Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:48:11 PM EST
S&P Cuts UK's Rating Outlook to Negative - Britain * Europe * News * Story - CNBC.com
BritainBy: Reuters | 21 May 2009 | 07:35 AM ET tumbled 3 U.S. cents, the gilt future fell more than a point and the FTSE-100 stock index was around 2 percent lower after the announcement -- the first time Britain had been on a negative outlook since S&P introduced them in the 1980s.

Britain has had a "AAA" rating since 1978. Rival credit rating agencies Moody's and Fitch said they saw no reason to change the UK's status and reaffirmed its ratings.

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:52:36 PM EST
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First item on the agenda: fixing the world - Americas, World - The Independent

There are the great, and there are the good, and then there are those who are both - and in a plush Manhattan residence overlooking the East River earlier this month, America's greatest philanthropists assembled for a closed-doors meeting to discuss how best to tackle some of the world's most pressing problems, from disease to education to poverty reduction.

This first Philanthropists Summit was put together discreetly by the Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, and the investment guru Warren Buffett, the world's wealthiest and second-wealthiest men respectively. And the list of attendees reads like a page from the Forbes magazine Rich List.

The event comes at a time of great difficulty for many charities, whose rich donors have seen much of their wealth evaporate with the credit crisis and whose own endowments have suffered big losses.

Even the existence of the meeting was kept quiet and details have only been seeping out over the past few days, igniting the blogosphere with conspiracy theories. What could the likes of Oprah Winfrey, the New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the currency speculator George Soros and the media mogul Ted Turner be cooking up between them?

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:57:28 PM EST
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China's Public Enemy No. 1: How Beijing is Battling the Global Crisis - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The West is pinning its hopes on China to revive the global economy. Beijing is orchestrating its efforts to combat the crisis as meticulously as it once planned the country's spectacular economic ascent.

Everything is colored a bright red, from the tent roofs protecting throngs of shoppers from the elements to the banners encouraging them to buy. Wang Shiqin, a 62-year-old farmer, hurried to the market in the early morning hours. Like most shoppers here, he already owns a television set, but now he wants to buy his first refrigerator -- subsidized by the Chinese government.

 The mood is a mixture of carnival and rally at the market in Feidong, a city in rural Anhui Province about a three-hour train ride northwest of Shanghai. The vendors are loudly pitching household appliances, especially domestic brands, which benefit from this government campaign to fight the global financial crisis.

The Chinese are among the world's most diligent savers, hording almost five times as much of their disposable income in their bank accounts as the Germans do. But now the Communist Party wants to promote collective consumption.

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:59:57 PM EST
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How Geithner, Obama Battle Employment, Unemployment: Old Skool Agitation, Cold Water Cycle

Caps? What caps? | Bloomberg (Update 2)^n | 18 May 2009

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner ruled out setting specific limits for compensation as the Obama administration considers proposals to better align executives' pay with companies' long-term performance. "I don't think our government should set caps on compensation," he said in answering questions at an event at the National Press Club today in Washington. "What I think we need to do is make sure we put in place some broad constraints on the incentives compensation systems create."

Geithner's remarks indicate the administration's proposals may focus more on principles than on specific prescriptions for how financial companies compensate their executives.

Calls for `Very Substantial' Change in Wall Street Pay | Bloomberg | 22 May 2009

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called for major changes in compensation practices at financial companies and said the Obama administration's plan to help realign pay with performance will be rolled out by mid-June. ...

The administration's pay plan would be part of a proposed comprehensive overhaul of financial regulation aimed at both protecting consumers and reducing vulnerability to crises. Geithner has previously ruled out setting specific caps on pay and declined to alter existing compensation contracts.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 02:28:45 PM EST
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How Europe Survives A Financial Crisis | Newsweek World | Newsweek.com
As the economy shows signs of life, Europe's slow and steady model is proving there's more to life than hypergrowth.

At the end of the race between the tortoise and the hare, at least as the 17th Century French fabulist Jean de La Fontaine told the tale, the terrapin cries out, "I won! And what would have happened if you'd been carrying your house on your back!"

As the world's economies slog toward the still-not-quite-visible end of the crisis, Europeans are hoping they'll be able to make a similar boast to the Americans. And thus far, going slow and steady, it looks as if they just might win this marathon, or at least set a useful example. Sure, the U.S. economy is known for being faster off the mark, unfettered by the accumulated weight of what some would call the welfare state or, God forbid, "socialism." But it's also been the first to crash. And in hard times, Americans are left looking, sometimes rather desperately, for shelter. In continental Europe, especially as the French and Germans see it, the shell is really the secret of long-term success, offering protection from the ferocious storms in the global economy and allowing society to keep functioning smoothly.

Of course, we should drag out this metaphor only so far, but even the hitherto insouciant jack rabbits of laissez-faire capitalism are starting to look at the continental models more closely. The British, who jettisoned much of their burdensome carapace in the Thatcher years, are so chagrined by their current woes that the free-market bards of The Economist recently wrote a paean to É France! So, too, The Wall Street Journal. Lo and behold, they've discovered that French and German workers, even the unemployed ones, are still able to lead decent lives, free of want, free of fear, and with enough left over to buy lunch and go to the movies.

by Fran on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 12:04:30 AM EST
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