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The eurozone has dominated headlines for months, but what of the other key poles of the world economy, China and the United States? Growth has been slowing in China for months, and the US is also struggling. James Politi in Washington and Jamil Anderlini in Beijing join Gideon Rachman to discuss the prospects of the world’s two largest economies.
With the announcement of the winner of Egypt’s presidential election delayed, and the ruling military’s move to dissolve the democratically-elected parliament, David Gardner, international affairs editor, and Borzou Daragahi in Cairo join Gideon Rachman to discuss whether the gains of the Egyptian revolution area being rolled back.
Daniel Garrahan reports from Athens on whether Sunday’s poll will produce a leader that can keep the country in the euro.
Spain reluctantly accepted a bailout for its struggling banks last weekend but it has not restored market confidence – the government’s borrowing costs have soared to their highest level since the birth of the euro. Meanwhile Greece is holding a general election this weekend. No party is likely to win an overall majority, the country’s exit from the eurozone is a distinct possibility and as much as €500 million is leaving its banks each day. Gideon Rachman is joined by Victor Mallet in Madrid, Kerin Hope in Athens and Chris Giles in the studio to discuss the crisis. Read more
Tony answers a selection of questions about Greece’s upcoming rerun election that were submitted by our readers on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Read more
As Vladimir Putin settles back into the Kremlin, we focus on his vision for Russia‘s domestic politics and its relationship with China and the west. Charles Clover, Moscow bureau chief, and Neil Buckley, eastern Europe editor, join Gideon Rachman to discuss.
Why now? The fact that Azerbaijan is hosting Eurovision this year has shone a light on the Caspian country of 9 million people – and in particular, its human rights record. The event itself is typically a festival of kitsch in which contestants from 41 European countries, clad in sequins and tights, sing their hearts out for their nation. Azerbaijan has embraced the contest as a chance to shape the West’s opinion of the country and what defines it. Read more
By Tony Barber, Europe Editor
Greece, teetering on the precipice of the eurozone, is to hold a parliamentary election on June 17. This will be its second such vote in 43 days. A depressing insight into the country’s political paralysis was provided by transcripts of discussions that President Karolos Papoulias, Greece’s head of state, held with party political leaders on May 13 in an attempt to resolve the impasse.
These transcripts (made public by the president’s office) would make you roar with laughter – if you weren’t weeping in despair at the petty-mindedness, stupidity and shamelessness of some of Greece’s politicians. Read more
By Martin Sandbu
The terror trial against Anders Behring Breivik – now in its sixth week – may have slipped away from the attention of the world press.
But in Norway, there is little respite from proceedings that have now passed the halfway mark. While the court took a two-day recess for the national holiday – ‘Constitution day’ – on May 17, it will now keep working until the trial concludes on June 22. Read more
Dr Jan Fidrmuc, Department of Economics and Finance and Centre for Economic Development and Institutions, Brunel University
Following the rejection of EU imposed austerity measures by the overwhelming majority of Greek voters, eurozone finance ministers have once again come to Brussels to try and save the single currency in what is being described as a ‘crucial 48 hours’.
Two thirds of the Greek electorate voted for parties opposed to the austerity measures required by the European Commission, ECB and IMF as a precondition of a further bailout; despite the outgoing government pledging to adhere to these measures.
Without compromise either by the Greeks accepting austerity measures or the EU offering concessions on the proposed package, another election is inevitable. In this case the bailout package will be suspended, Greece will default on its debt and an exit from the eurozone may follow. None of this will offer much respite for the struggling Greek economy.
In the past the EU offered concessions to voters having rejected EU treaties, however this time there is little political will, and not only in Germany, to offer sweeteners to the Greeks to help them swallow the bitter pill of fiscal adjustment.
Why then are the Greeks fighting against the support from the EU? And should the rest of the EU let them resist or should they be offered a sweeter deal after all?
Gideon Rachman is joined by Geoff Dyer, Kathrin Hille and James Kynge to discuss the consequences of the case of Chen Guangcheng, the blind legal activist who has left the US embassy in Beijing following a deal between the US and China.
Governments in Seoul, Tokyo and Washington reacted angrily to the announcement last month of North Korea’s impending rocket launch. But what are they really concerned about? Geoff Dyer, US diplomatic correspondent, and Christian Oliver, Seoul correspondent join Shawn Donnan to discuss Pyongyang’s missile politics.
While Mitt Romney took the day with wins in 6 states, the Santorum and Gingrich victories in the more conservative states solidify the fractious nature of the GOP electorate, says Ed Luce. The only clarity gained from Tuesday contest is that the GOP primary is far from over.
Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the eurozone crisis. By Esther Bintliff on the world news desk in London, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world. All times GMT.
18.45 That’s all from the live blog for tonight, but you can keep up to date with all the latest news and analysis on FT.com. We’ll leave you with a summary of events today:
- Investors holding 85.8 per cent of Greece’s private debt agreed to participate in the country’s €206bn debt restructuring
- The Greek cabinet approved the use of collective action clauses (CACs), to force recalcitrant investors who own bonds under Greek law to take part in the swap
- Once the CACs are activated, participation will rise to 95.7 per cent, the level that Greece’s troika of lenders say is necessary if the country is to cut its debt to 120 per cent of GDP by 2020
- Eurozone finance ministers held a conference call, in which they agreed to release up to €35.5bn ($47bn) in bailout funds to help fund the debt swap
- Spanish trade unions voted for industrial action at the end of March
- And finally, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association began their meeting at 13.00 to discuss whether the debt swap constitutes a credit event, which would trigger credit default swaps. At the time of writing, we still didn’t know the answer.
By Matthew Green
The first thing I wondered was ‘who irons his shirts?’
When Joseph Kony stepped out of the jungle and into a clearing in eastern Congo, he looked almost debonair in his smartly-pressed white suit. A small army of pint-sized soldiers trailed behind him, hair tousled into dreadlocks, feet flopping in Wellington boots. One or two even cracked a grin, but Kony’s face was stone. An overlord in his forest kingdom, the rebel leader seemed unnerved by the sight of strangers.
That was in 2006. I became one of the few journalists to meet the founder of the Lord’s Resistance Army during one of his sallies from the bush to engage in an ultimately futile dance of peace talks with elders from his native northern Uganda.
From the FT’s Brussels Blog:
Over the last 24 hours, a flurry of activity has taken place surrounding Greece’s €200bn debt restructuring, most of it expected but some of it potentially destabilising. Because the moves involve highly technical – but still significant – judgements by occasionally obscure groups, Brussels Blog thought it was time for another guide to what to watch for in the ensuing days.
The most eye-catching announcement was the one made last night by Standard & Poor’s declaring Greece to be in “selective default”. Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker, chair of the group of eurozone finance ministers, put out a statement saying the move was “duly anticipated” – and he’s right. S&P signalled this way back in June when the first talk of a Greek restructuring began.
Outside reaction to the crises in Syria and Iran
Gideon Rachman is joined by FT diplomatic editor James Blitz, commodities editor Javier Blas and US diplomatic correspondent Geoff Dyer to discuss the outside world’s reaction to the crises in Syria and Iran.