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Fri, 18 Sep 2020
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Anxious Greeks Emptying Their Bank Accounts

Greek Bank
© Agence France-Presse
A branch of the Greek central bank. Bank deposits are falling rapidly.

Many Greeks are draining their savings accounts because they are out of work, face rising taxes or are afraid the country will be forced to leave the euro zone. By withdrawing money, they are forcing banks to scale back their lending -- and are inadvertently making the recession even worse.

Georgios Provopoulos, the governor of the central bank of Greece, is a man of statistics, and they speak a clear language. "In September and October, savings and time deposits fell by a further 13 to 14 billion euros. In the first 10 days of November the decline continued on a large scale," he recently told the economic affairs committee of the Greek parliament.

With disarming honesty, the central banker explained to the lawmakers why the Greek economy isn't managing to recover from a recession that has gone on for three years now: "Our banking system lacks the scope to finance growth."

He means that the outflow of funds from Greek bank accounts has been accelerating rapidly. At the start of 2010, savings and time deposits held by private households in Greece totalled €237.7 billion -- by the end of 2011, they had fallen by €49 billion. Since then, the decline has been gaining momentum. Savings fell by a further €5.4 billion in September and by an estimated €8.5 billion in October -- the biggest monthly outflow of funds since the start of the debt crisis in late 2009.

The raid on bank accounts stems from deep uncertainty in Greek households which culminated in early November during the political turmoil that followed the announcement by then-Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou of a referendum on the second Greek bailout package.

Papandreou withdrew the plan and stepped down following an outcry among other European leaders against the referendum, and a new government was formed on Nov. 11 under former central banker Loukas Papademos. That appears to have slowed the drop in bank savings, at least for the time being.


US: Scandals Reveal Sex Offender Laws' Limits

In Hand Cuff's
© iStockPhoto

Sex crimes against children have been in the news recently, most prominently accusations against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky and Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine.

Claims that the men abused boys for years made the news largely because they are affiliated with high-profile college athletics. But the accused men are very typical of most sex offenders in one important way: neither appears on any sex offender registry (required by legislation known as Megan's Law) because they are not convicted sex offenders.

The public widely believes that Megan's Laws protect children by alerting parents and teachers to those individuals most likely to abuse children, but the opposite is true. The fact is that the vast majority of people who physically and sexually abuse children are not convicted sex offenders and therefore are not covered under public notification laws.

There's simply no evidence that Megan's Laws work -- and considerable evidence that they don't.


Nearly 60 killed in rare attacks on Afghan Shiites

© AP/Ahmad Jamshid
An Afghan man is comforted by relatives outside of a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.
Kabul - A suicide bomber struck a crowd of Shiite worshippers at a mosque in Kabul on Tuesday, killing at least 55 people in the deadliest of two attacks on a Shiite holy day - the first major sectarian assaults since the fall of the Taliban a decade ago.

Four other Shiites were killed in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif when a bomb strapped to a bicycle exploded as a convoy of Afghan Shiites was driving down the road, shouting slogans for the festival known as Ashoura. Health Ministry spokesman Sakhi Kargar gave the death toll and said 21 people also were wounded in that attack.

The Kabul bomber blew himself up in the midst of a crowd of men, women and children gathered outside the Abul Fazl shrine to commemorate the seventh century death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson Imam Hussein. Some men were beating themselves in mourning and food was being distributed.

The shrine, which is near the presidential palace, was packed with worshippers and dozens more were crammed into the courtyard. One witness said the bomber was at the end of a line and detonated his explosives near one of the gates to the shrine.

Bodies of the dead lay on top of one another where they fell to their deaths. Survivors with blood-smeared faces cried amid the chaos.

Comment: Why is terror so rampant in areas where the U.S. (Western) Empire attempts colonization?


US: Occupy LA Arrest Scandal Update: A Visit to the Raided Camp, Freed Protesters Speak and Bad News About Our Legal Situation

© The Associated Press/Mark Boster/Poo
Los Angeles Police inspect a tent with guns drawn at the Occupy Los Angeles encampment at Los Angeles city hall on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011.
On Friday, December 2, the Los Angeles Police Department finally decided to release most of 200+ Occupy LA protesters who had been held in detention for more than 48 hours. Many of them were expected to show up at the General Assembly scheduled for 7:30 p.m on the south steps of City Hall. So I cruised down to see what I could find out...

I parked two blocks away and walked to City Hall on foot. It was almost unrecognizable. The park/square in front of the building, as well as the grassy areas running along the perimeter, were now completely blocked off with concrete barriers and a high chain-link fence. It was an eerie sight. What had been filled with tents, people and activity just a few days ago was now empty and scrubbed clean. The area looked condemned.

And there were cops everywhere. Some stood in packs around their police cars, others patrolled the fenced-off perimeter on foot while motorcycle cops circled the block in pairs. There were reinforcements outside LAPD's massive headquarters, conveniently located across the street from City Hall. Cops eyed me suspiciously as I walked by, and there were at least a half-dozen uniformed cops perched on the stairs above the assembly, listening to the GA proceedings. It was as if the city expected a surprise guerrilla raid.


Julian Assange Wins Right to Pursue Extradition Fight

© PA
The judges refused Wikileaks founder Julian Assange permission to appeal
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has won the right to petition the UK Supreme Court in his fight against extradition to Sweden.

He lost a High Court battle last month to be extradited over alleged sex offences, which he denies.

Judges refused Mr Assange permission to appeal directly to the Supreme Court - but said his case raised "a question of general public importance".

He can now directly ask the Supreme Court to look at his case.

However, Mr Assange, who was at the London court to hear the judges' ruling, still has no automatic right to be heard by the highest court in the UK.

He was cheered by supporters as he left the Royal Courts of Justice and, alluding to an MPs' debate later on calls for the renegotiation of extradition rules, he said there were "many aggrieved families in the UK and other countries and in Europe struggling for justice".

Speaking of his own case, he said: "I think that is the correct decision, and I am thankful. The long struggle for justice for me and others continues."


'Twelve Days of Christmas' for TSA screeners as they confiscate two machetes, six grenades, and 23 loaded guns in last week of holiday travel

TSA baggage screeners found the grenades while X-raying a woman's checked luggage

© blog.tsa.gov
Shoe bomb: A 6th inert grenade was found stuffed in a sock and then stuffed in shoe at the Greenville South Carolina airport
Five grenades were discovered inside a Newark Liberty Airport passenger's bag Saturday but that was just the start of the security administration's surprising list.

The grenades were found to be 'inert,' by the Transportation Security Administration, carried by a Belgium-bound woman who surrendered her items, according to TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein to the Associated Press.

A sixth grenade, found bundled in a sock that was stuffed in a shoe, was also discovered in a South Carolina airport and was mutually inert, according to a report by TSA Social Media Analyst Bob Burns.


US, New Jersey: Disarmed Grenades Found in Woman's Luggage at Newark Airport

TSA baggage screeners found the grenades while X-raying a woman's checked luggage
Authorities at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey discovered five disarmed grenades in the luggage of a woman seeking to board a flight to Belgium, the Transportation Security Administration said on Monday.

The TSA said baggage screeners had found the grenades while X-raying the woman's checked luggage on Saturday.

TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said the woman, who has not been named, surrendered the items to authorities without incident and was then allowed to board the flight. Farbstein did not say why the woman was carrying the grenades.

Port Authority Police has law enforcement authority over the airport and said on Monday they were not called in for the incident.


US: Woman Accused Of Leaving Dead Friend's Body Under Christmas Presents

© York County Police
Mug shot of Patty White.
Police say a York County woman admitted to killing a 67-year-old family friend in Florida and leaving the woman's body underneath a pile of Christmas presents in her own home.

Patty White, 40, has been arrested for allegedly killing 67-year-old Michele O'Dowd in her Jacksonville home Friday. Jacksonville police indicated to CBS Charlotte that while no charges have been filed to this point, the case against White will be a homicide case.

Jacksonville police said White stole two of O'Dowd's charge cards following her death, attempting to take money out of her account from at least two area ATMs. Police added that O'Dowd let White, a family friend, stay with her when she fell on difficult times.

Che Guevara

Thousands protests against Putin after Russia vote

© Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin
A participant shouts during an opposition protest in central Moscow December 5, 2011.
Several thousand people protested in central Moscow on Monday against what they said was a fraudulent parliamentary election, shouting "Revolution!" and calling for an end to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's rule.

The protest, a day after an election in which Russians sharply reduced the parliamentary majority held by Putin's United Russia party, appeared to be one of the biggest opposition demonstrations in Russia in years.

Potesters initially gathered in the rain on a tree-lined boulevard where they had permission for a rally. They denounced the vote as shameful and shouted "Russia without Putin!"


US: Postal Service Confirms Cuts That Will Slow Mail Down

If you still mail a check to pay your bills, it's going to take longer for them to get where they're going starting in January.

As CBS 2's Susanna Song reports, the U.S. Postal Service on Monday morning announced major budget and service cuts.

As a result of the $3 billion in cuts, first-class mail that used to take just one day to deliver will now take two to three days. Stamps will also rise in cost by 1 cent to 45 cents, starting next month.