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Graphic Picture of Eurozone Economy -- Bleak, but with some Brighter Spots

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A remarkably informative set of graphic maps about the eurozone economies comes from the BBC website. This multi-layered snapshot confirms that the eurozone is in crisis, but this generalization is shown to obscure very different case-by-case situations in the 16 EU countries in the “eurozone.” This visual survey drives home how much painful change will be required for the eurozone (and the EU as a whole) to recover its fiscal balance. However, the survey also brings out positive situations in some countries in the single-currency group, demonstrating stability and even recovery.

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U.S. Fed - Equivalent of ECB - Emerges Strengthened in Crisis Financial Reform

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Despite populist pressures to curtail its powers, the U.S. Federal Reserve System is now certain to remain fully independent of direct political interference in setting U.S. monetary policy. Moreover, its supervisory and regulatory powers will be extended to non-bank financial institutions (although it will have to work more collegially with other Federal regulators in this area).

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EU Governments Make New Pledge to Common Response in Defending Euro

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A closely-watched meeting of EU finance ministers announced agreement Friday on a four-point plan to regain credibility for their countries’ bonds and for the embattled euro.

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Human Trafficking: U.S. Applies Global Pressure Alongside EU’s Own Drive

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For the first time, the U.S. will publicly scrutinize its record in combating human trafficking on a basis allowing international comparisons and applying the same standards that Washington has been using for 10 years to assess other countries.

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EU Announces Broadband Plan to Eliminate “Digital Virgins” and Expand High-Speed Internet Access

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An ambitious five-year plan promising universal broadband coverage by 2013 has been announced by the EU. This follows a similar U.S. plan released by the Obama administration. (See article in European Affairs earlier this spring by the Federal Communications Commission.)

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Euro Crisis Galvanizes Truly Ambitious EU Financial Reforms -- As Early as New Year

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EU leaders have been galvanized by the Greek crisis into uncharacteristically rapid and remarkable cooperation on critical policy issues, including coordinating fiscal policies and accelerating financial regulatory reform. Already their actions have been remarkable: a 110 billion euro bailout of Greece plus an extraordinary 750 billion euro package combining a new European Stabilization Fund (ESF), EU borrowing and IMF stand-by loans. The package is proof that they understand the critical challenge to the euro and to a single monetary policy posed by international bond markets. Even more importantly, European leaders are proposing coordination of EU fiscal policy in a way euro-skeptics thought impossible before the recent crisis in the eurozone.

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“Newspaper Killer” Google Wants to Help Preserve “News” Worth Searching For

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Newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic are sick and seem to be dying. In the U.S., newspaper consumption has decreased by two-thirds in the last decade. The demise is partly blamed on “free news” available online. But, in fact, the actual information that appears online in blogs and sites of all kinds depends heavily on costly-to-run mainstream media. A Pew survey two years ago showed that nine-tenths of the “news” is produced by fewer than a dozen major outlets, most of them big newspapers with big journalistic staffs. Now even a prime “culprit” -- Google – seems to be drawing the smart conclusion and wanting to help preserve, if not newspapers, at least good reporting and news that it can use.

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“Black Carbon” Offers Partial Quick Fix – Without Waiting for Global Treaty on CO2

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A controversial new paper by climate scientists says that more effective immediate remedies against climate change can be found in tackling specific small warming agents other than CO2 – for example, black carbon. These particles – basically, soot – are emitted from incomplete burning of fossil fuels, mainly in diesel engines and wood. As light-absorbing specks (for example, on snow and ice in the Arctic), they darken the white reflective surface, absorbing more solar energy.

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To Global Relief, Europeans Go the Trillion-Dollar-Mile to Stabilize Eurozone

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In an emergency weekend ministerial meeting, the EU launched “the mother of all rescue” plans in an effort to save itself from global lenders’ doubts about the unity and financial credibility of the eurozone. A package worth nearly a trillion dollars was announced as markets opened Monday in Asia. Unprecedented in its scale and scope, the EU action impressed analysts as a response to the international dimensions of the crisis, providing a sweeping solution of the sort that has eluded the EU leaders at every previous stage in the crisis. Announced after 11 hours of negotiations Sunday, the rescue seemed to rise to the challenge explained in this blog last Friday: “Euro’s Fate at Stake in Emergency Talks This Weekend.” By Friday, the market onslaught seemed almost overwhelming: market players said that the number and amounts of sums invested to “short” the euro had reached new records.

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U.S. Disclosure of Warhead Numbers Sets NPT Example -- and Presses Russia to Accounting of its Tactical Nuclear Arms

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In a drive to prove how serious it is about nuclear disarmament, the Obama administration last week made public the size of the American nuclear arsenal – 5, 113 weapons. This number attests a drastic cut back from cold war levels and is intended to show that the U.S. is complying with its responsibility under the forty-year-old nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by its own moves toward nuclear disarmament and wants other signatory nations such as Iran to adhere to their commitments to refrain from seeking nuclear weapons.

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What Next for Britain and the EU? Election Outcome Gives No Clear Mandate for Strong Leadership

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As widely anticipated, the British General Elections resulted in a hung parliament for the first time since 1974 – no party with an absolute majority.  Negotiations between the three main parties will be needed to form a government with a parliamentary majority, and avoid a vulnerable minority government.

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Eurozone’s Fate Seen at Stake in Emergency Meeting in Brussels

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The prospect of a global financial panic caused by the fissures in the eurozone has finally concentrated the minds of EU leaders about the dimension of their problems and the need for action to replace stalling. As reported yesterday in a European Institute blog post, the first signs of this more determined, realistic approach emerged with the European Central Bank's decision to unconditionally buy Greek government bonds and the vote in Germany’s parliament to proceed with a bail-out for Greece.

Just how costly and risky the EU’s delays have been was dramatically demonstrated on Wall Street with a record-breaking day of market gyrations as world markets and the euro continued to slide.

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EU Starts Fully Facing Up to Greek Crisis – At Last ECB Opens Relief Spigot for Athens

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The European Central Bank (ECB) has put itself at the center of the Greek rescue attempt by promising to “buy” Greek government bonds and thus help fund Athens reshape its economy at a discount.

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How Much Greek Bailout May Cost You

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Assuming the International Monetary Fund (IMF) actually lends Greece 30 billion euro (roughly $35 billion) as its share of the Greek bailout, “Business Insider” reporter Greg White has calculated the cost per family per country for the IMF credit:

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First Off-Shore Wind Power in U.S. Finally Gets Go-Ahead -- Catching up with the EU

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Like EU, Washington Opts for Action, not Treaties

After years of national and local debate, Washington has approved the country’s first off-shore wind farm – an important step for the U.S. in catching up with developments in Europe.

Approved by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the Cape Wind project -- 130 wind towers each 440 feet tall -- will occupy a 25-square-mile section of Nantucket Sound in Massachusetts. It promises to provide 75 percent of the electricity required by the nearest part of the coast — the equivalent of the output of a medium-size coal-fired plant.

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