Daily Archives: August 15, 2011

David Pilling

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi on August 14, 2011. Getty Images.

There are some strange things going on in Burma, the country renamed Myanmar by the generals who have ruled it since 1962. On Sunday, Aung San Suu Kyi returned to her home after leaving Rangoon, the former capital, for the first time since she was released from seven years of house arrest in November.

The 66-year-old Nobel prize winner opened a library, donated food to some flood victims, and made a couple of speeches to several hundred supporters in which she asked for their patience. 

Gideon Rachman

The French debate about their national debt seems to have taken a new and faintly alarming turn. The lead article on the front page of yesterday’s Le Monde was headlined: “States and their debts: a brutal struggle since the Middle Ages”.

In a sub headline, the paper proclaimed: “Declare war or liquidate your creditors …some historic methods of freeing yourself from debt.” It also noted cheerily that France’s debt passed 80% of GDP in 1788. Both numbers are meant to be significant. French debt is now roughly at the 80% level and 1788 was, of course, the year before the French Revolution. As the paper notes, the whole beastly mess kicked off when Louis XVI ran out of cash and convened the Estates-General to try to deal with the state’s mounting debts. You have been warned.