Thursday, July 2, 2015

Greece may need €60bn in funds and decades of debt relief; Airbus plans second unit in China; Status updates as personality fingerprints

1 Greece may need €60bn in funds and decades of debt relief (Phillip Inman, Larry Elliott & Alberto Nardelli in The Guardian) The International Monetary fund has electrified the referendum debate in Greece after it conceded that the crisis-ridden country needs up to €60bn of extra funds over the next three years and large-scale debt relief to create “a breathing space” and stabilise the economy.

Before Sunday’s knife-edge referendum that the country’s creditors have cast as a vote on whether it wants to keep the euro, the IMF revealed a deep split with Europe as it warned that Greece’s debts were “unsustainable”. Fund officials said they would not be prepared to put a proposal for a third Greek bailout to its board unless it included both a commitment to economic reform and debt relief.

According to the IMF, Greece should have a 20-year grace period before making any debt repayments and final payments should not take place until 2055. It would need €10bn to get through the next few months and a further €50bn after that. Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras welcomed the IMF’s intervention saying that what the IMF said was never put to him during negotiations.

Tsipras is campaigning for a no vote in the referendum on Sunday, which is officially on whether to accept a tough earlier bailout offer, to impress on EU negotiators that spiralling poverty and a collapse in everyday business activity across Greece has meant further austerity should be ruled out of any new rescue package. Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, pledged to resign if his country votes yes to the plan proposed by the EU, the European Central Bank and what appears to be an increasingly reluctant IMF.

2 Airbus plans second unit in China (BBC) Airbus has signed a deal for its second factory in China as it expands further its growing relationship with the world's second-largest economy. The new cabin-completion factory for A330 jetliners is worth a reported €150m ($166.3m; £106.5m) and is aimed at attracting new orders for Airbus.

The plant will be built alongside an existing site in the city of Tianjin. Earlier this week, China signed a deal for 45 new Airbus planes worth more than $11bn. "The signature of this [latest] framework agreement on the A330 completion and delivery centre will open a new chapter of strategic cooperation on wide-body aircraft with China," said Airbus' president Fabrice Brégier,

3 Status updates are personality fingerprints (Psychology Today/Khaleej Times) Every message posted to a social media site is like a fingerprint--a fleeting trace of the poster. A close analysis of these words, researchers are showing, can enrich our sense of who the users are, online and off.

A team of investigators recently dug into millions of Facebook updates to get a better sense of how personality reads. That is, which words and phrases do specific types of people--the darkly neurotic, say, or the pleasantly agreeable--tend to use when communicating with friends. To find out, they cross-referenced the status updates of thousands of users with the results of a personality test those users accessed via the app MyPersonality.

“The results let you see what personality factors like conscientiousness look like in everyday life,” says Gregory Park, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. The analysis also yielded some surprises. Conscientiousness, for example, is associated with planning and a tendency to get things done, but much of the language highly conscientious people tend to use relates to R and R. “I was pretty surprised to see words like weekend and relaxing,” Park says.

For analysts of important human variables like personality, health, or political attitudes, social media offer naturalistic samples of how people interact with the world. “More and more,” says psychologist Molly Ireland of Texas Tech University, “the language that we are analyzing truly represents what people are thinking and feeling throughout the day.”

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