Bargain Hunting in Greece

Posted on noviembre 13th, 2011 in Essays 8 - 14 by andogo

German companies are hunting for bargains in Greece as the debt-stricken government moves to sell state-owned assets to stabilize the country’s finances. Deutsche Telekom AG on Monday said it would purchase an additional 10% stake in Greece’s Hellenic Telecommunications Organization SA for about €400 million, or roughly $590 million, increasing the German company’s ownership to 40%.The purchase of OTE, as the Greek telecom is known, will be a steal compared with the nearly €4 billion the German company has paid since 2008 to amass its 30% stake.

Other German companies are bargain hunting in Greece, despite foreign investors’ mixed experiences in the crisis-hit country. Fraport AG, which owns and operates Frankfurt Airport, has expressed interest in acquiring Greece’s 55% stake in Athens International Airport.

Greece hopes to realize about €50 billion from privatization of state-owned assets by 2015. The sales come as the country is under pressure from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to reduce the country’s €340 billion in debt. Despite an austerity program, Greece has been unable to persuade its creditors that it can avoid bankruptcy.

Germany isn’t alone in expressing interest in Greek assets when prices are likely to be low. CEZ AS, a power company based in the Czech Republic, in April said it is considering potential acquisitions of Greek electricity-generation assets. But for German companies on the prowl in Greece, the strength of their home economy and a history with privatization could provide a leg up.

Germans have substantial experience with fire sales of state-owned assets, said Barclay’s Capital economist Thorsten Polleit, pointing to the frenzy of privatization in the former East Germany after reunification in 1991. The Deutsche Telekom put option was struck three years ago when the German company first invested in OTE. The option said Greece could transfer an additional 10% stake to the German company by the end of this year for 15% above the market price.

Analysts have said OTE needs to cut costs but that the process has been hindered by a strong labor union. Analysts said the investment still could bear fruit, however, once Greece’s debt crisis subsides. Deutsche Telekom said it is committed to Greece“Of course, the climate in the region at the moment is very difficult, but there is huge potential for growth in the future,” Deutsche Telekom spokesman Andreas Fuchs said. Analyst Roger Appleyard of RBC Capital Markets said that the long term looks brighter than the present because personal-computer penetration is low and Greece still needs to build a next-generation broadband network. Deutsche Telekom “won’t be paying a lot extra for the part they are getting now,” he said.

Facing the Crisis

Posted on noviembre 13th, 2011 in Essays 8 - 14 by andogo

The European common currency is in trouble, several EU countries are facing mountains of debt and solidarity within the bloc is declining. It is European youth, in particular, who have drawn the short stick. Closer cooperation is the only way forward.

Politicians tirelessly insist that Europe is a community of fate. It has been that way since the establishment of the European Union. The EU is an idea that grew out of the physical and moral devastation following World War II. Ostpolitik was an idea devoted to defusing the Cold War and perforating the Iron Curtain.

now that war and peace is no longer the overriding issue, what does the European community of fate signify as a new generational experience? It is the existential threat posed by the financial and euro crisis that is making Europeans realize that they do not live in Germany or France, but in Europe. For the first time, Europe’s young people are experiencing their own “European fate.” Better educated than ever and possessing high expectations, they are confronting a decline in the labor markets triggered by the threat of national bankruptcies and the economic crisis. Today one in five Europeans under 25 is unemployed.

A New Age of Risky Confusion

In Spain and Portugal, as well as in Tunisia, Egypt and Israel ( unlike Great Britain ), they are voicing their demands in a way as nonviolent as it is powerful. Europe and its youth are united in their rage over politicians who are willing to spend unimaginable sums of money to rescue banks, even as they gamble away the futures of their countries’ youth.

There is one thing the financial crisis has undoubtedly achieved: Everyone (experts and politicians included) has been catapulted into a world that no one understands anymore. As far as the political reactions are concerned, there are two extreme scenarios that can be juxtaposed. The first is a Hegelian scenario, in which, given the threats that global risk capitalism engenders, the “ruse of reason” is afforded an historic opportunity. This is the cosmopolitan imperative: cooperate or fail, succeed together or fail individually.

Taking Europe for Granted

How can Europe even prevail in this environment?. Paradoxically, the success of the EU is also one of its biggest obstacles. People have come to take many of its achievements for granted, so much so that that perhaps they would only notice them if they ceased to exist. One only need imagine an EU in which passport controls are reintroduced at borders, there are no longer reliable food safety regulations everywhere, freedom of speech and of the press no longer exist under today’s standards (which Hungary is already violating, thereby exposing itself to strict scrutiny), and Europeans traveling to Budapest, Copenhagen or Prague, or even Paris, Madrid and Rome, are forced to exchange money and keep track of exchange rates. The notion of Europe as our home has become second nature to us. Perhaps this explains why we are prepared to jeopardize its existence so carelessly.

Unlike the community of fate between two rivals that exists between the United States and China, Europe’s community of fate is based on shared laws, a shared currency and shared borders, but also on a “never again!” principle. Instead of invoking a noble past, the EU attempts to ensure that the past will never repeat itself. Instead of becoming a super-state or a mechanism that represents enlightened national interests in the best of cases, the EU has taken on a third form. Its most important role is to orchestrate. It facilitates the networking of commitments and entities that include sovereign states, as well as transnational organizations, municipal and regional governments and the organizations of civil society.

An Accumulation of Impositions

Within this framework, the bailout funds for southern European countries have engendered a logic of conflict between donor and debtor nations. The donor nations must implement domestic austerity programs and, for this reason, are exerting political pressure on the debtor nations at a level exceeding the pain threshold. In contrast, the debtor nations see themselves subject to an EU dictate that violates their national autonomy and dignity. Both stir up hatred of Europe, because everyone sees Europe as an accumulation of impositions. And then there is the perceived external threat. Critics of Islam, which claim that Muslims are abusing the West’s values of freedom, managed to connect xenophobia with enlightenment

When it comes to the eternal crisis called Europe, this conflict over the model of the future raises the following questions: To what extent does the revolution among outraged youth actually transcend national borders and promote solidarity?. To what extent does the feeling of being left behind lead to a European generational experience and new European policy initiatives?. How are workers, the unions and the center of European society behaving?. Which of the major parties, in Germany, for example, has the courage to explain to citizens what Europe as a homeland is worth to them?.

Time for More Hegel

But in light of the financial crisis, European policy today should play the same role as the Ostpolitik of the 1970s did in divided Germany: a unification policy without borders. In fact, the real challenge is to rethink and reshape Europe’s future and its position in the world. Why shouldn’t Europe introduce a financial transaction tax, which would establish a financial scope for a social and environmental Europe, which in turn would promise workers security through Europe, and in doing so address the greatest concerns of young Europeans?.

The concept of more justice through more Europe contains an appeal in terms of a transnational community of solidarity. Merkel’s back-and-forth and forward-and-backward approach could also create an opportunity for a future project involving the Social Democrats and the Green Party. As soon as the SPD and the Greens have explained that a social Europe is more than an introverted tightwad, but rather — using Hegel’s argument — an historic necessity, even the SPD will regain stature and win elections. This, of course, is predicated upon its having the courage to declare Europe to be its main project, just as Ostpolitik was more than 40 years ago.

Ocean life on the brink of mass extinctions: study

Posted on noviembre 13th, 2011 in Essays 8 - 14 by andogo

Life in the oceans is at imminent risk of the worst spate of extinctions in millions of years due to threats such as climate change and over-fishing, a study showed. Time was running short to counter hazards such as a collapse of coral reefs or a spread of low-oxygen “dead zones,” according to the study led by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO).

“We now face losing marine species and entire marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, within a single generation,” according to the study by 27 experts to be presented to the United Nations. “Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at a high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, over-exploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean,”

Scientists list five mass extinctions over 600 million years — most recently when the dinosaurs vanished 65 million years ago, apparently after an asteroid struck. Among others, the Permian period abruptly ended 250 million years ago. “The findings are shocking,” Alex Rogers, scientific director of IPSO, wrote of the conclusions from a 2011 workshop of ocean experts staged by IPSO and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at Oxford University.

Fish are the main source of protein for a fifth of the world’s population and the seas cycle oxygen and help absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activities.

A build-up of carbon dioxide, blamed by the UN panel of climate scientists on human use of fossil fuels, is heating the planet. Absorbed into the oceans, it causes acidification, while run-off of fertilizers and pollution stokes anoxia (lack of oxygen). The study said that over-fishing is the easiest for governments to reverse — countering global warming means a shift from fossil fuels, for instance, toward cleaner energies such as wind and solar power.

Personally I think that not only exist the imminent risk to loss of the oceans, but as well of other more things that surround the planet and environment. Besides are in danger a lot of animals in danger of exinction as consequence of human activities as poaching or the ecosystem destruction. All these risk and dangers for the planet have been created by human being. I think that now is the time for among we all obtain a better world in which all the living beings we can live without destroy among us and respecting everything that surround the planet tacking care if it’s possible all human beings and ecosystems.

Social Networking: Friended

Posted on noviembre 13th, 2011 in Essays 8 - 14 by andogo

New technologies has caused a revolution on internet better know as social networking. These social networking since a decade ago makes it possible to make contacts, find places to hang out, and meet like-minded people. This revolution that began in fits and starts in the late 1990s and reached recognizable form in March of 2003, with the public launch of Friendster .

“The idea was to have the Internet do the work of a dinner party,” says Kent Lindstrom, a former Friendster CEO. A user could set up a profile, with personal facts and a picture, and invite friends to join. Friendster’s servers would then generate a continually updated list of her friends as well as her friends’ friends, mapping relationships out to four degrees of separation. Within nine months, Friendster had a million members.

The big winner has been Facebook, founded less than a year after Friendster went public. Facebook has 540 million users who spend about 700 billion minutes on the site every month; if it were a country, it’d be the third most populous in the world. Facebook conquered in part because it took to heart the lessons of its predecessors’ mistakes. Facebook also lured Internet users with its sleek, easy-to-use interface and engineering wizardry. One of its most innovative features was Multi-Feed, which searches your friends’ databases for new updates and streams them to your home page as a continuous news feed. Facebook now contends with some 30 billion shared updates a month—a monumental processing feat that requires tens of thousands of servers.

Them appears others social networkings as ShareSquare which enable users to print bar codes to “geotag” objects in the real world so they could be followed in the virtual one. Foursquare a friend-locator service, Sixdegrees let users identify their friends. MySpace, Tuenti and others more messaging service, blogging networks or  for job networking. For instance, there’s the messaging service Tencent QQ , which is popular in China; Google’s Orkut , which is popular in Brazil; and Twitter , a blogging network that limits posts to 140 characters, which is popular just about everywhere. There’s Flickr for photo sharing and YouTube for video sharing. There’s LinkedIn for job networking and Classmates for finding long-lost school friends. And there’s a whole host of niche networks: Coastr for beer aficionados, Goodreads for bookworms, ResearchGATE for scientists, and Dogster for dog lovers.

Friendster and its rivals came around at just the right time. Point-and-shoot cameras were ubiquitous. Broadband was cheap and available. Users could be sure that the friends they invited to see their profiles and chat online had high-speed Internet connections and plenty of photos to share. This is exactly the kind of life promoted by Friendster, which was left in the dust by MySpace , which was lapped by Facebook .

Again, it will be the mass adoption of new consumer technologies—this time, smartphones and cloud computing—that will allow people to collect and compute vast amounts of data about places and things. The trend has already begun. We’re heading into a third phase of the Web,” Stump says. The webs between humans and machines, and between humans and the people they trust, have already been spun. The Web of the future will instead connect our physical world with our virtual one, enabling our online social interactions to give us valuable insights into our off-line lives.

From my point of view social networking are a bigger advance for the society provided people use it of appropiate way.


Posted on noviembre 13th, 2011 in Essays 8 - 14 by andogo

The tea party movement began when a tea bag protest on a web forum and a call to action from CNBC commentator Rick Santelli were the origins of the modern Tea Party movement. This movement were created due to the US’s problems in the federal government, federal spending and federal debt.

There appears presidential candidate and ultra-conservative congresswoman Michele Bachmann prays every day for guidance. “The American people are looking for someone who will say, ‘No’,” she said last week. “I will be that person… I won’t raise taxes. I will reduce spending. I won’t vote to raise the debt ceiling. Although ultra-conservatives are not in control of the White House and the Senate, they feel they have the political wind at their back.

The struggle to secure a deal between the Republicans and Democrats to lift the $14.3 trillion cap on the country’s national debt is seen by disinterested onlookers as a foolish squabble between self-serving politicians. The reason the US is so close to economic calamity is that its politicians have existentially different views of the world.

The Democrats know that being the defenders of debt, deficits and taxes does not play well with the US electorate, and that to allow another wrangle over the national debt limit in six or nine months is tantamount to signing a political suicide note. Better secure a deal with the Republicans now than allow this fight to go into 2012.

Economically, the Tea Party argument is feeble. Countries’ debts are not like individual households; they can be serviced over generations. In the aftermath of a credit crunch, a country that tries simultaneously to cut public and private debt will suffer prolonged economic stagnation or depression. The cost in lost opportunity, broken lives and bust businesses is too high to slash public debt; indeed, the right action may be to increase it.

Personally think thar if all politicians independently if they’re Republicans or Democrats looks the same, looks the power. As in this case in which the Republicans such consequence the Tea Party movement have to take advantage of to support this movement and of this way obtain the control of the White House. For doing that Michele Bachmann say that she’ll reduces taxes and spending in order that to obtain support of this movement. Maybe that Michele Bachman doesn’t knows if she’ll resolve the problem, but she knows that she’ll is president and this is the really she looked.


Posted on noviembre 13th, 2011 in Essays 8 - 14 by andogo

It seems the debt crisis has one silver lining the falling prices for vacation homes in Greece, Spain, Portugal and even Italy. Due to the debt crisis in Europe, countries as Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy have seen as the prices of second homes have fallen 15% to 30% in recent months and even in some places have fallen 50% off what they were two years ago.

But although  the prices are lower, the risks following grown and exist fear of a revalued euro, or even the extremely unlikely possibility of some countries losing their membership in the euro zone. Moreover the mortgage financing, the taxes and requirements had increased, for this reason theses countries mencioned demand due to the circumstances one list laws and duties with the order to get fresh rescue aid.


According to the general consensus among real-estate agents, Portugal currently offers the best value of the four countries for second-home buyers. Rules for foreign property buyers are fairly straight forward, a purchase requires a local representative and a local tax number. There’s a 6% flat tax for properties over €550,000 ($795,000) and a sliding scale below that and some legal fees can run about $4,000 in lawyer for to testify the inscription in the property.


Exist the risk of buying in euro and to sell in drachmas, due to Greece is the most likely candidate to be kicked out of the euro zone. Foreign buyers are required to appoint a lawyer and a public notary, all of whom charge percentage fees based on the value of the property furthermore of to pay a series of taxes, in all, these fees can add up to as much as 16% of the property’s price.


Spain has suffered the bursting of its housing bubble. The speculation long-suffering in this country provides that build too much, too quickly. It produces one situation filled with uncertainty. Some requirements for foreign owners: all of which add up to a total of about 10% of the purchase price of the property.

  • Obtaining an identification number
  • Transfer taxes (7% to 8% depending on whether it is new)
  • Notary fees and deed fees


Prices in Italy have been more stable than those of any of the other countries mired in the debt crisis. In Italy for buying one property is necessary execute some bureaucratic steps as: Getting the necessary tax identification number can take as long as six months for non-EU foreigners, stamp duties (10% for nonresidents), local fees and national fees, including a biannual property tax and both buyer and seller pay agency fees in Italy, and typical purchase costs are about 10% on top of the purchase price and can go as high as 12%.