Reuters blog archive
from Nicholas Wapshott:
The sickening scene from Britain of a blood-spattered man spouting Islamist hatred, who had just beheaded an off-duty British soldier in broad daylight, sends shivers down the spine. Is this the face of modern terrorism? If so, is no one safe anymore?
After the initial horror at the barbaric butchery on a leafy London street come questions about our attempts to prevent terrorism. Eleven years on from the attacks of September 11, we are still left grappling with some basic questions: What exactly is terrorism? And what can we do, if anything, to prevent it?
The British prime minister, David Cameron, his colleagues, and top officials and police have been careful not to jump to conclusions. They have avoided the rush to judgment that so many in the United States urged on the Obama administration in describing the motivation of the killers of ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi. It is not that they do not take the killers at their word; it is because they simply do not know.
Cameron was careful not to prejudge or speculate on the motives of the two suspected culprits, who made no attempt to escape and waited for the police to come and arrest them. “There are strong indications that it is a terrorist incident” was as far as he would go. It was even left to French President Francois Hollande – Cameron was in Paris ‑ to let slip that the British authorities knew the victim was a soldier.
from Global Investing:
This is a reference when the People's Bank of China makes big decisions.Difficulty in collating accurate data is perhaps not so surprising, given the rapid urbanisation of the world's second largest economy. Off-beat labour statistics (employing dissimilar methodology to the ILO) are partly skewed due to a large number of temporary registrants that slip the official statistics net. The solution? Jinny Lin at Standard Chartered, who thinks China's real GDP level is more likely around 5.5 percent, suggested this could be taken from the history books. Emperor Yongzheng, China's ruler in the late Qing dynasty, set up an independent body to look at data at the local level, and successfully stemmed tax evasion.
If local data is reliable enough, we should use local data.
Source: Flikr creative commons
Problems are found at a local level too, however. While the current system sets local government officials' bonuses for better GDP growth, there is no penalty for supplying incorrect data, neither are local government officials assessed on the jobs they create but via a points system. Instead local governments have 'soft' and 'hard' targets to attain, according to the panellists, some of which include environmental targets.
from Global Investing:
ECB chief Mario Draghi returns to London next week almost 10 months on from his seminal “whatever it takes” speech to the global financial community in The City – a speech that not only drew a line under the euro financial crisis by flagging the ECB’s sovereign debt backstop OMT but one that framed the determination of the G4 central banks at large to reflate their economies via extraordinary monetary easing. Since then we’ve seen the Fed effectively commit to buying an addition trillion dollars of bonds this year to get the U.S. jobless rate down toward 6.5%, followed by the ‘shock-and-awe’ tactics of the new Japanese government and Bank of Japan to end decades.
And as Draghi returns 10 months on, there's little doubt that he and his U.S. and Japanese peers have succeeded in convincing financial investors of central bank doggedness at least. Don't fight the Fed and all that - or more pertinently, Don't fight the Fed/BoJ/ECB/BoE/SNB etc... G4 stock markets are surging ever higher through the Spring of 2013 even as global economic data bumbles along disappointingly through its by now annual ‘soft patch’. Looking at the number tallies, total returns for Spanish and Greek equities and euro zone bank stocks are up between 40 and 50% since Draghi's showstopper last July . Italian, French and German equities and Spanish and Irish 10-year government bonds have all returned about 30% or more. And you can add 7% on to all that if you happened to be a Boston-based investor due to a windfall from the net jump in the euro/dollar exchange rate. What’s more all of those have outperformed the 25% gains in Wall St’s S&P 500 since then, even though the latter is powering to uncharted record highs. And of course all pale in comparison with the eye-popping 75% rise in Japan’s Nikkei 225 in just six months!! Gold, metals and oil are all net losers and this is significant in a money-printing story where no one seems to see higher inflation anymore.
from India Insight:
Indians give high importance to the concept of identity and kinship, especially in a land that is home to hundreds upon hundreds of different languages and ethnic groups. Indian curator Latika Gupta explores this theme in “Homelands”, an exhibition of works by 28 leading contemporary British artists, all wrestling with the idea of what "home" means in the 21st century.
The artists whose works are displayed include four Turner Prize winners, Jeremy Deller, Richard Long, Grayson Perry and Gillian Wearing. Work by World Press Photo (2007) winner Tim Hetherington, who was killed in Libya, also is on display.
from The Human Impact:
One hour, eighteen minutes is the amount of time that remains unaccounted for between a doctor being called to treat Sergei Magnitsky in a Russian prison and the time Magnitsky, a lawyer, was pronounced dead. It is also the name of a new play by Elena Gremina – a play that portrays accounts, from his supporters and from his own diary entries, of events in the year leading up to his death. The play uses as background official reports that were either public or dug up by supporters.
Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year old father of two, died just under a year after being held on tax evasion and fraud charges. Former colleagues say the charges were fabricated by police investigators he had accused of stealing $230 million from the Russian state through fraudulent tax refunds.
from Global Investing:
Global funds are having a good year.
According to a report by financial services lobby TheCityUK, pension funds, insurance funds and mutual funds are on track to finish the year with $21 trillion more of assets under management than when they hit rock bottom in 2008 with the Lehmann collapse.
They are growing for the fourth year in a row, and much more so than last year, thanks to the recovery in equity markets.
from The Human Impact:
A new iPhone app offers workplace tips for strippers to help them protect themselves against financial exploitation, abuse and a lack of safety.
The “Dancers Information” application and a related website were conceived by researchers after findings from a study of the erotic-dance industry in England and Wales showed that current regulations of nightclubs in the sexual entertainment sector do not automatically address issues of employment status, welfare and security.
By Peter Thal Larsen
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
Urban real estate may prove a deceptive safe haven. Investors seeking refuge from economic turmoil in the euro zone and mainland China are snapping up prime houses and apartments in the likes of London and Hong Kong. That risks crowding out locals. If the onslaught continues, cities may start to raise defenses.
from Global Investing:
The Olympic medals have all been handed out and the athletes are on their way home. Which countries surpassed expectations and which ones did worse than expected? And did this have anything to do with the state of their economies?
An extensive Goldman Sachs report entitled Olympics and Economics (a regular feature before each Olympic Games) predicted before the Games kicked off that the United States would top the tally with 36 gold medals. It also said the top 10 would include five G7 countries (the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy), two BRICs (China and Russia), one of the developing countries it dubs Next-11 (South Korea), and one additional developed and emerging market. These would be Australia and Ukraine, it said.
from The Observatory:
Does sex diminish athletic vigor? Does athletic tape enhance it? These are just a few of the questions that one Reuters correspondent has sought to answer amidst the toil, tears, and sweat at the Summer Olympics in London.
Kate Kelland, who covers health and science news in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa for the wire service, has been on the performance beat since the opening ceremony, digging into the latest research on what might pump up or deflate an athlete’s game. Doping is the first thing that comes to mind, of course, and Kelland has had a number of posts on the matter.