Matthias's Feed
Aug 12, 2015

Goats and herbs: Germans get back to basics in deserted Bulgarian village

ODRINTSI, Bulgaria, Aug 12 (Reuters) – A self-described
shaman who discovered the healing powers of herbs while seeing
visions on his sickbed; a former consultant for IBM who ditched
PowerPoint presentations to drive across Africa and an artist
from Luxembourg who is a qualified plumber.

They are among a group of 22 people newly settled in the
crumbling village of Odrintsi in southeastern Bulgaria where
they live without electricity, but with 230 goats.

Jul 13, 2015

Tsipras tackles backlash after clinching Greek deal

ATHENS, July 13 (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis
Tsipras flew back to Athens on Monday to try to ram a
controversial bailout deal he secured from creditors through
parliament, as anger mounted at more painful austerity measures
that could fracture his government.

A sleep-deprived Tsipras has until Wednesday night to quell
dissent within his own ranks — probably by sacking hardliners
– and get unpopular measures passed that include higher value
added tax and pension reforms.

Jul 13, 2015

Relief — and much anger — in Greece as Tsipras clinches deal

ATHENS, July 13 (Reuters) – Greeks greeted news of a deal
with creditors on Monday with a measure of relief mixed with
much anger, particularly at Germany, after it became clear
Greece will have to swallow more austerity that could fracture
the government and spark a backlash.

A sleep-deprived Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will fly back
to Athens to sell an agreement that ended up being tougher than
proposals Greeks overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum on July
5. He has days to quell dissent within his own ranks — probably
by sacking hardliners — and ram reform laws through parliament.

Jul 12, 2015

Angry at demands, Greeks rail at German “humiliation”

ATHENS, July 12 (Reuters) – Greeks accused Germany of trying
to humiliate them by making tougher demands for a new bailout
deal, as the country’s fate in the euro zone hung in the balance
ahead of a meeting of European ministers in Brussels on Sunday.

Elected on a promise to rid Greece of austerity, Prime
Minister Alexis Tsipras was forced this week to make last minute
concessions to the international creditors for painful
austerity measures in the hopes of securing a cash-for-reforms

Jul 6, 2015

Bulgaria eyes Poland fighter deal to cut dependence on Russia

SOFIA (Reuters) – To reduce its dependence on Russia, Bulgaria is working to sign a contract with Poland as early as July to service Sofia’s Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets, maintained until now by Russia, Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev said on Monday.

A standoff between the West and Russia over Ukraine has forced Bulgaria, part of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact during the Cold War but a NATO member since 2004, to walk a tightrope over its military, energy and trade relations with Russia.

Jul 3, 2015

Across Bulgaria border, fear and gloating over Greek crisis

SANDANSKI, Bulgaria, July 3 (Reuters) – Greece’s debt crisis
is lapping over the border into this southwestern corner of
Bulgaria, where the owner of the Felipe Z textile factory
worries she may not be able to pay her 60 workers next week.

Factory owner Snejana Zachariou explains buyers of her goods
are exclusively Greek. She will sit down with one of them on
Monday to try to work out how she can receive payment for a pile
of orders if Greek banks remain shut and capital controls stay
in place.

Jun 28, 2015

Greek tourism draws line in the sand over tax hikes

PAROS, Greece, June 28 (Reuters) – Alexis Kalaitzoglou makes
a swift gesture to describe what he thinks about Prime Minister
Alexis Tsipras: the shopkeeper of this busy tourist island pulls
his leg back and swings it forward as if to give Greece’s leader
a good kicking.

Kalaitzoglou is angry because his family’s shop of jams,
honeys and wooden handicrafts – part of a wider tourism industry
that is the only bright spot of Greece’s struggling economy -
may be in for a rough ride.

Jun 17, 2015

Greece’s future in EU in doubt if talks fail, central bank warns

ATHENS, June 17 (Reuters) – A warning by Greece’s central
bank that the country risked being driven from the euro zone
and, ultimately, the European Union failed to break a deadlock
with creditors before a potentially decisive meeting of European
finance ministers.

A top Greek negotiator told Reuters Athens was ready to make
unspecified concessions, but once again ruled out any cuts to
pensions – a major sticking point in the negotiations. Germany,
the euro zone’s most powerful economy, stuck to its line that
Greece had to make significant moves to break the stalemate.

Jun 17, 2015

Greek central bank issues “Grexit” warning if aid talks fail

ATHENS, June 17 (Reuters) – The Greek central bank warned on
Wednesday that the country would be put on a “painful course”
towards default and exiting the euro zone if the government and
its international creditors failed to reach an agreement on an
aid-for-reforms deal.

It also said Greece risked a renewed bout of recession and
predicted that the current economic slowdown would accelerate in
the second quarter of this year. The Greek economy had started
growing again last year after being pounded by years of
austerity, but fell back into negative growth in the first
quarter of 2015, contracting by 0.2 percent year-on-year.

Jun 12, 2015

As debt deadline looms, which way will Greece go?

ATHENS, June 12 (Reuters) – Greece’s government is under
intense pressure to deliver unpalatable concessions to
international creditors to break a four-month debt deadlock and
save the country from looming default that could tip it out of
the euro zone.

With no sign of a breakthrough on a cash-for-reform deal
after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met European leaders
for talks in Brussels, here are three scenarios of how the
crisis could unfold.