Archive for the ‘Italy’ Category

Massive Public Spending Hoped To End Global Recession

November 29, 2008

In a bid to jump-start the beleaguered global economy, countries around the world are introducing massive public spending programs aimed at creating millions of jobs, boosting the use of green energy and modernizing infrastructure in a way that could transform urban and rural landscapes.

The viability of some of the plans remains unclear. But observers say the number of countries moving in tandem underscores the perceived severity of the coming global recession and the view that governments must at least temporarily pick up the slack as the hard-hit private sector sheds jobs and cuts spending. 

 

By Anthony Faiola
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 29, 2008; Page D01

It is time “to invest massively in infrastructure, in research, in innovation, in education, in training people, because it is now or never,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a recent public address.

World leaders are pursuing a variety of strategies to tame the economic crisis, including moves to unclog credit markets, strengthen financial institutions and ease monetary policy. But fiscal stimulus packages, in particular, have emerged as a favorite tool of policymakers. Some countries’ plans are particularly bold: China is accelerating projects to build more nuclear power plants and a vast natural gas pipeline; Italy may erect the first bridge connecting Sicily to mainland Europe.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/28
/AR2008112802660.html?hpid=topnews

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Race, Obama, World: After U.S. Breakthrough, Europe Looks in Mirror

November 12, 2008

In the general European euphoria over the election of Barack Obama, there is the beginning of self-reflection about Europe’s own troubles with racial integration. Many are asking if there could be a French, British, German or Italian Obama, and everyone knows the answer is no, not anytime soon.

By Steven Erlanger
The New York Times

It is risky to make racial comparisons between America and Europe, given all the historical and cultural differences. But race had long been one reason that Europeans, harking back to the days when famous American blacks like Josephine Baker and James Baldwin found solace in France, looked down on the United States, even as Europe developed postcolonial racial problems of its own.

“They always said, ‘You think race relations are bad here in France, check out the U.S.,’ ” said Mohamed Hamidi, former editor of the Bondy Blog, founded after the 2005 riots in the heavily immigrant suburbs of Paris.

“But that argument can no longer stand,” he said.

For many immigrants to Europe, Mr. Obama’s victory is “a small revolution” toward better overall treatment of minorities, said Nadia Azieze, 31, an Algerian-born nurse who grew up here. “It will never be the same,” she said, over a meal of rice and lamb in the racially mixed Paris neighborhood of Barbès-Rochechouart.

Her sister, Cherine, 29, is a computer engineer. Mr. Obama “really represents the dream of America — if you work, you can make it,” she said. “It’s a hope for the entire world.”

But the sisters are less optimistic about the realities of France, where minorities have a limited political role, with only one black deputy elected to the National Assembly from mainland France.

Has the Obama election caused any real self-reflection among the majority here? “It’s politically correct to say, ‘O.K., great! He’s black,’ and clap,” Nadia said. “But deep down, there’s no change. People say one thing and believe another.”

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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/12/world/europe
/12europe.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Recession rears ugly head, global auto sales shrink

November 4, 2008

“We’re in a recession. It’s as simple as that ….The question is how long or deep is it going to be?”

By Patrick Fitzgibbons, Reuters
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Corporate results and outlooks darkened on Monday, and automotive companies from Japan to Italy to Detroit said October sales were the weakest in about 20 years as economies weakened and consumer credit dried up.

While government officials have gone out of their way to avoid the use of the much-dreaded “R” word (recession) in describing the current economic straits, a number of prominent officials acknowledged the severity of the crisis on Monday.

U.S. vehicle sales plunged in October, with General Motors Co down 45 percent, Ford Motor Co off 30 percent and Toyota Motor Co down 23 percent.

Mark LaNeve, GM’s North American sales chief, said the collapse in the U.S. market was linked to the “unprecedented credit crunch that is dramatically impacting the entire U.S. economy — from the housing market to big and small companies to banks to family run businesses.”

Adjusted for U.S. population changes, GM said, October’s sales figures made it the weakest month for the battered auto industry since the end of World War II.

New car sales also fell across Europe — down 40 percent in Spain and 19 percent in Italy.

The European Commission said the 15-nation euro zone was in a technical recession and economic growth would come to a virtual standstill next year, and called for coordinated action to prevent further collapse.

Also in Europe, more banks warned of more big writedowns and sharp profit falls, prompting lenders to tap government funds or seek state rescues.

And in the United States, factory activity contracted sharply in October, falling to its lowest point in 26 years, according one widely watched index.

“Pretty grim. It means we’re in a recession. It’s as simple as that …a pretty solid manufacturing recession,” said Robert Macintosh, chief economist at Eaton Vance Corp. “The question is how long or deep is it going to be?”

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081103/bs_nm/us_financial6

Global Economic Meltdown Gives Developing Nations Upper Hand: U.S. and NATO Eclipsed?

October 12, 2008

“In a very bizarre way, roles have been reversed in the global economy. The typical troublemakers of the global economy, the emerging markets, are actually now the world’s creditors…”

By David R. Sands
The Washington Times

As shell-shocked central bankers and finance ministers gather in Washington to confront the world’s financial meltdown this weekend, that grinding noise in the background is the sound of the global balance of power shifting.

In sharp contrast to past crises — from the Latin American debt problems of the 1980s to the Asian and Russian currency collapses of the 1990s — the emerging markets of the developing world boast the strong balance sheets and deep financial pockets while the United States and Western Europe lurch from crisis to crisis.

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct/
12/financial-crisis-reshapes-world-order/

 

 

Bush says anxiety feeding market instability

October 10, 2008

By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent
October 10, 2008

WASHINGTON – President Bush said Friday that the government’s financial rescue plan was aggressive enough and big enough to work, but would take time to fully kick in.

“We are a prosperous nation with immense resources and a wide range of tools at our disposal … We can solve this crisis and we will,” Bush said in brief remarks from the White House Rose Garden.
President George W. Bush speaks about the global financial and ... 

Bush spoke as leaders of the world‘s leading economies gathered in Washington amid frozen credit markets, panic selling in stock markets and a looming global recession.

The president noted that major Western economies were working together in an attempt to stabilize markets and end the spreading panic.

“Through these efforts, the world is sending an unmistakable signal. We’re in this together and we’ll come through this together,” Bush said.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven — the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France Italy and Canada — were here for a weekend meeting. Bush plans to meet with the leaders on Saturday.

Bush said he understood how Americans could be concerned about their economic future, “that anxiety can feed anxiety and that can make it hard to see all that’s being done to solve the problem.”

Vietnam Boosts Seafood Exports To EU Through Italy

March 18, 2008

HANOI, March 18 Asia Pulse Vietnam and Italy will cooperate to boost the export of seafood and agricultural products to the European Union (EU).

To this effect, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on food quality control has been signed by Nguyen Tu Cuong, Head of the National Fisheries Quality Assurance and Veterinary Directorate (Nafiqaved), and Romano Marabelli, General Director of the Italian Ministry of Health’s Department of Food, Nutrition and Public Health.

Marabelli said Vietnam should increase food exports to Italy, especially seafood such as shrimp, tra and basa catfish.

He also warned that Vietnam’s food exports must meet hygiene safety standards in order to protect consumers health.

To do this, the Vietnamese representative emphasised the need to raise producers awareness of food safety and increase the control of functional agencies.

To date, 269 Vietnamese enterprises have been permitted to export their products to the EU and Italy.

(VNA)

Defense Trade Currents

March 16, 2008

By William Hawkins
The Washington Times
March 16, 2008

The legacy of the draconian cuts in military force levels and procurement during the 1990s continues to cast a pall over U.S. national security planning. That American soldiers and Marines have been overstretched by repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan is well-known, and steps are being taken to expand their strength.
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It is not just the combat forces, however, but the defense industry upon which they depend for arms and equipment, that also needs to be reconstituted.
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The “procurement holiday” of the Clinton administration cost the defense industrial base a million jobs. The Pentagon promoted a consolidation of firms and elimination of “excess” capacity. This reform was supposed to improve efficiency but it also reduced domestic competition. Now, to stimulate competition, or even just access sufficient capacity, foreign firms are invited to supply U.S. forces with hardware.
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The most recent example is the awarding of a $35 billion U.S. Air Force contract for 179 new KC-45A aerial refueling tankers based on the Airbus A330 airliner built by European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS). Boeing has built every previous USAF tanker and has won contracts for its KC-767 tankers from Japan and Italy. But it lost the military competition at home to the foreign firm that is also its main global rival in the commercial airliner sector.
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The USAF contract comes at a critical time for EADS. Its A380 “superjumbo” airline project is well behind schedule, and there have been problems in the Airbus A350 midsized airliner project (crucial to its future battles with Boeing), and in its A400M military airlifter.
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EADS is Europe’s largest defense contractor yet is much smaller than Boeing because Europe went on an even deeper disarmament slide after the Cold War and has done little to reverse course.
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The once-mighty NATO armies deployed to stop a Soviet blitzkrieg across Germany have melted away to where they can hardly maintain a few brigades in Afghanistan to fight lightly armed insurgents. European firms are desperate for American taxpayers to bail them out with military contracts. .
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The question is: Can the United States depend on a steady supply of production, including decades of space parts and upgrades, from foreign industries in decline — and where military investment and research are funded at only a fraction of what America devotes to defense?

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Afghanistan, Missile Defense To Dominate Munich’s Annual Security Conference

February 8, 2008

February 8, 2008

BERLIN (AFP)–A raging Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and U.S. plans for a missile defense shield in eastern Europe were set to send the sparks flying at the annual Munich security conference this weekend.

But fresh from a North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting in Lithuania, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was expected to make little headway in pressing Washington’s aims, particularly when it comes to Afghanistan, experts and diplomats believe.

“Afghanistan is going to be the centerpiece of the conference,” said Daniel Korski from the European Council on Foreign Relations.

“America will continue to make the point for more burden sharing and more troops…There will be a continuation of the rhetoric and the Americans will bring out the bogeyman of NATO’s failure.”

But Gates is likely to draw a blank, Korski added: “Spain, Germany, France and Italy will not be able to provide the reinforcements requested.”

Commanders in Afghanistan have been calling for around 7,500 extra troops for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. ISAF currently comprises 42,000 troops from 39 countries.

In fierce fighting more than 6,000 people, including nearly 220 international soldiers, were killed there last year – the most since the U.S.-led toppling of the Taliban regime in 2001.

The U.S. wants Germany, France, Spain and Italy not only to boost troop numbers but also to aid U.S., U.K., Dutch, and Canadian forces fighting a resurgent Taliban in the south of the country.

Germany for instance leads ISAF in the relatively calm north of Afghanistan but with elections looming in 2009 and public support for Berlin’s six year-old Afghan mission slipping, it is wary of becoming further enmeshed.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government stresses instead the reconstruction role of its 3,200 troops, and last week Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung rejected a sharply-worded request by Gates for more help in the south.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and the Prime Minister ...
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, right, review the honour guard at the Berlin Chancellery on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008.
(AP Photo/Fritz Reiss) 

Jung says he will defend this position in Munich.

Germany’s refusal means other countries are also unlikely to step up to the plate, and this in turn could see the existing alliance unravel.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has threatened to withdraw his country’s 2,500 troops unless NATO provides reinforcements.

Since 2002, 78 Canadian soldiers and a senior diplomat have died in roadside bombings and in fighting. Next month sees a crunch vote in Ottawa on whether to extend Canada’s combat mission beyond February 2009.

Gates is also unlikely to get an easy ride over sausages and beer in Munich when it comes to Washington’s plans to site parts of a missile defense shield in eastern Europe.

The 10 planned interceptor missile sites in Poland and associated radar stations in the Czech Republic, which the U.S. wants operational by 2012, are designed, Washington says, to intercept projectiles fired from “rogue states” like Iran.

But Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov is expected to use his appearance in Munich to hammer home Moscow’s strong dislike for the plans, since the installations will be placed on what it sees as its doorstep.
Sergei Ivanov
Sergei Borisovich Ivanov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov used a Polish newspaper interview on Thursday to accuse Washington of imperialism and seeking to encircle Russia with the project.

“When you look at a map, it becomes clear that everything is concentrated around our borders,” he told Gazeta Wyborcza.

The annual security conference in the Bavarian capital will bring together around 250 delegates from 50 countries including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, NATO head Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and Mohamed El Baradei, head of the U.N. atomic agency.
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Jakob Gijsbert “Jaap” de Hoop Scheffer

France is healthcare leader, US comes dead last

January 9, 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) – France is tops, and the United States dead last, in providing timely and effective healthcare to its citizens, according to a survey Tuesday of preventable deaths in 19 industrialized countries.

The study by the Commonwealth Fund and published in the January/February issue of the journal Health Affairs measured developed countries’ effectiveness at providing timely and effective healthcare.

The study, entitled “Measuring the Health of Nations: Updating an Earlier Analysis,” was written by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It looked at death rates….

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_
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Holy Women Go To The Mat: Force Convent To Close Shop

December 27, 2007
Corabella Akut – AHN News Writer

Bari, Italy (AHN) – A convent in Italy is finally closing down due to infighting between its last three remaining nuns.

Reports say that the head of the convent, the Mother Superior was brought to a hospital with scratches to her face after the fight between the sisters of the Santa Clara convent in Bari.

With the violent infighting, the local archbishop intervened and asked the Vatican for permission to close the convent.

However, Sister Liliana, the only remaining nun at the convent says she has no intention of leaving the monastery which has served as her home for the past 44 years.

Regarded as the most austere order of the Roman Catholic Church, devoted to a life of prayer, penance and quiet contemplation, the Clarissa nuns, Sisters Annamaria and Gianbattista claimed they were driven to distraction by the habits of their Mother Superior.

During the summer, they became so fed up that, they turned on Sister Liliana, scratching her face and throwing her to the ground.

After the incident, the two nuns have moved to a nearby convent leaving Sister Liliana barricaded inside.

With the incident, Archbishop Giovanni Battista Pichierri wrote to the Vatican asking for permission to close the convent down.

However, Sister Liliana is not about to take things sitting down saying that not once in her 44 years in the nunnery had she left the convent.

She added has written to the Pope telling him she will only leave when God decides it is time to go.