Economist 4/19/14

  1. Speaking on a panel at the 4th Beijing International Film Festival, Mr Oliver Stone savaged the Chinese film industry for failing to confront the last century of China’s history, especially the catastrophes under Mao’s rule.He has also applied a critical (critics say distorted) lens to American history to make some of his most memorable films: “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July” about the Vietnam war and its aftermath, and “JFK” and “Nixon” about an alleged conspiracy to assassinate one president and the conspiracies concocted by another. Some interpreted Mr Feng’s remarks as a show of solidarity with director Jia Zhangke, whose film, “A Touch of Sin” , a critically acclaimed feature film about violence and other social ills in present-day China, has not been approved for cinematic release.
  2. Bangladesh’s government banks are normally fleeced at street level during opening hours, in plain sight. In 2012, in the biggest of many banking scandals since the banks were nationalised 40 years before, Sonali Bank revealed that one of its branches in Dhaka had granted a particular firm almost 27 billion taka in loans on false premises. All but 4 billion taka subsequently disappeared without trace.Bangladesh is no exception: in December the central bank estimated that 166 billion taka of loans at the four big state-owned banks were in default—roughly 20% of the total. The government injected 41 billion taka into them that month, 20 billion taka of which went to Sonali Bank. The government issued nine new banking licences in 2012, bringing the total number of banks to 56. That should bring new capital to the industry, and spur lending.Bangladesh’s private banks, in turn, have helped boost garment-making, its main industry.
  3.  If yogurt is strategic for the French, olive oil has the same exalted status in Spain. Four savings banks wanted to sell their combined 31% stake in Deoleo, the country’s largest producer. Olive oil accounts for a mere 0.8% of Spain’s exports. Yet it is an extra-sensitive matter. The country is the world’s largest producer of the oil, but one-third of its exports are sent in bulk to Italy where it is bottled and sold, often for a significant markup, under Italian labels.t is a similar story for wine. Spain has overtaken France and Italy to become the world’s largest producer, but sells almost half of its exports in bulk to markets like France, some of which is retailed under French labels. 
  4. David Cameron said earlier this month that he was launching an investigation into the Brotherhood—its aims, activities and structures. Since then it has been reported—but strongly denied by Brotherhood representatives—that the organisation is moving its European operating base from London to Graz in Austria. It’s not a secret that many of the movement’s leaders moved to London after last year’s coup in Egypt which overthrew a Brotherhood-backed government .But the announcement seemed like a prudent response to pressure from Saudi Arabia, and in particular the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for a crackdown on the Brotherhood. Both Gulf States have long been wary of the group; Both countries have poured thousands of dollars into Egypt to prop up the post-Brotherhood interim authorities.the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), a panel of clerics who opine on the issues facing Muslims living in the West, from personal hygiene and sexual behaviour to matters of family finance. It even has a Facebook pageIts head is Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Qatar-based preacher who is sometimes called the spiritual leader of the Brotherhood;
  5. Calling yourself a diaosi in China  has also become a proud statement of solidarity with the masses against the perceived corruption of the wealthy. The word itself entered the language only recently, appealing to office grunts across the country, especially in the IT industry. A mostly male species, diaosiare often daydreamers with poor social skills and an obsession with online gaming.Mr Zhu says what makes him a diaosi is that he is the son of factory workers. He is not fu er dai—second-generation rich—or guan er dai—the son of powerful government officials (it does not escape a diaosi’s notice that those two categories often overlap). He and hisdiaosi colleagues feel that, with connections or cash, they might have attended a better university and found a better job.

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