November 15, 2012
Back to recession for Eurozone, while China tries on new leadership for size.
Eurozone slides back into recession
LONDON — The 17-country eurozone has fallen back into recession for the first time in three years as the fallout from the region’s financial crisis was felt from Amsterdam to Athens.
And with surveys pointing to increasingly depressed conditions across the 17-member group that uses the euro at a time of high unemployment in many countries, there are fears that the recession will deepen, and make the debt crisis — which has been calmer of late — even more difficult to handle.
Official figures Thursday showed that the eurozone contracted by 0.1 percent in the July to September period from the quarter before as economies including Germany and the Netherlands suffer from falling demand.
While the U.S has managed to bounce back from its own savage recession in 2008-09, albeit inconsistently, and China continues to post strong growth, Europe’s economies have been on a downward spiral — and there is little sign of any improvement in the near-term.
Xi takes China’s helm with many tough challenges
BEIJING — Long-anointed successor Xi Jinping assumes the leadership of China at a time when the ruling Communist Party is confronting slower economic growth, a public clamor to end corruption and demands for change that threaten its hold on power.
The country’s political elite named Xi to the top party post on Thursday, and unexpectedly put him in charge of the military too, after a weeklong party congress and months of divisive bargaining.
The appointments give him broad authority, but not the luxury of time. After decades of juggernaut growth, China sits on the cusp of global pre-eminence as the second largest economy and newest power, but it also has urgent domestic troubles that could frustrate its rise.
Problems that have long festered — from the sputtering economy to friction with the U.S. and territorial spats with Japan and other neighbors — have worsened in recent months as the leadership focused on the power transfer. Impatience has grown among entrepreneurs, others in the new middle class and migrant workers — all wired by social media and conditioned by two decades of rising living standards to expect better government, if not democracy.
All along, police have continued to harass and jail a lengthening list of political foes, dissidents, civil rights lawyers and labor activists. A 14-year-old Tibetan set himself on fire in western China on Thursday, in the latest of more than 70 self-immolations Tibetans have staged over the past 20 months in desperate protests against Chinese rule.
In his first address to the nation, Xi, a 59-year-old son of a revolutionary hero, acknowledged the lengthy agenda for what should be the first of two five-year terms in office. He promised to deliver better social services while making sure China stands tall in the world and the party continues to rule.