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Friday, May 18, 2012

Japan urges citizens to cut down on electricity use

The country is facing power shortages this summer because its 50 nuclear reactors have been taken offline.

Public confidence in nuclear safety was shaken by the meltdowns at the Fukushima power plant, triggered by last year's earthquake and tsunami.

The call for electricity reduction will take effect from July to September.

This time around the move to save power is not mandatory, unlike cuts imposed in the eastern parts of the country last summer after the nuclear crisis.'Appeal'

It is in the heavily industrialised area of western Japan, served by Kansai Electric Power, that customers have been asked to cut electricity usage by 15%.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura, after a government meeting discussing power shortages, said that there was a "need to widely instigate power-saving measures" due to the shutdown of nuclear facilities.

"The government will try hard to figure out how to implement the measures decided today so that the power savings will affect the economy and people's livelihood as little as possible," he said.

"But I would like to repeat here our appeal to the nation to save power this summer."

Japan's last nuclear reactor went offline for routine maintenance two weeks ago and none have been switched back on so far.

The government has been reluctant to order restarts of the nuclear plants against the public's wishes, even as the scarcer and more expensive electricity could have a severe effect on Japan's economy, reports the BBC's Roland Buerk.

Surveys show that almost all big businesses expect their earnings to be affected, with some preparing to move more manufacturing abroad.

Before the Fukushima meltdowns, nuclear energy powered up to 30% of the country's electricity.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Thursday that he would decide soon on the restarting of two idle nuclear reactors at Kansai Electric's Ohi nuclear plant.


Tehran rally: Bahrain-Saudi union 'US-Zionist plot'

Thousands of people demonstrated in Tehran on Friday to protest a proposed union of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, in the first step toward closer links among six Arab monarchies across the Gulf.

The authorities had urged citizens to protest what was called an "American plan to annex Bahrain to Saudi Arabia and express their anger against the lackey regimes of Al-Khalifa and Al-Saud," the dynasties ruling the two countries.

Media reports said demonstrators in the capital, many brandishing the Bahraini flag, shouted "death" to America, Israel, the "traitors" Al-Saud and Al-Khalifa.

Official media also reported protests in other cities.

The planned union between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia has triggered a war of words between Shiite-dominated Iran and the Sunni rulers of Shiite-majority Bahrain.

This weeks Tehran Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi said the "US-Zionist plot" to create a union between will fail.

"Recently ... (Riyadh and Manama) came up with this plot to annex Bahrain to Saudi Arabia ... They call it a union but they want Bahrain to lose its identity instead of giving in to its people's demands," the cleric said on state radio.

"This is US-Zionist conspiracy and they should know that the Muslim people of the world and the Iranians will not tolerate this plot ... Saudi Arabia did not prevail by its military presence there, and will gain nothing in this plot except disgrace," he added.

Tensions have escalated between Iran and its Gulf Arab neighbors since a Saudi-led Gulf force rolled into Bahrain in March 2011 to boost the kingdom's security forces, which then crushed a month-old Shiite-led uprising against the regime.

Iran has repeatedly voiced support for the protests in Bahrain and strongly condemned the deployment of Saudi-led forces.

State media reported on Friday that Tehran has summoned Bahrain's charge d'affaires in Tehran after Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad al-Khalifa warned Iran on Thursday to stop meddling in its internal affairs.

Tehran "rejects comments made by the Bahraini foreign minister and hopes that the Bahraini government finds a suitable solution to the developments there," the reports quoted a foreign ministry official as saying.

"The only way out of the existing problems is to respond to the legitimate demands of the Bahraini people," the official added.

Sheikh Khaled said the union is a "demand by the people" of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The minister said "every once in a while, we hear Iranian claims that Bahrain is the 14th governorate" of the Islamic republic and that Bahrainis want to "return to the motherland."

Saudi Arabia has also told Iran to keep out of its relations with Bahrain, where dozens of people, mostly Shiites, have been killed in violence since February 2011.

Iran hit back on Thursday, with foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast saying "the proposed union or annexation of Bahrain to Saudi Arabia" would lead to the "disappearance" of the Gulf archipelago.

Ynet News

Montreal students occupy University of Quebec

Iran to expand 20-pc uranium enrichment at Fordo with new centrifuges

New cascades of centrifuges are being installed at Iran’s Fordo nuclear underground facility raising the total to 3,000 machines. All the 800 machines operating at present are devoted to the 20-percent refinement of uranium, a grade just short of bomb material. This was disclosed by Western diplomatic sources Thursday, May 17, at the same time as Washington sources reported that the Obama administration had consented to Iran producing low-grade 5-percent enriched uranium in their secret direct dialogue.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced earlier this year that Iran would soon have 3,000 centrifuges spinning at Fordo, one-third of its ultimate goal of 9,000. Already, Tehran has accumulated a stock of more than 110 kilograms of 20-percent uranium, enough to fuel several nuclear bombs. That stock will soon be doubled or tripled by expanded production.

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that by installing new centrifuges in Fordo, Tehran is cynically mocking President Barack Obama who defined the main objectives of their back-channel dialogue as being to halt Iranian production of 20-percent enriched uranium and shut down nuclear activity at Fordo. Our Iranian sources claim Tehran never signed on to those goals. It was only tacitly understood between them that the status quo at Fordo would be maintained for the duration of talks.

In other words, Iran was permitted to continue enriching uranium not just to the 5-percent level but to 20-percent military grade in order to keep the dialogue afloat.
But now, by installing the new centrifuges in Fordo, Iran is trying to use that dialogue as a foot through the door for turning tacit, provisional American tolerance of highly-enriched uranium production taking place during negotiations into absolute US acceptance of Iran’s right to keep going unhindered and so attain the status of a nuclear power.
An eagle eye is therefore needed to stay on top of Iran’s negotiating tactics, say DEBKAfile’s military sources.

Only this week, Iranian officials admitted they were engaged in moving “step after step until the objective is achieved.” Media and other figures in Iran have hailed the US and other world powers’ consent to Iran producing low level (5 percent) enriched uranium in unlimited quantities as a huge feat gained by years of tremendous effort and the prelude to their step-by-step tactic eventually yielding more achievements.

Those comments clearly indicate that Tehran was not satisfied with what it had achieved so far and wanted a lot more.
In the last DEBKA-Net-Weekly issue of May 11, our sources reported that Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had earlier this month posted an unequivocal message to President Obama saying that, no matter what, Iran would not shut the Fordo underground nuclear plant.
The Iranian leader offered to sign and uphold the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s additional protocol for on-site spot searches, substantially increase visits by the nuclear watchdog and permit the installation of cameras and other monitoring devices in various sections of the Fordo facility – provided that economic sanctions were lifted.
The White House has not yet answered Khamenei’s note, say our Washington sources.
In view of all these developments, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke Thursday, May 17, in a CNN interview in Washington, of his apprehension that the negotiations between Iran and the major powers would soon lead to an agreement with Iran that will enable Tehran "to deceive the whole world" and continue building a nuclear weapon.

Diplomacy, he said, would not contain Iran. “We are now facing - I don't like the use of words like catastrophe that you have mentioned. It's not about catastrophe. It's about a real challenge to the whole world, not just to Israel. I think that a nuclear Iran will change the whole landscape of the Middle East. We have to do something to block it from happening, be it these sanctions or the negotiations or something else.”

Barak gave no indication of how Israel would respond to these developments, even though they are already in train.

Debka File

U.S. Congress expected to vote on legislation authorizing war with Iran

May 17, 2012 – WASHINGTON – This week, Congress is considering two pieces of legislation relating to Iran. The first undermines a diplomatic solution with Iran and lowers the bar for war. The second authorizes a war of choice against Iran and begins military preparations for it. H.Res.568: Eliminating the Most Viable Alternative to War – The House is expected to vote on H.Res. 568. 

Read the resolution. Section (6) rejects any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran. Section (7) urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and opposition to any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to Iranian enrichment. This language represents a significant shift in U.S. policy and would guarantee that talks with Iran, currently scheduled for May 23, would fail. Current U.S. policy is that Iran cannot acquire nuclear weapons. Instead, H. Res. 568 draws the “redline” for military action at Iran achieving a nuclear weapons “capability,” a nebulous and undefined term that could include a civilian nuclear program. 

Indeed, it is likely that a negotiated deal to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and to prevent war would provide for Iranian enrichment for peaceful purposes under the framework of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty with strict safeguards and inspections. This language makes such a negotiated solution impossible. At the same time, the language lowers the threshold for attacking Iran. Countries with nuclear weapons “capability” could include many other countries like Japan or Brazil. 

It is an unrealistic threshold. The Former Chief of Staff of Secretary of State Colin Powell has stated that this resolution “reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war.” H.R. 4310: Authorizing War Against Iran and Preparing the Military for it.While H. Res. 568 undermines our diplomatic efforts and lowers the bar for war, H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 begins military preparations for war. Section 1221 makes military action against Iran a U.S. policy. Section 1222 directs our armed forces to prepare for war.

U.S. attack preparations finalized: The American ambassador to Israel said this week that not only was America willing to use military force to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but that preparations had already been made for a possible attack. “It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically and through the use of pressure than to use military force,” the ambassador, Dan Shapiro, said at a meeting Tuesday of the Israeli bar association. “But that doesn’t mean that option is not fully available. And not just available, but it’s ready. The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it’s ready.” While American leaders, including President Obama and his defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have frequently said all options are on the table regarding Iran, the notion of specific plans being made is not something they typically talk about. In fact, at a March speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby, Mr. Obama warned that “loose talk of war” could actually speed Tehran’s move toward weaponization, saying “now is not the time for bluster.” –NY Times
The Extinction Protocol

US Envoy to Israel: US Ready to Strike Iran

The U.S. has plans in place to attack Iran if necessary to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons, Washington's envoy to Israel said, days ahead of a crucial round of nuclear talks with Tehran.

Dan Shapiro's message resonated Thursday far beyond the closed forum in which it was made: Iran should not test Washington's resolve to act on its promise to strike if diplomacy and sanctions fail to pressure Tehran to abandon its disputed nuclear program.

Shapiro told the Israel Bar Association the U.S. hopes it will not have to resort to military force.

"But that doesn't mean that option is not fully available. Not just available, but it's ready," he said. "The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it's ready."

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, like energy production. The U.S. and Israel suspect Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, but differences have emerged in how to persuade Tehran to curb its program.

Washington says diplomacy and economic sanctions must be given a chance to run its course, and is taking the lead in the ongoing talks between six global powers and Iran.

Israel, while saying it would prefer a diplomatic solution, has expressed skepticism about these talks and says time is running out for military action to be effective.

President Barack Obama has assured Israel that the U.S. is prepared to take military action if necessary, and it is standard procedure for armies to draw up plans for a broad range of possible scenarios. But Shapiro's comments were the most explicit sign yet that preparations have been stepped up.

In his speech, Shapiro acknowledged the clock is ticking.

"We do believe there is time. Some time, not an unlimited amount of time," Shapiro said. "But at a certain point, we may have to make a judgment that the diplomacy will not work."

The U.S. envoy spoke on Tuesday. The Associated Press obtained a recording of his remarks on Thursday.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany are gearing up to for a May 23 meeting with Iran in Baghdad. Shortly after the meeting, the U.N. atomic agency is to release its latest report card on Iran's nuclear efforts.

In Tehran on Thursday, top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili warned against Western pressure at next week's talks, which are a follow-up to negotiations in Istanbul last month that all sides praised as positive.

"Cooperation is what we can talk about in Baghdad," Jalili said in comments broadcast on Iranian state TV.

"Some say time is running out for the talks," he added. "I say time for the (West's) pressure strategy is running out."

Four rounds of U.N. sanctions have failed to persuade Iran to halt its uranium enrichment, a process that has civilian uses but is also key to bomb-making. But recent U.S. and European measures, including an oil embargo and financial and banking sanctions, have bludgeoned Iran's economy by curtailing its ability to carry on economic transactions with the international community.

Israel says a nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran would threaten the Jewish state's survival and has waged a fierce diplomatic campaign against the Iranian nuclear program for years. Israel cites Iranian calls for Israel's destruction, Iran's arsenal of missiles, and its support for anti-Israel militant groups.


Saudi + Bahrain: Decaying dictatorship shored-up by Gulf Union?

Fighter Jets In Skies Over Chicago On Friday Morning Before NATO Summit

U.S. fighter jets will be actively flying over Chicago on Friday as part of a security drill in the days before the NATO Summit.

The U.S. North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command Region fighters–including Air Force KC-135 tankers, Air Force F-16s, and a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopters–will be visible on Friday morning, beginning around 9 a.m.

Residents in the Chicago area can expect flights to continue for approximately two hours.

“Providing the air defense for special security events like this year’s NATO Summit is a part of our day-to-day mission,” said Lt. Gen. Sid Clarke, Continental U.S. NORAD Region commander said in a statement. “Our interagency partnerships are a key component to the air defense shield for events like this.”

During the NATO Summit,Air Force fighter jets will be on alert to enforce the Federal Aviation Administration’s Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) zone during the summit. Military jets have been authorized to shoot down any aircraft that violates secure airspace over Chicago.

Also on Thursday, the Pentagon commented about a You Tube video posted earlier this week that purportedly showed a surveillance drone flying over an athletic field in Elgin–about 40 miles from McCormick Place, where NATO leaders will meet on Sunday and Monday.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet reported the issue came up at a Pentagon press briefing.

Defense Department spokesman George Little said he couldn’t comment on the specific incident but added that “the U.S. military is providing a support role .. to support security for the summit. That’s in accordance with American law.”

It is unclear whether the video is authentic. Military sources contacted by CBS 2 said they did not recognize the markings on the unidentified object.


Spain's Bankia plunges on report of huge withdrawals

AFP - Shares in Spain's Bankia, taken over by the state because of its troubled loans, plunged Thursday after a newspaper said that clients had withdrawn more than one billion euros ($1.27 billion) in the past week.

Shares in the bank, created in 2010 from a merger of seven savings banks, dropped by 27.49 percent to 1.2 euros in early afternoon trading, less than one-third of their value of 3.75 euros when the shares were listed on July 20, 2011.

The daily newspaper El Mundo reported Thursday that Bankia managers told the board that in the past week, the bank had lost a "similar amount" of deposits as the 1.16 billion euros ($1.5 billion) withdrawn by clients in the first quarter of the year.

The newspaper said the new numbers were presented during a Bankia board meeting on Wednesday.

The bank had 112 billion euros in deposits from clients at the end of the first quarter.

Bankia had the sector's largest exposure to the property market at 37.5 billion euros at the end of 2011, of which 31.8 billion euros were classed as problematic.

Spain announced on May 9 that it would take a controlling 45-percent stake in Bankia by nationalising its parent group Banco Financiero de Ahorros (BFA).

Last week, Bankia said it would set aside 4.7 billion euros -- by far the highest amount among Spanish banks -- to cover potential losses in case loans to the property sector went bad, in line with a government reform plan.

Fitch Says Top 29 Banks May Need $556 Billio

The world's top 29 banks may need a total $556 billion to meet tougher new capital rules, cutting returns by a fifth and forcing them to curb investor payouts and raise customer charges, Fitch Ratings said on Thursday.

The credit rating agency studied 29 banks named by world leaders (G20) as being globally systemically important financial institutions and required to hold core capital buffers of up to 9.5 percent by the start of 2019.

The list includes Barclays [BCS 11.3492 -0.6108 (-5.11%) ], Deutsche Bank [DB 36.596 0.206 (+0.57%) ], Goldman Sachs [GS 97.405 -0.795 (-0.81%) ], HSBC [HSBA.L 513.20 -7.70 (-1.48%) ],JPMorgan Chase [JPM 33.56 -1.90 (-5.36%) ], and UBS [UBS 11.44 0.09 (+0.79%) ].

Fitch said the banks represented $47 trillion in assets and may need to raise $566 billion common equity to hit core ratios of around 10 percent to satisfy new global Basel III requirements being phased in over several years from January.

"Banks will likely pursue a mix of strategies to address these shortfalls, including retention of future earnings, equity issuance, and reducing risk-weighted assets," Fitch said.

Return on equity (ROE), a key indicator of profitability, could fall from a median 11 percent seen in recent years to about 8-9 percent under the new capital regime, Fitch said.

This would be below the average cost of equity, put at 10-11 percent by analysts.

"For banks that continue to pursue mid-teen ROE targets, for example 12-15 percent, Basel III creates potential incentives to reduce expenses further and to increase pricing on borrowers and customers where feasible," Fitch said.

HSBC said on Thursday it had an ROE near 11 percent in the first quarter, below the 12 percent target it set itself a year ago.

Fitch said banks could also seek riskier activities to bump up ROEs.

While banks have until the start of 2019 to meet Basel III requirements, many lenders will comply earlier due to investor and market pressures, Fitch said.

A typical bank would be able to meet its capital shortfall by retaining earnings for three years, it estimated.


Moody’s downgrades 16 Spanish banks

Moody’s Investor Service carried out a sweeping downgrade of 16 Spanishbanks on Thursday, including Banco Santander, the euro zone’s largest bank, citing a weak economy and the government’s reduced ability to support troubled lenders.

All the banks’ long-term debt ratings were downgraded by at least one notch, and some suffered three-notch cuts.

Spain’s banks, awash in bad loans after a real estate boom went bust, are at the heart of the euro zone debt crisis because markets fear a state bailout would put a severe strain on the country’s already stretched public finances.

Spain relapsed into an economic recession in the first quarter and likely faces a prolonged slump as the government tries to shrink itsbudget deficit by slashing spending.

“Amidst the ongoing euro area debt crisis, the Spanish government’s rising budget deficit and the renewed recession, sovereign creditworthiness has declined,” the ratings agency said. “This decline is a driver of today’s bank rating actions.”

Moody’s had cut Spain’s sovereign rating by two notches to A3 in February, placing it in the middle of its investment grade rating scale. It maintains a negative outlook on the credit.

Thursday’s move came after Moody’s downgraded 26 Italian banks on Monday and followed a press report about a run at troubled lender Bankia, Spain’s fourth-largest bank. The Spanish government, which took over Bankia last week, denied the report.

Santander suffered a three-notch cut to its long-term rating to A3 from Aa3.

Moody’s also cut BBVA’s long-term rating by three notches to A3 from Aa3 and put the credit on a negative outlook. BBVA is Spain’s second-largest lender.

Moody’s said on April 13 it would begin issuing conclusions to various reviews for European banks and global financial securities firms, including big U.S. investment banks. This process was to begin in mid-May and conclude by the end of June.

The agency cited restricted bank access to funding and rapid deterioration of asset quality for all the downgrades.

Spain’s banks have €307-billion ($391.15-billion U.S.) of exposure to a property market that crashed in 2007-2008, of which €184-billion is considered problematic, according to government estimates.

Four separate government reforms of the financial sector have failed to persuade investors that the banking system is safe, even though banks have set aside enough funds to absorb losses in up to 45 per cent of their total exposure, including performing and non-performing loans and real estate holdings.

Caixabank’s long-term rating was cut by three notches to A3. Moody’s cited the bank’s having reported a 32 per cent increase in problem loans at the end of 2011.

The ratings agency cut Bankinter’s long-term rating by three notches to Baa2, two notches above junk status. It cited the bank’s heavy dependence on wholesale funding and restricted access to market funding.

Rival ratings agency Standard & Poor’s took negative ratings action on 16 Spanish banks in April, days after it downgraded Spain’s sovereign credit rating by two notches to BBB-plus.

Fitch Ratings has Spain’s sovereign credit rating at A, about the mid-point of its investment grade scale.

The government’s borrowing costs shot higher on Thursday after data confirmed the economy was back in recession.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Wednesday his government, which is struggling to reduce the budget deficit, could soon have trouble financing itself in the bond market unless the pressure eases. The government’s strained finances are another risk for banks, since many have used cheap loans from the European Central Bank to buy three-year and five-year government bonds.

Through March, Spanish banks held almost €150-billion of Spanish government bonds, up from about €76-billion at the end of November.

U.S. bank stocks are likely to face pressure because of investor concerns about their exposure to Spain, analysts said.

But because the Spanish bank downgrades were expected and because U.S. banks had ample time to reduce or hedge exposure, the financial impact is likely to be limited.

“The downgrades have been pretty well telegraphed but I don’t think that means U.S. bank stocks won’t sell off,” said Keith Davis, an analyst with Farr, Miller & Washington. “There’s a knee jerk reaction; when things go wrong people sell first and ask questions later.”

The Globe Mail

Euro crisis ensnares Spain

The Spanish national flag is seen flying near the Plaza Colon in Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012

Moody's slashed the ratings of 16 Spanish banks on Thursday evening, citing the reduced ability of the Spanish government to provide support to the sector, as well as the "adverse operating conditions" characterised by a renewed recession.

The rating agency also downgraded Santander UK, although, at "A2," it is still rated one notch above its parent bank Banco Santander. Moody's highlighted that Santander UK has "no direct exposure to the Spanish government (or regional governments)".

Earlier in the day, shares in Bankia, the country’s fourth biggest bank, plunged by as much as 29pc amid reports that depositors had pulled out €1bn in the past week.

Madrid was then forced to pay 50pc more than in March to drum up interest in a €2.5bn (£2bn) bond. By then end of the day, borrowing costs for benchmark 10-year sovereign debt in Spain rose 2 basis points to 6.21pc, while gilts and German bunds dropped to fresh lows of 1.834pc and 1.41pc respectively. Britain’s debt management office was swamped with record demand for a 'safe haven’ £1.5bn gilt auction.

As pandemonium struck Spain, Fitch slashed Greece’s credit rating deeper into junk, from B- to CCC, to “reflect the heightened risk that [it] may not be able to sustain membership of the monetary union” and warned that all eurozone members would be at risk of a downgrade if Greece exited.

Markets across the world slumped as fears gathered that a new and incalculable crisis was approaching. In London, the FTSE 100 fell to a six month low, dropping 1.2pc to 5,338 points, while France’s CAC and Germay’s DAX also dived 1.2pc, and Wall Street dropped almost 1pc in early trading

In Spain, Nicholas Spiro, managing director at Spiro Strategy, said the high cost of the Madrid bond auction was evidence that “'break-up contagion’ is seeping into Spanish yields”. “Make no mistake about it, these are painful auctions for the Treasury,” he added.

In a desperate plea to Brussels, Spain’s economy secretary Fernando Jimenez Latorre said: “Spain is making every necessary adjustment to fiscal police, structural reforms and there should be some kind of reaction from the European Central Bank to support us.”

Mr Latorre was bounced into denying claims that there was a run on savings at Bankia or that the banks’s shares were being suspended. “It’s not true that there is an exit of deposits at this moment from Bankia,” he claimed.

Bankia’s chairman, Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri, said depositors could remain “absolutely calm”. Following the intervention, the shares recovered a little to close 14pc lower. The day had already begun badly with confirmation that Spain was back in recession, shrinking 0.3pc in the first three months of the year.

As the crisis in the euro periphery spiralled out of control, divisions at its core deepened further. Pierre Moscovici, France’s newly-appointed finance minister, reiterated that the fiscal pact “will not be ratified as it stands” in the face of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble’s call “to create a political union now”.

David Cameron also demanded urgent action by Europe’s leaders for closer integration to spare the world economy from disaster ahead of crunch talks at the G8 meeting today in Camp David.

With the odds on Greece leaving the euro shortening, economists warned a messy exit could cost the eurozone up to $1trillion (£630bn). Even the International Monetary Fund could be at risk of losing its bail-out contributions.

Fabrice Montagne at Barclays Capital said: “Even though the IMF prides itself on never having made any losses on a programme, a Greek exit would certainly challenge this record.”

The Telegraph

Cameron slams Euro bosses as people pull the plug