22 May 2016   Leave a comment

Sunday’s Presidential election in Austria was too close to call and it is likely that absentee ballots will decide the outcome.  Preliminary results gave the far-right candidate, Norbert Hofer,  51.9 percent and the Green candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen, 48.1 percent.   The Social Democratic and People’s Party, the once dominant parties in Austria, were eliminated in the initial voting last month, signalling the end of “politics as usual” in Austria as seems to be the case in other elections in the world.  Hofer is strongly nationalist, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant, and is closely aligned with the eurosceptic constituencies in Europe.

Norbet Hofer–Show the Flag:  Truth, Freedom, and Love of Home

The Greek Parliament has approved a fresh round of austerity measures, including tax increases of €1.8 billion.  These measures are among the most punitive yet exacted on Greece and they were passed in hopes of receiving debt relief and additional bail-out money from the EU and the IMF.  The measures include the sale of about 71,500 pieces of prime public property, a humiliating concession by any sovereign state.  As with the previous two austerity programs, I suspect that this one will only drive the Greek economy deeper into debt.  The austerity programs are nothing less than complete lunacy.

The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit starts tomorrow in Istanbul.  The current humanitarian system was developed 75 years ago and there is little question that it is inadequate for the crises the world currently faces.   Various international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and emergency relief organizations are attending the summit, and the issues on the agenda for the summit can be found at this home page.  A rethinking of humanitarian aid is long overdue, but I am not certain that a “summit” is the best way to start the process.

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Posted May 23, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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