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Archive for 25. Oktober 2019

How to save the world’s coral reefs

Posted by hkarner - 25. Oktober 2019

Date: 25-10-2019
Source: The Economist

People are going to start to have to think radically

Corals are comeback creatures. As the world froze and melted and sea levels rose and fell over 30,000 years, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which is roughly the size of Italy, died and revived five times. But now, thanks to human activity, corals face the most complex concoction of conditions they have yet had to deal with. Even these hardy invertebrates may struggle to come through their latest challenge without a bit of help.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a rise in global temperatures of 1.5°C relative to pre-industrial times could cause coral reefs to decline by 70-90%. The planet is about 1°C hotter than in the 19th century and its seas are becoming warmer, stormier and more acidic. This is already affecting relations between corals and the single-celled algae with which they live symbiotically, and which give them their colour. When waters become unusually warm, corals eject the algae, leaving reefs a ghostly white. This “bleaching” is happening five times as often as it did in the 1970s. The most recent such event, between 2014 and 2017, affected about three-quarters of the world’s reefs. Meanwhile the changing chemistry of the oceans lowers the abundance of carbonate ions, making it harder for corals to form their skeletons. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Is Facebook’s Libra doomed?

Posted by hkarner - 25. Oktober 2019

Date: 24-10-2019
Source: The Economist

Facebook’s planned digital currency has had a miserable few months

ON JUNE 18TH Facebook announced Libra, a new global payments system and currency, to be launched in 2020. Dubbed the “Zuck Buck” by Brad Sherman, an American congressman, the plan was to employ a mix of entrepreneurial daring and the technology underlying cryptocurrencies to shake up the world’s financial systems. Money would move at the speed of a smartphone-swipe, even across borders. Libra would lubricate life in the rich world and revolutionise it in poor countries, where basic financial services are dear and often scarce. After all, as the firm points out, 1.7bn people have no access to a bank account. Besides further expanding Facebook’s empire, Libra would bring them into the financial fold.

In the subsequent four months, Libra has had a bruising time. Many of its partner firms have got cold feet. Politicians and regulators around the world have made disapproving noises. On October 23rd Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s boss, spent a lonely few hours in Washington fielding mostly hostile questions from American politicians on the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How liberalism became ‘the god that failed’ in eastern Europe

Posted by hkarner - 25. Oktober 2019

Date: 24-10-2019
Source: The Guardian By Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes

After communism fell, the promises of western liberalism to transform central and eastern Europe were never fully realised – and now we are seeing the backlash.

In the spring of 1990, John Feffer, a 26-year-old American, spent several months criss-crossing eastern Europe in hope of unlocking the mystery of its post-communist future and writing a book about the historical transformation unfolding before his eyes. He was no expert, so instead of testing theories, he buttonholed as many people from as many walks of life as possible. The contradictions he encountered were fascinating and puzzling. East Europeans were optimistic but apprehensive. Many of those he interviewed at the time expected to be living like Viennese or Londoners within five years, 10 years at the most. But these hopes were mingled with anxiety and foreboding. As Hungarian sociologist Elemér Hankiss observed: “People realised suddenly that in the coming years, it would be decided who would be rich and who would be poor; who would have power and who would not; who would be marginalised and who would be at the centre. And who would be able to found dynasties and whose children would suffer.”

Feffer eventually published his book, but did not return to the countries that had briefly captured his imagination. Then, 25 years later, he decided to revisit the region and to seek out those with whom he had spoken in 1990. This time round, eastern Europe was richer but roiled by resentment. The capitalist future had arrived, but its benefits and burdens were unevenly, even crassly distributed. After reminding us that “For the World War II generation in eastern Europe, communism was the ‘god that failed’”, Feffer writes thatFor the current generation in the region, liberalism is the god that failed.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Rom verteidigt seine neue Schuldenpolitik

Posted by hkarner - 25. Oktober 2019

Finanzminister Gualtieri will mit expansiven Maßnahmen das Wirtschaftswachstum in Italien ankurbeln, heißt es im Brief nach Brüssel

Erhoffen von der neuen EU-Kommission in Brüssel Verständnis für ihre Wachstumspolitik auf Pump: Premier Guiseppe Conte und sein Finanzminister Roberto Gualtieri.

Rom/Brüssel – Die italienische Regierung von Giuseppe Conte hat mit einem Brief an die EU-Kommission auf die Bedenken Brüssels zu ihrem Haushaltsentwurf geantwortet. „Wir vertrauen darauf, dass unsere Bemühungen in Sachen Haushaltskonsolidierung und strukturelle Reformen zu einer weiteren Defizitsenkung führen werden“, schrieb der italienische Wirtschafts- und Finanzminister Roberto Gualtieri darin.

In dem Schreiben an EU-Wirtschaftskommissar Pierre Moscovici und an Kommissions-Vizepräsident Valdis Dombrovskis, das auszugsweise am Donnerstag veröffentlicht wurde, betonte Gualtieri, dass Italien Einsparungen in der öffentlichen Verwaltung in der Größenordnung von einer Milliarde Euro 2020 und von 1,2 Milliarden Euro in den Jahren 2021 und 2022 plane. Italien bemühe sich auch um eine Vereinfachung des Steuersystems.

Italien verlangt Flexibilität

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