May 5th, 2012

New law threatens Amterdams cannabis culture...

The statement of why via a local:

"Their current problem is that everyone goes there to get fucked up and fuck shit up, so they're getting tired of being the cool place for stoners to visit."  (Poorly said yet true.)

My statement against with plausible solution:

Yes but they are taking away a good portion of their local economy by taking out many of the local businesses. It has grown to be a part of their own citizens daily life.They should just make foreigners pay extra for a pass, a temporary 215, to make up for the foreigners "fucking shit up". They could also limit the amount of foreigners visiting for that purpose by allowing a limited amount of passes if it becoming that much of an issue for the locals".

What is your view or suggestion?


The new French revolution?

France and Revolution. The two words go together like raspberries and champagne. And the tradition is about to come true again, yet again Paris in the focus of a new tide that promises to change Europe. Or not.

The date of the event is set - May 6, when the French will elect the next host of the Palais de l'Élysée. And, unless some miracle happens, this time it won't be Sarkozy. It'll be Francois Hollande. Or maybe not. But more likely - oui.

Actually several events will happen tomorrow simultaneously. There'll be a vote in Greece too (you know, the place where the avalanche started). Its outcome will determine the fate of the new deal on the Greek debt and the rescue plan of the Big Three (EU, IMF, ECB). And that'll determine if Greece will avoid a chaotic default and will stay in the Euro zone.

There'll be another two elections tomorrow, in two important EU countries - Germany and Italy. Sure, they're just partial and regional elections but they're not uninteresting either, because they'll show where the winds are blowing, what the moods are on the policies in those countries. We should also add a couple more events from the recent days - the collapse of the Dutch and Romanian governments and the political turmoil in the Czech Republic. The common thing about all these is that they're a result of the rising discontent against the fiscal orthodoxy which prescribed severe austerity as the ultimate medicine against the crisis. People obviously are pissed with this.

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The dragon just belched a little bit

We've all heard about the scandal with the Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng who fled to the US embassy for a while, etc. But few have heard of another scandal, one with much deeper implications. That of Bo Xilai, who until recently was the charismatic darling of the media. Now he's being used to give a lesson to all Chinese leaders to keep in line, or else.

In the art of hospitality it's considered bad taste to ask your guest about their problems. It's the same in the art of diplomacy, especially if your guest has a thick wallet. So while the Chinese PM Wen Jiabao was touring Europe, no one asked him about the biggest scandal in China in recent times. In Germany and Sweden, Wen talked about investments and future partnerships, in Poland he met with the political elite of Central and Eastern Europe, and in my home country Iceland he visited a local sheep farm. How cute.

Ironically, the crisis-ridden Europe looks far more hospitable for the Chinese leaders than any place in Beijing. There the echo of the fall of the former top party apparatchik Bo Xilai still resounds and causes ripples through the seemingly smooth surface of Chinese politics.

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