Arab Today, arab today aurora euro stimulus hopes grow as geithner flies in
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Aurora Euro stimulus hopes grow as Geithner flies in

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Arab Today, arab today Aurora Euro stimulus hopes grow as Geithner flies in

Berlin - AFP

The top US finance official meets his German counterpart and the head of the European Central Bank Monday, fuelling hopes Europe is about to take decisive action to save the crisis-wracked eurozone. US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was to meet Wolfgang Schaeuble to raise the pressure on Berlin and push for intervention in the markets so as to bring down the spiralling borrowing costs of Spain and Italy. Afterwards, Geithner will meet ECB chief Mario Draghi, who touched off speculation the bank would resume its controversial bond-buying programme by pledging last week to do "whatever it takes" to preserve the euro. European markets opened higher on Monday, following gains in Asia, as traders eyed a double intervention to help Italy and Spain -- from the ECB and the European rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility. These hopes were bolstered by a media offensive on the part of Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker who told major newspapers in France and Germany that Europe was preparing to take action to quell the more than two year crisis. "We have come to a crucial point," he told Le Figaro. "We will act together with the ECB," he vowed, adding that the "pace and scope" still had to be worked out. "There is no more time to lose," he said, adding that a review of the markets would be decided in the coming days. Juncker's comments capped a flurry of verbal intervention from Draghi and top leaders in a bid to shore up confidence that Europe was not about to let the eurozone fall apart. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen as the linchpin of any possible crisis response, reiterated her determination to keep the 17-nation bloc together following a weekend phone call with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. The two leaders "agreed that Germany and Italy will do everything to protect the eurozone," they said in a joint statement Sunday. That followed a similar statement on Friday by Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, throwing their weight behind the euro project after a week in which Spain looked increasingly likely to request a full bailout. The flurry of activity was set to continue as Monti announced he would meet his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy in Madrid on Thursday. The verbal broadsides appeared to be working as Italy held a successful action of five- and 10-year debt at lower rates, building on last week's gains. "In the end, the ECB will live up to its duty to prevent an escalating market panic that could shatter the eurozone and the ECB itself to pieces," predicted Holger Schmieding from Berenberg Bank. "All eyes are now on the ECB meeting this Thursday," he added, as the governing council of the bank prepared for a monthly meeting in Frankfurt. Analyst Thu Lan Nguyen from Commerzbank however, sounded a note of caution, saying in a research note: "The markets seem hopeful ... even though it is all but clear how these good intentions are going to be implemented." Data from Spain dampened the optimism, reminding policymakers that the crisis continues to have a devastating effect on the real economy. The Spanish recession deepened in the second quarter of the year, with the economy contracting 0.4 percent after shrinking 0.3 percent in the first three months of 2012, statistics institute INE said. And in Greece, the most badly hit of the eurozone countries, political talks were continuing to thrash out spending cuts that would allow the country to receive aid to keep the economy afloat and enable it to stay in the euro. Following a first meeting last week, the leaders of Greece's conservative-led, three-party coalition government were due to meet again on Monday to agree on 11.6 billion euros ($14.2 billion) of spending cuts. Meanwhile, adding to the pressure on leaders to take action, a former heavyweight on the European political stage weighed in with a dire warning not to let the eurozone fall apart. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote an opinion piece in German mass circulation daily Bild, saying: "To give up the euro now would be a catastrophe economically, not just politically." Alleged Colorado cinema gunman James Holmes is due to make his second court appearance on Monday as he is charged with committing one of America's worst ever mass shootings. The few journalists allowed to attend the hearing will be watching to see if there is a repeat of the 24-year-old's bizarre behavior during his first court appearance a week ago. Under a mop of brightly-dyed orange and red hair, he stared out wild-eyed at times and appeared almost dazed and sleepy at others, ostensibly unable to keep up with the proceedings. Prosecutors have reportedly been battling defense lawyers over a package Holmes sent to his psychiatrist at the University of Colorado portending the midnight massacre on July 20 at a cinema in Aurora, near Denver. Holmes gained access to the movie theater via a fire exit shortly after the start of the latest Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises," and threw two canisters of noxious gas into the auditorium, witnesses and police said. After firing into the air with a pump-action shotgun, the former graduate neuroscience student allegedly began shooting people at random with a military-style assault rifle capable of firing 50 to 60 rounds a minute. Twelve people died, including six-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan. The girl's mother, among 58 moviegoers wounded, is in critical condition after being shot in the neck and stomach and has since lost her unborn child. Altogether, as of Sunday, 10 patients from the theater shooting remained hospitalized -- four of them in critical condition. Holmes could be charged with up to two counts of first-degree murder for each of the 12 people he allegedly killed. He could also face attempted murder charges for everyone who was in the cinema, not just those shot. Prosecutors have said it will be several weeks before a decision is made on whether or not to seek the death penalty. Only one person has been executed in Colorado since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. Attorneys for Holmes disclosed on Friday that he had been a patient of University of Colorado psychiatrist Lynne Fenton as they sought to gain access to a package he had mailed to her prior to the massacre. According to ABC News, his lawyers are accusing prosecutors of leaking the existence of the package -- reportedly containing macabre plans, including drawings of a stick-figure gunman mowing down victims -- to the media. "The government's disclosure of this confidential and privileged information has placed Mr Holmes' constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial by an impartial jury in serious jeopardy," his attorneys wrote. The package was found in the university mailroom on the Monday after the shooting. There are conflicting reports about when it was sent so it is not clear if its discovery earlier could have prevented the atrocity. There has been speculation that stress over failing a key exam may have been the trigger that caused Holmes, a promising neuroscience student who had won a prestigious government grant, to become unhinged. ABC News' affiliate in Denver, KMGH-TV, reported that Holmes purchased a high-powered rifle on June 7, hours after taking a key oral test. Three days later, he dropped out of his neuroscience program. Soul-searching has been intense since the tragedy, but despite the staggering number of mass shootings in the United States there is no political will to address the toxic gun law issue, especially four months out from a presidential election. US Senators Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York, both Democrats, are expected to announce new legislation on Monday that they plan to introduce this week. The bill aims "to make the online and mail-order sale of ammunition safer for law-abiding Americans who are sick and tired of the ease with which criminals can now anonymously stockpile for mass murder," they said. Holmes had stocked up on more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition over the Internet after stocking up on four weapons in local gun shops.

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