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Economia e Finanza

An Arab Marshall Plan

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OXFORD – The wave of revolts that swept across the Arab world two years ago were fueled by demands for freedom, bread, and social justice. But, although the revolutions toppled dictators and transformed societies, these core objectives remain as distant as ever. In fact, the economic challenges facing the Arab Spring countries have become even more pressing, weighing heavily on these countries’ political prospects.

Oily Dirt

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EDMONTON – Calm discussion of the environment nowadays is about as plausible as reasoned dialogue on witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts. Consider the hyperbolic debate over the Keystone XL pipeline, which would funnel oil from Canada’s Athabasca tar sands in northeastern Alberta to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Mapping the African Growth Landscape

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Integration was a major theme in the three mapping sessions. Leadership was highlighted as a key to ensure that incentives are aligned among stakeholders. Learning and sharing best practices across borders was repeatedly suggested as a way to accelerate integration, especially focusing on areas where Africa is already strong, like agriculture, minerals and mining, but at the high end of the supply chain, not the low-end. This shift will require creative ways to educate youth and spur entrepreneurship to provide the talent, energy, and ICT to drive change. From ‘aid to trade’ was a rallying call, as was ‘made in Africa, sold in Africa.’ 

European Central Bank Monthly Bulletin

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Based on its regular economic and monetary analyses, the Governing Council decided at its meeting on 4 April to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged. HICP inflation rates have declined further, as anticipated, and price developments over the medium term should remain contained.

What is the net of good and bad news from Brussels and Washington?

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The short answer is: somewhat positive.

The longer, but still broad-brush, answer starts from noting that two important documents have been issued in the last few days: the In-depth reviews following the so called AMR (Alert Mechanism Report) from the European Commission and the World Economic Outlook from the IMF. It is useful to look at these two documents from a specific perspective, namely to find elements to answer the question whether the balance between good and bad news about the euro area is positive or negative. Equivalently, one can use the information and the assessments they provide to conclude how the healing process from the euro area crisis is progressing. An assessment in the same vein, concentrating on the growth problem in the euro-area, is offered by the recent Bruegel Policy Brief by Zsolt Darvas, Jean Pisani-Ferry and Guntram B. Wolff.

Let´s follow the scorpion approach - in cauda venenum - and begin with the good news.

Syria's Crisis and the Global Response

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What is the status of the situation in Syria?

Syria's civil war continues unabated in early 2013 amid an enduring international deadlock over how to mediate the two-year-old conflict that has killed more than sixty thousand people and displaced some seven hundred thousand more, according to the United Nations. In recent weeks, the United States and its allies have expressed heightened concern over allegations of chemical weapons being used in clashes near Aleppo. If such use is confirmed, President Obama has said it would represent a "game-changer" in U.S. involvement in the civil war. The unrest has also proved a magnet for global jihadists, including al-Qaeda-linked groups like Jabhat al-Nusra, fighting for the establishment of an Islamist state.

Currency Wars: This Time, Is It for Real?

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In his presidential campaign in 1928, Herbert Hoover promised to help impoverished farmers by increasing tariffs on agricultural products; after the election, he also asked Congress to reduce tariffs on industrial goods. In April 1929, well before Black Thursday, U.S. Representative Reed Smoot, a Republican from Utah, introduced a bill that passed the House in May. The bill increased agricultural and industrial tariffs at levels that had not been seen for a century. This was a relatively benign beginning of what would become one of the most tragic policy measures of the 1930s. Within a few months of the bill being passed in the Senate as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, other countries in response raised their own trade barriers, which started a vicious circle of contracting world trade flows and economic activity, and rising unemployment from 1930 to 1933.

What Military Threat Does North Korea Pose?

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It is impossible to say whether the recent threats from North Korea constitute a clear and immediate danger or whether the strong threats are just bluster in order to extract food aid and technical assistance from the international community. 

From football to military might, how Qatar wields global power

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Sometimes, it seems that all stories now connect to Qatar. Last week, it was David Beckham signing for the super-rich club Paris Saint-Germain, owned by the Qatar Investment Authority. Earlier last month, it was revealed that al-Jazeera, the hugely powerful Qatari broadcaster, was launching in America, where it was once known as "terror TV". Why has this tiny Gulf state – the richest country in the world per capita, largely thanks to natural gas – become so active, so attention-grabbing?

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U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis