United Kingdom : Margaret Thatcher, Former British Prime Minister, Died
Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady” of British politics, died on Monday in London. She was 87. She set her country on a rightward economic course, led it to victory in the Falklands war and helped guide the United States and the Soviet Union through the Cold War’s difficult last years. Mrs. Thatcher was the first woman to become Prime Minister of Britain and the first to lead a major Western power in modern times. She led her Conservative Party to three straight election wins and held office for 11 years —May, 1979 to November, 1990 —longer than any other British politician in the 20th century. Thatcherism (the belief that economic freedom and individual liberty are interdependent, that personal responsibility and hard work are the only ways to national prosperity, and that the free-market democracies must stand firm against aggression) had won many disciples. Even some of her strongest critics accorded her a grudging respect. While many current and former politicians seemed to form lines to offer their reaction to her death, some isolated protests broke out overnight reflecting the same social schism between haves and have-nots that characterized the debate over her legacy. The Guardian, liberal-leaning, said in an editorial : “There should be no dancing on her grave but it is right there is no state funeral either. Her legacy is of public division, private selfishness and a cult of greed, which together shackle far more of the human spirit than they ever set free.” By contrast, conservative newspapers like The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail offered enthusiastic praise for the person whom The Mail, in an online commentary echoing Mr. Cameron, called “the woman who saved Britain” and “a giant beside whom other peacetime politicians of the 20th and 21st centuries look like mere pygmies.”
Cyprus : Bail-out of Cyprus
In early March, 2013, Cyprus has asked for a bail-out to the Euro Zone (EU). Cyprus, a country near Greece, used to hold no power over the Euro Zone. It joined the EU in 2008, and its capacity was a total of 0.2%. Economists interpret its cause of the bail-out as over-dependence on Greece. Greece, another country that has asked for a bail-out, has been in a slump since 2010. Cyprus, like Greece, mainly lived off tourism and financial services. Cyprus’s breakdown became a dangerous trigger, and the EU faced yet another challenge to solve. The European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed on a €0 billion deal with Cyprus on March 16th, 2013 in order to put off the economic wild fire. As the Cypriot legislation was approved, Liki Bank, the second most popular bank, was disposed and its assets were moved to the most popular bank : The Bank of Cyprus. Currently, other measures are being taken, and it is considered as another criterion that shakes the EU community.
Japan : The Launching of Abenomics
Since last year, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was elected, he announced that he will lessen economic hardships of Japan through launching an economic plan. This plan is called Abenomics, which contains monetary, fiscal policies and economic growth strategies. The main and widely known plan is quantitative easing, which is creating large sums of money in order to undervalue their currency. This is considered a way to increase export rates because it would enable the Japanese products to become cheaper than before. Therefore, Abenomics is currently one of the biggest issues for Asian countries to consider. The reason of the advent of such plans is prolonged stagnation of the Japanese economy for decades. A lot of the major industries that supported the country went through massive loss of assets, which also led to an increase in unemployment in Japan. The effect of Abenomics will be massive to nearby countries; Korea and China. Korean economists point out that the Korean Won is now valued higher than the Japanese Yen. This phenomenon is considered as a great threat to Korea’s export rates.
U.N. : U.N. Adopts Global Arms Trade Treaty
The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the first international treaty regulating the multibillion-dollar global arms trade Tuesday, after a more than decade-long campaign to keep weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists, warlords, organized crime figures, and human rights violators. “This is a victory for the world’s people,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Kimoon said. “The Arms Trade Treaty will make it more difficult for deadly weapons to be diverted into the illicit market. It will be a powerful new tool in our efforts to prevent grave human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law.” Iran, North Korea and Syria -all facing arms embargoes- cast the only dissenting votes. They argued, among other things, that the agreement favors major arms suppliers like the U.S. over importers that need weapons for self-defense. The treaty prohibits countries that ratify it from exporting conventional weapons if they violate arms embargoes, or if they promote acts of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or if they could be used in attacks against civilians or schools and hospitals. Countries must also evaluate whether the weapons would be used by terrorists or organized crime, or would undermine peace and security. They must take measures to prevent the weapons from being diverted to the black market. The treaty covers battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms and light weapons. “Today’s victory shows that ordinary people who care about protecting human rights can fight back to stop the gun lobby dead in its tracks, helping to save countless lives.” said Frank Jannuzi, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA.