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Britain: Unemployment Up ... Living standards high?

The unemployment rate reaches 17 year high but a new study says Britain's standard of living is higher than Germany's
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Boarded up shop fronts in Rotherham in northern England underscore the rising unemployment rate but do they say much about Britain's statistically high standard of living? (Christopher Furlong/AFP/Getty Images)
Economic statistics paint a variable picture of life in Britain

Europe: the wisdom of markets?

When it comes to pricing sovereign debt, can anyone figure out what the bond markets are thinking?
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Campaigners for minority party Equo hold election rally on steps of Bank of Spain in Madrid. Despite likelihood of a right-wing government winning this weekend's elections bond markets drove Spanish 10-year bond yields to record highs today. (CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)
Do bond markets know what they're doing?

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?


German authorities plant spyware on citizens’ computers

BERLIN — It’s the stuff of modern nightmares...  

More down and up economic indicators in Europe and other stuff

Spanish debt downgraded amid hope that France and Germany have finally reached agreement on euro bailout. Plus other happenings around the continent
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Spain's Finance Minister Elena Salgado Mendez - is she praying for the ratings' agencies to understand her country's difficult debt situation? (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Pulling string around the continent:


Degradation:  Spanish debt was was downgraded two notches to A1 by Moody's yesterday. This makes it a hat trick of downgrades, as Fitch and Standard & Poor's had already done the dirty to Spain. (more here for those who read Spanish)

Today's French papers are full of speculation that France's debt will be next. Moody's has put France "under surveillance." 


Shock and Awe: Bank of England announces a massive, new round of quantitative easing

With the euro zone and the U.S. economies seizing up Britain's central bank pours more money on the economic crisis.


British Understatement?

"This is the most serious financial crisis at least since the 1930s, if not ever."

So spoke Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England yesterday. You don't get to be head of Britain's central bank by indulging in hyperbole.


Nazi investigations reopened by Germany

German authorities are reopening hundreds of investigations of former Nazi death camp guards in an attempt to bring the last living Nazi war criminals to justice.
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