Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
from Raw Japan:
Japan's finance minister denies he was drunk at a G7 news conference but opposition lawmakers sense blood in the water and are demanding he be fired, adding yet more pressure on a deeply unpopular government that faces an election this year.
The story is the Internet phenomenon of the day in Japan as TV stations and newspapers issued stories calling attention to Shoichi Nakagawa's behaviour at the news conference at the G7 gathering in Rome over the weekend.
In Japan, at least, the question of what was wrong with Nakagawa when he appeared in front of the media has completely overshadowed the issue of the financial crisis.
His speech sounded slurred at the media conference and at one point Nakagawa, his head down and eyes closed, mistook a question directed at the BOJ governor as one for him.
George Alogoskoufis is a hardly a household name outside Greece and EU financial circles. But the newly sacked Greek finance minister could yet become a poster child for politicans struggling to fight off economic decline and banking industry collapse. His demise was in large part due to a public perception that he was helping out the banks but ignoring rising joblessness.
Greece, of course, is a special case at the moment, still recovering from riots over the police shooting of a teenager. But finance ministers, central bankers and other responsibles are probably not immune from Alogoskoufis Syndrome. Balancing the need to bail out the finance industry with rising economic misery among everyday people is not easy. Fat cats are not exactly in favour at the moment.
IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said on Monday that the Fund could cut its forecast for China’s economic growth in 2009 to around 5 percent. To think that only last year China was galloping at a double-digit clip. It’s staggering, and it’s worrying.
Worrying, for one thing, because - as the Heritage Foundation’s Derek Scissors puts it - ”the American economic slump is running into the Chinese economic slump, creating the conditions for a face-off between Beijing and the U.S. Congress, possibly leading to destabilization of the world’s most important bilateral economic relationship”.
As journalists, we spend a lot of time watching politicians and policies to guage their impact on financial markets and economies. Now, as recession takes an inexorable hold in the Asia-Pacific region, we’re watching for the impact on politicians themselves.
So far there has been no repeat of the political upheaval triggered by Asia’s economic crisis a decade ago, which culminated in the ignominious resignation of President Suharto in Indonesia and the ouster of Thailand’s prime minister (see previous blog). There are no food riots as there were back then, and Asians are not crowding at banks’ doors to rescue their savings.
The Indonesian rupiah has lost more than a fifth of its value against the dollar so far this year and on Friday hit its weakest point since August 1998. Authorities swooped in to take over an
insolvent Bank Century, the first such takeover since the Asian financial crisis a decade ago.
Are things in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy really that dire to prompt comparisons with the chaotic events of a decade ago? Today’s financial crisis is draining liquidity from many banks across the world, including in Indonesia. And as was the case a decade ago, domestic capital is swarming hot on the heels of foreign capital in fleeing Indonesia.
from Global Investing:
Malcolm McLaren, the man who gave us The Sex Pistols, has found the real punks -- bankers. In an interview with Britain's The Observer, he says punk was not just about spiky hair and ripped t-shirts.
"It was all about destruction, and the creative potential within that. It turns out that the bankers may have been the biggest punks of all."