Germany, which has a higher rate of savings and a lower government debt than other nations in the European Union, is being criticized by officials in nations like Greece, Spain, and Portugal for a “deficit fetish.” The government debt and government spending in a number of European nations have been spiraling out of control. Unions and political pressure have driven up costs, and there is no strong political will in those nations to undertake steps to control debt or spending.
Let us be perfectly clear: The fiscal woes of Greece, one of the European Union’s weaker economies to begin with, are quite likely beyond even the abilities of the denizens of Mount Olympus to solve. Greece, a thoroughgoing socialist basket case for decades, is probably going to lead the rest of the soft economic underbelly of Europe — Spain, Portugal, and eventually Italy — into insolvency, a chain of events that may dissolve Europe’s decades-old experiment in economic unity.
The United Kingdom has banned two government-funded advertisements for exaggerating claims of catastrophic man-made global warming. The independent media watchdog organization, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), ruled that mainstream climate science does not support assertions made in the ads, reports the Daily Mail.
The United Nations is launching an independent review of its climate agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has weathered harsh criticism due to numerous problems with its 2007 comprehensive climate report. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and IPCC Chair Dr. Rajendra Pachauri announced the review at a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York.
Iceland’s recent vote not to repay billions of dollars owed to Britain and the Netherlands underscores the growing risk involved in bailing out sovereign debtors. When Icesave, an Iceland-based Internet bank, collapsed back in 2008 along with most of Iceland’s banking sector, the tiny North Atlantic nation nearly collapsed along with it. Fortunately for the short term, Britain and the Netherlands agreed to bail out Iceland’s depositors in Icesave.