Archive for April 30th, 2012

30/04/2012

Spanish Debt Crisis Pushing World Economy to the Brink

Human Wrongs Watch

By Nick Beams (WSWS*), 30 April – Barely four months after the European Central Bank (ECB) began its latest intervention into financial markets, making available a total of €1 trillion at ultra-cheap rates to cash-strapped banks, the European financial system is heading into a new crisis, with far-reaching global implications.

**Puerta del Sol, Madrid. Author: OsvaldoGago| Wikimedia Commons

The renewed market turmoil is a product both of the ECB measures under its Longer Term Refinancing Operations (LTRO) and the austerity program being imposed across Europe at the insistence of the financial markets.

Since the near-default of Greece threatened to set off a meltdown of markets at the end of last year, the eye of the financial storm has shifted to Spain, Europe’s fourth largest economy. Last week it was revealed that the Spanish unemployment rate had jumped to almost 25 percent.

The leap in the jobless rate was preceded by an announcement of a credit downgrade by the rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P), which warned of the dangers facing Spanish banks and forecast that the economy would fall deeper into recession. The credit downgrade on Spanish debt was the third in just seven months.

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30/04/2012

Mali and the Tuareg

Human Wrongs Watch

By Rene Wadlow* – TRANSCEND – Since the fall of northern Mali to the forces of the Tuareg at the end of March 2012, the situation has grown in complexity.  The group of young officers, more or less led by Captain Amadou Sanogo, had taken control of the government buildings of the Central Government in Bamako on 23 March, but they had little idea of what else to do.

**Tuareg woman from Mali | Author: Alain Elorza | Wikimedia Commons

There was an immediate counter-reaction on the part of Western States such as France and the USA who provide most of the financial and technical assistance to Mali. Both France and the USA cut their aid to Mali— a country currently facing a sever drought and food shortages.

Likewise, the 15 states of the Economic Organization of West African States (ECOWAS) called for a speedy return to the civilian government. Captain Sanogo saw the “handwriting on the wall” and agreed to  turn over the government to the President of the National Assembly who is the constitutional replacement when the President is absent.

In the meantime, the country is divided into two roughly equal areas — a north with the Tuareg holding the two major cities of Timbuktu and Gao, and the more populated south whose population provides most of the civil service, the army and the agricultural wealth of the country.

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30/04/2012

130 Million People Seeking Job? Try Again in Two, Three, Four Years …

Human Wrongs Watch

Geneva – It is unlikely that the world economy will grow at a sufficient pace over the next couple of years to both close the existing jobs deficit, estimated in 50 million posts, and provide employment for the over 80 million people expected to enter the labour market during this period, says a new report.

Young people have protested around the world for more jobs and equality | UN

Over the past year, labour markets have been affected by the slowdown in global growth, according to the World of Work Report 2012, of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The trends are especially worrying in Europe, “where the unemployment rate has increased in nearly two-thirds of these countries since 2010;” but labour market recovery has also stalled in other advanced economies, such as Japan and the United States.

Elsewhere, employment gains have weakened in terms of the needs of a growing, better educated working-age population, as in China. And jobs deficits remain acute in much of the Arab region and Africa, adds the report. 

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