World View: After 20 Years of Deflation, Japan's New Leader Will Try Devaluation

This morning's key headlines from

  • Silvio Berlusconi, 76, to marry stunning 27 year old brunette
  • Thousands of Palestinians flee Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp
  • After 20 years of deflation, Japan's new leader will try devaluation

Silvio Berlusconi, 76, to marry stunning 27 year old brunette

Francesca Pascale with Silvio Berlusconi
Francesca Pascale with Silvio Berlusconi

European political leaders were horrified last week when Italy's former premier Silvio Berlusconi said that he would make a comeback and seek a fifth term as prime minister. Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel and France's then-president Nicolas Sarkozy were delighted when he resigned last year, because they blamed him for the financial condition of Italy, and because they felt that his "bunga bunga parties," always attended by gorgeous women, some of whom he (allegedly) slept with, sullied the names of honorable politicians everywhere. Now that he may return again, they can barely conceal their disdain.

But on Monday, 76 year old Berlusconi had a different kind of announcement: That he was engaged to be married to a stunning 27 year old brunette beauty, Francesca Pascale. Pascale was a founding member of a support group called "Silvio, we miss you." She has previously said the three most important things in her life are her family, politics and Mr. Berlusconi. It's said that she was jealous of the other women in Berlusconi's inner circle.

Berlusconi, a billionaire, announced the engagement on Monday on a tv talk show:

"It's official, I have got engaged to Francesca Pascale and finally I feel less lonely. There is a 49 year age difference between us. She is a beautiful girl on the outside and even more beautiful on the inside, of solid moral principles, she is very close to me, she loves me and I feel the same way. My daughter Marina appreciates her and loves her very much too."

Spiegel and Iconcast and Christian Post

Thousands of Palestinians flee Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp

The Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Syria, home of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees of the 1948 Arab-Jewish war, and their descendants, was bombed by president Bashar al-Assad's air force on Sunday, as we reported yesterday. On Monday, rumors that Syrian government forces were massing for an attack sent thousands of residents of the refugee camp running south across the border to Lebanon. Yarmouk residents are split between pro-Assad and anti-Assad forces, and there have been sporadic gunfights between the two groups for months. LA Times

After 20 years of deflation, Japan's new leader will try devaluation

Japan's economy has been in a deflationary spiral ever since the huge 1980s real estate and stock market bubble began to crash in 1990. The Tokyo stock exchange index is still down 75% from its bubble high at the end of 1989. Now, Japan's newly elected leader, Shinzo Abe, plans to make a full-scale effort to end the deflation by pressuring the Bank of Japan to use quantitative easing to flood the market with money. This will devalue the yen, relative to the dollar and other currencies, and make Japan's exports cheaper on the world markets. Massive amounts of quantitative easily in the U.S. and Europe have not been successful in reversing deflation or in growing the economy, so many people believe that it won't be effective in Japan either. It's worth pointing out here that macroeconomic models have been consistently wrong about almost everything for the past six years. Even before that, economics did not predict and can't explain the tech bubble at the end of the 1990s, the real estate bubble, the credit bubble, the 2007 credit crunch, or anything that's happened since then, and they don't have a clue what's going to happen in 2013. Now they're going to repeat some of these same policies in Japan, when they don't have the vaguest clue what's going there either. Telegraph (London)

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