By every appearance, we are entering the final, calamitous act of the European debt crisis, a sprawling, slow-motion debacle that is about to engulf the world in financial turmoil more acute than the American meltdown of 2008. For roughly two years, European authorities have struggled to keep the debt crisis from spinning out of control, doling out bailouts to small, heavily indebted nations such as Ireland, Portugal, and Greece. “Contagion” — the notion that a sovereign default in, say, Athens, might trigger a cascade of woes elsewhere — has been and remains the watchword.
The “disastrous” failure of the German bond auction on Wednesday when buyers failed to bid the offering and Germany’s Central Bank — the Bundesbank — had to step in and purchase nearly 40 percent of the offering came just a day after SpiegelOnline posted an article critical of the country’s finances. The article virtually accused Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) and her Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble, of “cheerleading” the economy’s supposed strength while ignoring major weaknesses. Merkel says her country has “a clear compass for reducing debt [and that] getting our finances in order is good for our country.” Schauble was an echo: Germany is a “safe haven [because] the entire world has great confidence in both the performance and soundness of the fiscal policies of the Federal Republic of Germany.”
Four months after several reports showed that Asian Muslim gangs in Britain had turned thousands of British girls into sex slaves and prostitutes, the government finally appears ready to act. London’s Daily Mail reported early this week that the country’s minister for children and families wants to crack down and put the sex slavers out of business.
The Lord Chief Justice of Great Britain, Igor Judge, gave a speech in March to the Judicial Studies Board in which he argued that English courts were moving away from reliance upon English common law in making decisions, and instead were resting decisions upon the European Convention on Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.
Like their American counterparts, British officials are increasingly opting for so-called "security" rather than ensuring the privacy of their citizens. In Oxford, England, security officials have announced a plan to install surveillance cameras in private taxicabs.
The United Kingdom has announced that it will continue to use airport body scanners and backscatter X-ray scanners and will not permit passengers to opt out of the machines if they are chosen for further screening — despite reports of the potential dangers posed by radiation from the machines. The announcement follows the European Commission’s adoption of strict new guidelines regarding the limited use of the body scanners and a full ban of the backscatter X-ray scanners pending further studies.
Britain's Daily Mail reported on November 21 that 13-year-old Lucy Hinks has been left debilitated, likely from injections of the Cervarix cervical cancer vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline’s version of Gardasil, which is manufactured by Merck. She was vaccinated along with her classmates at Wigton's Nelson Thomlinson School in Cumbria.
Last Friday, the leaders of the former Soviet republics of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan entered into an accord strengthening the economic integration of their three nations, a step they intend to accelerate their permanent union.
Moody’s rating service warned on Monday that France’s coveted triple-A credit rating is in jeopardy as a result of the country’s “elevated borrowing costs … amid a deteriorating growth outlook.” Senior credit officer Alexander Kockerbeck said “As we noted in recent publications, the deterioration in debt metrics and the potential for further liabilities to emerge are exerting pressure on France’s creditworthiness and the [current] stable outlook of the government’s Aaa debt rating.”
According to the Swiss newspaper The Local, last week "[t]he European Union said ... it is helping Greece negotiate with Switzerland in a bid to claw back some of the €60 billion [$81 billion] in unpaid taxes believed to be hidden in Swiss banks."
Thursday’s article in The New York Times by writers Jack Ewing and Nicholas Kulish about the “rift” between factions over the role of the European Central Bank (ECB) was a distraction and misdirected attention from what is really happening there. The piece makes it sound as though the ECB is standing firm against pressures to have it buy up the debt from Greece and Italy in order to keep the debt “contagion” from spreading elsewhere.