As the PIIGS nations — Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain — face the prospect of default, euro bonds are being considered as a remedy.
Authorities in the former communist nation of Bulgaria are reportedly persecuting a pastor and his family over their decision to homeschool, prompting an international outcry among home-education advocates who are calling on officials involved in the growing scandal to drop the case immediately. The matter is even more urgent now as the father has been threatened with criminal charges of “child abuse” for removing his son from government school, according to activist groups and news reports.
Pastor Yavor Kostov from the town of Vidin decided in February to withdraw his 13-year-old son from the state’s education system because of brutal bullying, the U.S.-based Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and local media reported. While researching various international distance-learning programs, the family decided to educate the boy at home by themselves. Local officials, however, had other plans.
Following a high-profile legal battle that raged on for more than a year and a half, the British Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be extradited to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in a bizarre sex-crime investigation that his supporters say is politically motivated. However, the high court also gave the pro-transparency activist’s lawyers two weeks to contest the ruling.
While much of the coverage has focused on the legal wrangling over extradition from the United Kingdom to Sweden, an even more serious concern, according to WikiLeaks enthusiasts, is whether the Swedish government intends to hand him over to U.S. authorities. Assange believes that American prosecutors may have a sealed indictment potentially charging him conspiracy or even espionage for his role in publicizing classified government information — some of which exposed war crimes, corruption, deception, conspiracies, and criminality at the highest levels.
While the European Union — many of whose member states are facing dire economic crises — struggles to convince the world of its significance and necessity, it has taken on another agenda: Internet control. Reports indicate that the EU will soon be creating a mandatory electronic ID system for all citizens of the European Union.
The EU's Digital Agenda Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, asserts that the legislation will promote “the adoption of harmonized e-signatures, e-identities and electronic authentication services (eIAS) across EU member states.”
The newest edition to the list of wobbling fiscal systems is Italy, the fourth largest economy in Europe and the seventh largest economy in the world. The Italian economy is the same size of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland all combined. Italy may be "too big to fail," but the nation is still facing ever increasing — and apparently insurmountable — problems.
As the prospect of Greece leaving the eurozone dominates headlines around the world, Greeks are lining up at ATMs and financial institutions to withdraw their funds in what some analysts have already described as a run on the banks. More than a billion euros have been withdrawn just in the last few days. And experts say the panic could soon spread to other fragile countries such as Italy and Spain.
Even Greek officials acknowledged that the nation’s banks were teetering on the verge of a catastrophe as panicky depositors rush to salvage what they can of their savings. According to minutes of meetings cited in news reports, President Karolos Papoulias told political leaders that Greece’s central bank chief knew “there was great fear that could develop into a panic."
The latest numbers on the Eurozone economies are showing nothing, with an official recession call barely avoided. And without Germany’s slightly better economic performance in the first quarter, the recession would be official.
In an impassioned plea before the European Union’s so-called “Parliament,” United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader and popular MEP Nigel Farage compared the EU to the Titanic hitting the infamous iceberg — warning that mass civil unrest, revolution, the re-emergence of National Socialism (Nazism) and economic disaster could all be imminent unless the controversial integration project is abandoned immediately. Europe’s rulers, as usual, largely ignored the speech. But citizens and analysts alike took notice.
Farage, likely the most well-known member of the European Parliament, has become internationally recognized in recent years for his powerful speeches slamming the EU and its controversial policies. Millions of people have seen videos of his talks online. But his latest speech on May 9 — so-called “Europe Day” among EU enthusiasts — was among his starkest warnings about the European scheme thus far. It quickly went viral.
On Wednesday, Russia commemorated the 67th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany, with a massive military parade in Moscow. The hour long ceremony was akin to the old May Day and Victory Day rallies held by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.