Jan 8, 2015 15:35 UTC

Response to Paris attacks caught between two risks

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By Pierre Briancon

The author is  Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

It is safe to assume that Charlie Hebdo would not have hesitated to extract satire even from the depths of its own tragedy. Only the murder of its editor and some of its most celebrated cartoonists, in a shooting rampage that left 12 dead in and near the French weekly’s office on Wednesday, will prevent the magazine from doing its job this week – lampooning powers-that-be and all forms of authority, steering clear of anything resembling tact or conventional good taste.

COMMENT

the aftermath of this attack is straight out of Fahrenheit 451, appropriately enough. we may never know who was behind those balaclavas and ‘spoke perfect French’ …

Posted by wilhelm | Report as abusive
Jan 8, 2015 14:55 UTC

Merkel subjects Greece to risky tough love

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By Olaf Storbeck

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

There should be no doubt that Angela Merkel wants to keep the euro zone intact. Her played-up indifference to the possibility that Greece might leave if it doesn’t find a deal with its creditor partners is part of that long game. The German chancellor just wants to send an advance warning to Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the left-wing Syriza party who may emerge as the winner of the Greek parliamentary election on Jan. 25. Investors should see through the bargaining hubbub. The next Greek crisis will have its cliffhangers – but Berlin will ensure it ends in compromise.

Jan 5, 2015 16:48 UTC

Water woes could open taps on corporate risk

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Water is set to become a more serious risk for companies and investors. It’s already recognized. World Economic Forum attendees named H2O a top-three risk two years running. And two-thirds of the world’s largest companies worry about how constraints may affect their business, according to environmental research firm CDP. Few, though, are well prepared for problems. That is set to change.

Jan 5, 2015 10:43 UTC

Centre-left may have UK election edge

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By Robert Cole

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Britain’s three main political parties are weak. Its two nationalist groups are stronger. The probable five-way fight in the 2015 general election, due in May, will be unusual. It is also likely to produce an inconclusive result. A new Breakingviews calculator suggests, however, that a Labour-led coalition could take power.

COMMENT

The author has ticked all the boxes, but anyone familiar with the Brit mindset (particularly those of the demographic and age that have a high propensity to trek down to the polling station) knows that if house prices continue downwards between now and May, then the incumbent MP in every constituency will be toast.

Posted by Colakid | Report as abusive
Jan 2, 2015 11:38 UTC

Europe returns to Franco-German axis of neurosis

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By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Europe’s economic stagnation has a lot to do with its political paralysis. In 2014, the emphasis was on what governments should have done – and could still do – to boost the continent’s potential after two years of EU economic contraction. In 2015, the crisis at the heart of Europe’s malaise, the breakdown of the French-German partnership, will take centre stage.

COMMENT

European Union increasingly became a bloc dominated by Germany and auxilliaries as the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and other rich nations. France looks has been increasingly pushed to sides. The enlargemenet of the Union became a unique opportunity for Germany and its smaller allies to drain enormous wealth from the new, weak, or uncompetitive members, and to check these countries under the political and economic influence of the wealthy elite from the West. For that reason, the Union allocates funds to these conutries to satisfy some of the folks in the stagnating countries, but actually suffocates their economies. Western governments also promote immigration of both skilled professionalists, and cheap labour force to sustain the domestic businesses, while adding insult to the injury of the weaker members. From the frequent appearences of Mrs Merkel on the political scene in every instance is a clear demonstration of that reality. And the constant “xenophobic” agenda keeps the newcomers in the West on check too: “if you don’t want to go back to your battered homeland, you should adopt our language and culture fast”

Posted by Levko | Report as abusive
Dec 31, 2014 14:25 UTC

Vienna offers a model for stable foreign policy

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By Martin Hutchinson

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

The 1815 Congress of Vienna, whose bicentenary occurs this winter, offers a useful historical lesson for crafting foreign policy strategies in an increasingly multipolar world. The summit ended the Napoleonic Wars, and its participants worked together over the next decade to prevent destabilizing regime change. This principle could have reversed many intervention decisions over the last 40 years. Adopting a variation of it now could bring stability.

Dec 30, 2014 15:11 UTC

Accounting fraud is ripe for fresh scrutiny

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By Reynolds Holding

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Dodgy numbers will replace insider trading as Wall Street watchdogs’ preferred prey in 2015. New auditing and analytics have already given the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission a head start, even if the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley reforms make cases of accounting fraud harder to track down.

Dec 29, 2014 15:17 UTC

Bad ideas catching up with Latin America in 2015

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By Martin Hutchinson

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Bad economic ideas will start to catch up with Latin America in 2015. For four years, the region has seen growth rates below the world average. The IMF predicts that won’t change any time soon. Yet while most Pacific-facing countries will shine, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela will suffer. With a couple of exceptions, misguided policies are finally coming home to roost.

COMMENT

What about Panama’s growth. It’s proyected to be one of the highest in the region for next year.

Posted by EnmanuelMC | Report as abusive
Dec 29, 2014 11:00 UTC

Ukraine crisis forced into suspended animation for 2015

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By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Western economic sanctions against Russia were expected to have no effect. Yet they have caused much pain. They were also meant to have a clear goal. So far, they don’t.

COMMENT

European countries need to take a hard look at the benefits and also the bad effects of the sanctions. Please do NOT “go along to get along” with the US and what that government wants. What is good – or so our US government says is good – for the US may not be in the best interests of other countries.

Many of us realize that countries closer to Russia face a different set of problems with Putin than we in the US do. Plus, we do not seem to realize that the Russian people have been through much worse that these sanctions and they are tough, having to sacrifice much in the past.

Posted by AZreb | Report as abusive
Dec 26, 2014 16:44 UTC

Review: Fixing the CIA – a novel approach

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By Martin Langfield

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Could an outsider best reform the CIA in the wake of torture revelations? In David Ignatius’ novel “The Director,” a pro-privacy tech CEO tries to drag an agency that has lost its way into a new world of tighter rules, leaky secrets and mounting cyberthreats. It’s a good idea, with uneven results for both Ignatius and his hero.