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Two stories you need to read!

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  • Two stories you need to read!

    British source. Here is story number 1.

    From Times Online
    January 21, 2009

    World Agenda: riots in Iceland, Latvia and Bulgaria are a sign of things to come

    Our third global political column explores the start of an age of rebellion over the financial crisis - beginning in Iceland

    (Halldor Kolbeins/AFP/Getty Images)

    Icelanders vented their fury at the political class's handling of the financial crisis by staging angry protests in Reykjavik

    Image :1 of 2

    Roger Boyes

    div#related-article-links p a, div#related-article-links p a:visited {color:#06c;}Icelanders all but stormed their Parliament last night. It was the first session of the chamber after what might appear to be an unusually long Christmas break.
    Ordinary islanders were determined to vent their fury at the way that the political class had allowed the country to slip towards bankruptcy. The building was splattered with paint and yoghurt, the crowd yelled and banged pans, fired rockets at the windows and lit a bonfire in front of the main door. Riot police moved in.
    Now in the grand sweep of the current crisis, a riot on a piece of volcanic rock in the north Atlantic may not seem to add up to much. But it is a sign of things to come: a new age of rebellion.
    The financial meltdown has become part of the real economy and is now beginning to shape real politics. More and more citizens on the edge of the global crisis are taking to the streets. Bulgaria has been gripped this month by its worst riots since 1997 when street power helped to topple a Socialist government. Now Socialists are at the helm again and are having to fend off popular protests about government incompetence and corruption.
    In Latvia – where growth has been in double-digit figures for years – anger is bubbling over at official mismanagement. GDP is expected to contract by 5 per cent this year; salaries will be cut; unemployment will rise. Last week, in a country where demonstrators usually just sing and then go home, 10,000 people besieged parliament.
    Iceland, Bulgaria, Latvia: these are not natural protest cultures. Something is going amiss.
    The LSE economist Robert Wade – addressing a protest meeting in Reykjavik’s cinema – recently warned that the world was approaching a new tipping point. Starting from March-May 2009, we can expect large-scale civil unrest, he said. “It will be caused by the rise of general awareness throughout Europe, America and Asia that hundreds of millions of people in rich and poor countries are experiencing rapidly falling consumption standards; that the crisis is getting worse not better; and that it has escaped the control of public authorities, national and international.”
    Ukraine could be the next to go. The gas pricing deal agreed with Moscow could propel the country towards a serious financial crisis. Russia, too, is looking wobbly. A riot in Vladivostok may have been an omen for things to come. What will happen when the wider economic crisis translates into higher food prices? Or if Gazprom has no choice but to increase domestic gas prices?
    Governments have so far managed to deflect attention from their role in the crash, their slipshod monitoring, by declaring themselves to be indispensible to the solution. This may save the skins of politicians in wealthier countries who can credibly and expensively try to prop up banks and sickly industries. But it does not work in countries that are heavily indebted, with bloated and exposed financial sectors. There, the irate crowds are already beginning to demand: why hasn’t a single politician resigned? What has happened to ministerial responsibility? Who will investigate government failure?
    Good questions, it seems to me, in these unquiet times.

  • #2
    Story number 2. Also a British source.

    Icelandic government becomes first to be brought down by the credit crunch

    By Graham Smith
    Last updated at 3:10 PM on 23rd January 2009

    Quit: Iceland's Prime Minister Geir Haarde called a general election for May. He also revealed he has cancer and will not be standing for re-election

    The government of Iceland today became the first to be effectively brought down by the credit crunch.
    After several nights of rioting over the financial crisis, Prime Minister Geir Haarde, surrendered to increasing pressure and called a general election for May.
    A poll would not normally be held until 2011.
    Haarde also revealed that he had been diagnosed with a malignant tumour of the oesophagus and would not seek re-election.
    'I have decided not to seek re-election as leader of the Independence Party at its upcoming national congress,' he told a news conference.
    The global financial crisis hit Iceland, which has a population 320,000, in October, triggering a collapse in its currency and financial system under the weight of billions of dollars of foreign debts incurred by its banks
    The economy is set to shrink 10 percent this year and unemployment is surging.
    Critics wanted Haarde, the central bank governor and other senior officials to resign.

    Some senior figures in his party have also said they favour an early election, but Haarde had up to now vowed to defy plunging popularity and stay on.

    Protests had been held weekly since the crisis broke last year, but since Tuesday have been held every night.

    On Thursday, police used teargas on demonstrators for the first time since protests against the North Atlantic island's entry into the NATO alliance in 1949.
    Special forces had to rescue Haarde from his car after he was surrounded by an furious mob hurling eggs and cans outside the government offices, in Reykjavik.
    Protesters clash with police in Reykjavik during a demonstration against the Icelandic government's handling of the country's financial crisis

    Riot police huddle together as projectiles are thrown at the Parliament building behind them in downtown Reykjavik

    The seething crowd spattered the building with paint and yoghurt, yelling and banging pans, hurling fireworks and flares at the windows and even lighting a fire in front of the main doors.

    'There were a couple of hundred (protesters) when they had to use the gas,' police spokesman Gunnar Sigurdsson said. 'It went on for two hours or so. There were no arrests. Some injuries, but not serious.'
    Latvia, Bulgaria and other European countries hit hard by the global economic meltdown have also seen unrest.

    Protesters carry a placard of Iceland's Justice Minister Bjorn Bjarnason and a sign reading 'death power' during demonstrations
    Last edited by Rustyshakelford; 01-23-2009, 10:03 PM.