|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...
Cameron supports talks with Taliban
AFP KABUL BRITISH Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday pledged to support talks with the Taliban, saying that the nearly 10-year Afghan war could be resolved like the conflict in Northern Ireland.
On a day that four NATO soldiers were killed in eastern Afghanistan, he also announced the creation of a Sandhurst-style military academy to train Afghan officers ahead of the pullout of Western combat forces by 2015.
“In terms of the political process and political reconciliation, firstly I would say to the Afghan people, we are with you, we want to help you,” Cameron told a joint news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.
“To the Taliban my message is very clear.
Stop bombing, stop killing, stop fighting, put down your weapons, join the political process and you can join the future of this country.” Violence in Afghanistan has been at record highs, nearly 10 years after US-led troops invaded to bring down the Taliban regime for refusing to give up Osama bin Laden after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
“I have seen in it in my own country.
In Northern Ireland, we had people trying to bomb and kill police and now they are taking part in politics themselves,” said Cameron.
A British-led military academy staffed with around 120 British military trainers hopes to open its doors in 2013 and train 1,350 Afghan officers a year, attracting a funding pledge of $38 million from the United States.
“Today the president and I have been discussing our plan to build an Afghan Sandhurst to train the officers of the future that will form the backbone of the already successful Afghan army,” said Cameron.
He also defended plans to increase British aid to Afghanistan, despite austere budget cuts at home, branding opponents “hardhearted”.
The Department for International Development said this financial year British aid to Afghanistan was £102 million ($164 million) and will be £178 million ($287 million) next financial year.