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The Japanese government announced that their economy shrank by 0.8% in the second quarter of the year and therefore into recession for the fifth time in seven years.
The announcement of the figures that covered economic growth (or the lack thereof) from July to September of this year came on the heels of a 0.7% loss in the previous quarter.
The back to back contractions have sent a shockwave across the world’s third largest economy and may increase the pressure on Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his tough fiscal policies.
Abenomics as the suite of policies are referred to, is basically a shock therapy meant to revive the stagnant growth rates in Japan.
“The central plan is built on unprecedented monetary easing, government spending and business deregulation to snap Japan out of its malaise. He calls it a “three-arrow” strategy, borrowing the image from a Japanese folk tale that teaches that three sticks together are harder to break than one.”
A recent IMF study on Abenomics made it clear how much was at stake for Japan, and how hard it would be for the Prime Minister to actually pull it off.
From the IMF study:
“What was being attempted under Abenomics was unprecedented, and nothing less than a leap from a low-growth deflationary equilibrium to a new equilibrium characterized by positive inflation and higher sustained growth. This requires a parallel shift toward more risk taking, requiring changes in expectations and behavior by businesses, consumers, and financial institutions. Confidence would be key, in both Japan’s growth prospects as well as the government’s ability to carry out needed reforms.”
So what caused the retraction and most recent recession in Japan?
“A big drop in inventory was the largest factor behind a third-quarter contraction. Weak capital spending was a concern, but excluding these factors, the GDP figures were not so bad,” Takeshi Minami, the chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute told Reuters.
Despite the bad news, Japan is somewhat used to the up and down nature of growth in the country and faces larger long term causes for the crisis- including a dangerously rapidly graying nation.
But will Abe and his bold form of reform survive to find another day? Only time will tell.
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By Staff Report
By Nate Nkumbu
Popes by natures are supposed to be holy men, ordained by God and the church to lead the Catholic faith.
Not every pope however follows those church rules.
One pope that was infamous for breaking rules was Pope Alexander VI.
Born Roderic Borgia, Pope Alexander VI was the leader of the papacy from 1492 to his death in 1503.
A controversial pope who had fathered children with many mistresses, Alexander VI’s name is now a stand in for all of the vice and nepotism that was once associated with the Catholic church.
He embraced the temporal role of the church and his family wielded real power in the affairs of war and politics.
Not exactly a Pope Peter lookalike.
According to Lawrence Cunningham, a Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, while Alexander VI might have been a bad Pope to the Catholic Church, he was beloved and respected by people during his time.
“He was great patronage of the arts during the renaissance and commissioned the likes of Michelangelo and Raphael to work for the vatican and for him,” Cunningham said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “He was important to the new world as he corresponded with the Spanish crown about confirming the discovery.”
Interestingly enough, while often thought as a family only found in a history book, the Borgia’s are still around today.
Borgia’s children that he sired with his mistresses left a legacy of their own.
One of his children’s descendants, Rodrigo Borja Cevallos became president of Ecuador in 1988 at a time when Ecuador was suffering one it’s worst economic crisis.
There was not much Cevallos could do to fix the situation and he was ousted within four years.
But still. How cool is that?
The Borgia family legacy isn’t just held to a descendant becoming president of Ecuador.
Cunningham said that his direct line had influenced The Renaissance and the rise of political realism in a major way.
“Pope Alexander’s daughter Lucrezia would become source for Machiavelli’s The Prince,” Cunningham said. “The Borgia family would have people become dukes, lords and so on. So Pope Alexander VI’s influence still exists to this day.”
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Daniel Fleetwood, the terminally ill man who asked to see the upcoming film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” early has died at the age of 32.
Fleetwood’s wife Ashley made the announcement on Facebook:
“Daniel put up an amazing fight to the very end. He is now one with God and with the force. He passed in his sleep and in peace. He will always be my idol and my hero. Please hug uncle Marc for me and give Lucy lots of kisses. Rest in peace my love. This was the last selfie we ever took together.”
Fleetwood, a major Star Wars fan since childhood according to Entertainment Weekly, “had been diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma, a connective tissue cancer, and did not expect to live until The Force Awakens’ Dec. 18 release date.”
After a few news articles were published about Fleetwood, a social media campaign under the banner of #ForceForDaniel went viral and eventually reached director JJ Abrams who allowed for Fleetwood to see an unfinished cut of the film.
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