“I hope and trust that Europe under German leadership will rise to the occasion. I have been arguing for several years that Germany should accept the responsibilities and liabilities of its dominant position in Europe. Today, Ukraine needs a modern-day equivalent of the Marshall Plan, by which the United States helped to reconstruct Europe after World War II. Germany ought to play the same role today as the US did then. “
“Thailand, once the world’s biggest rice exporter, is short of funds to pay 110 billion baht under Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s 2011 program to buy the crop at above-market rates. The premier faces allegations that she was negligent in overseeing the subsidy in a case that could lead to impeachment, even as borrowings by farmers such as Koon increase the nation’s household debt to gross domestic product ratio, the highest in Southeast Asia after Malaysia. “
“Elected Prime Minister in 2001, Thaksin, a tycoon with extensive security sector connections, utilized the police to bolster his influence among security services. Indeed, he was the first politician since the 1950s to employ such a strategy. He soon established a dominant police faction through material inducements and promises of power. During his 2001-2006 administration, the share of national budget for the police increased while that for the armed forces diminished. Moreover, under pro-Thaksin governments, the number of ex-police cabinet ministers increased, expanding to four. Thai police have generally been sympathetic to Thaksin because he was formerly a policeman himself. Also, most police reside among local people rather than in isolated camps or are recruited from the local population where they work. Thus, any local pro-Thaksin sympathies tend to resonate among police. The largest areas where police are recruited are the rural north and northeast—hotbeds of pro-Thaksin sentiment. Under Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s sister, (2011—Present), the government has drawn even closer to the police in three ways.”
“Yingluck’s government probably will slowly strangle the protest movement. It will do so by closing one protest location after the next while peeling off some of the more moderate supporters of the protests in Bangkok’s business and political communities. Without support from the king and the leaders of the army, and lacking the broad base of demonstrations in places like Venezuela, the protests will eventually dwindle.”
From Monday: “Thailand’s army chief says the military will not intervene with force in the country’s crisis, as the death toll from a blast in Bangkok rose to three.”
“The problem, as I argue in my new book, Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China, is not with China, but with the world – and the United States, in particular – which is not prepared for the slower growth that China’s successful rebalancing implies.”
“Gross domestic product growth will probably be lowered to a 2.5 percent annual rate, according to a Reuters poll of economists. That would be down sharply from the 3.2 percent pace reported last month and the 4.1 percent logged in the third quarter.”
I don’t agree with the tilt of this piece but it is suggested reading nonetheless
“Initial claims for jobless benefits, a measure of changes in employment nationwide, rose by 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000 in the week ended Feb. 22 from the previous week’s downwardly revised figure of 334,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had predicted claims would come in at 335,000.”
“Radiation from Japan’s leaking Fukushima nuclear power plant has reached waters offshore Canada, researchers said today at the annual American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu. Two radioactive cesium isotopes, cesium-134 and cesium-137, have been detected offshore of Vancouver, British Columbia, researchers said at a news conference. “
“Spain’s regional and central governments may have to refund as much as €13 billion ($17.8 billion) in fuel tax to end-users after the European Union’s highest court said the tax was contrary to European law.”
“In the fourth quarter, domestic demand had a negative drag on GDP of 0.6 percentage points compared to 2.5 percentage points a quarter earlier. Exports lifted GDP by 0.4 percentage points, down from 1 percent a quarter earlier.”
Spanish house prices are back to 2003-04 levels now and down 30% from the 2008 peak. Price per square meter also fell 4.2% in 2013.
““Bankia is one of those instances which highlights why a super national regulator is really needed,” Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said in a phone interview. “Taking on what would become a political confrontation with Bankia was something that the regulators chose not to do.” “
“RBS made a loss last year of £8.2bn, its sixth consecutive annual loss, taking its cumulative losses to £46bn”
This is the wrong paradigm, which sees wage growth as bad. It isn’t.
These figures are the ones reported according to European standards. The old German standard figures show 7.3% unemployment.
“The troika of lenders from the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank had wanted the test to be based on a Core Tier 1 capital adequacy ratio of 9 percent, the same as that used in the first round of domestic health checks in 2012. That rate reflected the high rate of bad loans in Greece’s banking sector. But the lenders agreed to cut the rate to 8 percent for the second check, bringing it into line with the benchmark used for European bank stress tests.”
“On the month, loans to households were flat in January in seasonally adjusted terms after declining by €5 billion ($6.84 billion) in December. Loans to firms declined by €6 billion after an unchanged reading in December. Lending for house purchase increased by €1 billion in January, following a decline of €3 billion in December. “
“Although still a minority view, 19 of 63 economists polled this week expect the central bank eventually to launch its own version of such stimulus and expand its balance sheet.”
““Versace offers strong margins and equity (especially as an independent luxury brand) but has not leveraged its brand to deliver sales and profit to the extent that it could – at least in part because of a relatively weak geographic footprint,” said Matt Woodhams, Added Value, a director at brand development firm. “The challenge is how to grow that footprint without having to invest so much that the investment cancels out the returns.””
“As smoke clears on the implosion of the Empty Gox bitcoin exchange, thousands of people in the community committed to revealing the truth behind the stonewalling exchange. What was claimed first to be a technical problem, then an outside theft, has been conclusively determined that the MtGox management knew too much, too long ago, to have this be an ordinary case of theft.”
“I am more bullish about the future of the news industry over the next 20 years than almost anyone I know. You are going to see it grow 10X to 100X from where it is today. That is my starting point for any discussion about the future of journalism. Here’s why I believe it, and how we will get there.”
“Young adults, beware. The swine flu responsible for the pandemic five years ago is once again the dominant strain in North America. This doesn’t mean we are in the midst of another swine flu pandemic, but it does mean that people of working age are once again hardest hit by the virus, which has been hanging around since 2009.”