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The big picture view of an ever-changing global economy.

Olympic Vermin: What to watch while NBC doesn't broadcast the opening ceremonies

(VIDEO) Why shouldn't squirrels, rats and pigeons have their say in the London Olympics?
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Casey Stoney of Great Britain and Katie Hoyle of New Zealand battle during a women's soccer match at the 2012 London Olympics at Millennium Stadium on July 25, 2012 in Cardiff, Wales. (Michael Regan/AFP/Getty Images)

Yes, Twitter is abuzz about NBC's decision to not broadcast the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics live on the web.

Guardian editor Matt Wells pretty well summed up Twitter's collective anger today over the decision:

"NBC showing complete contempt for its audience by not showing or streaming Olympics opening ceremony live."


US drought: It's bad, but Stephen Colbert makes it funny

Citing higher cheese prices, Colbert states it plainly: "This s**t just got real."
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Corn grows in a field August 17, 2011 near Willow Springs, Wisconsin. (Scott Olson/AFP/Getty Images)

There's not much to laugh about in the ongoing drought crisis now hitting much of the United States.

The dry and hot conditions — which rival those of the Dust Bowl era — are at their worst in nearly a half-century.

The US Department of Agriculture warned yesterday that the severe drought will lead to higher prices for pork, beef, milk and especially poultry.


US economy: Looking at the bright side

Yes, the world's largest economy has a lot of problems. But is also has, well, a lot.
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The US economy: down but certainly not out. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Covering the US economy can be breathless, tiring work.

What's the jobless report this week? And what about non-farm payroll jobs for July?

What's the latest number on retail sales? Did it beat expectations?

What's the Fed's Beige Book saying right now?

What's the latest quarterly GDP number, and was it revised from the previous quarter?

Quick — what's the industrial production and capacity utilization of US factories over the past six months?


The LIBOR scandal meets Jon Stewart

You know it's a crisis when the Daily Show digs in. But here's why the LIBOR mess really matters.
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The headquarters of Barclays Bank in London, England. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

The financial information website Investopedia defines the London Interbank Offered Rate — or LIBOR — like this:


IMF cuts global growth forecast

Merde! The International Monetary Fund warns of more trouble ahead. Thanks, Europe.
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Here comes the darkness. Again. (Mario Tama/AFP/Getty Images)
When it comes to the global economy we're all connected. That's the underlying message from the International Monetary Fund today, which said ongoing trouble in Europe will lead to lower economic growth in emerging market stars like China, India and Brazil. And, yes, for the rest of the world, too.

China economy: What's the big deal about 8 percent GDP?

Economic analysis meets numerology in the world's second largest economy.
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Decorative red lanterns are hung on trees at a temple to celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Dragon January 22, 2012 in Beijing, China. (Feng Li/Getty Images)
This is the sixth straight quarter that China's economy has slowed, and the country's GDP is now well-below 8 percent — or the number that's ritualistically repeated by China-watchers as being necessary to keep employment up, and social protests down. Or is it? And what's the big deal about 8 percent GDP, anyway?

Krugman interview: We need more US government spending (VIDEO)

Check out this fascinating, and yes timely, interview with Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal.
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A view of the US Capitol Dome on Capitol Hill July 7, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Paul Krugman has a lot to say about the global economy.

Since most of us don't have a Nobel Prize in economics, it's always useful to know what's cooking up there inside his head.

So it was a joy this morning to watch this great interview by Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal.


The coming jobs disaster for Europe

The International Labour Organization warns 4.5 million more jobs could go if policies don't change.
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A protester kicks a tear gas canister in Athens on Feb. 10. Greek protesters threw stones and firebombs at riot police who responded with tear gas. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

Europe's political and economic crisis is an arcane matter.

Except, of course, if you're a European living through it — to say nothing of trying to find a job there.

The International Labour Organization has underscored that problem today.

In a new report blandly titled "Eurozone jobs crisis: trends and policy responses," the ILO warns that 4.5 million more jobs could be lost in Europe unless policies "change course in a concerted manner."


Euro crisis: Another day, another flirtation with disaster

Rising yields, rising ire in the world's largest trading bloc. It must be Monday in Europe.
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Spanish matador Oliva Soto during a bullfight in the Maestranza Bullring in Sevilla on May 22, 2008. (Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images)
For those with the stomach to watch it unfold, Europe's debt crisis has assumed a sickeningly familiar pattern. It goes like this: European leaders talk. The markets force government borrowing costs higher. European leaders talk again. Repeat.

Macro chatter: 14 hours of meetings later, Europe's got a plan

Around the world in business: European leaders have a plan for the continents banks, and US consumers are making more money. They just aren't spending it.
People walk outside an Alpha bank branch in Athens on April 19, 2012. Greek banks have been coming under increased pressure this week as consumers have been draining their accounts. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Need to know: 

European leaders spent 14 hours talking and now have a plan for helping out the continent's banks. 

They've agreed to use a eurozone bailout fund to recapitalize struggling banks and create a banking union aimed at stemming a vicious cycle of bank bailouts that drive up sovereign debt. 

The move is expected to lower borrowing costs for some of the eurozone's most indebted members. 

Want to know: 

Americans are making more money. They're just not spending it. 

Consumer spending in the US remained flat in May and April's gain wasn't as strong as initially reported, the Commerce Department's latest data show

This comes as personal incomes and saving inched upward. 

Just because: 

There's more bad news for BlackBerry. 

Research in Motion said it plans to cut 5,000 jobs and delay the release of its newest operating platform. 

Dull but important: 

Big changes could be coming to your credit card bills and home mortgages.

Bank of England Governor Mervy King is calling for an overhaul in the way in which LIBOR is calculated, the Wall Street Journal reported.

LIBOR underpins interest rates for just about everything, and Barclays has recently been fined for attempting to manipulate the key rate to help it boost trading profits. 

Strange but true: 

Brazil's richest man isn't exactly going brooke, but he has managed to lose half his fortune. He's also lost his title as Brazil's richest man.