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

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 reopenthe Kaesong Industrial Park. North Korea’s child dictator Kim Jong-unhad 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 Southhas been asking for the North to guarantee it won’t block operationsdue to non-economic reasons and called on the North to acceptresponsibility for the current situation, and recently has beguntaking steps to make the shutdown of Kaesong permanent. Reportsindicate that the North has essentially capitulated on all of theSouth’s demands.

Kaesong Industrial Complex was built in North Korea in 2004 as a jointventure between the North and South, and was considered a symbol ofpeaceful cooperation until April, when the North Koreans suddenlywithdrew their 53,000 workers from the project. Since the Northrefused to negotiate, the South finally withdrew its thousand or soemployees, effectively shutting the complex down. Kaesong was a majorsource of hard currency for the North Koreans, tens of millions ofdollars per year, and so the child dictator’s temper tantrum wascosting North Korea a great deal of money. The North’s capitulationindicates 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 takingcredit for a new horrific suicide bombing outside a mosque in Quettain Pakistan on Thursday. But the most likely perpetrators are theoffshoot Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which has recently issued astatement saying, “Our mission [in Pakistan] is the abolition of thisimpure sect and people, the Shias and the Shia Hazaras, from everycity, every village, every nook and corner of Pakistan,” and which hadcarried out their threat by killing hundreds of Shias and Hazaras, andwounding thousands, in a long series of terrorist attacks. Thursday’ssuicide bomber was kept from entering the mosque and killing dozens ofworshippers by an observant policeman, forcing the bomber to detonatehis bombs outside the mosque, resulting in the deaths of about 30policemen, 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 monthand better than next month. On Thursday, the Hellenic StatisticalAuthority (ELSTAT) announced that the country’s unemployment rate roseto 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 ofapprenticeships for citizens of Eastern European countries, and bymutually agreed termination of work contracts for employees to collectunemployment 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, andreaders are well aware that I show little patience for stupiddecisions by politicians. But sometimes a politician appears to be sostupid that you wonder how he can figure out how to get out bed in themorning.

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

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

“Beneficiaries will be all of our fellow citizens whohave an income below that which can assure them a dignifiedliving, irrespective of age, class or professionalsituation.”

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 bedetermined in an objective and scientific way by the Statisticalservices, with the International Labor Office playing a catalyticadvisory role.

You’d think that Anastasiades would be embarrassed to say anything sostupid, but the other trait that politicians have in common, besidesstupidity, is the inability to be embarrassed by anything. Cyprus Mail

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