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Monday, June 25, 2012 1:01 PM

Greek Finance Minister Resigns Before Being Sworn In; Cyprus Seeks Bailout From Euro Zone Partners

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One might think the the newly elected Prime Minister of Greece would have enough common sense to not appoint a finance minister with a history of medical problems. One might also think a person with known medical problems would turn down the position if offered because of the obvious stress.

However, one would be wrong on both counts. Reuters reports Greek finance minister resigns, crisis deepens

Greece's new finance minister resigned because of ill health on Monday, throwing the government's drive to soften the terms of an international bailout into confusion days before a European summit.

Vassilis Rapanos, 64, chairman of the National Bank of Greece, was rushed to hospital on Friday, before he could be sworn in, complaining of abdominal pain, nausea and dizziness. Greek media said he had a history of ill-health.

The office of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who himself only took office last Wednesday following a June 17 election, said Rapanos had sent a letter of resignation because of his health problems and it had been accepted.

Samaras himself has only just emerged from hospital after undergoing eye surgery to repair a damaged retina. Both he and Rapanos had already said they would not be able to attend the June 28-29 European summit.
Cyprus Seeks Bailout

In other news, the New York Times reports Cyprus Seeks Bailout From Euro Zone Partners
The euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis took a turn for the worse Monday as Cyprus said it would seek aid from the euro zone’s bailout funds.

“The purpose of the required assistance is to contain the risks to the Cypriot economy, notably those arising from the negative spill over effects through its financial sector, due to its large exposure in the Greek economy,” the government said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, the ratings agency Fitch downgraded the island nation’s government debt to junk status. Cyprus last year received a three-year, €2.5 billion loan from Russia.

Greece, Portugal and Ireland have already received bailouts.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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