Economy

EU to hit Cambodia with trade sanctions, says Myanmar may follow

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union told Cambodia on Friday it will lose its special access to the world’s largest trading bloc, and said it was considering similar trade sanctions for Myanmar in a toughening of EU policy on human rights in Southeast Asia. Robin Emmott, Philip Blenkinsop After months of pressure from rights groups and the European Parliament, the EU’s trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom said the bloc was ready to punish abuses in both countries by removing trade preferences. ... Read More »

Why Europe Overlooks Trump’s Threat, Increases Russian Gas Imports

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European consumers see no reason for abandoning cheap Russian pipeline gas and substituting it for expensive American super-chilled fuel. While Washington is fuming over the Russian-European energy cooperation, EU member states are increasingly buying Russian… Sputnik Despite US threats and reprimands, Europe remains stuck with Russian gas. Speaking at the Russia Energy Week (REW) forum, President Vladimir Putin highlighted that the country’s gas exports to the EU were about to reach 200 billion cubic meters (bcm) in… Why Europe Overlooks… Read More »

How to deal with the next financial crisis – take some lessons from Iceland

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It has been ten years since the global recession hit – and the perfect opportunity to rethink and reassess the crisis with the benefit of time. Iosif Kovras The Conversation Much of the focus so far has been on economic or policy failures, with the question of accountability left out of the discussion. In stark contrast to the grassroots calls for punishing those responsible, political leaders were not overly concerned with accountability, leaving bankers off the hook. This was a ... Read More »

Tanzania law punishing critics of statistics ‘deeply concerning’: World Bank

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DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – The World Bank said it was deeply concerned about new Tanzanian legislation which would punish anyone who questions official statistics, saying the law would undermine the production of useful and… Lawmakers last month passed amendments to the Statistics Act that would impose fines, at least three years jail time, or both, on anyone who questioned the accuracy of official figures. The attorney general said the changes were needed to… Opposition groups and other critics have ... Read More »

Pipeline Dreams

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Eastern Mediterranean gas creates new allies—and deepens old enmities John Psaropoulos the weekly Standard Athens On January 30, the deepwater drillship Saipem 12000 sent its drill bit into a cavern beneath one-and-a-quarter miles of water and a mile of rock in the eastern Mediterranean. The Italian oil and gas company Eni, which had contracted the ship, announced a week later that the cavern, called Calypso, was “an extended gas column,” containing an estimated six to eight trillion cubic feet of ... Read More »

Arctic Options: Why America Should Invest in a Future with China

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America needs to increase its engagement in the Arctic’s rapidly-changing geopolitical environment because inaction could lead to Washington losing future opportunities in the area. Alison McFarland The National Interest In August, the Arctic’s oldest and thickest sea ice broke up, releasing water on Greenland’s northern coast that typically remains frozen throughout the year. Occurring for the second time this year, the melting ice not only raises environmental concerns, but also brings the potential for geopolitical change. China presents a driving ... Read More »

Forget the pledges to act – London is still a haven for dirty Russian money

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After Salisbury, the Tories said we would get tough on rich Russians. But billionaires are still coming and sanctions are nowhere to be seen. Oliver Bullough The Guardian Britain, we’re told, has a new policy on dirty Russian money. We are finally pulling the red carpet from under the feet of the rich Russians who have turned London into a private members’ club. This new “hostile environment” was trailed in February after the security minister, Ben Wallace, watched McMafia – ... Read More »

Greedy banks and inept regulators but not much more

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It began so well. The banks were lashed as greedy institutions focussed on gouging the living – and the dead – and anything else they could squeeze a dollar out of in the pursuit of targets and bonuses. Adele Ferguson Brisbane Times It then went on to the regulators, in particular the corporate regulator, which it eviscerated for its lack of teeth and inability to do its job and enforce the law. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) was ... Read More »

Royal Commission shows banks have behaved appallingly, but we’ve helped them do it

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The term deposit has matured. Initial scepticism over the timing, scope, and overall need for a royal commission into financial services has transformed into deep concern about the culture and practices in one of our most important industries. Andrew Grant The Conversation Malcolm Turnbull, the (perhaps not coincidentally) ex-prime minister, admitted it had been a “political mistake” to delay the royal commission by nearly two years. None of the major banks have escaped the Commission’s ire. Perhaps that’s because none ... Read More »

China’s new world order ‘unrealistic’ if built on belt and road alone, senior US diplomatic observer says

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Beijing cannot avoid dealing with the developed world if it wants to build a technologically advanced country. South China Morning Post It will not be realistic for China to build an alternative world order through its massive infrastructure investments overseas as other regional players do not want to take sides between Beijing and Washington, according to a… Miles Kahler, a senior fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, said China’s infrastructure strategy – known as the “Belt and Road Initiative” ... Read More »

Brussels rolls out red carpet for Jeremy Corbyn

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The Labour leader met with chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Secretary-General Martin Selmayr. By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN Politico It was the European Commission’s own vote of no-confidence in Theresa May. Top EU officials rolled out the red carpet for Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday, welcoming May’s arch-rival to the Commission headquarters and giving him a platform at a… Corbyn, who has criticized May and her Conservative Party for mismanaging Brexit, has yet to unveil a credible departure plan of ... Read More »

Hiring highly educated immigrants leads to more innovation and better products

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Much of the current debate over immigration is about what kind of impact immigrants have on jobs and wages for workers born in the United States. Authors: The Conversation Seldom does anyone talk about how immigration leads to a wider variety of better products for the American consumer. We recently conducted a study to shine more light on the matter. We are economists with a keen interest in growth and innovation and how immigration affects the economy. What we found ... Read More »

How to Respond to Venezuela’s Humanitarian Emergency

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Numbers tell the grim tale of Venezuela’s continuing slide into socio-economic ruin. ICG With 1.6 million people fleeing the country since 2015, international donors should step up aid to neighbouring states, while concerned parties fine-tune pressure for political change in Caracas and prepare for worst-case scenarios. Colombia’s hosting of a meeting on Venezuela today stands as an important opportunity to draw attention to the severity of the nation’s crisis, the suffering of its people and the burden it puts on ... Read More »

Turkey went on a building spree as its economy boomed. Now the frenzy is crashing to a halt.

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ISTANBUL — Inside the Ozdilek Park mall, Dogukan Altin arrives for his shift at a men’s clothing store. Today is a national holiday and almost everyone has the day off. But almost no one has come to Ozdilek. David J. Lynch The Washington Post “It’s generally just empty. There’s too many malls,” says Altin, 34, sporting a close-cropped beard along with a dark tie and white shirt. “Because there’s three malls right next to each other, none of them make ... Read More »

There Could Be a Financial Crash Before End of Trump’s First Term, Experts Say, Citing Looming Debts

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Financial experts noted several ominous economic indicators, including skyrocketing student loans and U.S. household debts, that could predict a crash “worse than the Great Depression,” according to a… Benjamin Fearnow Newsweek Goldman Sachs predicted that this year’s U.S. fiscal outlook would be “not good,” and that U.S. household debt had been increasing since the 2008 housing crisis led to American taxpayers bailing out the… In 2018, experts said, a $247 trillion global debt will be the greatest cause of the next cataclysmic financial crash. Additionally, low ... Read More »

Major hurdles – and rewards – as China and Philippines try to forge deal to share South China Sea resources

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If the two sides manage to reach an agreement, an outcome that is far assured given the myriad political and legal complexities, it could radically alter the dynamics of a vexing geopolitical dispute. South China Morning Post Ahead of President Xi Jinping’s expected visit to Manila in November, the Philippines and China have taken a major step towards resolving their maritime disputes. Last month, the Philippine government announced the formation of a technical working group to iron out the legality ... Read More »