In banking, few values count more than consistency and integrity. The sovereign debt crisis in Europe, however, appears to have watered down those values in the case of some banks. The International Accounting Standards Board has stated that some European banks used the value provided by the Greek government in determining how much value Greek bonds should be counted in the assets of the bank. That would mean the bonds would be worth about 21% less than than the original valuation.
The debt crises of European Union member-states have reached critical mass. Three of the "PIIGS" nations — Portugal, Ireland, and Greece — and likely the other two — Italy and Spain — are simply too deeply in debt to pay off the principal and interest on national government bonds without massive help from other European nations, specifically Germany. And Germans are increasingly upset at how their government and that of France are attempting to solve the catastrophe.
The European Union has threatened Sweden with legal action unless it rescinds its first issuance of wolf-hunting licenses in 45 years. Swedish Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren announced that his country has no wish to engage in long legal proceedings in Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union, which would be the next step if the EU member-state failed to comply.
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.
The reaction was predictable. Following the tragic terror attack in Norway that left more than 75 people dead, calls to further empower government erupted worldwide.
Anti-gun zealots immediately pushed for more restrictive laws, despite the fact that Norway already has an extraordinarily strict gun-control regime. The bullets reportedly used by the killer were already illegal, as was murder.
The British government is reportedly considering martial law and other extreme measures to quell the mayhem as violent riots, fires, looting, and destruction continue to spread across the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, citizens in some areas have started banding together to protect homes and businesses.
If a country wishes to save its taxpayers some money, it should enact stiff immigration laws. That’s the conclusion of a report from the Danish Integration Ministry, according to Spiegel Online.
Denmark has imposed tough measures to stem the flow of Third World immigrants, and those stricter laws have saved the taxpayers about $10 billion during the past decade. The country now boasts the strictest controls in the European Union. Though the Eurocrat left has voiced opposition to the tighter controls, conservatives believe that Denmark is in better shape than most countries that have been overrun by immigrants, many of whom join the welfare rolls and commit crimes.