Plus the latest edition of Fukushimapocalypse Now!
We get straight to it, starting in the U.S. with this grim reality from Al Jazeera America:
Median wage falls to lowest level since 1998
While incomes and jobs stagnate, top earners and corporate profits continue to gain
Meanwhile, Banksters Behaving Badly, as always. From the Washington Post:
SAC pleads guilty to insider trading, agrees to pay $1.2 billion penalty
The beleaguered hedge fund owned by billionaire Steven A. Cohen agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle charges accusing it of encouraging rampant insider trading for more than a decade, a record deal that could sink one of Wall Street’s most successful hedge funds.
Channel NewsAsia Singapore brings us a bit of good news:
US factory orders rise 1.7% in September
US factory orders rose 1.7 percent in September led by aircraft orders, ending two months of declines, the Commerce Department said on Monday.
As does Jiji Press:
U.S. New Auto Sales Up 10.6 Pct in Oct.
New auto sales in the United States in October increased 10.6 pct from a year before to 1,208,036 units, up for the first time in two months, U.S. research firm Autodata Corp. said Friday.
More corporate misdeeds, from USA TODAY:
J&J to pay $2.2B in drug marketing penalties
The federal government alleges J&J illegally paid doctors and pharmacies kickbacks to promote three drugs for unapproved uses.
Ditto, via the Los Angeles Times:
California probe of campaign donations sheds light on ‘dark money’
Probe of millions raised by a Republican consultant in 2012 and routed through nonprofits tracks a twisting trail.
From CNBC, inflating away:
‘Definitely a bubble brewing’ in stocks: Pro
The market might be heading into bubble territory, but it’s not time to get out of stocks yet, Simon Baker of Baker Avenue Asset Management said Monday.
Salon covers another grim reality:
Child care is more expensive than college in a majority of states
A new report reveals that child care is the single largest expense for families in 22 states
And new research reported at the American Public Health Association’s Boston conclave reveals another economic drag, via Newswise:
Firearm Injuries Cost More Than $16 Billion in Hospital Care Over 9 Years
According to the research, 275,939 victims of gunfire in the U.S. resulted in 1.7 million days of hospital service — an average of 6.7 days per incident. The average cost of medical treatment for each hospitalization was $59,620. Additionally, roughly one in three patients was uninsured.
Off to Europe with a mixed report from EUbusiness:
Eurozone manufacturing rallies, despite French PMI drop
Eurozone manufacturing activity held firm in October despite unexpectedly weak signals from France, a closely-watched survey indicated on Monday.
From EUbusiness, consolidation on the cheap:
Fewer banks with fewer assets in euro area: ECB
The number of banks in the 17-country eurozone has declined over the past five years and they significantly reduced their balance sheets, the European Central Bank said on Monday.
EUbusiness again, with the neoliberal agenda strong as ever despite all those NSA stories and ornamental raginking:
US, EU to hold second round of trade talks Nov 11-15
The United States and the European Union will hold a second round of trade talks this month to create a massive transatlantic free-trade zone, the two governments announced Monday.
Britain next, starting with a headline from BBC News, covering a largely symbolic gain — though more than 400 employers have signed on. The new living wage is non-binding, and equates to $12.20 an hour, while the legal minimum wage is the equivalent of $10.06:
Living Wage rise provides a boost for low paid workers money
The living wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living.
More than 30,000 low paid workers will receive a pay rise worth up to £400 a year after a rise in the voluntary “living wage” rate.
Old Blighty next, with separation anxiety from the London Telegraph:
Public-support for EU membership is ‘wafer-thin’, says David Cameron
The Prime Minister says he wants to spend time ahead of a possible in/out referendum in 2017 on getting Britons’ “consent” for EU membership
Off to the Emerald Isle, with backs turned. From the Irish Independent:
Unions refuse to meet troika on its final mission
THE Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has rejected an invitation to meet the troika during its latest review mission after walking out of a meeting in the summer.
EurActiv takes us to Germany, with social democrats declaring the price for partnership with the Iron Chancellor:
SPD wants wage floor, dual citizenship included in German coalition deal
Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) will not agree to a “grand coalition” with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives without agreement on core issues including labour market reforms and expanding dual citizenship, its leader said.
El País brings us to Spain and a really Big Box:
Costco is preparing to enter the Spanish market
The giant American discount chain will be opening outlets in Seville and Madrid next year
From thinkSPAIN, activism in the face of bakruptcy at a failing major appliance manufacturer:
Fagor appliance manufacturer workers stage lock-in over factory closure
EMPLOYEES facing the chop at a leading electrical appliance firm staged a lock-in yesterday (Monday) at one of the factories and plan to stay there ‘for as long as is necessary’ to make bosses reconsider.
El País counts a cost of crisis followed by the austerian bludgeon:
Crisis wipes 80,000 Spanish households off the map
Immigrants leaving the country and young people moving back home considered prime reasons
The Independent covers more victims:
The great Spain robbery: Pensioners protest as the watch their life savings vanish into the banks’ black hole
Pensioners are set to be the biggest losers in the Spanish banking crisis as they see their life savings vanish
And BBC News covers royal scandal:
Spanish royal’s property impounded in corruption case
A judge in Spain has ordered properties belonging to the king’s son-in-law to be impounded amid a corruption scandal that has embarrassed the royal family.
El País notes that others not engaged in corruption face housing woes of their own:
S&P sees Spanish house prices continuing to fall into 2016
Agency believes Sareb bad bank will find it difficult to meet home sales target
The Portugal News take us to Lisbon and news of a strike:
Partial Lisbon ferry strike all week
A partial strike by ferries on the Tagus at Lisbon means only minimum services are running on Monday morning. The workers began seven days of strikes on Sunday, affecting peak-time services between Lisbon and Barreiro on the south bank.
The Portugal News covers the costs of the austerity imposed to appease the Troika on behalf of lenders and vulture funds:
National health service debt halved by year end
The Portuguese Ministry of Health expects to close the year with total outstanding debt of €1.5 billion, a total deemed “historically low” by State Secretary Manuel Teixeira in a parliamentary debate Monday.
Italy next, with a threat via the London Telegraph:
Italy’s Mr Euro urges Latin Front, warns Germany won’t sell another Mercedes in Europe
The plot is thickening fast in Italy. Romano Prodi – Mr Euro himself – is calling for a Latin Front to rise up against Germany and force through a reflation policy before the whole experiment of monetary union spins out of control.
After the jump, Greek meltdown continues, Russian xenophobia, Chinese neoliberalism on steroids, Fukushimapocalypse Now! And much, much more. . . Continue reading