4-Jul-11 World View — Thailand's Yingluck Shinawatra Wins Decisively

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

Yingluck Shinawatra wins decisive victory in Thailand


Yingluck Shinawatra (Bangkok Post)
Yingluck Shinawatra (Bangkok Post)

Yingluck Shinawatra led her Pheu Thai (“For Thais”) to a decisive victory in Sunday’s elections, making it all but certain that she will be the next prime minister of Thailand, and Thailand’s first female prime minister. ( “Thailand’s Yingluck promises to use ‘femininity’ to resolve disputes”) She ran a brilliant marketing campaign, with every step scripted by advisors, especially her older brother, Thaksin, living in self-imposed exile in Dubai. Now the only problem left is for her to deal with Thailand’s growing ethnic conflicts, Thailand’s growing public debt, and the army that overthrew Thaksin in a coup just five years ago. Bangkok Post

EU approves 3-month bailout of Greece

Because the Greek parliament approved a harsh austerity plan on Wednesday, European finance ministers authorized an 8.7 billion euro loan payment to Greece by mid-July, just in time for Greece to pay some very sizeable bills that will be coming due. Another 3.1 billion euros will be provided by the IMF. The money will be enough to get Greece through September. In the meantime, the EU will be trying to figure out to approve an additional 110 billion euro bailout to get Greece through 2013, even though everyone “knows” that Greece will never pay the money back. However, before that happens, Greece will have to start implementing its harsh austerity plan, including privatization of public utilities. Bloomberg

EU threatens to ‘massively limit’ Greece’s sovereignty


Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker
Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker

Now that Greece has theoretically approved the austerity measures, the EU is pressuring Greece to implement them as quickly as possible. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said that Greece must not lose momentum in pushing through crucial reforms:

“The next step must be tackled decisively – the measures passed in Athens have to be quickly implemented. The privatizations, for example, have to be started without delay.”

But the statement that’s infuriating Greece’s public sector unions is the one by Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the Eurogroup finance ministers, saying that Greece must accept severe restrictions on its sovereignty:

“The sovereignty of Greece will be massively limited. For the forthcoming wave of privatizations they will need, for example, a solution based on a model of Germany’s ‘Treuhand agency’

One cannot be allowed to insult the Greeks. But one has to help them. They have said they are ready to accept expertise from the eurozone.”

This is the European version of “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.” Germany’s “Treuhand Agency” sold off 14,000 East German firms between 1990 and 1994, after the Berlin Wall fell and East and West Germany were reunited. Kathimerini and Reuters

Syria’s security forces plan major assault on city of Hama

Army tanks are being deployed around the city of Hama, which saw a huge protest Friday against President Bashar al-Assad. People are being arrested and shot in preparation for the assault. Security forces killed at least 60 protesters in the city a month ago, by firing on crowds of demonstrators. Hama was the site of a huge massacre by security forces of Assad’s father. Turkey has warned Assad against repeating “another Hama.” Telegraph

Islamic banking uses different mechanisms besides interest payments

Sharia compliant banks are not permitted to pay or charge interest (“riba”), because it’s forbidden under Islamic law. But Islamic banking (or “participation banking”) uses different mechanisms. For examples, money from customers’ savings accounts is invested in real estate or industry, and profit and loss is shared with the customer. Instead of a car loan, the bank buys the car and sells it to the customer in installments. Currently, 5% of deposits, assets and loans in Turkey are held by participation banks, and that figure is expected to grow. Southeast Europe Times

Turkey’s PM Erdogan won the election, but faces problems

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s victory in June 12 elections makes him Turkey’s most powerful leader since Kemal Ataturk, the founder of Turkey. Erdogan’s style has been described as authoritarian, with a vindictive streak. However, Turkey faces serious problem. One is the portential war on his border with Syria. Another is skyrocketing public debt and unemployment — 9.5% unemployment rate, 19.3% for Turkish youth. Foreign Policy Research Institute


Turkey recognizes Libyan rebels as legitimate government

Turkey has now completely reversed its position from when the Nato military intervention into Libya began. At that time, Nato opposed the military action, and was supporting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. But on Sunday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu recognized the rebel Transitional National Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Davutoglu also said that Turkey will provide another $200 million in aid, adding to the $100 million fund previously announced. VOA

Israeli and Palestinian security forces cooperate to prevent violence

Israeli and Palestinian security forces are taking precautions to avoid an outbreak of violence after an expected U.N. vote for Palestinian independence in September. AP

Pigeons can recognize human faces


Be careful!  They're watching you!
Be careful! They’re watching you!

Researchers at the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense have discovered that wild, untrained pigeons can recognize individual people’s faces, and are not fooled by a change of clothes. They theorize that this recognition ability may have come about over the long period of association with humans, from early domestication to many years of living in cities. Live Science

How Symantec cracked Stuxnet

For techies: Stuxnet is the virus that targeted an Iranian nuclear processing station, and destroyed about 1,000 centrifuges used in uranium separation. This article describes how Stuxnet works, and how it was discovered. Read Write Web

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