World View: Egypt Anti-Muslim Brotherhood Protests Fall Flat

This morning's key headlines from
  • Anti-Morsi demonstrations in Cairo Egypt turn into a dud
  • Fatal bridge collapse in China prompts public uproar
  • Inventories of manufactured goods piling up in China
  • Jean-Claude Juncker meets Antonis Samaras

Anti-Morsi demonstrations in Cairo Egypt turn into a dud

Organizers had hoped to match the crowds of hundreds of thousands of people who rallied early last year in Cairo's Tahrir Square to overthrow former president Hosni Mubarak. But Friday's protests, called to protest President Mohamed Morsi, drew a very small crowd of only several hundred people, while there were only a few thousand in all at different venues. It was mostly peaceful, but there was scattered violence between pro- and anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators. Al Arabiya (Dubai)

Fatal bridge collapse in China prompts public uproar

A $3 million bridge that only opened 10 months ago collapsed on Friday, causing four trucks to plunge to the ground below, killing three people and injuring five. Chinese bloggers are becoming increasingly contemptuous over shoddy construction practices. As I reported in July 2011, bloggers were furious at another bridge catastrophe, when one high-speed train rear-ended another on a bridge, causing four coaches to fall off the bridge, killing 35 and injuring 200. Apparently the two trains were administered by two different government agencies, and there was no coordination whatsoever. Since then, there have been six major bridge disasters, indicating that shoddy construction is a pervasive problem throughout China. Let's hope that their missiles are equally shoddy. Xinhua and China Daily

Inventories of manufactured goods piling up in China

China's economy has been slowing down since fall of last year, and new data confirms the slowdown has been accelerating rapidly in recent months. Inventories of everything from steel and household applicans to cars and apartments have increased to a massive glut. The huge inventories are caused by a kind of reverse supply and demand equation: Sales are falling by as much as 50% in some industries, but instead of cutting back on production, the government is using fiscal policy to encourage increases in production and building of more and more factories and apartment buildings. Car manufacturers, for example, refuse to cut production, and are pressuring dealers to accept delivery of so many cars that there's no place to park them. At the same time, the government is carefully hiding the problem. The Public Security Bureau, for example, has halted the release of data about slumping car registrations. (This is reminiscent of China's Great Leap Forward in 1958. Mao Zedong dismantled the Central Statistical Bureau, which was responsible or keeping track of agricultural data. Mao was completely blindsided until it was too late, and tens of thousands of people died of starvation.) CNBC / NY Times 

The China experience shows that "printing" lots of money does not result in hyperinflation in a generational Crisis era, since people and businesses hoard cash during this era, and refuse to spend or lend it.

Jean-Claude Juncker meets Antonis Samaras

Eurogroup finance committee chairman Jean-Claude Juncker met with Greece's prime minister Antonis Samaras on Thursday. Kathimerini

Juncker and Samaras
Juncker and Samaras

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