Western European News Digest
Will Italy Opt Out of Next Greek Bailout Round?
July 29 (EIRNS)During a conference call of Eurogroup finance officials, the Italians said they might have to use the "step out" option when the September tranche of the Greek bailout is released, Reuters reports. The reason is that Italy would have to pay a higher interest rate for the money it would have to raise for its contribution.
The Italians probably put the issue on the table as a negotiating card. Were they to do it, it would be the coup de grâce to the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) and the euro.
'Indignants of Syntagma' Call for New Mass Demonstration
July 25 (EIRNS)The Greek "Indignants of Syntagma" have issued a statement denouncing the Eurogroup's bailout as a declaration of war against Greek society, while calling for a mass demonstration on Sept. 3.
Declaring that the demonstrations will continue to occupy city squares throughout the country, throughout the Summer, the Indignants announced that they are calling "on September 3 for a new big mobilization in order to link the current struggle with others of our people, against tyranny and despotism." Sept. 3 is the anniversary of the first Constitution, after the overthrow of the military junta.
Meanwhile in Spain, 200,000 Indignados demonstrated throughout the country on July 23, including in Madrid, which marked the culmination of weeks of marches by the Indignados from six different parts of Spain.
French Towns Drowning in Toxic Debt
July 25 (EIRNS)The debt of local government bodies in France (municipalities, departments, and regions) has exploded by 41% in less than six years, says the latest report of the Cour des Comptes. The debt rose from EU116.1 billion in 2004 to EU163.3 billion in 2010, a whopping increase caused by the French government's withdrawal of funding, which was compensated for by borrowing from the banks.
'Martina' Sets Record for Tunnel Technology
July 29 (EIRNS)The world's largest tunnel-boring machine, named Martina, went into operation Thursday in Italy. Martina is 130 meters long, and as tall as a five-story building. It has been commissioned by the German firm Herrenknecht to proceed quickly and safely in the construction of the second leg of the A1 highway between Bologna and Florence. The new highway, called Variante di Valico, will run for about 65 km, through a series of tunnels and viaducts through the Apennines, and will be used not as an alternative, but as an addition to the old highway, which is full of curves.
Martina solves the problem of working safely through the highly unstable terrain, which is partly soft and full of water. It will be able to advance 15 meters per day, and workers will operate it in an insulated and protected chamber. The expected deadline for concluding the project is 2013.
France Wants To Implement 'Vigilant Neighbors' Self-Policing
July 25 (EIRNS)French President Nicolas Sarkozy talks tough on crime, but is slashing funding for local police. The solution? His Interior Minister Claude Guéant wants to have private citizens to enlist as "volunteer" police informants.
The vicious concept was first promoted 2008 in the town of Cour-Chevery (pop. 2,700). Phase one: Gendarmerie forces were given huge areas to monitor, far too large for their real capacity to keep the area safe. Phase two: In 2008, a wave of thefts hit a residential area in Cour-Chevery, with 15 villas burgled. Phase three: Local citizens patrol the area and form a private armed militia, embarrassing the local authorities. Phase four: As an excuse to keep things going out of control, the gendarmerie proposed Operation "Vigilant Neighbors," i.e., a vigilante network among neighbors including, as in East Germany, a "reference" person on every block.
U.K. Minister Pushes Glass-Steagall-Type Bank Reform
July 26 (EIRNS)Vincent Cable, Britain's Business Secretary, today called for full separation between commercial and investment banking. Cable did not use the name Glass-Steagall, but his opponents did in attacking him. Speaking to a consumer group, Cable called on the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) to review its "ring-fencing" recommendation in favor of a full separation. "My own instincts lie with full separation of retail and proprietary banking," Cable said.
Cable's initiative confirms the existence of a faction in the British establishment which is not willing to go under with the expiring monetarist system under the current policies of the City of London.
Europeans Cut Subsidies for 'Renewables'
July 27 (EIRNS)European countrieshaving paid a hefty price for their stupidityare now forced to reduce subsidies for solar and wind "renewable" energy.
The Netherlands has reacted most sharply. It is reducing its targets for "renewable" energy and slashing the subsidies for wind and solar power. It has also given the green light for the country's first new nuclear power plants in almost 40 years.
Italy's government passed a decree to stop solar energy and made deep cuts in wind energy, due to their high costs to consumers and technical problems integrating these sources into the existing infrastructure.
Spain slashed payouts for wind projects by 35% while denying support for solar thermal projects in their first year of operation.
In Spain, green jobs can require a subsidy of $1 million per job. Wind-related jobs in Denmark are subsidized at the rate of 175-250% above average pay, costing taxpayers roughly $90,000 to $140,000 for each green employee.
New Waves of Health Rationing in U.K.
July 28 (EIRNS)New rationing of medical treatment procedures is being instituted in Britain, under the various regions of its National Health System, for all kinds of procedures newly designated as "non-urgent" or of "limited clinical value," in order to comply with national health care cost-cutting goals of some £20 billion over the next four years.
Details of the rationing were obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests by the health service magazine GP, and were published today by www.independent.co.uk and other media.
Examples of the rationing now in use, as reported by The Independent today:
"Hip and knee replacements only being allowed where patients are in severe pain. Overweight patients will be made to lose weight before being considered for an operation.
"Cataract operations being withheld from patients until their sight problems "substantially' affect their ability to work...
"Patients with varicose veins only being operated on if they are suffering 'chronic continuous pain,' ulceration, or bleeding;
"Tonsillectomy (removing tonsils) only to be carried out in children if they have had seven bouts of tonsillitis in the previous year.
"Grommets to improve hearing in children only being inserted in 'exceptional circumstances' and after monitoring for six months...."
'Never Again' Let the British Be Your Ally
July 27 (EIRNS)Robert E. Hunter, U.S. Ambassador to NATO during the Clinton Administration, in a letter to London's Financial Times, charged that Great Britain bears the responsibility for the Srebrenica, Bosnia, massacre of Bosnians during the Bosnian-Serbian war. This hard-hitting attack was launched in response to a letter to the FT (July 16) by one of Her Majesty's dogs of war, Gen. Sir Michael Rose (ret.), who was NATO Commander in Bosnia in 1994, who lobbied for a ground war, as a trap for President Clinton, who, with the help of a major mobilization by the LaRouche movement, did not fall for it.
With typical lying British hypocrisy, Rose had blamed the United States' support for Bosnia and Croatia, and the failure of NATO to send ground troops. Hunter concluded his letter by evoking the phrase "never again."
LaRouche on Radio in Birmingham, U.K.
July 27 (EIRNS)Lyndon LaRouche was interviewed for 30 minutes on "New Style" radio's evening broadcast on July 27. In addition to serving the large Caribbean community in the U.K., host Dave Prince has a worldwide Internet audience.