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Posts Tagged ‘Business’

US: Why the Minimum Wage Should Really Be Raised to $15 an Hour

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 9, 2014

By Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley; author, ‘Beyond Outrage’

An American earning half of an Aussie’s income. 

All are equal, but some are more equal.

ROBERT B. REICH’s film “Inequality for All” is now available on DVD and blu-ray, and on Netflix Instant Watch. Watch the trailer below:

Momentum is building to raise the minimum wage. Several states have already taken action — Connecticut has boosted it to $10.10 by 2017, the Maryland legislature just approved a similar measure, Minnesota lawmakers just reached a deal to hike it to $9.50. A few cities have been more ambitious — Washington, D.C. and its surrounding counties raised it to $11.50, Seattle is considering $15.00

Senate Democrats will soon introduce legislation raising it nationally to $10.10, from the current $7.25 an hour.

All this is fine as far as it goes. But we need to be more ambitious. We should be raising the federal minimum to $15 an hour. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why we Nepalis have to unite for our better future?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 3, 2012

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The Euro – Going From Bad to Worse

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 27, 2012

By Sir Christopher Meyer, Former British Ambassador to the United States and Germany, former Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission

The markets have steadied a bit after their loss of nerve on Monday. But you can’t help feeling that it is a bit like a climber, sliding down a glacier to his inevitable doom, who breaks his fall for a while on a crumbling ledge that soon will give way.

Things in Euroland have taken a bad turn for the worse – and it’s the politics, stupid. It is not just the uncertainty about the second round of French presidential elections on 6 May. François Hollande, the Socialist leader, will probably win, because it will be easier for him than for Nicolas Sarkozy to pick up votes from those whose candidates were knocked out in the first round. But the energetic Sarko should never be underestimated. He is pitching his campaign hard to gain votes from the hard Right supporters of Marine Le Pen. Herein lies the problem for the euro and for Germany.

It almost doesn’t matter who wins the election. The fiscal compact agreed in principle by 25 out of 27 European leaders in January – “a kind of German straitjacket for the fiscally wayward”, to quote Stephen King, group chief economist of HSBC – is Angela Merkel’s pride and joy, her answer to all the eurozone’s difficulties. Typically, like the euro itself, it has been designed to make everyone more like Germany. Hollande has already made it a plank of his campaign to renegotiate the compact. Meanwhile, as Sarkozy moves ever rightwards, striking a strongly nationalist tone (and risking the estrangement of centrist voters), he puts himself increasingly at odds with a compact designed to create greater fiscal union on German terms. If Sarko wins, it is hard to see how Merkozy, never the warmest of unions, can simply pick up where they left off. Read the rest of this entry »

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Must-Reads From Around the World: April 26, 2012

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 26, 2012

PETER DEJONG/AFP/GettyImages/Pool

PETER DEJONG/AFP/GETTYIMAGES/POOL
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor takes notes at the start of the judgement hearing of his trial on charge of arming Sierra Leone’s rebels who paid him in “blood diamonds,” on April 26, 2012 at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, based in Leidschendam outside The Hague

Life For Death? – The five-year trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, accused of 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other offenses, is finally coming to a close in The Hague on Thursday, with a possible life sentence for the ousted leader. The Guardian, live-blogging the verdict from the tribunal, noted that Taylor is “clearly listening with care,” as it is read out. And judges found Taylor guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes during the Sierra Leone civil war.

New Front in Drone War – The White House expanded the authority of the Pentagon and CIA to carry out drone strikes in Yemen, which is widely believed to be a safe haven for al-Qaeda operatives, the New York Times reports. U.S. Defense Secretary LeonPanetta has defended the strategy, the Guardian says, but international legal experts argue that drone strikes amount to execution of suspects before trial, making them illegal – especially when carried out in Yemen where the U.S. is not engaged in war.

Questioning Misogyny – Following the fierce debate over its cover story, “Why Do They Hate Us?“ which casts Arab societies as deeply misogynistic, Foreign Policy shares critiques and commentary from six Muslim observers, including the senior editor of the Muslim Brotherhood’s official English-language website. Also chiming in is The Atlantic’s Max Fisher, who argues that while misogyny is a problem in Arab countries, it’s not a distinctively Arab problem. Read the rest of this entry »

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UK Economy: GDP Figures For Q1 Show We Are Back In Recession

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 25, 2012

The UK returned to recession after a 0.2% fall in GDP in the first quarter of 2012, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday.

The decline in gross domestic product (GDP) was driven by the biggest fall in construction output for three years, while the manufacturing sector failed to return to growth, the ONS said.

The preliminary estimate, which may be revised later, means the UK is back in a technical recession – defined as two quarters of decline in a row. Read the rest of this entry »

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Double Dip: Britain Back In Recession, Say OECD Forecasters

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 29, 2012

Britain is likely to be back in a recession, according to international forecasters.

A recession is typically defined as two successive quarters of negative economic growth.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said GDP – a broad measure for the total economy – is on course to have fallen by about 0.1% in the three months to the end of March.

The OECD also warned the recovery for the world’s biggest economies would be fragile, with the outlook for Europe “very weak”.

In its latest interim assessment of the global economy the OECD estimated the UK economy experienced an annualised retraction of 1.2% in the last quarter of 2011 and of 0.4% in the first quarter of 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

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Must-Reads from Around the World: March 20, 2012

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 20, 2012

Syrian President Bashar Assad speaking during a Ramadan Iftar banquet in honor of Muslim clergymen, in Damascus, Syria, 24 August 2011. (Photo: SANA / EPA)

SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR ASSAD SPEAKING DURING A RAMADAN IFTAR BANQUET IN HONOR OF MUSLIM CLERGYMEN, IN DAMASCUS, SYRIA, 24 AUGUST 2011. (PHOTO: SANA / EPA)

More Syria Leaks – Al Jazeera reveals details from confidential Syrian intelligence and security documents handed over by one of the government’s most trusted officials who recently fled to Turkey. The trove shows President Bashar Assad’s strategy to suppress anti-government protests, including orders to stop protesters from getting into Damascus and detailed security plans for crushing protests in the cities of Aleppo and Idlib, as well as warnings about countries trying to influence Syrian diplomats to defect and indications the government spied on last year’s Arab League monitoring mission in Syria. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Qatari Owners of Paris’ Soccer Team Hanker For Aging Englishman Beckham

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 22, 2011

By BRUCE CRUMLEY

Los Angeles Galaxy's David Beckham fights for the ball against Emelio "Chieffy" Caligdong of the Philippines national football team Azkals during their friendly match at the Rizal Memorial football stadium in Manila December 3, 2011.

Why does perennially under-performing Paris Saint-Germain of France’s anemic professional soccer league see hiring a fading star at over $1 million per month as vital to assuring its future? Because the aging player in question is David Beckham, whose marketing and financial allure is considered as important as his footballing skill by PSG’s Qatari owners. And even if Beckham’s representatives are denying reports that the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder has come to an unofficial agreement with PSG, there are reasons to suspect the resurgent rumors may yet come to fruition. After all, the Paris club is only one part of a mix with which Qatari VIPs are looking to boost the Emirate’s prestige through the world’s most popular sport. And despite his advancing age and slowing gait, Beckham remains not only one of the biggest global draws in the game—but just the kind of meta-star capable of mesmerizing celebrity-crazed, sports-fickle inhabitants of Paris.

French media was again abuzz Wednesday with reports that the 36-year-old Beckham has agreed to sign an 18-month contract with PSG once his Galaxy deal expires Dec. 31. According to dailies le Parisien and l’Equipe, Beckham has accepted a league-topping $1.05 million monthly salary whose total value could be nearly doubled by $22.3 million in performance bonuses—most of those based on Beckham’s merchandizing potential, rather than footballing potency. Indeed, in addition to Beckham’s iconic and hunk status that’s expected to broaden PSG’s appeal to a far wider base of Parisians (a population infamous as fair weather fans who demand big matches, lots of glitz, and the likelihood of victory to even start caring much about sports), the association with the former England hero might well allow Paris Saint-German to finally establish a true brand identity abroad. And that, it’s hoped, could mean millions in new income from PSG jerseys selling alongside the likes of Liverpool, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona merchandize in foreign markets–particularly in Beckham-mad Asia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Whither the European (Dis)Union?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 14, 2011

by 

Is significantly greater integration the surest way to prevent both the euro and even the entire European Union from

A droplet of water falls from a tap in front of the euro sculpture at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, Friday, Nov.11, 2011. (Photo: Michael Probst / AP)

blowing apart? Or is EU federation–and the basic powers national governments now wield being weakened in the process–exactly the kind of radical fusion certain to send countries jealous of their sovereignty fleeing for the exits? As euro zone members now consider drastic, big-bang solutions to overcoming their currency’s crisis, leaders of all 27 EU member states find themselves grappling with the question of whether more or less Europe is necessary to safeguard the bloc’s future.

The spread of the single currency’s existential crisis–which began as a debt problem initially believed to imperil only a few small nations before expanding to shake Europe’s biggest economies to their foundations–mirrors the rising pressure posed by a similarly essential dilemma over the wider European Union project, and evoking similar denial from leaders. While most officials agree that deep and dramatic measures must be undertaken to finally contain the debt-driven euro emergency, their concord evaporates over the different options for action—especially centralization of budget and debt rules, and giving real intervention power to the European Central Bank. Central to that disagreement are clashing views over just how bound together EU members should be—a long-standing confrontation between Euroenthusiasts and Euroskeptics that has resurged in crisis anew. As such, moves to save the euro will probably shape the direction—or even future—of the entire EU as it seek a collective horizon to look toward.

News reports Nov. 10 stated France and Germany were consulting partners on potentially radical harmonization measures between euro zone members—or at least those capable of and willing to accept far stricter budgetary and fiscal rules that greater convergence would involve. If true, it suggests the euro zone’s two biggest economies are contemplating tossing unsustainably indebted currency partners out of what would become a smaller, tighter euro ship. German Chancellor Angela Merkel denied those reports, insisting scission of the euro 17 wasn’t an option. Yet her comments elsewhere indicated the status quo could not endure, either. Read the rest of this entry »

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Russia’s Putin Visits Beijing: Friendly Neighbors or Strategic Competitors?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 11, 2011

 by 

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (C) and China's Premier Wen Jiabao (L) inspect an honour guard during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 11, 2011 (Photo: Takuro Yabe / POOL / AFP)

Regular readers of stories from China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency know that relations between China and nearly every country whose leader visits Beijing merit a positive appraisal. “Malawi treasures its friendship with China and is grateful for China’s selfless support for Malawi’s national development,” gushed one Xinhua article last year, while another on Oct. 11 noted that “China and Namibia have become ‘all-weather’ friends.” Today, as Russia’s Vladimir Putin began a two-day trip to China accompanied by a 160-member delegation, a Xinhua op-ed piece proclaimed: “China-Russia cooperation conducive to a more balanced world.” The Chinese media group splashed “rarely-seen photos” of Putin and his family members of its website homepage, along with a link to a close-up of the Russian leader captioned: “Cute or cool, another face of Russian Prime Minister Putin.”

As evidence of this “more balanced world,” Xinhua pointed to China and Russia’s joint rejection of a U.N. draft resolution on Syria that would have condemned Damascus for its deadly crackdown on protestors. Xinhua also opined that “as key members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and leading emerging nations, China and Russia have played an important role in shaping a multipolar world and fostering democratization of international order.” The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a grouping of China, Russia and Central Asian nations that presents an alternate security alliance to NATO. Closer Russian-Chinese ties could provide a counterbalance to relations with the West.

Ahead of Putin’s China visit, some $7 billion in trade deals were discussed, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. (China is now Russia’s top trading partner, and trade will likely surpass $70 billion this year.) Further economic cooperation is expected to be finalized during Putin’s China stop—the Russian Prime Minister’s first trip abroad since he announced a controversial leadership plan in which he would try to reclaim the more important title of President next year. Read the rest of this entry »

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China’s Security Chief Goes on Tour—How Is Asia Reacting?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 24, 2011

Posted by 

Over the past week, as I’ve traveled across Asia, I’ve discovered an unlikely partner in my continental peregrinations:

China's Politburo Standing Committee Member Zhou Yongkang arrives for a meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal, August 17, 2011. (Photo: Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters)

China’s security chief Zhou Yongkang. The senior Chinese envoy’s travels have taken him to Nepal, Laos, Cambodia and Tajikistan. The final stop is Mongolia, where Zhou is expected to head on Tuesday.

In Zhou’s wake, the narrative has tended to follow the same plot-line: first, China’s state media proclaims “mutually beneficial cooperation” and “longstanding friendship” between Beijing and the local government. Then a raft of trade deals or bequeathing of military goodies is announced. Finally, an undercurrent of unease follows, with regional analysts wondering about China’s growing economic and security might.

Last Saturday, Zhou was in Cambodia, where he met with Prime Minister Hun Sen. In addition to various mining, road-construction and farming deals, China has agreed to supply nearly $200 million in helicopters to Cambodia. Beijing is already the Southeast Asian nation’s largest foreign investor, and Hun Sen, who has quietly evolved into one of Asia’s longest-serving strongmen, has been vociferous in his support of China. His enthusiasm for Chinese largesse stands in marked contrast to his feelings toward Western donors who tend to attach pesky strings like human-rights commitments to their aid. The Phnom Penh Post quoted a local researcher worrying that “Cambodia will become subservient to China.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Financial ‘Bloodbath’ As £35 Billion Wiped Off Share Index

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 4, 2011

 
Somewhere still booming, but here every week thousands of job cuts.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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