Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

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Archive for 9. Februar 2020

Europe Lives On

Posted by hkarner - 9. Februar 2020

Date: 07‑02‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Bernard‑Henri Lévy

Bernard‑Henri Lévy is one of the founders of the “Nouveaux Philosophes” (New Philosophers) movement. His books include Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism, American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville, and most recently, The Empire and the Five Kings.

 There is no denying that the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union represents a loss for all involved, and strikes a blow against the very idea of Europe. But while Britain has left Europe, Europeans should not abandon the British legacy – particularly the deep, historical commitment to liberalism.

PARIS – Brexit is a disaster for the United Kingdom. Given the risk that it will now lose Scotland and Northern Ireland to secession, the country seems to have accepted the idea of Great Britain turning back into “Little England.” Britain is that rare lion that chooses to become as small as a mouse.

 To be sure, saving the English realm is all the Brexiteers ever cared about. But what sort of realm has a prime minister who lies to its queen, as Boris Johnson did when he suspended Parliament last year? Through it all, the Brexiteers have exalted the British Empire and Winston Churchill. Yet they have forgotten Karl Marx, an earlier wanderer of the London streets who warned that history eventually repeats itself as farce. With Johnson in power, the UK is governed by a pantomime Churchill. Rather than an exponent of courage, it has the Prince of Cynicism – a scruffy knock‑off who adapts his opinions to whatever is politically expedient. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Nothing to return to‘: Serbia is losing one town every year through population decline

Posted by hkarner - 9. Februar 2020

Date: 08‑02‑2020

Source: Euronews

Uros Trainovic remembers when his mining village in eastern Serbia was a vibrant home to 200 families, had a school of its own, a doctor and a shop.

Sixty years later, what remains is a ghost village with only eight residents.

“It is such a pity and so sad that everybody left,“ the 71‑year‑old recalls. „Now there are only few of us and there are no young people any more.”

The decline of Blagojev Kamen is not unique in a country that experienced years of war and sanctions in the 1990s following the break‑up of Yugoslavia.

Near‑empty villages with abandoned, crumbling houses can be seen all over Serbia — a symptom of a shrinking population that is raising serious questions over the economic well‑being of the country.

One town every year

The numbers look stark. According to the World Bank, Serbia’s population of just below 7 million is projected to fall to 5.8 million by 2050. That would represent a 25% fall since 1990.

The Serbian government says the Balkan country is effectively losing a town each year, and that as many as 18 municipalities have fewer than 10,000 people.

The decline is happening so fast that the United Nations has stepped in to help.

The U.N. Development Program and the U.N. Population Fund have assembled a group of seven international experts of different backgrounds and specialities for a fact‑finding mission. They visited Serbia last month.

Wolfgang Lutz, a demographics expert at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), said that the main problem is related to the make‑up of those leaving Serbia rather than the overall population decline.

He told the Associated Press that „it tends to be the better‑educated, the more highly skilled, the more highly motivated mobile people who are leaving, and that is certainly a drain of the human capital.”

Nothing to return to Serbia for

Reflecting the decades of crisis are villages like Blagojev Kamen. It had flourished when a nearby gold mine kept the area alive before and after World War II, but its fortunes have sunk as the mine closed down in the mid‑1990s.

Trainovic said there are still gold and other minerals in the mine but that it needs investment and hard work.

“One of my sons is in Germany and the other one is in Austria,” he said. “They visit often but they have nothing to return to.”

Serbia’s government has tried to buck the trend, offering financial benefits for couples with multiple children, state‑backed IVF, the renovation of schools and daycare centres, aid to families in rural areas or backing for businesses in villages.

Ruth Finkelstein, an assistant professor from Columbia University who is an expert on ageing and its social implications, said Serbia should also strive to find a role for its growing elderly population.

“Room after room, people focus only on the young people,” she said.

Balkan population decline

Serbia is not the only eastern European country worried by its population decline.

Its EU member neighbour, Croatia, has made the issue of „demographic challenges” a priority. Croatia’s rural areas have been emptying at an alarming rate while more than 15% of Croatia’s 4.2 million people are living and working abroad. Bulgaria and Ukraine are two others enduring population declines.

Stjepan Sterc, a prominent Croatian demography expert, thinks the efforts to deal with the problems so far across the Balkans are not enough and that the tax system has to be more focused on reversing the trends.

“Demography should be recognized as the essence of economic development so that the most important encouragement tool is directed toward it,” he said.

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The digital side of the Belt and Road Initiative is growing

Posted by hkarner - 9. Februar 2020

Date: 06‑02‑2020

Source: The Economist

Many believe it is where much of the rivalry over the plan will play out in future

One tropical evening in November, the 9,800‑tonne Ile de Bréhat slipped from the quay at Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands, and steamed out of Iron Bottom Sound. For weeks the boat had been a familiar sight as it finished its job of laying 4,700km of fibre‑optic cable from Sydney to Honiara on Guadalcanal and 730km among the main outlying islands, with another branch heading to Port Moresby, capital of neighbouring Papua New Guinea. Less than a fifth of Solomon Islanders have access to the internet. The Ile de Bréhat is about to transform more lives than any ship since the Los Reyes, the first European vessel to discover the islands, in 1567.

Two‑thirds of the $93m cost of the Coral Sea Cable System was borne by the Australian government. It got wind that China was proposing to do the job, led by Huawei, China’s telecoms giant. Australian intelligence types view Huawei as a national‑security concern. Australia is also the biggest donor to Pacific Island nations and is used to being top dog in its backyard. It told leaders in Honiara and Port Moresby that Huawei was not to be considered.

Yet Australia has taken its eye off the Pacific in recent years, as China has stolen a march. Two‑way trade with the Pacific has grown tenfold, from under $1bn in 2005 to over $8bn in 2018. Chinese tourists to the region jumped from under 4,000 a year a decade ago to more than 140,000 in 2017. China’s leaders extol the potential for bri co‑operation with Pacific nations. A “new Pacific diplomacy” has gathered pace since President Xi Jinping made his first trip to the region in late 2014. Pacific Island leaders frequently head for China. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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