Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
Athens/Berlin: The Greek government on Wednesday revealed its latest proposal for a debt deal with creditors to stave off a default and Grexit — exit from the eurozone — in the coming weeks even as thousands of pensioners lined up outside 1,000 bank branches opened to disperse pension payments.
The government dismissed media reports claiming that it fully accepted lenders’ offer ahead of a crucial Eurogroup teleconference rescheduled for Wednesday evening, Xinhua news agency reported.
Athens’ draft deal, which was submitted as Greece was declared in arrears to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday midnight. It sought a new two-year loan to deal with financing problems through the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), and requested a further restructuring of Greek debt.
“The Greek government has tabled a new proposal with a series of amendments to the institutions in a bid to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement,” a statement issued to the media said.
“Reports that Greece has accepted all the terms of the creditors’ proposal are unfounded,” it was stressed.
Athens released the letter Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addressed to European partners and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
“The Hellenic Republic is prepared to accept this staff level agreement (as published on the European Commission website on June 28, 2015) subject to the following amendments, additions or clarifications, as part of an extension of the expiring EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility) programme and the new ESM loan agreement for which a request was submitted on June 30, 2015,” Tsipras wrote.
“As you will note, our amendments are concrete and they fully respect the robustness and credibility of the design of the overall programme,” he added.
The Greek government requested that a 30 percent discount of VAT rates on islands be maintained, while agreeing to reduce the expenditure ceiling for military spending by 200 million euros ($222 million) in 2016 and 400 million euros in 2017.
The labour reform framework would also be legislated in autumn 2015.
Meanwhile, thousands of pensioners lined up early Wednesday morning outside 1,000 bank branches opened to disperse pension payments to those without bank cards, Efe news agency reported.
Capital controls imposed by the Greek government have left retirees restricted to withdrawing a maximum of 120 euros ($133.5) each week, while all Greek banks have been closed since Monday, and will stay closed until July 6, a day after the referendum on whether Greece should stay in eurozone.
Banks have committed to issue credit or debit cards for the pensioners as soon as possible.
The cards will allow retirees to withdraw 60 euros ($66.7) per day from ATMs, and also make payments in shops and gas stations, or any place that accepts the card.
In alphabetical order, 1,000 bank branches will open from Wednesday through Friday to serve pensioners, while banks of Piraeus, a Greek multinational financial services company, will remain open throughout, the Greek finance ministry announced on Tuesday night.
According to another Xinhua report from Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday there would be no negotiations over a new bailout programme to Greece before the country’s referendum on Sunday, though the door for talks remained open.
“We are waiting for the referendum. Before the referendum, there will be no negotiation over a new aid programme,” she told the lower house of German parliament in a special session, adding that “we can wait calmly… Europe is strong, much stronger than five years ago when the European sovereign debt crisis started.”
“The future of Europe is not at stake,” Xinhua news agency quoted her as saying.
On Saturday, Greek Prime Minister Alexia Tsipras said the country would hold a referendum on July 5 on the latest debt deal proposed by its international creditors.
Merkel on Wednesday reiterated that the door to talks with the Greek government “was always and will always remain open”, but she would not seek compromise at any cost.
“A compromise can only be reached when advantages outweigh disadvantages,” she said. “A good European is not someone who seeks an agreement at any price. A good European is rather the one that respects the European treaties and relevant national laws and help in this way to ensure that the stability of the eurozone is not damaged.”
Earlier on Wednesday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greece’s latest proposals displayed no further clarity on what Athens wanted. As the second bailout programme for Greece expired on Tuesday midnight, the situation had totally changed, and there was no basis for a new deal with Greece at the moment, he said.
Great historic events that have shaped the world and changed the outlines of countries are often not recorded in memory, or so we think. Wars made sure to destroy evidence and heritage, and the ones who survived told the tale of what really happened. Folklore, albeit through oral tradition kept alive many such stories, hidden in verse, limericks, and rhymes.
Ringa-ringa-roses, a common playtime rhyme among children across the world, is an example of folklore that has survived for many centuries. It tells the story of the The Great Plague of London which ravaged the city between 1665-1666.
The Plague broke out from improper disposal of garbage and poor sewage conditions. Fleas from the rats that lived in the sewers spread the disease that killed more than half of London's population. Many people fled from their homes as there was no medicine available for those who were infected.
Beak-shaped masks worn during the Great Plague of London Image source: wikimedia commons
It was around this time that masks began to be invented. The first masks were shaped like beaks, and were worn not to protect the wearer from the disease, but to the prevent them from being able to smell the decay and death around them, which they called 'miasma'. The beaks were filled with floral herbs that allowed doctors and nurses to tend to the sick without being reviled from the smell.
Children are often seen forming circles by holding hands and reciting loudly,
Pockets full of posies
We all fall down"
An illustration of the Great Plague of London, 1665 Image source: wikimedia commons
When the last line is sung, they break the circle and fall down. The roses and posies are believed to be the preferred fragrances inside the masks, and a single sneeze (a-tishoo) was enough to infect the one who was exposed to the disease. Consequently, they fell down, ill, and later died.
An alternative version of this rhyme is sung about the fall of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the aftermath of World War II. The roses and posies are interchanged with geranium and uranium, to symbolise what was used in the atomic bomb. But this version is not as famous the original.
Keywords: Rhymes, Ringa-ringa-roses, Great Plague of London, WWII, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Folklore
In modern times, many social movements aim to bring reform to the society we live in, on the basis of certain existing patterns. Patriarchy is something that many aim to cleanse our cultures of, to usher in the era of social and gender equality. Despite all these so-called movements, in southern India, certain societies that patronise matriarchy have existed since before India's independence. The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country.
Kerala remains separate from the rest of India in many ways. Be it literacy policy, form of government, or cultural practices, this state does not always conform to the ideal that India is known for. Even so with their social structure. Certain tribes have remained matrilineal, where the decision-making power rests with the eldest female of the family.
The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country. Image source: wikimedia commons
A male member, who is the close confidante of the matriarch is chosen. He plays a crucial role in representing the male members of his family, and his opinion is highly valued. He is called karavanan. The men reside in separate rooms or in separate houses, and do not interfere in the upbringing of children. Property is also passed down along the lineage of the eldest female. Among the Nairs, matriarchy is more prominently adhered to than the Ezhavas, who have some patrilocal connections.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Their matrilineal descent is known as Aliyasantana.
The story is told of a demon who threatened to destroy a kingdom if the king did not sacrifice his sons, but the king's sister comes forward to offer her children in sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom. The demon is touched and does not destroy the city. Since then, the kingdom, or the property is inherited through female lineage.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Image source: wikimedia commons
In the recent past, many of these matriarchal societies have been reduced to matrilineal societies by certain governmental laws. They fall under the patriarchal scheme of the rest of the state but have reserved the right to pass on property and heritage through the female line. In the North east of India, matriarchal dominance is far more resilient than the south.
Keywords: Bunts, Billava, Nair, Ezhava, Aliyasantana, Matrilineal, South India, Karnataka, Kerala
Apple inc. Is an American multinational tech firm specialized in consumer electronics, computer programs, and internet services founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to manufacture Wozniak's Apple iComputer. It is the world's top tech company in turnover (totaling $274.5 billion in 2020) and its most valuable corporation. Apple is the fourth-largest PC seller by unit sales and the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. On the day of the live event, Apple announced the iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 13, as well as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. | Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini.
iPad: The 10.2-inch iPad is equipped with a solid A13 processor that delivers 20 percent quicker performance than the preceding version. According to Apple, it is now three times faster than a Chromebook. A new 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage, which utilizes machine learning to optimize the front-facing camera during FaceTime video chats, as well as more incredible accessory support, including compatibility with the first-generation Apple Pencil, are among the new features. For 64GB of storage, the iPad costs $329.
iPad Mini: In addition to reduced borders and more rounded edges, the 8.3-inch iPad mini also has improved front and back cameras. A liquid retina display, USB-C compatibility, magnetic support for the Apple Pencil, an enhanced speaker system, and new hues such as pink and purple are all features of the new Apple iPad Mini. The starting price is $499.
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini. | Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash
The other major unveiled products include:
iPhone 13 and other variants: The iPhone 13 range is almost identical to the iPhone 12 lineup, with a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro, and a 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. It was also revealed that the Watch Series 7 has a smaller "S7" processor, which may allow for a bigger battery or other components to be housed in a smaller footprint. The gadgets have a revolutionary design that includes a dual-camera system, placed diagonally. Apple's iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have longer-lasting batteries than the previous generation of devices. In addition, Apple claims that the iPhone 13 will have a battery life that is 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12, and the iPhone 13 mini will have a battery life that is 1.5 hours longer. A more energy-efficient display, an upgraded 5G chip, and functionality called "Cinematic Mode," similar to the famous Portrait mode function but is only available for movies, are among the other enhancements. The A15 Bionic chip present in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini is also used in the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, also 6.1-inch devices. However, it also has a five-core CPU, which promises graphics that are 50% quicker than previous models. Other notable features of the Pro devices include a brilliant Super Retna XDR display with a higher refresh rate and long-lasting battery life. Now, for the price, it will start at $699 for the iPhone 13 mini with 128 GB of storage, $799 for the iPhone 13 with 128 GB of storage, and the Pro and Pro Max have starting prices of $999 $1,099, respectively.
Apple Watch Series 7: The new Apple Watch Series 7, which is smaller and has a larger screen than its previous model, was introduced by Apple on Wednesday. There is a 20% increase in screen size over Series 6 on the new watch. A complete keyboard that you can touch or slide to write out text messages can show 50% more text. It starts at $399.
Keywords: Apple, iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone Mini, Apple event 2021