Issue XCVI

21 OCT 2016



Euro zone can help Greece repay debt in 5 month bailout extension- document

The euro zone can help Greece repay maturing debt in the coming months with money that remains available to Athens under the current bailout if the programme is extended by five months to November, a note prepared for euro zone finance ministers said.

The financing note, seen by Reuters, put the total available amount for Greece at 16.3 billion euros ($18.3 billion), composed of 10.9 billion euros now earmarked for Greek bank recapitalisation, the 1.8 billion remaining tranche from the euro zone bailout fund and 3.6 billion euros from profits made by the European Central Bank in 2014 and 2015 on purchased Greek bonds.

The Greek bailout expires on Tuesday and the money still available would disappear if there is no request for an extension from Athens.

"A five months extension (until end of November 2015) of the current programme is feasible during which a total of 12 billion euros of financial support would be provided by the EFSF and the transfer of SMP/ANFA related profits, complemented by an assumed disbursement of the IMF of 3.5 billion euros," the note said.

"Over that period these external resources, complemented by the Greek primary surplus would allow to cover the amortisation and service of debt for a total of 14.3 billion euros and could cater for both arrears clearance and the reconstitution of some state buffers," the note said.

The money, however, could be disbursed in four tranches, each depending on the completion of various conditions and reforms by Athens.

The first tranche could be 1.8 billion euros of profits made by the ECB on Greek bond purchases and it would be sent straight to a segregated account used only for debt servicing, which would allow Athens to avoid a default on a 1.6 billion euro payment to the IMF on June 30.

But the money could only be disbursed if the Greek parliament approves a deal with creditors and passes the first set of laws on reforms. The money would also be released after euro zone national parliaments endorse the principle of disbursing the profits.

A second tranche of 4 billion euros would be paid out in mid-July after Greece completes more reforms, called "prior actions" in early July, the note said. Of that, 3.5 billion would again go straight to the debt servicing account.

Another 4.7 billion euros could be disbursed in early August on the completion of more conditions by late July, again to debt servicing account, as would the final tranche of another 1.5 billion euros in...

Merkel, Hollande dangle financing before Greece's Tsipras

The leaders of Germany and France offered to release billions in frozen aid on Friday in a last-minute push to talk Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras into contentious pension reforms in exchange for filling Athens' empty coffers until November.

The leftist premier's response, according to a Greek official, was that he could not understand why his country's creditors were seeking to impose such harsh conditions in return for money to avert imminent default and damage to the euro zone.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande, whose countries are Athens' two biggest lenders, held a 45-minute private meeting with Tsipras before the final session of a European Union summit at which they went through details of immediate funding for Greece if it would sign the deal.

The creditors laid out terms in a document that went to Greece on Thursday and was seen by Reuters on Friday. It said Greece could have 15.5 billion euros in EU and IMF funding in four installments to see it through to the end of November, including 1.8 billion euros by Tuesday as soon as the Athens parliament approved the plan.

The total is slightly more than Greece needs to service its debts over the next six months but contains no new money.

A French source said Merkel and Hollande discussed outstanding differences on reforms Greece needs to accept - centered on pension reform, labor law and increasing value added tax - as well as an extension to Athens' bailout program and financing.

Merkel and Hollande both said that Saturday's emergency meeting of euro zone finance ministers would be decisive to seal a deal before Greece has to make a key IMF repayment for which the government has said it lacks the money.

"Saturday's meeting is crucial because we are on the eve of a date, June 30, when the Greek authorities have to meet a payment obligation," Hollande told a news conference. "It's also crucial because there are parliaments that have to meet if there's a deal."

The Eurogroup ministers will meet at 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) on Saturday and Greece will be asked whether it accepts a revised offer from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, a euro zone official said.


If Greece refuses, the ministers will move on to discussing a "Plan B" on preparing to limit the damage from a Greek default to Greek banks and other euro zone countries and markets, the...


Vatican defends Australian cardinal against charges of 'disregard' of sexual abuse


VATICAN CITY/SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Vatican on Monday strongly defended Australian Cardinal George Pell against accusations by a member of Pope Francis' commission on sexual abuse that the Vatican's finance chief had little regard for victims.

Peter Saunders, one of 17 members of the commission advising the pope on how to root out sex abuse in the Church, said on Australian television on Sunday that Pell should be dismissed over allegations he failed to take action to protect children.

Pell, now charge of reforming the Vatican's economic departments, issued a statement soon after the programme aired, calling Saunders's comments "false", "misleading" and "outrageous", and said he would consult legal advisers.

In a statement published by the network on his behalf, Pell said he had always taken a strong stand against child abuse. Pell has denied moving priests accused of abuse between parishes or offering one victim inducements to drop a complaint.

The comments by Saunders, one of the most outspoken members of the commission, underscored strains within the Church on how to deal with the sexual abuse crisis that has plagued it for nearly two decades.

"Cardinal Pell has always responded attentively and in detail to the questions posed by Australian authorities," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said. Pell's comments should be "considered reliable and worthy of respect and attention".

Saunders, speaking on Channel Nine's 60 Minutes Australia programme, said of Pell: "He is making a mockery of the papal commission (into child abuse), of the pope himself, but most of all of the victims and the survivors."

"He has a catalogue of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, cold-heartedness, almost sociopathic I would go as far as to say, this lack of care," said Saunders, a Briton who was himself a victim of abuse.

Saunders said Pell should be "moved aside" and sent back to Australia to address a separate Australian abuse inquiry, which confirmed on Monday that it would ask Pell to testify. But it did not set a date or say if he would have to testify in person.

Saunders has in the past threatened to resign if the commission did not move quickly to hold accountable those bishops suspected of covering up sexual abuse by priests on their watch.

Part of the task of the commission is to help dioceses put in place best practices to prevent abuse...

Vatican commissioner accuses Australian cardinal of 'disregard' for abused children


SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Catholic Church's commissioner for the protection of children has described the Vatican's finance chief as having an almost sociopathic disregard for abused children, accusations the Australian cardinal rejected as wrong and misleading.

Pope Francis's newly appointed child abuse commissioner, Peter Saunders, said on Australian television the Vatican's prefect for the Secretariat for the Economy, Australian-born Cardinal George Pell, should be dismissed over allegations he failed to take action to protect children from abuse in the church in Australia.

"He is making a mockery of the papal commission (into child abuse), of the Pope himself, but most of all of the victims and the survivors," Saunders said on Channel Nine's 60 Minutes Australia on Sunday.

"He has a catalog of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, cold-heartedness, almost sociopathic I would go as far as to say, this lack of care," said Saunders, a British victim of abuse.

He said Pell should be "moved aside" and sent back to Australia to address a separate Australian abuse inquiry.

Pell issued a statement soon after the program aired, describing Saunders's comments as "false", "misleading" and "outrageous", and said he would consult legal advisers.

Pell, the former archbishop of Sydney and Australia's most senior Catholic, has repeatedly denied claims raised in the Australian inquiry that he moved priests accused of abuse between parishes and offered one victim inducements to drop a complaint.

That inquiry has focused in recent weeks on the rural town of Ballarat, where Pell was an assistant priest in the 1970s.

Pell, in the statement published by the network on his behalf, said he had never met Saunders and had always taken a strong stand against child abuse.

Pell said the inquiry's recent hearings in Ballarat in Victoria state had raised old allegations of which he had already been cleared.


Obama Strangles the Monroe Doctrine and Embraces Latin Dictatorships, Communists and Fascists


I wrote some time ago on how John Kerry went to Latin America and declared the Monroe Doctrine dead. Obama just finalized it in Cuba. The  [obamasniffscigar] Monroe Doctrine has been in place since 1823 and has long warned America’s enemies to not even THINK about using South America as a back door to bring Communism and aggression to our doorstep. Well, Obama has thrown that proverbial door wide open to South America and has invited in every enemy we have. Hell, he’s thrown our door at the borders open inviting them into the US as well. He wants America at war and brought to her knees and he’s really going for it now.

As Doug Ross pointed out, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 brought us to the very brink of nuclear war. The Monroe Doctrine stopped that apocalyptic nightmare from becoming a reality. Kennedy “cited the Monroe Doctrine as a basis for America’s ‘eyeball-to-eyeball’ confrontation with the Soviet Union that had embarked on a campaign to install ballistic missiles on Cuban soil.” That was before the Democrats went full blown Marxist and decided to destroy America from within her own shores. Obama has now stated for the world that the US will no longer act to resist overseas influence in the Western Hemisphere.

During the seventh Summit of the Americas, our enemies took turns swinging at American foreign policy. From 19th century territorial raids on Mexico to US support for the overthrow of Chile’s socialist government in 1973 and the 1989 invasion of Panama that removed Gen. Manuel Noriega, Washington’s interventions in Latin America were targets of rebuke during long speeches by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his allies. Obama quipped, “I always enjoy the history lessons that I receive when I’m here.” I’ll bet he does. He’s also meeting with Maduro and cuddling with him while he’s there. Dictators of a feather. Next, it will be Obama’s ongoing bromance with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who is a hardline Leftist and a long time ally of South American socialists Hugo Chávez and Evo Morales. Last week Correa tweeted “¡Heil Hitler!” in response to a Twitter user posting an article reporting that ex-Ecuadorian President Osvaldo Hurtado had called him a “fascist” for his repeated crackdowns on journalists. I’m sure...

Obama-Castro Meeting Overshadows Anti-US Line At Summit


As usual when Latin America's leftist leaders get together with United States officials, there were plenty of swipes at the US during the seventh Summit of the Americas.
From 19th century territorial raids on Mexico to US support for the overthrow of Chile's socialist government in 1973 and the 1989 invasion of Panama that removed General Manuel Noriega, Washington's interventions in Latin America were targets of rebuke during long speeches by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his allies. That prompted President Barack Obama to retort: "I always enjoy the history lessons that I receive when I'm here."
But the historic meeting between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday before the summit closed provides the US and Latin America with an opportunity to move beyond a history of grievances and mistrust and set a course of closer cooperation.
There were concerns in the run-up that recent US sanctions on Venezuelan officials could undermine the goodwill generated by Obama's decision to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba, but they proved unfounded.
The conciliatory tone was set by Castro, who joked that since Cuba had been barred from the previous summits he was entitled to speak well beyond the eight minutes allotted to each of the 30-plus heads of state in attendance.
"Since you owe me six summits when you excluded me, six times eight is 48," he said to laughter.
While much of Castro's meandering remarks consisted of condemnation of US aggression, the high point came when the ageing Cuban leader, in an abrupt about face, professed admiration for Obama.
"I have told President Obama that I get very emotional talking about the revolution," Castro said, noting that Obama wasn't even born when the US imposed sanctions on the communist island. "I apologise to him because President Obama had no responsibility for this."
The two leaders later sat down for the first meeting between Cuban and American heads of state since before the 1959 revolution that deposed Cuban strongman Fulgencio Batista.
Even Maduro eased up, forgoing a threat to deliver a petition signed by 10 million Venezuelans calling on Obama to repeal the sanctions. Instead, as what he called the ‘Summit of the Truth’ was closing, he also briefly spoke with Obama in a private exchange that Maduro said could open the door to meaningful dialogue between the two nations.
The White House said Obama reiterated...


Russia’s Lavrov to leave Iran nuclear talks; suggests deal not imminent


U.S., Russia and four other powers have Tuesday deadline

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will leave the Iranian nuclear talks in Switzerland on Monday afternoon to return to Moscow, suggesting that a deal on the political outlines of a final nuclear agreement isn’t imminent.

A Russian spokeswoman confirmed his departure but said Lavrov “is ready to come back as soon as needed” if a political deal is close. That means he could return Tuesday if needed, the official said.

The U.S., Russia, and four other world powers are facing a Tuesday night deadline to seal the outlines of a nuclear deal with Iran.

The Obama administration has said the talks could end if no political deal emerges by then, and U.S. lawmakers are threatening to pass fresh sanctions legislation on Iran in the coming weeks if there is no deal.

Russia's Lavrov to leave Iran talks, will return if chance of deal


LAUSANNE: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will leave crunch nuclear talks with Iran in Switzerland Monday and return the following day if there a realistic chance of a deal, a spokeswoman said.

"Probably if there is a realistic chance of a deal tomorrow [Tuesday] he will come back," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharovatold reporters in Lausanne.

Meanwhile, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkovvoiced optimism over talks in Lausanne , TASS news agency reported.

"An extremely intensive and very deep session of the six powers and Iran took place this morning," Ryabkov was quoted as saying. "The main thing that causes optimism is determination of all ministers to achieve results... within the current session."