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Beeb bold

There’s an excellent article on the Euro crisis by Gavin Hewitt the BBC’s Europe editor.

The last summit which senior European officials billed as the meeting “to save the euro” was a non-event. The row over treaty change a distraction. The inter-governmental agreement largely codified much of what had been previously agreed. It may well be helpful to enforce tighter discipline, but its impact lies in the future.

The central dilemma lies unaddressed: debt and lack of growth. Countries are squeezing down their deficits, but their debt mountains have only grown. In many European countries there is not only negligible growth but countries are sliding back into recession. The task of regaining financial health will only become harder.

In truth many senior European officials are weary, drained from twelve months of firefighting and often pointless summits that provide drama without solutions. Sometimes – as happened during the summer – the officials and heads of government did not even understand the conclusions they signed.

The European Central Bank dished out 500 billion euros in loans to European banks the other day. Of course now governments have their eyes on that money and will be arm twisting for those banks to buy up bonds and thus ease, at least temporarily, the debt crisis.

And so the Ferris wheel of money spins again.

To no effect.


That’s the wonder of you…….

Over at the North Korean News Agency grief and tributes are in full swing. Headlines such as “Kim Jong Il’s Life Bright as Snow”, “Kim Jong Il’s Field Jacket Cherished in Hearts of People” and “Korean People Stay up All Night, Deeply Grieved over Kim Jong Il’s Demise” are there. If you’re from the UK then probably the nearest thing we’ve had to this in living memory was when Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed chose the wrong chauffeur.

Anyway, the following article caught my eye and it has been picked up by media organisations worldwide. It claims a series of natural phenomena occurred in the time following the dear leader’s passing. The final couple of paragraphs are crackers (that statement works on at least two levels!).

“At around 21:20 Tuesday a Manchurian crane was seen flying round the statue three times before alighting on a tree. The crane stayed there for quite a long while with its head drooped and flew in the direction of Pyongyang at around 22:00.

Observing this, the director of the Management Office for the Hamhung Revolutionary Site, and others said in union that even the crane seemed to mourn the demise of Kim Jong Il born of Heaven after flying down there at dead of cold night, unable to forget him.”