Two numbers – $135 and $12 – explain why Britain’s and Europe’s economies are stagnant or shrinking. The first is what the average worker in the West earns per day. The second is what the average worker in urban China earns.

A 15 per cent decline in standard of living could be needed to rebalance Western economies, says John Moynihan, chairman of PA Consulting Group

One thing is crystal clear: the Assad regime is doomed. But the people of Syria cannot wait while the wheels of diplomacy turn. It is time for all major powers to work with Arab countries to stem the violence. If Russia and China will join us in standing up for Syrians, not propping up Assad, we will gladly work with them.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, sets out the five areas in which the British Government will assist the Free Syria Army ahead of “the inevitable day of Assad’s fall”

If you strip out the steroids (alleged and otherwise) there are many troubling aspects of the Chinese sporting system. We know of young people who have been uprooted from their homes and placed in provincial centres where they are used as fodder in the great experiment. Those who excel are taken to the heavily-secured National Centre in Beijing. I saw one adolescent collapse with exhaustion in the badminton hall before being ordered back into play. There are armies of back-ups should the frontline find the going too tough.

They might top the medals table but Matthew Syed thinks the price of China’s success is too high

Chinese drug addicts watch a performance to mark the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at a rehabilitation centre in Taiyuan, Shanxi province.

Read more: Drug Policy Doesn’t Work

(Reuters)

Magazine Rack | making sex toys, Chinese property, hungry children & care homes

Amelia Getleman on the rising number of hungry children in Britain’s classrooms in The Guardian

Dave Gardetta visits the sex toys manufacturing giant Doc Johnson in Los Angeles Magazine

Rosemary Righter on the Chinese property bubble in the Times Literary Supplement

Jeneen Interlandi struggles to find the right care for his bipolar father in The New York Times Magazine

Compiled by @TomasRuta

China sends its first woman into space aboard the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft. Liu Yang, one of three astronauts aboard the capsule, will spend ten days orbiting the Earth. The Long March-2F carrier rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu Province, at the weekend.

(AP Photo/Xinhua/Li Gang)

Leaders and Thunderer | The Times, Monday June 18, 2012

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