Behind Germany’s refusal to grant Greece debt relief – Op-Ed in The Guardian

Yanis Varoufakis

Tomorrow’s EU Summit will seal Greece’s fate in the Eurozone. As these lines are being written, Euclid Tsakalotos, my great friend, comrade and successor as Greece’s Finance Ministry is heading for a Eurogroup meeting that will determine whether a last ditch agreement between Greece and our creditors is reached and whether this agreement contains the degree of debt relief that could render the Greek economy viable within the Euro Area. Euclid is taking with him a moderate, well-thought out debt restructuring plan that is undoubtedly in the interests both of Greece and its creditors. (Details of it I intend to publish here on Monday, once the dust has settled.) If these modest debt restructuring proposals are turned down, as the German finance minister has foreshadowed, Sunday’s EU Summit will be deciding between kicking Greece out of the Eurozone now or keeping it in for a little while longer, in a state of…

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Are Foreign NGOs Rebuilding Haiti Or Just Cashing In?

Repeating Islands

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Haiti plays host to over 10,000 NGOs, whose foreign workers make up an affluent class of their own, Nathalie Baptiste reports in this article for Foreign Policy in Focus. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

The devastating earthquake that struck Haiti five years ago was followed by a flood, as billions of dollars were poured into a reconstruction effort largely led by private non-governmental organizations.

Almost immediately, Haitians, activists, and well-wishing donors the world over began to ask: “Where did the money go?”

This summer, ProPublica and NPR released a report on exactly where some of that money went. The headline — “How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes” — neatly summed up the beloved charity’s big-picture failures in the country. But perhaps the most damning parts of the report concerned the Red Cross’ over-reliance on non-Haitian…

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NYT Editorial: Lift the Cuba Travel Ban

Repeating Islands

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An editorial from The New York Times.

Granted, Khartoum, Tehran, Damascus and Pyongyang are not terribly popular tourist destinations. But they are places Americans can visit without running afoul of federal law. Yet, traveling to Cuba for tourism continues to be banned. Getting there for approved purposes remains needlessly difficult and expensive.

The ban — the only travel prohibition American citizens are currently subjected to — never made sense, and it’s particularly misguided in an era of broadening engagement between the United States and Cuba.

A bill introduced early this year by a bipartisan group of senators who want to repeal the travel ban is the most worthy of the flurry of legislative initiatives sparked by President Obama’s decision last December to re-establish diplomatic relations with Havana. The bill would rescind provisions in laws passed in 1996 and 2000 that barred travel by Americans as part of a strategy…

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How Ohio Transplant Graeter’s Stands Out In The Dense NYC Ice Cream Scene

How Ohio Transplant Graeter's Stands Out In The Dense NYC Ice Cream SceneAs much as everyone loves to insult the Ohio transplant with big city dreams, even the most jaded New Yorker can’t resist some midwestern charms, especially when they come in the form of dessert. Because we love ice cream, Gothamist called CEO and frozen dairy connoisseur Richard Graeter to talk about Graeter’s Ice Cream, a Cincinnati institution that recently became available in NYC. [ more › ]