Friday, 31 May 2013

The Time When Sweets Were Strictly Rationed

BBC: The sweet-toothed British public were so keen to taste sugary treats when seven years of sweet rationing ended briefly in 1949 that the government quickly had to reintroduce restrictions for another three-and-a-half years because there was such demand.

Here - as IWM North and Horrible Histories open a new Big Picture Show to celebrate the 60th anniversary of sugar and sweets finally coming off the ration - take a nostalgic look back at how food restrictions affected lives during and after WWII.

Terry Charman, of the Imperial War Museum, sets the scene - and Chesterfield confectioner Roy Willett recalls the days of rationing at his family company, which is still producing old-fashioned sweets today. Watch BBC video » | Friday, May 31, 2013

Switzerland: Sidestepping Banking Secrecy

As Swiss banks get ready to reveal client information to US authorities, is this crime-fighting or a breach of privacy?

French President's Wine Up for Grabs

The French president is auctioning 1,200 bottles of fine wine

'Half a Million' Rely on UK Food Banks

Charities are demanding politicians look into impact of cuts to welfare system.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

British Euromillions Jackpot Winner Who Scooped £81million Will Remain Anonymous

MAIL ONLINE: Incredible haul is sixth biggest in National Lottery History / Mystery winner has become 908th richest person in Britain / Not known if unnamed winner is part of a syndicate / Sum has made them four times richer than hit singer Adele

The British jackpot winner who today claimed their £81million prize in the EuroMillions lottery has chosen to stay anonymous.

The mystery winner, who is believed to have spent the day considering whether to go public or not, will remain unnamed.

Lottery officials have not revealed whether the ticket-holder played as an individual or part of a syndicate.

The winner has become the joint 908th richest person in the country. The £81,381,673.30 payout, which saw the lucky ticket-holder shoot to sixth on the National Lottery Rich List, had gone unclaimed since Tuesday night.

A Camelot spokesman said: ‘The claim has been validated and the prize is in the process of being paid out.’ » | Mark Duell | Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Notenbanker halten an extrem lockerer Geldpolitik fest

SCHWEIZER FERNSEHEN: Die Fed tut es, die Bank of Japan auch – und auch die EZB ist mit von der Partie. Sie geben das Geld billig und wollen damit die schwächelnde Konjunktur unterstützen. Kritiker warnen.

Die US-Notenbank druckt Geld und kauft damit seit einem halben Jahr monatlich für 85 Milliarden Dollar Staatsanleihen und Immobilienpapiere. Sie will so die Wirtschaft anzukurbeln. Und – sie will weitermachen mit dieser Politik.

US-Notenbankchef Ben Bernanke erteilte am Mittwoch allen Spekulationen über eine rasche Kehrtwende eine klare Absage. Erst dann, wenn sich die Lage am Arbeitsmarkt «tatsächlich und nachhaltig» gebessert habe, wolle er die Anleihenkäufe schrittweise reduzieren, sagte Bernanke. » | Mittwoch, 22. Mai 2013

Apple's Tim Cook Defends Company in US Senate

Tim Cook tells US Senate hearing that Apple does not use 'tax gimmicks' to avoid paying more taxes.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Italians Lose Interest in Pizza-making Tradition

Despite a long recession and a high unemployment rate, many people in Italy do not want to get their hands dirty - with pizza dough.

Greek Party Banks On Drachma Debt Solution

New political party says sticking with euro is keeping country in debt and making exports uncompetitive.

A Mass Exodus from Macedonia

A third of workers in Macedonia are unemployed and ten percent of the country's population have left in the last decade.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

British Business: We Need to Stay in the EU or Risk Losing Up To £92bn a Year

THE INDEPENDENT: Richard Branson and Martin Sorrell among signatories to a letter to ‘The Independent’ that takes aim at Eurosceptics

Some of Britain’s most successful and eminent business leaders have accused Eurosceptic MPs of putting “politics before economics” and abandoning the national interest in their calls for Britain to leave the European Union.

In a letter to The Independent, the group issues a trenchant riposte to politicians who have argued that Britain’s economic interest would be better served outside the EU. They also call for David Cameron to “strengthen and deepen” the European single market to boost Britain’s economy by £110bn. The letter, which is signed by senior figures including the current and next presidents of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) as well as the chairmen of BT, Deloitte, Lloyds and Centrica, is the first co-ordinated response from the business community to increasing anti-European political rhetoric.

It reflects growing concern in the City that anti-European feeling is not being effectively countered by mainstream political leaders in the wake of last month’s local council elections.

Two cabinet ministers have already publicly stated that they would vote to leave the EU if a referendum were held today, while privately some senior Tories believe Mr Cameron will never be able to negotiate a new deal for Britain’s membership that Eurosceptics could willingly sign up to.

But in their letter the businessmen write that on a purely economic basis, exiting the EU would be deeply damaging to Britain. “The economic case to stay in the EU is overwhelming,” they say. “To Britain, membership is estimated to be worth between £31bn and £92bn per year in income gains, or between £1,200 to £3,500 for every household. » | Oliver Wright | Sunday, May 19, 2013

Des milliers de manifestants à Madrid contre la privatisation de la santé

LE MONDE: Des milliers de personnes, dont de nombreux médecins et infirmières, ont manifesté dimanche 19 mai à Madrid contre les coupes dans le secteur de la santé et la privatisation de la gestion de plusieurs hôpitaux madrilènes. Les manifestants, au nombre de 6 000, selon la police, ont défilé dans le centre de la capitale, précédés par une banderole sur laquelle on pouvait lire : "La santé ne se vend pas, elle se défend". » | Le avec AFP | dimanche 19 mai 2013

Friday, 17 May 2013

Falsterity: France Slips into New Recession amid Higher Taxes

The French economy has slipped back into recession - after being dragged further into Europe's financial troubles. And the poor figures are stacking up against President Hollande, whose ratings have slumped with record speed. Analyst Alex Korbel believes that the French need to overhaul their financial policies to get the economy back on track.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Eurozone Sinks into Longest Recession

France leads EU slump after weak exports and Germany posts slow start to year as austerity continues to bite.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Indian Workers Fear Effect of Saudi Crackdown

Hundreds of Indian workers forced to leave the country after Saudi government introduces new policy on staff nationality.

Israelis March Against Austerity Measures

Al Jazeera's Jane Furgeson reports from Tel Aviv.

Many French Voters Lash Out At Hollande

One year into his first year of presidency, Francois Hollande has come under strong criticism with his popularity dropping to an all-time low.

Recession Takes Toll On The Netherlands

Eurozone nation struggles with unemployment and stagnation that some fear is becoming entrenched.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Fed Money Printing is No Longer Working: Karl Denninger Interview (April 30, 2013)

Karl Denninger of says Fed money printing is no longer working, "We're seeing the leading edge of a great deal of softness, and this means the Federal Reserve's money games have run out of gas." A weak economy will be the backdrop for Obama Care in 2014, which Denninger says basically transfers healthcare costs to the government. Denninger warns, "If you shift more of the private expense into the government, all you do is bankrupt the government faster. How does this solve a healthcare problem?" Denninger says, "We are sowing the seeds of the next crash . . . and yes, there will be losses." Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Karl Denninger of

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Recession Is a Good Time to Exploit Cheap Labour, Says Cameron Aide

THE OBSERVER: Lord Young says low-wage conditions are a bonus for business, drawing a furious response from the TUC

The prime minister's adviser on enterprise has told the cabinet that the economic downturn is an excellent time for new businesses to boost profits and grow because labour is cheap, the Observer can reveal.

Lord Young, a cabinet minister under the late Baroness Thatcher, who is the only aide with his own office in Downing Street, told ministers that the low wage levels in a recession made larger financial returns easier to achieve. His comments are contained in a report to be published this week, on which the cabinet was briefed last Tuesday.

Young, who has already been forced to resign from his position once before for downplaying the impact of the recession on people, writes: "The rise in the number of businesses in recent years shows that a recession can be an excellent time to start a business.

"Competitors who fall by the wayside enable well-run firms to expand and increase market share. Factors of production such as premises and labour can be cheaper and higher quality, meaning that return on investment can be greater."

A Downing Street spokesman said Young was merely stating a "factual point and nothing else". But the comments were described as "appalling and ill-timed" by union leaders, with job-market figures due out next week expected to show that the initial resilience of employment has faded while wages are being severely tightened. » | Daniel Boffey, policy editor | Saturday, May 11, 2013

China Rising

Unemployment in Greece Rises to 27%

Finance minister says economic recovery to begin next year as the government says its focus is on jobs.

Friday, 10 May 2013

On the Run: No Jobs, Slave Wages Drive Portuguese Abroad

Portugal's unemployment level has hit a painful 18 per cent, with close to half of young people now out of work. And while the figure threatens to grow even further, scores of people are jumping ship for jobs and a decent living outside a home country battered by debt. RT's Peter Oliver has met some of them.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

BoE Keeps Rates at Record Low and Opts for No More QE

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: The Bank of England left interest rates on hold and did not extend its bond purchases on Thursday amid tentative signs that the recovery is gaining momentum.

The Monetary Policy Committee kept quantitative easing at £375bn and rates at a record low of 0.5pc.

Thursday's decision followed bettter-than-expected 0.3pc first-quarter GDP growth and encouraging PMI services, manufacturing and construction data in April.

Economists were not surprised by the outcome of the meeting, which is Sir Mervyn King's penultimate before he hands over to new governor Mark Carney in July.

Many commentators believe policymakers will not do much until the new governor arrives.

"Barring any nasty surprises, the MPC is likely to remain on hold until ... Carney's arrival in July. More policy certainty may then be established, potentially supporting business and household confidence," said Stephen Gifford of the CBI. » | Martin Strydom | Thursday, May 09, 2013

My comment:

What I'd like to know is this: How could it be announced in the Queen's Speech yesterday that David Cameron's government will keep interest rates low for the foreseeable future in order to stimulate the economy when some years ago it was announced that the Bank of England would henceforward be independent. Surely, the Queen's Speech has shown the independence of the BoE to be a sham. – © Mark

This comment also appears here

Spain's Housing Crisis

Spain's Senate is debating new laws to give cash-strapped Spaniards more time to meet mortgage repayments and avoid eviction.

Monday, 6 May 2013

German Euro Founder Calls for 'Catastrophic' Currency to Be Broken Up

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Oskar Lafontaine, the German finance minister who launched the euro, has called for a break-up of the single currency to let southern Europe recover, warning that the current course is "leading to disaster".

"The economic situation is worsening from month to month, and unemployment has reached a level that puts democratic structures ever more in doubt," he said.

"The Germans have not yet realised that southern Europe, including France, will be forced by their current misery to fight back against German hegemony sooner or later," he said, blaming much of the crisis on Germany's wage squeeze to gain export share.

Mr Lafontaine said on the parliamentary website of Germany's Left Party that Chancellor Angela Merkel will "awake from her self-righteous slumber" once the countries in trouble unite to force a change in crisis policy at Germany's expense.

His prediction appeared confirmed as French finance minister Pierre Moscovici yesterday proclaimed the end of austerity and a triumph of French policy, risking further damage to the tattered relations between Paris and Berlin.

"Austerity is finished. This is a decisive turn in the history of the EU project since the euro," he told French TV. "We're seeing the end of austerity dogma. It's a victory of the French point of view." » | Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor | Sunday, May 05, 2013

Friday, 3 May 2013

The Gathering Storm Radio Show

I shall be the guest today on ‘The Gathering Storm Radio Show.’ The show will begin at 3pm EST or 8pm BST. Please join us. You will find the show here.

Mark Alexander

The True Cost Of Austerity

The hard-hitting findings of a new study sheds light on the social impact of devastating spending cuts.