Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
Those who spend much of their working week listening to speeches at the United Nations — U.N. correspondents, for example — might be forgiven for thinking there’s not much difference between most of them.
But it’s seldom you get as dramatic an illustration of this as happened on Feb. 11 when India’s Foreign Minister began inadvertently reading out to the Security Council a speech written for another country’s delegate without anyone, including himself, initially realizing anything was amiss.
The gaffe by minister S.M. Krishna occurred during a debate on the worthy but less than sensational topic of “the interdependence between security and development.” This month’s council president, Brazil, had organized the debate and invited as many foreign ministers as possible to take part.
The speech problem seems to have started when the speaker before Krishna, Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado, decided to make off-the-cuff remarks to the council instead of his prepared text, which was instead circulated in written form to other participants. It was this that Krishna picked up and started to read when his turn came, thinking it was his own.
Credit rating agencies cannot win.
They were blamed for carelessness before the crisis, handing out over-generous ratings on the packets of mortgage-backed securities that subsequently unravelled, sending the global economy into a spin and leading to Lehman Brothers collapse. Now they are being criticised again, this time for being too cautious, by dishing out rating downgrades to countries in Europe being sucked into Greece’s debt crisis.
Standard & Poor’s recently downgraded Spain’s rating one notch to AA, warning that the outlook was bleak for the euro zone’s fourth biggest economy. Struggling Greece has also been marked down — to junk status — and now hovers close to Pakistan and Venezuela in the credit stakes. Portugal is another country to be singled out for downgrades from the leading ratings companies.
Greece and the euro zone are still very much in the midst of a debt and deficit storm, with not just Athens but possibly Portugal and Spain at risk of being swept up in the maelstrom.
But that hasn’t stopped economists and political analysts looking for a silver lining in this unprecedented meltdown.
from Emily Flitter:
Quelling the European debt crisis will take more than just a bailout package for Greece, says one expert in financial contagion. Other countries with shaky fiscal profiles need to get their finances in order--and fast.
Lasse Pedersen, a professor of finance at New York University's Stern School of Business, has made a close study of liquidity spirals in financial markets, and he sees parallels between his work and the European crisis.