Monday, 31 March 2014

Strange words from Tony Abbott and other news and views for Monday 31 March

2014-03-31_jokovichjoke
  • I thought that Facebook post must have been based on a mistake or something but no. I checked on the PM’s website and he actually said it!
  • China seizes $14.5 billion assets from family, associates of ex-security chief: sources – “Chinese authorities have seized assets worth at least 90 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) from family members and associates of retired domestic security tsar Zhou Yongkang, who is at the centre of China’s biggest corruption scandal in more than six decades, two sources said. More than 300 of Zhou’s relatives, political allies, proteges and staff have also been taken into custody or questioned in the past four months, the sources, who have been briefed on the investigation, told Reuters.”
  • Why Islamic parties don’t win Indonesian elections – “Lost claims to moral superiority and a lack of ideological difference to secular parties has made it difficult for Islam-oriented parties to compete in Indonesian politics. Another lost selling point has come with the improved provision of social welfare by secular parties, undercutting the services provided in health and education by NU and Muhammadiyah. Though still far from perfect, government welfare services are improving and in some cases now cater better to poorer voters than those provided by the two big Muslim organisations.”
  • Operation sovereign borders – “ABC News Online documents the first six months of Operation Sovereign Borders, exploring the structure and events that have characterised the operation.”
  • Do Big Banks Have Lower Operating Costs?
  • The tyranny of party politics – “If economics is subordinated to party politics, some issues will be kept off the agenda. Neither Labour nor the Tories would be keen on an economics writer who raises thoughts such as: maybe politicians can’t do anything to raise long-term economic growth; perhaps bosses pay is a reward for power rather than skill; economic forecasting is impossible so talk about fiscal policy in the next parliament is mostly otious; or perhaps there are more intelligent ways of allocating public goods than by government decree.”
  • The price of political uncertainty – “Despite obvious ties between political uncertainty and financial markets, the nature of this connection has not been studied in detail. This column describes a theoretical framework for evaluating the influence of political uncertainty on financial markets. Political uncertainty commands a risk premium, especially when the economy is weak. By raising firms’ cost of capital, it depresses investment and real activity. Furthermore, by raising risk premia, political uncertainty destroys market value.”
  • Thailand’s ‘red shirts’ gear up for a fight - “The clock is ticking for Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who faces impeachment within weeks, but her supporters are hatching plans to thwart any move to dismiss her, with some leaders assembling what amount to militias.”
  • Why We Got Fatter During The Fat-Free Food Boom
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