|Debt Crisis & West|
|YOU may recall the Latin
American debt crisis of 1982,
the Asian debt crisis of 1997,
the Russian debt crisis of 1998
- and you´ll certainly remember
the US sub-prime debt crisis of 2008.
Now we have a European debt crisis
and, horror of horrors, a US government
That´s the word to keep hold of: debt.
Ignore the financiers´ jargon - bond
yields, credit default swaps, hedge
funds - which make finance sound like
quantum physics, a fearfully abstruse
subject beyond the grasp of ordinary
mortals. Financial crises occur when
people (or governments or companies)
can´t repay their debts. Or more precisely
when their creditors (or shareholders)
decide they aren´t likely to get
|US GRIPPED BY GREAT
|IN the wake of the hugely disappointing
budget deal and
the S&P´s debt downgrade,
maybe we need to hang a new
sign in the immigration arrival
halls at all US ports and airports. It
could simply read: "Welcome. You
are entering the United States of
America. Past performance is not
necessarily indicative of future
Because our country is now finding
itself in the worst kind of
decline - a slow decline, just slow
enough for us to keep deluding ourselves
that nothing really fundamental
needs to change if our
future is to match our past.
Our slow decline is a product of
two inter-related problems. First,
we´ve let our five basic pillars of
growth erode since the end of the
Cold War - education, infrastructure,
First woman PM takes office in Thailand
BANGKOK THAILAND’s new Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra officially took office on Monday with a vow to reunite the troubled nation after years of turmoil following the overthrow of her fugitive brother.
Yingluck, a 44-year-old political novice, was elected as Thailand’s first female premier in a parliamentary vote on Friday but had to complete formalities including official approval by King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
“His Majesty the King has given his endorsement,” House Speaker Somsak Kietsuranont said after an audience with the 83-yearold monarch, who has been in hospital since September 2009.
Yingluck swept to an election victory last month with the support of her older brother Thaksin Shinawatra, who is loathed by the elite in government, military and palace circles, and was toppled in a 2006 coup.
Bhumibol, who has reigned for more than six decades, is seen as a stabilising force in the troubled country but has no official political role.
Yingluck, a businesswoman described by her brother as his “clone”, faces the tough challenge of bringing unity to the politically volatile kingdom.
“It is a great and challenging responsibility which requires the participation and support of all sectors to overcome problems and move the country forward,” she said in an acceptance speech at her party headquarters.
“I will use my knowledge, competence and intellect to work hard with honesty to bring peace, unity and reconciliation to our nation,” she added.
Thaksin, a former telecoms tycoon, lives in self-imposed exile to avoid a jail sentence imposed in his absence for corruption.
His overthrow by the army heralded five years of political crises both in the Thai parliament and on the streets, where his elitebacked foes and his mainly working-class supporters have held crippling rival protests.
The situation escalated last year when more than 90 people, mostly civilians, were killed in clashes between the army and “Red Shirt” protesters who largely support Thaksin for his populist policies while in office.
Thaksin or his allies have won the most seats in the past four elections, but the courts reversed the results of the last two polls.
Thailand has also seen 18 actual or attempted military coups since it became a constitutional monarchy in 1932.