Friday, 24 July 2015

Despair and anger among Greek scientists at universities' finances

that's all we can do now...



(from Chemistry World)

Billions of euros in EU loans are flowing into financially troubled Greece once more after the nation’s parliament approved a highly controversial economic reform package. But the mood among Greek scientists, who in recent years have endured sharp budget cuts, remains mostly sombre, angry and hopeless.

‘One way or another, the end result is going to be austerity, misery and brain drain,’ says Ioannis Zabetakis, assistant professor of food chemistry at the University of Athens.

The roots of the current crisis stem from the Eurozone debt crisis that began in 2009 and rattled several nations, including Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Cyprus. But Greece has been hardest hit and by 2012 the crisis had worsened and was having a devastating impact on Greek universities and research.

The shaky government of Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s prime minister, took power in January on a mandate to oppose the austerity measures of the previous government and pressure from the EU for further cuts. But when EU loans were halted and banks closed, pushing the economy into free fall once more, Tsipras reversed course at a tense summit meeting in Brussels and accepted further austerity measures in return for billions in fresh loans.

The economic reform package was approved on 16 July while angry street protests raged outside. Austerity measures include higher value added tax, an increase in corporation tax and increasing the retirement age to 67. Perhaps the most controversial element of the reform package is Greece’s agreement to transfer state-owned assets to a fund whose goal would be to generate €50 billion (£35 billion) principally to pay off EU loans and cut government debt.

Little hope

Many scientists are sceptical that the new loans will improve the battered academic and research environment anytime soon. ‘It will definitely get worse,’ says Zabetakis.
George Fytas, a physical chemistry professor at the institute of electronic structure and laser at the University of Crete, describes the current situation as ‘uncertain with minimal hope’. He adds: ‘The successful scientists and the best students are trying to leave the country and this obviously will have a negative impact on Greece’s development.’
‘Any graduate who has any opportunity to leave the country does so’
Fytas is highly critical of Tsipras, indicating that his half a year in power has been a disaster. ‘I could not imagine such damage within less than six months,’ Fytas says.

As an example, Fytas says that research funding from an ‘excellence’ programme awarded to his institute last year by the previous government stopped on 1 July. ‘Postdocs now have to leave because their positions cannot be renewed,’ he says.

Katerina Galanaki, secretary general of the Greek Rectors’ Conference, says: ‘In general, from the beginning of 2015, Greek universities have not received one euro from public funding. They try to do their best with previous remaining funding and research resources.’ She says that despite limited financing universities are managing to maintain quality in the classroom and in research.

‘It is not easy, obviously, but they insist on making extreme efforts,’ she says. ‘Undoubtedly research was much more developed prior to the financial crisis which began in 2009. However, researchers are insisting on going on, aiming at making progress with the limited means they have.’

Cut to the bone

Thomas Estermann, director for governance, funding and public policy development at the European University Association (EUA) in Belgium, says that up-to-date data from Greece is limited, making it difficult to evaluate things in universities. But he adds: ‘Already in 2014 the situation in Greece was very difficult with some of the highest cuts in public funding.’

The EUA’s online interactive public funding observatory shows that government spending on higher education in Greece plunged 52% from nearly €280 million in 2009 to €133 million in 2014. Meanwhile, the number of university students rose from 369,219 in 2009 to 409,932 in 2013.
Dimitrios Pantazis, a Greek national and research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Germany, says that while Greek universities have historically suffered ‘chronic underfunding’, the debt crisis has hit at a more fundamental level with hiring freezes and even cuts in salary. ‘Any graduate who has any opportunity to leave the country does so,’ he says. ‘Thousands of young Greek scientists are now pursuing careers in academia or industry abroad. They will not be coming back any time soon.’

But while Fytas describes the general mood of his colleagues in Greece as ‘depressive’, a sentiment expressed by others, Pantazis sees reason for hope. ‘In my view these are short to medium-term problems that will be smoothed out eventually if things improve and stabilise on the economy front,’ he says. ‘Disruption in funding is not an irreparable damage.’

Galanaki, of the Greek Rectors’ Conference, agrees. ‘I am optimistic,’ she says. ‘I believe that, provided we stay in the European Union and the Eurozone, little by little we will overcome the difficult obstacles we face.’

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Μα τόση ανοργανωσιά;



[από το presspublica]

Του Γιάννη Ζαμπετάκη
Επίκουρου Καθηγητή Χημείας Τροφίμων, ΕΚΠΑ
izabet@chem.uoa.gr

Στο ερώτημα που μου θέτουν φίλοι τον τελευταίο καιρό «γιατί δεν γράφεις;» ή «πού είσαι; οέο» και στα αντίστοιχα υπο-ερωτήματα «είσαι με τη μασκούλα στο βυθό;», «είσαι με τη σαγιονάρα και τη φράπα στη βεράντα;», «είσαι θερινό σινεμά με ποπ-κορν;» ή «είσαι με τη μάνικα στις φωτιές;» η απάντηση είναι μονολεκτική. Πουθενά…

Με τα όσα έχω δει και ζήσει από την μέρα που όλοι εμείς που δείξαμε θάρρος και δώσαμε το «ΟΧΙ» με ποσοστό 61% στο χέρια του Αλέξη Τσίπρα και μετά από λίγες μέρες ο λίγος Αλέξης το έκανε «ναι» – “yes sir and madam” στην πραγματικότητα κάτι έσπασε μέσα μου. Δεν είναι μόνο το τρίτο μνημόνιο που μας «φόρεσαν» οι αριστεροί αλλά ο τρόπος που μας το «φόρεσαν». Από τα μιντιακά χαμόγελα του Βαρουφάκη στον θλιβερό Ευκλείδη που στο πρώτο του Eurogroup εθεάθη να κρατά σημειώσεις γραμμένες σε επιστολόχαρτο  …ξενοδοχείου. Αν αυτό δεν λέγεται αριστερή ανοργανωσιά τότε πώς στην ευχή λέγεται;

Και να’μαστε εδώ λοιπόν με νέα υφεσιακά μέτρα, με νέα εισπρακτικά χαράτσια, χωρίς μια σταλιά ελπίδας για ανάπτυξη, μείωση της ανεργίας, αλλαγή της παγιωμένης ψυχολογικής βαρυχειμωνιάς.
Τα ξένα media (BBC, CBC κλπ) με ρωτάνε πώς νιώθω με όλα αυτά αλλά απάντηση δεν έχω εκτός από την λέξη αηδία. Αηδία για τους πρώην που τσίπα δεν έχουν να πουν ένα συγγνώμη αλλά και για τους νυν που επί 6 μήνες κάνουν πλάκα στα κανάλια αλλά στην ουσία δεν έχουν ούτε μισό εναλλακτικό σχέδιο. Τα μόνο που κατάφεραν είναι να αποκατασταθεί το μαύρο της ΕΡΤ, οι καθαρίστριες του ΥπΟικ και οι διοικητικοί των ΑΕΙ, πράξεις 100% σωστές και αναγκαίες. Αλλά πέραν τούτων; Τι σχέδιο έχουν οι Αλέξης και Ευκλείδης για το πώς θα μειωθεί η ανεργία, για το πώς θα ξανα-ξεκινήσει η έρευνα στα ΑΕΙ, για το πώς θα ξεκινήσει το επόμενο εξάμηνο στα σχολεία και στα πανεπιστήμια;

Στο Τμήμα Χημείας που υπηρετώ από το 2003, έχουμε φτάσει στο σημείο μηδέν, δεν έχουμε χρήματα να αγοράσουμε αντιδραστήρια για το επόμενο Ακαδ. Έτος για να εξασκήσουμε τους προπτυχιακούς φοιτητές, δεν έχουμε χρήματα να ασκήσουμε μεταπτυχιακούς φοιτητές στο Μάστερ «Χημεία Τροφίμων» αλλά τα αυτιά των υπεύθυνων είτε δεν ακούν, είτε δεν ιδρώνουν… Ένα ολόκληρο Τμήμα του ΕΚΠΑ (Χημείας) ήδη υπολειτουργεί αλλά είμαι πια γραφικός που το φωνάζω. Ίσως είναι κεντρική πια πολιτική επιλογή να αφεθούν να πεθάνουν τα ΑΕΙ, άλλωστε τι να τους κάνουμε τόσους επιστήμονες;

Πριν από λίγες μέρες, με ρώτησε ένας δημοσιογράφος του BBC τι πρέπει να γίνει και του απάντησα πως από τα πρώτα πράγματα που πρέπει να γίνουν είναι η αναδιοργάνωση των ΑΕΙ ώστε να παράγουμε επιστήμονες σε ειδικότητες αναγκαίες για το μέλλον της χώρας. Δεν έχει νόημα να «βγάζουμε» τόσους γιατρούς όταν οι γιατροί αυτοί θα βρουν νομοτελειακά δουλειά εκτός Ελλάδας. Και έτσι και τεράστιο brain drain έχουμε ως χώρα αλλά και όλα τα χρήματα των Ελλήνων φορολογούμενων που δαπανήθηκαν για την εκπαίδευση των Ελλήνων γιατρών τα καρπώνονται εν τέλει οι χώρες που δίνουν δουλειά σε αυτούς τους γιατρούς.

Πρέπει να καταστρώσουμε ένα σχέδιο παραγωγής προϊόντων και υπηρεσιών με προστιθέμενη αξία και επ’αυτού του σχεδίου να αναδιαρθρώσουμε όλα τα ΑΕΙ και ΤΕΙ της χώρας. Αλλά αυτά τα πράγματα είναι δύσκολα για ένα λαό που έχει μάθει στην επιχορήγηση, στα ζαντολάστιχα, πιτόγυρα και φραπόγαλα, στο «χαλαρά» και διαλέγει ηγέτες του διαμετρήματος ενός Γιωργάκη, ενός Αντωνάκη ή ενός Αλέξη…που λίγους μήνες μετά την εκλογή τους ξεχνούν, αντίστοιχα, το «λεφτά υπάρχουν», το πρόγραμμα του Ζάππειου και της Θεσ/νίκης. Αν αυτό δεν λέγεται επαναλαμβανόμενη προδοσία του Λαού, τότε έχουν χάσει το νόημά τους ακόμα και οι λέξεις, πίσω από τις οποίες κρύβεται (για πόσο ακόμη;) ο Αλέξης…

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

on bbc radio 5 live



earlier today I have been invited to talk about Greece and the looming bailout vote tonight to Sarah and Dan on BBC radio 5 live, here are my views (from 14.00 to 19.30).

We need to change lots in Greece, the biggest problem is that we can't create sustainable jobs and our duty, as Academics, is a massive one...

Yannis Zabetakis

a roundup violation of the Law

A bottle of Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’ pesticide. The pesticide was banned after the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, was in March classified as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ by the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images


We all know roundup and glyphosate and all the harm effects that it HAS (not may have!) on humans!

We all know who is behind roundup...

But we still do NOT know why competent authorities are not applying the precaution principle in this case?

Why?

Yannis Zabetakis
Ass. Professor of Food Chemistry
Univ. of Athens


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

fly away



this post is thanks to N.S. who has asked me some info while preparing an article on the effect of crisis on greek Unis. As soon as N.S. publishes his article, I'll post it here.

My answer to one of Ned's questions was this "Young people of high calibre are facing the nightmare of unemployement and the only WISH (as a father of two boys) that I can give them is this one: open your wings and fly away. Greece has nothing more to give you..."


and here is the (great) song that came to Ned's mind

 

Pedro lives out of the Wilshire Hotel
He looks out a window without glass
And the walls are made of cardboard, newspapers on his feet
And his father beats him 'cause he's too tired to beg

He's got 9 brothers and sisters
They're brought up on their knees
It's hard to run when a coat hanger beats you on the thighs
Pedro dreams of being older and killing the old man
But that's a slim chance
He's going to the boulevard

He's gonna end up on the dirty boulevard
He's going out to the dirty boulevard
He's going down to the dirty boulevard

This room cost $2,000 a month
You can believe it, man, it's true
Somewhere there's a landlord's laughing till he wets his pants
No one dreams of being a doctor or a lawyer or anything
They dream of dealing on the dirty boulevard

Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor I'll piss on 'em
That's what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses
Let's club 'em to death
And get it over with and just dump 'em on the boulevard

Get 'em out on the dirty boulevard
Goin' out to the dirty boulevard
They're going down on the dirty boulevard
Goin' out

Outside it's a bright night
There's an opera at Lincoln Center
Movie stars arrive by limousine
The klieg lights shoot up over the skyline of Manhattan
But the lights are out on the mean streets

A small kid stands by the Lincoln Tunnel
He's selling plastic roses for a buck
The traffic's backed up to 39th Street
The TV whores are calling the cops out for a suck

And back at the Wilshire, Pedro sits there dreaming
He's found a book on Magic in a garbage can
He looks at the pictures
And stares up at the cracked ceiling
"At the count of 3," he says,
"I hope I can disappear."

And fly, fly away from this dirty boulevard

I want to fly from the dirty boulevard
I want to fly from the dirty boulevard
I want to fly-fly-fly-fly from the dirty boulevard

I want to fly away
I want to fly
Fly, fly away
I want to fly
Fly, fly away
Fly, fly away
Fly, fly away
Fly, fly away
I want to fly  

Friday, 10 July 2015

το Κυριακάτικο ραντεβού μας στο Real FM 97.8 Αθήνα και 107.1 Θεσ/νίκη

Την Κυριακή 12 Ιούλη 2015 το πρωί,

εκεί λίγο πριν τις 8 μαζί με τον πρωινό μας καφέ θα συνεχίσουμε την κουβέντα μας με τον Πολυλογά της παρέας μας (aka Γιώργο Ψάλτη) στον αέρα του Real FM για το βακτήριο MRSA που προκαλεί σοβαρές ενδονοσοκομειακές λειμώξεις και είναι ανθεκτικό σε πολλά αντιβιοτικά! Πρόσφατα, βρέθηκε, δυστυχώς και στην διατροφική αλυσίδα!

Γιάννης Ζαμπετάκης

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

two photos, two billion words






this photo shows Tsakalotos (the 2days old Finance minister of Greece) shaking hands with Dijsselbloem. It is the epitomy of the coming failure...

On the left, the Dutch politician who had made a comical error when he was writting his cv few years ago.
On the right, the Greek politician who went to his first Eurogroup meeting with notes written on a hotel paper.



My God, the future of Europe, the future of Greece is at the hands of these people...

I am really worried for the future of my kids...when we have such guys in power determining it...

Yannis Zabetakis

Saturday, 4 July 2015

The Urgent Need to Re-Think Outside the "Omega-3 Pufas" Box



The title of this post is the title of a new opinion paper that has just been published in
Journal of Aquaculture and Research Development.

The full article is also available here.

= = = = = = =

Introduction
Today, there is a growing controversy on the association of intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and the onset of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in humans. Some studies suggest that the consumption of oily fish leads to increased levels of omega-3 PUFAs and thereafter a favourable cardiovascular prognosis. These views have been supported by epidemiological data evaluated by metaanalyses and they have been linked to higher levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Clinically, men who consume oily fish at least once a week had a 50 percent lower incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) and sudden cardiac death (SCD). Mechanistically, though, we still do not know how omega-3 PUFAs work. Their postulated mechanism in preventing atherosclerosis could be through lowering the levels of triacylglycerol, preventing arrhythmias, decreasing platelet aggregation, or lowering blood pressure [1].
On the other hand, the association of omega-3 PUFAs and CVDs has been revised recently by evaluating all randomised trials on the supplementation of omega-3 PUFAs to adults. In a recent review the results of 20 studies on 68,680 patients were evaluated and omega-3 PUFAs were not found to be statistically significantly associated with CVDs in various patient populations [2]. There is still considerable doubt today if lowering blood cholesterol is a true prerequisite in order to protect ourselves from CVDs. In fact, cholesterol can be correlated with CVDs but without being a causal factor for it. Therefore, people with high levels of High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) face no higher risk for CVDs as the ratio (and not only the absolute levels!) of LDL to HDL is also important in disease prognosis [3,4].
With all the above in mind, it is rather surprising to see that most of the studies in aquaculture are still not addressing the nutritional value of the final produce from the consumer point of view. People eat fish because they have been told that “fish is good for you” and this is, still, valid and true. On top of that, aquaculture fish is even better since all raw ingredients and fish are constantly scrutinised under strict quality assurance procedures following all relevant requirements (for example, those of ISO22000, ISO9001, IFS, BRC, etc). The final product is thus fully monitored in terms of safety and quality but also in terms of sensory properties.
However, is it properly evaluated for its nutritional value against CVDs? If not, future research into the identification of fish lipids with specific cardioprotective activities could bring added value to aquaculture and be a viable marketing tool in promoting (functional) aquafeeds and fish [5]. The commercial future can be bright if the functional properties of fish are emphasised on the label, after having carried out relevant bioassays. In doing so, it is rather vital to assess the full lipidomic spectrum for cardioprotective activities and not only the levels of omega-3 PUFAs. Fish does contain polar lipids with strong anti-atherogenic properties and these molecules can be further exploited, both academically and commercially [6].
References





The pressure of the Senate to IMF and EU

can the guinea pig hit back its creditors?


3 days ago members of the US Congress have written a letter to IMF of paramount political gravity!

The letter is straightforward. It identifies with clarity the causes of the suffering that millions of Greeks have experienced under memorandum and troika (i.e. EU Commision, ECB and IMF).

"Greece has already reduced its national public sector work force by 19 percent and carried out many of the reforms demanded by the IMF and its creditors. It has gone through an enormous fiscal adjustment, achieving the largest cyclically adjusted primary budget surplus in the euro area last year; and a very large current account adjustment (with a 36 percent reduction in imports). At the same time, as even the IMF has acknowledged in its own research, the austerity imposed by Greece's creditors over the past five years turned out to be far more devastating to the economy than they had predicted."

The letter can be perceived as an attempt to push IMF to make a complete U-turn on its fiscal policies imposed to Greece over the past 5 years.

EU leaders (you know these Democrats who wish Tsipras off a.s.a.p.) probably are not very happy today reading this letter and the IMF's proposal on greek debt.

That's why they have supported with enormous aggression the "yes" vote at tomorrow's greek referendum.

Power games...with Greece in the operation theater once again...

Shall we say NO to more experiments on the body of our country?

Shall we find the guts to say NO to using Greece as a guinea pig?

Shall we dare to declare independence of thought against the regime of EU failed politicians?

I hope so.

Yannis Zabetakis
Ass. Professor of Food Chemistry
Univ. of Athens

  

Friday, 3 July 2015

το Κυριακάτικο ραντεβού μας στο Real FM 97.8 Αθήνα και 107.1 Θεσ/νίκη



Την Κυριακή 5 Ιούλη 2015 το πρωί,

εκεί λίγο πριν τις 8 μαζί με τον πρωινό μας καφέ θα συνεχίσουμε την κουβέντα μας με τον Πολυλογά της παρέας μας (aka Γιώργο Ψάλτη) στον αέρα του Real FM για το ποια τρόφιμα μπορούμε να τρώμε για να μας φτιάξουν την διάθεση.

Είτε με ΝΑΙ είτε με ΟΧΙ, έχει ανηφόρα μπροστά και είναι μεγάλη και έτσι ας κάνουμε διατροφικές επιλογές με στόχο να μας φτιάχνουν το κέφι!

1. Σοκολάτα Υγείας (τουλάχιστον 70% κακάο)
2. Φρούτα, Λαχανικά  και Δημητριακά - Πολύπλοκοι υδατάνθρακες (όχι ζάχαρη)
3. Ψάρι
4. Τσάι

Κλείνω μουσικά και ετοιμάζομαι για την Κάλπη! Χωρίς φόβο! Κοιτώντας τα παιδιά μου στα μάτια!

Γιάννης Ζαμπετάκης

Thursday, 2 July 2015

χωρίς φόβο την Κυριακή!



Την Κυριακή θα πάω να ψηφίσω...
με μεγάλη ανησυχία για το μέλλον της οικογένειάς μου, των παιδιών μου, των φοιτητών μου, των φίλων μου, των δασκάλων μου αλλά και όλων εκείνων που απαρτίζουν αυτό που ο καθένας μας αποκαλεί ΠΑΤΡΙΔΑ.

Θα ψηφίσω χωρίς φόβο όμως...

Τι να φοβηθώ άραγε μετά από 5 χρόνια σκληρής και μονομερής λιτότητας;

Μετά από 5 χρόνια λεηλασίας των εισοδημάτων μας (κι εμείς είμαστε οι τυχεροί που έχουμε ακόμα δουλειά) και 5 χρόνια ΓΕΝΟΚΤΟΝΙΑΣ μιας γενιάς που είναι σήμερα άνεργη, χωρίς όνειρα και καταδικασμένη να μείνει στο πατρικό μέχρι άγνωστο πότε... 

Ναι, ξέρω θα μου πείτε ότι ο Τσίπρας τα γάμησε όλα σε 5 μήνες...και κοίτα σήμερα, Γιάννη το χάλι μας...

Απλά, δεν είναι έτσι...

Η συνταγή των μνημονίων είναι απλά ένας αργός θάνατος για όλους μας!

200.000 επιστήμονες έφυγαν από την Ελλάδα, 10.000 συνάνθρωποί μας έχουν αυτοκτονήσει...
και σε αυτά θα πούμε ΝΑΙ την Κυριακή;

Με όσα ψύγματα αξιοπρέπειας μου έχουν απομείνει απέναντι στα παιδιά μου (τα βιολογικά και τα πνευματικά, στο ΕΚΠΑ), θα πάω στην κάλπη και θα ψηφίσω αυτό!

Κάθε άλλη επιλογή (ΝΑΙ ή αποχή) είναι σαν να καταριόμαστε το μέλλον των παιδιών μας…

Γιάννης Ζαμπετάκης
ΕΚΠΑ



 

Το νόημα της Κυριακάτικης ψήφου...



την Κυριακή δεν ψηφίζουμε μόνο ένα ναι ή ένα όχι...αλλά ψηφίζουμε και για αυτούς τους πρώην πρυτάνεις - νυν βουλευτές ΝΔ...

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

a gang against People

this is a comment I left on the Guardian 

= = =

Dear Editor, I would like to congradulate the Guardian team for your stance on Greek crisis. It would be helpful for your readers to present few bullet points on the DEVASTATING effect that the bailout programme had to people in Greece.

Unemployment,

brain drain,

suicides,

loss of income,

number of homeless.

In the latest news, it was emerged yesterday that the cancer unit at the children's hospital in Athens (Paidon) has now only doctor to run it...

If this is the effect of bailout, then why Junker (remember LUXLEAKS) and Dijsselbloem (with his "amended" cv http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/dutch-finance-minister-amends-cork-university-degree-error-29195279.html) want Greeks to continue a programme that leads nowhere but to the slow death of all of us?

If this the definition of EU democracy, then I am sorry but I am going to opt out.

Unless, people in EU understand at last that these 2 guys are part of a gang that operates without democracy and transparency and sth needs to be changed...

The dilemna is simple for all people in Europe! Eurogroup, Commision and all these fancifully named committees do NOT serve the people but the oligarchs...  

Why do we accept it?

Yannis Zabetakis

Monday, 29 June 2015

Paul Krugman: "I would vote no"



from Paul Krugman's blog on NYT.

OK, this is real: Greek banks closed, capital controls imposed. Grexit isn’t a hard stretch from here — the much feared mother of all bank runs has already happened, which means that the cost-benefit analysis starting from here is much more favorable to euro exit than it ever was before.
Clearly, though, some decisions now have to wait on the referendum.
I would vote no, for two reasons.

[ to read the rest of Paul's analysis, click here ]

Greece Debt Crisis: Banks close amid uncertainty

as a matter of fact, Greeks are forced to leave Greece to find a job abroad, so WE ARE THE REFUGEES OF EUROPE


= = =

Listen

= = =

With banks closed across the country and under 24 hours left to re-pay 1.6 billion Euros in debt, Greece is in financial crisis.
And while its European neighbours have offered a way to pay, it would mean more painful austerity measures for Greece — including tax hikes and pension cuts that have already led to so much pain across Greek society for the past five years.
The alternative is what's dubbed "Grexit" — leaving the Eurozone — with unclear, but no doubt severe consequences.

Yannis Zabetakis is a professor of food chemistry at the University of Athens. He's one of the lucky ones with a job in a country whose youth unemployment rate is over 50%. But that doesn't mean life is easy. We reached him in Athens.

Considering the high stakes, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has surprised some people by his refusal to give in to the cash-for-reforms deal being proposed by the Eurozone and the IMF. But American economist James Galbraith, who has been informally advising Greece's Finance Minister, doesn't think the government should give in. He spoke to our colleagues at As It Happens earlier this month.
The [IMF] predicted that if the program was acccepted, there would be a 5% reduction in Greek GDP and income and that it would be quickly recovered. In fact, there has been a 25% reduction and no recovery. And so the Greek position has been that these policies have to change and that failure has to be recognized and adjusted to. And the reality is that the creditors are still demanding the same policies.
     - James Galbraith, American economist
Eric Reguly agrees. He's the European Bureau Chief for the Globe and Mail, and he says that imposing further austerity measures in exchange for more loans is tantamount to a Ponzi scheme. He spoke to us in Athens.

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar and Gord Westmacott.


RELATED LINKS

Interview with James Galbraith - As It Happens

Greece shutters banks, 'financial earthquake' bloodies markets - Eric Reguly, The Globe and Mail

Greek debt crisis: Is Grexit inevitable? - BBC

οι Γερμανοί Πανεπιστημιακοί Δάσκαλοι έχουν και θάρρος γνώμης αλλά και γνώμη!

Ιδού ένα εξαιρετικό κείμενο Συναδέλφων Πανεπιστημιακών σχετικά με το νόημα του δημοψηφίσματος την Κυριακή 5 Ιούλη.

Αναρωτιέμαι όμως (βλακωδώς και μαζοχιστικώς βεβαίως) : οι Έλληνες Πανεπιστημιακοί έχουν γνώμη και ...θάρρος γνώμης;


Sunday, 28 June 2015

Greek citizen on his country's debt crisis



The EU bailout program 'doesn't lead anywhere. It has created unemployment, it has created recession and it's a downward spiral'

on CBC a couple of hours ago... here is the interview.

Yannis Zabetakis



Thursday, 25 June 2015

on political blindness



Can't understand...how on earth we got so many blind politicians and bureuacrats in EU, in goverments all around the world and so on?

Today, we have heard that the annual income of Lagarde of IMF is about $550,000 and the IMF's employees can retire at 50 y. old with full pension at 62 y. old.

People in EU are fool to work with 67 y. old?

It looks like all these blind politicians can NOT understand the problem in Greece, in PIGS, in Europe, which is recession and overtaxation.

But, yet more taxes are going to be imposed...till all we run dry.
Dry of money, dry of optimism, dry of creativity.

Since when capitalism wants to have miserable employees?

Y.Z.


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

MRSA in the food chain


The news are rather alarming.

A Guardian investigation has revealed the presence of a strain of the potentially fatal, antibiotic-resistant superbug MRSA in pork chops, bacon, and gammon sold in leading British supermarkets. Of 100 items tested nine were found to contain the bug. Eight were imported from Denmark.

Separate tests, carried out on behalf of a campaign group, the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, have also identified three strains of MRSA in British pork mince and sausages. The evidence that the human health risk of factory-farmed pork can no longer be brushed off as theoretical or hysteric. It’s on our plates, right here and now.

MRSA is the antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus Aureus strain that has caused deaths in hospitalised patients.

This is the 1st time that has been found in food, outside hospitals.

Of all of our livestock, pigs and chickens are the most drugged-up. The use of antibiotics as growth-promoters has been banned by the EU since 2006. But to please supermarkets, keep prices low and reduce production costs, animals must be packed into sheds, their feed often routinely medicated with antibiotics in a vain attempt to keep a lid on the inevitable health problems cooked up by keeping livestock in fundamentally inhumane and often insanitary conditions.

The presence of MRSA in food chain poses some serious questions on the abuse of antibiotics in the farming industry.

The discovery of MRSA in pork underscores the urgent need for a legally binding timetable to phase out routine, prophylactic use of antibiotics in farming. A tax on farmyard antibiotics has also been mooted as a fiscal measure that might curb use. For those of us who buy meat, we have to ask ourselves one question. Are we willing to pay a bit more for it, to help prolong the ability of these vital drugs to save not only our lives, but also those of future generations?