Iran were said to include an anti-submarine warfare component.

But the efficacy of Iran's submarine fleet remains unknown due to the untested nature of most of Tehran's designs.

Russia agreed to stop selling its Kilo-class subs to Iran in 1996, forcing Tehran to develop homegrown craft. Tehran has three such vessels.

After ten years of trial and error they produced the 100 ton Qadir class vessels in 2005. Iran currently has 12 of these small diesel electric subs. The Qadir-class vessels are squarely between the old midget submarines and the Russian Kilos.

Analysts say look very similar to the Italian made Cosmos SX-506B submarines that Columbia received in the 1980s. The 100-ton SX-506Bs are only large enough to carry commandos and mines. News photos also show what may be two torpedo tubes, as well.

Russia's Cosmos exported a number of larger SX-756 vessels to Pakistan in the 1990s, which may be the design basis for the Qadir. The North Korean Sang-O classsubmarine closely approximates the Qadir type.

In 2007, North Korea gave Iran four of its Yugo-type midget submarines. These elderly Yugos are 90-ton, 65-foot craft.

Iran is also believed to possess five larger Nahang class subs. A about 500-tons it is the same size as and closely resembled the old German Type-206 class from the 1960's, which was developed for operations in the confined shallows of the Baltic.

The Type 206’s size enabled it to carry eight torpedo tubes with no reloads, but the Iranian version has been little seen and Western intelligence officials believe it is a failed design.

Tehran is now working on the third indigenous Iranian design. Laid down in 2008, the Qaaem is a 1000-ton boat and should be large enough to handle a full set of torpedo tubes along with a reload. They could be the possible replacement for Iran’s Russian-made Kilos.

Iran's Kilo 877/636 type diesel-electric submarines pose the most significant threat in Tehran's submarine fleet. The 2300 ton Kilos are long range subs capable of operating throughout the Indian Ocean.

They have six 533mm (21 inch) torpedo tubes and carry 18 torpedoes, or 24 mines. The Kilo is regarded as a formidable foe and stay at sea for up to 45 days. Iranian Kilo crews have more than a decade of experience, but the craft are more than half-way past their 30-year lifespan.

The real question is whether Iran has found ways to overcome their limited experience and technological know-how with warship construction in general, and submarine construction in particular.

The Qadir boats are reported to be troublesome for their crews and unsafe, which some analysts say may be indicative of Iranian submarine design overall.

How they would perform against the naval power and prowess of the United States, or Israel's German-manufactured Dolphin-class submarines, will remain unknown unless a shooting war erupts.

Israel National News

Euro Will Have to Be Devalued to Save EU: Siegel

LAS VEGAS — Faced with a stubborn sovereign debt crisis that just won't go away, the European Central Bank will be forced into currency devaluation, Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel said.

Despite aggressive efforts to shore up problems in Greece, Spain, Portugal and elsewhere, the ECB has yet to find the formula that will assuage market concerns that not only could the countries default on their debts, but contagion also will spread to other nations.

One obvious solution to helping the troubled nations is a devaluation of the euro, something the ECB has resisted due primarily to pressure from Germany and nations that don't have the same debt issues. Devaluing a currency enables debtor nations to meet their obligations more easily, but European nations cannot act unilaterally in monetary policy.

"Europe is a big mess," Siegel said at the Skybridge Alternatives Conference here. "Greece leaving the euro zone — I think they would love to leave if they could figure out how. The ECB, in an attempt to save the union, will lower the euro."

Siegel sees the euro  falling to 1.10 against the U.S. dollar, with a possibility that the two currencies even might reach parity.

Devaluing a currency enables debtor nations to meet their obligations more easily, but European nations cannot act unilaterally in monetary policy.

"Will that save the periphery?" Siegel said. "I give it a 50-50 chance."

Siegel has been in the news lately for a series of strongly bullish forecasts relative to the U.S. equity markets, including a recent prediction that the Dow Jones Industrial Average could hit 17,000 in 2013, a 30 percent gain from current levels.

Asked during a SALT panel discussion to name the factor that could pre-empt that forecast, he named not the troubles in Europe but rather the so-called fiscal cliff the U.S. faces if it fails to extend a number of tax breaks by the end of 2012.

Economists estimate that losing the payroll tax holiday, tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush and extended unemployment benefits, along with mandated tax increases and spending cuts, would sap about $500 billion or nearly 4 percent from the economy.

In his baseline forecast, Siegel sees Congress agreeing to extension for another six to 12 months.

"I do think we will get the extensions," he said. "But if we don't that's going to be hard."


Annan warns that Syria on the brink of civil war

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — International envoy Kofi Annan gave a bleak assessment of the crisis in Syria on Tuesday, saying violence remains at “unacceptable levels” and warning that his peace plan is the country’s last chance to avert a disastrous civil war.

Annan insisted there is still hope and said the presence of UN observers has had a calming effect on the crisis, which has killed at least 9,000 people since March 2011.

“There is a profound concern that the country could otherwise descend into full civil war and the implications of that are frightening,” Annan told reporters in Geneva after briefing a closed-door session of the UN Security Council in New York by videoconference. The observation mission, he said, “is the only remaining chance to stabilize the country.”

Syria has become one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Arab Spring, and world powers have been unable to stop the violence. Syrian President Bashar Assad still has a firm grip on power, and his regime portrays his opponents as terrorists out to weaken the country.

Although the death toll mounts daily, the UN has ruled out any military intervention of the type that helped bring down Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, in part out of fears that it could make the conflict worse. Syria is an important geopolitical linchpin with a web of allegiances to powerful forces, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and close ally Iran.

Annan said a civil war in Syria would bleed outside its borders.

“It will not affect only Syria,” he said. “It will have an impact on the whole region and this is why we should all be so concerned for the Syrians, for Syria, and for a region that for geopolitical reasons we should all be concerned about.”

Annan has led diplomatic efforts to find a political solution to the crisis, promoting a plan that calls for a truce monitored by observers to lead the way to negotiations for a resolution. But his efforts have been troubled from the start. A truce that was to begin on April 12 has never really taken hold. About 60 UN observers are currently in Syria and Annan said Tuesday that a full deployment of 300 should be on the ground by the end of the month.

He said even the small number of observers have had an effect so far.

“We’ve been small in numbers, but even where we’ve been able to place two or three observers, they’ve had a calming effect,” he said. “And I think that when they are fully deployed and working as a team, establishing relations with the people, we will see much greater impact on the work that they are there to do.”

On Tuesday, a cargo jet arrived in Damascus carrying 15 SUVs, computers and telecommunications equipment for the observers, a UN official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. Also on board were dozens of helmets and flak jackets, a sign of the conflict’s dangers.

Although the uprising began with mostly peaceful protests, the deadly government crackdown led many opposition supporters to take up arms. Now, the regime is facing an armed insurgency targeting government installations, soldiers and security forces.

Annan called on both sides to stop the violence, not only the government. He appealed to anybody carrying guns to “think of Syria, think of the region,” and disarm.

“There have been worrying episodes of violence by the government, but we have also seen attacks against government forces, troops and installations,” he said. “And there have been a spate of bombings that are really worrying and I’m sure creates incredible insecurity among the civilian population.”

He said there has been “some decrease in the military activities, but there are still serious violations in the cessation of violence that was agreed and the level of violence and abuses are unacceptable.” He noted that government troops are still present in and around cities and towns and human rights violations are extensive and may be increasing.

After Annan’s briefing, Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said his country was committed to Annan’s plan but accused “terrorists” along with members of al-Qaeda of murdering civilians and military forces in Syria.

“This is the core issue we are facing right now and what we need to deal with urgently. As far as the Syrian government is concerned, we are still committed to guaranteeing the maximum success of the mission of Mr. Kofi Annan,” Ja’afari said.

Earlier Tuesday, Jakob Kellenberger, president of International Committee of the Red Cross, said the conflict is transforming into a guerrilla war with combatants carrying out more ambushes and bombings. He also said 1.5 million Syrians are struggling to meet basic needs for food, water and shelter.

As the country struggles, the regime is pushing a reform agenda that the opposition says is little more than window dressing. On Monday, Syrians voted in parliamentary elections that the government praised as a milestone in promised political reforms. But the opposition boycotted the polls and said they were designed to strengthen Assad’s grip on power.

Counting was under way Tuesday, but it was unlikely the election for the 250-member parliament will change the trajectory of the revolt. Parliament is considered a rubber stamp in a country where the president holds the real power.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Monday that balloting in the current atmosphere in Syria “borders on ludicrous.”

On Tuesday, Annan acknowledged that his peace plan could fail.

“We may well conclude down the line that it doesn’t work and a different tack has to be taken, and that will be a very sad day, and a tough day for the region,” he said.

Asked what the next steps will be if his peace plan fails, Annan appeared at a loss.

“As to what else we do,” he said, “I think if there are better ideas I’ll be the first to jump onto it.”

The Times of Israel

Germany warns Greece it will halt aid unless it commits to bailout agreements

German Chancellor and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party leader Angela Merkel reacts before a party board meeting in Berlin, May 7, 2012

Ministers in Berlin warned that they would withhold international aid to Greece in a move which could trigger a fresh, damaging countdown to default in Athens.

Amid escalating anger in Berlin over the anti-euro backlash following elections in Athens, Greece will on Thursday receive a €4.2bn (£3.4bn) cash injection as part of its €130bn March bail-out. The eurozone has blocked a further €1bn amid uncertainty over the country's political future.

Athens, where the leader of the newly powerful Syriza party has vowed to reject the bail-out, is due to repay a €3.3bn bond next Friday.

But Germany’s foreign minister Guido Westerwelle said Greece must “recognize what’s going to happen if it repeals agreements that have been made”.

Speaking at a conference that ironically was marking Europe Day, Mr Westervelle said: “If Greece ends the reform process it has undertaken, then I can’t see that the respective tranches [of aid] can be paid out.”

The Telegraph

Syrian:Twin blasts kill over 50 as peace mission in jeopardy

Egypt Islamist vows global caliphate in Jerusalem

Egypt’s Islamists aim to install a global Islamic caliphate with its capital in Jerusalem, a radical Muslim preacher told thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in a clip released Monday.

“We can see how the dream of the Islamic caliphate is being realized, God willing, by Dr. Mohamed Mursi,” Safwat Higazi told thousands of Brotherhood supporters at a Cairo soccer stadium as Mursi – the movement’s presidential candidate – and other Brotherhood officials nodded in agreement.

“The capital of the caliphate – the capital of the United States of the Arabs – will be Jerusalem, God willing,” Higazi said. “Our capital shall not be in Cairo, Mecca or Medina,” he said, before leading the crowd in chants of “Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem.”

Higazi is an unaffiliated Islamist who is barred from the United Kingdom for making statements endorsing terror attacks against Israelis. The clip, from Egypt’s Islamist-oriented Al-Nas television station, was aired last week and uploaded to YouTube on Monday by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Members of the crowd carried banners emblazoned with slogans related to next week’s “Nakba Day,” when Palestinians and other Arabs mourn Israel’s creation in 1948.

“Tomorrow, Mursi will liberate Gaza,” an unidentified man cheers in the video before leading the crowd in chants of “Allah Akbar.”

“Banish the sleep from the eyes of all Jews,” the man repeats, accompanied by drumming. “Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, you are all Hamas… Forget about the whole world, forget about conferences. Brandish your weapons, say your prayers and pray to the Lord.”

Returning to the stage, Mursi vowed to pray in Jerusalem. “Yes, Jerusalem is our goal. We shall pray in Jerusalem, or die as martyrs on its threshold.”

Raymond Stock, an American translator and academic who spent two decades in Egypt, said the clip should come as a surprise to no one.

“This is what the Muslim Brotherhood really stands for: the extermination of Israel – and Jews everywhere – as well as the spread and control of radical Islam over the world,” he told The Jerusalem Post.

“How anyone can fail to see this boggles the mind – yet its denial is virtual dogma in the global mainstream media, US government and Western academia today,” said Stock, who has translated a number of books by the Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz.

The Brotherhood won about half of Egypt’s parliamentary seats, but its main candidate Khairat al-Shater was disqualified last month from running for president and Mursi has struggled to win wide support.

Hard-line Salafi Islamists were parliamentary elections’ biggest surprise, taking around 25% of seats.

Instead, the two front-runners are Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh – a former Brotherhood figure who has won the backing of a broad range of voters from liberals to Salafis – and Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister and Arab League chief.

A presidential election, which starts on May 23-24, will choose a replacement for Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in February last year.

Poll numbers released Monday by the state-run Al-Ahram Center show Moussa leading the field with 39%, followed by Abol Fotouh with 24%, former Mubarak premier Ahmed Shafiq with 17% and Mursi in fourth with just 7%.

Stock said Amr Moussa has a significant chance of replacing Mubarak.

“Many people want Islamist values but are afraid that Islamist control of the presidency in addition to parliament could be bad for tourism and foreign investment. Others simply like Moussa,” he said. “He is a radical nationalist with a pragmatic streak, and from a Western point of view is the best we can hope for now that Omar Suleiman has been excluded.”

“But we can’t rule out Mohamed Mursi yet – the Brotherhood machine is extremely formidable, and nearly everyone has underestimated them before,” he said, adding that “the Salafis remain wild cards, as ever.”

Jerusalem Post

Sun Polar Reversal Shift to take place this month (May)! Dr. Michio Kaku (May 9, 2012)

Farage: We face the prospect of mass civil unrest, even revolution

Greece’s New Leftist Leader Says Bailout Deal Is Dead

Greece sank even deeper into crisis on Tuesday when a centrist conservative party said leftist candidate for prime minister Alexis Tsipras would drive the country out of the euro with his proposal to reject an international bailout.

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said in a televised statement that Tsipras was asking him to sign up to the destruction of Greece with his demand that an EU/IMF bailout be rejected as the condition for a coalition government.

"I won't do this," said Samaras, whose party was the biggest after Sunday's shock election but was abandoned by many voters angered by the economic suffering imposed in exchange for a bailout that is saving Greece from bankruptcy.

Samaras said he could support a minority government but not under these conditions, indicating that Left Coalition leader Tsipras had very little chance of forming an administration, and making repeat elections in a few weeks increasingly likely.

Tsipras, 37, who came second in the election, began his efforts to form a government on Tuesday, after receiving a mandate from the president, by renouncing the bailout and threatening to nationalise banks.

His statement is likely to further unsettle jittery investors worried that Greece will again destabilise the euro zone, as it first did in 2009 when the debt crisis began.

"The popular verdict clearly renders the bailout deal invalid," Greece's youngest political leader told reporters.

An official from his party said Tsipras had demanded that the two former ruling parties, New Democracy and the socialist PASOK, withdraw pledges given in exchange for the bailout as a condition for joining his government.

A coalition alliance with these two parties had looked like the only way Tsipras could form a government.

Tsipras got the chance to form the first leftist government in the country's modern history after New Democracy gave up the task as impossible after only a few hours on Monday.

The uncertainty after Sunday's poll has caused widespread fear about the future.

"I'm confused. I feel numb and confused. Only God can save us now," said Panagiota Makri, 80, crossing herself and launching into a long prayer on an Athens street.

Tsipras received a three-day mandate from President Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday and aides said he would use the full time to meet a wide range of social groups as well as the other parties.

On paper, Tsipras simply does not have the numbers, with only 71 seats in the 300 seat parliament available to any potential leftwing alliance. The Communists have already refused to join.

The only option with a slight chance of success would see PASOK party join a coalition with Tsipras. If New Democracy stayed out of parliament for a confidence vote, rather than opposing it, Tsipras might win a majority.

His opening broadside seems to have rendered these calculations academic.

And even if such a government was formed, analysts say, it would be very fragile and last only a few months.

EU officials have rejected any compromise on the terms of the bailout and without it, Greece would run out of money by the end of June, officials estimate.

European Central Bank board member Joerg Asmussen became the latest European official to say the bailout could not be renegotiated and there were no alternatives if Greece wanted to stay in the euro zone.

A senior official in the outgoing government of technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said few of Tsipras's inexperienced aides seemed to understand that money would dry up to pay government salaries and pensions if the EU and IMF stopped the bailout.

Like many other senior politicians, the official blamed Samaras for underestimating the huge anger of the population over economic hardship, mismanagement and corruption and insisting on calling Sunday's vote instead of allowing Papademos to continue.

If Tsipras fails, the president will give a final mandate to PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, whose party was the biggest loser in the election.

If he, in turn, is unable to form a government, Greeks would go to the polls again in three to four weeks.

"The country is heading at high speed towards catastrophe," the Kathimerini daily said in an editorial.

"If a national salvation government is not formed in the coming days, new elections will become inevitable."

Chris Williamson, chief economist at London-based research firm Markit said the election had moved Greece deeper into crisis and uncertainty after the election.

"There was some hope that the lack of conclusion would galvanise parties in reorganising and shaking things up but this isn't happening which is disappointing," he said.

"There's an element of sticking heads in sand and more thought needs to go into where Greece is going and its ability to deal with deficit," Williamson said.

Out on the streets, Greeks already depressed by the economic crisis expressed apprehension about what would happen next.

"I'm afraid about what will happen now. I'm afraid because I'm not sure parties will cooperate, they are so divided," said Vaia, 30, who works for a clothing shop.

She voted for the extreme right Golden Dawn, whose success in the election has shocked many Greeks.

"I voted Golden Dawn but with a lot of doubts...I just wanted them to be in parliament, but not to be so big. I wanted them in to rock things, to force others to take care of problems."

A splinter group from the traditional Communist Party, the Left Coalition wants Greece to stay in the euro but rejects the 130 billion euro bailout, saying the country can survive without it.

Time is running out for Greece, which must come up next month with over 11 billion euros in extra spending cuts for 2013 and 2014 in exchange for more aid.

Officials told Reuters Greece could run out of cash by the end of June if there was no government to negotiate a new aid tranche with the EU and IMF.

New Democracy and PASOK won just over 32 percent of the vote and only 149 out of 300 parliament seats. PASOK won a landslide victory in the last election in 2009 with 44 percent.


11 Quotes That Show How Worried The Financial World Is About Europe Right Now

The recent elections in France and in Greece have thrown the global financial system into an uproar.  Fear and worry are everywhere and nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.  All of the financial deals that Greece has made over the past few years may be null and void.  Nobody is going to know for sure until a new government is formed, and at this point it looks like that is not going to happen and that there will need to be new elections in June.  All of the financial deals that France has made over the past few years may be null and void as well.  New French President Francois Hollande seems determined to take France on a path away from austerity.  But can France really afford to keep spending money that it does not have?  France has already lost its AAA credit rating and French bond yields have started to move up toward dangerous territory.  And Greek politicians are delusional if they think they have any other choice other than austerity.  Without European bailout money (which they won't get if they don't honor their current agreements), nobody is going to want to lend Greece a dime.
And all of this talk about "austerity" is kind of silly anyway.  It isn't as if either France or Greece was going to have a balanced budget any time soon.  Both nations were still running up huge amounts of debt even under the "austerity" budgets.
But the citizens of both nations have sent a clear message that they are not going to tolerate even a slowdown in government spending.  They want to go back to the debt-fueled prosperity of the last several decades, even if it makes their long-term financial problems a lot worse.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, Greece does not have that option.  Without the bailout money that they are scheduled to get, Greece does not have a prayer of avoiding a disorderly default.  Private investors would have to be insane to lend Greece money if the bailout deal falls apart.  Greece desperately needs the help of the EU, the ECB and the IMF and the only way they are going to get it is if they abide by the terms of the agreements that have already been reached.
The only way that Greece can avoid austerity at this point would be to leave the euro.  Nobody would want to lend money to Greece under that scenario either, but Greece could choose to print huge amounts of their own national currency if they wanted to.
The situation is different in France.  Investors are still willing to lend to France at reasonable interest rates, but if France chooses to run up huge amounts of additional debt at some point they will end up just like Greece.
What is even more important in the short-term is the crumbling of the French/German alliance on European fiscal matters.  Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy were a united front, but now Merkel and Hollande are likely to have conflict after conflict.
Instead of moving in one clear direction, the eurozone is now fractured and tensions are rising.
So what comes next?
Well, investors are not certain what comes next and that has many of them deeply concerned.
The following are 11 quotes that show how worried the financial world is about Europe right now....
#1 Tres Knippa of Kenai Capital Management: "What is going on in Europe is an absolute disaster…the risk-on trade is not the place to be. I want to be out of equities and very, very defensive because the situation in Europe just got worse after those elections."
#2 Mark McCormick, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman: "We’re going to have higher tensions, more uncertainty and most likely a weaker euro."
#3 Nick Stamenkovic, investment strategist at RIA Capital Markets in Edinburgh: "Investors are questioning whether Greece will be a part of the single currency at the end of this year."
#4 Jörg Asmussen, a European Central Bank executive board member: "Greece needs to be aware that there is no alternative to the agreed reform program if it wants to remain a member of the eurozone"
#5 Tristan Cooper, sovereign debt analyst at Fidelity Worldwide Investment: "A Greek eurozone exit is on the cards although the probability and timing of such an event is uncertain."
#6 Art Cashin: "Here’s the outlook on Greece from Wall Street watering holes. If a coalition government is formed or looks to be formed, global markets may rally. Any coalition is unlikely to make progress on goals, since austerity is political suicide. There will likely be another election around June 10/17. A workable majority/plurality remains unlikely, so back to square one. Therefore, Greece will be unable to attain goals by the deadline (June 30). Lacking aid funds, pensions are suspended and government workers are laid off. Protestors take to the streets and government is forced to revert to drachma to avoid social chaos. Pass the peanuts, please."
#7 John Noonan, Senior Forex Analyst with Thomson Reuters in Sydney: "Sentiment is very bearish, The euro is under a lot of pressure right now. I get the feeling that it’s going to be a nasty move lower for the euro finally"
#8 Kenneth S. Rogoff, a professor of economics at Harvard: "A Greek exit would underscore that there’s no realistic long-term plan for Europe, and it would lead to a chaotic endgame for the rest of the euro zone."
#9 Chris Tinker of Libra Investment Services: "It’s a binary decision. If Greece gets itself to the point where the European administration says, ‘We can’t play this game anymore,’ that starts a domino effect"
#10 Nicolas Véron, a senior fellow at Bruegel: "France has very limited fiscal space and actually has to engage in fiscal consolidation"
#11 80-year-old Greek citizen Panagiota Makri: "I'm confused. I feel numb and confused. Only God can save us now"
All of this comes at a time when much of Europe is already descending into a new recession.  Economies all over Europe are contracting and unemployment rates are skyrocketing.  Until things start improving, there is going to continue to be a lot of civil unrest across Europe.
Meanwhile, things are not so great in the United States either.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon claims that the U.S. economy is holding a "royal straight flush", but the only part of that he got right was the "flush" part.
There are 100 million working age Americans that do not have jobs, the middle classcontinues to shrink, the rising cost of food and the rising cost of gas are severely stretching the budgets of millions of American families and the federal government continues to run upgigantic amounts of debt.
When Europe descends into financial chaos, the United States is not going to escape it.  The financial crisis of 2008 deeply affected the entire globe, and so will the next great financial crisis.
Let us hope that we still have a little bit more time before the next great financial crisis strikes, but things in Europe are rapidly unraveling and at some point the dominoes are going to begin to fall.
Economic Collapse

Spanish lender Bankia is partly nationalised

Troubled Spanish lender Bankia is to be partly nationalised, the central bank has confirmed.

Bankia, which holds 32bn euros (£25.7bn) in distressed property assets and whose boss has resigned, will have a 4.47bn-euro loan by the Spanish bailout fund converted into shares.

The state fund will emerge with a stake in the bank of 45%.

Earlier, Spanish stocks fell by 3% and government bond yields rose above 6%, a level seen as unsustainable.

"The new management of Bankia will have to submit, as soon as possible, a fortified clean-up plan that will place it in a position to address its future with every guarantee of success," the Spanish central bank said.

Bankia has the industry's largest exposure to the property market, which burst spectacularly and has saddled its banks with bad debt.

Spain's fourth-biggest bank was only created in 2010 from a merger of seven struggling savings banks.'Controversial'

The BBC's business editor Robert Peston said: "The partial nationalisation will be a controversial operation, because it will lead to huge losses for many thousands of Spanish investors, who bought shares in Bankia and provided it with loan capital when it was listed on the stock market last year."

Many are worried about the level of bad debt that Spanish banks have, and fear that Spain will need a bailout.

The central bank added: "Bankia is a solvent institution that continues to operate on an absolutely normal footing. Its customers and depositors have no cause for concern."

The current Spanish government, elected in December, has so far insisted that no public money would be used to rescue banks.

But Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy conceded on Monday that "if it were necessary to prompt lending", he would do so "as a last resort".

On Monday, the executive chairman of Spain's Bankia resigned.

Now heading into a Little Ice Age, says astrophysicist

“Little Ice Age (Maunder-Dalton) circulation patterns are emerging and more rapid world cooling is taking over,” says astrophysicist Piers Corbyn.

“The Sun’s magnetic field is getting into a muddle as one half of it changes out of step with the other and this muddled behavior is likely to become very marked in MAY,” says Corbyn, of WeatherAction.com.

“The sun is entering a ‘muddled’ magnetic state. This strange behavior was pointed out by Japanese researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the Riken research foundation* who say this was the sort of behavior which probably took place during low periods of solar activity in the past** and which drove the world into a cold state of longer winters, cold Spring months and lousy summers.

“At the same time independent observers have noticed an increase in Little Ice Age type (Maunder-Dalton type) weather events and circulation patterns around the world such as more extreme hailstorms and cyclonic cold weather in Britain and Ireland with the Jet stream shifted well south***.

“These changes and findings increase our confidence in our forecast made two years ago of general world cooling and our specific forecasts for individual months and regions such as for an exceptionally cold May this year in central and east Britain and West Europe – and which comes with the present very warm weather in East Europe which we predicted 4 weeks ahead.

“Although these developing circulation patterns are generally cold the wide-amplitude swings of the jet stream of which they are part also mean there will be some warm or very warm spots. This happened in March with a generally cold or very cold Northern Hemisphere while the UK and USA were warm and extremely warm respectively.

“May will also see dramatic contrasts and we will have more of a grasp on the boundaries between contrasting parts in our detailed May forecasts for Britain and Ireland, Europe and the USA issued at the end of April.