For the Global Thinker

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Am I being executed?

A Brazilian man executed by firing squad along with seven other prisoners in Indonesia on Wednesday had no idea he was about to be killed until his final minutes, the priest who counselled him has said.


He was hearing voices all the time,” Burrows told Irish radio. “I talked to him for about an hour and a half, trying to prepare him for the execution. I said to him, ‘I’m 72 years old, I’ll be heading to heaven in the near future, so you find out where my house is and prepare a garden for me.’
“But when they took [the prisoners] out of the cells … and when they put these bloody chains on them, he said to me, ‘Am I being executed?’ ” Burrows said.
“I said, ‘Yes, I thought I explained that you.’ He didn’t get excited – he’s a quiet sort of a guy – but he said, ‘This is not right.’


Saturday, April 25, 2015

China’s Offering a World Bank Alternative — and U.S. Allies Are Signing Up


The United States and 15 developed countries control 52 percent of voting rights at the IMF, leaving 48 percent for the 168 other member countries. China, now the world’s biggest economy, has only 3.8 percent of voting power — that’s a smaller share than those of the UK, France, Germany, or Japan. Brazil, South Korea, and Mexico each enjoy less voting power than tiny Belgium.
Despite much protest from the BRICS and other developing economies, they’ve received just 6 percent more voting power over the last 20 years. The proportions and trends have been roughly the same at the World Bank.

The United States and the Europeans have also held tightly to what’s been characterized as their “feudal” prerogatives of filling the World Bank presidency with a U.S. citizen and the managing director post at the IMF with a European.

With some 17 percent of the vote in both institutions, the United States also exercises veto power over key policy decisions. To show that it didn’t want to replicate the Americans’ behavior at the World Bank, Beijing announced that despite its contribution of the largest share of capital to the AIIB, it would not demand veto power over policy decisions.

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