With Greece facing a loan payment of 1.6 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday, a man in London named Thom Feeney took it upon himself to launch a fundraising campaign for the financially strapped country on Indiegogo, an international crowdfunding site. As of late Monday afternoon, more than 400 people have pledged about 7,000 euros to the “Greek Bailout Fund,” and those numbers are climbing steadily.
Feeney says on Indiegogo that he is frustrated with European ministers and “all this dithering over Greece.” As Feeney states, “The European Union is home to 503 million people, if we all just chip in a few Euro then we can get Greece sorted and hopefully get them back on track soon. Easy."
He says he can clear the whole mess up with a contribution of just over three euros from each European. “That’s about the same as half a pint in London or everyone in the EU just having a Feta and Olive salad for lunch.”
Incentives for donors include a postcard with an image Alex Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minister, for a donation of three euros, and a Greek feta and olive salad for six euros. Ten euros gets you a small bottle of ouzo, and a pledge of 25 euros will earn you a bottle of Greek wine.
So far at least 90 donors will be expecting postcards, 35 can look forward to a salad, 40 have signed up to receive a bottle of ouzo, and 30 can expect a bottle of wine. But whether anyone will actually receive their rewards remains to be seen. Like the Greek creditors, the donors will have to wait and see if their payments ever arrive.
Update: As of Tuesday morning, more than 10,000 people have donated about 170,000 euros, and the numbers continue to rise. Feeney has stated that all the money will be returned if the fundraiser fails to reach its target.
The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.
The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.
Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”
Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.
The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”
That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”