Whole lot of economic news goin’ on, especially in Greece, and notable environmental stories after the jump, along with the latest episode of Fukushimapocalypse Now!
We begin in the U.S. with three cheers to the activists who purged fellow citizens of $14,734,569.87 in personal, mainly medical, debt. Via The Guardian:
Occupy Wall Street activists buy $15m of Americans’ personal debt
Rolling Jubilee spent $400,000 to purchase debt cheaply from banks before ‘abolishing’ it, freeing individuals from their bills
Rolling Jubilee, set up by Occupy’s Strike Debt group following the street protests that swept the world in 2011, launched on 15 November 2012. The group purchases personal debt cheaply from banks before “abolishing” it, freeing individuals from their bills.
Salon casts a pall:
Scalia’s chance to smash unions: The huge under-the-radar case
A Supreme Court case being argued Wednesday could take away a tactic that’s kept unions alive
The case, Unite Here Local 355 v. Mulhall, involves the constitutionality of “card check neutrality agreements” between unions and companies they’re trying to organize.
And Wonkette takes a well-deserved shot at California’s contemptible plutocratic senator:
Dianne Feinstein Joins Colleagues In Undermining Affordable Care Act, Thanks Obama!
The Guardian poses what shouldn’t be a choice at all:
Detroit’s decision to fend off bankruptcy: pay pensions or banks?
Fears grow that fight to stave off city bankruptcy may hit the poorest hardest
From the Washington Post, a simple conclusion:
The Great Recession may have crushed America’s economic potential
And a parallel headline from GlobalPost:
America is losing its allure
Analysis: A disturbing new trend suggests foreign investors may be falling out of love with the US economy.
But there’s one aspect of the U.S. other countries still cherish, reports the Los Angeles Times:
Foreign students continue to flock to U.S. colleges
A record number of international students were in the U.S. in 2012, a new study reports, with USC attracting the largest number of them.
From the Oakland Tribune, a call for the former Homeland Security boss who now runs the University of California:
Napolitano: Freeze UC tuition, seek low-fee policy
New UC President Janet Napolitano marked her first regents meeting Wednesday with a vow to make the university more affordable and calling for an undergraduate tuition freeze in 2014-15.
Yahoo! Finance makes a point we’re always proclaiming:
United States of Underemployment: Dead-End Jobs Prop Up Employment Growth
And from Women Rock Science, a sordid tale about our brasve new media:
Female Science writer gets called a Whore for saying NO to working for free
This is Biologist Dr Danielle N. Lee also known as the Urban Scientist at Scientific American, she “draws from hip hop culture to share science with general audiences, particularly under-served groups.” Biology-Online liked her work so much they wanted her to write for them……for free. Danielle Lee politely declined so Biology-Online did what everyone does when women say no – they called her a “Whore”.
But the Contributor notes that some are winning big:
For First Time Since 1995, US Produced More Oil Domestically Than It Imported
For the first month in nearly two decades, the U.S. in October extracted more oil from the ground than it imported from abroad, marking an important milestone for a nation seeking to wean itself off foreign oil.
From Reuters, a prime market:
EU duty-free jet fuel sets new battle for world refiners
U.S. refiners are expected to ship large volumes of jet fuel across the Atlantic starting in 2014 after the European Union scrapped an import duty on the product, opening a new battleground for the world’s largest refineries, traders said.
The Guardian takes us to the dark side:
Over 3,000 US prisoners serving life without parole for non-violent crimes
ACLU report chronicles thousands of lives ruined by life sentences for crimes such as shoplifting or possession of a crack pipe
From the Verge, Obama’s latest sellout:
US patent moves are ‘profoundly bad’ in leaked TPP treaty
In new agreement, Obama sides with locked phones and Big Pharma
But the Contributor raises limited hope:
Not-So-Fast-Track: House Opposition to Secret International Trade Deal ‘Could Be the End of TPP’
From RT, a major investor:
Mormon Church purchases 2% of the state of Florida for half a billion dollars
A sect of the Mormon Church is poised to become the largest private landowner in the state of Florida after spending more than half a billion dollars to purchase hundreds of thousands of acres across three counties.
From the New Republic, a warning about the status of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission:
Congress Is Starving the Agency That’s Supposed to Prevent Another Meltdown
The chief regulator for over $300 trillion worth of derivatives trades has seen its operations squeezed by drastic underfunding, right at the time the Dodd-Frank financial reform law dropped a whole new set of responsibilities in its lap.
North of the border for the latest mayoral misbehavin’ from BBC News:
Toronto’s Rob Ford says he bought drugs in last two years
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has admitted buying illegal drugs in the past two years, at a raucous meeting at which city councillors asked him to take a leave of absence.
More from USA TODAY:
Santa parade officials ask Toronto mayor not to march
The mayor initially agreed to watch from the sidelines, but now wants to lead the march.
Our final Fordian frolic from National Post:
New Ford files: documents reveal staff suspicions over prostitutes, cocaine and OxyContin
Rob Ford court documents reveal staffers thought prostitute was in his office, mayor was driving drunk
Next, a global story from Bloomberg:
Emerging-Market Banks Threatened by End of Credit Boom
The world’s largest emerging markets recovered quickly from the 2008 financial crisis because consumers and companies went on a borrowing binge. Now that credit spree is coming back to haunt banks in those countries.
Another one, from the Mainichi:
World economy being sustained by extraordinary aid
Five years after a global financial crisis erupted, the world’s biggest economies still need to be propped up.
They’re growing and hiring a little faster and creating more jobs, but only with extraordinary aid from central banks or government spending. And economists say major countries may need help for years more.
Across the Atlantic, first with Europe Online:
Eurozone industrial production down 0.5 per cent in September
Industrial production in the eurozone fell by 0.5 per cent in September, performing worse than expected after spiking in the previous month, data released Wednesday showed.
From Reuters, cause for anxiety:
Analysis: Deflation threat in Europe may prompt investment rethink
The threat of deflation in the euro zone could reverse a major investment trend of 2013, drawing funds out of stocks and into government bonds and cash.
From Bloomberg, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hosts a come-to-Jesus meeting:
Draghi Goes Face-to-Face With Bank Chiefs on Asset Health
Chief executive officers from banks from five countries — Germany, Belgium, Cyprus, Malta and Luxembourg — met today with Draghi and other board members at ECB headquarters, a spokeswoman for the central bank said by telephone. The list included Europe’s largest investment bank by revenue, Deutsche Bank AG, and lenders such as Malta’s Bank of Valletta Plc.
And BBC News covers an exodus:
Escape to Oz: Young Europeans head to Australia in search of work
Migration from countries such as Ireland is at levels not seen since the 1980s as Australia’s seemingly bulletproof economy, insulated from the global slowdown by a roaring mining industry, offers the chance of a fresh beginning.
While Spiegel covers eurofoes:
Euroskeptic Union: Right-Wing Populists Forge EU Alliance
Right-wing populists are trying to create a powerful faction in the European Parliament. Leading the efforts are Geert Wilders from the Netherlands and Marine le Pen of France — and their initiative has big implications for Europe.
More from DutchNews.nl:
Wilders commissions report into cost of Holland leaving the EU
PVV leader Geert Wilders has commissioned a British bureau to carry out new research into how much it would cost the Netherlands to leave the EU, the NRC reports on Tuesday.
To Britain with Channel NewsAsia Singapore and an uptick:
British official unemployment rate hits four-year low
Britain’s unemployment rate has fallen to a four-year low point, official data showed on Wednesday, putting pressure on the Bank of England to raise its record-low interest rate sooner than expected.
But RT takes another angle:
Cheese thieves: UK middle classes turn to stealing food they can’t afford
Gourmet cheese and beef joints are among the top stolen items in the UK, a new report has shown. Middle class shoppers have turned to stealing out of need for food, due to the weak economy, with the total cost of retail theft hitting £3.4bn last year.
But BBC News offers the declaration of victory:
Bank of England says the UK recovery has taken hold
Bank of England governor Mark Carney says the UK recovery has “taken hold” and unemployment will fall sooner than it had forecast.
Germany next, with a sharper focus from the Associated Press:
EU launches review of Germany’s export strength
The European Union is launching a review of Germany’s hard-charging export economy and whether its burgeoning trade surplus hampers the recovery of weaker countries.
The question is whether Germany should encourage wage growth and more spending at home to help growth in its European trade partners and the 17-country euro currency union as a whole.
But Europe Online spots shaky ground:
Germany Social Democrats: Coalition talks with Merkel could fail
Negotiations between German conservatives headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD) on forming a coalition government could fail, a senior SPD member warned Wednesday.
While Spiegel proclaims a gerontocracy:
Punishing the Young: German Pension Reforms a Gift for the Elderly
Berlin’s incoming government is expected to institute a wave of pension reform that could exacerbate inequality, burden workers and create huge budget headaches. So why are the parties so intent on pushing it through?
Deutsche Welle invokes the technocrats:
Germany’s economic ‘wise men’ slam Merkel for costly coalition plans
Germany’s ‘wise men’ panel of economic advisers has warned Chancellor Merkel against striking costly deals in current coalition talks with the Social Democrats. They fear Germany’s nascent recovery might be slowed.
From DutchNews.nl, as on Wall Street, so in Amsterdam:
The Dutch rich are getting richer says Quote magazine
The 500 richest Dutch people have together become €7bn richer over the past year, according to the latest edition of the Quote 500 rich list.
And another DutchNews.nl headline sets the context:
Rabobank economists see no growth in 2014
The Dutch economy will not grow in 2014 and unemployment will continue to rise, according to economists from Rabobank in their latest forecast.
To France with RFI and the latest outburst of hard times intolerance:
Far-right paper causes storm with racist insult to French justice minister Taubira
A far-right paper in France has caused uproar with a headline comparing Guyanese-born Justice Minister Christiane Taubira to a monkey. The Minute front page is the latest of several racist insults that Taubira has faced since she guided the government’s gay marriage law through parliament.
RFI has more grief for the government:
Schools strike, mayors threaten non-compliance over French school reform
Schools in Paris were disrupted by strikes Wednesday morning on the second day of strikes against change to school hours. Mayors of 55 towns have declared that they will not implement the change when it comes into force across the whole of France in 2014.
And from RFI again, the pressure mounts:
Hollande under pressure to make changes amid mounting social discontent
The sight of protestors jeering at President François Hollande during the solemn Armistice Day Commemorations has stirred talk in France that the activities of various groups with different grievances are coalescing to form a more generalised revolt against the current government.
And the pressure intensifies again. From CNBC:
The euro could disappear in 10 years: BlackRock CEO
The euro could be in danger of disappearing within the next decade if France does not continue pushing economic reforms, BlackRock Capital boss Larry Fink said Tuesday.
Spain next, and a deflation alert from Europe Online:
Spain posts negative inflation for first time since 2009
Spain’s consumer price index dropped by 0.1 per cent in October, its first year-on-year fall since 2009, statistics body INE said Wednesday.
In September, inflation had registered an increase of 0.3 per cent.
While ANSAmed chronicles another deflationary alert:
Spanish real estate market down for 5th month
From El País, a mixed report card:
Spain fails Brussels’ economic imbalances probe in five areas
Germany cited for excess current account surplus.
Eurogroup to give thumbs up to Madrid on bank bailout conditions.
thinkSPAIN covers another austerian consequence:
Crisis causes fewer plane passengers and local travellers take the bus rather than the train
AIR passenger numbers are continuing to fall with a decrease of 14.5 per cent in the past year, reports the National Institute of Statistics (INE).
And El País reports a notable failure, a leading electrical appliance maker that is part of the world’s heretofore most successful co-op, Mondragon:
Fagor files for receivership
Other units of loss-making Basque electrical appliance manufacturer to follow suit in next few days
Portugal and a country where 100,o000 have already fled in search of work, via ANSAmed:
Portuguese unemployment falls from 17.7% to 16.4%
A total of 838,600 people out of a job
The Portugal News notices a debt shift:
Mortgage defaults up while personal credit defaults drop
The number of Portuguese families who are not managing to pay their loans fell in September to a total of 658,900, but the number who are finding it tough to pay their mortgages is increasing, according to data compiled by Lusa News Agency from Bank of Portugal data.
Italy next, and a declaration from Corriere della Sera:
Berlusconi to Withdraw from Government if Expelled from Senate
Former PM reflects bitterly: “For twenty years, I’ve been doing all I can to keep moderates united. Someone always turns up to split them”
And Reuters foresees a bite at the Apple:
Italy investigates Apple for alleged tax fraud: sources
U.S. tech giant Apple is under investigation in Italy for allegedly hiding 1 billion euros ($1.34 billion) from the local tax authority, two judicial sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Bulgaria next, with GlobalPost:
It’s getting ugly in Sofia: Bulgarian students barricade university
After months of street demonstrations, the young take the vanguard of a popular protest movement.
Another take from EUobserver:
Bulgaria leaders condemn attacks on immigrants
Bulgaria’s president and prime minister on Tuesday jointly condemned the rise in racist attacks against immigrants and asylum seekers from Syria, reporters Reuters.
After the jump, Greek meltdown continues, mixed Latin American signals, Worries in India, China’s neoliberal surge, environmental alerts, and the latest chapter of Fukushimapocalypse Now! . . . Continue reading