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News Highlights. 03.02.2013...02.03.2013

British conductor at centre of La Scala Opera row
One of Britain’s most sought-after conductors has found himself at the centre of a bitter row between Milan’s La Scala opera house and the theatre’s fiercest critic after being accused of making ­Wagner sound “homosexual”.

It all started when Daniel Harding, had harsh criticism thrown at hime by Paolo Isotta, a notorious opera reviewer. First, Isotta, who works for the newspaper Corriere della Sera, described Mr Harding’s conducting technique as “heavy and pedantic”. He then stated: “Harding’s conducting was so soft it made you think he was trying to increase the theory that Wagner was homosexual.” Reviewers proved to be the final straw for Stéphane Lissner, La Scala’s general manager, who has declared open warfare with the newspaper by declaring Isotta persona non grata at the theatre. “Isotta has decided to wage a personal campaign,” Mr Lissner said, claiming ­that he used his reviews as “instruments of power, weapons against someone or something”.

IMF sees 140m jobs shortage in aging China as 'Lewis Point' hits
China’s vast reserve of cheap workers in the hinterland is vanishing at a vertiginous pace.

We can now pin-point when the catch-up will sputter out, In another seven years or so - enough to buy global coal, crude, and copper prices for a while But then it'll go. China’s demographic dividend will be exhausted. Beijing revealed last week that the country’s working age population is beginning to shrink, sooner than the official expected. Soon it will go into a “precipitous decline”, according to the IMF. Japan had hit this inflexion point fourteen years ago, but by then it already had an increase amount of money, with $3 trillion of net savings overseas. China has the same point a quarter century earlier in its development path.
This ageing crisis is well-known. It has been six years since a Chinese demographer shocked Davos with a warning that his country might have to turn to mass suicide in the end, Pushing pensioners to their untimely death. Less known is the parallel labour drain in the countryside. A new IMF paper - “Chronicle of a Decline Foretold: Has China Reached the Lewis Turning Point?” - says that the mass of peasants looking for work peaked in 2010, going upto 150 million. The numbers however are now collapsing.

Twin crises in Italy and Spain stalk markets as political unrest prevails
The escalating political crises in Italy and Spain are being watched with growing concern by bond investors, fearful that both countries could slide into paralysis and lose the crucial backing of the European Central Bank.

“Markets have been extraordinarily complacent,” said Nicholas Spiro. “The prospects of a stable and reform-minded government in Italy are small. We think a horrid surprise is coming.” In Italy, ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi has upset the political landscape only three weeks before the election date, pulsing back into contention with vows to tear up “German-imposed” austerity policies and cancel a hated property tax. His Right-wing alliance has risen to 28pc in the polls, relishing a widening scandal at Banca Monte dei Paschi that has embroiled the Italian left. “Austerity in countries already in crisis pushes them into a very dangerous spiral. These policies have left 50m Europeans unemployed or short of work. We need to stand up to Germany, otherwise reality will force many countries to leave the euro,” he said. Anti-euro comedian Beppe Grillo has climbed to 18pc, though he may have gone a step too far by inviting al-Qaeda to bomb Italy’s parliament. “We’ll give them the co-ordinates,” he said. A hung parliament is now very likely, with eurosceptics between them controlling the senate.
News Highlights. 03.02.2013...02.03.2013 News Highlights. 03.02.2013...02.03.2013 Reviewed by Tilli Saunders on Sunday, February 03, 2013 Rating: 5

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