Today’s wrap of economic, political, and environment news is lengthy, with the contours of the emerging New Ownership society with the rest of us enmeshed in its panopticon embrace as our pockets are picked.
We begin with the latest bankster hubris from the Financial Times:
U.S. Banks Warn Fed Interest Cut Could Force Them to Charge Depositors
Leading US banks have warned that they could start charging companies and consumers for deposits if the US Federal Reserve cuts the interest it pays on bank reserves.
Depositors already have to cope with near-zero interest rates, but paying just to leave money in the bank would be highly unusual and unwelcome for companies and households.
Bloomberg reminds us, with numbers:
Hungry Americans Less Productive as Budget Cuts Deepen: Economy
Hunger costs the U.S. at least $167.5 billion each year in lost economic productivity and earnings, health-care expenses that could have been avoided by better nutrition and the value of charity to keep families fed, according to a 2011 report from the Center for American Progress.
Bloomberg again, with others doing better:
Faucets at $1,000 Abound as Home Equity Spigot Opens
“People don’t want granite countertops — they want marble costing at least 25 percent more,” said Mroz, owner of Michael Robert Construction in Westfield, an affluent town less than an hour’s commute to Manhattan. “Money is so cheap today, people can splurge on $1,000 faucets.”
USA Today covers shameful federal profiteering:
Government books $41.3 billion in student loan profits
Figures come as concerns mount about growing loan debt for students, graduates.
From Salon, a new Big Box boss:
Wal-Mart’s new controversy: Taps head of scandal-ridden division as new CEO
Current head of Walmart International, which drew ugly headlines over alleged bribery, will soon run entire company
ThinkProgress covers one of his challenges:
Walmart Strikes Hit Three More Cities In Florida And California
Walmart workers went on strike on in Miami on Monday morning, following strikes in Tampa on Saturday and in Sacramento, CA on Friday.
From USA Today, a diagnosis:
Pitfall of working for Amazon: Mental illness?
And CNBC covers buyers with bucks:
Chinese buying up California housing
At a brand new housing development in Irvine, Calif., some of America’s largest home builders are back at work after a crippling housing crash. Lennar, Pulte, K Hovnanian, Ryland to name a few. It’s a rebirth for U.S. construction, but the customers are largely Chinese.
From Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project, sexual statistics:
Study: Having daughters makes parents more likely to be Republican
They found that overall, “compared to those with no daughters, parents with all daughters are 14% less likely to identify as a Democrat….[and] 11% more likely to identify as a Republican than parents with no daughters,” they write in the journal Sociological Forum.
On to Europe, starting with a Sino twist from Channel NewsAsia Singapore:
Chinese PM Li wants to see a strong euro currency
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday during a visit in Bucharest that he would like to see a strong euro currency.
“We consider that the cooperation between China and Eastern Europe is in favour of European integration. We wish to see a united and prosperous Europe and we also wish to see a strong euro currency,” Li told a press conference.
From Xinhua, contrasting numbers:
SMEs main driver of European economy: EU data
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) now compose 93 percent of all enterprises in the European Union (EU) and are the main driver of the bloc’s economy, the EU statistics office Eurostat said Monday.
According to latest data, the majority of firms in the EU were micro enterprises with between 10 to 249 employees. These firms accounted for 30 percent of the working population and generated 17 percent of turnover. Only 0.2 percent were large enterprises with 33 percent of persons employed and generating 44 percent of turnover.
Bloomberg covers Eurobankster anxiety:
Weidmann Says ECB Council Shouldn’t Permanently Supervise Banks
Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said the European Central Bank’s Governing Council should only temporarily be responsible for banking supervision.
“The decision-making body responsible for monetary policy should not be in charge of supervising banks as well,” Weidmann said in a speech prepared for delivery today in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “To avoid possible conflicts of interest, this should not become a permanent solution.”
And the taxman cometh, via EUobserver:
EU unveils plans to go after tax ‘freeloaders’
The European Commission Monday (25 November) unveiled plans to clamp down on tax ‘freeloaders’ in its latest bid to target corporate tax avoidance.
Officials plan to re-write rules on the tax status of parent and subsidiary companies to prevent firms from setting up ‘letter-box’ companies in different countries to evade tax.
From EUbusiness, not-so-open borders on the horizon?:
EU addresses concerns over ‘benefit tourism’
The European Commission outlined on Monday proposals to tackle abuse of the right to free movement enjoyed by EU citizens, which critics claim has led to people migrating to gain benefits in richer states.
Sky News takes us to Britain and a numbers game:
Payday Loans To Be Capped By Government
The under-fire industry will be forced to limit the cost of its loans amid claims it is trapping vulnerable people in debt.
The Guardian gives us another lucrative numbers game:
Energy firms’ profit from customers has risen 77% in a year, says Ofgem
Big six energy companies made £53 profit per customer before latest price rises – up from £30 a year earlier
From Sky News, selling the commons on the cheap?:
Royal Mail Rise ‘As Expected’, Say Ministers
A Government report seen by Sky News says Royal Mail’s share price increase was “expected”, fuelling the debate about its sale.
The Guardian delivers an independent pounding:
Currency union bad for independent Scotland and UK, says minister
Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish secretary, says shared currency zones need more economic and political integration, not less
Ireland next, with TheJournal.ie and a semi-cleaned slate:
Most of borrower’s debt written off in first deal under new insolvency regime
The first debt settlement arrangement has been agreed today.
A BORROWER HAS had 70 per cent of a six-figure debt written off as part of the country’s first debt settlement deal under the new personal insolvency regime.
TheLocal.no Takes to Norway and a game of hardball:
US embassy employees face jail for tax evasion
Up to twenty employees at the US embassy in Oslo face jail for tax evasion as a result of the embassy’s continuing refusal to report salary information to Norwegian tax authorities.
Sweden next, with TheLocal.se and hard times for folks born elsewhere:
Sweden ‘worst in EU’ for jobless foreigners
Sweden is the worst country in the EU when it comes to closing the long-term unemployment gap between foreign-born workers and people born in the country, according to statistics published on Monday.
The Guardian takes us to a strike in Germany:
German Amazon workers strike in long-running dispute over pay
Employees at two distribution centres stop work in latest in series of strikes co-ordinated by Verdi union
Employees of two Amazon distribution centres in Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld stopped work in the latest in a series of strikes co-ordinated by the Verdi union. Workers are demanding a collective wage agreement to meet pay standards in the German retail sector.
Spiegel scents troubles ahead:
Growing Risks: Government Bond Holdings Could Burden Banks
European banks hold increasingly large shares of government bonds as a result of the debt crisis. If those states default and can no longer service their debt, it could lead to massive losses. Germany’s Bundesbank is pushing for new rules at the ECB.
Ditto from MISH’S Global Economic Trend Analysis:
Expect “Dramatic Slowdown” in Germany: Saxo Bank Analysis
The German economy is heavily exposed to global growth which we see dramatically slowing down – the strong EURO will impact export 5-7 month from now which creates dramatic slow-down where we even could see the German economy going below 1% growth and come close to recession.
RFI takes us to France and more woes for the government of President François Hollande:
Top French trade unions meet with government as protests mount
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is meeting with leading French trade unions today to discuss proposed reforms to the tax system that would be debated in the National Assembly next summer.
An equally alarming companion story from RFI:
42% slated to vote far-right in the next local elections
A poll published today by the Union of Jewish Students in France (UEJF) revealed that 42 per cent of French voters could vote for a far-right candidate in their next municipal election.
The Guardian covers another French woe:
Cicadas could destroy Provence’s lavender fields in 20 years
Plague of cicada insects in southern France, linked to global warming, is devastating Provence’s famous flower crops
While EurActiv covers profiteering:
French nuclear giant Areva slammed for ‘tax negotiation’ in Niger
The French uranium mining firm Areva is facing calls to end its practice of securing tax exemptions from the government of Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world, as contract negotiations between the two reach a critical stage.
Uranium makes up about 70% of exports from Niger, but only 5.8% of the country’s GDP. Campaigners say that one of the reasons for this is a series of national tax opt-outs that the company has secured in its existing contracts.
From Europe Online, a hungry winter ahead:
One million French expected to need free meals this winter
One million French people are expected to need food assistance this winter, a leading charity said Monday as it launched its annual free meal programme.
Each year, Les Restos du Coeur (the restaurants of the heart) charity dishes up millions of hot meals to the poor at over 2,000 distribution centre around France.
Last year, 960,000 people stood in line for free meals, an increase of 40 per cent since the start of the global financial crisis in 2008.
TheLocal.fr covers another austerian byproduct:
Dental care becoming a ‘luxury’ in France
Have you been left with a huge dent in your wallet after a trip to the dentist in France? According to a collective of French consumer rights associations, access to good quality dental care is becoming a “luxury” in France. They blame those holding the drills.
Spain next, and a bankster warning via El País:
Bank of Spain says weak recovery doesn’t invite “complacency”
Governor Linde says government revenues need to pick up toward the end of the year to ensure deficit target is met
From TheLocal.es, another embarrassment:
Top ally of Spain’s PM convicted of tax evasion
A judge convicted Carlos Fabra on four counts of tax evasion but acquitted him of charges of accepting bribes and influence-peddling, the court in the eastern province of Castellon said in a written ruling.
Fabra was the leader of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party in Castellón, part of Valencia, a region now synonymous with claims of political corruption during the Spanish building boom that went bust in 2008.
El País covers wishful thinking:
ECB sees downward price trend as good sign despite risks of deflation
Spain views inflation drop as an indicator that adjustment is on the right track
From TheLocal.es, disruption:
Austerity strikes cause Spain air travel chaos
Air passengers travelling to and from Portugal will see their travel disrupted for a second day running on Monday with an anti-austerity strike by border police resulting in long queues and delayed international flights, a union spokesman said.
thinkSPAIN hits the bottle:
Spanish teenage girls smoke and drink more than boys; Luxembourg is booziest nation in the OECD
TEENAGE girls in Spain smoke and drink more than any others in the developed world, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Girls of 15 admit to having been ‘blind drunk’ at least twice in their lives and to smoking regularly at least once a week.
And TheLocal.es evokes a fondness for fascism:
Spain’s right wing honours dictator Franco
The 38th anniversary of the death of Spain’s fascist dictator Francisco Franco was marked by both right-wing and anti-fascist demonstrations in Spain on Saturday and Sunday. The legacy of the former leader continues to divide Spain.
Off to Lisbon and another action from the Portugal News:
Ferry srike to hit Lisbon services all day Monday
Employees of Transtejo, whose ferries ply routes between Lisbon and the towns on the south bank of the River Tagus, are to stage a 24-hour strike this Monday that is expected to stop all but a handful of services from operating to and from Montijo, Seixal, Almada and Trafaria.
The Portugal News again, with another action:
Immigration strike blocks airports
Entry into Portugal through the country’s airports was taking about two hours on Monday morning as almost 100 of the immigration officers were on strike for a fourth day in a row.
TheLocal.it takes us to Italy and a Bunga Bunga appeal:
Berlusconi requests review of fraud trial
Silvio Berlusconi on Monday requested a review of his tax fraud trial head of a vote this week that will likely force him from parliament for the first time in 20 years and make him vulnerable to arrest.
Romania next, with EUbusiness and a Chinese helping hand:
Romania, China ink nuclear cooperation agreements
Romania and China on Monday signed two nuclear cooperation agreements expected to give China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) a role in Romania’s sole Cernavoda plant as it builds extra reactors.
After the jump, Greek meltdown, Ukrainian agitation, elections and free trade in Latin America, an Indian bankster behaving badly, Chinese taxes and rotten Apples, Japanese dirty money, and the latest chapter of Fukushimapocalypse Now! . . . Continue reading