Several weeks ago, Greece was on the point of collapse and the European Union needed to bail out the government. In November, Ireland, once the economic dynamo known as the “Celtic Tiger,” needed a bailout of its banking system. Earlier this month, it appeared as though Belgium might be the next domino in that economic house of cards which is the European Union. The Euro itself is viewed as facing grave, perhaps insurmountable, problems. Spain and Italy are in serious trouble. Now things seem to be coming to a head. Greece, as reported here by Brian Koenig, faces a downgrade of government bonds from the Ba1 rating by Moody’s Investor Service. The confidence level that investors have in the new Greek government appears very low.
The bear is still in the woods and it is waking up from its 20-year hibernation, as a "new" free-trade zone agreement sets itself to restore the Soviet Union. On December 16, 2010, Reuters reported on what could be described as the resurrection of the former Soviet Union, through the invitation of the Ukraine to join the post-Soviet free-trade zone, or Customs Union, between Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
Greece risks Mediterranean isolation, as government debt accumulates and international confidence weakens — especially now that Moody's Investors Service is reviewing a possible downgrade of its current Ba1 credit rating. With Greece's debt levels rising to 127 percent of GDP, Moody's noted that the "review will focus on the factors, namely nominal growth and fiscal consolidation, that will drive the country's debt dynamics over the next few years."
It appears that efforts in the UK to crack down on those who speak out publicly against homosexuality are backfiring. In two different cases, street preachers taken into custody by police after publicly declaring their Christian belief that homosexual conduct is morally wrong have been awarded monetary settlements by the courts for wrongful arrest.
Researchers in Germany announced that they have used adult stem cell therapy to cure a man afflicted with both leukemia and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Writing about their research in the December issue of the medical journal Blood, doctors from the Charite-University of Medicine in Berlin explained that in 2007 the 44-year-old American patient, Timothy Brown, volunteered to receive the experimental adult stem cell therapy to treat his leukemia. At the same time, the researchers decided to perform a stem-cell transplant in an effort to fight his HIV. Not only was the stem cell donor a good blood match for the patient, wrote the researchers, but he also had what the doctors determined was a gene mutation that demonstrated a natural resistance to HIV.