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Give Greece a chance

Posted by arnon_k On September - 29 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Why EU is to blame for currency crisis

IT’S not Greece that has let Europe down – but the EU that has let the Greeks down, one leading expert believes.
Vicky Pryce, the Greek-born leading economist and ex-wife of Lib Dem Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, urges the world to stop beating up her motherland.
Here, she explains why Brussels should have done more to take action against Athens’ corrupt politicians.

AS a Greek brought up under the military junta which ruled Greece between 1967 and 1974, I remember my sense of shame when I talked to people in the UK after I arrived here to study economics.

It was hard to explain how the country where democracy originated had fallen so low. It is a bit like this again. UK ministers delight in Greek bashing, having found a country to blame for the ills of the eurozone and as an example of what might happen if we in the UK also plunged into fiscal profligacy.

In the process I have become one of the few apologists for my country, which this time does need some defending. Is it fair to describe the Greeks collectively as a lazy, corrupt nation of tax dodgers and overspenders who falsified the figures to be allowed to join the euro area in 2001?

Well, it is puzzling how the Greeks were able to get away with manipulating data to get entry into the eurozone — but so did others, though to a lesser extent. Surprisingly, this included France and Germany.

And it is true that the Greeks avoid taxes if they can.

But they mistrust governments that use tax receipts to buy political favours by creating superfluous jobs for those who vote for them — leading to a bloated public sector.

Because these jobs were never paid enough, the only way to get anything done was for money to change hands if you wanted to see the state doctor/lawyer/official.

Membership of the EU should have changed that.

The Greeks I know work hard to earn a living, are loyal to their family, are entrepreneurial and adventurous. And everyone I talk to had hoped that the Brussels technocrats would help change the system — but little of that happened.

The euro entry was good for Greece in the short term because it initially brought in much lower interest rates. But it did not lead to any serious investment in productive plant and equipment, skills and infrastructure — or reform in the administrative system.


The result was that when the global financial crisis struck, the Greek economy had already lost so much competitiveness that the only way from then on was down.

It is the collective failure of Europe to anticipate and deal properly with the periphery countries that explains much of Greece’s current decline.

No one was keeping an eye on the huge mistakes made by the Greek political classes.

But the ordinary Greek wants change and I hope that the country I know and love gets a second chance.

Spook or spoof?

Posted by arnon_k On September - 29 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

CCTV appears to show a ‘ghost’ haunting a phone shop

CCTV footage posted on YouTube appears to show the ‘ghost’ of a young girl haunting a well-known mobile phone store

A spooky-looking female figure can be seen walking past a doorway at the back of the store, pausing to turn her head and look straight into the recording surveillance camera.

The opening credits state that today’s shop was “built on the site of a Victorian orphanage” — suggesting that the ‘spirit’ is one of its dead orphans.

The credits add that this is an authentic ghost sighting: “This is genuine footage which has been examined by experts.

“They were unable to provide any answers.”

Andrew Dasilva, who came across the video and posted it on YouTube, said: “I couldn’t believe this when I saw it, it freaked me out.

“I said to my mate that we had to put it out there so people could make a judgement for themselves.

“I still don’t know what to think of it. It’s absolutely surreal.”

But this viral spook could well be the work of pranksters using special effects.

One YouTube user was unconvinced by the video and commented: “With all the special effects people put into their videos nowadays, I don’t believe this s***”.

Take a look at the video above and decide for yourself whether it’s a real spook or a video spoof.

Ashton and Demi ‘could be no Moore’

Posted by arnon_k On September - 29 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

‘Marriage split’ claim after allegation he cheated

ASHTON Kutcher and Demi Moore’s marriage could be “over” after internet claims that the actor had cheated on his superstar wife.

A previously authoritative American website alleges 33-year-old Kutcher romped with an unidentified 23-year-old woman following a nightclub bender in San Diego last Friday.

Showbiz site insists it knows the name of the woman reported to have had a liaison with the new Two And A Half Men star — but is so far choosing not to identify her.

Radaronline claimed that the woman is currently taking legal advice. A friend of hers is quoted as saying: “She is due to meet with an attorney tonight. She is freaking out.”

The unconfirmed reports – yet to attract a response from Kutcher or Moore, 48 – come as the site’s sister celeb magazine Star is said to be about to publish a claim that the Hollywood megastars’ marriage is “officially over” as a result of his alleged cheating.

The mag quotes a source it describes as close to the couple saying: “Ashton and Demi have separated and the marriage is over.

“The relationship ended because of Ashton’s serial cheating. It’s a painful time for Demi.”

Kutcher has always denied any infidelities.

Pretty 21-year-old Brittney Jones recently alleged she had an affair with the actor in July after meeting at a Hollywood bowling lane.

Kutcher and Moore celebrated their six-year wedding anniversary this month.

They were married in a Los Angeles Kabbalah centre in 2005 after dating for two years.

Ghost star Moore was previously married to Bruce Willis for 13 years. They had three daughters together.

Kutcher recently replaced troubled Charlie Sheen in hit US sitcom Two And A Half Men.

Rihanna falls for Brit boxer

Posted by arnon_k On September - 29 - 2011 1 COMMENT

Champ Dudley O’Shaughnessy is singer’s new fella, ella, ella
POP superstar Rihanna has fallen for a hunky former British Olympic boxing hopeful.

The singer, 23, has been “flirting outrageously” with model Dudley O’Shaughnessy — who she hand-picked for the video of her next single We Found Love.

A source on the video shoot in Northern Ireland said: “Rihanna was making no secret that she fancied the pants off Dudley. They hit it off straight away.

“She had seen his modelling shots and other pictures when he was a boxer.

“Rihanna took every opportunity to get close to him and at one point she was sitting in his lap during a break from filming.

“She’s very tactile anyway, but this was something else.”

Amateur boxing champ Dudley, 21, was signed up as a model by a scout who spotted him at a London Tube station two years ago.

Before that, the 6ft light-middleweight was dedicated to boxing — in a bid to be selected for Team GB at the 2012 Olympics.

The source said: “Dudley was giggling like a schoolboy when she had to shoot a scene in a see-through top.


“She was teasing him with a peek at her cleavage and winking at him.

“Dudley can’t believe his luck. Rihanna’s girlfriends are teasing her, singing songs about her romance.”

Dudley, of Canning Town, East London, is signed to Next Model Management, the same agency as Alexa Chung and Alice Dellal.

Rihanna’s last long-term boyfriend was rapper Chris Brown — who she split from after he assaulted her.