Thursday, October 4, 2012

Greek Twilight: Breaking Golden Dawn (Link Round-Up 10/4/12)



Food prices, inflation rise sharply in Iran
Economists have been reporting distress signs in Iran’s economy since the beginning of the year, as new economic sanctions and an embargo began squeezing oil exports, Iran’s chief source of foreign currency. Sales of Iranian crude are down about 40 percent compared with last year, depriving the country of billions of dollars a month, industry analysts say. This week, the rial lost 40 percent of its value.

Shrinking oil revenue in turn weakened the rial, driving up the inflation rate and joblessness. But in recent weeks, the slow upward creep in prices turned into a gallop, said Steve H. Hanke, professor of economics at John Hopkins University and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

Based on an analysis of Iran’s black-market currency exchanges, Hanke said prices in Iran now appear to be doubling every 40 days, depleting both the savings and purchasing power of ordinary Iranians, particularly in the cities.
Anti-immigrant violence on the rise throughout Greece
With little chance of finding work, asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Somalia and, increasingly, Syria have been condemned to homelessness and abject poverty in decaying urban neighborhoods along with illegal economic migrants from countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Their plight has been made worse by a rapid rise in anti-immigrant sentiment that has fuelled the ascent of the extreme right-wing party Golden Dawn, which vows to “undirty” Greece of migrants. The party shot from being a taboo subject in polite society to a main topic of conversation after it won seats in parliament along with 7 percent of the vote in June.

It’s popular among a growing number of people who refer to their country as “Europe’s warehouse,” and say their country is overwhelmed by migrants when Greeks themselves are suffering.
French hotel under fire for suggesting it would ban Chinese tourists
Zadig et Voltaire operates a store in Hong Kong. Chinese tourists spent $47 billion on their bank cards abroad last year, the Financial Times reported, two-thirds more than a year earlier. The average Chinese tourist in France spends roughly $1,900 on shopping, by far more than any other tourists, according to Le Figaro — which also noted that the number of Chinese tourists to France are expected to rise from 900,000 last year to 4-5 million by 2015.

So far, the story has not attracted much attention among Chinese micro-bloggers, but for those netizens who have noticed, the statement hits a raw nerve. According to a popular urban legend, a sign reading “No dogs and Chinese allowed” hung at the entrance to the Huangpu Park in Shanghai when the city was a European entrepôt — a symbol of Western arrogance so reviled that Bruce Lee kung-fu kicked it into pieces in the 1972 classic Fists of Fury.
African migrants to sluggish Europe consider moving back home
The number of Senegalese people coming to Italy, as Cisse did, increased dramatically in the 1980s after a new law allowed them to work legally in the private sector.

Some 90,000 Senegalese now live in the country. As they settled in the region they created their own community association. Ahmadou Ndiaye has been vice president of the association for 25 years. He said the situation now is worse than it’s ever been.

“People who’ve lost their jobs can’t find work again — a lot of the unemployment is permanent. Some of our members can’t even pay the rent so they can’t afford to send money home to Senegal," he said. "This really is a crisis and people are now wanting to buy a ticket to return home to Africa.”
Bitter divides in Egypt's hardline Islamist party threaten its future
Nevertheless, after Mubarak's fall in February 2011, the movement's main institution of clerics, the Alexandria-based "Salafi Call," backed the creation of Al-Nour to run in parliament elections on the religious principle that "what is necessary permits what is prohibited." The party's showing was stunning, winning a quarter of the seats, second only to the Brotherhood's 50 percent of the legislature — a testimony to the popular networks Salafi clerics set up under Mubarak's rule. Parliament was disbanded by a court ruling this year because of faults in the election law.

Now the party is in a bitter feud over leadership.

The first camp is led by the party's founder and chief Emad Abdel-Ghafour, who advocates separating between the party and the Salafi Call to give the party ability to maneuver away from clerics' edicts.

The second camp is tightly connected to a heavyweight Salafi cleric, Yasser Borhami, and opposes separation. Several prominent party figures are in this camp, including former spokesman Nader Bakar, who was removed from his post by Abdel-Ghafour.
Early-to-mid 2000's internet photos set to disappear
While Webshots may not exactly be the most relevant service to many of us, the fact that it's wiping out so much user data is telling to what the future may hold. Seven years ago, Webshots was useful and important. Who know what Instagram or Twitter or Facebook will be like in 7 years, or in 15 years. It's not a stretch to imagine a day when all our words and images hosted on these services are removed as the companies collapse or morph. Friendster is now a video gaming service, MySpace is music streaming. When Facebook inevitably becomes primarily a service to communicate to our robot bulters through our cryogenic pods, what will happen to all our photos and messages?
One of the zillions of articles about fact-checking last night's Obama/Romney debate 
Many of the more flagrant manipulations of the facts in Denver were committed by the Republican challenger, according to congressional expert Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington.
The Latin American James Carville's quest to re-elect Hugo Chavez
Today, Santana is to the resurgent Latin American left what James Carville was for Democrats in the United States during the 1990s—only with less lip and slightly lower fees. Though never an ideologue, Santana has made electing socialists his specialty. One of his clients is Mauricio Funes, El Salvador’s former Marxist guerrilla in chief. Another is the Peruvian firebrand Ollanta Humala, whom Santana repackaged as the Lula of the Andes. Last month he expanded his election empire even further, shepherding Danilo Medina to power in the Dominican Republic and running the winning campaign for Angola’s José Eduardo dos Santos, a Marxist who has ruled since 1979.

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