Iceland forgives mortgage debt of its population

Published on Apr 12, 2012 by telesurenglish

The government of Iceland has forgiven the mortgage debt for much of its population. This nation chose a very different way of stopping the crisis from the rest of European countries. It decided to hear the requests of the population and to put politicians and bankers on the bench of the accused three years after their financial excesses would sank one of the most prosperous economies in 2008. teleSUR

http://multimedia.telesurtv.net

Iceland forgives mortgage debt of its population – YouTube.

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Greek Suicide: Austerity Measures In Greece Lead To Elderly Man Killing Self In Syntagma Square

By NICHOLAS PAPHITIS 04/04/12 01:50 PM ET


A Greek Orthodox priest holds a memorial service, at the site where an elderly man fatally shot himself at Athens’ main Syntagma square, on Wednesday, April 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS, Greece — A Greek retiree shot himself dead in the busiest public square in Athens during morning rush hour Wednesday, leaving a note police said linked his suicide with the country’s acute financial woes.

Hours later, more than 1,500 anti-austerity protesters gathered in the square, responding to social media calls for peaceful demonstrations accusing Greek politicians of driving people to despair with harsh cutbacks implemented to secure vital international bailouts.

Limited scuffles broke out between the protesters and riot police, who used a small amount of pepper spray to repel youths throwing bottles of water at them.

The 77-year-old retired pharmacist drew a handgun and shot himself in the head near a subway exit on central Syntagma Square which was crowded with commuters, police said. The square, opposite Greece’s Parliament, is a focal point for public protests.

The incident jolted public opinion and quickly entered political debate, with the prime minister and the heads of both parties backing Greece’s governing coalition expressing sorrow.

“A pharmacist ought to be able to live comfortably on his pension,” said Vassilis Papadopoulos, a spokesman for the “I won’t pay” group. “So for him to reach the point of suicide out of economic hardship means a lot. It shows how the social fabric is unraveling.”

Greece has relied on international rescue loans since May 2010. To secure them, Athens implemented harsh austerity measures, slashing pensions and salaries while repeatedly raising taxes. But the belt-tightening worsened the recession and led to thousands of job losses that left one in five Greeks unemployed.

“As a Greek, I am truly shocked,” Dimitris Giannopoulos, an Athens doctor, said before the protest. “I am shocked because I see that (the government is) destroying my dignity … and the only thing they care about are bank accounts.”

Police said a handwritten note was found on the retired pharmacist’s body in which he attributed his decision to the debt crisis.

According to a text of the note published by local media, the man said the government had made it impossible for him to survive on the pension he had paid into for 35 years. “I find no other solution than a dignified end before I start searching through the trash for food,” read the note. Police did not confirm whether it was genuine.

Greece has seen an increase in suicides over the past two years of economic hardship, during which the country repeatedly teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.

Police did not release the pharmacist’s name and offered few other details.

By Wednesday evening, dozens of written messages had been pinned to the tree under which the man shot himself, some reading: “It was a murder, not a suicide,” and “Austerity kills.”

Hundreds of protesters made their way across the street from the square to outside Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, chanting: “This was not a suicide, it was a state-perpetrated murder” and “Blood flows and seeks revenge.”

Dozens of riot police stood guard.

Papadopoulos, the protest organizer, said the suicide shows Greeks can take no more austerity.

“This suicide is political in nature and heavy in symbolism. It’s not like a suicide at home,” Papadopoulos said in a telephone interview. “There was a political suicide note, and it happened in front of a clearly political site, Parliament, where the austerity measures are approved.”

Prime Minister Loucas Papademos issued a statement as protesters gathered at the site of the suicide.

“It is tragic for one of our fellow citizens to end his life,” he said. “In these difficult hours for our society we must all – the state and the citizens – support the people among us who are desperate.”

Government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis described the incident as “a human tragedy,” but said it should not become part of the political debate.

“I don’t know the exact circumstances that led that man to his act,” Kapsis said. “I believe we must all remain calm and show respect for the true events, which we do not yet fully know.”

Evangelos Venizelos, leader of the Socialist party, said the suicide “is so overwhelming that it renders any political comment unbecoming and cheap.”

“Let us reflect on the condition of the country and of our society in terms of solidarity and cohesion,” said Venizelos, who served as finance minister for eight months before resigning to lead the Socialists.

Conservative party head Antonis Samaras said the tragedy highlighted the urgency of getting Greece out of the crisis.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first (suicide),” he said. “They have reached record levels.”

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Associated Press Television News’ Efty Katsareas contributed.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Greek Suicide: Austerity Measures In Greece Lead To Elderly Man Killing Self In Syntagma Square.

LA Artist Faces Police Questioning for Painting Banks in Flames

By Carmel Lobello Monday, August 29, 2011

It’s amazing how far everyone—even paranoid Los Angeles pedestrians—will go to protect the banks.

This summer the LAPD paid two visits to Eagle Rock artist Alex Schaefer to discuss his “incendiary” paintings of Chase bank branches engulfed in flames.

The oil painting above, which Schaefer, 41, painted on the sidewalk across the street from the branch, clearly features the roof of the building exploding with orange flames.

According to the LA Times, “Schaefer had barely added the orange-and-yellow depiction of fire shooting from the roof of a Chase Bank branch when police rolled up to the corner of Van Nuys Boulevard and Sylvan Street on July 30” and informed Schaefer that a concerned citizen had called to report his provocative oil painting.

They then asked if he was a terrorist and if he planned to do what the painting suggested.

This visit by the police was followed by another in which detectives showed up at Schaefer’s house to ask the biting questions: “Do you hate banks?” and “Do you plan to do that to the bank?”

As reported by LA Times, “He explained that the artwork was intended to be a visual metaphor for the havoc that banking practices have caused to the economy.”…

via LA Artist Faces Police Questioning for Painting Banks in Flames | Death and Taxes.

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