Europe’s Mediterranean rim trembled on Wednesday as violent clashes broke out following the largest coordinated multinational strike in Europe ever. In the hope to stave off decades of austerity, precarity and unemployment, European labor unions united for the first time since the start of the European debt crisis to organize strikes and protests in a total of 23 EU member states, with millions of workers walking off their jobs and marching on parliament buildings across the continent. Bloody street battles ensued across Spain, Portugal and Italy.
In Italy, over 300,000 protested in over 100 cities as workers observed a 4-hour stoppage in solidarity with Greek, Spanish and Portuguese workers. In Milan and Rome, scenes of street “guerriglia” were witnessed as thousands of students clashed with riot police, bringing traffic to a standstill and leading to dozens of injuries. In Sardinia, industry minister Corrado Passera and Fabrizio Barca, minister of territorial cohesion, had to be evacuated by helicopter after angry protesters besieged a meeting and started burning cars all around them.
Silvio in trouble. From The Telegraph.
Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, has been sentenced to four years in prison after a court in Milan convicted him of tax evasion.
The verdict comes two days after Mr Berlusconi, 76, announced he will not run for in upcoming elections. The three-time premier stepped down last November after Italy came under mounting market pressure to deal with its high debt load and Berlusconi failed to come up with persuasive financial reforms.
The former Italian prime minister will have a right of appeal however.
Prosecutors allege the defendants were behind a scheme to purchase the rights to broadcast US films on Mr Berlusconi’s private television networks through a series of offshore companies and had falsely declared the payments to avoid taxes.
And some Bunga bunga pictures below.
Silvio Berlusconi, 76, hadn’t made an appearance in public in two and a half months, causing some to wonder whether he’d grown weary of politics. Then he showed up on board an ocean liner — with a new girlfriend — and Italian media are again abuzz over whether the media mogul and billionaire will seek to make a political comeback or not.
It’s mid-September, and the crowds are cheering in Venice harbor as Berlusconi boards the cruise ship MSC Divina. Francesca Pascale, a 27-year-old former showgirl and now a former member of the regional council, follows closely behind him.
On the outside, the new Angela Merkel looks like the old one. She still wears her usual blazer — a camel-colored one on this particular Wednesday. Her striking amber necklace has resurfaced. Her hair? Always the same. Still, something has changed since the German chancellor returned from her summer vacation. And it was apparent on Wednesday, as she stood together with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on the first floor of the Chancellery in Berlin.
Peter Tchir has been rather spot on regarding the markets lately. Here are some weekend thoughts worth reviewing.
You can read about Europe from a lot of other sources this weekend. I maintain that when a Grexit became a real possibility, they finally looked at what it would mean and became scared of the risk. Since then there has been a change of attitude. I saw it in the Spanish bailout, and I continue to see it. You can debate all day long about what Merkel says, or what the facilities can or can’t do, but if the EU has changed their approach, and has the will, they can find a way to give this one heck of a kick down the road.
High Yield is positive for the year no matter which day you bought it
Why would retail investors switch to equities when they have found a new and underinvested asset class that yields 7%? I’ve pulled up HYG here to show that there is now not a single purchase that would have a negative total return. Even if you top-ticked the market in February, the coupon income has saved you. This is true for the mutual funds I looked at as well.
As our readers know, we gave Berlusconi a maximum of two years before he would be back. With austerity hitting Europe, Italians are not as fond of Super Mario as they used to be. Is this opening up for Berlusconi for aproper come back, this time having enjoyed the time off, while the rest have been struggling. From Bloomberg.
When Mario Monti was appointed — not elected — prime minister of Italy in November, most Italians saw him as a welcome respite from the flamboyant, bankrupt leadership of Silvio Berlusconi. With the economy headed for collapse, technocratic leadership and a break from politics as usual were exactly what they wanted. So they thought.
When Silvio was “kicked out”, The Trader gave him a maximum of two years before he would be back, only this time with greater power, as the austerity has hit Italy for real. A year has passed, and people are chanting “Silvio, Silvio, come back”. From the Gueardian.
He may have been jeered from office last year. He may be on trial accused of paying for sex with a 17-year-old girl. And last week a prosecutor in Milan asked for him to be locked up in jail for three years and eight months for allegedly shady business practices.
But this weekend, Italy was abuzz with speculation that Silvio Berlusconiis planning a comeback – and could return to lead the right into an early general election, perhaps as standard-bearer of a party bent on withdrawing Italy from the euro.
As austerity has hit Europe, things are developing beyond the financial markets. At the moment people are suffering, and tragic developments occur across the austerity hit countries, while the “strong” countries continue living the normal life. If things get worse, Europe will start boiling for real. Via Newsweek.
In late May, Marco Turrini reached his breaking point. Out of work for more than a year and under pressure from tax collectors, the 41-year-old publicity agent picked up his 4-year-old son, Samuele, and 14-month-old daughter, Benedetta, and threw them out of their sixth-floor window in Brescia, near Milan. He then struggled to push his wife to the same fate. She escaped, but he turned to the window and jumped. He died on impact, but his two young children lived for several long minutes while neighbors tried to save them. The story is tragic, but continues to repeat itself in scenes of desperation across Italy.
On the afternoon of May 10, Arcangelo Arpino, a 63-year-old entrepreneur from the suburbs of Naples, walked into the mosaic-laden Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary in Pompeii and knelt to pray in front of a painting of a crowned Madonna and child. Then he walked out to the parking lot, sat on a short stone wall, and shot himself in the head with a 7.65 caliber pistol. In his pocket were three sealed envelopes. One was addressed to the Madonna, asking her to look over his wife and children. Another was a memo explaining the complicated economic state of his Euro Costruzioni construction business. The last was to Equitalia, Italy’s national tax-collection agency, blaming them for pushing him over the edge with repeated threats and relentless tax assessments. “This is a difficult moment for so many people,” said Claudio D’Alessio, the mayor of Pompeii. “The mark of blood on the grass is symbolic of the pain this community and country feel. But there are those responsible for killing him—the national government and the regional government helped kill this man. The citizens are at their limit.”