Reuters blog archive
from The Great Debate UK:
--Dr Marie Julie Chenard is Deputy Head of the Cold War Studies Programme at LSE IDEAS and Academic Officer for the Dahrendorf Symposium Project at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The opinions expressed are her own.--
The European elections are the second biggest exercise in democracy world-wide (behind India). Nearly 400 million EU citizens were eligible to vote their representatives to the European Parliament between the 22nd and 25th May, but only 43% actually did. What can be done to increase participation in elections that have an impact on 500 million people?
Declining turnout in the European elections is a serious threat to the legitimacy of a very young democracy. It is an on-going experiment beyond the nation state. MEPs have only been elected by direct universal suffrage since 1979. It was only in 2009 that the Lisbon Treaty gave the European Parliament have an equal say on nearly all EU laws and empowered it to play a key role in electing the President of the European Commission – all efforts to close the perceived democratic deficit.
Low electoral participation also means significant gains for insurgent parties such as UKIP in Britain and Front National in France – parties who represent a protest votes. Paradoxically, these anti-EU parties are increasing their decision-making power over a political space they are fighting against.
The Bank of France's monthly report forecasts growth of 0.4 percent in the last three months of the year, up from an anaemic 0.1 percent in the third quarter. That still makes for a fairly doleful 2013 as a whole.
France is zooming up the euro zone’s worry list, largely because of its timid approach to labour and pension reforms. Spain has been much more aggressive and is seeing the benefits in terms of rising exports (and, admittedly, sky-high unemployment). So too has Portugal.
from Tales from the Trail:
So much for post-racial.
When President Barack Obama won his historic bid for the U.S. presidency in 2008 as the nation's first black president, there was a lot of talk about a new era for America.
from John Lloyd:
Western youth are not what they used to be. Richer, better educated, more independent-minded than their forebears –they were once equipped for all conceivable futures.
But now, what future can they conceive?
These are the young men and women for whom the forward march of the generations has halted. Social normalcy was once defined as things only getting better. But now, not. What mixture of circumstances, what global alchemy, can put them back on that track once more?
from Mohamed El-Erian:
Have you tried speaking to a group of bright high school students wondering about what the current state of the world means for them and what they should do about it? I am grateful to have done so last week: I ended up gaining insights into how some of tomorrow’s leaders are thinking about the world they will inherit.
My presentation was divided into three parts. The conversations that ensued, both at the talk and thereafter, were broader in scope and, yes, much more interesting.
from Global Investing:
The speed of the backlash building against Russia's paramount leader Vladimir Putin following this week's parliamentary elections has taken investors by surprise and sent the country's shares and rouble down sharply lower.
Comparisons to the Arab Spring may be tempting, given that the demonstrations in Russia are also spearheaded by Internet-savvy youth organising via social networks.
from The Great Debate:
By Chadwick Matlin
The opinions expressed are his own.
Friday was a slightly-better bad day to be a young person in America. The morning’s unemployment said 14 percent of Americans 20-24 years old are now unemployed, down 0.7 points from September. Teenagers’ rate was similarly down, dropping 0.5 points to 24.1 overall.
But still—14 and 24.1 percent! Well above the national average of 9 percent, which isn’t exactly something the Millennials can look forward to.
Middle East Christians are struggling to keep hope alive with Arab Spring democracy movements promising more political freedom but threatening religious strife that could decimate their dwindling ranks. Scenes of Egyptian Muslims and Christians protesting side by side in Cairo's Tahrir Square five months ago marked the high point of the euphoric phase when a new era seemed possible for religious minorities chafing under Islamic majority rule.
Tajikistan has taken the first step toward banning children and adolescents from worshipping in mosques and churches, drawing criticism from Muslim leaders who oppose the Central Asian state's crackdown on religious freedom. The lower house of parliament in the impoverished ex-Soviet republic this week passed a "parental responsibility" bill that would make it illegal to allow children to be part of a religious institution not officially sanctioned by the state.
The wave of popular discontent now sweeping the Middle East and North Africa has been driven by the region's youth, frustrated by chronic umemployment and enraged by widespread corruption.
In a special report entitled 'Youth bulges and equities', Deutsche Bank argues that the proportion of angry young men to the general population is not only a gauge of socio-political stability but also a key indicator of market performance.