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German Finance Minister Schaeuble give his approval for a Greek referendum on its EU-IMF bailout

There were no positive or negative surprises at Monday’s Eurogroup for Greece as eurozone finance ministers confirmed in writing that there had been progress in talks between Athens and its lenders but that intensive work needs to be done over the next few days.

Alex Christoforou

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Schaeuble gives his blessing for a Eurozone referendum in Greece, saying it could finally resolve the drawn-out crisis.

“If the Greek government thinks it should have a referendum, then it should organize a referendum,” Schaeuble told reporters in Brussels.

“Maybe this would be the right measure to let the Greek people decide if it is ready to accept what is necessary — or if they want to have the other thing.”

European Parliament President Martin Schulz however said that the issue of a Greek referendum was «a question on which the Greeks have to discuss on their own.”

Led by Germany, Greece’s creditors want rigorous reforms from Athens but Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s radical government has so far refused to deliver.

Tsipras’ government, led by the radical Syriza party, has previously warned of the possibility of a referendum to seek approval for its tough stance.

Schaeuble ruled out any deal at Monday’s Eurogroup — the meeting of the 19 eurozone finance ministers.

“Unfortunately there is not sufficient progress to reach a decision today, whatever it is,” he said.

“We want to help Greece but Greece has to do its part.”

Though progress was said to be made at the Eurogroup meeting, nothing official was announced, and time and money is running out for all parties involved.

Ekathimerini reports…

“We welcomed the progress that has been achieved so far,” said the ministers in a joint statement after the meeting in Brussels. “We note that the reorganization and streamlining of working procedures has made an acceleration possible, and has contributed to a more substantial discussion,” they added in reference to recent changes in Greece’s negotiation team and its style.

“At the same time, we acknowledged that more time and effort are needed to bridge the gaps on the remaining open issues,” the statement added, calling for an acceleration in the Brussels Group negotiations.

The euro-area finance ministers also made it clear that more loans would be disbursed to Greece only if there is a “staff-level agreement” on the conclusion of the program review. Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem indicated in comments afterward that Greece’s lenders might agree to break up the 7.2 billion euros in bailout funding into smaller tranches based on the gradual implementation of whatever is included in any final agreement.

“There are time constraints and liquidity constraints and hopefully we will reach an agreement before time runs out and before money runs out,” said Dijsselbloem.

Speaking in a separate news conference, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said he felt there has been “considerable convergence” between Athens and its creditors and that they would try to wrap up an agreement in the next couple of weeks, before the government’s liquidity problems become “binding.”

The Greek minister said there had been “substantive progress” in talks on issues such as settling nonperforming loans (NPLs), reforming value-added tax (VAT) and bolstering the independence of Greece’s tax authority. However, he suggested that there were still differences over pension and labor reforms. “Just cutting pensions is not a reform,” he said.

Varoufakis confirmed that Greece would today meet a repayment of around 750 million euros to the International Monetary Fund.

He also insisted that his relations with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble are excellent. “Our meetings are always friendly, particularly interesting and constructive,” said the former economics professor. “Today we had our friendliest meeting yet,” he added.

References:

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_11/05/2015_549926

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_11/05/2015_549910

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EU leaders dictate Brexit terms to Theresa May (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 115.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the the Article 50 process which effectively postpones Brexit beyond the 29 March deadline.

The UK will now be offered a delay until the 22nd of May, only if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal next week. If MPs do not approve May’s negotiated deal, then the EU will support a short delay until the 12th of April, allowing the UK extra time to get the deal passed or to “indicate a way forward”.

UK PM Theresa May said there was now a “clear choice” facing MPs, who could vote for a third time on her deal next week.

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Theresa May outlines four Brexit options, via Politico

In a letter to MPs, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set out the four options she believes the country has in light of Thursday’s decision by EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline beyond next Friday.

The U.K. is faced with a four-way choice, May wrote late Friday.

The government could revoke Article 50 — which May called a betrayal of the Brexit vote; leave without a deal on April 12; pass her deal in a vote next week; or, “if it appears that there is not sufficient support” for a vote on her deal in parliament next week or if it is rejected for a third time, she could ask for an extension beyond April 12.

But this would require for the U.K. taking part in European elections in May, which the prime minister said “would be wrong.”

May wrote that she’s hoping for the deal to pass, allowing the U.K. to leave the EU “in an orderly way,” adding “I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.”

“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” she wrote.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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