|Economics & Politics|
|ON March 24 the Portuguese
prime minister, Jose Socrates,
resigned after all the opposition
parties rejected his austerity
plan, which included slashing
pensions by more than €1,500 a
month and more cuts in tax benefits.
His government´s collapse triggered an
election, which could not take place for
another two months. During the interim
Socrates stayed on as acting prime
minister and reached an agreement
with the European Union and the
International Monetary Fund for a
€78bn bailout. The terms? Almost
exactly the same as those proposed by
him and rejected by the Portuguese
parliament six weeks earlier.
When the elections finally took place
the political class could sense a certain
degree of cynicism. The Portuguese
president, Anibal Cavaco Silva, warned
voters they could not complain about
|CASH CON BY
|WATCHING the evolution
of economic discussion
Washington over the
past couple of years
has been a disheartening experience.
Month by month, the discourse
has gotten more primitive;
with stunning speed, the lessons
of the 2008 financial crisis have
been forgotten, and the very ideas
that got us into the crisis - regulation
is always bad, what´s good
for the bankers is good for
America, tax cuts are the universal
elixir - have regained their
And now trickle-down economics
- specifically, the idea that
anything that increases corporate
profits is good for the economy -
is making a comeback.
On the face of it, this seems
bizarre. Over the past two years
profits have soared while employment
has remained disastrously
high. Why should anyone believe
that handing even more money to
corporations, no strings...
Aquino to visit China despite tensions
PHILIPPINE President Benigno Aquino said on Tuesday he would go ahead with a trip to China this year despite heightened tensions over territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Aquino said that during his visit he would focus on trying to resolve disputes over the strategic waters.
“It will happen this year, barring any unforeseen circumstances,” he told reporters.
“For me, it is important to talk to everyone, especially the other side.
Maybe we can reach an agreement.
After all, we cannot just ignore this matter when people’s lives may be at stake,” Aquino said.
The Philippine foreign minister said last week he would travel to China to help prepare for the president’s visit, for which a date has not yet been set.
The Philippines and China, along with Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan, all claim all or part of the South China Sea, particularly the Spratlys, a chain of islets in the area that are believed to sit on vast mineral resources.
Tensions have escalated in recent weeks, with the Philippines and Vietnam voicing alarm at what they say are increasingly forceful Chinese actions there.
In the latest incident, an unidentified foreign plane harassed a group of Philippine fishermen in the South China Sea last month, the Philippine navy said Monday, adding that they believed the flyover to be a warning.
The fishermen reported that the jet flew low over their boat early last month off the Investigator Northeast Shoal, said navy chief Vice Admiral Alexander Pama.
“An unidentified jet buzzed our fishing boat some 20 to 30 feet (6-9 metres) from the top of the mast of the fishing boat,” Pama told reporters.
The shoal, claimed by the Philippines, lies between the major western Philippine island of Palawan and the disputed Spratly islands.
Asked about the plane, Aquino said he had yet to receive a report on the incident.
The Philippines has recently accused Chinese forces of opening fire on Filipino fishermen, shadowing an oil exploration vessel employed by a Philippine firm, and putting up structures in areas claimed by the Philippines.