Daily Archives: July 31, 2013

Graffiti outside the ECB’s future headquarters. (Getty)

Could the European Central Bank be learning a thing or two about managing the message? Ahead of Thursday’s interest rate-setting meeting, when policymakers will want to do nothing more than say “we’re holding steady”, it looks like the bank may come up with an eye-catching announcement to give everyone something to write about.

That something is the long-running and vexed question of why the bank that loves to tell you how transparent it is (well, at certain times, once you’ve cleared security and as long as you understand no quotes should be used from this conversation) keeps the minutes of its governing council meetings secret for 30 years. The practice makes it an outlier – the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Bank of Japan all publish minutes of their monetary policy meetings within a month of the meeting that they cover.

 

Dreamstime

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met for two days of talks in Washington this week to discuss restarting the peace talks that collapsed in 2008. US secretary of state John Kerry said that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have set themselves a goal of reaching a “final status” agreement within nine months.

We’ve put together a potted history of the peace process and writing on the talks to show why an agreement to talk, incremental though it sounds, is still a big deal. 

By Catherine Contiguglia
♦ The deal reached between China and the European Union on solar panel dumping may have stopped a potential trade war, but for EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht, it was one more incident where his free trade crusade was dampened by the fragmented bloc he represents.
♦ Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is funnelling billions of dollars into building the backbone of necessary communications networks throughout Africa, but has some worried that its domination of the sector creates the potential for widespread espionage.
♦ Despite multiple innovations in male contraceptives, progress towards their approval for widespread use has stagnated due to difficult barriers, particularly the lack of incentive for pharmaceutical companies to invest in a product with so many cultural and societal implications.
♦ Larry Summers should go ahead and book his summer vacation, John Cassidy writes, arguing that despite White House support, Summers has not made a great enough effort to appease Obama’s supporters by distancing himself from financial deregulation.
♦ Bradley Manning has been called many things, but a look at his background shows a conflicted young man struggling with his gender identity and personal values as a soldier in the U.S. Army.