Vladimir Putin claimed victory in Russia’s presidential election on Sunday, March 4. "I promised you we would win, and we won — glory to Russia!" he proclaimed to a throng of supporters at Moscow’s Manezh Square, in front of the Kremlin, as tears rolled down his cheeks.
The economic engine of Europe was constructed around the efficient use of the most economical energy available. The Middle Ages produced the first true “industrial revolution” when water and wind power allowed a dramatic increase in the amount of non-human and non-animal energy available to society.
The Group of 20 meeting in Mexico City over the weekend decided that the best course of action was inaction, putting off making any decisions on how to “rescue” the European Union from its financial and economic difficulties until next month at the earliest. The statement justifying kicking the can down the road for another month or so was breathtaking in its obfuscation: putting off any decisions, it said, “will provide an essential input in our ongoing consideration to mobilize resources…” This is how finance ministers and world economic experts explain that, after two days of meetings, the best thing to do was nothing at all.
The British government has tried to raise tax revenues by raising tax rates on the highest income Britons. The January 2012 self-assessed tax returns were anticipated to provide more revenue because it was the first reporting period of the new, highest 50% tax rate for the highest earners. The Treasury, however, has reported that instead of tax revenues rising during that reporting period, revenues actually dropped from £10.86 billion in January 2011 to £10.35 billion in January 2012.
It seems the U.S. government is not the only one sporting a Big Brother demeanor. The British government is now revisiting previously considered plans to create databases that would enable spy agencies to monitor emails, phone calls, and text messages as well as websites visited by everyone in the United Kingdom.
Entitled the Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP), the scheme would be set up under anti-terrorism laws, in much the same way the PATRIOT Act functions in the United States. UK officials contend that its goal is to closely monitor suspects before the 2012 London Olympics in July.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have started to ask questions about why taxpayers in the European Union (EU) are being forced to finance a giant homosexual lobbying group with past links to organizations promoting pedophilia. Gay and lesbian activists responded to the concerns by unleashing a wave of attacks.
Writer Bruno Waterfield’s claim that Germany has drawn up plans to deal with the inevitable Greek default was published in the British newspaper The Telegraph a little after 8 p.m. Saturday night. Within hours his claim was confirmed separately by blogger John Ward with times, dates, and consequences all spelled out by those drawing up the plans.
As the government intensifies its persecution of homeschoolers in Sweden, the president of the Swedish Association for Home Education (ROHUS) has finally been forced into exile with his family in neighboring Finland. The battle for human rights and homeschooling in the Scandinavian kingdom, however, is far from over.
Economists polled by Reuters predicted that the recession in Europe that began late last year would continue into the new year and they weren’t disappointed. Reuters announced that economic output in the 17-member eurozone declined by 0.3 percent in the last quarter of 2011, the sharpest since the second quarter of 2009 at the start of the recession. Those same economists are now predicting that European GDP growth will stay negative at least for the rest of the year with only modest chances of improvement in 2013.
The debt chickens are coming home to roost in Greece, and the hen house is collapsing. As the hard-pressed Greek parliament convened to vote on an enormously unpopular austerity measure insisted upon by international bankers with the power to prolong Greece’s agony with another bailout, furious mobs set Athens ablaze and fought pitched battles with police. On Monday morning, Greeks surveyed with horror the smoldering rubble of more than 90 buildings across the capital. The popular consensus: this is just the beginning.