The announcement from the German Economy Ministry over the weekend confirmed that the long-awaited European recession has officially begun: German factory orders dropped to the lowest level in three years, down nearly five percent in the past month. The ministry also revealed that orders from outside the EU dropped by 10.3 percent.
German airline carrier Lufthansa warned passengers on Monday that the European Union’s (EU) new carbon tax on airlines will translate into higher fares, as the carrier plans to avoid shouldering new costs generated from an EU carbon trading scheme. Analysts say Lufthansa is among the airlines most influenced by the measure, along with rival carriers British Airways, United Continental (the two have merged), Air France, and Singapore Airlines.
In her article on Monday, financial journalist Jessica Mortimer said that the euro had just set a new record low against the Japanese yen: Its value is now the lowest it’s been in 10 years. The irony wasn’t lost on her as she also noted that it was just 10 years ago that the euro was first denominated in coins and currency, three years after being introduced electronically among the member states.
Although a September Gallup poll showed that close to half of Americans believe that the economy will be worse in a year than it is today, the French have an even gloomier opinion about what is happening in their own nation. A Gallup "End of the Year" survey names France as the country whose people are the “most pessimistic” in the world about their nation's economic outlook. A whopping 79 percent of French citizens — the most in three decades — believe their economy will continue to worsen.
Scientists in Italy studying the famed Shroud of Turin, which many Christians believe is the burial cloth of a resurrected Jesus Christ, have determined that the relic could not be a medieval fake, as has been argued by some experts who have studied the shroud in the past.
Great Britain’s Prime Minister has declared of his country what President Obama has notably denied of his own. Speaking to an audience of Church of England clergy at Christ Church, Oxford during one of the many official events celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of Scripture, Prime Minister David Cameron (left) unashamedly declared of Britain: “ … we are a Christian country,” adding that “we should not be afraid to say so.”
Earlier this week, two human rights advocacy groups issued a joint preliminary report denouncing the governments of Europe for allegedly aiding the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in conducting the now infamous rendition program.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has sent atheists and leftists into a rage by asserting that Britain is a Christian country.
Christianity was once so localized to Europe that the term “Christendom” largely meant Europe. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the last outpost of Christian rule in the East was lost. The history of Medieval Europe was flecked with Christians holding back Islam. The Battle of Tours in France prevented the overrunning of Western Europe by Muslims. The Reconquista in 1492 ended the remnants of Muslim rule in Iberia. The Battle of Lepanto ended the threat of Muslim naval power in the Mediterranean.
Vaclav Havel, a Czech playwright and political figure who became Czechoslovakia’s President following a non-violent uprising in 1989 that ended decades of Soviet rule in that country, died December 18 at the age of 75. Almost immediately upon news of his passing, eulogies lionizing Havel as one of the great “liberators” of the 20th century began flooding the print, broadcast, and Internet media.
Is it certain that the nations of the European Union are heading for a hard fall? It certainly looks that way. When the overspending of governments such as Greece, Portugal, and Ireland were involved, the threat to the euro was real, but it could be psychologically contained (an important factor in maintaining the stability of financial institutions). Those three nations, after all, are small. Spain, the fourth member of the “PIGS,” was more than half the size of the Italian economy, but much of the industrialized West has viewed Mediterranean nations as inherently volatile.