|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...
Karzai refuses to respond to cross-border shelling
REUTERS KABUL AFGHANISTAN’S security forces will not respond with military force to weeks of cross-border shelling from Pakistan, President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday, as the Afghan parliament called on him to sever ties with Islamabad over the issue.
Some 300 people also protested against the shelling in Asadabad, the capital of eastern Kunar province, demanding an end to the shelling and calling for revenge.
Hundreds of rockets have hit Afghanistan since early June, officials say, and killed dozens of civilians, infuriating Afghans from ordinary villagers to the top echelons of power.
A top Afghan police general last week offered his resignation over the government’s response to the attacks, and there have been at least two demonstrations.
Karzai said his Interior and Defence Ministers had sought permission to open fire if more rockets landed.
But the president said he had refused because returning fire risked creating more innocent victims in Pakistan.
“Afghanistan never wants to harm civilians in Pakistan with its response,” Karzai told a joint news conference in Kabul with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron.
“Afghanistan is seriously engaged in talks with Pakistan to solve this issue,” he added.
Karzai’s parliament, despite facing internal turmoil after a governmentbacked court ruled in June to unseat 62 lawmakers, has focused debate on the attacks for the last three days, and wants to see sterner action.
“The parliamentarians called on the government to cut ties with Pakistan because its non-stop shells have killed many innocent civilians,” said Fraidoon Momand, a lawmaker from eastern Nangarhar province, which has been hit.
“We have long demanded that Pakistan explain the shelling but they didn’t,” he added.
The Interior Ministry says nearly 800 rockets have been fired since early June, killing 12 women and girls and 30 men.
Some 55 have been wounded, and 120 houses destroyed.
Pakistan on last Monday rejected Afghan allegations of large scale cross-border shelling, saying that only “a few accidental rounds” may have crossed the border when it pursued militants who had attacked its security forces.
It is impossible to verify independently exactly what is happening on the remote, porous and disputed mountainous border, but there are insurgent groups on both sides.
Pakistan has in the past fiercely contested crossborder attacks by NATO forces chasing insurgents on its territory.
Fazlullah Wahidi, the governor of Kunar province, said 635 rockets had been fired into Kunar province killing 22 people and wounding 40.
Local people said they would take revenge if they could find weapons.
“My weapon was taken by foreign troops long ago.
Now how can I defend my people from brutal rockets from Pakistan,” said protester Ahmad Khan.
“If the NATO forces cannot protect us, they should give back our weapons so we could revenge our people.”