Europe’s slow-motion economic collapse continues apace as Eurozone governments and banks continue to wring their hands over what to do to postpone the inevitable Greek default. And now there’s a new wrinkle: Italy, whose level of sovereign indebtedness relative to GDP is second only to that of Greece, has suddenly appeared on investors’ radar screens. If Italy — the second largest economy in the Eurozone — goes the way of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, there will not be enough money in Europe’s rapidly-dwindling rescue fund (the European Financial Stability Facility or EFSF) to effect a bailout.
Pills found on board a 2nd century B.C. shipwreck were packed with crushed carrots, parsley, onions, alfalfa, and other vegetable matter, conforming to the recipes contained in ancient medical treatises.
Archeologists are hoping to piece together from ancient remains the history of one of the Bible's great antagonists: Goliath. Most of the excavating has taken place at the remains of what the team believes is the Philistine city of Gath, Goliath's hometown, where scholars are hoping to garner a better understanding of these fierce biblical enemies of the Israelites.
Americans know the term "stagflation"; the decline in economic activity accompanied by an artificially inflated money supply is what Europe is presently experiencing. On Thursday, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet announced that the ECB had raised its interest rates 1.5 points and suggested that this action, intended to contract the money supply, might be pursued more aggressively in the future — even though the so-called "PIGS" nations of Europe (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain) need influxes of money in order to prevent default.
The British government has given the nod for abortionists to hawk their services on the “telly.” As reported by the London Telegraph, “Private clinics which carry out abortions will be allowed to advertise on television and radio for the first time, under new rules.” The Telegraph reported that with recently approved recommendations, “drawn up by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice, which regulates TV and radio commercials, dozens of independent hospitals carrying out abortions will be able to advertise their services to consumers.”
Wednesday, the financial crisis which is threatening all Europe deepened, as the rates for Portuguese government debt instruments jumped higher based upon a decision by Moody’s rating service to reduce those bonds four levels to "junk" status. The drop was from Baa1 to Ba2 on long-term Portuguese bond ratings.
Problem loans at China’s banks are significantly worse than initially thought, according to Moody’s Investors Service’s news release on July 4th. This raises concerns already expressed about China’s continued ability to grow its economy at annual rates approaching double-digits. The weakness is so pervasive that Moody’s “views the credit outlook for the Chinese banking system as potentially turning to negative. ” It added:
We assume that the majority of loans [by the banks] to local governments are of good quality, but based on our assessment of the loan classifications and risk characteristics, as provided by the NAO [China’s National Audit Office] and other Chinese agencies, we conclude that the banks’ exposure to local government borrowers is greater than we anticipated…
Only months after the French government banned the wearing of burqas in public (as in London, left), police in Australia have announced that they will begin to require suspects to remove their head coverings so that their identities can be confirmed.
The French ban on the burqa came into effect in April, with punishments that emphasized assimilation into French society; as The Telegraph reported at the time the ban went into effect, the penalty for wearing a burqa is a “fine of 150 euros (£133) and/or a course of citizenship lessons. A man who forces a woman to go veiled will be fined 30,000 euros (£25,000) and serve a jail term.”
Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker said in an interview over the weekend that the austerity measures being imposed on Greece in exchange for additional bail-out funding from the IMF will result in “the sovereignty of Greece [being] massively limited. ” He added, “One cannot be allowed to insult the Greeks. But one has to help them. They have said they are ready to accept expertise from the euro zone.”
Thanks to a massive grassroots pro-life campaign, lawmakers in Poland have cast an initial vote in favor of legislation that would ban all abortions in that country. As reported by the website LifeNews.com, the effort was headed by the Polish pro-life group PRO Foundation (website graphic, left), which organized a grassroots campaign to lobby members of Parliament to support the measure. Additionally, noted the pro-life website, “the nation’s Catholic bishops have also played an integral role in advancing the legislation.”