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Turkey Set To Block YouTube Momentarily, After Google Refuses To Yank Clips Exposing Prime Minister | Zero Hedge

Turkey Set To Block YouTube Momentarily, After Google Refuses To Yank Clips Exposing Prime Minister | Zero Hedge.

As was reported earlier, the Turkish premier, embroiled in what increasingly appears a career terminating corruption and embezzlement scandal (it is not exactly clear yet just how involved the CIA is in this particular upcoming government overthrow), blocked Turkey’s access to Twitter last night, hours after vowing to “destroy twitter.” The idiocy of this escalation against dissemination of information in the internet age needs no comment. Well maybe one. This is what we said in our post from this morning: “since Turkey will certainly not stop at just Twitter, here is what is coming next: “Last week, Erdogan said the country could also block Facebook and YouTube.” It now appears that at least half of this threat is about to materialize because moments ago Google just announced that it would not remove a previously uploaded video, one in which Erdogan tells his son to hide money from investigators (one which can be seen here), and which Erdogan demanded be pulled from Google (seemingly unaware that by doing so he simply made sure that everyone saw it). This means that within days, if not hours, Turkey will likely block Google-owned YouTube, if not Google itself.

From the WSJ:

Google Inc. has declined Turkish government requests to remove YouTube videos alleging government corruption, people familiar with the matter said, the latest sign of resistance to a crackdown against social media led by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish authorities have in recent weeks asked Google to block the videos from YouTube’s Turkish website, the people familiar with the matter said. But amid a national scandal over corruption allegations, Google refused to comply because it believes the requests to be legally invalid, the people added.

Google’s refusal to remove videos raises the specter that Turkey could move to block access to YouTube within the country, after blocking the microblogging service Twitter Inc. late Thursday night. Both sites have been central conduits for allegations of corruption against Mr. Erdogan’s government and faced public threats of a blackout by Mr. Erdogan. 

Some people within Google had feared a YouTube blackout could be imminent, after the Twitter takedown, the people familiar with the matter said. “We feel an immediate threat,” one of the people said.

Sadly in Erodgan’s berserk regime, this is not only possible but very probable.

Still, one wonders why Google would not relent in this particular case, after recent revelations that the major internet companies have cooperated over the years with the NSA, contrary to their vocal denials in public. Surely, compromising with its principles and ethics would be nothing new to a company which once swore to “do no evil.” Especially since Google realizes quite well by not complying with the government’s demand it is making the overthrow of Erdogan’s regime, violent or otherwise, that much more likely.

Either way, even without Google’s aid it already appeared that Erdogan’s days are numbered when not only the opposition but the figurehead president himself condemned the Twitter blockage.

Opposition politicians decried the move as that of a dictatorship. Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who has a largely symbolic role, also came down against the blackout, using Twitter to write that “wholesale shuttering of social media platforms cannot be approved.”

Alas, with the government in full out despotic mode, however one which would work in the 1970s but certainly not in an age of instant information exchange, further escalations of locking out internet provides will certainly accelerate until finally the information and entertainment starved country says enough.

We eagerly look forward to see which particular pro-Western agent is groomed to take Erdogan’s place. After all remember: those Qatari gas pipelines that in a parallel universe, one without Putin, would have already been transporting nat gas under Syria, would enter Europe under Turkey.

Which makes one wonder – just what is the real goal here?

As for Turkey, we urge the population, largely removed from all Machiavellian moves behind the scenes, to catch up on their favorite YouTube clips: they will shortly disappear for good.

Turkey Set To Block YouTube Momentarily, After Google Refuses To Yank Clips Exposing Prime Minister | Zero Hedge

Turkey Set To Block YouTube Momentarily, After Google Refuses To Yank Clips Exposing Prime Minister | Zero Hedge.

As was reported earlier, the Turkish premier, embroiled in what increasingly appears a career terminating corruption and embezzlement scandal (it is not exactly clear yet just how involved the CIA is in this particular upcoming government overthrow), blocked Turkey’s access to Twitter last night, hours after vowing to “destroy twitter.” The idiocy of this escalation against dissemination of information in the internet age needs no comment. Well maybe one. This is what we said in our post from this morning: “since Turkey will certainly not stop at just Twitter, here is what is coming next: “Last week, Erdogan said the country could also block Facebook and YouTube.” It now appears that at least half of this threat is about to materialize because moments ago Google just announced that it would not remove a previously uploaded video, one in which Erdogan tells his son to hide money from investigators (one which can be seen here), and which Erdogan demanded be pulled from Google (seemingly unaware that by doing so he simply made sure that everyone saw it). This means that within days, if not hours, Turkey will likely block Google-owned YouTube, if not Google itself.

From the WSJ:

Google Inc. has declined Turkish government requests to remove YouTube videos alleging government corruption, people familiar with the matter said, the latest sign of resistance to a crackdown against social media led by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish authorities have in recent weeks asked Google to block the videos from YouTube’s Turkish website, the people familiar with the matter said. But amid a national scandal over corruption allegations, Google refused to comply because it believes the requests to be legally invalid, the people added.

Google’s refusal to remove videos raises the specter that Turkey could move to block access to YouTube within the country, after blocking the microblogging service Twitter Inc. late Thursday night. Both sites have been central conduits for allegations of corruption against Mr. Erdogan’s government and faced public threats of a blackout by Mr. Erdogan. 

Some people within Google had feared a YouTube blackout could be imminent, after the Twitter takedown, the people familiar with the matter said. “We feel an immediate threat,” one of the people said.

Sadly in Erodgan’s berserk regime, this is not only possible but very probable.

Still, one wonders why Google would not relent in this particular case, after recent revelations that the major internet companies have cooperated over the years with the NSA, contrary to their vocal denials in public. Surely, compromising with its principles and ethics would be nothing new to a company which once swore to “do no evil.” Especially since Google realizes quite well by not complying with the government’s demand it is making the overthrow of Erdogan’s regime, violent or otherwise, that much more likely.

Either way, even without Google’s aid it already appeared that Erdogan’s days are numbered when not only the opposition but the figurehead president himself condemned the Twitter blockage.

Opposition politicians decried the move as that of a dictatorship. Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who has a largely symbolic role, also came down against the blackout, using Twitter to write that “wholesale shuttering of social media platforms cannot be approved.”

Alas, with the government in full out despotic mode, however one which would work in the 1970s but certainly not in an age of instant information exchange, further escalations of locking out internet provides will certainly accelerate until finally the information and entertainment starved country says enough.

We eagerly look forward to see which particular pro-Western agent is groomed to take Erdogan’s place. After all remember: those Qatari gas pipelines that in a parallel universe, one without Putin, would have already been transporting nat gas under Syria, would enter Europe under Turkey.

Which makes one wonder – just what is the real goal here?

As for Turkey, we urge the population, largely removed from all Machiavellian moves behind the scenes, to catch up on their favorite YouTube clips: they will shortly disappear for good.

Turkey PM Acts On His Threat To "Destroy Twitter", Blocks Countrywide Access | Zero Hedge

Turkey PM Acts On His Threat To “Destroy Twitter”, Blocks Countrywide Access | Zero Hedge.

When we reported early yesterday that Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan warned that since Twitter had ignored court orders to remove content related to a government corruption scandal., that he would “destroy Twitter” and that “we’ll dig up Twitter – all of them – from the roots,” he raged, “they’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey” it may not have been quite clear what he meant. A few hours later it was revealed, when virtually all Twitter access was blocked in Turkey ten days ahead of the general election in a move that has already enraged the nation and resulted in a powerful public outcry.

Bloomberg reports that the “tweets targeted by the premier are from two anonymous users: one going by the name of Haramzadeler, a phrase translated by Turkish media as “Sons of Thieves” though it could also mean “bastard,” and another called Bascalan, or “Prime Thief.”  The person or persons have been leaking documents and audio files, some described as the results of a 15-month prosecutor-led investigation into corruption in Erdogan’s government. The leaks have captured the attention of Turkey’s 74 million citizens as the prime minister prepares for local elections on March 30. Zero Hedge reported on the leaks one month ago, which revealed that the PM and his sons were scrambling to hide their stolen money from the local prosecution during an anti-corruption raid in late 2013.

The leaks also call into question everything from the financial probity of ministers to their religious piety, and provide evidence of a media browbeaten by the government. That’s enlivened the opposition and put Erdogan on the defensive amid public allegations of graft involving the premier’s family and businessmen who’ve profited during his 11 years in power.

Turkey’s Information Technology and Telecommunications Board, or BTK, said Twitter had been blocked upon “complaints from our citizens” and “violations of personal rights and privacy,” according to a statement on its website today.

“The Internet site called Twitter has ignored decisions made by the courts of the Republic of Turkey,” the board said in the statement. “Left with no other choice to prevent the incompensable victimization of our citizens, a preventive measure blocking access to Twitter has been imposed in line with court decisions.”

Of course, the sheer idiocy of hoping to spread information by blocking one medium needs no commentary. What is worse for the embattled corrupt PM, however, is that worse revelations are coming:

Local media has reported that the most damaging leaks were yet to come. In a column in Yeni Safak newspaper yesterday, Hayrettin Karaman, a retired professor of Islamic law, pre-emptively denied the validity of a tape he said would be aired, showing him advising Erdogan on whether Islam would permit him to order the killing of politician Muhsin Yazicioglu, who died in a helicopter crash on March 25, 2009.

Yesterday, a prominent Turkish news anchorwoman denied rumors of a sexual affair with the prime minister. The pro-government media had been warning this week that new leaks would use “Hollywood” technology including silicon masks to make actors look like recognizable Turkish personalities.

While the original investigation stalled after prosecutors were removed, laws changed and thousands of police officers transferred, some of the files leaked from “Haramzadeler” have been incorporated into parliamentary record by the opposition.

As for the explanations from Erdogan, they have long since moved beyond the merely ridiculous:

Speaking across Turkey, Erdogan has dismissed one recording as a “montage,” described another as “natural” and said the entire investigation is backed by “foreign powers” and spearheaded by followers of a U.S.-based Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen. The latter has denied the allegations.

Regardless, the leaks are set to go on.

In a message on Twitter on March 19, “Haramzadeler” promised the leaks would continue until municipal elections and beyond.

“These publications will continue not just until March 30, but until Turkey sees the whole truth,” according to the post.

And since Turkey will certainly not stop at just Twitter, here is what is coming next: “Last week, Erdogan said the country could also block Facebook and YouTube.” One wonders how long until other despotic regimes – the Eurozone comes to mind – encourage Erdogan and decide to adopt some of his more radical measures.

Turkey PM Acts On His Threat To “Destroy Twitter”, Blocks Countrywide Access | Zero Hedge

Turkey PM Acts On His Threat To “Destroy Twitter”, Blocks Countrywide Access | Zero Hedge.

When we reported early yesterday that Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan warned that since Twitter had ignored court orders to remove content related to a government corruption scandal., that he would “destroy Twitter” and that “we’ll dig up Twitter – all of them – from the roots,” he raged, “they’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey” it may not have been quite clear what he meant. A few hours later it was revealed, when virtually all Twitter access was blocked in Turkey ten days ahead of the general election in a move that has already enraged the nation and resulted in a powerful public outcry.

Bloomberg reports that the “tweets targeted by the premier are from two anonymous users: one going by the name of Haramzadeler, a phrase translated by Turkish media as “Sons of Thieves” though it could also mean “bastard,” and another called Bascalan, or “Prime Thief.”  The person or persons have been leaking documents and audio files, some described as the results of a 15-month prosecutor-led investigation into corruption in Erdogan’s government. The leaks have captured the attention of Turkey’s 74 million citizens as the prime minister prepares for local elections on March 30. Zero Hedge reported on the leaks one month ago, which revealed that the PM and his sons were scrambling to hide their stolen money from the local prosecution during an anti-corruption raid in late 2013.

The leaks also call into question everything from the financial probity of ministers to their religious piety, and provide evidence of a media browbeaten by the government. That’s enlivened the opposition and put Erdogan on the defensive amid public allegations of graft involving the premier’s family and businessmen who’ve profited during his 11 years in power.

Turkey’s Information Technology and Telecommunications Board, or BTK, said Twitter had been blocked upon “complaints from our citizens” and “violations of personal rights and privacy,” according to a statement on its website today.

“The Internet site called Twitter has ignored decisions made by the courts of the Republic of Turkey,” the board said in the statement. “Left with no other choice to prevent the incompensable victimization of our citizens, a preventive measure blocking access to Twitter has been imposed in line with court decisions.”

Of course, the sheer idiocy of hoping to spread information by blocking one medium needs no commentary. What is worse for the embattled corrupt PM, however, is that worse revelations are coming:

Local media has reported that the most damaging leaks were yet to come. In a column in Yeni Safak newspaper yesterday, Hayrettin Karaman, a retired professor of Islamic law, pre-emptively denied the validity of a tape he said would be aired, showing him advising Erdogan on whether Islam would permit him to order the killing of politician Muhsin Yazicioglu, who died in a helicopter crash on March 25, 2009.

Yesterday, a prominent Turkish news anchorwoman denied rumors of a sexual affair with the prime minister. The pro-government media had been warning this week that new leaks would use “Hollywood” technology including silicon masks to make actors look like recognizable Turkish personalities.

While the original investigation stalled after prosecutors were removed, laws changed and thousands of police officers transferred, some of the files leaked from “Haramzadeler” have been incorporated into parliamentary record by the opposition.

As for the explanations from Erdogan, they have long since moved beyond the merely ridiculous:

Speaking across Turkey, Erdogan has dismissed one recording as a “montage,” described another as “natural” and said the entire investigation is backed by “foreign powers” and spearheaded by followers of a U.S.-based Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen. The latter has denied the allegations.

Regardless, the leaks are set to go on.

In a message on Twitter on March 19, “Haramzadeler” promised the leaks would continue until municipal elections and beyond.

“These publications will continue not just until March 30, but until Turkey sees the whole truth,” according to the post.

And since Turkey will certainly not stop at just Twitter, here is what is coming next: “Last week, Erdogan said the country could also block Facebook and YouTube.” One wonders how long until other despotic regimes – the Eurozone comes to mind – encourage Erdogan and decide to adopt some of his more radical measures.

"We'll Destroy Twitter" Blasts Turkish PM | Zero Hedge

“We’ll Destroy Twitter” Blasts Turkish PM | Zero Hedge.

It appears the madness is contagious. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, embroiled in an ongoing and huge corruption probe, lashed out at “international conspiracies” in a speech at a rally in Bursa. “We’ll dig up Twitter – all of them – from the roots,” he raged, “they’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey.” With the looming elections – sure to fair and equitable to all – he warned he would “settle scores” after winning. Indeed…

Via Bloomberg,

“We’ll dig up Twitter and so on — all of them — from the roots.”

“When people say, ‘Sir, the international community would say this or that,’ it doesn’t interest me at all,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says today, according to state-run Anatolia news agency.

Erdogan, quoted at a rally in Bursa, also says:

Court decision has been made regarding Twitter, without elaborating on the decision

“International conspiracies are a part of this”

“They’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey”

“We’ll Destroy Twitter” Blasts Turkish PM | Zero Hedge

“We’ll Destroy Twitter” Blasts Turkish PM | Zero Hedge.

It appears the madness is contagious. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, embroiled in an ongoing and huge corruption probe, lashed out at “international conspiracies” in a speech at a rally in Bursa. “We’ll dig up Twitter – all of them – from the roots,” he raged, “they’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey.” With the looming elections – sure to fair and equitable to all – he warned he would “settle scores” after winning. Indeed…

Via Bloomberg,

“We’ll dig up Twitter and so on — all of them — from the roots.”

“When people say, ‘Sir, the international community would say this or that,’ it doesn’t interest me at all,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says today, according to state-run Anatolia news agency.

Erdogan, quoted at a rally in Bursa, also says:

Court decision has been made regarding Twitter, without elaborating on the decision

“International conspiracies are a part of this”

“They’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey”

Near-Bankrupt Rome Bailed Out As Italy Unemployment Rises To All Time High, Grows By Most On Record In 2013 | Zero Hedge

Near-Bankrupt Rome Bailed Out As Italy Unemployment Rises To All Time High, Grows By Most On Record In 2013 | Zero Hedge.

A few days ago, we reported that, seemingly out of the blue, the city of Rome was on the verge of a “Detroit-style bankruptcy.” In the article, Guido Guidesi, a parliamentarian from the Northern League, was quoted as saying “It’s time to stop the accounting tricks and declare Rome’s default.” Of course, that would be unthinkable: we said that if “if one stops the accounting tricks, not only Rome, but all of Europe, as well as the US and China would all be swept under a global bankruptcy tsunami. So it is safe to assume that the tricks will continue. Especially when one considers that as Mirko Coratti, head of Rome’s city council said on Wednesday, “A default of Italy’s capital city would trigger a chain reaction that could sweep across the national economy.” Well we can’t have that, especially not with everyone in Europe living with their head stuck in the sand of universal denial, assisted by the soothing lies of Mario Draghi and all the other European spin masters.” And just as expected, yesterday Rome was bailed out.

As Reuters reported, Matteo Renzi’s new Italian government on Friday approved an emergency decree to bail out Rome city council whose mayor had warned the capital would have to halt essential services unless it got financial help.

The decree transfers 570 million euros ($787 million) to the city to pay the salaries of municipal workers and ensure services such as public transport and garbage collection. Renzi, under pressure from critics who say Rome is getting favorable treatment, attached conditions to the bailout.

Rome must spell out how it will rein in its debt, justify its current levels of staff, seek more efficient ways of running its public services and sell off some of its real estate, the government decree said. Rome’s finances have been in a parlous state for years and it has debts of almost 14 billion euros which it plans to pay off gradually by 2048.

The city has around 25,000 employees of its own with another 30,000 or so working for some 20 municipal companies providing services running from electricity to garbage collection. ATAC, which runs the city’s loss-making buses and metros, employs more than 12,000 staff, almost as many as national airline Alitalia. Rome’s administrators say it needs help with extra costs associated with housing the central government, such as ensuring public order for political demonstrations, and to provide services for millions of tourists.

Here is the punchline, about Rome’s viability, not to mention Italy’s and Europe’s solvency:

The city of some 2.6 million people has been bailed out by the central government each year since 2008.

What is certain is that this year will not be the last one Rome is bailed out either. In fact, it will continue getting rescued for years to come because contrary to the propaganda, the Italian economy continues to get worse with every passing month, yields on Italian bonds notwithstanding.

Ansa reports that in January the Italian unemployment rate rose to a record 12.9%, and that “reducing Italy’s “shocking” rate of unemployment must be the government’s highest priority, Premier Matteo Renzi said Friday.” How, by pretending everything is ok, kicking the Roman can and hoping things improve by bailing out anyone that is insolvent?

Youth unemployment is particularly vicious, with an average rate of 42.4% in January for people aged 15-24, the highest since 1977, Istat reported on Friday. Reflecting the hard times, Istat also reported that the number of people in Italy who have given up the search for work is still growing. The so-called “discouraged”, who have surrendered to the idea that there is no hope of finding employment, reached an average of 1.79 million people in 2013, growing by 11.6% over the previous year.

Putting 2013 in perspective, this is the year when according to national statistical agency Istat, some 478,000 jobs were lost in Italy in 2013, the worst year since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, with an average annual jobless rate of 12.2% last year. The new year got off to an even more dismal start, with the January jobless rate up 0.2 percentage points over December, Istat said.

Between 2008 and 2013, a total of 984,000 jobs in Italy were lost to the economic crisis – something that is “shocking,” Renzi posted on his Twitter account during a meeting of his cabinet.

“Unemployment is at 12.9%. Shocking numbers, the highest for 35 years,” tweeted Renzi, who has previously described Italy’s unemployment rates as “merciless and devastating”.

And then comes the hope and prayer of change:

“That’s why the first measure will be the Jobs Act,” which Renzi, who formed his executive only one week ago, proposed last month before the leader of the Democratic Party (PD) became premier. Earlier this week, Renzi said he would have his labour reforms and job-boosting measures, based on the Jobs Act, ready before a bilateral summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next month.

Fast action is needed promote business investment, improve labour market efficiency while cutting relevant taxes, Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti said after Friday’s cabinet meeting.

One of the main aims of Renzi’s Jobs Act would be to simplify Italy’s labour system, eliminating many parts of the current myriad of work contracts and lay-off benefits. A key proposal of the package Renzi announced last month, before unseating his PD colleague Enrico Letta as premier and taking the helm of government, is to have a single employment contract with job protection measures growing with seniority.

At present, older workers with regular contracts tend to enjoy extremely high levels of job protection, while young people are often forced to accept temporary contracts or other forms of freelance employment that guarantee them few rights and little job security. The current system has been blamed for making firms reluctant to hire, as it is so hard to dismiss workers once they are on the books, and contributing to the high levels of joblessness, especially among the young. Making the task for Renzi’s government more difficult are grim economic forecasts.

Earlier this week, the European Commission forecast growth in the Italian economy will be weaker this year than previously forecast and the country’s debt as a percentage of gross domestic product will rise in 2014. The EC revised down Italy’s 2014 growth forecast to 0.60% but said 2015 looks brighter, as stronger consumer confidence and external demand boost the economy. It also warned that the jobless rate this year will likely be worse than expected, lowering its forecast to an average 12.6% unemployment for 2014 due to weak labour market conditions and still sluggish demand.

Finally, if all of that fails, there is always war to grow insolvent economies in a Keynesian world. Such as the now annual attempt to stir conflit in the middla east, and, as of this week, Ukraine. Fingers crossed for Italy, and the rest of the “developed world” the Keynesian priests get what they have so long been hoping for.

Near-Bankrupt Rome Bailed Out As Italy Unemployment Rises To All Time High, Grows By Most On Record In 2013 | Zero Hedge

Near-Bankrupt Rome Bailed Out As Italy Unemployment Rises To All Time High, Grows By Most On Record In 2013 | Zero Hedge.

A few days ago, we reported that, seemingly out of the blue, the city of Rome was on the verge of a “Detroit-style bankruptcy.” In the article, Guido Guidesi, a parliamentarian from the Northern League, was quoted as saying “It’s time to stop the accounting tricks and declare Rome’s default.” Of course, that would be unthinkable: we said that if “if one stops the accounting tricks, not only Rome, but all of Europe, as well as the US and China would all be swept under a global bankruptcy tsunami. So it is safe to assume that the tricks will continue. Especially when one considers that as Mirko Coratti, head of Rome’s city council said on Wednesday, “A default of Italy’s capital city would trigger a chain reaction that could sweep across the national economy.” Well we can’t have that, especially not with everyone in Europe living with their head stuck in the sand of universal denial, assisted by the soothing lies of Mario Draghi and all the other European spin masters.” And just as expected, yesterday Rome was bailed out.

As Reuters reported, Matteo Renzi’s new Italian government on Friday approved an emergency decree to bail out Rome city council whose mayor had warned the capital would have to halt essential services unless it got financial help.

The decree transfers 570 million euros ($787 million) to the city to pay the salaries of municipal workers and ensure services such as public transport and garbage collection. Renzi, under pressure from critics who say Rome is getting favorable treatment, attached conditions to the bailout.

Rome must spell out how it will rein in its debt, justify its current levels of staff, seek more efficient ways of running its public services and sell off some of its real estate, the government decree said. Rome’s finances have been in a parlous state for years and it has debts of almost 14 billion euros which it plans to pay off gradually by 2048.

The city has around 25,000 employees of its own with another 30,000 or so working for some 20 municipal companies providing services running from electricity to garbage collection. ATAC, which runs the city’s loss-making buses and metros, employs more than 12,000 staff, almost as many as national airline Alitalia. Rome’s administrators say it needs help with extra costs associated with housing the central government, such as ensuring public order for political demonstrations, and to provide services for millions of tourists.

Here is the punchline, about Rome’s viability, not to mention Italy’s and Europe’s solvency:

The city of some 2.6 million people has been bailed out by the central government each year since 2008.

What is certain is that this year will not be the last one Rome is bailed out either. In fact, it will continue getting rescued for years to come because contrary to the propaganda, the Italian economy continues to get worse with every passing month, yields on Italian bonds notwithstanding.

Ansa reports that in January the Italian unemployment rate rose to a record 12.9%, and that “reducing Italy’s “shocking” rate of unemployment must be the government’s highest priority, Premier Matteo Renzi said Friday.” How, by pretending everything is ok, kicking the Roman can and hoping things improve by bailing out anyone that is insolvent?

Youth unemployment is particularly vicious, with an average rate of 42.4% in January for people aged 15-24, the highest since 1977, Istat reported on Friday. Reflecting the hard times, Istat also reported that the number of people in Italy who have given up the search for work is still growing. The so-called “discouraged”, who have surrendered to the idea that there is no hope of finding employment, reached an average of 1.79 million people in 2013, growing by 11.6% over the previous year.

Putting 2013 in perspective, this is the year when according to national statistical agency Istat, some 478,000 jobs were lost in Italy in 2013, the worst year since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, with an average annual jobless rate of 12.2% last year. The new year got off to an even more dismal start, with the January jobless rate up 0.2 percentage points over December, Istat said.

Between 2008 and 2013, a total of 984,000 jobs in Italy were lost to the economic crisis – something that is “shocking,” Renzi posted on his Twitter account during a meeting of his cabinet.

“Unemployment is at 12.9%. Shocking numbers, the highest for 35 years,” tweeted Renzi, who has previously described Italy’s unemployment rates as “merciless and devastating”.

And then comes the hope and prayer of change:

“That’s why the first measure will be the Jobs Act,” which Renzi, who formed his executive only one week ago, proposed last month before the leader of the Democratic Party (PD) became premier. Earlier this week, Renzi said he would have his labour reforms and job-boosting measures, based on the Jobs Act, ready before a bilateral summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next month.

Fast action is needed promote business investment, improve labour market efficiency while cutting relevant taxes, Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti said after Friday’s cabinet meeting.

One of the main aims of Renzi’s Jobs Act would be to simplify Italy’s labour system, eliminating many parts of the current myriad of work contracts and lay-off benefits. A key proposal of the package Renzi announced last month, before unseating his PD colleague Enrico Letta as premier and taking the helm of government, is to have a single employment contract with job protection measures growing with seniority.

At present, older workers with regular contracts tend to enjoy extremely high levels of job protection, while young people are often forced to accept temporary contracts or other forms of freelance employment that guarantee them few rights and little job security. The current system has been blamed for making firms reluctant to hire, as it is so hard to dismiss workers once they are on the books, and contributing to the high levels of joblessness, especially among the young. Making the task for Renzi’s government more difficult are grim economic forecasts.

Earlier this week, the European Commission forecast growth in the Italian economy will be weaker this year than previously forecast and the country’s debt as a percentage of gross domestic product will rise in 2014. The EC revised down Italy’s 2014 growth forecast to 0.60% but said 2015 looks brighter, as stronger consumer confidence and external demand boost the economy. It also warned that the jobless rate this year will likely be worse than expected, lowering its forecast to an average 12.6% unemployment for 2014 due to weak labour market conditions and still sluggish demand.

Finally, if all of that fails, there is always war to grow insolvent economies in a Keynesian world. Such as the now annual attempt to stir conflit in the middla east, and, as of this week, Ukraine. Fingers crossed for Italy, and the rest of the “developed world” the Keynesian priests get what they have so long been hoping for.

Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Invasion, Considers State Of Emergency After Masked Gunmen Occupy Two Crimean Airports | Zero Hedge

Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Invasion, Considers State Of Emergency After Masked Gunmen Occupy Two Crimean Airports | Zero Hedge.

The bizarre events in the Crimea continued overnight, after unidentified masked men but dressed like those who took over the parliament in Simferopol yesterday, took over two airports by blockading one near the Russian naval base in Sevastopol and another in the capital of Simferopol. This prompted the Ukraine’s interior minister Arsen Avakov, to accuse Moscow’s military of blockading the airports, and in a Facebook post, he called the seizure of the Belbek international airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol a “military invasion and occupation.” He added: “It is a breach of all international agreements and norms.” As NBC reports, the Interfax news agency quoted Russian military sources as saying the incident at Belbek airport was intended to stop “fighters” flying in. However, Interfax later quoted a Russian official as saying that no units had approached the airport or blockaded it. In a nutshell, Russia continues to push with escalation ever further, and is testing just how far it can and will go without Ukraine responding.

2-3 dozen militiamen at Simferopol #Crimea airport quickly piled into a truck – with no plates – and are leaving. pic.twitter.com/wgcIjvE8jV

— Alexander Marquardt (@MarquardtA) February 28, 2014

Kyivpost has a more detailed account:

Two Crimean airports were taken over by Russian military troops, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Facebook this morning. He said the situation in the autonomous republic has now escalated to “a military intervention” and called on the National Security Council to take urgent steps towards its regulation.

 

“My assessment of what’s going on is that it’s a military intervention and occupation in violation of all international agreements and norms,” he said in his statement. “This is a direct provocation of bloodshed on the territory of a sovereign state.”

 

Avakov said that Sevastopol’s military airport Bilbek at night was blocked off by the military units of the Russian navy, which is based in Sevastopol. He said the airport is surrounded by camouflaged military troops with no identification and carrying guns. He said they do not hide their Russian affiliation.

 

Inside the airport there is a group of Ukrainian soldiers and border guards, and Ukrainian police troops have surrounded the outer perimeter of the airport. “There have been no armed clashes so far,” he said.

 

The navy base is Sevastopol is key for the Russian army. Under agreements signed between two countries in 2010, the Russian military can continue to use Sevastopol until 2042, with an option of extending the lease to 2047.

 

Some 70 kilometers away from the coast, in Crimean capital Simferopol, another airport was taken over by a group of about 100 plain-clothed men, who went inside the airport and onto the runway.

 

“The interior troops and police pushed these people first into the airport building, and then out of the territory. No weapons were used,” Avakov said.

 

He said that after the armed men left, a new group of camouflaged men arrived around 1:30 in the morning. They carried automatic weapons and had no markings. Avakov said they entered the building and stayed int he restaurant.

 

“They are not hiding their affiliation with the army of the Russian Federation,” Avakov said. “Told by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry workers that they are military men and have no right to be there, they answer curtly that they have no instructions to negotiate with you.”

 

Avakov said that so far there have been no clashes, but tension is growing as Ukrainian police troops continue to arrive. “The law enforcement organs cannot oppose the army,” Avakov concluded.

In the meantine, Ukraine is starting to realize that it may have bitten more than it can chew, and as Interfax reported:

  • UKRAINE WEIGHS STATE OF EMERGENCY IN CRIMEA: INTERFAX
  • RUSSIA BLACK SEA FLEET, HELICOPTERS BREAK UKRAINE ACCORDS: IFX

And the immediate re-escalation:

  • RUSSIAN BLACK SEA FLEET SETS UP BALACLAVA BLOCKADE: INTERFAX

Visually:

Coastguard and frigate at entrance to Balaclava bay pic.twitter.com/Yvb69jPtHM

— Christian Fraser (@ForeignCorresp) February 28, 2014

Yet none of this compares to today’s main event when a t 5pm local time, in the Rostov-on-Don Technical University, deposed Ukraine president Yanukovich who is currently in Russia, is expected to hold a press conference. Missing since the beginning of the week, the ousted ukrainian president had fled the country to Russia in the latest days, either by car through the Donetsk region, either escorted by military planes, according to different reports.

We doubt anything he says will difuse the situation.

Pro-Russian Gunmen Seize Ukraine Crimean Parliament; Russia Puts Jets On High Alert; Hryvnia In Record Plunge | Zero Hedge

Pro-Russian Gunmen Seize Ukraine Crimean Parliament; Russia Puts Jets On High Alert; Hryvnia In Record Plunge | Zero Hedge.

All those clips we showed in the past few days of Russian forces amassing in the Crimean (such as this one)? Well, turns out they were all predictive of what has just happened in the Crimean region parliament at Simferopol, where around 120 pro-Russian Gunmen occupied the parliament building and raised the Russian flag. The scene was the site of Wednesday’s scuffles between Tatar groups and pro-Russian supporters. As Euronews reports, local Tatar leader Refat Chubarov posted that the buildings have been occupied by men in uniforms bearing “no recognisable insignia.” Kyiv says it would regard any movements by Russian military in Crimea outside Moscow’s Black Sea Base in Sevastopol as an act of aggression. Following the fall of President Viktor Yanukovych divisions in Ukraine have come to the fore. All this happens as Russian troops in the area are building up and at the same time as Russia put fighter jets on combat alert,according to Interfax.

The Russian flag flies atop the parliament building:

Euronews clarifies that the 120 men that seized Crimea parliament “have enough weapons to defend [the buildings] for a month” according an MP quoted by Interfax agency. Former Crimean Prime Minister and UDAR MP Serhiy Kunitsyn said to the agency that he spent all the night in contact with the armed group, “These professionally trained people are armed. They brought weapons – automatic weapons, grenade launchers, and machine guns,” he said, while speaking from the Ukraine parliament on Thursday.

According to Bloomberg, the group is allowing deputies to enter the legislature in the city of Simferopol for a possible vote on the status of Crimea, home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the Center of Journalist Research said. Ukraine prosecutors began a terrorism probe. .

“Provocateurs are on the march,” Acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on his Facebook Inc. page as police cordoned off the block around parliament. “It’s time for cool heads, the consolidation of healthy forces and precise actions.”

At the same time Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry summoned Russia’s acting envoy in Kiev for immediate consultations.

“I am appealing to the military leadership of the Russian Black Sea fleet,” said Olexander Turchinov, acting president since the removal of Viktor Yanukovich last week. “Any military movements, the more so if they are with weapons, beyond the boundaries of this territory (the base) will be seen by us as military aggression

Reports Reuters:

There were mixed signals from Moscow, which put fighter jets along its western borders on combat alert, but earlier said it would take part in discussions on an International Monetary Fund (IMF) financial package for Ukraine. Ukraine has said it needs $35 billion over the next two years to stave off bankruptcy. The fear of military escalation prompted expressions of concern from the West, with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urging Russia not to do anything that would “escalate tension or create misunderstanding”.

 

Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski called the seizure of government buildings in the Crimea a “very dangerous game”. “This is a drastic step, and I’m warning those who did this and those who allowed them to do this, because this is how regional conflicts begin,” he told a news conference.

 

It was not immediately known who was occupying the buildings in the regional capital Simferopol and they issued no demands, but witnesses said they spoke Russian and appeared to be ethnic Russian separatists.

 

Interfax news agency quoted a witness as saying there were about 60 people inside and they had many weapons. It said no one had been hurt when the buildings were seized in the early hours by Russian speakers in uniforms that did not carry identification markings.

 

“We were building barricades in the night to protect parliament. Then this young Russian guy came up with a pistol … we all lay down, some more ran up, there was some shooting and around 50 went in through the window,” Leonid Khazanov, an ethnic Russian, told Reuters. “They’re still there … Then the police came, they seemed scared. I asked them (the armed men) what they wanted, and they said ‘To make our own decisions, not to have Kiev telling us what to do’,” said Khazanov.

 

About 100 police were gathered in front of the parliament building, and a similar number of people carrying Russian flags later marched up to the building chanting “Russia, Russia” and holding a sign calling for a Crimean referendum. One of them, Alexei, 30, said: “We have our own constitution, Crimea is autonomous. The government in Kiev are fascists, and what they’re doing is illegal … We need to show our support for the guys inside (parliament). Power should be ours.”a

As a reminder, so far Putin has been silent on his views about the sovereignty of the Crimean region which is host to the critical Russian Sevastopol naval base. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ignored calls by some ethnic Russians in Crimea to reclaim the territory handed to then Soviet Ukraine by Soviet Communist leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1954. The United States says any Russian military action would be a grave mistake. But Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Moscow would defend the rights of its compatriots and react without compromise to any violation of those rights.

Russian Lenta, citing the Crimean information agency, reports that the Crimean deputees have begun a referendum on the status of the Crimean autonomy, which is not quite a secession. Yet.

Elsewhere, Ukraine’s deposed president, who as we reported first some time ago had fled to Russia, reappeared, as expected in Russia, and claimed legitimacy to his post saying the Ukraine’s “mob” actions were illegal . From Reuters:

Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovich said on Thursday he was still the legitimate president of his country and that people in its southeastern and southern regions would never accept the “lawlessness” brought by leaders chosen by a mob. Russian news agencies quoted a statement by Yanukovich as saying he had asked Moscow to guarantee his personal safety.

 

The statement could not be independently verified and it was not clear where Yanukovich was, although some media groups have suggested he is in Moscow after fleeing Ukraine, where he was toppled by opposition forces at the weekend.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said he had no information and could not comment on the statement.

 

“I, Viktor Fedorovich Yanukovich appeal to the people of Ukraine. As before I still consider myself to be the lawful head of the Ukrainian state, chosen freely by the will of the Ukrainian people,” he was quoted as saying.

 

“Now it is becoming clear that the people in southeastern Ukraine and in Crimea do not accept the power vacuum and complete lawlessness in the country, when the heads of ministries are appointed by the mob.”

 

“On the streets of many cities of our country there is an orgy of extremism,” he said, adding that he and his closest aides had been threatened physically.

 

“I have to ask the Russian authorities to provide me with personal safety from the actions of extremists.”

 

Russian television showed what it said was a copy of the statement.

 

Interfax news agency quoted a source in the authorities as saying Moscow would ensure Yanukovich’s safety on the Russian territory.

 

“In connection with the appeal by president Yanukovich for his personal security to be guaranteed, I report that the request has been granted on the territory of the Russian Federation,” the source was quoted as saying.

And just to make sure tensions reach a fever pitch, Interfax reported a few hours ago that Russian fighter jets along the Western Border were put on high alert:

The crews of fighter jets deployed in Russia’s Western Military Districts have been placed on high alert as part of surprise combat drills ordered by Russian President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, the Defense Ministry said.

 

“Our fighter jets are constantly patrolling the airspace over border districts,” the ministry said in a press release, seen by Interfax-AVN on Thursday. “As soon as they were put on high alert, aviation units of the Western Military District redeployed to their operative air fields,” it said.

 

At the moment, “the district’s bombers are tackling combat training tasks targeting an imaginary adversary at aviation training ranges,” the ministry said.

Not surprisingly, the Ukraine economy, already in critical condition, is shutting down and the Hryvnia is imploding: Ukraine’s currency weakened 10.3 percent to 11.2 per dollar at 12:21 p.m. in Kiev, the lowest level since it was introduced in 1996, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The central bank imposed capital controls this month to stem its decline.

Finally, the story in pictures as reported by Euronews:

Russia’s deterrent? Nikolai Valuyev former boxer & now Russian MP arrives in Sevastopol to “support” Russian speakers pic.twitter.com/UR9VWUmOFy

— Tony Connelly (@tconnellyRTE) February 27, 2014

Speaker of Crimea Parliament confirms: No hostages, negotiations are under way, gunmen “are not showing any signs of aggression.” #Ukraine

— Simon Shuster (@shustry) February 27, 2014

Two deaths in clashes near Crimean parliament; gunmen seize government headquarters (PHOTOS) http://t.co/CokqJftk3q pic.twitter.com/sCzaXriuUH

— KyivPost (@KyivPost) February 27, 2014

“It’s a message to Kiev not to impose its rule in Crimea by force” says @DmitriTreninhttp://t.co/G1UdZvkJaF #Ukraine

— Carnegie Russia (@CarnegieRussia) February 27, 2014

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#??????????? pic.twitter.com/ZwGG2SL5X8

— Vagabond (@kenzolika) February 27, 2014

Downtown #Simferopol empty. Few cops guard access to #Crimea parliament, center, behind clump of trees. #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/lKhPpO63Bu

— Lucian Kim (@Lucian_Kim) February 27, 2014

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