The bad news from the European Union is growing almost daily. Germany, the largest economy in Europe, had almost no economic growth at all in the last quarter The entire 17-nation European Union grew at the miniscule rate of .2 percent from the prior quarter. The prior quarter’s eurozone economic growth had been .8 percent, larger than last quarter but still far short of what is required to create confidence that the sovereign debt crisis can actually be managed. That represents the slowest economic growth since late 2009. The French economy also stalled during the quarter and the Italian economy grew only .3 percent.
The Italian government revisited its plans for handling the nation’s gaping public debt problem. On Friday, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (left) said that tax increases and spending cuts would both be in the new austerity plan. The tax increases included a “special levy” on income above €90,000 per year as well as tax increases on income from financial investments. More specifically, there would be a surcharge of 5 percent on incomes above €90,000 and a 10-percent surcharge on incomes above €150,000. The tax rate on financial income would increase from the current level of 12.5 percent to 20 percent. The government also pledged to crack down on tax evasion.
If you thought the Central Intelligence Agency hatched a few wacky plots to get rid of Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro, such as planting explosive sea shells on the sea shore, the boys at Langley had nothing on British Intelligence during World War II, a new book has disclosed.
British Prime Minister David Cameron (left) is reportedly considering the drastic step of “pre-crime” blocking of social media sites if the violent riots in his country continue. He contends that such a move would permit authorities more time to “catch up” with arrests of suspects shown rioting on surveillance cameras. The communication platforms under particular scrutiny are Twitter, Facebook, and Blackberry Instant Messenger.
The German government is considering banning the National Democratic Party (known as NPD, for "National Party of Deutschland," a political movement defined by the punditry as "far right." Gerhard Schröeder, the Social Democrat who preceded Angela Merkel as Chancellor of Germany, failed in his attempt to ban the small party in 2003.