World View: Cyprus President Announces 'Guaranteed Minimum Income' for All

This morning's key headlines from

  • North and South Korea may reopen Kaesong Industrial Complex
  • Lashkar-e-Jhangvi launches a new horrific terrorist attack in Pakistan
  • Greece's unemployment reaches fresh record high, despite tourist season
  • Cyprus president announces 'Guaranteed Minimum Income' for all

North and South Korea may reopen Kaesong Industrial Complex

Kaesong Industrial Complex
Kaesong Industrial Complex

North and South Korea are preparing to resume negotiations to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Park. North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un had shut down the complex in April when he threw his temper tantrum, threatening to shoot missiles at Japan, South Korea, and America. Several attempts at talks have collapsed without agreement. The South has been asking for the North to guarantee it won't block operations due to non-economic reasons and called on the North to accept responsibility for the current situation, and recently has begun taking steps to make the shutdown of Kaesong permanent. Reports indicate that the North has essentially capitulated on all of the South's demands.

Kaesong Industrial Complex was built in North Korea in 2004 as a joint venture between the North and South, and was considered a symbol of peaceful cooperation until April, when the North Koreans suddenly withdrew their 53,000 workers from the project. Since the North refused to negotiate, the South finally withdrew its thousand or so employees, effectively shutting the complex down. Kaesong was a major source of hard currency for the North Koreans, tens of millions of dollars per year, and so the child dictator's temper tantrum was costing North Korea a great deal of money. The North's capitulation indicates that even child dictators can learn some harsh lessons. Yonhap (Seoul)

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi launches a new horrific terrorist attack in Pakistan

The Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, TTP) is taking credit for a new horrific suicide bombing outside a mosque in Quetta in Pakistan on Thursday. But the most likely perpetrators are the offshoot Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which has recently issued a statement saying, "Our mission [in Pakistan] is the abolition of this impure sect and people, the Shias and the Shia Hazaras, from every city, every village, every nook and corner of Pakistan," and which had carried out their threat by killing hundreds of Shias and Hazaras, and wounding thousands, in a long series of terrorist attacks. Thursday's suicide bomber was kept from entering the mosque and killing dozens of worshippers by an observant policeman, forcing the bomber to detonate his bombs outside the mosque, resulting in the deaths of about 30 policemen, including several police chiefs. Dawn (Pakistan) and McClatchy

Greece's unemployment reaches fresh record high, despite tourist season

It continues to be true that Greece's economy is worse than last month and better than next month. On Thursday, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) announced that the country's unemployment rate rose to a new historic high of 27.6% in May, up from 23.8% a year earlier. Normally unemployment goes down at the start of the tourist season, but the current rise can be explained by the widespread use of apprenticeships for citizens of Eastern European countries, and by mutually agreed termination of work contracts for employees to collect unemployment benefits (which, I assume, would be fraud). Kathimerini (Athens)

Cyprus president announces 'Guaranteed Minimum Income' for all

The bar is pretty low for the intelligence of country presidents, and readers are well aware that I show little patience for stupid decisions by politicians. But sometimes a politician appears to be so stupid that you wonder how he can figure out how to get out bed in the morning.

This brings us to President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus, the country that was saved from bankruptcy in March by an EU bailout, on condition that 60% of the savings accounts of large depositors (mostly Russian oligarchs) be confiscated.

Anastasiades announced the complete reform of social policy to provide a Guaranteed Minimum Income for all citizens, starting in June 2014 (10 months from now), taking into consideration the needs of every citizen and every household concerning nourishment, clothing, consumption of electricity and other indispensable items. According to Anastasiades:

"Beneficiaries will be all of our fellow citizens who have an income below that which can assure them a dignified living, irrespective of age, class or professional situation."

The new social policy includes the following reforms:

  • Subsidies for rental payments and mortgage payments.
  • "Also covered will be unforeseen expenses, which unfortunately come up in every household, such as, for example, absolutely necessary construction and repairs to houses, municipal taxes, etc."
  • Payments to unemployed graduates of schools and universities, working people with low earnings, and the self-employed who are now out of work.
  • Payments to pensioners with low pensions.
  • Supplemental payments, through separate allowances, to other groups of the population that have certifiable needs, such as, for example, paraplegics and the children with special needs and a stack of other similar categories.
  • Payments to any citizen who is "not guaranteed the minimum needs for a dignified living in a European Country."
The president said the level of the Guaranteed Minimum Income would be determined in an objective and scientific way by the Statistical services, with the International Labor Office playing a catalytic advisory role.

You'd think that Anastasiades would be embarrassed to say anything so stupid, but the other trait that politicians have in common, besides stupidity, is the inability to be embarrassed by anything. Cyprus Mail

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