Europe crisis not over, says IMF chief; Exit poll points to new era in India; Business majors get more jobs but less fulfillment; Exporting English football

1 Europe crisis not over, says IMF chief (Graeme Wearden in The Guardian) Europe’s financial crisis is not over, and that the Ukraine crisis could derail the global recovery, Christine Lagarde has warned, urging against a “false sense of security” in the euro area. The managing director of the International Monetary Fund said that weak bank lending, and low inflation rates, posed serious threats to the European recovery.

Lagarde cautions against undue optimism, just because countries (such as Ireland) have emerged from their bailout programmes. She said: “The recovery runs, that’s right. Some countries have completed the auxiliary programs successfully. But that does not mean that the crisis is over and our mission accomplished.” The crisis will not be over until the flow of credit from banks in Southern Europe is repaired, she argued, adding: “In addition, the permanently low inflation bring additional risks.”

Prices rose by just 0.7% across the euro area last month, and are falling in several countries undergoing painful austerity. But that wasn’t enough to spur the European Central Bank into fresh stimulus measures last week – although Mario Draghi did hint at action in June, Lagarde renewed her call for the ECB to be bold and decisive: “Monetary policy in Europe should therefore continue to provide impetus for growth.” Last week, Draghi warned that the ECB’s independence could be threatened if politicians and top officials continue to offer helpful advice.

2 Exit poll points to new era in India (Jason Burke in The Guardian) At 6pm on Monday, the last of 930,000 poll booths closed, the electronic voting machines were sealed and the Indian election, the biggest democratic exercise in human history, was finally over. The final result will be released by election authorities on Friday but four exit polls released by major TV channels in India on Monday suggested the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) has swept to power and the centre-left Congress party, which has ruled since 2004, has suffered one of its worst defeats.

CBN-IBN, a Delhi-based broadcaster, put the BJP on 270 to 280 seats with more than 35% of the vote, and Congress with about 20% of the vote and 110 seats. The BJP and its current allies need 272 for a majority in the powerful lower house. The BJP is led by the controversial Narendra Modi. The 63-year-old has played down his party’s traditional commitment to religious and cultural revivalism in favour of stressing development, jobs and honest government. Repeated surveys have shown that this is what Indians want, and that many of them clearly believe it is what Modi, who has earned a reputation as an effective if authoritarian administrator, can provide.

However, Modi is a polarising figure who has been accused of failing to stop, or even encouraging, sectarian violence in 2002 in Gujarat, the state he has run for 11 years. About a thousand people, largely Muslim, died in rioting after 59 were killed in an arson attack on a train carrying Hindu pilgrims. Modi denies any wrongdoing and judicial investigations have found insufficient evidence to support the charges against him. Though exit polls have been wrong in the past and analysts counsel caution, a major upset appears unlikely. If the BJP falls short of a majority, Modi may need to find coalition partners among India’s powerful regional parties. One potential ally might be Jayalalithaa Jyaram, the flamboyant and autocratic politician who currently runs the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Milan Vaishnav, an expert in Indian politics at the US-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the BJP had maintained a focus on development at a national level but had “doubled down on communalism” at a local level. Senior BJP officials have denied the charge. The exit polls indicated that the Aam Aadmi Party had failed to make any breakthrough, with the BJP sweeping the capital Delhi where AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal briefly held power earlier this year.

3 Business majors get more jobs but less fulfillment (Patrick Clark in San Francisco Chronicle) A touchy-feely approach to higher education may be the way to go after all, according to a Gallup study published this week. The survey sought clues to what types of college experiences produce graduates who are engaged with their jobs. Gallup views workplace engagement – as measured by intellectual and emotional connection to work, among other factors – as a strong indicator of worker productivity and individual happiness. Professionals with degrees from for-profit schools, however, were less likely to end up at jobs that engaged them.

Among the factors that predict strong engagement: having had a college professor who cared about the respondent as a person, made her excited about learning, or encouraged her to pursue her dreams. People who were active as students in extracurricular activities, internships, or long-term academic projects were also more likely to be engaged with their work.

It’s possible, of course, that people who are engaged in their work and happy in life are simply more likely to remember positive experiences from their college days. With that caveat, here are a few more findings from the Gallup poll: 1. Going to an elite college mattered less than the quality of experience, as graduates at public, private, selective, and nonselective schools showed comparable rates of workplace engagement. 2. The larger the student-debt load, the less likely a person was to score high on overall well-being. 3. Undergraduate business majors are landing jobs at higher rates than social science and arts and humanities students – but business majors are less likely to be engaged with their work.

4 Exporting English football (Linda Yueh on BBC) Has England given football to the world? A more accurate description today is that England sells football to the world. The final round of matches in the English Premier League (EPL) was watched across the globe. In fact, the majority of the TV audience that saw Manchester City crowned as champions was outside of England.

In 2008 the EPL proposed Game 39. This was an international round of fixtures between EPL teams to be played on the same weekend in venues around the world. It was thought that up to $135m might be made each year. But Game 39 never happened. However, this has not stopped English teams from cashing in on the popularity of the competition overseas. Pre-season friendly games have turned into international tours. North America and Southeast Asia are the most popular destinations. Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Liverpool and both Manchester clubs went jet-setting before the season kicked off.

Every two years, the Premier League Asian Trophy is contested between three EPL teams and a representative from Asia. There is now even the post-season tour. Just days after lifting the trophy Manchester City will be off to UAE. However, TV is where the popularity of the EPL is really transferred to money earned. The new deal which runs from 2013-16 is worth nearly £5.5bn. Over £2bn of this comes from the sale of overseas rights. Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia paid £650m between them.

English football was also the first European football to be broadcast in many countries. The BBC and ITV had been showing top flight English football around the world even before the Premier League was formed over 20 years ago. In England football is described as fast and fanatic and played in atmospheric stadiums often full to capacity. The games are also viewed as more competitive than in rival leagues. This is partly because TV money in the EPL is distributed more equally.

And when lots of people are interested in something it opens up lucrative merchandising opportunities and sponsorship deals as well. When you bear in mind the EPL is only beginning to breakthrough into China and India, English football could soon be more valuable to the rest of the world than it is to the English, if it isn’t already.


About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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