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.
Citizens of nations that once were wholly independent and who now are part of the nebulous “European Union” pine for times lost. Bernd Niesel, a 67-year-old retired serviceman in Germany, has a shrine — a museum, literally — to the Deutsche Mark, the currency of the Federal Republic of Germany developed with the keen, market-oriented mind of Ludwig Erhard, Minister of Economics and then Chancellor of post-war West Germany.
Another Russian espionage plot has been uncovered, this time in London, involving controversial British Liberal Democrat MP Michael Hancock and his parliamentary aide, Russian national Katia Zatuliveter, a suspected sleeper agent who is being deported on charges that she is a threat to British national security, according to the MI5 intelligence service.
The real meaning of economic bubbles and their aftermath is beginning to rear its ugly head in Greece, where civil unrest paralyzed the country during a violent general strike on Wednesday of this week. Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece’s two largest cities, were convulsed by violent protests featuring running street battles with police and mobs of terrified Christmas shoppers fleeing gangs of masked youths hurling improvised explosives.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion on December 16, saying it violates the right of a pregnant woman to receive quality medical care when her life may be at risk. The supra-national court seated in faraway Strasbourg, France, ruled that in 2005 a pregnant woman with cancer should have been able to terminate the life of her unborn baby in Ireland rather than having to travel to England for an abortion.
Despite prosecutors’ best efforts and Swedish charges of sex without a condom, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was released from British custody on bail Thursday to a crowd of cheering supporters chanting, "Exposing war crimes is no crime!" But now, he is concerned that U.S. authorities may be plotting a variety of new charges, possibly including espionage.
The dominoes in Europe are falling — at least that is one interpretation of the latest Standard & Poor’s outlook on the government bonds of Belgium. The ratio of debt to GDP in a European nation that was a founding member of the European Common Market and whose capital, Brussels, is the home of the European Union headquarters, NATO headquarters, and is in many ways the symbolic “center” of unified Europe is almost 100 percent. Which means that if the entire wealth of the nation were devoted to paying the national debt for an entire year, it could not do so (an analogy for consumers might be that if the family’s credit card debt was greater than the entire income of the family for one year.)
Following the release of a series of State Department cables that unveiled Russia's support of international terrorism, WikiLeaks has yet again released a cadre of cables that further place Russia under the veil of scrutiny regarding its activities in Tajikistan.
After two bombs were detonated in downtown Stockholm over the weekend, killing the man suspected of the attack and injuring two others, investigators from several countries are trying to determine whether the suspect had accomplices in Sweden or abroad. So far, experts are divided on the question.