Monthly Archives: April 2011

Gideon Rachman

I am about to go on holiday for a week. This blog will largely fall silent unless a) Something amazing happens, b) It is once again hijacked by the FT foreign desk or c) I have too much time on my hands.

Gideon Rachman

Italy has a huge national debt of something like 120% of GDP. But last week, I was told by a former top official in the Italian government that Italy has done an audit of all its possessions and found that the state’s assets still outweigh its liabilities. The difficulty is that many of the state’s possessions are difficult to realise. How do you cash in on the Colosseum, for example? Read more

In this week’s podcast: The threat to Yemen’s president; refugees and the Libyan crisis; and, shutting down the government in Washington Read more

In this week’s podcast: Oil prices hit $120 a barrel; UK government tax hike causes Norwegian group Statoil to reconsider projects in the North Sea; Statoil makes a significant oil discovery in Norway; and your comments on Energy Source Read more

Gideon Rachman

Life in much of Europe is still pretty sweet. Yesterday, the Duomo in Milan shimmered in the sunshine. The atmosphere of serenity was disrupted only by the thousands of drunk, chanting German football fans who had gathered in the piazza, ahead of Schalke’s game that night against Inter Milan, the champions of Europe. But I was inclined to put a positive spin on this scene. What a tribute to the prosperity of the old continent that thousands of ordinary German oafs have the time and money to buzz off to Milan in the middle of the week, to watch a football match. Read more

For the western world, the “Arab spring” threatens to be a classic case of good news and bad news. The good news is that this is the Arab 1989. The bad news is that we are the Soviet Union.

Gideon Rachman

I was amused to see the “breaking news” ticker on the FT website announcing that Barack Obama will run for a second term. What a surprise! If he had announced that he would not seek re-election, that really would have been news. Read more

Gideon Rachman

How many civil wars and massacres can the world deal with, at one time? The situation in Ivory Coast now threatens to rival Libya for bloodshed, mayhem and human-rights abuses. Descriptions of the situation in Abidjan, once one of Africa’s most cosmopolitan cities, sound desperate. There are also reports of massacres and mass atrocities in fighting outside the capital. All this raises the obvious question. If the UN and western military forces are prepared to intervene so forcefully in Libya, why has the response to Ivory Coast been so relatively feeble? Read more

In this week’s podcast: Middle East unrest spreads to Syria; American politics and the Libyan intervention; and, Japan struggles to deal with the devastation and tragedy of the tsunami. Read more