1. The Global Financial Crisis in Europe.
Economic Crisis in Europe: Causes, Consequences and Responses. –European Community.
86 pages of a well structured, as well as highly detailed summary of the Financial crisis in Europe, how it all began and the consequences and effects it has brought upon all the member states of the European Union. It includes various graphs and tables illustrating the hit that one of the most important economies of the world took in the summer of 2009, and is still suffering the repercussions of to date. I learnt from this publication that the EU is not as united as its motto; “United in diversity” would suggest. It’s interesting to see how better off member states are not exceptionally happy about approving bailouts for struggling nations (Greece, Portugal, Spain etc) and how this is causing political ties between the EU to loosen.
Saving the Euro -Tick Tock. The Economist, September 8th 2012.
This article from the Economist paints a rather gloomy and doomed picture of the economic situation in Europe. It also hints the collapse of the economic integration of member states if conditions continues to worsen and deteriorate at the same rate as they have over the past couple of months: “Yet the euro zone now looks woefully behind in its mission to save the single currency. That is partly because a rescue is genuinely complicated. But it is also because too many people think that time is on their side”. The article mentions significant events such as; Germany’s senior court’s rule on whether a euro zone rescue fund is constitutional, and member state leaders preparing themselves for a summit in October. However, the author of this article clearly states: “But measured against what needs to be done, this is inadequate”. This article also puts strain on steps being taken towards a banking union by the chief of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi. The writer also makes apparent the domino effect of the crisis, on political ties in the European Union in various parts of the article: “prolonged economic stagnation will make it more expensive to keep the Euro together – and poison the politics of a rescue” and “far from bringing countries together, the crisis is tugging them apart”. Also mentions clearly: “In the end, self-interest and good sense will win out”.
Sterling on the rise: Will the pound keep strengthening against the euro? By Adrian Lowery, August 9th 2012.
“In 2012 the pound has made gains against the single currency as the euro zone debt crisis re-erupted. It is 16 cents up on the euro since July last year”. Statistical facts in this article make it evident that the pound has been gaining value in comparison to the euro over the course of the past year. This article briefly illustrates “What’s happening to sterling now?” and “What next for the pound?” Presents facts and figures in a neat and organized manner, which are good to refer to when making evident that the sterling has been gaining more value, how it has been doing so and why.
Will the UK join the Euro?
“It is difficult to see how the UK can afford to remain outside the Euro economically and politically”. I found this article intriguing as it highlighted the disadvantages to the British for not adopting the Euro, back when it was newly launched, whereas the article the article I read prior to this one clearly indicated that the Pound had a higher value in comparison to the Euro. So why is it that the UK didn’t adopt the Euro along with all the member states in 1999, and still hasn’t 13 years later? Did it prove to be a good decision or does it predict another fate entirely for the predicament the continent has found itself in. Why was 70% of the population against forgoing the Pound for the Euro? The reasons this article lists are that the fact that the UK is an island adds to the natural reserve of its inhabitants, Brits rarely bother to learn other languages, and cross national borders less frequently than their mainland counterparts and that they have had their currency for much longer than many other European nations.
Should the UK join the EU Monetary Union? November 13, 2011
This article looks at both why and why not the UK should join the EU monetary union. “Several key economic reasons were named for both in favour of and against adopting the Euro. The parties that were supportive of joining the EMU saw the single currency as a natural and further step towards the Single European Market. They argued that it would enhance the competitiveness of the UK economy and provide sustainable growth and prosperity. Furthermore, the government embraced a pro-European policy and wanted to lead the country out of isolation into the heart of European politics.”
“On the contrary, the opponents of the single currency argued that the Euro would undermine British national identity by replacing the Pound, and that Britain was culturally and economically closer to US business cycles. Their strongest argument against adopting the Euro was the loss of national sovereignty in terms of monetary policy, which would have largely been coordinated by the European Central Bank.”
“The UK would not have been able to follow an independent exchange rate policy anymore with the result that it would have been impossible to adjust interest rates in times of crisis. The UK would have lost influence over its national economic agenda, since more and more macroeconomic decisions were planned to be made in Brussels. Additionally, while fiscal policy, like tax harmonisation, was not directly linked to the EMU, opponents believed that the adoption of the single currency and deeper integration in relation to the Single Market was a clear sign for an on-going convergence process.”
The article also describes the “Five Economic Tests” issued by the British Treasury in 1997, which were the key economic criteria for a potential British membership. In 2003, the Treasury issued its assessment it concluded that the five tests were either not sufficiently met or answered, and as a result British membership in the monetary union not recommendable in the foreseeable future.
2. Sexual Education in Religious schools.
New York Archdiocese Criticizes Sex-Ed Mandate. By Anna M. Phillips,The New York Times. August 10, 2011.
“The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York called a new city requirement that sex education be taught at all public, middle and high schools, ‘troubling’, and some Catholic officials said they would advise Catholic parents not to let their children participate”. The new mandate introduced in New York caused an alarm amongst the Catholic community. All representatives of the Church believed that “parents, not the schools, should educate children about sex”. The director of communications for the archdiocese, Joseph Zwilling, speaks against the mandate: “This mandate usurps that role [of the parents], and allows the public school system to substitute its beliefs and values for those of the parents”. The new mandate, regularizes the teachings of sex-education curriculum packages, such as HealthSmart and Reducing The Risk, which instruct messages such as the only way to avoid pregnancy and STD’s is abstinence, and describe how to use contraception’s and the appropriate age for involvement in sexual activity. The article mentions a few actions being taken against the new mandate. A lawyer for the archdiocese, Edward Mechman encourages parents to exercise an opt-out clause and exclude their children from lessons about contraception: “I’d also insist that parents inspect the materials to make sure there’s nothing really offensive or inaccurate being put in there.”
The Bishop of Brooklyn, Nicholas A. DiMarzio planned to work with Catholic parents across the city to “assert their rights on this issue”. Also, some public schools that rent space from the Church could have to find new locations in which they could teach the required courses. The article also shows the other side of society: which approves of the new mandate implementing sex-ed in public school. Imam Souleimane Konate, who is the head of Masjid Aqsa in Harlem, was in favor of the requirement. He thought of it as a good idea and does talk of contraceptions and abstinence himself sometimes although this topic is frowned upon because it is a taboo in his community. Some parents were also forced into approving the mandate. This is because teenage pregnancy rates and the increasing number of young people with HIV made it difficult for them to oppose the requirement on moral grounds.
Sex Education and Catholic Schools. By Thomas P. Dolan, from chapter XI of “On Teaching the Faith”.
Council of Fathers, Vatican II said that children should be given prudent sex education and that this education ought to be given in the heart of the family. Pope Paul VI classes sex education along with erotic literature and pornography as on of the evils of the day. “Despite this wise stand on the part of the Church, some Catholic schools have followed the example of public schools or have bowed to liberal pressure and have put in sex education programs; and some Bishops have been persuaded to permit, and even to recommend, sex education in classrooms.” This passage also describes how psychologists and psychiatrists have spoken out against sexual education as it has a deleterious effect on children. Personalities such as Dr. Rhoda Lorand, Dr. John Meeks, Dr. Val Davajan etc. have “declared that sex instruction of children in the classroom or in groups is dehumanizing and leads to neurosis”. “Dr. Eickhoff notes a correlation between emotionally disturbed children and those who have been exposed to sex education, and Dr. Davajan states; “I am convinced that those who have planned and are presently promoting this national sex education program have a very definite goal … to degrade and denigrate the mentality of an entire generation of American children.””
Ed Balls denies offering faith schools opt-out from sex education rules. Andrew Sparrow, The Guardian, 23 February 2010.
The children, schools and families bill, will require state schools in England to teach pupils about contraception and the importance of stable relationships, including civil partnerships, and it will forbid the promotion of homophobia. Ed Balls, who is the Shadow Chancellor and MP for Morely and Outwood, denied offering faith schools an opt-out from new rules forcing teachers to address issues such as homosexual equality and contraception in sex education lessons, “but an amendment tabled by Balls will allow faith schools to teach such issues in a way that reflects their religious character.” “There’s no watering down of what is actually an overdue and radical change. There’s no opt-out for any faith school from teaching the full, broad, balanced curriculum on sex education,” Balls said. He also said that, under the current system, faith schools could choose not to teach children anything about contraception, abortion or homosexuality. “Or you could choose only to teach children that homosexuality is wrong or contraception is wrong,” he said. But in future schools would have to explain these issues to their pupils, he said. “They must teach children a balanced curriculum that promotes equality and accepts diversity,” he said.”
Catholics, evangelicals protest sexual education in Costa Rica schools. July 18 2012, by AFP, ticotimes.net.
An evangelical group in Costa Rica has encouraged Christian followers to file constitutional challenges against a plan to teach sexual education in public schools. Both the Catholic Church and evangelicals have rejected the sexual education lesson plan, which focuses on topics including building self-esteem and ways to prevent pregnancy. In the churches’ opinion the material encourages students to start up sexual relations at a younger age. Authorities, however, believe this education is essential to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies in Costa Rica, which last year was 13,500. The material also will help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, the Education Ministry said. The Evangelical Alliance, which united the various protesters, threatened to file thousands of legal challenges as a means of exerting pressure so that judicial officials suspend the implementation of the educational program.
Comprehensive Sex Education Might Reduce Teen Pregnancies, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily (Mar. 20, 2008).
New research suggests that comprehensive sex education might lead to less teen pregnancy, and there are no indications that it boosts the levels of sexual intercourse or sexually transmitted diseases. Parents and educators have long argued over whether students should get instruction in birth control or simply learn how to say no. At issue is which approach will best postpone sex. According to research done by Pamela Kohler, a program manager at the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues: “Teens who received comprehensive sex education were 60 percent less likely to report becoming pregnant or impregnating someone than those who received no sex education.” The findings support comprehensive sex education, Kohler said: “There was no evidence to suggest that abstinence-only education decreased the likelihood of ever having sex or getting pregnant.”