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from Global Investing:

When Japan was an emerging country

Recent wild swings in Japan's financial markets -- stocks, bonds and the yen -- make Japan look almost like an emerging country.

Back in the 19th century, Japan was an emerging country, with its feudal society based largely on farming.

According to a paper by U.S. based researchers Chiaki Moriguchi and Emmanuel Saez, Japan's GDP per capita in 1890 was at the level of U.S. GDP per capita in 1790, or about $1,200 in 2004 dollars. According to them, this is roughly comparable to the GDP per capita of the less developed countries today.

John Dower,  author of Pulitzer-prize winning "Embracing Defeat" which covered the occupation of Japan by the American forces, describes the late 19th century Japan as "a small country with few obvious resources".

from FaithWorld:

Pope, ending his British trip, recalls Nazi terror in WW2

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london in blitzPope Benedict on Sunday expressed "shame and horror" over the wartime suffering caused by his German homeland and said he was moved to mark the 70th anniversary of a key air victory with Britons. (Photo: London during the Blitz/U.S. National Archives)

On the last day of a four-day visit to Britain that drew the biggest protest march of any of his foreign trips, the pope also beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman, one of the most prominent English converts from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism.

from FaithWorld:

Theologians, historians urge Benedict to slow Pius XII saint process

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Undated photo of Pope Pius XII from the archives of the Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano

A group of Catholic theologians and historians has written to Pope Benedict XVI urging him slow down the beatification process for the late Pope Pius XII, the next step on the way to making him a saint. Critics accuse Pius of not doing enough to prevent the Holocaust and the theologians and historians say they need to finish research into the Vatican's wartime archives before the pope goes ahead with this case.

from Global News Journal:

The two faces of Angela Merkel

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  The German chancellor was described by Forbes last month as the world's most powerful woman, listing her as 15th overall in its ranking of the World’s Most Powerful people.  Certainly, Merkel has been known to bare her teeth when it comes to castigating others like Zimbabwe’s leader Robert Mugabe and she even rebuked Russia’s Vladimir Putin on foreign trips. She did also raise her voice against Pope Benedict, calling on him to make clear the Vatican does not tolerate any denial of the Holocaust.   

 

But at home in Germany, Merkel has been surprisingly timid on many key issues – especially when they involve her conservative Christian Democrats. Her tendency to avoid clear positions has driven her coalition partners mad. Merkel might be a lion when she's on foreign stages but she tends to be a lamb at home. One of her favourite sayings is: "If you try to beat your head into a wall, the wall will usually win."

from Global News Journal:

“Give peace a chance….”

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What if they gave a concert for peace and nobody heard it?

That twist on the old peace slogan – “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” – came to mind after the World Orchestra for Peace -– an occasional ensemble of some of the world’s best classical musicians –- played a concert in Krakow on September 1 to mark the Nazi invasion of Poland 70 years ago that started World War Two.

With Russian conductor Valery Gergiev on the podium, the orchestra played a “Prelude for Peace” by composer and Krakow native Krzysztof Penderecki, and a rousing account of Gustav Mahler’s gargantuan Fifth Symphony – but for whom?

from The Great Debate UK:

Europe votes conservative in crisis

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paul-taylor-- Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Europe's voters trust conservatives more than the left to handle the most severe financial and economic crisis since World War Two.

That was the key message of European Parliament elections that produced strong results for incumbent conservatives in Germany, France, Italy and Poland, but heavy defeats for governing socialists in Britain, Spain and Hungary.

from The Great Debate UK:

D-Day’s lasting legacy

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nick-hewitt_000006_1- Nick Hewitt is a historian in the Department of Research and Information at the Imperial War Museum in London. He studied history at Lancaster University and War Studies at King's College, University of London, where he specialised in naval history. He joined the Imperial War Museum in 1995. The opinions expresed are his own.-

"D-Day at last! Invasion! Hurrah! God save the King!" wrote a Cheshire schoolgirl on the evening of 6 June 1944. For her, news of the successful D-Day landings clearly meant a great deal. But looking back after sixty-five years, what was the historical significance of D-Day?

from The Great Debate UK:

Short-time work cushions Europe in crisis

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paul-taylor-- Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

Unlike the 1930s, there are no hunger marches or tent cities of the homeless and jobless in Europe's biggest economic slump since the Great Depression.

Welfare states built after World War Two, and labour market regulation in many West European countries, have cushioned workers and their families so far from the full force of the collapse of banks, the credit squeeze and a deep recession.

from UK News:

Brown outgunned by Lumley-led Gurkhas

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Joanna Lumley's father fought with Nepalese Gurkha soldiers during World War Two. The late Major James Rutherford Lumley would no doubt have been proud of the way his actress daughter fought a brilliant campaign with veterans of that brigade to win the right to settle in the UK based on the simple premise that if you are good enough to die for this country you are good enough to live in it.

As Lumley and triumphant Gurkhas sipped tea in the garden of Downing Street on Thursday afternoon, Prime Minister Gordon Brown would have done well to take Lumley aside and ask for her secret.

from The Great Debate:

Fed sets out exit strategy

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John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

Intense criticism of the Fed's role in the financial rescue program and the decision to triple its balance sheet, including monetizing a portion of the Treasury's debt, has forced the central bank to issue an unusual defense of its actions (http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20090323b.htm).

It attempts to placate critics by acknowledging the real risk of inflation, and marks the Fed's first attempt to set out an "exit strategy" for ending quantitative easing and other credit programs once the crisis is safely passed.

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