We were editing this selection yesterday when the power went out, so we’ll offer it belatedly, because there’s so much of critical import — especially in the case of Greece [after the jump] along with the latest chapter of Fukushimapocalypdr Now!
From the Los Angeles Times, an aciton close to home:
UC labor walkout affects medical centers, dining operations
Thousands of tutors, service workers and patient care employees stage a one-day job action as tense negotiations continue over a new contract.
Salon covers a Big Box threat:
Wal-Mart labor group promises 1,500 Black Friday protests next week
Amid scrutiny of Wal-Mart taking up employee-to-employee charity, strike wave continues against retail giant
From USA TODAY, rich getting richer:
Dow closes above 16,000 for the first time
In one of the most dramatic signs yet of the bull market’s strength, on Thursday the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 16,000 for the first time in the much-watched average’s 117-year history.
The Daily Dot offers relief:
TPP unlikely to be ‘fast tracked’ through Congress this year
A top House Democrat has announced that it was unlikely that Congress would take up a bill this year that would speed up the TPP process and make it more likely that all of its controversial elements would pass.
From The Guardian, numbers games?:
Officials to investigate claims Census Bureau manipulated jobs figures
New York Post alleges census employee Julius Buckmon was caught faking results to make unemployment rate appear lower
USA TODAY covers a relief of sorts:
Jobless claims fall more than expected
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits slipped 21,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, in a sign the labor market continues to improve as businesses see little need to cut jobs.
From Bloomberg Businessweek, Schadenfreude time:
Survey: The Job Market Gets Worse for MBAs
Future business leaders of America, brace yourselves. Some 43 percent of employers plan to cut the number of MBAs hired, according to Michigan State University’s new survey of 6,500 employers, a drop that will cause expected employment of MBAs to plummet nearly 25 percent from last year. Demand is down across almost all economic sectors, the report says, with financial services and government reporting the steepest drop.
From Reuters, something inevitable:
After gains, Vice Fund seeks ‘Budweiser of marijuana’
Gerry Sullivan has an eye out for the sins of tomorrow, but he’s no puritan.
Since taking the helm of USA Mutuals’ iconoclastic Vice Fund in 2011, Sullivan has scored big gains spotting trends in tobacco, guns, alcoholic beverages and gambling. Now he’s seeing new ways to make money on human transgression.
But cautions abound, even in the Centennial State, where voters opted to legalize the weed. From Westword:
Multiple marijuana businesses being raided by DEA, IRS, Denver cops
Westword has learned that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration is conducting raids at this writing at multiple marijuana businesses in the Denver area.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver has issued a statement confirming the ongoing operation, which is being conducted by the DEA in collaboration with the Internal Revenue Service and the Denver Police Department. Our sources tell us it’s likely to continue throughout the day and involves a notable number of targets.
From Calbuzz, capitalizing on what they battled:
Big Ag’s Secretive $50-Million Obamacare Contract
Western Growers Association, one of California’s most powerful conservative business forces, is profiting handsomely from Obamacare — despite its fierce opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
Calbuzz has learned that a $50-million contract to oversee implementation of health insurance for small businesses in California was awarded to a private company wholly owned by the heavyweight ag group. The contract was granted by Covered California, the organization set up to manage Obamacare in the state.
From Bloomberg Businessweek, life, and less of it, in neoloberal America:
The U.S. Lags in Life Expectancy Gains
Life expectancy in the U.S. has been growing more slowly than in other developed countries and is now more than a year below the developed-country average, according to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
CNBC covers a multi-trillion-dollar disaster-in-the-making:
Crisis in America: a crumbling infrastructure
Announced during his State of the Union speech in February, Obama’s Fix-It-First program calls for $40 billion in spending on a backlog of urgent repairs and upgrades. That would follow $31 billion that went into infrastructure as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But those sums are dwarfed by the $3.6 trillion in investment the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) says is needed by 2020.
And once in a while we run a headline, well, just because — as in this gem from CBC News:
Moose-eating shark rescued in Newfoundland harbour
Greenland shark either bit off more that it could chew or was just enjoying a big meal
To Reuters for a global picture:
U.S. factories rebound, but Europe, China falter
U.S. factory output rebounded this month but hiring remained sluggish, while business activity across the euro zone and at China’s manufacturers slowed, surveys showed on Thursday. The data underscored the fragile nature of the global recovery and the difficulties still facing the world’s biggest economies.
More global consequences from MercoPress:
US ‘budget-debt ceiling’ political clashes threaten slower world growth, warns OECD
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, cut its forecast for global economic growth through next year and warned that fiscal and monetary policy decisions looming in the U.S. could derail the recovery. OECD said world economic output would expand 2.7% this year and 3.6% in 2014, down from May’s forecast of 3.1% and 4%.
From Europe Online , cozying up:
China-EU summit to focus on investment, strategic ties
Leaders of China and the European Union gathered in Beijing on Thursday for an annual leaders’ summit that was expected to focus on a bilateral investment deal and long-term strategic cooperation.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso led the two sides for the talks, which EU officials said would cover trade and investment, market access, and “the need to secure green growth.”
A European alert from the London Telegraph:
Eurozone slows as ‘sick man’ France hits recovery
Disappointing eurozone PMI survey signals slowing growth for second month in November with activity in France shrinking and the bloc’s service sector weakening
Another from The Guardian:
Medicalisation of misery to blame for soaring use of antidepressants, say GPs
Doctors across Europe warn limited time and resources leads many to prescribe pills for less-urgent cases of depression
To Old Blighty, and another alert, this one from The Independent:
‘Disaster’ as UK house-building rate falls away
Less than half the amount of new houses needed to meet demand were built in the last year
The number of affordable houses and flats built in England fell sharply last year, highlighting the pressures facing first-time homebuyers, Government figures released today have disclosed.
Germany next, with a long-belated acceptance from BBC News:
Angela Merkel clears way for national minimum wage
The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has signalled the likely introduction of a national minimum wage in Germany.
Mrs Merkel, speaking at a meeting of business leaders, said that it was clear that the opposition SPD “would not conclude coalition negotiations without a legal minimum wage”.
German anxieties growing, via Spiegel:
Near Zero: ECB Interest Rate Cuts Hit Savings Hard
As the European Central Bank pushes interest rates to a new low, Germans are growing increasingly concerned about their savings. The money in their accounts is losing value and life insurance policies are yielding lower returns. Investors and central bankers feel trapped.
From TheLocal.de, more good news for Germany:
Tax coffers swell again on shopping and jobs
A booming job market and an increase in consumer spending saw Germany’s tax receipts grow again in October, putting €39 billion into government coffers.
TheLocal.de, with another ranking:
Germany tops world ‘soft power’ rankings
Germany has been ranked the world’s leading “soft power” edging Britain and the USA off top spot for its cultural and sporting prowess, economic might and diplomacy
TheLocal.fr takes us to France and a violent end:
French farmers told to end protest after death
A protest by French farmers unions provoked the ire of the government on Thursday after a motorist was killed and six others injured in two separate accidents at road blocks on the outsirts of Paris on Thursday morning. The blocks were lifted at around midday.
Holland next, with an unanticipated uptick from DutchNews.nl:
Jobless total falls unexpectedly
The official Dutch unemployment figure fell unexpectedly by 11,000 in October, the national statistics office CBS said on Thursday.
At the same time, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits (ww) rose by 8,000 to 408,000, the CBS said.
To Spain next, with calls for action via thinkSPAIN:
Countrywide demonstrations against austerity this weekend
NUMEROUS protest marches have been planned across Spain this weekend, particularly in its major cities, over funding cuts and austerity measures.
TheLocal.es with a hopeful declaration:
Spanish PM calls time on austerity policies
The Spanish government will ease its austerity reforms over the coming two years as the economy appears to be emerging from recession, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Thursday.
thinkSPAIN covers draconian measures:
Judges call 600,000-euro fines for ‘personalised’ protests or photographing police ‘repressive’ and ‘autocratic’
NEW legislation attempting to limit public demonstrations and imposing fines ranging from 30,000 to 600,000 euros for ‘insulting a police officer’ or ‘protesting in public without authorities’ consent’ has been slammed by judges, pressure groups and even the police themselves.
El País on taxing travails:
Cemex probe creates storm at Tax Agency
The management of the Spanish Tax Agency last week fired a tax inspector working in its large contributors department on the spot after she rejected an appeal lodged by Mexican cement manufacturing giant Cemex’s Spanish subsidiary against a multi-million- euro fine for unpaid taxes.
EUbusiness casts doubt:
Moody’s says no ‘clean bill of health’ for Spain banks
International credit rating agency Moody’s warned Thursday that Spain’s banks still face significant challenges despite nearly completing a 41-billion-euro ($55 billion) eurozone-financed bailout.
And El País cites another neoliberal move:
Government is aiming to cut personal income tax, says Rajoy
PM rules out more major fiscal adjustments
To Lison and report card time from the Portugal News:
Troika returns on 4 December for 10th bailout review
The team of international officials overseeing Portugal’s euro-zone bailout are to return to Lisbon on 4 December to start the 10th regular review of its progress in implementing the agreement, the government announced.
ANSAmed offers qualified endorsement:
EU praises Portugal’s anti-crisis plan, but risks remain
From Bloomberg, a complication:
EU Says Portugal Court Rulings May Complicate Return to Market
The European Commission said new rulings by Portugal’s Constitutional Court blocking government measures may make it tougher for the country to regain full access to the bond market.
“Risks from further negative rulings by the Constitutional Court cannot be discarded and could make the government’s plans to fully access the debt market from mid-2014 on significantly more challenging,” the Brussels-based commission said today in a report on the eighth and ninth reviews of the aid program for Portugal.
And from the Portugal News, austerian reality:
Child benefits keep falling
The Portuguese family association confederation said it could not understand a 60,000 family reduction in the numbers receiving family subsidies in October, saying policy should aim at stimulating the birth rate.
The Portugal News again, this time with an action:
More Lisbon metro strikes Thursday as union contests budget
Lisbon Metro workers are staging another partial strike to protest against pay cuts and other measures contained in the right-of-centre’s government’s state budget for 2014 and labour reform legislation.
Italy next, with more selling of the commons via TheLocal.it:
Italy will sell stakes in eight firms including Eni
Italy will sell stakes in eight companies including energy giant Eni in a “first packet of privatisations”, Prime Minister Enrico Letta said on Thursday, in a drive to reduce debt
And from RT, Bunga Bunga gotcha:
‘Bunga Bunga’ director: Court details Berlusconi’s ‘underage sex’ case
A court in Milan said that former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi had sexual relations with underage dancer Ruby “in exchange for considerable sums of money and other items.” The court released a document explaining the 7-year sentence handed down in June.
More from TheLocal.it:
Berlusconi ‘paid off witnesses’ in sex trial
Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, found guilty in June of paying for sex with an underage prostitute, falsified evidence and corrupted dozens of witnesses in a bid to escape jail, a court report said on Thursday
After the jump, the Greek crisis deepens, Ukrainian rejection, Venezuelan power shift, Indian woes, Chinese neoliberalization, Japanese economic notes, and the latest chapter of Fukushimapocalypse Now! . . . Continue reading