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Business商业报道Microsoft and the PC industry微软和PC行业Defenestrated即将被抛弃Steve Ballmer is a casualty of the personal computers rapid decline史蒂夫·鲍尔默是个人电脑产业迅速下滑的牺牲品。UNTIL August 23rd few people would have described Steve Ballmer as retiring.直到8月23日之前,也很少有人会将史蒂夫·鲍尔默与退休联系在一起。Microsofts chief executive has played both tiger and Tigger: snarling at Apples gadgets; and bouncing, with a whoop, onto conference stages to extol his companys wares.这个微软的首席执行官一直在同时扮演老虎和跳跳虎的角色:对苹果产品的小工具咆哮,在阶段会议上为颂扬他公司的产品而奋力呐喊。But retiring he is, within a year.但是,不到一年时间,他就选择了退休。Mr Ballmers departure is a surprise.鲍尔默先生的离去是一个惊喜。He had announced a reorganisation of the company only in July and had hoped to oversee much of the change.他仅在七月份就宣布了公司重组的消息,希望可以看到新的曙光。Some celebrated his going:他的离去也有一些值得庆祝的事:Microsofts share price went up by 7.3% on the day the news broke.消息传出的当天,微软的股价就上升了7.3%。Mr Ballmer has plenty of critics, although Microsofts revenues have trebled on his 13-year watch, to .8 billion in the year to June, and profits have grown similarly, to .9 billion.虽然在他经营的13年间微软的收入增加了两倍,在今年六月更是到达了778亿美元,利润也同样增加了21.9亿美元,但是鲍尔默先生仍然遭受了许多批评指责。The critics point at the rise of Apple and Google, and say Microsoft should have done better—or handed some of its billion of cash to shareholders.批评人士认为,在苹果和谷歌迅速崛起的时候,微软完全可以做的更好,或者可以交出77亿美元的现金给股东们。In an interview with the Seattle Times, Mr Ballmer denied that pressure from ValueAct, a fund with a small stake in the firm, helped push him out.在一次《西雅图时报》的采访中,鲍尔默先生否认了来自激进投资基金的压力,这是一个拥有少量股权但却助他出头的基金。Microsoft sits atop a pyramid of companies that prospered from the long boom in personal computers.微软长期以来,一直处于PC行业金字塔的顶端并保持繁荣。The vast majority of PCs run on Microsofts Windows operating system and are powered by Intels processors.绝大多数的个人电脑都在运行微软的操作系统,并采用英特尔处理器,They bear the brands of Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and others, and nowadays are mostly made by Taiwanese contractors.他们承担的惠普,戴尔,联想和一些其他品牌,如今大多数是由台商承办的。The trouble is that people increasingly prefer to buy mobile devices, made by Apple or running Googles Android operating system.不过,麻烦的是,人们越来越喜欢购买由苹果或者谷歌安卓系统运行的移动设备,个人电脑的销量正在以两位数的速度迅速下降。Sales of PCs have been falling at double-digit rates. From the pyramids apex to its base, companies are desperate both to refresh the PC and reduce their reliance on it.从金字塔的顶端到底层,所有的公司都在拼命的刷新他们的个人电脑,减少对它的依赖,Few are having much success.不过极少能获得很大的成功。Frank Gillett of Forrester, a research firm, reckons that Windows share of the market for personal devices, once 95% or more, has dropped to around 30%.福里斯特研究公司的弗兰克·吉列特认为,Windows个人设备的市场份额一旦上升到95%以上,实际上PC行业整体就下降了30%左右。Microsoft responded belatedly with Windows 8, a new edition intended for touchscreen PCs and tablets launched last October,with variations for cheaper tablets and phones.微软迟来的回应说,将推出用于触摸屏电脑和平板电脑的Windows8,以应对更便宜的平板电脑和手机的变化。Applications lie behind oblong tiles designed for fingertips rather than icons for mouse-clicks.用指尖触及的长方形方块的应用,取代了鼠标的点击。Microsofts successful Xbox entertainment system was given the same look.微软成功的Xbox系统被赋予了相同的外观。The idea was that this uniform style would help to transfer Microsofts dominance of the desktop to mobile devices, and refresh the PC too.当时的想法是,统一的风格有助于将微软在桌面上的统治地位转移到移动设备,并刷新个人电脑。It has not happened yet.但这一切并没有发生,Few businesses were likely to hurry to buy Windows 8 anyway; some have yet to switch to its predecessor, Windows 7.因为很少由企业急着购买Windows 8,更有甚者还没有更新到Windows 7系统。Consumers have not taken to tiles on PC screens: a new version, Windows 8.1, due in October, will make it easier for them to stick with the old look.消费者并没有,在十月份推出的Windows 8.1系统中,会让他们更容易坚持使用旧外观。Only now is a wide choice of touch PCs and tablet-PC hybrids appearing.而现在正是一个触摸电脑与平板电脑并驾齐驱的多选择时代。Microsofts own tablet, the Surface, has been a flop, forcing it to make a 0mwrite-off in its latest results.微软自己的平板电脑,至少从表面上看,一直是一个失败,最后不得不以九亿美元核销其最新结果。Windows phones, mostly made by Nokia of Finland, are far behind iPhones and Android devices, with just 3.3% of the world market according to Gartner, another research firm.Windows的手机大多是由芬兰的诺基亚公司制造,远远落后于苹果系统和安卓系统。根据另一家研究公司加特纳的数据,他们只占有3.3%的世界市场,They have ousted BlackBerry from third place, but that is not saying much.被他们从第三位赶下来的黑莓,就更不必说了。Next to Microsoft at the apex, Intel has also done poorly in smartphones and tablets, though it is striving to catch up and in June unveiled a new chip that it hopes will bring new zip to PCs.仅次于顶端的微软,英特尔公司在智能手机和平板电脑上也做的不好,但它正在努力赶上并于六月份推出了一款新的芯片希望能给PC产业带来新的活力。Among the PC-makers, HP pondered quitting altogether in 2011, then sacked the chief executive who suggested it.在这些电脑制造商中,惠普选择在2011年停下来,然后解雇了提此建议的行政长官。Meg Whitman, his successor, chose to stay in, as well as pushing into services and software and shedding 27,000 jobs. She has plenty still to do: HPs latest results, on August 21st, sent a share-price rally into reverse.他的继任者,梅格·惠特曼选择了留下她还是有很多事情要做:八月二十一日,惠普推出的最新成果,造成了股价的涨势逆转。At Dell, which is scrapping for much the same ground, Michael Dell, the founder and chief executive, still hopes to win a battle to take the company private.而在戴尔,也是大同小异,创始人兼首席执行官迈克尔·戴尔 ,仍希望能赢得一场战斗,将公司私有化。Of the leading PC-makers, Lenovo has coped best. Its home market,China, is slowing but growing, and it is selling plenty of smartphones.在领先的个人电脑制造商中,联想应对的最好,在其国内市场—中国,正在缓慢但是持续的增长,并售出大量的智能手机。Despite its slow start in mobile, Microsoft remains hugely profitable.尽管在移动设备上进展缓慢,微软依然利润丰厚。Its easy to get focused only on Windows, says David Cearley of Gartner.将焦点集中在Windows上很容易。Cearley Gartner的大卫说道。The firm was quicker than its rivals to provide cloud services to big companies.该公司在为大公司提供云务上比其他竞争对手更快。Although Googles free word-processor and spsheet threaten its Office software, Microsoft still has most of its customers, to whom it can sell improved services online.虽然谷歌的免费文字处理和电子表格威胁其Office软件,微软仍然有大部分可以在线销售的客户。The direction Mr Ballmer has set makes a lot of sense, Mr Cearley says.鲍尔默先生已经设置的方向具有很大的意义,Had he set out sooner, he might have seen the journey through.他越早出发,越可以看到更远的旅程。 /201309/255333America and the second world war美国和二战That special relationship那种特殊的关系Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and Americas Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941. By Lynne Olson.书名:《那些愤怒的日子:罗斯福、林白及美国对是否参加二战的争论,1939至1941年》作者:Lynne OlsonWHEN “the chips are down”, David Cameron declared on a visit to Washington last year, Britain and America know that they can always count on each other. Standing beside Barack Obama on a sun-drenched White House lawn, Britains prime minister invoked the memory of their respective grandfathers, serving in the same campaign to drive Hitlers forces from France. The message was clear. Seven decades on, when the British need to claim a special relationship with America, nothing approaches the second world wars talismanic power.去年,卡梅伦在访问华盛顿时说:在“危急时刻”,英美两国明白,双方总是可以互相信赖的。卡梅伦首相与奥巴马一同站在白宫洒满阳光的草坪上,卡梅伦唤起了双方对各自先辈的回忆:他们并肩作战,将希特勒的军队从法国驱赶出去。卡梅伦传达了一条明确的信息:七十年后的今天,当英国需要与美国保持一种特殊关系时,什么也比不了二战的特殊魔力。In truth, for two terrifying years after it declared war on Germany, Britain did not know that America would come to its aid. Winston Churchills government wavered between a conviction that President Franklin Roosevelt did not want Hitler to control the whole of Europe and so would send help, and a suspicion that many in his government dreamed of scavenging the assets of a doomed British empire. Britain made an extraordinary effort to bring America into the war before it was too late. With Roosevelts tacit approval, hundreds of British agents flooded neutral America, secretly spying on isolationist politicians, Axis diplomats and Nazi sympathisers and more openly wooing public opinion with lectures, radio broadcasts and stories planted in friendly newspapers. Marrying a historians thoroughness with a biographers eye for human nature, Lynne Olsons magnificent new account shows what a close-run thing their campaign was.实际上,在英国向德国宣战后可怕的两年中,英国不知道美国会对其提供帮助。丘吉尔政府摇摆不定,时而坚信罗斯福不会让希特勒控制整个欧洲,因此会向英国提供援助;时而又怀疑罗斯福政府中的一些人,认为他们梦想着大英帝国会毁灭,然后蚕食其资产。英国竭尽全力及时地拉动美国参战。在罗斯福的默许下,数百名英国间谍涌入中立的美国,秘密监视孤立派政治家、轴心国外交官和纳粹的同情者,他们还发表演讲、进行电台广播,同时在亲英的报纸上刊登故事,来更加公开地争取民心。在这部精绝伦的新书中,作者Lynne Olson结合历史学家的全面性和传记作家对人性的探寻,向读者展示了他们的行动是如何地惊险。“Those Angry Days” describes a divided America that is little remembered now, amid praise for the greatest-generation years that followed. She depicts an anti-war country in which bars near army bases sported signs banning soldiers, and generals wore mufti to testify on Capitol Hill, lest their uniforms provoke isolationist members of Congress.《那些愤怒的日子》一书描述了一个现在鲜为人知的分裂的美国,字里行间也体现了对之后数年内最伟大一代的赞许。她描述了一个反战的国家,在那里,军事基地附近的酒吧挂着禁止士兵入内的标识,将军则在美国国会山身穿便作,以免他们的制惹恼议会中不主张美国参战的人。In defence of that pacifism, she explains how Americans felt that their country had been dragged into the first world war by clever British propaganda and promises that Americans killed in Europes mud were making the world “safe for democracy”. Twenty years later, many Americans believed that Europes squabbling powers once again seemed unwilling or unable to defend democracy. Less defensibly, a series of grandees—whether army officers, senators, press barons, or students at Yale and Harvard—are shown questioning whether there was any great moral difference between Britain and Nazi Germany, a view that was often tinged with anti-Semitism.美国人感到正是英国人狡猾的宣传和保才把美国卷入了第一次世界大战,这些感受还是有原因的。作者为反战主义辩护,解释了美国人为什么这样想。二十年后,许多美国人认为欧洲争吵不休的大国再次似乎不愿意或不能够保卫民主。作者还较客观地指出:一系列的大人物—不管是军官、议员、报业巨头或是耶鲁和哈佛大学的学生—都在质疑英国和纳粹德国之间是否存在任何道义上的不同,这种观点常常带有一丝反犹太主义色。Many pages are devoted to an isolationist leader whose clay feet are well known: the transatlantic air pioneer, Charles Lindbergh (pictured), who came grievously close to sympathising with the Nazis. But the books power lies in its finely shaded portraits of figures more usually remembered in poster-bright hues of heroism.作者还用了许多笔墨来描述一位孤立派领导人,他就是跨大西洋飞行员查尔斯-林白,他的致命弱点广为人知:他十分接近于同情纳粹。但是本书的妙处就在于作者擅于用委婉的手法对一些人物进行描述,这些人物在当今人们的眼中英雄色更浓一些。George Marshall, who would later become a great war commander, is shown resisting help for embattled Britain until late in 1941. Marshall never quite rebelled openly, but he shielded aides as they leaked and schemed against government policy. Several senior officers were“essentially pro-German”. For his part Roosevelt is shown as perilously indecisive, poring over opinion polls and “waiting to be pushed into war”, as he told his treasury secretary. Even after the attack on Pearl Harbour, which was greeted with champagne by British officials in America, the president hesitated, detecting a “lingering distinction” in public opinion between war with Japan and a second front with Germany. In the end, Hitler made the decision for him by declaring war on America.本书写道:后来成为战时指挥官的马歇尔一直拒绝向四面楚歌的英国提供帮助,这种情况一直持续到1941年年末。尽管马歇尔基本上从来没有公开反对向英国提供援助,但是当来自美国的援助一点点流向英国时,他对之进行了阻止;马歇尔还暗中反对政府的政策。几名美国高级军官“实际上是亲德的”。在本书中,罗斯福优柔寡断至极、埋头研究民意调查、“等着被推入战争”—罗斯福就是这么告诉他的财政部长的。珍珠港袭击发生后,在美的英国军官用香槟酒庆祝,甚至在那以后,罗斯福总统仍然犹豫不决,认为“向日本开战”和“在第二战线与德国开战”这两种民意“一直存在区别”。最后,希特勒率先向美国开战,从而为罗斯福做了决定。The British are not let off scot-free. In addition to planting propaganda, British agents broke American laws with a will. The British tapped phones, opened letters and even forged a map given to Roosevelt, supposedly showing Nazi plans to take over Latin America. Snobbery played into Britains hands. The book could be sub- titled “Wasps at War”, as east-coast anglophiles and Wall Street millionaires pushed their country towards engagement, against isolationist forces drawn from the prairies and small towns of middle America.英国人的所作所为我们可不能不追究。除了四处播撒言论,英国间谍还大肆破坏美国的法律。英方窃听电话、私拆信件、甚至虚造了一幅地图给了罗斯福,让他以为纳粹可能有占领拉丁美洲的计划。英国人正是利用某些美国人的势利眼而达到了自己的目的。该书的副标题可作“战时的VIP们”,因为那时美国东海岸的亲英派和华尔街百万富翁将美国推向了参战之路,尽管那些来自北美大牧场和美国中部小镇的孤立派反对这么做。Among the heroes are Wendell Willkie, the Republican presidential candidate in 1940, who after his defeat backed Roosevelt and vitally campaigned for Americans to be conscripted and trained for war and for Britain to be sent aid. That enraged many in Willkies party, but may have helped avert a Nazi victory.温德尔?威尔基是众多英雄之一,他在1940年是共和党总统候选人,在总统竞选失败后他持罗斯福,并积极动员美国人为战争应征入伍并接受训练、推动为英国送去援助。这激怒了很多共和党人,但这很可能扭转了战局,防止了纳粹的胜利。In the end, the public was ahead of many in the elite. Even before Pearl Harbour, polls showed Americans preferring entry into the war to a German victory over Britain. Japan had hoped its bombs would demoralise Americans. Instead, America was united by the attack. Two years of savage debate had aly aired every argument for and against war, Ms Olson notes. Democracy was Americas strength, as an anxious Britain had hoped it would be. It was a point despotic enemies could never have understood.最后,民众反而走在了很多上层人士的前面。甚至在珍珠港事件发生以前,民意测验就显示美国人更倾向于美国参战,而不是德国战胜英国。日本原本希望在珍珠港投下的炸弹能使美国人人心涣散;然而,那场袭击让美国人团结一心。作者Olson指出,在两年的激烈辩论中,人们可以听到各种持和反对美国参战的言论。民主是美国的力量所在,而这正是焦虑的英国所希望能做到的。而这一点是任何专制的敌人永远也不会明白的。 /201405/296629

Books and Arts; Book Review;Hamas and social services;Food not bombs文艺;书评;哈马斯和社会务; 食物不是炸弹;Hamas and Civil Society in Gaza: Engaging the Islamist Social Sector. By Sara Roy.加沙的伊斯兰抵抗运动与公民社会:参与伊斯兰主义社会事业。萨拉·罗伊著。Few would expect an Islamic charity to offer workshops on sexuality and ways for disabled people to improve their sex lives. But the al-Wafa hospital in Gaza has been providing this service for years, and it is hardly atypical. Many assume that Islamic charities are “merely a guise for promoting terrorism”, writes Sara Roy, a Middle East scholar at Harvard. In her new book about social services in Gaza, based on trips to the strip over the past 15 years, she argues that the reality is more complex.几乎没有人意想到伊斯兰教慈善团体会向残疾人士提供关于性方面的讲习班以及改善性生活的方法。但是在加沙的以色列的医院已经提供此项务很多年了,所以这已成为司空见惯的事请了。很多人认为伊斯兰教的慈善团体“只不过是促进恐怖主义的伪装”,也正如一个在哈佛的中东学者萨拉罗伊所写那样。在关于加沙社会福利事业的新书中,基于她过去15年去加沙地带的出行,她认为现实情况更复杂。Palestinians are pragmatic when it comes to social care. Many go from one organisation to the next—both Islamic and secular—to scavenge as much support as they can, regardless of politics or ideology. Parents often choose religious schools and hospitals because the services are better there than those provided by secular NGOs or the feeble Palestinian state. Palestinians of all social classes, including the secular and the wealthy, send their children to Islamic schools, just like many agnostic London parents send their children to church schools renowned for their discipline and education.一提到社会福利,巴勒斯坦人就很现实。无论哪种政治还是意识形态,许多人从一个组织转向下一个组织(包括伊斯兰教和非宗教的组织)尽可能搜寻到较多的持者。父母通常会选择宗教学校和医院,因为其务比民间的非政府组织或低效率的的巴勒斯坦政府所提供的好。各个阶层的巴基斯坦人,包括平民和富人,都把他们的孩子送去伊斯兰学校,正如很多伦敦的不可知论者把他们的孩子送去以严格的纪律和良好的教育著称的教会学校一样。Some employees of Islamic NGOs sound equally sanguine about the role of religion. One director of an organisation that distributes money, clothing and food to the poor tells Ms Roy that beyond appropriate dress and “respectful behaviour” (admittedly a worryingly vague term), he was not concerned with the religious purity of those he served. He is happy to help anyone in need: “if we discriminate we become fanatics.”一些伊斯兰非政府组织的从业人员对宗教的地位的看法听起来同样也很乐观。一个给穷人分配钱、衣和食物的组织理事告诉罗伊女士,除了合适的衣和“恭敬的行为”(公认是一个含糊的术语),他并不在乎他务的人的宗教虔诚度。他很高兴可以帮助任何有需要的人:“如果我们歧视他们,我们就会成为盲信者。”The social work that Hamas does has certainly empowered the organisation. But Ms Roy argues that this indirect appeal for votes “is very different from mobilising people into collective action in support of an activist Islamist agenda”. It is not as if Hamas uses its social institutions to launch political or military activities, she adds.哈马斯所提供的社会务肯定已经给这个组织授予了权力。但是罗伊女士认为这种间接的请求选举的行为与动员人们参加集体行动来持伊斯兰激进主义分子的基础的意识方案不同。她还说这不像伊斯兰抵抗派利用其社会制度来开展政治或军事活动。When Ms Roy began conducting research in Gaza 25 years ago, she found little popular support for a political agenda built on Islam. A determined secular streak runs through Palestinian society, she maintains. Rather than Palestinians becoming more Islamist, “Hamas has had to broaden its definition of Islam and ‘Muslimness in order to claim and maintain as large a number of adherents as possible.” As a movement that is political at heart, not religious, Hamas has been forced to “de-ideologise” Islam and appeal to more practical needs to ensure its political survival.罗伊女士25年前开始在加沙进行研究,她发现很少人持基于伊斯兰教的政治议程。她认为一个坚定的世俗倾向贯穿于整个巴勒斯坦社会。伊斯兰抵抗运动不得不扩大伊斯兰教和“伊斯兰人”的定义,目的在于拥有和保持尽可能多的信徒,而不是使巴勒斯坦人成为伊斯兰教主义者。作为一个本质上是政治而非宗教的运动,哈马斯被迫减少伊斯兰教的思想意识并且要求更多的实质需要来确保其政治生存。But Hamass hegemony is now under threat. Gazas radical Muslim Salafists accuse the group of political and religious treason, claiming that by engaging in elections and in governing Gaza, Hamas has undermined both its nationalist and Islamic credentials. Desperate to contain the Salafists and remain the sole agent of political and social Islam in Palestine, Hamas “has encouraged, albeit carefully and cautiously, the greater Islamisation of Gazan society”. This is done largely through its social arm, by enforcing conservative dresscodes in schools, banning alcohol and warning against dating.但是哈马斯的领导权现在受到威胁。加沙激进的穆斯林萨拉斯菲特者指控这个组织政治和宗教的不忠,声称他们通过参加选举和统治加沙,暗地里伤害其民族主义者和伊斯兰的信心。哈马斯不顾一切地牵制萨拉斯菲特人并且保持伊斯兰在巴勒斯坦的政治和社会独家代理的地位。即使哈马斯很小心和谨慎,但是他们仍然鼓励加沙社会变得更伊斯兰化。这一举动绝大部分地通过社会武装,例如在学校实施保守的装规则,禁止喝酒和警告不准约会。Ms Roy strives not to speak for Palestinians, but to let their voices reverberate. One woman tells her, “This is what you must teach others. That we are no different than you.” These are the books most powerful moments, and one of its great strengths. Palestinians appear not simply as victims but as ordinary human beings with typical needs and concerns amid extraordinary circumstances. Ms Roys work is one of academic scholarship, rigorous and precise, and not designed for the speedy turn of pages. But this is an important book, which challenges lazy views about the Palestinians and highlights how they go about securing basic services.罗伊女士并非要设法为巴勒斯坦人说话,她只是努力让他们的声音产生广泛的影响。一位妇女告诉她,“这就是你必须教别人的东西。我们和你没什么不同。”这些就是这本书最强有力的片段了,也是它主要的优势。巴勒斯坦人不仅仅是受害者,而是在这特别的环境下有着常人的需求和忧虑的平凡人。罗伊女士的作品是一门严谨精确的学术学问,而不是用来快速浏览的书籍。但这是一本重要的书,它不仅向关于巴勒斯坦人未经深思熟虑的观点挑战,而且强调他们如何继续保卫基本社会福利事业。 /201306/243924

Finance and Economics;Free exchange;Joined-up thinking财经;自由交流专栏;以整体思维设计欧洲债券;Can a limited version of Eurobonds help solve the euro crisis?限制版的欧洲债券能否解决欧债危机?Anyone labouring under the illusion that the euro crisis could be solved by liquidity provision from the European Central Bank (ECB), however munificent, has been disabused. By encouraging banks to stock up on domestic government debt, the ECBs loans have reinforced the pernicious links between weak banks and weak governments. That connection is currently hurting Spain. Meanwhile, a German-inspired “fiscal compact” to insert public-debt brakes into national laws does nothing to help countries such as Italy climb out of the debt pit.人们曾经对欧洲央行(ECB)抱有不切实际的想法,认为只要它增加流动性供给,欧债危机便能药到病除。但现实情况是,无论欧洲央行出手怎么慷慨大方,依然无法扭转局势。欧洲央行向业发放贷款,鼓励它们购买自己国家发行的政府债券。各国和政府本就已经虚弱不堪,上述做法更加加剧了二者之间的极为有害的联系。西班牙现在便深受这种毒害之苦。与此同时,德国发起的“财政契约”要求各国将控制公共债务水平的条款纳入本国法律中,这丝毫无益于西班牙这样深陷债务泥潭的国家获得救助。“Eurobonds”, shorthand for euro-area sovereign debts that are jointly guaranteed by the 17 member countries, could provide a solution. In aggregate, the public finances of the currency block compare favourably with countries such as America which can borrow at dirt-cheap rates (last years euro-wide budget deficit was 4.1% of GDP, less than half Americas 9.6%). But replacing all national government bonds with collectively underwritten debt is a non-starter. A fully mutualised euro-zone debt market would be enormous—at 8 trillion Euro(10.5 trillion dollar), not far short of Americas—and thus very liquid.“欧洲债券”是欧元区主权债券的缩写。这种由十七个国家联合担保的债券可能为解决欧债危机提供某种出路。总的来看,欧元区集团的公共财政状况与美国相比毫不逊色,但是却无法享受到后者那种以极低的利率借款的好处。(欧元区去年的预算赤字占到了GDP的4.1%,同一时期美国的预算赤字占GDP的比率为9.6%)。但因此取消欧元区所有国家的政府债券,并代之以各国共同承保的欧洲债券,无疑又是不现实的。一个完全统一的欧元区债券市场将极为庞大——市值约为8万亿欧元(10.5万亿美元),接近美国债券市场的规模——从而也将极具流动性。That would lower average borrowing costs a bit. But the big gains through lower yields would go to the blocks fiscal sinners (the Signori), while the good guys (the Herrs) would be charged more to tap the markets than they are now. Such a move risks undermining the euro areas public finances in the long run by taking pressure off renegades. To prevent that, national budgets would have to be tightly controlled at a euro-zone level, entailing much deeper political integration than is currently conceivable.若这一设想得以实现,欧元区的平均借款成本将会有少许的下降。到那时,败坏财政纪律的罪犯(意大利的先生们)将享受到债券收益率下降的好处,而行为端正的好人(德国的先生们)则要承受比现在更高的发债成本。从长期来看,这种为恶棍缓解压力的做法将毁坏欧元区的公共财政基础。若要避免此种不幸,各国的财政预算必须从欧元区总体层面上加以严格控制,这势必要求各国打破思想上的框框,将政治一体化的进程向前继续推进。Any feasible plan for Eurobonds will therefore have to be on a partial basis. That means limiting the scope of joint guarantees to specific portions of member states sovereign debt, or setting a defined lifespan to the guarantees. One idea is to confine the maturity of Eurobonds to short-term debt. Wim Boonstra, chief economist of Rabobank in the Netherlands, advocates a facility for euro-zone countries to finance themselves for four years through jointly-guaranteed debt of up to two years in maturity. This plan would exclude Greece, Ireland and Portugal while they are receiving rescue finance, but it would take the heat off Italy and Spain and provide their banks with a safe common asset. One snag is that it encompasses the very maturity at which their governments aly find it easiest to borrow. Another is that by encouraging countries to issue debt at shorter maturities, the programme would create a bigger refinancing hump at the point when it was wound up.无论欧洲债券采取何种发行方案,都将是一个类似半成品的事物。这意味着,或者成员国主权债务的某些部分,或者债券的期限,将受到限制。有人就建议将欧洲债券界定为短期债务工具。荷兰拉首席经济学家维姆·布恩斯塔主张,欧元区国家应采取联合担保的形式,发行一种单期期限不超过两年,总期限四年的共同融资工具。按照他的计划,一方面,希腊、爱尔兰和葡萄牙由于已经接受了救助资金,将不会成为联合担保的对象;另一方面,意大利和西班牙将由此获得喘息的机会,两国的业也将获得欧洲债券这种比较安全的一般性资产。但是这个方案存在的一大问题是,即使没有欧洲债券,意大利政府和西班牙政府现在已经能比较轻松地获得这一期限内的贷款。况且,如果各国在这一方案的激励下都来发行短期债券,那么等到借新还旧的时候就会面对更大的融资压力。A much more ambitious scheme from Bruegel, a Brussels-based think-tank, first outlined in 2010, would use the original Maastricht-treaty cap for public debt of 60% of GDP—more honoured in the breach than the observance—to carve a dividing line between jointly-guaranteed debt and the rest. National borrowings below the 60% level could be switched into “blue” Eurobonds, while the remaining “red” debt would remain the responsibility of individual states. The blue bit would cover around 5.5 trillion Euro—a lot more than Mr Boonstras plan, and it would be for keeps. The main objection to this colour-coded proposal is that the resulting pressure on countries to reduce their red debt could backfire. The now-riskier tranche of borrowing would turn toxic, with yields on it soaring as borrowers priced in the higher risk of default. In the ensuing panic, the guarantee would probably have to be extended. The limit for blue debt would turn out to be as binding a constraint as the original Maastricht ceiling.早在2010年,总部位于布鲁塞尔的智库机构勃鲁盖尔便提出了一个更为大胆的计划。该计划试图利用原《马斯特里赫特条约》中各国公共债务不得超过GDP60%的条款——尽管这一规定很少被遵守,常常被违反——将债券分成两类,即共同担保债券和传统的主权债券。主权债务中低于GDP60%的部分将划到“蓝色”欧洲债券中,60%以上的部分是“红色”债券,仍由各国独自承担还款责任。蓝色欧洲债券的价值接近55亿欧元——大大超过了布恩斯塔计划中的规模,而且它会是一种永久性债券。有人对这种颜色分类债券提出异议,认为这种债券的本意虽然是想迫使各国减少红色债券,但很可能起到适得其反的效果。现存的高风险债券一旦划成红色债券将变成问题资产,由于违约风险升高,政府的借款利率也将随之猛增。随后,市场将陷入一片恐慌之中,此种形势下,共同担保的范围不得不扩大,把红色债券也纳入进来。到头来,蓝色债券的范围界限毫无约束力可言,正如同当初《马斯特里赫特条约》设定的公共债务上限的条款一样,沦为一纸空文。A third proposal—from the German Council of Economic Experts, an independent advisory group—recodes the colours and changes the intent. Eurobonds would replace national debt above, rather than below, 60% of GDP. This scheme would be smaller than Bruegels, covering around 2.3 trillion Euro, and since its purpose is to redeem debt above the 60% threshold, the fund issuing the Eurobonds would eventually wind up—though that would take 25 years. The ultimate objective is manageable national rather than permanent joint debt.第三套方案来自一家独立的顾问团体,即德国经济专家委员。他们对颜色债券赋予了不同的含义,发债的目的也有了变化。在这份计划中,欧洲债券将替代超出GDP60%以上的部分(而非以下部分)的国家债务。该计划将发行大约价值2.3万亿欧元的债券,小于勃鲁盖尔方案的规模。该计划的目的是偿还超出60%上限以上部分的债券,因此一旦实现目标,负责欧洲债券的发行的基金也将最终停止运行——尽管可能要花上25年的时间。此一方案的最终目标是实现可管理的国家债务,而非永久性的共同债务。Lets try another colour scheme试试其他颜色的计划Since Greece, Portugal and Ireland cannot transfer debt into the fund while they are being bailed out, the German plan can be interpreted as a roundabout rescue for Italy. With public debt at 120% of GDP, Italy would transfer almost 1 trillion Euro into the fund as existing national debt came due and was replaced by the issuance of joint bonds. The next-highest amount—over 500 billion Euro—would come from Germany, whose fiscal standing is not in doubt (unless sapped by having to finance too many bail-outs).由于希腊、葡萄牙和爱尔兰三国正在接受资金救助,它们的债券将不会转入偿还基金,因此人们将德国方案视作是对意大利的曲线救援。意大利的公共债务占到了GDP的120%,随着国家债务到期日的日益接近,大约有1万亿欧元的意大利债券将转入偿还基金,并由共同担保债券取而代之。德国将向偿还基金注入5千亿欧元的债券,排名第二。德国目前的财政状况仍然良好(除非因救助过多而有所恶化)。The plan would need to be tweaked to help countries such as Spain, whose public debt is not far above the 60% limit but is rising sharply and may surge even more if its weak savings banks need extra help. Another issue is whether the discipline needed to pay off debt over such a long period can be sustained. But the plan should avoid the perverse effects of Bruegels “blue-red” proposal. Yields on existing national bonds in a country such as Italy—those with maturities extending beyond the transfer period of up to four years—will be higher than those issued through the redemption fund, but overall borrowing costs should be reduced as investors see a credible path to debt reduction and fret less about a euro break-up.这一计划还需要做作少许修改,以适应救助西班牙等国的需要。西班牙的公共债务只是略高于60%的上限,但近来上升势头很猛。考虑到该国虚弱的储蓄可能需要额外的救助,公共债务还有大幅激增的可能性。另一个要注意的问题是,欧洲债券的偿还需要很长的一段时间,保还款正常进行的纪律能否得到维持?尽管有以上各种问题,这一计划仍将避免勃鲁盖尔的“蓝债券-红债券”的弊端。意大利等国发行的债券期限超出了四年的转换期,收益率也会高于那些由偿还基金代发的欧洲债券的收益率。但它们的总借款成本还是会有所下降,这是因为一旦投资者看到债务确实在减少,他们对欧元解体的忧虑便会得到缓解的缘故。Of the three schemes, the German plan has most to commend it. It insists on tough conditionality: states being helped will have to provide the fund with collateral and earmarked tax revenue. It is also open about the fact that German borrowing costs will rise, by up to a percentage point. That is an awkward truth, but Germans will also pay if the single currency fails. From a poor starting-point, the German proposal is the least bad way forward.三个方案中,德国版本最为受到推崇。该方案坚持严格的限制性条件,即:受助国必须向基金提供专项的的税收收入作为抵押品。毫无疑问,德国的借款成本将会由此增加,大约上升一个百分点。成本上升的事实颇为令人尴尬,但换个角度看,如果欧元破产,德国还是要付出相应的代价。欧洲债券已经站在了糟糕透顶的起点之上,而德国的方案代表着最不坏的前进方向。 /201306/244582Italian payment practices意大利的付习惯Unhealthy delays有害的延误Late payments are an Italian speciality—particularly in health care延迟付是意大利的特色——尤其在医药保健领域IN MEDICINE speed is of the essence.在医药领域,速度就是核心。If the ambulance arrives a minute late, the patient may be dead.如果救护车晚到一分钟,病人就可能死亡了。Italian paramedics are no doubt as swift as those in other countries.意大利的护理人员无疑同其他国家一样行动迅速。But Italys health-care authorities are shamefully slow when it comes to paying suppliers—making it difficult for them to survive.但谈到向供应商付时,意大利的医疗机构就慢的令人羞耻了—简直让供应商们难以生存。Were still waiting to be paid for goods sold in , says Stefano Rimondi, the managing director of Bellco, a maker of equipment for dialysis with revenues of more than 100m and a workforce of 360 people.我们还在等年出售的货物的付款,Bellco公司的常务董事Stefano Rimondi说道。Bellco是一家渗透设备制造商,拥有360名员工,每年收入超过1亿欧元。We have one employee working full-time chasing up late payers, he adds.他补充道,我们有一个员工全职专司向延迟付款人追讨款项。Bellco is not the only company to suffer.Bellco不是唯一一家深受其害的公司。The 250 other members of Assobiomedica, a trade group for firms that supply medical equipment, are owed 5.6 billion;提供医疗设备的贸易组织,意大利生物医药联合会下属的250家公司有未付款56亿欧元;those of Farmindustria, which represents 200 pharmaceutical firms, are waiting for 4 billion.意大利制药工业协会下属的200家制药公司则有未付款40亿欧元。The farther south you look, the longer the delays in payment.你往南看的越远,付的延迟时间就越长。The Friuli and Trentino-Alto Adige regions in north-eastern Italy and Valle dAosta in the north-west settle bills after about three months.在意大利东北部的Friuli 和Trentino-Alto Adige区域,以及在西北部的Valle dAosta都在三个月后付账单。The regions of Calabria and Molise pay on average after two years.Calabria 和 Molise区的人平均两年后才付账。The record is held by one Neapolitan health authority:那不勒斯省中某市的卫生部门保持着相关记录:some of its suppliers have been waiting for more than four-and-a-half years.他的一些供应商已经等了至少四年半了。Small Italian firms that rely on the home market are hit particularly hard.一些依赖家庭市场的意大利企业尤其损失严重。Often they cannot get bank financing at reasonable interest rates.他们通常不能以合理的利率从贷款。And long delays in payment create all kinds of tax and accounting headaches.而长时间延误付款将导致税收和会计方面的一系列问题。Suing late-payers doesnt help much.起诉延迟付款者也没有太大作用。Courts are at least as slow as health-care authorities.法院的速度至少和医疗机构一样慢。In five regions a law even blocks the use of courts to compel authorities to cough up.甚至有一项法律在五个地区中禁止法院强制官员吐出资金。Once we were able to recover about 5m of interest a year, but now weve had to give up, says the executive of a large American drugmaker, which had started to take legal action in 2007.一家大型美国制药公司在2007年采取法律行动以后说道:曾经我们可以收到一年大约500万欧元的利息,但现在我们放弃了。Pharmaceutical firms cannot simply stay clear of the worst offenders:制药公司不能简单的远离最极端的冒犯者们:they are legally required to supply drugs even to notoriously slow authorities.法律甚至要求这些为慢的臭名昭著的官员提供药品。Desperate measures are also unlikely to help.令人绝望的法规同样很难起到作用。Starting a boycott of late-paying authorities could trigger an antitrust investigation.启动对延迟付款官员的联合抵制将触发反垄断调查。And paying sweeteners to move invoices to the top of the list can land you behind bars.而通过贿赂使账单排到列表最顶端的举动将使你锒铛入狱。Some suppliers are pinning their hopes on new European Union legislation which requires health-care authorities to settle bills within 60 days;一些供应商寄希望于要求医疗机构在60天内付款的欧盟监管新条例;it takes effect in March next year.此条例将于明年三月份生效。Yet Mr Rimondi would be shocked if things improved:但如果情况真的有所改进的话,Rimondi先生会感到震惊,Some clause will be dreamed up so that the directive can be dodged in Italy.将有一些条款被设计出来,让意大利逃过监管。 /201307/247869

Don, flying is tougher than walking or running, right?飞行比走路和跑步都要困难些,对吧?So how come birds dont get winded and run out of breath?那为什么鸟类飞行的时候不会喘不过气来?Actually, in terms of distance per unit energy, flying is pretty efficient.按照单位距离来看的话,飞行是非常顺利的。Plus birds have a super efficient respiratory system.并且鸟类有一个特别高效的呼吸系统。While a birds respiratory system takes up about one fifth of its body, its lungs are relatively rigid and small, and dont fully deflate.当鸟呼吸系统占据它身体的五分之一时,它的肺比较僵硬,也比较小,不会完全紧缩。Instead, birds have a complex network of air sacs that work likebellows to pump a constant stream of air through the lungs.相反地,鸟类有一个复杂的肺泡结构,就像一个风箱把源源不断的空气打进肺里。Whats more, air only goes through the lungs in one direction, which means it has a higher oxygen content than the air in human lungs.更重要的是,空气在肺里只能流向一个方向,那就意味着它里面的氧气含量比人类肺里氧含量高。When a bird inhales, the air goes into the rear air sacs, and when it exhales, that air movesforward to the lungs, where oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide waste.鸟在吸气时,空气进入鸟肺泡的底部,而当呼气时,空气就向肺的前面移动,在那里氧气被交换成二氧化碳废气。Then, when the bird inhales again, the air is pushed out of the lungs and into the front air sacs.然后,鸟再次吸气,气体就从肺中进入肺泡。When it exhales asecond time, the air leaves the body.当第二次呼气时,气体就从身体出来了。So it takes two breaths to process a packet of air.所以鸟类需要呼吸两次才能处理气体了。Yep, Plus the air sacs mean that birds weigh less than youd expect, which makes flying lesscostly in terms of energy.是的。加上肺泡的话就说明鸟比我们想象的要轻,那样飞行就不会那么耗能量。But scientists still dont fully understand how birds breathe.但是科学家们现在也不完全明白鸟类是如何呼吸的。Birds fly over Mount Everest at altitudes where the air is so thin humans cant function, and no one knows howthey do it.鸟可以在珠穆朗玛峰上空飞行,但山上空气太稀薄人类无法呼吸,没有人知道它们是怎么做到的。 201409/327429Yael:Sounds like you have a bad cold, Don.雅艾尔:听这咳嗽你像是得了重感冒,唐。Do you need some cough medicine?需要些咳嗽药吗?DON:Nope.唐:不用。YAEL:Tylenol?雅艾尔:泰诺?DON:No thanks.唐:不,谢谢。YAEL:Dont you want anything to help you feel better?你不需要吃药来帮助你感觉更好吗?DON:I dont need help, Yael. All this sniffling, sneezing, and coughing are doing the work for me.唐:我不需要帮助,雅艾尔。流鼻涕,打喷嚏和咳嗽都在帮我治疗。YAEL:But doesnt that make you feel worse?雅艾尔:但是难道这不会让你觉得更难受吗?DON:Theres more than one way to look at sneezing and coughing.唐:看待打喷嚏和咳嗽可不能只用一种方式。They can be symptoms, in which case your first reaction is to try to ;cure; them with all sorts of pills and syrups.它们可以是症状,在这种情况下,你的第一反应是用各种药片和药水进行治疗。Or, you can see them as the bodys natural defense system.而另外一方面,你可以将它们视作身体的自然防御系统。Its called Darwinian medicine.它被称为达尔文医学。YAEL:You mean like survival of the fittest?雅艾尔:你是说像适者生存之类的?DON:Not exactly.唐:也不完全是。Darwinian medicine tries to find evolutionary explanations for why we get sick.达尔文医学试图从进化论角度解释我们为什么会生病。It also tries to figure out how and why we respond to sickness.它也试图找出我们如何以及为什么应对疾病。For example, when you get a low grade fever it might be because your body is trying to make things uncomfortable for invading microbes.例如,当你低烧的时候,可能是你的身体试图做出不舒的表现以应对入侵的微生物。When you take medicine to lower a fever you might actually be helping whatevers making you sick in the first place.当你选择吃药来降低发烧你可能实际上是帮助任何使你首要发病的地方。YAEL:So youre saying that I should never take medicine?雅艾尔:所以你是说,我应该永远不要吃药?DON:Not at all. Sometimes medicine is absolutely necessary, like when you have a really high fever.唐:也不尽然。药物有时候是绝对必要的,比如在你真正发高烧的时候。But the point is that its not always best to automatically try to stop all symptoms when you dont feel well.但关键是,对于自动阻止所有你感觉不舒的症状并不总是最好的。Until studies are done on the effectiveness of taking aspirin and other fever-lowering drugs, it may be hard to know when to treat cold symptoms and when to leave them alone.除非研究明用阿司匹林和其他退烧药物有效,可能很难知道什么时候治疗感冒的症状,什么时候让其自然痊愈。But in the case of a cold or mild fever, it may very well be worth letting nature take care of business.但对于轻微感冒或者发烧,自然而然让身体应对也非常好。Bear in mind, too, that aspirin should never be given to children. 但记住,切勿不要给孩子阿司匹林。 201310/262460

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