Greece

Czech Republic vs. Portugal I think Portugal wins. When your chances of winning are drastically reduced because Rosicky won’t be playing, you’re not that good of a team. No offense to Tomas. I’m an Arsenal fan and he’s been wonderful this season, almost as good as he was before the spate of injuries that befell him. But he’s nowhere near the main man. Portugal has been playing well. Second game: Germany vs. Greece Germany wins, but my heart is with the Greeks.

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England-Sweden

As far as drama goes, the England-Sweden game was highly entertaining—in the way a fight between tottering drunks might be entertaining. Much of it looked like a Premiership relegation battle, complete with bad defending, bad passing, unnecessary fouling, etc., all performed with great devotion and in despir. The previously dampened ambition of the English is now nearly fully restored, as it turned out, to everyone’s great surprise, that they could attack, score and even win, if they only tried. Suddenly golden-hued projections are brightening up the previously grim picture.

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 As I watch Poland-Greece, which is pretty good so far, it is time to make predictions for Euro 2012, thereby setting myself up for the undermining of my soccer authority  bound to occur toward the end. So: Winner: Germany In the final: Spain-Germany Semifinals: Spain-Holland; Germany: France Top scorers: Benzema (France), Lewandowski (who just scored for Poland) I would also like to note the consonant-cluster orgy taking place on the backs of players in the Poland-Greece game. The ESPN commentators, Macca and Ian Darke (I think) are doing a fine job of pronouncing the names.

With the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s estimating that there’s a one-in-three chance that Greece will abandon the euro sometime after its June 17 election, some people are already looking for a silver lining:  British tour operator Thomas Cook expects a surge in bookings to Greece if it leaves the euro zone as holidays to the Mediterranean nation would become better value for hard-pressed travellers. "If Greece exits (the euro), for the tourism industry it could be very profitable," interim chief executive Sam Weihagen said after the company posted a steep first-half loss on Thu

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When Francois Hollande, the newly elected president of France, arrives today in Berlin for his first meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it will kindle memories of the long history of Franco-German partnership in leading the European Union. In France, it may even trigger the traditional condescension Parisian politicians feel towards their neighbors: the lumbering German economic giant that relies on French diplomatic, military, and nuclear savoir faire to achieve political clout. Increasingly, however, such sentiments are mere nostalgia.

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Athens, Greece—The big winners of Greece’s election this week were parties far removed from the political center. From the leftist SYRIZA, which came in second place with 17 percent of the vote, to the far-right Independent Greeks, who ended up with 11 percent, and the racist extremists of Golden Dawn, who gained 7 percent, the non-mainstream parties received an alarmingly large share of the total vote. What’s less clear, however, is what the vote tallies mean. Were they simply a reflection of anger against the ruling parties that have presided over the country’s current economic freefall?

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Anyone anxiously waiting for the European Union’s death knell could do worse than circle May 6 on his calendar. That’s when Greece, a nation brought to its knees by an unprecedented economic crisis, is scheduled to hold what promises to be a turbulent parliamentary election. It’s an open question whether Europe’s fragile political balance—and Greece’s tenuous hold on membership in the Eurozone—will survive the subsequent aftershocks.

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On March 9, Carnegie Mellon economist Allan Meltzer argued in the Wall Street Journal ("A Look At The Global One Percent") that income inequality is a global phenomenon and therefore not a problem that can be solved through changes in U.S. domestic policy. He's right about the first proposition and wrong about the second. Actually, he isn't even entirely right about the first. Yes, income inequality is occurring globally. But it isn't happening uniformly. Until recently it was declining in France, Ireland, and Spain. Now it's declining in Turkey and Greece, and it's basically flat in France.

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The economic crisis in Europe reached its latest crescendo last night, as Greece managed, through furious last-minute negotiations, to convince its creditors to give it some more breathing room. But if the Greeks have managed to stave off ruin for a few more minutes, nothing has essentially changed in their situation: Their economy is still in shambles.  The burning question on most observers’ minds, and rightfully so, is whether the Greeks will ever manage to pay back their debts. But at this stage, it’s also worth considering how we ended up on the precipice of such catastrophe at all.

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In a recent article published in Sight & Sound just days after the death of Theo Angelopoulos, the director is quoted: “The only place I really feel at home is in a car next to a driver. I don’t drive myself, but I find the simple act of passing through landscapes very moving. The way I look at the world on my various travels is what essentially defines my filmmaking.” Sometimes artists die in what might be incidents from their own work.

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