Thursday, January 26, 2012

Zone of Reality: Human Rights

Europe’s Own Human Rights Crisis To many friends of human rights in Europe, the Arab Spring has been the most thrilling period since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Judging from their soaring rhetoric about yearning for freedom among Arab peoples, European Union leaders share that enthusiasm. Today there is an opportunity, the optimists proclaim, to have an arc of human rights-respecting countries around much of the Mediterranean rim. (My Take – Interesting commentary regarding forced integration and loss of cultural identity and cohesion. The Roma mentioned in the article are better known as gypsies. However, I do like the exposure of Euro hypocrisy of their unending finger pointing at others. RK)

Europe in Demographic Denial
An even bigger form of denial than about the causes of Europe's financial collapse. If there is one word that captures many Europeans' response to the continent's financial crisis, it is denial. Witness the description by the editors of France's newspaper-of-record, Le Monde, of France's S&P credit-downgrade on January 13 as "un non-événement financier." The fact that this "non-event" will increase France's borrowing-costs (not to mention those of the EU's own bailout fund) at a time when France's government is already struggling to contain spending apparently escaped Le Monde's attention……….These developments translate into more old people, fewer young people, and, eventually, shrinking populations. But it also shifts what's called "the dependency ratio": the ratio of retirees per member of the labor force. On some estimates, Italy, Spain and Germany will have very high dependency ratios by 2050: every two workers will be supporting one retiree. Those working will also have to pay either greater contributions or higher taxes to fund existing pension systems.

Deadly Confrontation Spreads in Tibetan Region of China
Deadly showdowns between Chinese security forces and Tibetans in a restive region of western China spread to a second town on Tuesday, outside advocacy groups reported. At least two and perhaps as many as five Tibetans were killed by gunfire and many more wounded, the groups said, in what appeared to be the most violent outbreak in the region in nearly four years.

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