1 Jobless rate in Eurozone at record (Jack Ewing in The New York Times) The economic recovery in the euro zone is feeble. Employment continues to suffer. And the patient is likely to be getting around on crutches for months if not years to come. That was essentially the prognosis from two key economic indicators published this week and from economists assessing the latest conditions. The number of people out of work in the countries using the euro currency rose slightly in September, while inflation fell more than expected — both signs of a weak economy.
The biggest beneficiaries of this gradual change in perception have been Chinese firms. According to the Heritage Foundation, a US-based conservative think tank, China’s outbound investments have shot up from a mere $10 billion in 2005 to a hefty $42 billion in the first six months of 2013. China’s foreign investments are expected to top $170 billion in just four years, making it the world’s second-largest foreign investor after the US, overtaking even Japan.
While conservatives in the US and Europe fear the ‘takeover’ of Western assets by the Communist Party of China (which is seen as the ultimate owner of its state-owned conglomerates), many Western leaders are laying out the red carpet for these firms. Britain’s Treasury chief George Osborne, who recently wrapped up a visit to China, even offered to allow Chinese companies acquire majority ownership in nuclear power projects in the UK. Britain is eager for Chinese firms to invest in infrastructure projects and even in the country’s banking sector.
Sitting atop a humungous pile of foreign exchange — its reserves shot up by a whopping $163 billion in the third quarter of this fiscal, touching a record $3.66 trillion — China is busy investing in assets around the globe. The Asian giant initially invested in acquiring energy and mining assets in Africa and Latin America, but with declining returns on its cash pile, its appetite for Western stocks, corporate debt and real estate has grown enormously.
Correspondents say the statue is viewed as a direct challenge by Mr Modi, the prime ministerial candidate for India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to appropriate the mantle of Patel, who was associated with the governing Congress party. Earlier this week, Mr Modi said that Patel would have been a much better choice than Jawaharlal Nehru as India's first prime minister. The comment was seen as a dig at the country's Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, led by Congress party chief Sonia and her son Rahul, who are descended through Nehru. The family has ruled for most of India's post-independence history.
Narendra Modi is a controversial figure who has been credited for bringing prosperity and development to the state of Gujarat but who has also been accused of complicity in some of the worst religious riots in recent Indian history. Mr Modi has always denied any wrongdoing.