Written by John Lounsbury
Early Bird Headlines 18 September 2015
Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.
- Fifa secretary Jerome Valcke suspended (BBC Sport) Action at the top of the corruption plagued Fifa (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) has resulted in Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke being put on leave and released from his duties until further notice. A Fifa statement said it had “been made aware of a series of allegations involving the secretary general“.
- The climate wars are coming – and more refugees with them (Al Jazeera) A new era of mass environmental emigration will confront us if global warming isn’t halted.
- Fed Makes the Same Mistake as it did in 1927 (Alternative Economics) In 1927, the Fed lowered US rates to try to help Europe which was then in the middle of an economic debt crisis the same as today.
- $900 Million Penalty for G.M.’s Deadly Defect Leaves Many Cold (The New York Times) When is killing 124 people not mass murder? When you are a corporation that can pay nearly a billion dollar fine. By Econintersect calculation that places a value of about $7,25 million on each life lost. Of course, there is no direct penalty here for the GM executives who knew what was happening and did nothing to stop it. Maybe they are now qualified to become bamkers?
- ‘Willkommenskultur’ in Germany, ‘non merci’ in France (Deutsche Welle) France’s approach to migration differs vastly from Germany’s. Refugees get a more or less generous welcome in Germany – something France’s government seems to find unfathomable.
- Europe Lacks Strategy to Tackle Crisis, but Migrants March On (The New York Times) Europe’s failure to fashion even the beginnings of a unified solution to the migrant crisis is intensifying confusion and desperation all along the multicontinent trail and breeding animosity among nations extending back to the Middle East. With the volume of people leaving Syria, Afghanistan and other countries showing no signs of ebbing, the lack of governmental leadership has left thousands of individuals and families on their own and reacting day by day to changing circumstances and conflicting messages
- Social groups attack asylum law draft (Deutsche Welle) Drastic social welfare cuts in draft German asylum law have been condemned by welfare groups and opposition parties. The interior ministry’s bill would accelerate migrant expulsions and declare Balkan nations to be safe and not eligible as origins for asylum.
- German refugee authority chief resigns (Deutsche Welle) The Interior Ministry announced in a statement on Thursday that it had accepted the resignation of Manfred Schmidt, head of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The ministry cited “personal reasons” for Schmidt’s departure from Germany’s top migration authority. Earlier this month, Schmidt was criticized by the German opposition party SPD for not responding to applications for asylum quickly and for not expanding his office’s capacity to handle the refugee crisis. The BAMF is said to have more than 250,000 unprocessed asylum applications with the average turnaround time averaging more than five months, a stark difference to Germany’s neighbor the Netherlands, which handles cases in an average of eight days.
- Get refugees into work quickly, says German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Deutsche Welle) Merkel wants approved refugees to get help finding a job immediately. She also praised the work of civil servants processing asylum applications during a visit to their offices in Berlin. But the work of the civil servants has been far from satisfactory – see preceding article.
- Why leaving the euro is back on the agenda in the Greek election (The Conversation) While appetite for Grexit outside Greece has abated, the traumatic seven months of wrangling over its bailout with Europe produced a significant domestic demand for a return to the national currency. Polls suggest that a quarter of the electorate are likely to select Grexit-favouring parties including Popular Unity (the Syriza splinter group), Golden Dawn and KKE (the communist party).
- Greek Election Polls: SYRIZA Slightly Leading (Greek Reporter) A poll conducted by MRB for the Greek newspaper Realnews showed the parties’ difference at 0.4%. According to the results SYRIZA gathers 25.9% of the votes, New Democraccy 25.5%. No other party garnered more than 7%, but almost 15% are still undecided. Other polls show Syriza ahead or tied.
- Slovenia halts trains to stem the flow of immigrants from Croatia (Deutsche Welle) Slovenia stopped all passenger traffic on the main railway line from Croatia, after finding 150 refugees on a Zurich-bound train. Croatian officials put the army on alert as thousands of people entered the country.
- Does Putin Have a Plan for Syria? (Foreign Policy) There is no doubt that Russia is stepping up its military presence in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad. A Sept. 9 Reuters report documented Russian forces participating in military operations in Syria. Photo evidence published in a Daily Mail report suggests that Russian troops have been on the ground in Syria at least since April. Other reports of Moscow’s increased military buildup there have mentioned additional deliveries of advanced weaponry to the Assad regime. But at the core of these moves may be a plan to create an anti-ISIS coalition rather than a love of al-Assad.
- The Spirit of Lviv: How Ukraine’s most European city forged a popular movement against corruption and bad governance. (Foreign Policy) In Ukraine, corruption is not an aberration from a norm; it is the fundamental organizing principle of the political order. Forget the standard litany of low-level graft – extortion by traffic police, fraudulent university diplomas – that characterizes most post-Soviet countries. Ukraine’s corruption is so grand that it has swallowed the state. But something is stirring. In the country’s westernmost cultural capital, the charming city of Lviv, a remarkable new political movement called Samopomich (“self-reliance”) promises a different outcome. Samopomich began in 2004 as a local civic organization that offered legal advice, mobilized citizens to clean up their neighborhoods, and arranged sporting events for youth. In 2012 it gave birth to a national political party of the same name that has since become the fourth-largest in parliament. And it has become the opposition party to corruption.
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