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Why this week's Bank of Japan meeting matters

February's Bank of Japan (BOJ) meeting should be less action-packed than January's, which saw unprecedented steps to revive a weak economy. Still, the meeting is important, especially as the central bank prepares to usher in a change in its top policy makers, analysts say.

Europe: can anyone save it from itself?

As Italian bond yields reach unsustainable highs and world markets begin to fall, Europe faces the worst crisis of leadership since August 1914. And we all know how that turned out.
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A statue to one of the fallen of World War I. Are today's European leaders as inept in guiding the continent through troubled times as those in charge in August 1914? (Peter Macdiarmid/AFP/Getty Images)


A snapshot of a moment in history:

November 10, 2011.  Global stock markets are falling. The yield on Italian bonds continues to rise.

A German newspaper reports that Chancellor Angela Merkel is going to float the idea of re-writing the rules governing the euro zone at her Christian Democratic Union party meeting next week. At present there is no mechanism for countries inside the euro to leave.

Merkel reportedly wants a new treaty provision that defines the ways in which a nation can leave - or be asked to leave - if it doesn't meet the basic conditions of euro zone membership. You want to know the basic conditions?: an annual budget deficit no higher than 3 percent of GDP and a national debt lower than 60 percent of GDP.  Italy's debt is currently 120% of GDP. Got the picture?

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G-20 summit: who's in charge?

Who's in charge of world economy? Anyone?
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy talk as they arrive for a press conference after a meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and EU and IMF representatives over Eurozone bailout plan ahead of the G20 summit on November 2, 2011 in Cannes, France. (David Ramos/AFP/Getty Images)
Elected leaders of 20 largest economies meet in Cannes and are confronted by a simple reality: there is very little they can do to sort Europe's mess while Greece is in political meltdown.
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Europe starts the week in limbo

French-German summit ends with nothing more than a pledge to have a plan in place before G-20 summit next month. Can the markets wait that long for a resolution to Greek debt situation and possible spread of contagion to Spain and Italy?

Start The Week

The weekend is supposed to offer a bit of breathing space and down time ... it normally allows problems to be put in perspective so they can be dealt with more effectivey when the new week starts.

Well, having rested up it seems like Europe's leadership and punditocracy have used their two days off to get even more nervous about the economic prospects of Europa.

The main reason is the lack of anything substantial out of a meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel. Sarkozy assured the press after the meeting, "We are very conscious that France and Germany have a particular responsibility for stabilising the euro."

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