Fifteen years after the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers triggered a devastating global financial crisis, the banking system is in trouble again. Central bankers and financial regulators each seem to bear some of the blame for the recent tumult, but there is significant disagreement over how much – and what, if anything, can be done to avoid a deeper crisis.
MOSCOW – When a tsar is treated with mockery, rather than regarded with awe, it is time for him to consider retirement, or to prepare for a palace coup. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who intends to stage a glorious return to the Kremlin as President in the election scheduled for March next year, should reflect on that choice.
This year began with a vigorous (by Russian standards) Internet petition urging Putin to take the first option. Then the whole country laughed when, during his customary visit to a patriotic summer camp run by Nashi (a pro-Putin youth movement), he demonstrated his physical prowess by scaling a rock-climbing wall, only to find that he couldn’t climb down.
Now Russians wonder what has happened to their leader’s face. His new smooth-faced appearance has sparked rumors of Botox, or even plastic surgery. Vampire jokes abound.
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