|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...
Manila accuses Chinese diplomat of violating norms
PHILIPPINE officials have banned a senior Chinese diplomat from meetings for alleged rude behaviour, in the latest fallout from a feud over the potentially oil-rich Spratly Islands, officials said on Tuesday.
Department of Foreign Affairs officials said Chinese Embassy First Secretary Li Yongsheng, who heads its political section, raised his voice at a Filipino officer last month while discussing Philippine allegations of Chinese intrusions in Manilaclaimed areas in the Spratlys.
A memorandum from the department’s Asian and Pacific Affairs office said Li exhibited ‘conduct unbecoming of a diplomat’ and that the embassy had been informed he would not be allowed to attend future meetings at the office.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has been informed about the incident, according to the memo, which was seen by The Associated Press.
The memorandum did not provide details of what happened at the meeting, but at least three senior Filipino diplomats said Li raised his voice in an offensive manner during a discussion of Manila’s claims that Chinese forces intruded into Philippine territorial waters in and near the Spratlys.
The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because they lacked authority to talk to reporters.
The Chinese Embassy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Spratlys, a chain of barren, largely uninhabited islands, reefs and banks in the South China Sea, are claimed in entirety by China, Taiwan and Vietnam and in part by the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.
They are believed to be rich in oil and natural gas and straddle busy sea lanes.
The Philippines has accused Chinese vessels of intruding at least nine times into Philippine waters in recent months, while Vietnam says Chinese vessels have hindered its oil exploration surveys in an area 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) off its central coast that it claims as its economic exclusive zone.
China says it has sovereign rights over the entire South China Sea.
The reported intrusions have set off anti- China protests.
About a dozen protesters burned two Chinese flags near the US Embassy on Monday.
In Vietnam, dozens of people held protests for a fifth straight week in Hanoi on Sunday, waving Vietnamese flags and chanting anti- Chinese slogans.