Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without – Buddha

Posts Tagged ‘Greece’

Nobel Prize: A tale of ignoble peace laureates

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 11, 2012

One man introduced indefinite detention and expanded the deadly global drone war. Another was the architect of the deliberate mass killing of civilian populations in Indochina. What do they have in common? Both are Nobel Peace laureates.

Gandhi never got one. Al Gore did. In one of the stranger ironies befitting of both Kafka and Orwell, sometimes the makers of permanent war are awarded for bringing temporary peace. Sometimes they don’t even get that far.

With the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize set to be announced in Oslo, Norway on Friday, the shadow of Barack Obama still looms large. In 2009, the committee awarded the current US president “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Nominations for the award are due by February 1, meaning Obama had served as America’s executive for less than two weeks when the Norwegian Nobel Committee selected him. Perhaps it was wishful thinking.

Since then, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, making it legal to indefinitely detain US citizens. There are also the deadly drone wars in Yemen and Pakistan, the war waged in Libya, the Afghan surge and a secret “kill list” revealed this year by The New York Times, which grants a select few American officials the option to mark perceived national security threats – foreign citizens or otherwise – for assassination. Ironic, yes, but they never could have known.  Read the rest of this entry »

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London’s Loss? Why Hosting the Olympics Is Bad Business

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 26, 2012

Jae Hong / AP

JAE HONG / AP
London has plans for the Olympic Stadium once the Games are over. But many cities fail to figure out what to do with massive venues after the world’s athletes leave.

On Oct. 2, 2009, the entire country of Brazil threw a party. After a bidding process that lasted more than two years, the International Olympic Committee announced that Rio de Janeiro had won the right to hold the 2016 Summer Olympics, beating out Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo. As Brazil’s Olympic representatives celebrated in Copenhagen, crowds in Rio danced and hugged and shot confetti into the air.

But if Brazilians took a look at the financial troubles that Olympic Games almost always get their host cities into, they wouldn’t have celebrated. In fact, they would’ve been smarter not to have competed to host the Games at all.

(MORE: Welcome to London 2012: We Apologize for the Delays in Your Journey) Read the rest of this entry »

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Greece’s Exit From The Euro Zone Approaches, While Europe Fiddles

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 25, 2012

By Mark Gonglof

Greek Exit Euro Zone
A Greek flag flies next to a statue of ancient Greek philosopher Socrates in the center of Athens on 23 May, 2012. European leaders are considering the repercussions of Greece leaving the euro zone.

Europe and Greece are at the stage in their stormy marriage where they are consulting with divorce lawyers. And we may all feel the pain of their breakup.

On Thursday a Markit Economics indextracking European service-sector and factory activity in May tumbled to its lowest level since June 2009, suggesting a deeper economic contraction. A separate Markit index of German factory activity also tumbled, as did an Ifo Institute index of German corporate confidence, both suggesting the core of the European economy is suffering, too.

Meanwhile, new public polling in Greece showed the anti-austerity Syriza partygaining more support than ever ahead of elections scheduled for June 17 — even as 85 percent of Greeks polled said they wanted the country to stay in the euro zone.

A formal European summit is scheduled for the end of June, several days after the Greek election. Many observers fear that, by then, it will be too late for decisive action to keep Greece in the euro zone.

The euro fell on Thursday to $1.253, its lowest level in nearly two years. But European stocks rallied, in part on a hope that the European Central Bank will come to the rescue with rate cuts and fresh support for struggling sovereign debt. Germany’s DAX index edged up by about 0.5 percent, while France’s CAC 40 rose 1.2 percent. Read the rest of this entry »

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G-8 or G-Zero? Why the West No Longer Sets the Global Agenda

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 20, 2012

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

MARK WILSON / GETTY IMAGES
G8 foreign ministers (L-R), Koichiro Gemba of Japan, Guido Westerwelle of Germany, Sergei Lavrov of Russia, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Alain Juppe of France, John Baird of Canada, Giulio Terzi Di Sant’Agata of Italy, and Catherine Ashton of the European Union, pose for a group photo on April 11, 2012 in Washington, DC. Secretary Clinton hosted this year’s G8 Foreign Ministers conference at the Blair House

The spectacle of some of the most powerful leaders in the world gathering at Camp David on Friday for the G-8 summit and then for this weekend’s NATO anniversary in Chicago won’t disguise the fact that things seem to be gradually falling apart. These once mighty symbols of international leadership appear almost paralyzed before the tides of economic, financial and political change. The opening of William Butler Yeats’ 1921 poem that found the best devoid of conviction and the worst filled with passionate intensity reads as if crafted as an elegant introduction to an analysis of the global political moment.

(MORE: The G8 Summit at Camp David: This Time, It’s Important)

The G-8 convenes as the euro zone is threatening to unravel, most immediately in the showdown over Germany’s insistence that Greece either swallow the toxic austerity medicine that could kill its economy or see itself banished from the euro zone, potentially triggering global financial losses on the order of $1 trillion. But the forum is unlikely to settle the fate of Greece, much less the underlying tension over policies of austerity to cut spending debt and stimulus policies to revive growth.

When the G-7 was founded in the 1980s its goal was to gather the leaders of the world’s most successful, dynamic economies to plot pathways to further prosperity. Russia was later added to its guest list as a reward for casting off communism rather than as a vote of confidence in its economy. But today, confidence in the group is low. Few seem to believe that the leaders of the U.S., Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada are equipped to tackle the problems facing the world economy. (They effectively admitted their limitations in 2008 when a far wider forum, the Group of 20 — which included the major emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil, Turkey and others — to tackle the global financial meltdown.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Portugal May Be the Next Greece

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 28, 2012

The worst is over for the euro zone, the experts say. But Greece isn’t really fixed and Portugal could become a second big problem before year-end
Getty Images

GETTY IMAGES

When Greece celebrated its Independence Day on Sunday, there were scattered protests over the harsh austerity program aimed at stabilizing the country’s finances. The government reportedly removed low-hanging fruit from bitter-orange trees along the parade route, so it couldn’t be thrown by protesters. But, basically, the most recent bailout appears to be successful. As a result, worries about the European financial crisis have diminished somewhat. Indeed, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi has said that the worst is over for the euro-currency zone.

Such optimism may be premature, however. Not only does Greece remain a long-term financial concern, but in addition Portugal is on track to become a second big problem.

The dangers Greece still poses are clear. Higher taxes and government-spending cuts may reduce new borrowing, but such austerity policies also undermine a country’s ability to pay the interest on its existing debt. Unless accompanied by progrowth policies, austerity can become the financial equivalent of a medieval doctor trying to cure patients by bleeding them. In addition, the bailout plan for Greece consisted of marking down the value of much of the country’s debt held by banks and other private lenders. That means entities such as the European Central Bank now hold most of Greece’s remaining debt. And so, in the event of a default, important international institutions would suffer the greatest damage.

(MORE: Is Germany’s Euro-Crisis Strategy Actually Working?)

The net result has been to postpone the Greek financial crisis for months or even a couple of years, while raising the stakes if things go wrong. That could be seen as a considerable achievement, if you believe Greece is a unique case and that the problem has been successfully contained. The trouble is that other countries — and especially Portugal — seem to be heading down the same path. Here’s why forecasters are worried: Read the rest of this entry »

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Eurozone Agrees Second Mammoth £110bn Bailout For Greece After Marathon Talks

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 21, 2012

Eurozone governments finally came to the rescue of Greece on Tuesday, approving a second massive bail-out after months of wrangling and a last round of more than 12 hours of talks in Brussels.

Haggling over figures, financial targets and Greek government belt-tightening pledges went on through the night in a last-ditch attempt to rally markets and put crisis-hit Athens back on the path to economic recovery.

But the deal is based on long-range forecasts of Greek’s best-case-scenario debt reduction chances over the next eight years, with some pundits instantly dismissing the deal as undeliverable.

In return for the latest 130bn euro (£110bn) bail-out and a private creditor debt write-off worth about another 100bn euros (£84bn), the Greek government is pledged to implement fully a severe austerity package of pay, pension and jobs cuts, as well as finding savings of 325m euros (£270m) in this year’s national budget.

The deal nearly came unstuck over a requirement on Athens to get the Greek projected debt level down to around 120% of national wealth by 2020.

George Osborne insisted on Tuesday the deal was “good for Britain”, telling journalists: “Of course, resolving the Greek situation is only part of resolving the eurozone crisis but I think we took a really significant step towards that last night and that is good for Britain because resolving the eurozone crisis would be the biggest boost that Britain could get for its economy this year.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Athens burns, buildings on fire as chaos, riots flare up (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 13, 2012

The worst riot damage in years has struck Athens as MPs pass harsh new austerity measures. Dozens of historic buildings were set ablaze after riots turned chaotic overnight in Greek capital with protesters looting shops and clashing with riot police. Read the rest of this entry »

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Whither the European (Dis)Union?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 14, 2011

by 

Is significantly greater integration the surest way to prevent both the euro and even the entire European Union from

A droplet of water falls from a tap in front of the euro sculpture at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, Friday, Nov.11, 2011. (Photo: Michael Probst / AP)

blowing apart? Or is EU federation–and the basic powers national governments now wield being weakened in the process–exactly the kind of radical fusion certain to send countries jealous of their sovereignty fleeing for the exits? As euro zone members now consider drastic, big-bang solutions to overcoming their currency’s crisis, leaders of all 27 EU member states find themselves grappling with the question of whether more or less Europe is necessary to safeguard the bloc’s future.

The spread of the single currency’s existential crisis–which began as a debt problem initially believed to imperil only a few small nations before expanding to shake Europe’s biggest economies to their foundations–mirrors the rising pressure posed by a similarly essential dilemma over the wider European Union project, and evoking similar denial from leaders. While most officials agree that deep and dramatic measures must be undertaken to finally contain the debt-driven euro emergency, their concord evaporates over the different options for action—especially centralization of budget and debt rules, and giving real intervention power to the European Central Bank. Central to that disagreement are clashing views over just how bound together EU members should be—a long-standing confrontation between Euroenthusiasts and Euroskeptics that has resurged in crisis anew. As such, moves to save the euro will probably shape the direction—or even future—of the entire EU as it seek a collective horizon to look toward.

News reports Nov. 10 stated France and Germany were consulting partners on potentially radical harmonization measures between euro zone members—or at least those capable of and willing to accept far stricter budgetary and fiscal rules that greater convergence would involve. If true, it suggests the euro zone’s two biggest economies are contemplating tossing unsustainably indebted currency partners out of what would become a smaller, tighter euro ship. German Chancellor Angela Merkel denied those reports, insisting scission of the euro 17 wasn’t an option. Yet her comments elsewhere indicated the status quo could not endure, either. Read the rest of this entry »

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Greek Crisis: George Papandreou Survives No-Confidence Vote

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 5, 2011

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has survived the crucial no-confidence vote on his leadership.

Members of the Greek parliament returned a result of 153 to 145. The PM needed 151 votes to survive.

The eurozone bailout package now looks certain to be passed.

On Saturday, Papandreou will meet the Greek President and request to form a coalition government.

According to Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, the new government will last until the end of February.

The result will raise a sigh of relief across the Europe, particularly with the leaders at the G20 summit in Cannes, France, which has been overshadowed by the drama in Athens.

A majority no vote would have been tantamount to a public default on the Greek debt throwing the beleaguered eurozone project into further chaos.

The much-needed euro130 billion tranche of bailout cash will now be paid to Greek treasury, while European banks will write off half the money owed by Greece, amounting to around euro100 billion.

The vote was secured after a day of turmoil in Athens in which the viability of the ruling socialist party looked increasingly uncertain.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Eurozone Crisis: Greek Deal In Question As Finance Minister Breaks Ranks On Referendum

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 3, 2011

 

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has opened a rift in the country’s government by publicly rejecting the notion of a referendum on euro membership.

George Papandreou, Greece’s prime minister, met with his French and German counterparts on Wednesday night to discuss his highly controversial decision to put the eurozone’s hard-fought agreement to bail out the stricken economy to the public vote.

With the entire eurozone rescue plan thrown into doubt by Papandreou’s gamble – which he believes will add popular legitimacy to a package passed down from Europe – his fellow leaders issued an ultimatum: that the referendum must take place in December, and it must be an unambiguous choice between remaining in the euro or leaving it.

Speaking at a press conference last night, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We would rather achieve a stabilisation of the euro with Greece than without Greece, but this goal of stabilising the euro is more important.”

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Greek bailout referendum could sink Eurozone

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 1, 2011

The decision to call a referendum on Greece’s bailout has rocked markets around the world. But while the Greek PM seeks

Anti-austerity protesters hold a Greek flag reading 'not for sale' during a student parade in Athens, attended by the Greek minister of education (AFP Photo / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI)

political support for the highly unpopular deal, critics argue he is putting both his country’s and Europe’s futures on the line.

A Greek deputy’s defection from the ruling party is only the latest consequence of Prime Minister George Papandreou’s decision to hold a surprise referendum on last week’s Greek bailout package.

Milena Apostolaki’s move, which leaves the governing socialist party with a slim two-seat majority, highlights the risky game Papandreou is playing with Greece’s financial future.

Struggling with rioters at home and growing dissent from within his own political party, Papandreou’s populist maneuver has cast a dark cloud over the eurozone’s future.

While the country is due to receive an 8 billion-euro tranche in mid-November, it is likely to run out by January, just in time for the referendum, leaving the government with no funds if there is a “no” vote, Reuters reports.

And while Greece is desperately in need of the 130 billion-euro lifeline and a 50-per cent write-down on its enormous debt (which would amount to an additional 100 billion euros), more austerity measures are a pill that many find too bitter to swallow.

This reality is reflected by recent opinion polls which show some 60 per cent of Greeks view the bailout in a negative light.

However, the majority also want to stay within the euro, an ambivalence which has created obvious frustration within the Greek government. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Europe’s Latest Debt-Crisis Agreement Could Be DOA

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 24, 2011

By 

The leaders of the euro zone held an important conference on Sunday to try, once again, to resolve its destabilizing debt crisis. And though a final agreement wasn’t reached — and probably won’t be until Wednesday — we can already read the writing on the wall. The new grand agreement is likely to be dead on arrival.

Why so? On every major issue that Europe’s leaders are debating — from the second Greek bailout to recapitalizing the region’s enfeebled banks — they are putting their own, narrow political interests over the desperate needs of the monetary union. We’ve seen this again and again (and again), and it has been the fatal flaw in every deal reached in the two-year quest to stamp out the debt crisis. You know the saying: Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The leaders of Europe have to go back to high school. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘EU’s actions could lead to revolutions in Greece and Portugal’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 16, 2011

The expanded bailout fund will not help if Italy or Spain is dragged into the economic crisis, and the austerity packages are driving Greece and Portugal to revolutions, warned British European Parliament member Nigel Farage.

“They are having austerity packages pushed upon them, which is forcing them into downward deflation, which in my opinion could lead to revolution in Greece and possibly in Portugal, too,” Farage told RT. “What we are doing is stupid, and very, very dangerous indeed.”

“If Italy goes down, they would need a couple of trillion to bail it out,” he said. “And what it the point of bailing these countries out anyway? Are these bailouts helping people in Greece or Portugal? No, they’re not!”

“What they are actually doing,” he continued, “is giving money to these countries to give back to our banks, who over-lent to them in the first place. I mean, the whole thing is mad. What these countries trapped inside this economic prison called the Eurozone need is to devalue.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Fears Of A Eurozone Split As Greece Plumbs New Depths In Debt Crisis

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 28, 2011


Unity among diversity is the best way, however; very challengin­g and difficult task.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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The place where Buddha attained face

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 7, 2011

As you know, every big mountain, being literally the navel of the Earth, eventually accumulates a lot of myths and legends, and becomes the axis of the foundation and the fantastic, yet very real stories. The perturbation vertical space bizarre twists of fate and age. For myths and legends of the local population is responsible, the heroes byley – different kinds of adventurers, mountaineers and other violent “surfers”.

It would be interesting to make something like a historical chronicle, for example, for each eight-, but it does take a lot for them to wander:) On Everest, I’ve tried to write , now part of Nanga Parbat, the more that this mountain will give good odds that the same Everest , and Kashmir – the place is not easy.

1. Nanga Parbat. Painting by Nicholas Roerich

Brief introduction: Nanga Parbat – the first ever eight-to which people have tried to ascend, the first-ever eight-, conquered by man alone. Prior to Everest climbing became popular in the environment, Nanga Parbat kept the championship in the number of dead climbers.

This mountain has witnessed the birth and development of Buddhism in the region, not far from it came the first image of the Buddha. Her foot was held Alexander of Macedon, the Muslim conquerors (ie, Tamerlane and his descendant Babur founded the Mughal dynasty), Sikh invaders. Nanga Parbat knows first hand what a big game of British and Russian empires. Roerich painted the mountain. In the end, this mountain long before the whole of Europe saw the swastika neinduistskuyu – at the top in the early 1930s, tried to climb the Nazis.

***

Once part of Afghanistan, part of the Pamirs, the whole of northern Pakistani-administered Kashmir and Ladakh were Buddhist. About Ladakh is known to many, but here’s what Baltistan (Gilgit Baltistan, now known as the northern part of Kashmir) had a different name – Tibet-i-Khurd, little is known. Translates it as a Small Tibet, the vast majority of people here and now speaks the language of the Baltic States – one of the western dialect of Tibetan language, but it is Muslim.

A little farther west, in the valleys of Dir and Swat in the XX century, excavated six years of Buddhist temples and villages of the world’s greatest Tibetologist Giuseppe Tucci (incidentally, the teacher Michelle Pesselya, which show the way to go in Pesselya forbidden kingdom Mustang). Tucci found in Swat as many Buddhist antiquities, that the excavation could not stop until now.

However, once from 2007 to 2009 he held down the valley of the Taliban, a Buddhist heritage was dealt a severe blow. The Taliban began destroying bodrenko “idols”, as in his time destroyed Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan. This is despite the fact that none of the Muslim invaders of the early period up to Tamerlane’s finger to these monuments were not touched. Yes, and “idols” are in fact older than Islam in a couple of hundred years.

In 326 BC through the Khyber Pass connecting Afghanistan with Pakistan today, in the kingdom of Gandhara Alexander of Macedon invaded. He went with his army across Kashmir, crossed the Indus and Jhelum and even went to the Ganges.

2. Jhelum River (also known as Gidaspov). Here Macedonian army defeated the Indians along the river lay our way to Nanga Parbat

Read the rest of this entry »

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