6 May 2015   Leave a comment

Tomorrow the British will vote in a general election, but the polls suggest that there will be no clear majority party or coalition in the next Parliament.  It doesn’t happen very often, but when it occurs the phenomenon is known as a “hung” Parliament.   In the election of 2010 the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats formed a majority coalition fairly quickly even though the coalition was a marriage of very different parties.  The speed last time was a function of a clear fear in Great Britain that a hung Parliament would cause great financial distress given the economics of the Great Recession.  This time around there a similar sense of urgency doesn’t really exist.  So we can watch as the British parties try to come up with a governing majority.  Israel has been going through intense bargaining since its general election and the deadline for forming a government there ends at midnight tonight.

For the first time since records have been kept the whole world averaged 400 parts per million Carbon Dioxide, a level long considered to be dangerously high.  Parts of the earth’s atmosphere had reached that level in the past, but this time the global average topped 400 ppm.  The levels have increased by 120 ppm since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and the rate of increase over 2012-2014 was 2.25 ppm, the highest rate ever recorded.   In many respects, the planet has now crossed the point of no return: even if emissions of C)2 were to stop completely, the levels would continue to go up for years and will only decline very slowly.

The parliament of Belarus has just passed a law which requires all unemployed persons to pay an annual tax of about $250.  The law is designed to prevent “social dependency” and encourage people to find employment and was passed on a vote of 100-2.  The interesting aspect of the law is that it is designed to prevent a huge “shadow” economy in which a large number of people are not “officially” working in an attempt to avoid paying taxes.

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Posted May 7, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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