Monday, 27 January 2014

Is ‘Royals’ by Lorde an anti-Materialism anthem like ‘Gangnam Style’? and other news and views noted along the way Monday 27 January

In Scotland the vote gets closer. An opinion poll published this morning will revive interest in the forthcoming independence referendum
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And the gap between “Yes” and “No” has certainly narrowed.
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But the “No” vote still the clear favourite. The market has taken note of the opinion polls but still has the “no” vote the clear favourite. On the Owl’s Election Indicator “no” is rated a 79% chance, down marginally from the 82% level recorded earlier this month.
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Not infallible. Two white doves released by children standing alongside Pope Francis in Vatican City as a peace gesture have been attacked by other birds – the BBC
What a surprise. Those that might pay it are against it.
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Notes the BBC: There’s no let-up in the reaction – much of it apparently unhappy – to Labour’s plan to reinstate the 50p top rate of tax in Monday’s papers. The Financial Times and Daily Telegraph both say the business community is warning it could have a seriously detrimental effect on investment in the UK.
See the front pages of other British and European newspapers HERE.
Diplomatic differences. Each country to its own, it seems, when it comes to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
In this morning’s Korea Times he is “a hawkish politician” who might end up “a diplomatic pariah.” Over in India Mr Abe was the government’s guest of honour at its national day celebrations with his presence signalling “a deepening of ties” between India and Japan. See the different attitudes in our Asian newspaper survey HERE.
Some other news and views noted along the way.
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  • Staff of Hong Kong Paper Stage Silent Protest Against Beijing’s Encroachment – “It may seem like a tempest in a teapot, but Hong Kong citizens perceive a gathering storm darkening their windows. When the owner of one of the city’s largest newspapers tried to replace the editor-in-chief, its staff and columnists staged a dramatic revolt. The episode is the latest symptom of collective anxiety over the state of free press in this former British colony, more than 16 years after its handover to China. On Jan. 20, more than 110 staff stood outside the headquarters of Ming Pao, one of Hong Kong’s most respected Chinese-language newspapers. Dressed in black, each journalist held up a copy of the paper and solemnly observed a five-and-half minute period of silence in protest against the owner’s decision to sack the paper’s editor-in-chief, Kevin Lau. On the same day, four of Ming Pao’s writers sent in blank columns, also as a form of protest, leaving glaring white spaces in the print edition.”
  • The Real Challenges to Growth – “Advanced economies’ experience since the 2008 financial crisis has spurred a rapidly evolving discussion of growth, employment, and income inequality. That should come as no surprise: For those who expected a relatively rapid post-crisis recovery, the more things stay the same, the more they change.” By Michael Spence, a Nobel laureate in economics.
  • Thousands stage anti-government protests in Paris – “Clashes have broken out during anti-government protests in France. Thousands of people took to the streets of Paris in a ‘Day of Anger’ against a host of policies introduced by President Francois Hollande.”
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  • Grammys Watch: Is ‘Royals’ By Lorde An Anti-Materialism Anthem Like ‘Gangnam Style’? – “Our hyper-materialism is unsustainable. We have already overshot the Earth’s biocapacity — and the overshoot gets worse every year. Pop culture and the media mostly ignore constraints like climate change, while the message of conspicuous consumption reigns supreme. So it is worth noting the rare hit song that is explicitly anti-materialistic, like ‘Royals,’ which helped the teenage sensation Lorde (Ella Yelich-O’Connor) garner four nominations for tonight’s Grammys.”
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