The Holocaust and the Euro

By Varadarajan, Tunku | Newsweek, June 11, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Holocaust and the Euro


Varadarajan, Tunku, Newsweek


Byline: Tunku Varadarajan

Honorable Member

After being heckled repeatedly in parliament by Ed Balls, Britain's discordantly named shadow chancellor, David Cameron snapped. "Tell us your Plan B!" Balls hissed in the course of a debate on the economy, "Tell us about the recession!" And then the straw that broke the Cameron back: "Chillax, and have another glass of wine!" The prime minister, his face ruddy with disdain, responded by calling Balls a "muttering idiot." In the gleeful uproar that followed, the speaker, John Bercow, bellowed repeatedly for "Order!" Bercow (whose taste in ties, let the record reflect, isn't exactly parliamentary) called on Cameron to withdraw the "unparliamentary" word. Which he did, gentleman that he is.

Dishonorable Member

A portrait of Jacob Zuma, which some men would not regard as unflattering, has become the world's most polemical painting. Called Spear of the Nation, the acrylic-on-canvas is by a white Cape Town artist and depicts South Africa's president in a classic Leninesque pose, with one eye-catching variation: his pants are undone and ... the title of the painting should tell you the rest. Zuma took instant umbrage, and as calls went up for the painting's removal from public view a pair of activists defaced the work, restoring Zuma's modesty with splashes of paint. The artist is being prosecuted for violating Zuma's "constitutional right to dignity," and a Christian cleric has called for him to be stoned to death.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's truculent prime minister, continues his battle with Standard & Poor's, which had the temerity to downgrade his country's long-term sovereign rating from "positive" to "stable." The ratings agencies, he said at a summit last week in Kazakhstan, "have become a political force that affects countries -- I have already warned them, and they must take into account the consequences of their actions." Ever the nationalist, Erdogan has proposed a way to hit S&P where it hurts: Turkey will set up its own agency to rate its sovereign debt.

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