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Three Dead In Athens; Bad Vibes On Bourses …

  • May 6th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

athens-parliament.jpgProtests against austerity measures ordered by the European Union and IMF have led to three people killed in a fire-bomb attack, in Athens; as share prices fall over the European debt crisis — Australian mining stocks also under pressure facing the new resources tax.

GREEK TRAGEDY

During the wild protests in Athens two women an a man have died, believed asphyxiated (5.5.10), in a bank building fire-bombed by protestors.

The country with its memories of left-right civil war and military dictatorship has seen a flare-up of extreme politics, in the streets and between minority parties in the parliament.

Left wing formations and unions have mounted fierce protests, at one point this week storming the parliament building; objecting that new spending taxes, cuts in pension entitlements, and closing-down of public service positions will be an uneven imposition on workers — and may be sparing the legion of tax-dodgers in professional jobs in that country.

The International Monetary Fund and the EU have insisted on austerity as a condition for the release of loan funds to keep the Greek economy solvent.

AUSTRALIAN SHARES SHARE THE DROP

Credit agencies have down-graded Greece’s credit rating, cutting off access to affordable borrowing, and also have launched speculation this week that the same might be done to Portugal.

That development contributed to a drop in prices on European stock exchanges on Wednesday (5.5.10), with concern that the retribution for heavy-borrowing could yet spread to other EU countries.

Resources companies with heavy Australian equity saw an erosion of their share values in London, in response to the announcmeent of a 40% tax on “super profits” — a feature of the current boom in mining and gas production.

Analysts in the banking and finance sector estimate share values have dropped 8% in a few days, and are down 15% from the end of April, though expected to stabilise in a fairly short time frame.
Industry spokesperson in Australia have complained the federal tax, to be imposed after costs and 6% profit, would make them withdraw investment in exploration and some new projects. (Balancing factors including 2% reductions in company tax have been classed not-enough).
Unions have backed the tax changes, pointing out that the resources sector is flourishing; hundreds of new projects being worked on, employment levels there very high.

See also, EUAustralia Online: “Greece’s milestone …”, 24.4.10; “EU summit …”, 28.3.10; “Greece, Germany, Brussels ,,,”, 18.3.10; “Greece crisis moves …”, 6.3.10; “Tight tmes …”, 10.2.10.

Picture: Athens parliament and Acropolis

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