Greece's problems with paying the bills

The Greek government's budgetary woes are well known by this point, but a newly-released Flash Eurobarometer survey from last year reveals a different side of the financial crisis:

Greece's latest deficit-cutting measures may help the country escape its debt crisis, but higher taxes and wage cuts will be a hardship for many Greek citizens, who already are the most likely in Europe to report problems paying their bills.

Fully fifty-seven percent of Greeks answered that they are "Constantly struggling and have fallen behind with some/many bills." This number is twelve percent higher than the three runners-up, Latvia, Bulgaria, and Cyprus. Furthermore, forty-three percent of Greeks claimed that though they had no problems paying bills in 2008, they had begun having problems in 2009 and expected them to continue in 2010 -- a number also twelve percent higher than the E.U. average of 31 percent.

It looks like this big, fat Greek economic collapse will last well into the future.


China reporters told to guard inboxes

Beijing-based reporters covering the debates over Google, censorship, and email security are now being cautioned to watch their own inboxes. According to an alert posted today by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China:

Malicious email attachments sent to foreign correspondents in China tend to increase around big news events and sensitive political dates ... the overall volume of malware messages sent to foreign correspondents appears to have grown this week.

Whether the timing of the email malware attacks on reporters is related to recent events involving Google or not  is unclear. So far at least three Beijing reporters have received emails with malicious software that appeared to come from the Shanghai Expo’s media affairs office. In fact, the emails came from a different address, but some speculate the users may have been using the press list collected by Shanghai Expo.

In addition to concerns over security and privacy, I'm wondering whether the Expo folks were complicit -- or are now thinking, "Yee-gawds, why our email list, this is the last thing we need as we try to win over those reporters."

(Of course, it's not as though the U.S. Pavilion at the Expo has run a seemless public diplomacy operation either, as Adam Minter's reporting reveals.)