Apocalypse Postponed: The sequelae of the Greek debt rescheduling remain unclear but it seems that a default has been declared officially and the insurance policies have been triggered. Making the insurers rather unhappy. As for the market's verdict . . . The new Greek bonds that investors get when swapping their current holdings were quoted in the grey, pre-issue market with yields of 15 to 21%, reflecting a high risk of default, far above Portuguese levels of around 11 to 14%. Click here for a useful Q&A on the subject and here for an analysis of the implications, present and future. The take-home message is that Greece is not guaranteed to stay in the eurozone. Apocalypse could well return.
If you were to ask any Spaniard which is the most corrupt region of Spain, my guess is they'd nominate Andalucia. Though perhaps Valencia might get a mention. The latest case from the former concerns the ex Director General of Employment, who authorised pension payments to non-existent employees of public sector companies. He's been jailed, pending trial. The public prosecutor is seeking an 18 year sentence and has asked that bail be set at 933 million euros. Which the accused may have some difficulty raising. Depending on how much has flowed out of the public coffers.
On the subject of corruption, here's a contribution from my fellow-blogger, Lenox.
Very near to where my sister lives in France is a campsite, called Prat. As in Spain, a campsite in France is called un camping. So, the entrance sports a large billboard bearing the legend Camping Prat. A couple of years ago, my daughter took a photo of me in appropriate pose in front of this billboard and this is now one of many on the walls of her flat. This is a conversation which took place between me and one of her friends:-
I've always loved this one of you and Faye when she was about three. But where's the one of you as a twat?
Twat?? D'you mean Prat?
Yea, that's it.
You do know there's a difference between a twat and a prat?
Well, maybe not. Depending on what you meant by twat.
Which reminds me . . . Residents of Zurich will vote tomorrow on whether to build "dedicated garages" where prostitutes can ply their trade safely. And away from the residential areas they currently favour. These "garages" will be on the edge of the city and will come complete with showers, toilets and a gynaecologist. Plus "volunteers from the Flora Dora women's group to proffer advice". I'm not clear whether this would be to the streetwalkers or their would-be clients.