Stories of the subcontinent: Films from India, Pakistan, Nepal illuminate 75th anniversary line-up of Cannes Film Festival – The Financial Express

There is a strong subcontinental flavour at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Celebrating its 75th anniversary, the worlds most influential film festival has lined up movies from India, Pakistan and Nepal in the official selection for the May 17-28 event. The three neighbouring countries are also part of mentorship programmes for a new generation of filmmakers from emerging countries at Marche du Film, the Cannes festivals marketplace for movies. Marche du Film has already announced India as the Country of Honour this year to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Indias independence and 75 years of diplomatic relations between India and France.

Stories of local heroes and social challenges underline the strength of subcontinental cinema today as reflected in the Cannes selection from the region. All That Breathes, Delhi-based filmmaker Shaunak Sens documentary in the Special Screenings programme of the festival, is about two brothers saving birds of prey from the citys polluted air. The film, which won the Sundance festivals top award for world cinema in January this year, shares screen space with the new documentaries of the Oscar-winning American director Ethen Coen (Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind), Ukrainian filmmaker Sergie Loznitsa (The Natural History of Destruction) and Chilean director Patricio Guzman (My Imaginary Country) in the Cannes special screenings section.

Vernacular stories

This year has been especially good for Indian cinema at large and documentaries in particular. The appreciation of major international festivals for Indian non-fiction has been good. There is certainly a curiosity for vernacular stories. Our film is a story about a black kite in Delhi, says Sen, who was surprised to get the Cannes call for All That Breathes.

A film school production from India has also made it to Cannes this year, reflecting on the depth in the next generation of Indian filmmakers. Nauha by Pratham Khurana, an alumnus of the Whistling Woods International in Mumbai, is among 16 films in La Cinef (formerly Cinefondation) category selected from 1,528 entries from film schools around the world. The 26-minute film, made by Khurana for his final semester at the Whistling Woods International undergraduate filmmaking programme in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, tells the relationship between an ailing elderly man and his caregiver. Nauha, an Urdu word which means mourning the loss, was shot last year in Noida on the outskirts of Delhi. Urbanisation and migration are the big themes of the movie, says Khurana. A Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune production, CatDog directed by Ashmita Guha Niyogi, had won the 15,000-euro (about `12 lakh) top prize at Cannes film school competition in 2020. Another FTII alumna, Payal Kapadias Afternoon Clouds was the first Indian film to compete in the Cannes film school competition in 2017.

The growing respect for the works of the new generation of filmmakers from the subcontinent is also reflected in the selection of Pakistani film Joyland in Un Certain Regard category for new voices in world cinema at the Cannes festival this year, a year after Bangladeshi director Abdullah Mohammad Saads Rehana Maryam Noor featured in the same category. If Rehana Maryam Noor, Bangladeshs own MeToo story, dealt with a medical students unsuccessful attempt to expose the sexual assault on her classmate by a professor, Joyland explores a blooming sexual rebellion in a patriarchal family. Directed by Saim Sadiq, who studied filmmaking at the Columbia University, New York, Joyland is a feature extension of the directors own short film, Darling, which won the Best Short Film prize at the Venice festival in 2019.

Nepali director Abinash Bikram Shahs Lori (Melancholy of My Mothers Lullabies) is among the nine films competing for the Palme dOr for the Best Short Film in Cannes this year. Selected from 3,507 films from 140 countries, Lori is the first Nepali film to be selected to a competition section of the Cannes festival. A well-known scriptwriter, Shahs stories for the screen probe personal relationships. Shah is also part of La Fabrique Cinema mentorship programme at the Cannes festivals film market with his debut feature film project, Elephants in the Fog, about a group of transgender women responsible for patrolling wild elephants which are in conflict with a nearby human settlement. In our society, where conservative ideologies can sometimes take over humanity and empathy, people who desire what our society forbids them to desire are often marginalised. They fail in societys eyes, and are cast aside, says Shah, an alumnus of Locarno Filmmakers Academy. We actively partner with the new generation of filmmakers who strive to tell local stories that are bold, original and authentic, adds the films producer Anup Poudel of the Kathmandu-based independent production house, Underground Talkies Nepal.

New generation

Hindi language feature project, Starfruits directed by Gourab Kumar Mullick, is among the ten projects in various stages of development mentored this year at La Fabrique Cinema programme to help young filmmakers from emerging countries gain international experience. Last year, another Indian project, Eka by Kolkata-born Suman Sen about a single protester against a giant statue of common man in the West Bengal capital, was the only Indian entry in La Fabrique Cinema. Set in Mumbai in the 90s, Starfuits, which is undergoing casting and location scouting, tells the love story of a small-time gangster and his male friend. Along with the two Indian and Nepali projects, Pakistani film Panah Khana (Haven of Hope) completes the subcontinental addition to La Fabrique Cinema. Directed by Pakistani artist and filmmaker Seemab Gul, Panah Khana is about three inmates from an asylum for women who venture into the outside world for a day. In the advanced development stage, the film addresses womens rights and mental health. The focus of the film is less on the mental health of the women, but how their sanity is questioned when they demand their rights; rights to their children, divorce and especially their inheritance, explains Abid Aziz Merchant, the Karachi-based producer of the film. I am a firm believer that the only way we can have our presence felt in this highly competitive world cinema is by showing our uniqueness and our strengths, our culture and our reality to the world, adds Merchant, who quit a lucrative banking career to launch an independent film production company, Sanat Initiative, in 2013. It is a risk but its worth taking.

Zombie film

A French zombie film, Final Cut, by Michel Hazanavicius, who directed the Best Picture Oscar winner The Artist, will open the festival on May 17. It is the story of a filming of a zombie movie, says Cannes festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux. The film talks about the passion of making movies, about the collective effort. It is the second time a zombie film is the opening movie in Cannes, after American director Jim Jarmuschs The Dead Dont Die in 2019. A compelling line-up of international cinema marks the 75th anniversary of the Cannes festival, founded in 1939 in the then small fishing hamlet by the Mediterranean Sea. Among the films vying for the prestigious Palme dOr are Tori and Lokita by Belgium filmmaker-brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, R.M.N by Romanian Cristian Mungiu, Crimes of the Future by Canadian director David Cronenberg, and Armageddon Time by American filmmaker James Gray. There are five female directors in the competition section: French director Claire Denis (Stars at Noon), American director Kelly Reichardt (Showing Up), who has an Indian-origin producer, Anish Savjani (who also produced Ritesh Batras Photograph), French filmmakers Lonor Serraille (Mother and Son) and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (Forever Young), and Belgian actor-director Charlotte Vandermeersch, who has co-directed The Eight Mountains with compatriot Felix Van Groeningen.

Faizal Khan is a freelancer

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Year Of The Vampire: The Hunger Is A Deceptively Gorgeous Movie About Grooming – /Film

The grooming of Alice is cut short by John, so Miriam has to race to indoctrinate Sarah, forcing the woman to kill her own jealous boyfriendTom (Cliff De Young) with the promise that Sarah will soon forget who she was before she became a vampire. Miriam's haste shows what a truly insecure individual she is, even after existing as a vampire since the days of ancient Egypt. Her behavior is pathological: She literally cannot live one day without a companion to consume other humans alongside her in order to survive. As they say, misery loves company.At the finale of "The Hunger" Miriam's centuries of victimizing others finally come back to haunt her, with all of her mummified former companions rising out of their coffins, their arms outstretched to engulf her. It is a finale more than a little reminiscent of the infamous hallway scene in (convicted rapist) Roman Polanski's "Repulsion," which also starredDeneuve. In the end, Miriam maddeningly rots in a coffin while Sarah survives, seen in London with two young companions, a man and a woman. The cycle of grooming will indeed continue.

Audiences witnessing the permanence of what Miriam does to her companions runs counter to what many victims were taught just prior to the time the movie was made (before the anti-rape movements of the '70s), namely that it was better to cover up traumatic events like assault or abuse, to suppress it and move on with your life. Pedophilia in and of itself did not become a serious public concern until the 1980s. Nowadays the narrative has changed (albeit incrementally), and society is finally beginning to acknowledge the long-term post-traumatic harm of surviving abuse, including delayed recall. Showing Sarah on the balcony of her London flat at the end of the film (set to Franz Schubert's somber "Piano Trio in E-Flat," used previously in "Barry Lyndon") allows us to see a wistfulness, even an emptiness in her gaze. One might infer that the course of her life has been inexorably altered. Where once she was a prominent medical professional and successful writer, now she is like Miriam using music (a piano and cello are shown), fashion, and her feminine wiles to lure in her next attractive victims.

The profundity of this ending is somewhat tarnished by the fact that the character of Sarah was originally intended to kill herself, refusing her own transformation. This was changed last-minute to leave the door open for potential sequels, denying Sarah a level of agency. Susan Sarandon discussed this in the film's DVD commentary:

"The thing that made the film interesting to me was this question of, 'Would you want to live forever if you were an addict?' But as the film progressed, the powers that be rewrote the ending and decided that I wouldn't die, so what was the point? All the rules that we'd spent the entire film delineating, that Miriam lived forever and was indestructible, and all the people that she transformed died, and that I killed myself rather than be an addict. Suddenly I was kind of living, she was kind of half dying ... Nobody knew what was going on, and I thought that was a shame."

While the original intent may have been one thing, the resulting ending isn't a happy one, but rather an ironic one less about addiction and more of violence begetting further violence. One of the primary purposes of the horror genre as a whole is to allow people to process fear and trauma in a safe way, and Tony Scott's "The Hunger" helps us reckon with an insidious aspect of human behavior that tragically many have to carry with them eternally.

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The All-Nighter Is the Funny Vampire Superhero Comic You Should Read – Fortress of Solitude

Creating a new superhero comic is a tough sell nowadays. How can anyone compete with decades of legacy characters and more caped critters than bloodsuckers in politics? Well, speaking of people whod know blood connoisseurs, Chip Zdarsky and Jason Loo might have cracked the code with their vampire superhero Comixology Original series The All-Nighter.

Theres a self-referential quality to The All-Nighter that screams Zdarsky all over it. If you have ever read his work, youll instantly recognise the trademark humour and chuckle-in-sleeve comments about the comics industry and fandom. Loos artwork lends to Zdarskys zaniness as it maintains a playfulness thats often lost in modern comics. However, this isnt only a story thats meant to be taken in the same mindless way as any episode of The Big Bang Theory, since its a fresh new angle on both superheroes and vampires that hasnt been seen in print before.

Zdarsky and Loo ask the question of what happens when vampires get bored? More importantly, it challenges the notion that they must be inherently bad. With so much eternal power, they could easily become superheroes if they chose to be. Thats exactly what happened to Alex, who got tired of the mundane life of working for a diner with his fellow bloodsuckers and became the same kind of superhero he saw on screen. Since Alexs actions were always bound to go south, he needed a little assistance from his fellow colleagues and friends: Joy, Cynthia, and the mysterious Ian.

Maybe the fact that the characters are vampires first, superheroes second makes it more of a vampire story, Zdarsky told CBR. But them realizing they cant hide anymore and need to help save people is also at the heart of this, and what makes for a good superhero story.

The first five issues of The All-Nighter were released on Comixology in 2021 and collected in a trade paperback released by Dark Horse Comics in 2022. For those who cant read past the headlines in tweets and prefer to let streaming services feed content into your brain, the good news is that The All-Nighter is being adapted into an Amazon Prime series. No news yet on its release date but judging by how incredible Invincible and The Boys turned out, Amazon might be the right home for comic book properties that push the envelope.

If you are a fan of comic books, though, new issues of The All-Nighter will be dropping on Comixology. Dont let the terrible interface of Comixology on Amazon deter you from reading this, because this comic book is worth the struggle.

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31 Best Vampire Movies Of All Time Ranked – Looper

When you think about director Guillermo del Toro, "vampire specialist" doesn't immediately spring to mind. And yet, with two films gracing this list, suffice to say that the man has an uncanny talent for bloodsuckers. While "Blade II" is decidedly more in the Hollywood action-horror side of things, del Toro's feature-film debut, "Cronos,"has a more intimate, indie energy.

One of the core texts in the film movement known as Nuevo Cine Mexicano, "Cronos"follows a kindly antiques dealer who happens upon the Cronos device, an invention that can prolong the human lifespan at a terrible cost. Drawing compelling metaphorical connections between vampirism and addiction, "Cronos"is a heart-wrenching and thoroughly unique entry in the vampiric canon.

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Erie County Clerk says he is addressing tax zombie properties – WGRZ.com

More than 13,000 properties in Erie County are at least $500 behind on their county taxes.

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. The Erie County Clerk released a report Thursday showing more than 13,000 properties in the county that are at least $500 behind on their county taxes.

Many of the homes and businesses are considered tax zombies. They are empty, in need of maintenance, and several years behind on their taxes.

Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns released a tax delinquency report Thursday showing thousands of property owners behind on their county taxes to the tune of a total of $112 million.

One home on Hurst Court in the Town of Tonawanda is owned by an LLC, and it owes about $17,000 in back taxes and interest. While that home is empty, there are also homes on the list that still have people living in them.

Kearns and Kate Lockhart, the Vacant and Abandoned Property Program Director with the Western New York Law Center, are not advocating for removing people from their homes. They want to prevent that.

They would like to see the county start a payment plan option before properties go into foreclosure. They are also suggesting American Rescue Plan Funds be used to address an 18-percent interest penalty set back in the early 80s.

"Since the pandemic started, what has the trend been with properties like this seeing more of them? Seeing fewer of them?" 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik asked.

"So it's been pretty consistent, but one of the things is there's no place for people to go right now, right?" Kate Lockhart said. "So if you leave your house, where do you go? You double up with someone else, you live with family.

"So we haven't seen an increase yet in foreclosures, but what we do see is an increase in delinquencies, and what our concern is, the county charges 18 percent on back taxes, and so that very quickly increases and can push people to a place where they won't be able to get current and will ultimately have to leave the home."

More than 8,600 of the properties on the list are 1-3 family residences.

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Unhuman Official Trailer: Zombies Bring The Breakfast Club Formula Back From The Dead On June 3 – The Illuminerdi

Blumhouse and Epix have released the official trailer for Unhuman, an unrated high school/zombie movie arriving digitally on June 3.

The project is the second film produced by Blumhouse in collaboration with Epix. Last spring, it was announced that the two entertainment companies would partner on eight films, including A House On The Bayou and Unhuman. This horror-comedy was directed by Marcus Dunston and written by Dunston and Patrick Melton.

Some students from the Evanston Hill High School (Go Eagles!) head out on a field trip on the school bus, where their teacher (Peter Giles) tells them Were going to show you wallflowers the perks of real flowers,, whatever the hell that means. Just moments afterwards, he tells the bus driver youre going the wrong way, before the bus slams violently into someone, spraying blood and viscera all over the windshield.

RELATED: Resident Evil 2022: Official Trailer For New Netflix Series Brings Raccoon City Into The Bloody Future

The bus crashes through the treeline before coming to an abrupt stop, shattering the nose of one of the poor students. A radio announcement from the wonderful and consistently intelligent United States Government reveals that these people are under attack, chemical warfare by the looks of it. Brianne Tjus character nearly has a heart attack when a blood-soaked hand smacks her window.

A zombie (or some other kind of virally-infected, bloodthirsty rage monster which was previously a homo-sapien, if you want to be a stickler) comes on board the bus and makes quick work of that blonde teacher, and not to speak ill of the dead, but good riddance. He gave off some strong creep energy. The teens reunite, now blissfully unrestrained by an older man who would only slow them down and/or force his way into a leadership role, foolishly believing that his seniority is worth a damn in the zombie apocalypse.

Unhuman is a zombie movie mixed with a high-school, coming-of-age story, and viewers are going to want the focus to be on the core cast of kids, and of course, on buckets of blood raining down from the heavens. To fit the high-school motif, the trailer throws some superlatives at us in the second half. Brianne Tju is most likely to survive, Drew Scheid is most likely to die first, Uriah Shelton is most likely to kick ass and finally, Lo Grahm is most likely to get everyone killed. My gut says that these are intentional misdirects, but they serve as fun, tacky introductions to the central characters.

RELATED: Scream 6: Heroes Hayden Panettiere To Return To Horror Franchise

The full-length trailer has a lot more to it, but my final and favorite takeaway is its declaration that The dead will have this club for breakfast. Unhuman looks like a campy, self-aware, love letter to the zombie subgenre and iconic 80s coming-of-age cinema. The cast doesnt feature any A-listers, but horror aficionados will recognize Brianne Tju from Amazon Primes I Know What You Did Last Summer (a TV series which totally wasted her acting ability on a half-baked script). And who could forget the brutal massacre of Drew Scheids character in Halloween 2018 at the hands of Michael Myers?

The trailer looks like a blast, and as an added bonus, Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton have worked together in the past on some of the Saw films, particularly the latter installments featuring Detective Lieutenant Mark Hoffman in a prominent role. If they can bring the same magic to Unhuman that they did for the Saw franchise, this could be a truly remarkable horror movie.

In this story of a high school field trip gone bloody awry, seven misfit students must band together against a growing gang of unhuman savages. The groups trust in each other is tested to the limit in a brutal, horrifying fight to survive and they must take down the murderous zombie-creatures before they kill each other first.

What did you think of the trailer for Unhuman? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media!

Source: Paramount Movies

KEEP READING: The Walking Dead Carol and Daryl Spin-Off Series Loses 1/2 Its Duo

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Tax & Spend: The zombie companies are finally expiring – The Globe and Mail

The zombie company could finally be expiring.

Business insolvencies are on the rise, nearing prepandemic levels as government supports and the patience of lenders dissipate.

According to data released from the federal Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy on Thursday, there were 318 business insolvencies in March, nearly equalling the 324 insolvencies of February, 2020. As recently as last July, insolvencies were less than half of prepandemic levels, with 160 filings that month.

The rebound could spell an end to one of the great economic paradoxes of the pandemic: During one of the worst economic contractions in Canadas history, the number of insolvencies fell dramatically.

Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, has said that he believed there were thousands of debt-burdened zombie companies that were effectively defunct but were technically staying in business on the faint hope that they could rebound once pandemic restrictions were lifted.

Those hopes are clearly fading, according to the superintendents data. Instead, insolvencies are shooting up; those zombies are finally dying. The stake is going through the heart, Mr. Kelly said, adding that a survey of his members indicates that only 40 per cent have seen their sales return to prepandemic levels and that the average small business has amassed $160,000 in COVID-related debt.

Targeted wage subsidies ended in early May, but Mr. Kelly is still hoping that Ottawa will provide additional relief to small business, by writing off the full value of emergency loans issued over the past two years rather than forgiving only a portion. I worry that weve only seen the tip of the iceberg for business failures, he said.

In a news release, the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP) noted that business insolvencies rose 34 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 compared with the same quarter in 2021, the biggest increase in 31 years.

Jean-Daniel Breton, chair of the CAIRP, said insolvencies fell during the pandemic because of a combination of factors, including government support programs such as wage subsidies, and the unwillingness of lenders to force debtor firms into bankruptcy in an economic environment unlikely to garner much from asset sales. You cannot get blood from a stone, he said.

Those factors are now pushing in the opposite direction, he said. Support programs began to wind down after November, and lenders are less forgiving. Rising interest rates will intensify the pressure on overextended companies, he added.

Taxing questions

Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it. Thats the foundation for some of the criticism of left-leaning politicians that back carbon pricing but are also floating ways to roll back the soaring cost of a fill-up.

Superficially, it does seem a bit on the posturing side for politicians to want to increase the cost of gasoline, but then also wring their hands about the increasing cost of gasoline. But only superficially.

There are big differences between the price increases contemplated under carbon-pricing systems such as the federal fuel charge, and the recent market-driven spike in prices. For one, there is magnitude. Pretax gasoline prices in Toronto have jumped by more than 40 cents a litre since the start of the year. The fuel charge rose by a relatively modest 2.2 cents a litre on April 1 to a total of 11 cents.

Still, over time, the total will mount. By 2030, the fuel charge will be just under 40 cents a litre.

But that underscores how slowly the fuel charge is slated to rise. This points to another contrast: predictability. The yearly increase in the fuel charge is steady barring a change in the policy that is. On the other hand, there are few things in the world less predictable than gasoline prices. Why trade in your pickup for a price spike that could be over in two months? But if you knew those prices were here to stay, your decision could be different.

Lastly, increases in federal fuel charges are paired with rebates. Those dont cover the extra costs for all households, but at a minimum it defrays them. That is perhaps the biggest difference: Those market-driven spikes are all cost, no rebate.

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Making employment insurance work: The pandemic has underscored the urgent need to update employment insurance to make it more generous and easier to access, concludes a report from the Institute for Research on Public Policy, issued as Ottawa conducts a two-year-long review of the 82-year-old income support policy. The report, which captures the discussion of the 12-member working group in December, highlights the myriad gaps in the EI program. It also touches on some potentially politically thorny solutions including renewed federal contributions without going quite so far as to endorse them.

Follow me on Twitter, @PatrickBrethour or ask your Taxing Question here.

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The zombie economics of inflation and unemployment – The Hill

Bad economic ideas can have a frustratingly long shelf life. Amid surging consumer and producer prices, the apparent tradeoff between inflation and unemployment has become a hot topic. Theres just one problem: the tradeoff doesnt exist. Economists have known this for 40 years. Policymakers and commentators asserting otherwise should get with the program.

The illusion of a permanent and controllable tradeoff between a strong dollar and a strong labor market persists in various centers of elite opinion. Lisa Cook, one of President Bidens nominees to the Federal Reserves Board of Governors, confidently asserted the importance of the tradeoff between inflation and unemployment for monetary policy. The New York Times recently promoted similar worries that the current focus on taming inflation could come at the cost of unemployment. In a separate Times column, Paul Krugman depicted a huge surge in unemployment as the hefty price-tag of reining in our last major inflationary crisis some 40 years ago. Other media outlets routinely depict tight money as a certain pathway to skyrocketing unemployment. When some of the most important forums in the world host some of the most elementary economic errors in the world, something has gone very wrong.

Alan Blinder, a former Fed vice chair, recently did the public a service when he reminded us about 1970s stagflation: simultaneously high inflation and unemployment. This grim prospect should have put to rest forever the mirage of a tradeoff. Amid a supply-constrained economy, Fed-induced excessive demand growth fueled major price hikes. Sound familiar? Sadly, each new generation of economists seems fated to spend precious time and energy rediscovering the wheel.

Monetary policy has a big effect on total spending on goods and services, but not the amount of productive employment. Fed officials are tasked with keeping us as close to the jobs frontier as possible. If theyre too stingy, as in 1929 or 2008, spending collapses and the economy must painfully recalculate to new patterns of production and trade. If theyre too gung-ho, as in the 1970s or 2020, spending skyrockets and households and businesses are left scrambling for purchasing power. Keeping spending stable is the foundation for healthy markets, including labor markets. So long as monetary policy is predictable, full employment is compatible with many different inflation rates.

In the case of monetary policy, many of our problems trace to the zombie-like reemergence of the Phillips Curve a mid-20th century chart that purported to show an inverse relationship between employment and inflation. Although it bears the name of its originator, A.W. Phillips, Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Samuelson and Robert Solow are the real culprits behind the myth that anti-inflationary policies imperil a healthy labor market. As Solow recounted, I remember that Paul Samuelson asked me when we were looking at [Phillips] diagrams for the first time, Does that look like a reversible relation to you? What he meant was Do you really think the economy can move back and forth along a curve like that? Solow answered in the affirmative, and the myth of a menu of choices for inflation and unemployment was born.

The pair presented their argument in an influential 1960 article, arguing that In order to achieve the nonperfectionists goal of high enough output to give us no more than 3 percent unemployment, the price index might have to rise by as much as 4 to 5 percent per year. By implication, intentionally allowing the price level to rise would seem to be the necessary cost of high employment and production.

The Phillips Curve reflected the Keynesian pieties of mid-20th century macroeconomics. It offered economists a monetary lever to accelerate or slow economic growth with supposedly technical precision. Just as usefully, it patched up a giant hole in John Maynard Keyness system, which famously enlisted fiscal stimuli and accompanying deficit spending as solutions for economic downturn.

Within less than a decade, however, the Phillips Curve had fallen apart. Milton Friedman, Edmund Phelps and Robert Lucas, all Nobel laureates in economics, published devastating salvos against the inflation-unemployment tradeoff. The bottom line: Economic productivity doesnt depend on the printing press. You cant fool people with money illusion by eroding wages with inflation. Loose monetary policy causes a depreciated dollar, with no lasting gain in employment. You cant exploit a contingent, historical correlation for the purposes of economic control.

These setbacks did not dampen the ardor of diehard Keynesians. Samuelson tried to rescue his toolbox, calling it one of the most important concepts of our times in a 1967 lecture. By then, it was clear the Phillips Curve wasnt holding up. Samuelson attributed this to the instability of the relationship. The Phillips Curve moved around, you see. It was therefore the goal of policymakers to seize control of the shift and situate it in a more ideal position. To achieve this, he proposed a suite of vaguely elaborated measures to increase antitrust enforcement and establish government-financed jobs training programs. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Federal Trade Commission Chairperson Lina Khan and their fellow progressives are peddling the same snake oil today. These measures didnt work for Samuelson in the 1960s and 70s, and they wont work now.

The Phillips Curve was doomed from the beginning. It didnt originate with a theoretical insight or rigorous empirical testing. Rather, it was a god of the gaps of the mid-century Keynesian system an all-too-convenient discovery that appeared to justify monetary assistance for deficit finance and large government programs. Unable to grapple with the possibility that Phillips simply stumbled into a weak or spurious relationship, the heirs of the Samuelson-Solow approach have instead tried to salvage it through increasingly fanciful just-so stories, each crafted in response to a tangible failure of an earlier iteration of the curve.

The idea of an exploitable tradeoff between inflation and unemployment is dead. Its time we buried it. This false concept paves the way for counterproductive government programs that hinder the economic dynamism on which labor markets depend. If we want full employment, we should simultaneously normalize monetary policy while easing regulatory constraints. Anything else is chasing a mirage.

Phillip Magness is the director of research and education at the American Institute for Economic Research. Alexander William Salter is an economics professor in the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University, a research fellow at TTUs Free Market Institute and a senior fellow with AIERs Sound Money Project.

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Sense of dj vu with Stormont as ‘zombie’ Executive continues – The Irish Times

We have been here before. Certainly the journalists have been here before, most recently just over two years ago when yet another Christmas season was spent pacing the floor of the Great Hall at Stormont, waiting for the breakthrough which eventually became the New Decade, New Approach agreement.

The politicians, the diplomats and the advisers have also been here before; on Friday morning, before the meeting of the Assembly at which the DUP had already signalled it would block the appointment of a speaker the prerequisite for any Assembly business the speculation was not about what would happen that afternoon, but about where a potential talks process might be held.

And the public has been here before. Since February there has been only a zombie Executive due to the resignation of the then DUP first minister, Paul Givan, as part of his partys opposition to the protocol; now there will also be the spectre of an empty Assembly chamber. People will be screaming for help and we will be silent, said the UUP leader, Doug Beattie.

This is not what most people in Northern Ireland want; anecdotally and on the doorsteps during the recent election campaign, the overwhelming message was that people wanted the Executive back up and running.

The polling backs this up: in a study published in April by the University of Liverpool/the Irish News, published in April, people were asked to rate their preferred actions if an Assembly was not formed after the election.

The statement that an Executive should be formed and political parties should accept the outcome of the election was the clear favourite, chosen by 45 per cent of respondents as their first preference and 27 per cent as their second. What was also clear was that there was no appetite for a lengthy period of negotiation.

Yet in the Great Hall on Friday morning the DUP leader, Jeffrey Donaldson, defended his partys action on the basis that it has a mandate from its voters not to go back into government until there has been decisive action from London on the protocol.

And so Stormont is effectively suspended. The current state of play no Assembly, no first or deputy first minister, and only caretaker ministers who are unable to take new, significant or controversial decisions can stagger on for at most six months, after which the entire house of cards collapses and it will fall to the Northern secretary to call an election though precisely what this might achieve is open to doubt.

What the DUP needs now is a way back into the Assembly; in theory, this could come next week if, as indicated, the UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, announces on Tuesday that the British government will legislate to disapply parts of the protocol.

This is the DUPs gamble: that by going all in and effectively pulling down the Assembly this will exert maximum pressure on London and convince it that it must deliver the action on the protocol that will lift the DUP off the protocol-shaped hook it has got itself stuck on and, in consequence, restore the Assembly.

What could possibly go wrong? For one, the fact that even the DUP does not trust the UK government, and will freely admit this in private. Asked by The Irish Times on Friday if he trusted it to deliver next week, there was no unequivocal response from Mr Donaldson; instead, he replied that the ball was in Boris Johnsons court and it would be actions, not words, that would determine how the DUP would proceed. Im looking now to the government to see what they intend to do, he said.

It is unlikely to be straightforward. It is to state the obvious to point out that the DUP has been burned before, and the reality is that Donaldson will want a concrete commitment preferably through legislation before conceding any ground. The other parties will also have their own asks, which inevitably points towards a period of negotiation.

With both Johnson and Taoiseach Michel Martin due in Belfast next week, it is starting to feel a lot like a talks process.

If there is one thing we have learned from being here before, is that it is much easier to tear things down than to build them back up. We may be here for some time.

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Sense of dj vu with Stormont as 'zombie' Executive continues - The Irish Times


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Myanmar and the Zombie Five-Point Consensus – Foreign Policy

Welcome to todays Morning Brief, looking at Myanmars political future, U.S.-China tensions over Taiwan, and more news worth following from around the world.

If you would like to receive Morning Brief in your inbox every weekday, please sign uphere.

Myanmars Empty Chair

Welcome to todays Morning Brief, looking at Myanmars political future, U.S.-China tensions over Taiwan, and more news worth following from around the world.

If you would like to receive Morning Brief in your inbox every weekday, please sign uphere.

When U.S. President Joe Biden and other U.S. officials sit down with their Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) counterparts on Thursday for a two-day summit, Myanmar will be absent.

The former British colony, still under military control following a February 2021 coup that put a stop to its nascent democratic institutions and detained de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has refused to send an envoy after Washington and other ASEAN nations asked for a nonaligned voice to represent the country.

Fifteen months on from the military takeover, the junta is still facing public protests as well as battles with multiple armed insurgencies. The military leadership has resorted to draconian tactics to maintain control, including imprisoning thousands of people and torching hundreds of villages in the center of the country.

While Myanmars junta hangs on, diplomatic attempts to change its thinking have faltered. A program agreed with fellow ASEAN nations to move the country beyond its political crisis, including pledges to begin dialogue with opposition groups and end the cycle of violencecalled the five-point consensusis now over a year old, but it has barely been implemented.

It was only last week that one pillar of the consensus, admitting humanitarian aid into the country, began to make progress as ASEAN representatives, including those from Myanmar, attended a meeting hosted in Cambodia alongside international aid organizations.

Myanmars lack of progress has caused rifts in the traditionally drama-free ASEAN grouping, with no clear agreement on how to encourage the junta to make good on its pledges.

A rare decision to exclude Myanmars military leaders from an October 2021 summit was followed by a visit to Myanmar by Cambodian leader Hun Sen in January, during which he met with junta leader Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. That meeting led to atypical public statements of disapproval from both Malaysia and Singapore for what was seen as sending the wrong message to Myanmars military leadership.

Groups including Human Rights Watch have called for ditching the five-point consensus and adopting a new approach. For a year, governments around the world have stalled taking action on Myanmar by standing behind ASEANs hollow wordsand have nothing to show for it, the groups acting Asia Director Elaine Pearson said in a statement. They need to adopt strong measures to deter further atrocities and hold the military accountable, not a flimsy consensus thats proven its futility.

So why have ASEAN and the rest of the world allowed the five-point consensus to remain the road map for Myanmars future? In part because its politically convenient. The reason that the U.S. and everybody else in the world basically keeps voicing support for the ASEAN five-point consensus is because it passes the buck to ASEAN, either because you dont have better ideas or because youre not willing to pursue things that would actually have an impact, said Greg Poling, a Southeast Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Bolder moves, like a declaration of support for the opposition National Unity Government (NUG), largely made up of democratically elected members of the National League for Democracy party, come with risks, as other groups claim their own levels of legitimacy.

Youve got this network of dozens of ethnic armed organizations who have far more guns and far more troops than the NUG commands. And theyre almost as distrustful in some cases of the NUG as they are of the Tatmadaw, Poling said, using a term for Myanmars military.

Despite this wariness, the four strongest ethnic militias have so far rejected offers of peace talks from the junta, demanding that the NUG and its paramilitary arm, the Peoples Defense Force. be included in any negotiations.

Human Rights Watch has called on ASEANs leading nationsIndonesia, Malaysia, and Singaporeto present Myanmars military leadership with a clear, timebound approach to press for reform by taking moves to restrict its currency reserves and arms imports. The group has also called on Biden to push the group to abandon the failed consensus approach at this weeks U.S.-ASEAN Summit.

Poling isnt convinced that this weeks summit will alter the status quo, with all sides likely to punt the problem further down the road: Im sure there will be a joint statement and there will be a Myanmar paragraph in there, and that paragraph is probably just going to reiterate support for the five-point consensusin the same way that therell be a paragraph that says, we call for a code of conduct in the South China Sea. Both of them are equally meaningless.

What Were Following Today

Johnson heads north. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits both Sweden and Finland as the two Nordic countries prepare for a possible application to join the NATO alliance. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto is expected to announce his position on whether to join the alliance on Thursday, while Sweden remains on the fence amid disputes within the ruling Social Democratic Party.

Foreign Pelosi. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi engages in her own foreign-policy agenda tomorrow as she holds separate meetings with Jordanian King Abdullah II and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Draghi is fresh from a Tuesday meeting at the White House, where he and Biden discussed Ukraine and agreed in a joint statement to continue working together on shared foreign policy challenges, specifically referencing China and Libya.

Keep an Eye On

Some of the Americas. Mexican President Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador and his Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, are both unlikely to attend the Summit of the Americas, hosted by the United States in Los Angeles next month. Lpez Obrador reiterated his position that the leaders of Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela be invited to the gatheringsaying on Tuesday he would not attend if they were excluded. Bolsonaro, meanwhile, has already told his staff that he plans to skip the event, although he has not yet given a reason, Reuters reports.

China-U.S. tensions. China admonished the United States over both its words and actions toward Taiwan on Tuesday on the same day senior U.S. intelligence officials gave their public assessment of Chinas policy toward the island nation.

China accused the United States of supporting Taiwan independence secessionist forces by sending a U.S. Navy ship through the Taiwan Strait for the second time in two weeks. It also criticized the changing of language on the U.S. State Department website that had previously said the United States did not support Taiwans independence and acknowledged Beijings position that Taiwan is part of China.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian called the changes a petty act of fictionalizing and hollowing out the one-China principle, while U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the changes in the Taiwan fact sheet reflected our rock-solid unofficial relationship with Taiwan.

Odds and Ends

A Canadian member of parliament has apologized to his colleagues after he was caught participating in a closed parliamentary session from one of the legislatures bathroom stalls.

As the Guardian reports, MP Shafqat Ali, a member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeaus Liberal party, was outed by an opposition party member after she studied his video background during the hybrid session.

The member of parliament was literally using the washroom while participating in a sitting of the House of Commons, the cathedral of Canadian democracy, Conservative leader John Brassard told Parliament after the unusual situation was revealed. I cant believe I actually just said those words, Madam Speaker.

Ali said he takes the matter extremely seriously, and I promise never to repeat this error again.

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Myanmar and the Zombie Five-Point Consensus - Foreign Policy


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