Canadian Prime Minister Flip Flops on Election Rigging Scandal
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has flip-flopped on the recent election rigging scandal. Stephen Harper denies Conservatives committed fraud by using Elections Canada to pay for their television advertising.
In 2000, as head of the National Citizens Coalition, Stephen Harper
led an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada against election spending
limits for third parties.
He opposed such limits, and lost. The
Supreme Court in 2004 held that "the overarching objective of the
spending limits is electoral fairness." Spending limits exist, in its
words, to "level the playing field" so that parties with significant
financial resources cannot "dominate the political discourse."
jump ahead to 2006. Harper is leader of the opposition and has an
election to fight. Nationally, spending limits for each party have been
set at $18.5 million. Locally, limits vary but are about $70,000 for
National TV ads are expensive. The Conservative
party needs more money to pay for them. A decision is made. If it were
to give local ridings money, which it can do, those ridings could give
that money right back to it – "in-and-out," as Elections Canada would
later describe the scheme – to buy TV time locally in order to run ads
that would be identical to its national ads except that, at the end of
each ad at the bottom of the TV screen, in small print, would appear
the words, "Paid for by (name of local candidate)."
In this way,
according to Conservative party thinking, it could have ads with no
less of a national message, and impact, but paid for by local
campaigns. So instead of being able to spend only $18.5 million
nationally, it could spend much more.
Wait – it gets better.
After each election, by law, every local campaign is entitled to
receive a rebate from Elections Canada based on what that campaign
spent. In this instance, according to Conservative party logic, because
this "in-and-out" money would be considered local money, the rebate
received by each participating riding would be that much higher.
example, a riding that would otherwise have spent only $30,000 on its
local campaign, having received an additional $40,000 from the
Conservative party, then giving it right back for the TV ads, would be
deemed to have spent $70,000, entitling it to receive $42,000 as a
rebate instead of $18,000.
For each riding that would mean
having more money to pay off the debts of that campaign, more money for
the next election, then more "in-and-out" money during the next
election – election after election. The money would come from Elections
Canada, which means, of course, from the taxpayer, which means, of
course, from you and me.
this isn't what Elections Canada intended. Spending limits exist, as
the Supreme Court stated, so that "no one voice is overwhelmed by
Elections Canada set national and local limits for this
same reason. It also intended that national spending be for national
purposes, and local spending for local purposes.
Imagine for a
minute that the Conservatives' position is correct, and that
"in-and-out" transactions are allowable. It would then be possible for
the national Conservative campaign to "encourage" every local riding in
the country, all 308 of them, to receive, then send back, not just
$40,000 of their $70,000 local spending limit, but $60,000 or more.
It would mean, all for the price of a small tag line at the end of an
ad – "Paid for by (name of local candidate)" – that the national
campaign could spend to its $18.5 million limit, plus (say) $60,000
multiplied by 308 ridings, or another almost $18.5 million – in total,
It would also mean that each local riding, having
spent its limit of $70,000, would receive a rebate of $42,000 to spend
between election campaigns, for pamphlets, for local or national
"in-and-out" ads. So that when the next campaign began, much of their
local spending limit could again go "in-and-out" for the purposes of
the national campaign.
something is too good to be true, no matter how hard you spin it to
Elections Canada, to the courts, or to the Canadian people, usually it
There is a principle that applies to all facets of our common
law that you can't do indirectly what is expressly prohibited directly.
The Elections Act, in a specific provision, even states this principle
directly. The "in-and-out" nature of the Conservatives' arrangements
seems, ahem, fishy.
It suggests, at best, a mind that isn't quite
sure of the rightness of what it is doing. As well, it seems in some
cases as if these "in-and-out" transactions happened too fast for the
Conservative party's national office and their local candidates to get
their stories straight. Some candidates, in Elections Canada affidavits
filed in Court, said that the reason they were making these
"in-and-out" transactions was to contribute to the national ad buy.
Canada has ruled that for advertising to be considered local, it must
directly promote that local candidate or oppose his or her opponent, so
that "Paid for by Candidate X" would have to be understood as "direct
Beyond all this is a far larger problem for the
Conservatives – Stephen Harper. Besides his repeated comments about the
courts and judiciary, and his oft-demonstrated attitude of "I want to
do what I want to do, and I'm going to do it," it is his 2000 court
case, Harper v. Canada, the leading case in the field, that ended up in
the Supreme Court of Canada.
He brought it. He fought it. He lost
it. He knows the issue of spending limits backward and forward. He
knows what the Supreme Court said. He knows the law, its intention, its
spirit, everything about it. Yet, in the election of 2006, he did what
he did. It is called Fraud and he knows it.
It will be up to Elections Canada and the courts to
decide what they think about his actions. Then, in an election, it will
be up to Canadians to decide for themselves.
Canadian News of 2007 The Canada eZine - Newsmakers ... newspaper baron Conrad Black who came second with 27 and Prime Minister Stephen Harper with 15. ... www.lilith-ezine.com/articles/canada/2007/Canadian-News-2007.html
Prime Minister Stephen Harper stands in the House of Commons today (Dec. 7, 2007) to vote in favour of a motion to re-examine Canada's same-sex marriage law ... www.lilith-ezine.com/articles/canada/2006/Harper-FlipFlops-SameSex.html
Canadian Tax Reform The Canada eZine - Taxes & Politics ... I also told Stephen Harper how to reform Canada's taxes, starting with reducing the GST from 7% ... www.lilith-ezine.com/articles/canada/Canadian_Tax_Reform.html
30 Jan 2007 ... Click here to browse the Lilith eZine. ... Harper is being ridiculous. If Canada does not meet the Kyoto levels of emissions they can simply ... www.lilith-ezine.com/articles/environmental/Harper-Vs-Kyoto.html
Canada's Worker Shortages The Canada eZine - Economics & Education ... The Harper... government says we needn't worry because we are shifting away from ... www.lilith-ezine.com/articles/canada/2008/Canadas-Worker-Shortages.html
The Canadian Dollar & Exports The Canada eZine - Economics ... business following a recent meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Dalai Lama ... www.lilith-ezine.com/articles/canada/2008/Canadian-Dollar-and-Exports.html
Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter said Monday that Hamas – the
Islamic militant group that has called for the destruction of Israel –
is prepared to accept the right of the Jewish state to "live as a
neighbour next door in peace."
Carter relayed the message in a
speech in Jerusalem after meeting last week with top Hamas leaders in
Syria. It capped a nine-day visit to the Middle East aimed at breaking
the deadlock between Israel and Hamas militants who rule the Gaza Strip.
Hamas leaders "said that they would accept a Palestinian state on the
1967 borders" and they would "accept the right of Israel to live as a
neighbour next door in peace," Carter said.
The borders he
referred to were the frontiers that existed before Israel captured
large swaths of Arab lands in the 1967 Mideast War – including the West
Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.
In the past, Hamas officials have
said they would establish a ``peace in stages" if Israel were to
withdraw to the borders it held before 1967. But it has been evasive
about how it sees the final borders of a Palestinian state and has not
abandoned its official call for Israel's destruction.
which evacuated Gaza in 2005, has accepted the idea of a Palestinian
state there and in the West Bank. But it has resisted Palestinian
demands that it return to its 1967 frontiers.
Carter urged Israel to engage in direct negotiations with Hamas, saying failure to do so was hampering peace efforts.
"We do not believe that peace is likely and certainly that peace is not
sustainable unless a way is found to bring Hamas into the discussions
in some way," he said. "The present strategy of excluding Hamas and
excluding Syria is just not working."
Israel considers Hamas to
be a terrorist group and has shunned Carter because of his meetings
with Hamas' supreme chief, Khaled Mashaal, and other Hamas figures.
Syria harbours Hamas' exiled leadership in its capital, Damascus, and
supports the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas who warred with Israel in
the summer of 2006.
Carter said Hamas promised it wouldn't
undermine Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' efforts to reach a peace
deal with Israel, as long as the Palestinian people approved it in a
referendum. In such a scenario, he said Hamas would not oppose a
Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.
Sami Abu Zuhri in Gaza said Hamas' readiness to put a peace deal to a
referendum "does not mean that Hamas is going to accept the result of
Such a referendum, he said, would have to be
voted on by Palestinians living all over the world. They number about
9.3 million, including some four million living in the West Bank, Gaza
and east Jerusalem.
The only senior Israeli official to meet
with Carter was President Shimon Peres. During their meeting, Peres
scolded Carter for meeting with the Islamic militant group.
Israel says Carter's talks embolden Palestinian extremists and hurt
Palestinian moderates as they try to make peace with the Jewish state.
Abbas, who rules only the West Bank, is in a bitter rivalry with Hamas.
"The problem is not that I met with Hamas in Syria," Carter said
Monday. "The problem is that Israel and the United States refuse to
meet with someone who must be involved."
Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking has "regressed" since a U.S.-hosted
conference in Annapolis, Md., in November. He faulted Israel for
continuing to build on disputed land the Palestinians want for a future
state and for its network of roadblocks that severely hamper both Israelis and
Palestinians travelling in the West Bank. "The prison around Gaza has been tightened," he said, referring to Israel's blockade of the territory since the Hamas takeover.
Now that Carter has managed to bridge the gap, will Israel join the peace talks?
In other news, oil prices spiked last night to a record US$117.40 a barrel after a
Japanese oil tanker was hit by a rocket near Yemen and militants in
Nigeria claimed two attacks on pipelines.
Spring is here and I want to be outside so I will keep this short so you can all go outside and enjoy the wonderful weather.
I figure we should all enjoy it while it lasts because in two
months meteorologists are predicting record breaking heat waves, lots
of smog alerts and are already getting ready to warn people to stay
inside, stay in air conditioned rooms and avoid becoming dehydrated.
Bush wants greenhouse gas cuts by 2025 Revising his stand on global warming, President George W. Bush
called today for a halt in the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions
by 2025 and urged other major polluting nations to develop national
goals to address climate change.
In a Rose Garden speech on
global warming, Bush expressed concern that Congress might pass climate
legislation that would hurt economic growth. Critics of his energy
policy have argued that the Bush administration has dragged its feet in
addressing the problem. But Bush argued that his staff was working
intently to address the contentious issue about greenhouse gases
responsible for global warming.
a broad goal, the president offered only a general outline – and few
specifics – about how to achieve the objectives. Bush's proposal was
quickly denounced by congressional Democrats and environmentalists as
falling far short of what is needed to stabilize the concentration of
heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.
"Like many other countries, America's national plan will be a
comprehensive blend of market incentives and regulations to reduce
emissions by encouraging clean and efficient energy technologies," Bush
said. "We're willing to include this plan in a binding international
agreement, so long as our fellow major economies are prepared to
include their plans in such an agreement."
The president also
called for putting the brakes on greenhouse gas emissions from electric
power plants within 10 years to 15 years.
"We're doing a lot to
protect this environment. We've laid a solid foundation for further
progress. While these measures will bring us a long way toward
achieving our new goal, we've got to do more in the power-generation
sector," the president said.
"To reach our 2025 goal, we will
need to more rapidly slow the growth of power sector greenhouse gas
emissions so that they peak within 10 to 15 years, and decline
thereafter," he said. "By doing so, we will reduce emission levels in
the power sector well below where they were projected to be when we
first announced our climate strategy in 2002.
"There are a
number of ways to achieve these reductions, but all responsible
approaches depend on accelerating the development and deployment of new
technologies," Bush added.
Rep. Edward Markey, who chairs a
House committee on global warming, said the president's emissions goals
were aimed at ``freezing out real solutions to the threat of global
warming" being considered by Congress.
Senate Democrats said the
president's plan would allow continued growth of greenhouse gases for
nearly two decades during which the government estimates U.S.
heat-trapping emissions will grow. U.S. emissions from electric power
plants alone are expected to grow by 16 per cent.
Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee,
called Bush's new climate strategy "worse than doing nothing ... the
height of irresponsibility."
PLEASE NOTE: George W. Bush will be 80 years old by 2025 and likely won't live to see those greenhouse gas cuts. It is a bit like Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper promising to cut greenhouse gases by 2050. He has no intention of making the cuts himself, he's just trying to appear more eco-friendly.
Energy traders rewrote the record books again today, pushing oil
futures past US$114 a barrel as gasoline and diesel prices struck new
highs of their own at the pump in the United States. Light,
sweet crude for May delivery jumped as high as $114.08 a barrel shortly
after regular trading ended on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
about the American recession, insufficient global supply, stoked by a high-profile report by
the International Energy Agency that said Russian oil production
dropped this year for the first time in a decade, was largely
responsible for the surge. Oil prices rose as high as $113.99 a barrel
during the regular session before settling at $113.79, up $2.03 from a
record close of $111.76 a barrel on Monday.
Part of the problem is that the US dollar is so weak internationally and the Bush administration is asleep at the wheel.
April 13th 2008 - The Sunday Edition The Lilith eZine Sunday Edition
Letter from the Editor
Mayor David Miller has started a petition to ban handguns in Canada,
but really that is just a smoke screen. While I support the proposed
ban to a limited extent, what we really need is tougher border security
on both sides of the US-Canada border.
Hypothetically if I wanted to I could quite easily walk across the
border under the pretense of cross-border shopping, purchase a new or
used gun in either Michigan or New York state, and walk back with it in
my purse and no one (thanks to reverse discrimination against women)
would even think to search me or my backpack, purse or shopping bags. I
would be just one of thousands of cross-border shoppers who go across
the border every day to find cheaper deals. I could then sell the gun
on the Canadian side of the border for a tidy profit, paying for all
the cheap goods I purchased in the malls south of here and then some.
So much for border security.
We have three options:
Super Tight Border Security - Nothing gets across without being
searched, X-rayed and interviewed by border patrol guards on both sides
of the border. No more of this cross-border shopping nonsense. Only
transport trucks, tourists, people doing business or working on the
other side would get across and there would be high fees just to cross
#2. Invest heavily in getting more undercover police officers to catch gun smugglers and illegal arms dealers.
The status quo. Leave things as they are. Continue to allow the flow of
drugs/guns and whatever across the border and be prepared to pay the
consequences whenever our citizens get killed.
Banning handguns would make it easier to prosecute criminals who
take part in violent crimes, but it isn't going to solve the problem of
cross border gun smuggling. We can ban handguns if we want to, but it
is just one step towards finding a much larger solution.
Canadian economists were stunned today as Canadian exports grew 3.8% in February despite a recession in the USA according to a new report from Statistics Canada. The increase resulted in $39.3 billion in exports in February.
Canada also imported less in February, down 2%, to $34.4 billion, creating a roughly $5 billion monthly surplus, most of which is due to Canada's trade surplus with the United States (which in February soared to $8.1 billion).
Normally during a recession people would slow down on their consumption, but because the USA's economy is largely credit based they continue to keep consuming anyway and just go farther into debt. Hence the current subprime credit crisis.
Sector by Sector
All sectors reported higher exports in February, with energy and automotive shipments making up two-thirds of the increase.
Automotive exports rose 11.4 per cent to $5.6 billion, the biggest jump
since December 2006. Higher shipments of passenger cars powered most of
the growth, although exports of motor vehicle parts rose 5 per cent and
shipments of trucks and other motor vehicles increased 7.4 per cent.
Energy exports rose for the fourth month in a row, rising 3.8 per cent
to a record $9.7 billion, driven by higher shipments of crude petroleum
and natural gas. Exports of petroleum and coal products, electricity
and coal slipped.
Exports of industrial goods and materials rose
for the second month in a row, up 2.8 per cent to $8.9 billion, and
exports of metals and alloys hit record levels, buoyed by gold prices,
which hit a historic high in February.
Meanwhile, metal ore exports rose 12.8 per cent, largely as a result of record exports of iron ores, concentrates and scrap.
Chemical and plastics exports declined 4.3 per cent to $2.7 billion.
Exports of machinery and equipment rose 1.5 per cent to $7.5 billion, pushed by aircraft and other transportation equipment.
Forestry product shipments were up 3.9 per cent, to $2.2 billion, the
first rise in 11 months. Agricultural and fishing products rose 1 per
cent to a high of $3.1 billion, on record high canola exports.
The majority of import sectors lost ground in February, dragged down by
widespread declines in energy products. Imports of machinery and
equipment slipped 0.6 per cent to $9.5 billion, while automotive
imports advanced 2.7 per cent to $6.3 billion, led by motor vehicle
On January 21st, 22nd and 23rd stock markets around the world tumbled dramatically as investors feared an American recession would create a global recession ... www.lilith-ezine.com/articles/politics/American-Recession.html
"We are very lucid on the situation of the industry that there is a recession in the United States, at least in the car market,'' Carlos Ghosn told ... www.lilith-ezine.com/articles/automotive/Recession-Hits-Automotive-Sector.html
The American dollar is becoming worthless, and unlike a normal recession the US ... The USA is now in a recession and Ameircans just hasn't realize it ... www.lilith-ezine.com/articles/politics/American-Economy-Collapsing.html
We respect your opinion on this matter and hope you will respect ours.
As some of you have noted the Feminist eZine archives articles on
feminism for research purposes, but not all the articles include
statistics. The one you've responded to is largely an opinion piece
which is concerned with our view on using firearms to support feminism
(and in reverse, using feminism to support the right to bear arms).
The article in question was co-written by myself, Suzanne MacNevin, and
our assistant editor Charles Moffat who knows quite a bit about
firearms, their relative laws and also wrote the following articles:
Charles Moffat comes from an unusual perspective because he was nearly
murdered when he was 12 years old by a complete stranger, and yet he
himself is a supporter of the right to own rifles/shotguns but opposes
the legality of handguns.
You have every right to disagree with his, and our, opinions, and you
may disagree with some of the information on our website and how it is
You will note that at the bottom of the Subverting Feminism for Guns
article we do actually recommend women consider carrying a handgun, and
we even recommend the .357 Magnum. Some of you have pointed out that
the .357 Magnum is a bit heavy and you're under the impression that
"poor little weak women" can't even hold a Magnum properly. We assure
you women are a lot stronger than you think and they're more than
capable of pointing it at point blank range and hitting the target
squarely in the chest (unless they're nearly blind of course).
The article was directed not so much at the NRA, but at gun culture in
general since the NRA has no real presence in Canada or overseas and is
basically a rebuke of gun propaganda which attempts to convince people
that guns will protect you from rape/etc. Our personal belief however
is that women in particular would benefit from more exercise and
learning how to fight.
If any of you are also into boxing or martial arts and would like to
contribute an article on boxing/martial arts for beginners we'd be
interested in reading what you have to say and perhaps publishing it in
our health section as an alternative exercise.
You will note that Moffat and myself don't completely agree on the handgun issue, and we certainly don't expect everyone to agree with either of us.
Editor of the Lilith eZine
I have. When I was 12 years a complete stranger tried to murder myself, my best friend and my little sister. Indeed, I even have permanent hearing damage in my left year from that incident.
Roller coasters, horror movies, they don't scare me at all. Some lunatic with a gun however, that not only concerns me it pisses me right off.
In Canada we have a choice to make. Should we ban handguns and join dozens of other countries with strict anti-handgun laws that have significantly lower crime rates?
Yes, handguns don't kill people. People kill people, but it is far easier to kill someone when you can pull out an easily hidden handgun and shoot them in the face.
In the USA people have the right to bear arms, but in Canada it is not a right. It is a privilege. But what is the point of owning a handgun? You don't hunt with it. Its not the greatest to protect your family with (a shotgun would be better suited to protecting your home/family) and its only purpose, seriously, is to kill people.
You walk up to them, pull the gun out of your pocket and shoot them until they're dead. Point blank. The same way John Lennon died.
Toronto Mayor David Miller has made a petition to ban handguns in Canada. We are urging fellow Canadians to sign it.
By making handguns illegal we will be able to prosecute criminals more easily and put them behind bars for longer periods of time. We will able to tighten up on gun traffic coming into Canada from the USA and prevent those guns from getting into the hands of Canada's youth.
Sincerely, Charles Moffat Assistant Editor of the Lilith eZine
Here's what Mayor Miller has to say:
Toronto is a safe city but we continue to face unacceptable incidents
of gun violence. There is something we can do as Torontonians and as
must join together to call on the Parliament of Canada to ban the
private ownership of handguns. Mayor David Miller asks that you add
your name to the City of Toronto's petition for a Canada-wide handgun
Using the links below, please fill out the petition online, print it
out and have others join us in banning handguns and learn more about
this critical issue.
In 1995, Bill C-68 introduced new, stricter, gun control legislation. The current legislation provides harsher penalties for crimes involving firearm use, ... www.lilith-ezine.com/articles/canada/2007/Gun-Control-in-Canada.html
"Quebec and Ontario, the two largest provinces in the country want a handgun ban. That's a pretty good place to start," Bryant said. Gun dealers are pretty ... www.lilith-ezine.com/articles/canada/2007/Handguns-in-Canada.html
Why did the Turkey cross the road? To join the European Union.
Sorry, I couldn't resist poking fun at the name we westerners call the Republic of Turkey or Türkiye Cumhuriyeti. (I also think Cum hurry yeti is quite funny.)
The Republic of Turkey sits literally on the border between Asia
and Europe (making it one of very few transcontinental countries), and
likewise its culture is a mixture of east and west. For 85 years now
Turkey has been growing as a secular and democratic republic ever since
the Ottoman Empire fell in 1923.
Turkey is also the location of the legendary city of Troy, boasts
more ancient temples and palaces than both Greece and Egypt combined
and has neolithic architecture dating back to the stone age. The
Ottoman Empire (1299–1922) was one of the longest lasting and most
widespread empires of the pre-industrial age (the Roman Empire was
slightly larger, but lasted only 500 years).
Turkey helped the allies during WWII, was a founding member of the
United Nations in 1945, helped the United States during the Korean War,
was a bulwark of stability against the Soviets during the Cold War, has
had some diplomatic problems with Cyprus that are now being solved, and
is a major source of oil for the rest of Europe with major pipelines
from the Middle East and the Black Sea traveling through Turkey.
Today Turkey has a population of 71 million people but has a per
capita GDP of approx. $9300, which is to say that most Turks are dirt
poor despite the economic growth of recent years (5.1% in 2007 and
sustained high growth over the last 2 decades). 20% of the Turkish
population lives below the poverty line, but things are improving.
And they would improve a lot faster if they became an EU member.
Turkey is currently in the process of becoming a full EU member and
only yesterday Turkish President Abdullah Gul held a summit meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Bucharest. Sarkozy expressed that the "Year of Turkey" in France in 2009 will help eradicate negative notions on Turkey.
And what are the negative notions about Turkey? Well, they did
fight on the side of Austrians/Germans during WWI, but have since
redeemed themselves. Oh, and 99% of Turkey's population is Muslim,
which makes them an excellent model for other Muslim states on how
democracy works. France has a strong anti-Muslim community...
But really those seem kind of minor. I think the major problem with
Turkey (asides from the name) is that most people don't really know
much about Turkey's culture, history and arts (let alone the language Türkiye).
Here to help remedy that we've compiled an overview of the history of art in Turkey. Check it out below.
Sincerely, Suzanne MacNevin Editor of the Lilith eZine
We decided to boost our spending on WebRing by $6/month, to see if there was any noticeable jump in visitors to the Lilith Gallery Network.
Almost 1 month later we have the results.
Number of visits
As you can see there was approx. a 10% increase over the previous months of January and February. However, this isn't necessarily a jump due to WebRing alone.
If we look at the daily results there is a negligible increase after March 8th, but again we cannot be certain that is due to WebRing alone.
Here is what we do know however.
In February we received 5275 clicks from WebRing. In March we received 5840 (about a 10% increase).
But what about our theory that promoting on WebRing also boosts our Google Ranking and boosts hits from Google and other search engines?
Well during February we received:
- Google (Images)
- Ask Jeeves
- Other search engines
And in March we received:
- Google (Images)
- Ask Jeeves
- Other search engines
So that is almost a 26% increase for Google search. Other search engines went up as well, although not as noticeably. So far our theory appears to be accurate.
(Yes, we are aware that February had 2 fewer days than March. However if you compare to our January stats, February actually received more visitors and hits than January.)
But how do we know this isn't just a temporary blip?
Time will tell. We will be releasing our April, May and June results in the coming months.
The summer months are the worst time of the year statistically, but if we can sustain continual growth despite the warm summer months (and despite an economic recession in the USA) then we believe we've found the smartest way to advertise.
Financial market turbulence and fears of a U.S. recession are
expected to lead to a subdued performance by the world economy this
year, posing risks for euro zone growth, the Central Bank of Ireland
said on Friday.
"There is now a growing consensus that a
significant downturn in global activity is underway, with risks to the
outlook seen to be firmly to the downside," the bank said in its
"Following a number of years of strong
growth, the prospects are for a more subdued performance by the global
economy this year."
The bank said since late last summer, global
financial markets and central banks had been dealing with the fallout
from problems related to a "major correction in many financial asset
prices," which had helped trigger a global slowdown.
resulting increased uncertainty and international financial market
turbulence are proving to be more wide ranging and prolonged than was
hoped," it said.
The bank said the main risks related to the "still evolving" situation in global financial markets.
"Much will depend on how events play out in the U.S.," it said. "Recent
data suggest that the U.S. economy has weakened significantly since
late last year, with concerns heightening about the possibility of a
The bank said euro zone activity had slowed in the
final quarter of 2007 after recording strong growth in the first nine
It said while the "underlying fundamentals" of the euro
zone remained favourable, with employment growth and corporate balance
sheets remaining healthy, evidence in recent months suggested the pace
of growth had "remained below potential."
"As is the case
elsewhere in the global economy, uncertainty about the prospects for
euro area growth remain unusually high and risks surrounding the
outlook are on the downside," it said.
Despite the softening in
growth momentum, euro zone inflation had sharply risen in recent months
due the spike in oil and food prices.
The bank said headline euro zone inflation was expected to remain elevated in the months ahead before starting to decelerate.
It said the European Central Bank's Governing Council viewed
inflationary risks to the upside due to the potential for higher oil
and food prices and scope for wage rises.
"The Governing Council
has signalled its determination to ensure that such second-round
effects and upside risks to price stability do not materialise and that
medium and long-term inflation expectations remain firmly anchored in
line with price stability," it said.
Zimbabwe's opposition said they were on the verge of taking power today
after dismissing speculation that they would negotiate a managed exit
for veteran President Robert Mugabe.
Both opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and Mugabe's government strongly denied foreign media
speculation that a deal had been reached to arrange the departure of
Mugabe after 28 years of uninterrupted power.
"There is no
discussion and this is just a speculative story," Tsvangirai told a
news conference when asked about reports that his aides and ruling
ZANU-PF party officials had negotiated a deal.
projections showing he would fail to win an absolute majority and would
be forced into a runoff against Mugabe, Tsvangirai said: "Today we face
a new challenge, that of governance."
Speculation that Mugabe
would stand down voluntarily rather than face a runoff began after
ZANU-PF sources and independent monitors said that although Tsvangirai
had won, he would fall just short of the 51 percent needed for outright
Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba described reports of
an exit deal as "nonsense" and dismissed rumours that the president
would address the nation on television tonight.
ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980 but faced an
unprecedented challenge in Saturday's elections because of a
two-pronged opposition attack and the economic collapse of his once
prosperous country, which has reduced much of the population to misery.
A senior Western diplomat in Harare told Reuters the
international community was discussing ideas to try to persuade Mugabe
to step down, "but I don't think there is anything firm on the table."
There are fears both inside and outside Zimbabwe that the three-week
hiatus before a runoff vote would spark serious violence between
security forces and militia loyal to Mugabe on one side and MDC
supporters on the other.
Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi
Annan said the election stand-off in Zimbabwe could turn into violence
but hoped the country would avoid the bloodshed recently witnessed in
Kenya after disputed elections there.
"Having just gone through
this situation in Kenya, I hope there is not going to be a repeat in
Zimbabwe, but given the nature of this you cannot exclude that there
will be some violence," Annan, who brokered an end to the crisis in
Kenya, told journalists in Lisbon.
The United States said it was time for Zimbabwe's electoral commission to issue results.
"It's clear the people of Zimbabwe have voted for change," said Gordon
Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.
No presidential results have been announced three days after polls
closed, fuelling suspicions that Mugabe was trying to avoid defeat by
But two ZANU-PF party sources said today its
projections showed Tsvangirai getting 48.3 percent against Mugabe's 43
percent, with former finance minister Simba Makoni taking 8 percent.
Latest results from the parliamentary election showed ZANU-PF with one
more seat than the mainstream MDC, and five seats going to a breakaway
faction of the opposition. 176 seats have now been announced from a
total of 210.
Seven of Mugabe's ministers have lost their seats.
Tsvangirai and many foreign governments urged the electoral commission
to speed up result announcements. He said the MDC would announce its
own tally of the final result on Wednesday.
The opposition and
international observers said Mugabe rigged the last presidential
election in 2002. But some analysts say the groundswell of discontent
over an economy in freefall is too great for him to fix the result this
time without risking major unrest.
Zimbabweans are suffering the
world's highest inflation of more than 100,000 percent, food and fuel
shortages, and an HIV/AIDS epidemic that has contributed to a steep
drop in life expectancy.
The opposition is expected to unite
behind one candidate if there is a runoff, which would be held three
weeks after last Saturday's election.
Poorest nations being left out in the cold on global warming
BANGKOK - Outraged poor nations bearing the brunt of global
warming have become increasingly bold in UN-led climate talks, but some
worry that recent trysts of large countries are leaving them out in the
A grouping of 192 countries under the United Nations is
leading the way in negotiating a groundbreaking climate change treaty,
and most of its members are currently in Bangkok to try to hammer out a
two-year work plan.
The meeting comes soon after the United
States chaired a meeting of 16 nations most responsible for global
warming, and ahead of a special climate summit on the sidelines of the
Group of Eight summit of rich nations.
"We haven't been invited
to either of those processes," said Espen Ronneberg, a Samoa-based
climate change advisor to the Association of Small Island States, on
the sidelines of the Bangkok talks.
"We need to have a global
consensus on climate change, so to have a separate process that is not
completely inclusive is not that helpful."
While major developing
nations such as China and India are part of the big initiatives, the
Group of 77, a bloc of developing nations, said it has not been invited.
balance has to come from everybody, all the representative groups,
being around the table. Not specialised specific groups which have
almost the same purpose -- that's a problem," said Byron Blake, deputy
representative to the United Nations of current Group of 77 chair
Antigua and Barbuda.
The world has until 2009 to draft a new pact
on battling global warming, which should come into force by 2012, when
current Kyoto Protocol targets for rich nations to slash greenhouse gas
A report by the world's leading climate
scientists last year warned that drought, floods and storms will
increase as global temperatures rise, putting the health of millions at
risk and hitting the poor countries hardest.
As they see climate
change begin to effect their environments and economies, impoverished
nations are becoming more confident and vocal, said Antonio Hill,
policy adviser to development group Oxfam.
"There is a very
dramatic difference between this year and last year in the negotiations
versus 10 years ago or even five years ago," he said.
countries want the rich world to commit to the most ambitious cuts in
greenhouse gas emissions -- which trap the sun's heat and cause global
warming -- and pledge to transfer 'green' technologies and fund climate
change-battling initiatives in poorer countries.
nations led by the United States, however, are pressing for developing
countries also to commit to slashing emissions. They argue that the
lines have blurred between rich and poor nations, with China expected
soon to be the world's top emitter.
US President George W. Bush
launched his own climate initiative gathering 16 large nations
responsible for 80 percent of harmful emissions, which met two months
ago in Hawaii.
Japan, meanwhile, will hold separate talks on the
sidelines of the G8 meeting in July, and has invited Australia, Brazil,
China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Korea and South Africa to join
the G8 nations.
In mid-March, Japan hosted to a 20-nation climate meeting in suburban Tokyo.
UN's climate chief Yvo de Boer told AFP that the new initiatives could
be very constructive, so long as they feed back into the UN-led efforts.
(US-led) major economies process and the outcome of the G8 meeting last
year very clearly recognises that there is only one place where the
real negotiations happen and that's the (UN) Convention on Climate
Change," he said.
Blake urged big polluters to listen to all of
the voices from the developing world, rather than focus on exclusive
"It is almost a defensive move by a club of people who have been the cause of the major problems," Blake told AFP.
they are going to see how to create a so-called solution which will
have least impact on themselves, where they have to make the least
contribution," he added.