As a smoker myself, I am very encouraged by this news and the proposals seem to be very sensible. Also, I would imagine that all but the most fanatical non-smokers will be unconcerned about the proposed changes. It's a curious observation that every country that introduced a smoking ban, almost immediately started to suffer from a worse economic situation (starting with Ireland). The reason is pretty obvious to me, a lot of business and ideas are formulated in the bars where people drink and smoke! The EU people will argue that the long-term healthcare costs will be substantial, but in my opinion the cost of reduced social networking is greater. Anyway, I very much hope that the President doesn't veto the bill.
Democratic reform would have been better served by allowing Medvedev to have served a second term as President, we mostly liked him. Does Russia really still need an iron fist, and absolute respect? Or, is it so difficult to let go of power, without getting oneself into a do or die situation? As for P*ssy Riot, they're more like the S*x Pistols from London (who wrote a song called "God Save our F******g Queen", who we love), and a 'slap on the wrist' would have been a more proportionate punishment, than 2 years in jail!
Philippe, whatever, I imagine that the mutri are apoplectic! Nevertheless, revenge is clearly not in their modus operandi as an emotional reaction, if you think about it. If they can identify the brain cell offenders, I don't suppose it's in their interests to announce their intention or say anything at all, actually! Foolhardy to have unwittingly taken on the unknown unknown of the mutri, probably.
Mr Mufti, can't you issue a fatwa, or something, against people who murder innocent bus drivers and tourists?
Lucky, very lucky! Bulgarians now have a debt to GDP 2% higher, and, in a round about way, are effectively paying 5% interest on the 20,000 or so unsold black sea apartments that Greek and Italian owned Bulgarian banks have on their books. Lets hope that those same banks don't own any Greek, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese or Irish debt. Also, noting that private debt has risen from 20% of GDP in 1999 to 90% of GDP in 2008, so any hiccup there and Bg will be in the same situation as the PIIGS.
Is Bg so desperate to borrow money at this particular moment in time? At high interest rates? Are Greek subsidiary banks blowing up? Do most of the banks need nationalising and recapitalising? Will an IMF bailout be needed to offset the fallout from Greece this coming weekend? Will the smoking ban put the Bg economy into a nosedive, rather than a slow decent, already? What a dumb time to issue bonds!
Smoking bans have resulted in economic recession everywhere they have been introduced, starting in California, Ireland, the UK and Spain. Smokers end up staying at home, sitting in front of the computer, or give up smoking and then get obese. These idiot politicians have been persuaded that the long term health care costs will make it worth it. What they haven't yet worked out is the cost of making 50% of the population unproductive, disengaged and ostracised in their time off! Not to mention the long term costs of obesity, diabetes and other ailments. What is more, 90% of non smokers would have been more than happy with designated non-smoking areas. No doubt the other 10% of non-smokers and ex-smokers will respond with their usual hate the smell rants. I expect that farting on a bus will soon be made a criminal offence!?
From what I can guess from observation, Greek banks in Bg are borrowing from the LTRO to buy back NPL's from the insolvency framework. In other words, covering up massive losses on property loans. If these losses were realised, I suspect that the entire banking system would be insolvent. Furthermore, one has to wonder if Greek banks are going to try and repatriate some of this capital before anybody notices, especially in the event that they leave the Euro. In any case, Bg will be left with catastrophic losses at some point in the future.
You've got to admire Putin's Machiavellian genius: How to be extremely pernicious towards a rather elegant and delightful foe, without getting the blame for it!?
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