Monday, 30 April 2012

Greek Socialists Hope François Hollande Wins French Elections

THE GUARDIAN: French frontrunner 'best solution' for Greece, says Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos, as rift grows over EU approach to austerity

The leader of Greece's socialist party says the country is pinning its hopes on the election of François Hollande in Sunday's French presidential election, with the socialist frontrunner being seen as the best guarantor of the growth policies the EU's austerity-wracked southern periphery so desperately needs.

With the Greeks also going to the polls, the socialist Pasok party leader, Evangelos Venizelos, said in an interview with the Guardian: "We are very much hoping that he [Hollande] will win. He is by far the best solution."

Support for the French socialist is the most glaring reflection yet of the growing rift in Europe over Berlin's Calvinist approach to resolving a crisis that many believe could have been contained had austerity not been so remorselessly pursued when it first broke out in Athens.

"This is undoubtedly a war, the war of our generation," said Venizelos, who was a teenager during Greece's 1967-74 military regime. "Our generation after the dictatorship never had difficulties. They were 38 very happy and prosperous years."

Vowing to end the relentless emphasis on austerity that EU powerhouse Germany has advocated in response to the continent's debt woes, Hollande told a rally in Paris on Sunday: "the people of Europe are looking to us." If elected, he promised to write to fellow eurozone governments with a call for a growth package that would focus on job creation and development.

Hollande, who last week pledged to help Greece "regain a level of development" if he beats President Nicolas Sarkozy, has promised to renegotiate the fiscal pact German chancellor Angela Merkel has made single currency nations sign up to. The treaty, the embodiment of restrictive monetary policies pursued by Germany, obliges EU member states to keep within stringent budget targets.

For countries like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Spain the relentless focus on austerity has led to historic levels of unemployment and worsening poverty. Greeks – who look set to abandon mainstream parties in droves in Sunday's elections, the first since the crisis erupted – have seen wages drop by an average of 25% over the past two years. Pensioners are forced to survive on as little as €500 a month. » | Helena Smith in Athens | Monday, April 30, 2012
King a 'Disaster' as Bank Governor, Says Standard Life

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Sir Mervyn King has been a “disaster” as Governor of the Bank of England, one of the country’s top fund managers has declared.

David Cumming, head of equities at Standard Life and one of the most influential figures in the City, said the Treasury must improve on Sir Mervyn when his second term expires in June 2013. The Chancellor has said the appointment process will officially begin in the autumn and a successor named before the end of the year.

Sir Mervyn has not ingratiated himself with the City since the financial crisis – at one point even expressing surprise that the public was not more angry with bankers. However, despite the underlying animosity, senior finance professionals have rarely spoken out so strongly against the Governor.

Mr Cumming said: “The current appointment in my view has been a disaster, so its important to get a better man this time round.” » | Philip Aldrick, Economics Editor | Monday, April 30, 2012

My comment:

Mervyn King's mission statement ought to read thus: Managed decline, and use QE to deceive people into believing that all is well.

He should have stuck to teaching geography. We'd all have been better off then.
– © Mark

This comment also appears here.
Berlin Gripped by 'Ostalgia' for Communist Past

The Berlin Wall effectively kept East Germans captive in one of the world's most hardline communist regimes.

UK's Rich Increase Stake in Economic Pie

The wealth of the richest people in the UK has increased compared to last year, according to British newspaper the Sunday Times

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Spanien im Krisenstrudel

Die rekordhohe Arbeitslosigkeit und eine erneute Herabstufung durch eine Ratingagentur belasten Spanien. Viele Menschen können ihren Lebensunterhalt kaum mehr finanzieren. Täglich kommt es zu Zwangsräumungen. Viele wissen nicht, wie lange sie noch ein Dach über dem Kopf haben. Die Nerven liegen blank und die Wut auf Banken ist gross.

10vor10 vom 27.04.2012

Friday, 27 April 2012

Barclays, Credit Suisse Shareholders Criticize Executive Pay Packages

THE HUFFINGTON POST: * Investors angry at payouts, want more of the spoils * More than a quarter of Barclays investors could rebel * Barclays promises higher dividends, shares rise * Credit Suisse boss defends pay strategy

LONDON/ZURICH, April 27 (Reuters) - More than a quarter of Barclays shareholders look set to vote against the British bank's controversial pay plan for bosses and Credit Suisse is also facing a backlash as investors seek a greater share of profits.

Stormy annual shareholder meetings at both banks got underway on Friday with many attendees complaining executives are getting too big a slice of bank income at their expense.

Anger is also rife in the population at large that an industry whose excesses sparked the global economic downturn is still awarding its leaders multi-million dollar pay outs.

"People feel that bankers and the banking sector have lost touch with what's real," said Jim Arnott, 56, an executive coach in London who counts bankers among his clients.

"The majority of people feel it's just a culture of greed." » | Matt Scuffham and Katharina Bart | Reuters | Friday, April 27, 2012

Spain's Struggle with High Unemployment

More people are out of work in Spain now than at any time since records began. The new figures, announced on Friday, show that almost a quarter of the workforce are now unemployed. It comes just a day after ratings agency Standard and Poor's cut the country's credit rating two notches to Class B. with warnings that the country's economy could get worse. Al Jazeera's Sonia Gallego reports now from Madrid.

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: S and P cuts Spain's credit rating by two notches to BBB+: Standard and Poor's cut Spain's sovereign debt rating Thursday by two notches, warning that the government's budget situation is worsening and that is likely to have to prop up its banks. » | AFP | Thursday, April 26, 2012

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: S and P downgrades Spain: the full document » | Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Le chômage augmente pour le onzième mois consécutif

REUTERS FRANCE: PARIS - Le chômage a augmenté pour le onzième mois consécutif en France en mars pour atteindre son plus haut niveau depuis septembre 1999, une mauvaise nouvelle de plus pour le président sortant, toujours devancé dans les sondages à dix jours du second tour.

La dégradation a touché toutes les catégories de demandeurs d'emploi le mois dernier et porte la hausse du nombre de chômeurs à 35% depuis l'élection de Nicolas Sarkozy en mai 2007.

"M. Sarkozy, plus que jamais le candidat du vrai chômage !", déclare la première secrétaire du Parti socialiste, Martine Aubry, ironisant dans un communiqué sur le désir du président sortant d'organiser une fête du "vrai travail" le 1er mai en marge des défilés traditionnels des syndicats. » | Matthias Blamont et Jean-Baptiste Vey, édité par Yves Clarisse | Reuters | jeudi 26 avril 2012
Insight: Falling Home Prices Drag New Buyers Under Water

REUTERS.COM: More than 1 million Americans who have taken out mortgages in the past two years now owe more on their loans than their homes are worth, and Federal Housing Administration loans that require only a tiny down payment are partly to blame.

That figure, provided to Reuters by tracking firm CoreLogic, represents about one out of 10 home loans made during that period.

It is a sobering indication the U.S. housing market remains deeply troubled, with home values still falling in many parts of the country, and raises the question of whether low-down payment loans backed by the FHA are putting another generation of buyers at risk. » | Tim Reid | Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Queen is not amused: Briten sparen sich in Rezession

N-TV: Großbritannien will sich aus der Krise sparen. Aber stattdessen verschärft sich die wirtschaftliche Situation auf der Insel. Das zweite Quartal in Folge schrumpft das Bruttoinlandsprodukt. Die Rezession ist da - und die Lage wird sich so schnell nicht bessern, sagen nicht nur Analysten.

Die britische Wirtschaft kann ihre Krise nicht abschütteln und ist wieder in die Rezession zurückgerutscht. Zwischen Januar und März sank das Bruttoinlandsprodukt vor allem wegen einer schwachen Bauindustrie und einer mangelnden Nachfrage aus dem Euroraum überraschend um 0,2 Prozent zum Vorquartal, wie das nationale Statistikamt mitteilte. Bereits Ende 2011 war die Wirtschaftskraft um 0,3 Prozent geschrumpft. Für den Jahresanfang hatten Analysten jedoch mit einem Plus von 0,1 Prozent gerechnet. » | Quelle:, DJ/rts | Mittwoch, 25. April 2012

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Billions Wiped Off Europe's Biggest Companies as Political Rebellion Rocks Eurozone

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: More than £122.3bn was wiped off the value of Europe's biggest companies on Monday amid fears that the eurozone's commitment to austerity was being swept away by political rebellion - just as its debts hit record levels.

Stockmarkets plunged as traders panicked that Angela Merkel could lose her key allies in France and the Netherlands and that the debt crisis rescue plans could unravel.

The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, who is one of the eurozone's "hardliners" on fiscal discipline, dramatically quit in the wake of his coalition's refusal to accept Europe's debt pact. Snap elections could be called as early as June.

Traders were also rattled by Francois [sic] Hollande's victory over Nicolas Sarkozy in the first round of the French presidential election. The socialist Mr Hollande has vowed to renegotiate the fiscal pact that including a 3pc of GDP deficit limit. » | Louise Armitstead | Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday, 23 April 2012

China will Handel mit Deutschland stark ausbauen

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Thriving India Lures Its Expatriates Back

Indian professionals from IT to banking, who once saw the US and Europe as having a future to invest in, are now being lured back to India.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Sir Peter Osborne's Love of Luxury

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: George Osborne's father has risked embarrassing his son by giving details of his lavish lifestyle in an interview.

Sir Peter Osborne told the Financial Times' How To Spend It magazine [Part 2] that he wants to buy a £19,000 desk.

The Baronet, who co-founded prestigious wallpaper and fabric firm Osborne & Little, also discussed his love of exclusive holiday destination Mustique and Savile Row suits.

The comments emerged with the Chancellor struggling to shrug off Labour criticism for cutting the 50p top tax rate for high earners.

Sir Peter said one of his favourite recent purchases was a Tahiti lamp by Italian designer Ettore Sottsass, which he got from auction house Christie's.

"The thing I'm eyeing next is a wonderful Fornasetti Architettura Trumeau desk at Themes & Variations," he added. The magazine lists the price of the item as "from £19,000". » | Saturday, April 21, 2012
YouTube Loses Court Battle Over Music Clips

BBC: YouTube could face a huge bill for royalties after it lost a court battle in Germany over music videos.

A court in Hamburg ruled that YouTube is responsible for the content that users post to the video sharing site.

It wants the video site to install filters that spot when users try to post music clips whose rights are held by royalty collection group, Gema.

The German industry group said in court that YouTube had not done enough to stop copyrighted clips being posted.

Rights battle

YouTube said it took no responsibility for what users did, but responded when told of copyright violations.

"Today's ruling confirms that YouTube as a hosting platform cannot be obliged to control the content of all videos uploaded to the site," said a spokesperson for the video site.

"We remain committed to finding a solution to the music licensing issue in Germany that will benefit artists, composers, authors, publishers and record labels, as well as the wider YouTube community," they added.

Gema's court case was based on 12 separate music clips posted to the website. The ruling concerns seven of the 12 clips.

If YouTube is forced to pay royalties for all the clips used on the site it will face a huge bill.

Gema represents about 60,000 German song writers and musicians. » | Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday, 20 April 2012

Gulf of Mexico Spill Takes Toll on Health

Two years after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, local residents and clean-up workers say they have developed serious illnesses. Those affected blame a combination of the five million barrels of oil spilled by BP and cleaning chemicals. Though some have settled with the British company, there are still several pending class-action lawsuits by plaintiffs who say the spill caused their illness. Al Jazeera's Dahr Jamail reports from Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Greek Jobs Crisis Hurts Child Health

The Greek prime minister has called a snap election for May as deep government cuts, aimed at reducing the deficit, are hitting the public hard. The unemployment rate is at 21 per cent and is expected to rise as many people find it hard to find a job. Al Jazeera's Tim Friend reports from the town of Perama where the jobless rate is soaring to record levels.riend reports from the town of Perama where the jobless rate is soaring.

Italians Protest Against Pension Reforms

The cuts introduced by the government are part of efforts to bring Italy's debt under control. Al Jazeera's Claudio Lavanga reports from Rome.

US Government Sues Apple in E-book Scandal

The US Justice Department is suing technology company Apple and five book publishers for price fixing. The Department apparently has evidence of meetings between book publishing CEOs involved in negotiating prices amongst themselves, and of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs laying out a blatant price fixing plan. The publishers are accused of significantly raising e-book prices above those of their competitors, with Apple scooping up a hefty share of the profits. Rob Reynolds reports from the Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Charlemagne: Currency Disunion

THE ECONOMIST: Why Europe’s leaders should think the unthinkable

THE Irish left the sterling zone. The Balts escaped from the rouble. The Czechs and Slovaks left each other. History is littered with currency unions that broke up. Why not the euro? Had its fathers foreseen turmoil, they might never have embarked on currency union, at least not with today’s flawed design.

The founders of the euro thought they were forging a rival to the American dollar. Instead they recreated a version of the gold standard abandoned by their predecessors long ago. Unable to devalue their currencies, struggling euro countries are trying to regain competitiveness by “internal devaluation”, ie, pushing down wages and prices. That hurts: unemployment in Greece and Spain is above 20%. And resentment is deepening among creditors. So why not release the yoke? The treaties may declare the euro “irrevocable”, but treaties can be changed. A taboo was broken last year when Germany and France threatened to eject Greece after it proposed a referendum on new bail-out terms. » | From the print edition | Saturday, April 07, 2012

Scottish independence: It’ll Cost You

THE ECONOMIST: Scottish independence would come at a high price

IN 1698 the nobles and landowners of the Kingdom of Scotland tried to elevate their country to a world trading nation by colonising the isthmus of Panama. The Darien scheme failed and nearly bankrupted the country. Within a decade Scotland had signed an Act of Union with England to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Scots found it tough in the 18th century to be a small nation in a globalising world. But nationalists are an optimistic bunch, and they would dearly like to have another go.

In two years’ time the people of Scotland will be asked whether they want to become an independent sovereign state. It is not often that a 300-year-old union is broken, so the vote will have ramifications far beyond a land of 5m people. Scottish independence could lead to a break-up of the United Kingdom. The Catalans, among other disaffected European groups, see Scottish independence as a harbinger of their own bid for nationhood. Other diverse nation-states watch, and worry. » | From Print Edition | Leaders | Saturday, April 14, 2012

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Salmond attacks magazine that called Scotland 'Skintland': First Minister Alex Salmond has said the Economist magazine will ''rue the day'' it published a front cover image likening Scotland to an impoverished nation. ¶ The latest edition uses a map of the country, renamed ''Skintland'', with puns instead of place names such as ''Glasgone'', ''Edinborrow'' and the ''Highinterestlands''. » | Friday, April 13, 2012

Click here to view controversial front page.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen

Ein alternatives Wirtschaftsmodell soll die Schweiz «befreien»

Kulturplatz vom 11.04.2012

Zum Teil in Schweizerdeutsch (Schwyzertüütsch)

LIMMAT VERLAG: Die Befreiung der Schweiz »

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Instagram Users Jumping Ship Over Facebook Acquisition

TECHRADAR: Facebook's past policies cause privacy concerns

Social networking giant Facebook bought social photo-sharing giant Instagram yesterday for $1 billion.

And, although Facebook users' responses to CEO Mark Zuckerberg's announcement of the news seem mainly positive, some sites report that Instagram users are already ditching the service en masse.

In the announcement, Zuckerberg promised to focus on "building on Instagram's strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook."

But it seems many users are more concerned over Facebook's dubious privacy policies. They've tweeted messages like, "I hate Facebook and the lack of privacy now I have to remove my pics before I can't," referring to Facebook's well-known policy of making it notoriously difficult to delete your account (though that's no longer really the case).

Another Twitter user said, "You know what Instagram was missing? Ads and privacy invasions. All it took was [$]1 billion dollars to make that happen." » | Michael Rougeau | Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Related »

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Spain Fears Spark Markets Sell-off

THE INDEPENDENT: Rising fears about Spain's economy combined with worries that growth is slowing in the US to trigger a sell-off on world markets today.

Spain's borrowing costs pushed closer to unsustainable levels as markets fretted that it will fail to keep up with repayments on its debt mountain as its economy struggles.

In European markets, traders returning from Easter breaks reacted to disappointing job figures in the US which suggested the recovery in the world's biggest economy may be starting to lose momentum. » | Peter Cripps | Tuesday, April 10, 2012

THE GUARDIAN: European stock markets rocked by panic selling as debt crisis reignites: Investors demanding high premiums for holding Italian and Spanish bonds as fears of double-dip recession grow ¶ Europe's sovereign debt crisis exploded back into life on Tuesday, with markets across the continent rocked by a wave of panic selling amid renewed fears about the impact of savage austerity measures in Spain and Italy. » | Heather Stewart, Larry Elliott and Giles Tremlett in Madrid | Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Facebook Spends a Fortune to Buy Instagram

Facebook has spent a billion dollars on a phone app called Instagram - which allows users to edit and share photos online.

Tensions Grow in Bahrain

Get Those Tourists to Greece

Prince Alwaleed Tops Forbes Middle East's Billionaires List

ARAB NEWS: DUBAI: Forbes Middle East has just revealed the Arab billionaires ranking, composed of 36 distinctive billionaires from across the Arab world with a combined total net worth of $121.3 billion, improving on last year's figure of $117.6 billion.

Topping the ranking for the second year running is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal with a fortune of $18 billion, followed in second place by Lebanese-Brazilian billionaire Joseph Safra with $13.8 billion to his name. Through this prestigious ranking, Forbes Middle East aims to highlight the inspirational stories of the region's Arab billionaires, as well as the challenges and obstacles overcome on the road to success.

Both Saudi Arabia and Lebanon led the way on this ranking with eight billionaires each. Despite recent political turmoil, Egypt was runner up with seven billionaires, followed by the stable UAE with a total of four. However, this year's major headline was newcomer to the billionaires club, Morocco, which entered the ranking with three billionaires - Miloud Chaabi, Othman Benjelloun and Anas Sefrioui.

Kuwait ranked sixth with two billionaires, Bassam and Kutayba Alghanim. Kuwait's wealthy Al-Kharafi family were removed from the ranking following a formal request from the Kharafi Group. Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Sudan also featured in the ranking with one billionaire each. » | ARAB NEWS | Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Happy Easter! Joyeuses Pâques! Frohe Ostern! Buona Pasqua! ¡Felices Pascuas! Pasg Hapus! Happy Passover! ! المسيح قام

May you all have a blessed and joyous Easter!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

François Hollande Would Destroy France's Economy 'Within Two Days', Nicolas Sarkozy Claims

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: François Hollande would destroy France's economic strengths "within two days" and turn the country into Greece, Nicolas Sarkozy warned as he finally unveiled his manifesto and a "letter to the French people" ahead of presidential elections.

Just 17 days before the first round of voting, Mr Sarkozy said Francefaced a "historic choice" between his austerity measures or uncontrolled spending that would bring the country to its knees.
"Certain countries in Europe are today on the edge of a precipice," he warned, accusing Mr Hollande, his Socialist challenger, of promising "a festival of new spending that no-one knows how to pay for, as if the world did not exist, Europe did not exist, the crisis did not exist." » | Henry Samuel | Paris | Thursday, April 05, 2012

Verwandt »
Sarkozy verspricht Franzosen Wachstum und Schuldenabbau

REUTERS DEUTSCHLAND: Paris - Der um die Wiederwahl kämpfende französische Präsident Nicolas Sarkozy hat seinen Landsleuten für eine zweite Amtszeit ein robustes Wirtschaftswachstum und einen Haushaltsüberschuss versprochen.

In seinem am Donnerstag vorgestellten Programm für die kommenden fünf Jahre sagte der konservative Staatschef für den Zeitraum von 2014 bis 2017 ein jährliches Wachstum von zwei Prozent voraus. In diesem und im nächsten Jahr werde die französische Wirtschaft um 0,7 beziehungsweise 1,75 Prozent zulegen. Zudem solle die Neuverschuldung so heruntergefahren werden, dass 2016 ein ausgeglichener Haushalt vorgelegt und 2017 ein Etatüberschuss von 0,5 des Bruttoinlandsprodukts erwirtschaftet werden könne. » | Reuters | Donnerstag, 05. April 2012
Germany to Impose Tax on the Young to Help the Old

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Germany is poised to impose extra taxes on the young to pay for the costs of the country's growing numbers of old people under government plans for a "demographic reserve" levy.

Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats have drafted proposals forcing all those over the age of 25 to pay a proportion of their income to cushion Germany against a looming population crisis.

The German Chancellor's ruling party is seeking extra sources of cash to pay for soaring pensions and bills for social care costs at a time when Germany's "baby boomer" generation is ageing amid a decline in the birth rate.

The proposals – to be adopted by Chancellor Merkel's party cabinet after the Easter break – have not yet set a figure on the age tax but officials are considering a special levy of about one per cent of income.

A slump in Germany's population means that as more and more ageing Germans retire there are less and less young workers to replace them as taxpayers to fund generous welfare and pension arrangements.

Estimates from Germany's federal employment agency, predict that the workforce will be reduced by seven million people by 2025. » | Bruno Waterfield | Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Austerity Suicide: Greek Pensioner Shoots Himself in Athens

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: A cash-strapped Greek pensioner who said he feared having to “scrounge for food” shot himself dead in Athens’ main square in the latest in a series of suicides and attempted suicides triggered by European austerity measures.

The death of the 77-year-old retired pharmacist in the Greek capital's Constitution Square caused an outpouring of anger and grief and came after similar incidents in Italy.

The pensioner, named locally as Dimitris Christoulas, shot himself with a handgun a few hundred yards from the Greek parliament, which has been the focus of numerous violent protests against tough austerity measures in recent months.

Witnesses said he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger after yelling: “I have debts, I can’t stand this anymore.”

A passer-by told Greek television the man said: “I don’t want to leave my debts to my children.”

A suicide note found in his coat pocket blamed politicians and the country’s acute financial crisis for driving him to take his life, police said.

The government had “annihilated any hope for my survival and I could not get any justice. I cannot find any other form of struggle except a dignified end before I have to start scrounging for food from rubbish bins,” the note said. » | Paul Anast, Athens and Nick Squires | Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Sardinia's Costa Smerelda to Be Bought by Emir of Qatar

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Fifty years after it was created from scratch by the Aga Khan as a playground for the rich and famous, Sardinia's exclusive Emerald Coast is on the verge of being bought by one of the world's richest men, the emir of Qatar.

A portfolio of luxury properties on the stunning stretch of coastline - where former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has a sprawling villa - is to be acquired by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani through the Middle Eastern state’s sovereign fund, Qatar Holding.

The investment arm of the Qatari royal family is to buy Smeralda Holding, a company which owns four five-star hotels, the Pevero Golf Club, ranked as one of the top 100 courses in the world, and a marina with 700 yacht berths, according to Italian press reports.

The assets are currently owned by Tom Barrack, an American property magnate, whose Colony Capital fund bought them in 2003 for a reported €290m (£242m).

The sale has not been officially confirmed, and a spokesman for Qatar Holding in London declined to comment. » | Nick Squires | Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Monday, 2 April 2012

Young Greek Talent Seeks Fortune Abroad

Four years since the global downturn, Greece's economy remains in deep recession badly affecting the creative industries.