n.5 July 2005

3: The number of additional weeks worked per year in the countries of the new Europe, compared to the nations of the West.
The hardest working: 43.3 hours per week for Latvians, 43.1 for the English, 41.8 for Romanians, 41.5 for Poles, 41.3 for Slovenians, 41 for the Greeks.

The massacre in May has been forgotten; it’s almost never talked about anymore. There are many reasons for this. The first is linked to the role assumed by the country as regional stabiliser, a fact that showers it with the sympathies and support not merely of the ex-Soviet areas but
also of Westerners. While the others are closely tied to the big business that is developing with Russia and China and…

The Russian specialist of Islam, Alexei Malashenko, maintains that there are no grounds for the idea of creating an Islamic state in the North Caucasus. Nevertheless, when combined with Islamic extremism, the push for autonomy may lead to a second Chechnya with the unfortunately well-known explosions of violence. The minority ethnic groups feel threatened and the world strategies governing oil see Russia and the United States as determined to defend their own interests.

The Chinese banking system is very fragile due to the high incidence of Non Performing Loans, mostly due to the political pressure of giving credit to state-owned companies in difficulty and the poor commercial vocation of many banks. Beijing is now trying to take measures. On top of everything the banking system is set to open to foreign investments in 2007 and…