The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

Arabia and the knowledge gap

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own. --

Think big. Think global. Spare no expense. That could be the motto for an ambitious effort by the United Arab Emirates to close the knowledge gap with the West and eventually restore Arab learning to its former glory.

Headlines from Dubai, the second-largest and most flamboyant of the seven emirates that make up the country, have been dominated by the bursting of a spectacular property bubble and an exodus of foreigners who lost their jobs as the global recession slowed down the economy. One thing that is not slowing --an education drive without parallel in the Arab world.

"Our commitment to excellence in education remains undiminished despite the economic crisis," the UAE minister of higher education and scientific research, Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan told a meeting this month that brought together some 1,000 students from 120 countries to discuss subjects that ranged from educating deaf students to improving global financial stability by better regulation.

Around the world, education is a tempting target for budget cutters in times of financial distress. But the UAE education budget has been increased by 12 percent this year and now takes up almost a quarter of overall spending. Expensive? Yes. But, as one speaker at a panel discussion put it: "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."

from The Great Debate:

U.S. mouth writing checks its body won’t cash

James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

A look at credit insurance prices for U.S. banks shows that market thinks the government's mouth is writing checks its body can't or won't cash.

Despite a blistering rally in bank shares and Herculean efforts by the U.S. to build confidence in its financial sector, the price of insuring some leading banks' debt against default has increased markedly in recent weeks.

from The Great Debate:

Islamic mega-bank prays for support

BAHRAIN/-- Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

Islamic finance is about to get its first mega bank if Sheikh Saleh Kamel has his way.

The billionaire chairman of Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group is head of an alliance hoping to launch a $10 billion Islamic bank before year-end. He will have his work cut out. Islamic banks may have avoided the worst of U.S. sub-prime dross, but Islamic banking has risks of its own.

from The Great Debate:

G20 shows power shift to multipolar world

Paul Taylor Great Debate -- Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

A year ago, mere mention of the notion of a multipolar world was a sure way to lose friends and dinner invitations in Washington.

The London G20 summit shows just how far power has ebbed from the United States, and from the West in general. Until late 2008, the Group of Eight mostly Western industrialized nations -- the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Russia and Japan -- was the key forum for economic governance.

from The Great Debate:

Mobile industry stimulus, strings attached

ericauchard1-- Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Some of the world's biggest mobile operators say they can stimulate the global economy by luring $550 billion in new investment, but only with the implied trade-off that they retain their monopoly market powers.

AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DoCoMo, Telefonica and Vodafone are among the carriers who have called on national regulators to provide a "minimally intrusive" regulatory environment to encourage new investment.

from The Great Debate:

Reform the IMF and World Bank

Johannes Linn- Johannes Linn is a Senior Fellow and the Executive Director of the Wolfensohn Center for Development at the Brookings Institution. The views expressed are his own. --

One of the tasks for the G20 Summit in London is the reform of the IMF and the World Bank, key global institutions to help address the current crisis and to prevent the occurrence of future crises. Reform of the IMF is more urgent both in the short and medium term while reform of the World Bank, although equally important, is less pressing.

from The Great Debate:

G20 should be pragmatic about protectionism

Paul Blustein-- Paul Blustein is a journalist-in-residence at the Brookings Institution. He is writing a book on the World Trade Organization, which will be published in September. The views expressed are his own. --

Telling young people to abstain from sex is “not realistic at all" -- new mother Bristol Palin, 18.

from The Great Debate:

Challenges for the G20: The IMF and regulation

StephanyGriffith-Jones-- Stephany Griffith-Jones is executive director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University. The views expressed are her own. --

There are many important challenges facing G20 leaders when they meet in London in early April.

from The Great Debate:

First 100 Days: What not to do in public diplomacy

Kristin Lord-- Kristin Lord is a fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of the recent report, “Voices of America: U.S. Public Diplomacy for the 21st Century.” The views expressed are her own. --

As Senate confirmation hearings approach, America’s next public diplomacy leaders will get abundant advice about how to improve America’s standing in the world. The Obama administration’s nominees (an under secretary and at least two assistant secretaries in the State Department alone) would be wise to listen.

from The Great Debate:

In American crisis, anger and guns

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate
-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

In the first two months of this year, around 2.5 million Americans bought guns, a 26 percent increase over the same period in 2008. It was great news for gun makers and a sign of a dark mood in the country.