Involving: the Palestinian Authority turning into the Vatican, China protesting in favour of human rights, a triple negative, and ECB beating Bloomberg opaquely.

Good morning

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The headlines:

  1. Palestine gets a birth certificate.

    Link: almost a wholy state.

    Confession: I only realised that Palestine was not a recognised country or state in August last year. There was a fully awkward moment involving an Israeli reservist and all my ignorance on display. But that aside, since then, I’ve been paying attention and wikipedia-checking stuff as it filters through the general media stream.

    Yesterday, the UN granted the Palestine Liberation Organization “observer state” status. Which makes it the political equivalent of the Vatican*.

    The Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has called it a “birth certificate”.   The cost of the birth certificate is Israel withholding $210 million worth of tax revenue that it would normally have transferred to the Palestinians, and using it to pay Palestine’s debt to the Israel Electric Corporation.

    Is it not interesting that the tax revenue collection and electricity of Palestine is supplied by Israel?

    *another quite religious observer. 

  2. China protests the arrest of four nationals.

    Link: wait – China?!

    Singapore has arrested four Chinese nationals after they instigated/took-part-in an illegal bus-drivers strike.

    China is, and I quote, “very concerned”. Also: China “hopes that their rights will be protected”.



  3. A Spanish former-ECB guy says Spain won’t need a bailout.

    Link: the “unbiased” view.

    Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo, the former ECB board member whose replacement caused so much debate (see here), has said that Spain may avoid needing a bailout after having “confounded expectations” by raising its own financing this year.

    And then this:

    “It is by no means excluded that a bailout will not be requested, if a sequence of good news is produced in terms of the deficit and other things.”

    Now I feel confounded. Did he just manage a triple negative? Because if I was to paraphrase, that sounds like “a bailout will be requested if things get better”.

    Here’s the video link, if you’d like to try and decipher what he’s trying to say. Or trying to not say.

  4. An ECB win.

    Link: a Bloomberg loss.

    Bloomberg has been trying to gain access to the ECB files on Greece. These files were meant to show how Greece used derivatives to hide its debt. The real embarrassment is: how could the ECB, as a regulator, not know the full state of the Greek affairs?

    But Bloomberg failed. Yesterday, the EU General Court ruled in favour of the ECB, stating that the release of the documents could damage the public interest** and exacerbate the financial crisis.

    This has provoked criticism, but I’m not so sure that I agree with it. The argument for transparency is too easy, and there is no real evidence that “transparency” per se has prevented frauds and financial crises from happening. The argument in the face of those situations is always “it happened because you weren’t transparent enough” or “there were mitigating circumstances, but we should still aim for more transparency”.

    I’m just saying that the opposing folksy-wisdom argument of curiosity and the death of a cat is equally unsubstantiated. And can therefore, by similar logic, be equally supported.

    **I assume by “public interest” they mean “the ECB’s reputation for being trustworthy and/or competent”

That’s all for now.

Have a good day.