World News Brief, Friday June 1

Ireland votes in popular referendum over whether to ratify German fiscal treaty; Asian markets fall over Eurozone fears; Tibetans detained by Chinese police after protests; Pakistan test fires missile; David Cameron's former aide charged with perjury; and more

Top of the Agenda: Ireland Votes in Referendum on Fiscal Compact

The Irish are voting today in a popular referendum over whether to ratify a German-engineered EU fiscal treaty (Telegraph) agreed to earlier this year. The pact, which mandates states to balance their budgets and keep deficits below 3 percent of national GDP, was signed by twenty-five out of twenty-seven EU member countries. An Irish rejection of the pact could close off the country from receiving further EU financial support, potentially leading to a banking collapse. At the same time, such a move would undermine Germany's strict austerity approach to the eurozone sovereign debt crisis.


"But as certain as a majority vote may appear, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will nevertheless be anxiously focused on the activity in Dublin on Thursday. In the past, the Irish have repeatedly proven to be both unpredictable and resistant to being told what to do. Should they reject Merkel's fiscal pact, it would be a further setback for the German chancellor following the election of Socialist François Hollande in France," writes Der Spiegel's Carsten Volkery.

"The case for not getting in is persuasive. Despite the promises of its driver, it is almost certainly not taking you in the direction you want to go: banks whose debt burden is unmanageable but for which taxpayers still have to pay; weaker economies with higher unemployment; falling revenues," says this Guardian editorial.

"Government by treaty also carries with it a deeper democratic deficiency. As with the Lisbon Treaty, the Irish people are getting an up-or-down vote on an agreement whose terms they took only indirect part in deciding, and whose stipulations would bind the decisions of future Irish governments to perpetuity. This is 'choice' only in the Soviet sense," argues this Wall Street Journal editorial.



Asian Markets Fall Over Eurozone Fears

Asian markets dropped sharply on Thursday amid investor concerns over the fragile Spanish banking system and the ongoing eurozone debt crisis, with Japanese and Australian indices (WSJ) recording their worst months since May 2010.

CHINA: Police this week have detained hundreds of residents in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa following anti-China self-immolation protests (RFA) this past weekend.



Pakistan test fires missile

Andy Coulson charged with perjury


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