At last, some news

Never leave a long time in between blog posts. It’s so difficult to decide where to start.

  • Europe as a no-fly zone because of volcanic ash? (I was affected, were you? And it’s back!)
  • The never-ending story that is the Greek economy? (Ohh dear!)
  • The UK election? (No, I’m leaving that. It’s tomorrow and I can’t vote.)

Well, quite apart from the fact that I can’t vote then it’s rather interesting to watch the debate and hear what the candidates don’t say. I find this so much more interesting than what they say. Don’t you agree? No one really wants to talk about how to straighten out the economy and how the inevitable tightening of belts will happen. And then the election campaign is of course spiced up by various gaffes by our three main contenders.

One might have thought that with the Euro zone and the IMF pooling their funds and coming up with €110bn that we would have seen the last of the big-letter headlines. Not so. The front page of WSJ Europe screams “Markets unhappy with deal” today. The market is not reacting in the way it was hoped which could be seen as a signal that the market does not believe in the Greek ability to straighten out the situation and also that growth is unlikely.  This is certainly what Paul Krugman suggests in the New York Times.

And yes, I know it’s some time ago and I hope all those stranded have now managed to return to their homes but the shutdown and subsequent repercussions of the volcanic ash from Iceland showed beyond doubt how a large part of the work has come to rely on air travel. I was supposed to fly out on the day it all began and of course I didn’t get anywhere.  At least I could go home and unpack my suitcase but many were not so lucky. A new ash lcoud is drifting in, closing airports in Ireland and the UK so lets see how long this lasts. This morning Edinburgh looked OK with only a few flights cancelled but now most flights into and out of Edinburgh are cancelled. While checking this I noted that the BAA website suddenly has a new button “Volcanic ash FAQs“.

I’m to fly out on 14 May so I hope it’s gone by then!

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The iPad, Copenhagen syndrome and well, yes, the economy

Whether or not it’s just a big iPhone, the launch of the iPad was eagerly awaited. But around the World the audience hesitated in breaking out in the kind of raptures that are normally seen when Steve Jobs take centre stage. He didn’t seem too impressed either. We’ll have to wait and see but I admit I’m not Googling for the nearest Apple dealership and my credit card sits nicely tucked away in my purse.

Yes, I admit I’ve been quiet about the economy lately. And to be frank I don’t think there’s anything to celebrate just yet. I guess you saw that Standard & Poor issued a warning to Japan about its borrowing (this kind of warning normally comes just before a downgrading of a country’s credit rating), the UK’s borrowing is in the news for all the wrong reasons and soon Greece may qualify for the joke that went around the World about Iceland not too long ago. Missed that? Ohh here it is: “What’s the capital of Iceland?”  “Five pounds, fifty” or some similar small amount of money in your local currency.

To a Dane, the headline “Obama and the Copenhagen Syndrome” had to spark an interest. It was a piece in the WSJ Europe edition by Bret Stephens. Stephens describes the Copenhagen Syndrome as a belief in your own ability to create a miracle. It is the Copenhagen Syndrome because Obama twice recently has come to Copenhagen hoping to dramatically influence a decision, first about the host city for the 2016 Olympics and most recently at the UN climate change summit. On both occasions Obama arrived late, maybe expecting his presence to alter the situation, and on both occasions the decisions did not go is way. In the case of the 2016 Olympics Chicago was overlooked in favour of Rio de Janeiro and most recently at the UN climate change summit, well you can say the World was overlooked in favour of money.