European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde talks to European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni, and German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, during a meeting of Eurogroup Finance Ministers at the European Council building in Luxembourg, Luxembourg June 17. Reuters

Europe has begun to take key steps on its chosen post-pandemic path by raising the first 20 billion-euro tranche for a Covid-19 recovery fund. That may sound worthy and somewhat dull but it is neither. The EU’s largest ever joint issuance of debt has stoked ambition and optimism among member states on a scale not seen since the creation of a European single market more than half-a-century ago.

Consider this: an Italian minister harks back to the 800km of highway built between Milan and Naples in less than a decade in the 1950s and says the new money could “once…


/ BLIMEY BLIGHTY

Former House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, a long-time member of the Conservative Party, has defected to Labour. His biographer, Sebastian Whale described it as a “remarkable transformation from eurosceptic, anti-immigration, Thatcher-loving Tory to the Remain-voting, left-leaning, Bernie Sanders-supporting liberal currently touring the TV studios”.

There’s a bit more to it as well, notably the timing. Mr Bercow has chosen to go public with his choice of new party just days after the Conservatives suffered an unpleasant by-election defeat. The Chesham and Amersham constituency always voted Conservative — until it didn’t. Labour didn’t win it from the…


I only recently learned that Haiti is the only country in the western hemisphere to have not vaccinated a single person.

A June 8 Bloomberg piece (paywall) grimly noted that along with the usual description used for Haiti — the poorest nation in the western hemisphere — it has earned another distinction — the only one that hasn’t vaccinated a single resident against Covid-19.

Although Haiti was offered AstraZeneca doses under Covax scheme for poorer countries, it declined that vaccine citing side effects and widespread fears among its people. By May 2021, a surge in coronavirus cases helped dull the…


American restaurants are facing an acute shortage of restaurant staff but they seem to have found new, hopeful ways to still get the job done.

Axios recently reported on a new eatery in New York called the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop. It has no servers; customers use a screen to place their order and are allotted a cubby hole from which to collect it.

The Axios writer said she “could see the chefs preparing my dumplings behind a glass wall, but that was my only interaction with humans during lunch”.

It seems a rather clever way to get around the shortage…


In his final column (June 17), The New York Times’s departing long-time columnist Frank Bruni described his vocation as follows: swimming with “ the snide tide “. It’s a good phrase.

So too Mr Bruni’s subsequent observation. Secure in the knowledge that he is off to the world of academia, Mr Bruni confessed to worrying “about the degree to which I and other journalists — opinion writers, especially — have contributed to the dynamics we decry: the toxic tenor of American discourse, the furious pitch of American politics, the volume and vitriol of it all. …


The “ Washington consensus “, a clutch of free market ideas, lasted roughly 30 years. It’s by no means certain the ‘Cornwall consensus’ will have as long a run.

If it runs at all.

Is the ‘Cornwall consensus’ really a thing?

Well, it was — during the week of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay. The ‘Cornwall consensus’ was the title of a memo by academics and policy wonks from each of the G7 countries whose leaders met in Cornwall. …


By Source, Fair use

As a child I was overwhelmed by the yearning evoked by a Jackson Browne album cover. My father, a surgeon, had returned to India from a six-month sabbatical in the United States, bearing record albums for my sister and me.

I can still remember the wistfulness I felt as I looked at the car parked on an American street. It was dusk and the street lamps were on. A window in a house was an inviting golden square. Fluffy white clouds hung in a clear blue sky. It was Somewheresville, America. As portrayed on the album ‘Late for the sky’…


‘In England (Eugène Manet on the Isle of Wight)’

/ TRAVELS IN MY MIND

Rashmee Roshan Lall

PhD. Journalism by trade & inclination. Sign up for free email updates on https://www.rashmee.com email me at rashmee@rashmee.com http://muckrack.com/rashmeerl

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