"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

World News

  • Wang Jian, a researcher with China's national Development and Reform Commission, said that China may begin cutting interest rates for the rest of the year in an effort to stave off a possible economic slowdown.  "The central bank will be very cautious about raising interest rates.  In fact, I believe it may stop raising interest rates but cut interest rates in the second half of this year," he said in a Reuters interview.
Great Britain
  • EU finance ministers will be discussing the possibility of aid to Greece next week, but will not make any final decisions until after a mission to Athens gives its verdict on progress on required financial reforms.  Meanwhile, in what can only be described as a concerted effort to ensure that no further financial aid will be forthcoming, large-scale strikes protesting attempts to meet existing austerity targets have crippled the nation.
  • Toyota Motors, despite their production difficulties, has vowed to stay in Japan.  "Toyota was born in Japan, raised in Japan and is now a global company," said Toyota President Akio Toyoda, "I love Japan and I want to keep the tradition of manufacturing strong here."
  • The Syrian army, responding in its typically sensitive to human rights fashion, spent Wednesday attempting to suppress pro-democracy protests in Homs by shelling and machinegunning the neighborhood of Bab Amro.  The official position of the Syrian government appears to be that all of the violence is being caused by "armed terrorist groups".
United States
  • Pro-democracy (or, at least, anit-Saleh) demonstrations have run to a third day in Yemen, paralyzing two major cities and increasing concerns by Saudi Arabia and the United States that the country could collapse into chaos and be used by al Qaeda to operate freely.  Yemeni security forces have attempted to suppress that potential chaos with snipers, gunfire, tear gas, and baseball bat beatings from plainclothes agents.  Protester responses have been unfavorable, and have resulted in at least on police building being burnt down.
[1]  A works council is a German thing.  It is a panel of elected employee representatives that assist workers and push their interests.
[2]  In my opinion, if you care, this is also a little absurd.  Why not a bill to repeal tax breaks for all oil companies, if you're going to do something like this?
[3]  The article calls it "savings from the tax break".  I dislike this, since it implies that the tax money was the government's in the first place, and that they're deciding to save it instead of returning it to a tax payer.  Given that the only money the government has to work with is either money borrowed from investors or money collected through taxes.  It does not save money by increasing taxes.

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