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Spanish opera protests austerity

  MADRID, Spain — “El crepusculo del ladrillo,” or “Twilight of the brick” premiered on Sunday in la Tabacalera, a rundown downtown tobacco factory, to rapturous applause. The musicians and singers are all members of Solfonica, an orchestra linked to the indignados, and evidence of the varied response to a crisis that continues to deepen despite predictions it would end this year.

Solfonica opera

Premiere of “El crepusculo del ladrillo” on May 18, 2013 in Madrid.

Is Latvia the new Cyprus?

RIGA, Latvia — Tiny European country lures Russian cash by the suitcase before suffering banking crisis. Sound familiar? But this isn’t Cyprus, whose financial woes unleashed a European political crisis just over a month ago. An old playground for wealthy Russians, Latvia plans to join the euro zone next year, which has made it one of the newest causes of concern among euro zone decision-makers.

Austerity with a human face?

  BRUSSELS — "With nothing but austerity, Italy will die." Europe "is being battered by the selfish intransigence of Chancellor Merkel." It's time to fight unemployment caused by a "society that seeks selfish profit outside the bounds of social justice." Europe has become used to such slogans in countless street demonstrations against the German-inspired austerity policies that many now blame for the ongoing recession gripping much of the continent. In the past few days however, that disquiet has spread. 

Berlusconi bounces back

ROME — Italians were greeted by a familiar sight this week many thought they’d never see again: Silvio Berlusconi beaming triumphantly from the front pages of the country’s newspapers. Two years after being forced from office, the former prime minister has returned to reap the spoils of the parliament’s traumatic and ultimately failed attempt to elect a new president last weekend.

EU flashpoints: Migrants shot in Greece, Germany approves Cyprus aid, Italy fails to elect president

BRUSSELS — Many in Europe are reeling from harsh effects of economic woes, but a recent show of brute violence in Greece could signal a terrible turn.

Is France the next sick man of Europe?

BRUSSELS — Ever since last month's disclosure that ex-budget minister Jerome Cahuzac lied about stashing almost $800,000 in a secret Swiss bank account, the French have become obsessed by their politicians' money. However, France's neighbors are far more worried about the country’s finances: Brussels is warning that unless Francois Hollande manages to get it back into shape, the euro zone's second-largest economic power could bring down the whole bloc.

Twitter feud hits all the right notes: Estonia v Paul Krugman, the opera

TALLINN — Last summer, Estonia became a poster child for the euro zone’s austerity drive in an improbable but dramatic war of words between the American economist Paul Krugman and Estonia’s President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. Now a composer has created a “financial opera” inspired by this country’s brief turn at the center of a raging debate over how to tackle the financial crisis paralyzing Europe and dragging on the global economy.

Who will be the next Cyprus?

BRUSSELS —  A wave of speculation that Slovenia is poised to follow Cyprus as the next victim of the euro zone crisis sweeping southern Europe has left its people mortified. But Slovenia isn’t alone. Fears that savers in other countries could follow Cypriots in seeing their bank accounts frozen, access to funds restricted and deposits raided are spreading across the euro zone and beyond.
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