Cor blimey. Dunno which to catch up with first this morning – rioting in England or the world’s financial turmoil.
But it’s great to see just who is coming up with advice.
After being persistently chided by the US to clean up its act, politically, and become more democratic and less abusive of human rights, the boot is on the other foot.
China is saying it “has every right” to demand the United States tackle its debt problem following the credit rating downgrade by Standard and Poor’s.
The official Xinhua news agency delivered the rebuke.
It said Washington needed to “come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone”.
Xinhua said that unless Washington made substantial cuts to what it called the "US gigantic military expenditure and bloated social welfare costs", the downgrade would simply be a "prelude to more devastating credit rating cuts".
“To cure its addiction to debts, the United States has to re-establish the common sense principle that one should live within its means.”
“The days when the debt-ridden Uncle Sam could leisurely squander unlimited overseas borrowing appeared to be numbered,” said Xinhua.
The commentary also hit out at “short-sighted political wrangling”, saying Washington had allowed domestic electoral politics to take the global economy hostage.
Can’t say fairer than that.
Oh, but there was more.
The downgrade serves as a warning about the sustainability of US government finances, Xinhua said, urging Washington to stop relying “on the deep pockets of major surplus countries to make up for its perennial deficits”.
Xinhua is obviously gearing up to join the Tea Party, because last week it condemned the deal to raise the US debt ceiling as a failure to defuse the country’s “debt bomb”.
And it has questioned the dollar’s status as the world’s dominant reserve currency, saying “a new, stable and secured global reserve currency may also be an option to avert a catastrophe called by any single country”.
Today Alf is delighting in the reaction in Teheran to three days of riots in London.
* Iranian lawmaker Hossein Ebrahimi has told the semi-official Fars news agency that parliament is ready to send a human rights delegation to Britain to investigate human rights abuses; and
* Iran’s Foreign Ministry has called on the U.K. government to listen to the demands of the protesters.
“We ask the government of England and those in charge of the [U.K.] Embassy in Tehran to pave the way for the presence of human rights [experts] in that country without making false excuses,” Ebrahimi said.
Ebrahimi, who is the deputy chairman of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, added that Iranian human rights investigators want to speak to Britain’s “political prisoners” and prepare a report about the treatment of “protesters” for international organizations.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, meanwhile, was urging the British Government to order the police to stop their violent confrontation with the protesters and begin a dialogue to calm the situation.
The Iranians are practised in dealing with civil unrest, of course.
They used force to end peaceful opposition protests in 2009. And they maintain a crackdown on all dissenting voices.
In 2009, when hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets to protest against the disputed reelection of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, security forces used force against them. According to human rights organizations between 50 and 100 people were killed. Up to 5,000 people were said to have been detained, many were tortured, and forced to make confessions.
Iran referred to them as “rioters.” Now Iranian officials and state media refer to young people who have been engaged in violent acts such as rioting and looting as “protesters.”
State media did not cover the protests of those Iranians who marched peacefully against the results of the presidential vote.
But Alf notes they have given extensive coverage to the violence and mayhem in London.
He awaits news that Syria, too, is offering help and advice to the beleaguered British authorities on how to handle their difficulties.