In May 2010, while the rest of the Western world was busy picking up the pieces from the combined banking and real estate crises, a fiscal crisis hit Greece. The Greek government discovered it was unable to service the country’s soaring public debt, which stood at 129 percent of GDP in 2009. That year, Greece’s budget deficit was 15.6 percent of GDP, while its current account deficit was 15 percent of GDP. Soon the state coffers would be depleted, leaving the 20 percent of the country’s labor force that works in the public sector without compensation and numerous state-owned enterprises, [...]
The alliance between the United States and South Korea arose from the postwar liberation of southern Korea by U.S. forces and then the subsequent attack on the newly independent country by North Korea, backed by the Soviet Union and Communist China, in June 1950. U.S. forces have remained in South Korea ever since, though their numbers have fluctuated over time. During its first decades as an independent country, South Korea’s policy with regard to Pyongyang focused on being able to repel another North Korean invasion in partnership with the United States. The longer-term aspiration was to exploit the anticipated eventual [...]
Last week, the British government announced that it would ban khat, an herbal stimulant popular in the Middle East and Africa. In an email interview, Axel Klein, a lecturer in the anthropology of conflict, criminal justice and policy at the University of Kent’s Center for Health Services Studies, explained the rationale for the ban and its likely effect on khat-consuming communities within the U.K. WPR: What was the British government’s rationale for banning khat? Axel Klein: Interestingly, the arguments for the ban were not laid out clearly. All the home secretary said in her statement was that khat had been [...]
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