The World This Week: Reflections

I begin this latest edition of the "Outsiders" World Watch with Bangladesh.   There has been a massive building collapse that has seen over 1000 people injured right now.   Britain's SkyNews is interviewing Gareth Jones of OxFAM on it.   I could not believe that the warnings were there and that over 5,000 people were working there.   They were all subcontractors working for major high-end clothiers around the World--including Britai.   Gareth Jones noted that 35,000 people head into Bangladeshi Cities every month.   How The Government deals with it is a profound challenge.

What I continue to be fascinated by is what continues to happen in Iran.   I laughed when I reviewed the transcripts of the interview Christian Amanpour of CNN did with the Iranian Finance Minister.    The Minister claimed that the sanctions had not broken Iran.   It seems as if he and His President seem to be living in a state of bliss by not realizing what is actually going on.    The Economy is basically in a free-for-all with no apparent end in sight.   One recent report I reviewed noted that over 500 Shoe Outlets had closed their doors in the Province of Isfahan--where Iran's nuclear facility is situated.    This is as the Presidential Elections begin in earnest.

The people who have declared their intentions to run are quite a laughing stock.  They are all establishment figures--including the Son-In-law of Khameini and a former Minister of the Interior.   Khameini came out with a manifesto on how to have the elections conducted.   I suppose one cannot argue with the representative of God on Earth (the official designation of his position as the leader of the Revolution in the current constitution for Iran).   The man to watch, though, is former President Khatami.    He recently gave a speech where he noted how desperate the situation in the Country was.   He noted that even if the Prophet Mohammad came down, he did not have the power to fix things.    Within the context of Iranian politics, it is a profound statement that questions the management of the Country over the past 8 years.    In his speech, Khatami talked about how he handed an economy that was in reasonably decent shape with strong foreign reserves that has been squandered by the sheer incomptenence of the current Government in power in the Country.    The bellicose rhetoric by Iran is allowing the United States to sell 10 Billion Dollars in Arms to Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates and Israel.   This is as Syria continues to burn and be destroyed by the ambition of one man--Bashar Al Assad who is killing so that he does not get killed.    

Beyond the Middle East, there is Europe.    Europe continues to be in recession.    I am awaiting the latest out of the United Kingdom as to whether the UK has gone into recession again.    What is apparently increasingly clear is that austerity is not working.    Christine Lagard of the IMF warned George Osborne, the UK Finance Minister to change course.   It appears that George Osbrone is not hearing them and is bent upon continuing the misguided policies.    As it stands now, Government schemes to cut back but also try and come up with new schemes is simply not working.     The malaise is Europe is continuing with no apparent end in sight.  

Moving on to the Americas, the US political scene is as convoluted as ever.   The sequester is starting to really impact services.    Finger pointing has been going on with no apparent end in sight.     The FAA has been the latest in the crossfire due to the decision it made to furlough Air Traffic Controllers.  The Republicans in Congress accused the Obama Administration of being "imperial".   But, Airlines had already planned for it based on this received from JetBlue:


If you’re planning to travel, or know family and friends who are traveling, we'd like to inform you how the recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sequestration may affect your plans. Due to FAA furloughs, airport and flight delays are possible. While specific details have not been provided, we’ll do everything we can to keep you updated about this matter. As always, our focus will be running a safe and efficient operation for our customers.

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Dave Canty
Director, Loyalty Marketing & Partnerships
What I also continue to be disturbed by is how the sequester is impacting support for US military families.   I also am a bit distrubed by the rise of hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay.    More than half the prisoners have gone on hunger strike.    Over 80 of them have been cleared to be released.    Yet, they continue to linger in Prison.  

I conclude this latest "watch" with Pakistan.    The campaign is in full swing.  I saw reports of a debate between Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif.   I hope Imran wins.  I will have more to say on it as the Elections draws near.

What is clear is simply this:  There is never, ever, ever a dull moment.....

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