Thursday, 31 March 2011




Christopher Anstey and Mayumi Otsuma

Bloomberg, March 31, 2011

Japan begins forging a road map for recovery from its worst postwar disaster next month, a process that may determine whether it sheds the legacy of the 1980s bubble or has a third “lost decade” of stagnation and deflation.

Key to the result: whether the nation’s companies end an aversion to borrowing, taking on debt to propel domestic investment and wage gains, and whether policy makers embrace a stimulus financed by Bank of Japan money creation, analysts said.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan aims to compile in April the first of what he says may be multiple supplementary budgets. With lawmakers advocating a range of amounts and financing options, Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities Co. calculates that a “bold” plan would yield 2.7 percent annual growth for 2012 to 2015, and a “cautious” one means a 1.1 percent annual pace of contraction.

“The only time you can get things done is in moments of genuine crisis and catastrophes -- there’s a small opportunity to do an extraordinary amount,” Malcolm Gladwell, author of “The Tipping Point,” who writes for New Yorker magazine, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “Japan -- a country whose politics were in deadlock and sluggish for many, many years -- I hope they can seize this moment and accomplish a lot.”

(...) [artículo aquí]

Wednesday, 30 March 2011


Reuters DEF


Reuters, March 30, 2011

BEIJING (Reuters) - Dollar dominance is sowing the seeds of financial turmoil, and the solution is to promote new reserve currencies, a Chinese government economist said in a paper published on the eve of a G20 meeting about how to reform the global monetary system.

Although not an official policy statement, the paper by Xu Hongcai, a department deputy director at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, offered a window onto the domestic pressures bearing on Beijing to move away from a dollar-centric global economy.

The China Center, a top government think tank, has represented the Chinese government in organizing a forum on Thursday in Nanjing that will bring together finance ministers, central bankers and academics from the Group of 20 wealthy and developing economies.

Xu's paper, "Reform of the international monetary system under the G20 framework," was published in Chinese on the center's website this week (

"Nations around the world have no way of restricting dollar issuance by the Federal Reserve. The current international monetary system lacks both stability and fairness," Xu wrote.

He said the global monetary system had fallen into a "dollar trap." While it would be sensible to reduce dollar holdings in official currency reserves, nations cannot easily cut back, because doing so would only lead the dollar to weaken and so hit the value of their assets, he said.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


Mainichi Daily News (2)


The Mainichi Daily News, March 29, 2011

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Plutonium has been detected in soil at five locations in the crippled Fukushima Daiichi atomic power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. The following are questions and answers regarding the potential health hazard of the highly toxic material.

Q: What are the salient characteristics of plutonium?

A: Plutonium emits alpha rays which get lodged in people's bones and lungs after being inhaled and could become highly carcinogenic. One half-life of plutonium-239, a variant of the radioactive element, is estimated at 24,000 years. It could keep emitting radiation inside a human body and is difficult to eliminate

(...) [artículo aquí]

Monday, 28 March 2011


The New York Times OK


Hiroko Tabuchi and Ken Belson

The New York Times, March 28, 2011

TOKYO — Highly contaminated water is escaping a damaged reactor at a crippled nuclear power plant in Japan and could soon leak into the ocean, the country’s nuclear regulator warned on Monday.

The discovery raises the danger of further radiation leaks at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, and also poses a further setback to efforts to contain the nuclear contamination crisis as workers find themselves in increasingly hazardous conditions.

Radiation measuring 1,000 millisieverts per hour was detected in water in an overflow tunnel outside the plant’s Reactor No. 2, Japan’s nuclear regulator said at a news conference. The tunnel leads from the reactor’s turbine building, where contaminated water was discovered on Saturday, to an opening just 180 feet from the sea, said Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director-general for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

The contaminated water level is now about three feet from the exit of the vertical, U-shaped tunnel and rising, Mr. Nishiyama said.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Sunday, 27 March 2011


The Korea Times


Andrei Lankov

The Korea Times, March 27, 2011

So the military operation in Libya continues. Its eventual outcome is not quite clear, but the prognosis is not good for the regime in Tripoli. However, it is already clear that the developments in Libya are likely to influence the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, where tensions between the North and South have been remarkably high in the last few years.

It seems that in Korea the impact of the international intervention in Libya will produce results that at first glance might appear to be contradictory. In one regard it is likely to make the North Korean government more confrontational while in other ways will probably make it more cautious.

Kim Jong-il right now may feel very happy about his wisdom which he demonstrated by stubbornly rejecting denuclearization proposals. Colonel Gadhafi in 2003 did exactly what Kim said he would never do ― Gadhafi agreed to swap his nuclear weapons program for better relations with the West and economic rewards. As we see, it did not help the eccentric strongman. Once his subjects rose in rebellion, the West intervened and chose its military might to assist the rebels.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Saturday, 26 March 2011


International Business Times


International Business Times, March 26, 2011

India and China's quest for clout and resources extends across the globe, but perhaps the best manifestation of this fierce competition, and possible sign of who will ultimately win, lies in a tale of two ports.

The port of Chabahar in the southwest corner of Iran, which India is hoping will win it access to Central Asia and Afghanistan, is barely 72km (44 mile) from Pakistan's deep-water Gwadar port which China has built to secure its energy supplies.

The dueling ports on the doorstep of Gulf shipping lanes are another strand in the race between the Asian giants to project influence beyond their shores, and seek resources to feed their fast growing economies, that has seen them compete for contracts from Africa to Latin America to even Afghanistan.

"These civilian ports are about China and India trying to advance their interests and diversify their trade and access points," says Rory Medcalf, a specialist on international security at Australia's Lowy Institute.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Friday, 25 March 2011




Peter Foster

The National Post, March 25, 2011

It is disturbing to see the Broken Window fallacy being regurgitated so often in the wake of the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster. The fallacy, coined by the great French satirical economic journalist Frederic Bastiat, refers to the boneheaded notion that a broken window is an economic boon since it provides work for the Acme Glass Company. This ignores the cost to the owner of the window, who now has to pay again for something he already had. Similarly, numerous pundits have declared that the destruction in Japan -which is estimated at between US$200-billion and US$300-billion -has a "silver lining" since it requires massive amounts of rebuilding. This, they claim, will provide a "stimulus" to the Japanese economy, and spillover benefits to other countries.

Rebuilding will indeed boost demand for all sorts of products and services, and some individual companies will undoubtedly benefit from new orders related to the disaster. However, the notion that there might be a net economic benefit represents economic illiteracy of the highest order. It is analogous to suggesting that Libyans should rejoice at the potential economic boost from their country being bombed. Such illiteracy has a name. It is called Keynesianism.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Thursday, 24 March 2011


The Diplomat


It would be a mistake to argue the earthquake that hit Japan doesn't have big implications for the global economy.

R. Taggart Murphy

The Diplomat, March 24, 2011

Assessing the Economic Aftershocks of the March 11 earthquake, Stephen S. Roach warns us not to be complacent about the effects on the global economy.

After outlining a ‘narrow' view based on a declining global profile for the Japanese economy—a shrinking percentage of both global exports and GDP, a rising China, and an irreplaceable position in only a handful of critical upstream industrial components—Roach urges us not to accept the ‘superficial’ conclusions that might flow from this view: that Japan ‘doesn't really matter anymore’ and that disruptions to global economic activity from the quake and its aftermath will be ‘transitory’ and ‘small.’

Roach points out that this ‘narrow view misses the most critical consideration’—that this latest shock comes at a time of global economic fragility. In particular, with interest rates worldwide at historic lows, the usual levers of monetary policy—interest rate cuts—are no longer available to central bankers to pump up growth. And ‘outsize fiscal deficits’ suggest that fiscal stimulus may also be exhausted. That leaves policymakers with nothing but ‘untested’ and ‘unconventional’ measures such as the quantitative easing being implemented by the Federal Reserve—and, in the immediate wake of the earthquake, by the Bank of Japan.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


The Telegraph DEF


The Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor crisis had an instant effect on the currency markets.

Liz Phillips

The Telegraph, March 23, 2011

Most dramatically affected, unsurprisingly, was the yen, which surged to record highs against the US dollar. Other currencies were weakened including the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars.

The Swiss franc gained, maintaining its role as a safe haven in troubled times. After all, Japan’s natural disasters were heaped on a world already thoroughly shaken by events in the Middle East.

This week we are seeing some rebalancing as the situation in Japan calms, share markets return to something like business as usual and longer-term effects can be calculated.

The surge in the yen - due largely to traders buying the currency in expectation of a massive repatriation of funds to Japan from overseas (Japanese investors tend to have a lot of overseas investments, and buy back their own currency in trouble times, in contrast to investors in most other countries) - created problems both nationally and internationally. At a time of considerable economic and financial misery, the strength of the yen compounded an already tragic situation.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Tuesday, 22 March 2011




Agnes Chung-yan Tse

CommodityOnline, March 22, 2011

The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 has caused tremendous destruction to the country. Police confirmed at least 7197 people died but actual casualty will likely be revised higher. Currently 11 of the nuclear reactors totaling around 9.7 GW, or about 20% of capacity, and 11-12 GW of thermal power generation, have been closed down after explosions in nuclear plants. Radiation leak after nuclear plant explosion has terrified people living in the country and worldwide. Nuclear capacity shut currently will likely be lost for a prolonged period of time, if not forever and the government will need to replace this energy source by oil, gas and thermal coal in the long-term.

The nuclear crisis in Japan has sent an alarm to nuclear industry globally. Policymakers worldwide have been debating over the safety of nuclear generation. US president Barack Obama requested the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to examine nuclear plants to ensure they can withstand earthquakes and other disasters. The US' 104 nuclear reactors are providing roughly 20% of the country's electricity. In China, the government has suspended approval for new nuclear power stations. While currently acquiring only around 2% of electricity from nuclear power from the 13 reactors, China has aggressive plans to increase the number of reactors to 110 over the next few years. Nuclear power represents about 5.5% of the world total energy demand. If 10% of global nuclear power facilities had to be closed for safety reasons and governments shifted to other energy sources, it would lead to approximately an +1.5% increase in oil demand, a +2% increase in each of LNG and coal demand .

(...) [artículo aquí]

Monday, 21 March 2011


Chatham House2


It is still too early to comment definitively on the impact Japan's disaster will have on its economy, but, amidst the crisis, there is an opportunity for Japan's leaders to start a new era of regeneration and economic reform.

Yoshiki Takeuchi

Chatham House (Expert Comment), March 21, 2011

The direct economic impact of the crisis so far is not as devastating as the images on our television screens might suggest. The three prefectures that were most severely hit by the earthquake and tsunami - Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima - collectively account for only 4.0% of GDP in Japan. The regional economy in this part of Japan is comprised largely of agriculture and fishing, and industrial output is relatively low. Cars, for instance, shipped from these prefectures and the Ibaraki prefecture account for only 1.8% of the total auto industry.

Furthermore, the financial situation of Japanese companies and banks is relatively healthy. In the past 10 to 15 years, companies have made significant progress in paying down corporate debt and can draw on sizeable funds available for investment or absorbing costs. The ratio of non-servicing loans banks hold is now down to almost 2% The private sector has a degree of stamina that should be able to help the economy endure difficulties caused by the disaster.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Sunday, 20 March 2011




La recuperación económica depende de la rapidez con que se despeje la incertidumbre nuclear

Alejandro Bolaños

El País (Negocios), 20 de marzo de 2011

Mucho antes de que la crisis diera fama a unos pocos economistas por vaticinar la debacle financiera, un puñado de investigadores armaba, con mucho menos revuelo, la economía de los desastres. Desde la década de los sesenta se afinan modelos no para anticipar lo impredecible -cuándo ocurrirá un terremoto, cuánto durará una sequía, dónde comenzará una epidemia-, sino para dar pistas de cómo ponerse en pie después de golpes tan terribles. Son estudios que hacen parada y fonda en Japón, que se enfrenta estos días a un monstruo de tres cabezas: las consecuencias de un terremoto muy intenso, de un tsunami devastador y de la amenaza de una catástrofe nuclear.

El escrutinio del efecto de los últimos desastres en la economía asiática deja la conclusión unánime de que es uno de los países mejor preparados para encajar el golpe y levantarse con rapidez. Pero esta vez, la incógnita, enorme de qué ocurrirá con los reactores nucleares de Fukushima, gravemente dañados por el seísmo, resquebraja la confianza de los expertos.

La dificultad para acceder al noreste de Japón, arrasado por el tsunami, deja abierta la cuenta más terrible, que apunta a unos 7.000 muertos y más de 10.000 desaparecidos. Son números que suman una vida que termina tras otra. Para los economistas del desastre son, además, una disminución drástica de mano de obra. Igual que los hogares destrozados son viviendas que reconstruir, el desabastecimiento de alimentos se traduce en expectativas de inflación, las fábricas arruinadas en una oportunidad de avance tecnológico y el tejido urbano arrasado se analiza con lupa.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Friday, 18 March 2011




Toru Fujioka and Mayumi Otsuma

Bloomberg, March 18, 2011

The Group of Seven jointly intervened in the foreign exchange market for the first time in more than a decade after Japan’s currency soared, threatening its recovery from the March 11 earthquake.

Japan began the effort, with Europe’s central banks following up in their markets, sending the currency down the most against the dollar since 2008. Japan’s Vice Finance Minister Fumihiko Igarashi said in an interview that he hoped the action would put a floor under the dollar-yen rate. G-7 finance chiefs said in a joint statement after a conference call they will “provide any needed cooperation” with Japan.

Japan’s central bank repeated its pledge to pursue “powerful monetary easing” as policy makers sought to reduce the threat the world’s third-largest economy sinks into a recession. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained after the announcements, paring losses to 12 percent since the quake and ensuing tsunami killed thousands and led to rolling blackouts and radiation leaks at a nuclear plant.

“It will be supportive for the economy if they can manage to stabilize the yen,” said Thomas Harr, Singapore-based head of Asian foreign-exchange strategy at Standard Chartered Plc. “You will have better chance of succeeding when you have the joint intervention rather than just Bank of Japan.”

(...) [artículo aquí]

Thursday, 17 March 2011


Reuters DEF


Wayne Cole

Reuters, March 17, 2011

Japan's economy seems to be in a state of almost suspended animation as its nuclear crisis shows no sign of ending, sorely testing analysts' hopes for a swift rebound led by reconstruction efforts.

Indeed, with trillions of yen wiped off share markets and a surging yen currency squeezing the all-important export sector, economists fear an extended slump is inevitable.

"Japan will fall into a temporal recession," wrote Susumu Kato, Credit Agricole's chief economist for Japan in a note. He expects gross domestic product (GDP) to shrink this quarter and next, making three straight quarters of contraction.

He estimated the devastating earthquake and tsunami which struck last Friday would take 0.6 percentage points from gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first quarter and as much as 1.5 percentage points in the second.

Kato expects first quarter real GDP to fall 0.4 percent from the previous quarter, and second quarter GDP to drop 1.2 percent.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Wednesday, 16 March 2011




Ben White

Politico, March 16, 2011

The economic fallout on Japan and the rest of the world in the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami is only beginning to emerge.

DBS Bank of Singapore has estimated that the disaster will cost the Japanese economy at least $100 billion — about 2 percent of the nation’s annual gross domestic product — because of shuttered automobile and electronics plants and other disruptions. Any significant worsening of radiation releases from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could send that estimate skyrocketing.

Still, rebuilding, as painful as it is in human terms, often adds to GDP because of massive construction spending.

A larger problem for Japan and the rest of the world could be big additions to the island nation’s massive debt as the government pumps cash into the system to reassure tumbling markets and finance rebuilding.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


The Telegraph DEF


When trying to make sense of the incomprehensible it is tempting to take refuge in facts and figures.

Damian Reece

The Telegraph, March 15, 2011

In assessing the impact of Japan's superquake, the reaction of share prices and currencies gives us something tangible to grasp. Guestimates of what it might mean for the country's economic activity provide orientation in an otherwise chaotic situation of human misery and danger.

But while it's natural to be asking what Friday's disaster means in numbers, other, more important questions remain.

Japan's own market finished 6pc lower on the first full day of trading since the catastrophe. Mitsubishi Motors was down 11.8pc, Nissan 9.5pc and Toyota 7.9pc as the country's car industry was halted.

Toshiba fell more than 16pc, Sony by 9.2pc and Panasonic by 8.1pc as Japan's famous, export-led electronics industry suffered disruptions including rolling energy blackouts. Banks were also hard hit. Mizuho Financial Group was off 10.5pc. Insurers around the world reeled, including our own Lloyd's market, as the likely bill rose toward $35bn

(...) [artículo aquí]

Monday, 14 March 2011


The Atlantic


Nature is unstoppable, as Friday's earthquake demonstrated, but few nations have ever been quite as well prepared

Max Fisher

The Atlantic, March 14, 2011

When 60-year-old Hiromitsu Shinkawa found himself clinging to to the roof of his home, bobbing ten miles from shore in the open Pacific, where he had been swept by the tsunami following Friday's earthquake, he had every reason to expect that his fate, after 48 hours adrift, was probably sealed. So when sailors on a passing Japanese ship spotted Shinkawa, sent about a dozen rescuers to scoop him up, then wrapped him in a heavy yellow blanket and whisked him onto a nearby destroyer, where he was declared to be in good condition, the incident probably looked to many weary Japanese like a small miracle amid a much greater disaster.

Shinkawa, though certainly lucky, owes his life to more than just chance. Japanese naval ships had been crisscrossing the waters off of the country's northeast coast since the earthquake struck, ferrying supplies and workers as part of what has quickly become one of the largest such disaster response efforts on record. Over half a million people have been evacuated. Japan has deployed 100,000 troops, 190 planes, 45 boats, 120,000 blankets, and 110,000 liters of gasoline; they are aided by missions from South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Singapore, Mexico, and the U.S., which is drawing upon its massive military presence in Japan, including two aircraft carrier groups, each staffed with several thousand people. The rapidly growing number of search and rescue dogs shipped in from outside Japan is difficult to track, but they so far represent at least 10 different countries, including Singapore, which sent five dogs, and a Swiss contingent of collies that are described as "highly trained."

(...) [artículo aquí]

Sunday, 13 March 2011




Keiji Takeuchi

Asahi Shimbun, March 13, 2011

Friday's massive earthquake that ravaged the Tohoku region led to the first-ever state of emergency issued for nuclear plants, including the evacuation of a neighborhood.

The situation is a fresh reminder of the serious latent danger of nuclear power stations and shatters assurances that nuclear power plants are safe because they are carefully designed.

And failures at nuclear plants in the quake raises a fundamental question: How can earthquake-prone Japan coexist with nuclear power plants?

The emergency core cooling system (ECCS), which pours water into the nuclear reactor core to cool it in case of an accident, was deemed a key to the multiple safety systems for those reactors.

When an earthquake hits, reactors automatically shut down. But that alone cannot prevent an accident because the nuclear fuel continues emitting heat. If the core is not properly cooled down, it could melt the fuel and trigger a disastrous explosion.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Saturday, 12 March 2011


LAT logo DEF


The Fukushima power plant's cooling system failed after Friday's massive earthquake. Residents flee the area. Nationwide, the death toll from the quake and tsunami could top 1,600.

Mark Magnier, Barbara Demick and Carol J. Williams

Los Angeles Times, March 12, 2011

Fears of a radiation leak intensified Saturday after an explosion at a nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan that had been damaged a day earlier by a tsunami and earthquake.

The walls of a building at the Fukushima power plant were blown off in the blast, leaving only a skeletal frame. Officials said four workers at the site received non-life-threatening injuries.

At least one reactor at the plant was already showing signs of a partial meltdown. Friday's magnitude 8.9 earthquake had prevented the plant 150 miles north of Tokyo from powering its water cooling system.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano in a press conference shortly after the explosion, which left the facility shrouded in plumes of gray smoke, said experts were still determining what caused the blast.

"We are doing everything to ensure the safety of residents living nearby," said Edano, the government's chief spokesman. "I'm sure residents [living nearby] are feeling unease.

People were reportedly fleeing the surrounding area and Japanese television was urging people to cover their faces with wet towels and not to expose any skin to the potentially contaminated air. An evacuation was ordered for area within a six-mile radius of the plant.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Friday, 11 March 2011


BBC News


Jonathan Amos

BBC News, March 11, 2011

Another day, another earthquake. Except the Magnitude 8.9 tremor off the coast of Honshu, Japan, will be a standout event for 2011.

Perhaps not in terms of the eventual death toll it brings, but certainly in scale.

There are usually only one or two quakes of this size every year. And even for a country such as Japan, which is very familiar with seismic hazards, this is extraordinary.

The history books show there have been seven quakes rated at 8.0 or greater since 1891 in Japan. And with big tremors come big aftershocks.

Following the initial 8.9 event at 1446 local time (0546 GMT), a sequence of major tremors was initiated - six of them within an hour-and-a-quarter that were all bigger than or all equal to last month's quake in Christchurch, NZ (6.3). The largest of the aftershocks was a 7.1.

Some of the early video footage to emerge from Japan was dramatic - city workers hanging on to their desks as everything rocked around them and buildings on fire being swept across farmland as tsunami waters washed inland.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Thursday, 10 March 2011


Finance Asia


Slower growth in China and a boost in domestic consumption will have lasting consequences for food prices, raising the prospect of social unrest, argues Renaissance Capital's Charles Robertson.

Rupert Walker

FinanceAsia, March 10, 2011

This week at the annual meeting of the National People's Congress in Beijing, attention has been focussed on the intention of China’s policymakers to shift the country’s economy from capital investment and exports towards domestic consumption.

If the emphasis were to shift, then the problem of global imbalances might be partly resolved and income disparities in China reduced. The economy might become more balanced, less prone to property bubbles, less vulnerable to wasteful projects, less susceptible to corruption, and less exposed to social tensions.

Unfortunately, that might not be enough. The problem, says Charles Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital, is the size not the quality of China’s economic growth.

China’s 12th five-year plan (for 2011 to 2015) targets an annual growth rate of 7%, down from 8% in its previous five-year plan. This compares to the 10.3% actual average growth during 2000 to 2010.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


The Diplomat


Arab world unrest has prompted countries to again question their dependency on oil. Japan could cash in.

Andy Sharp

The Diplomat, March 9, 2011

Doomsayers will no doubt be pointing out that the insurrections across the Arab world—and the ensuing oil and food price hikes—threaten to knock the global economic recovery off track. So what can Japan do to help stave off such destabilizing uncertainty?

Once the unrest began, Tunisia and Egypt disposed of their brutal dictators relatively quickly. But the delusional Col. Muammar Gaddafi seems determined to maintain his grip over the Libyan people through all means at his disposal. Western powers are mulling military responses such as no-fly zones, but with its hands constitutionally tied, Japan has only been able to join in with the United States and other Western nations in deciding to implement trade and financial sanctions against Tripoli.

But Japanese trade sanctions will have little impact—Libya only exports scraps of seafood to Japan each year (although a Majirox News report states that a fall in imports of blue fin tuna from Libya, Egypt and Tunisia could see the price of sushi spiking), while trade in the opposite direction is about six-times greater and consists mainly of Japanese autos. The Finance Ministry, for its part, said it would freeze any assets belonging to Gaddafi and his family in Japan in the unlikely event any were found.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


The Hindu


The Hindu, March 8, 2011

As the country celebrates the International Women’s Day on Tuesday, statistics reveal that India lags behind many countries, including its neighbours Pakistan and Nepal, when it comes to women’s participation in politics.

With only 10.8 per cent of women representation in the Lok Sabha and 10.3 per cent in the Rajya Sabha, India ranks 98 in the world, according to the data released by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), an international group that works for promoting democracy, peace and co-operation in the world.

India, the world’s largest democracy, has now only 59 women representatives out of 545 members in Lok Sabha, while there are 25 female MPs in the 242-member Rajya Sabha.

While India shares its position with Benin and Jordan, it is ranked 47 places below Pakistan and 80 places behind Nepal.

With 22.2 per cent women MPs in its Lower House and 17 per cent in the Upper House, Pakistan is placed 51 while Nepal is ranked 18, with 33.3 per cent of female MPs in its parliament, according to the IPU list released on January 31 this year.

Similarly China and Bangladesh also have a much higher representation of women in national politics compared to India.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Monday, 7 March 2011


Reuters DEF


Alan Wheatley

Reuters, March 7, 2011

By 2015, China will be a fairer, greener society. Rising incomes will have boosted consumption and industry will have clambered up the technology ladder.

That's one way of reading Premier Wen Jiabao's annual "state of the nation" work report on Saturday to China's largely ceremonial parliament and an accompanying plan for 2011-2015.

"I was very impressed with the seriousness of the government to rebalance the economy by promoting consumption and changing the structure of industry," said Tomo Kinoshita, an economist with Nomura in Hong Kong.

But on a less generous interpretation, reading between the lines of what Wen did not say, the world's second-largest economy in 2015 will remain addicted to capital spending; the state will not have eased its iron grip on the financial system; and China's external surplus will still be a global bone of contention.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Sunday, 6 March 2011

CHINA (2011-15)

The Diplomat


Wen Jiabao has announced China's next five-year economic plan. It's positive sounding, but tough to implement.

Alistair Thornton

The Diplomat, March 6, 2011

In general, this is a positive looking plan. The targets and lofty rhetoric reflect – from our point of view - an accurate assessment of the state of the economy. Prefacing the targets, Premier Wen Jiabao reiterated his long-held belief that the economic structure isn’t ‘well-balanced, coordinated or sustainable.’ Broadly speaking, the targets seek to re-tool the economy, slowing things down slightly in order to enact necessary structural changes. Primarily, consumption needs to rise as a share of GDP. There’s an emphasis on shifting to a healthier type of economic growth, focusing on the quality of growth, rather than just the quantity. This is intended, as Wen put it so nicely, to not just grow the pie itself, but share it around more fairly. It’s also intended to take environmental concerns into consideration.

The first thing to note is that previous plans have pushed in similar directions, to little avail. They sailed past the growth target of 7.5 percent for the 11th Five-Year Plan, whilst President Hu Jintao's whole emphasis on a 'harmonious society' (that is, addressing widening inequalities) has come to little. So, in this respect, the Plan is useful in that it tells us the direction that the government wants to push, but it’s far from certain that this is where they will actually end up.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Saturday, 5 March 2011


India Real Time


Diksha Sahni

India RealTime, March 5, 2011

On Tuesday March 8 many around the world will be celebrating International Women’s Day.  New Delhi also joins in with the  seventh edition of the annual Asian Women’s Film Festival.

The festival, organized by the Indian unit of a non-governmental organization which works with women and media, officially starts in the city’s India International Center on Saturday, when screenings by documentary filmmakers from countries including Pakistan, India, Canada and the Philippines will take place.

The festival will showcase around 50 documentary films made by women. While filmmakers must be women of Asian origin, their work can be from anywhere in the world, according to the festival’s eligibility guidelines. After taking a break on Sunday, the festival resumes on Monday and lasts until Tuesday.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Friday, 4 March 2011




Benjarong Suwankiri and Naris Sathapholdeja

Bangkok Post, March 4, 2011

Chinese economic growth of 9.1% in 2009 was a source of optimism for a world mired in the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. This alone was enough for emerging markets to start growing again, with China leading the pack. And the rest is history.

Will China remain important? Today, it is the world's second-largest economy. Its gross domestic product (GDP) is one-third that of the US, or two-thirds if you adjust for cost of living - what economists fancily call "purchasing power parity-adjusted". By any measure, that makes China a very large economy, but it remains poor compared with the Group of Three (G3) economies of the US. the EU and Japan.

With per capita GDP at US$4,000 - not very far behind Thailand - China is no match in the view of cynics for the $46,000 per capita GDP of the US. But when adjusted for purchasing power, the gap closes considerably, with both Chinese per capita GDP at $7,500 and that of the US about the same. In other words, it takes 6.1 Chinese to equal to one American. China has 1.3 billion people, the US has 307 million _ that's a factor of 4.2. Not there yet.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Thursday, 3 March 2011


Mainichi Daily News (2)


Mainichi Daily News, March 3, 2011

The Chinese characters for "ma" and "ri" in actress Mariko Okada's name mean "jasmine" when put together, and in China, the uprising that spread from Tunisia to Egypt and Libya is referred to as the "Molihua" (Jasmine) revolution.

The Jasmine revolution spread over the Internet, and it is not surprising that protests also occurred in China, which has the world's largest population of Internet users. It remains unclear where the calls for a "jasmine movement" originated.

The first round of "jasmine" protests in China occurred on Feb. 20, a Sunday. People in 18 cities including Beijing and Shanghai gathered in set places and protested against issues such as corruption and autocracy. A week later, a second round of protests was held, with the scope expanding to 27 cities. But something about the protests seemed strange: The places where people gathered weren't exactly revolutionary.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

CHINA (2006-10)

People's Daily logo


People’s Daily, March 2, 2011

This year marks the beginning of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015). The blueprint is expected to be discussed at the annual session of the National People's Congress on Saturday.
China Daily takes a look back at the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) and how it was implemented.

Rapid economic growth

In 2010, China surpassed Japan as the world's second-largest economy with GDP reaching 39.8 trillion yuan ($6.1 trillion), a 69.9-percent increase from 2005 after adjusting for inflation.
The average annual growth rate from 2006 to 2010 was 11 percent, far exceeding the target of 7.5 percent set in 2006.

Per capita annual income also grew rapidly. In 2010, urban income reached 19,109 yuan, up 82.1 percent in five years, while rural income was 5,919 yuan, up 81.8 percent.

Employment and an aging population

The population now stands at 1.341 billion, and the number of people with jobs increased from 758 million in 2005 to 780 million at the end of 2009. Challenges lie ahead as the population ages: the number of people in the workforce will decline, and spending on welfare and healthcare will increase.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

CHINA (2011-16)



Clayton Reeves

Seeking Alpha, March 1, 2011

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao recently revealed the numbers behind China’s twelfth five year plan. In its most recent incantation, the plan shifts from a target of 8% annual growth to a more reasonable 7%. The 7% number is focused on stimulating domestic consumption, raising the standard of living, increasing environmental awareness and shifting away from an export driven economy. Let’s take a look at some of the things Premier Wen said.

Quality of Growth

Premier Wen Jiabao focused on changing the culture of growth in China from purely growth for growth to a more sustainable structure that would yield benefits for China’s people. He said although growth is booming, he sees disparity between that growth and the impact on the common citizen. Wen said:

In some places, I have seen, urban construction is very fast, but as you walk along, you see shabby rural streets and housing, and some farmers are still hard pressed to pay schools the 100-yuan heating fees for their kids. Therefore, I tell local officials, wouldn't it be better if we construct fewer high buildings and spend the funds for expanding the urban scale on raising living standards?

(...) [artículo aquí]