An economic nightmare is descending on Europe. With each passing month, the economic numbers across Europe get even worse. At this point it is becoming extremely difficult for anyone to deny that Europe is plunging into a full-blown economic depression. In fact, some parts of Europe are already there. In Spain the overall unemployment rate is over 22 percent, and in Greece one out of every five retail establishments has already been closed down. All over Europe, economic activity is rapidly slowing down, unemployment is skyrocketing and bad debts are unraveling. It isn’t even going to take a default by a nation such as Greece or a collapse of the euro to push Europe into an economic depression. All Europe has to do is to stay on the exact path that it is on right now and it will get there. Normally, European governments would respond to an economic slowdown by increasing government spending. But this time most of them are already drowning in debt. Instead of increasing government spending, most governments in Europe are actually cutting back. All over Europe, national governments are being encouraged to implement even more tax increases and even more budget cuts. The hope is that all of this austerity will help solve the nightmarish sovereign debt crisis that Europe is facing. But unfortunately, all of these tax increases and budget cuts are also going to involve a tremendous amount of economic pain.
The frightening thing is that we are just at the beginning of the process for most European nations. If you want to see where nations such as Portugal, Italy and Spain are headed, just take a look at Greece. Greece has been going down this road for several years, and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel for them.
The tax increases and budget cuts that are being implemented right now in Europe will be felt for years to come. The tremendous economic prosperity that was fueled by unprecedented amounts of debt will now give way to tremendous economic suffering.
The following are 20 signs that Europe is plunging into a full-blown economic depression….
President Bashar al-Assad is not about to go. Not yet. Not, maybe, for quite a long time. Newspapers in the Middle East are filled with stories about whether or not this is Assad’s “Benghazi moment” – these reports are almost invariably written from Washington or London or Paris – but few in the region understand how we Westerners can get it so wrong. The old saw has to be repeated and repeated: Egypt was not Tunisia; Bahrain was not Egypt; Yemen was not Bahrain; Libya was not Yemen. And Syria is very definitely not Libya.
It’s not difficult to see how the opposite plays in the West. The barrage of horrifying Facebook images from Homs, and statements from the “Free Syrian Army”, and the huffing of La Clinton and the amazement that Russia can be so blind to the suffering of Syrians – as if America was anything but blind to the suffering of Palestinians when, say, more than 1,300 were killed in Israel’s onslaught on Gaza – doesn’t gel with reality on the ground. Why should the Russians care about Homs? Did they care about the dead of Chechnya?
Look at it the other way round. Yes, we all know that Syria’s intelligence service has committed human rights abuses. They did that in Lebanon. Yes, we all know this is a regime in Damascus, not an elected government. Yes, we all know about corruption. Yes, we watched the UN’s humiliation at the weekend – although why La Clinton should expect the Russians to click their heels after the “no-fly zone” in Libya turned into “regime change” is a bit of a mystery.
The destruction of the Alawite-led government in Syria – which means in effect, a Shia regime – will be a sword in the soul of Shia Iran. And look at the Middle East now from the windows of the massive presidential palace that overlooks the old city of Damascus. True, the Gulf has turned against Syria. True, Turkey has turned against Syria (while generously offering Bashar exile in the old Ottoman empire).
But look east, and what does Bashar see? Loyal Iran standing with him. Loyal Iraq – Iran’s new best friend in the Arab world – refusing to impose sanctions. And to the west, loyal little Lebanon refusing to impose sanctions. Thus from the border of Afghanistan to the Mediterranean, Assad has a straight line of alliances which should prevent, at least, his economic collapse.
The trouble is that the West has been so deluged with stories and lectures and think-tank nonsense about the ghastly Iran and the unfaithful Iraq and the vicious Syria and the frightened Lebanon that it is almost impossible to snap off these delusional pictures and realise that Assad is not alone. That is not to praise Assad or to support his continuation. But it’s real
The White House said Monday that President Barack Obama had signed an executive order blocking all Iranian government assets in the US, including that of the Central Bank.
“I have determined that additional sanctions are warranted,” Obama said in a letter to Congress. The measures block all property and interests belonging to the Iranian government, the Central Bank and all Iranian financial institutions that fall within US jurisdiction.
Romania’s president has nominated the country’s intelligence service chief as prime minister hours after Emil Bloc resigned amid austerity protests.
“The ruling coalition agreed to appoint Mihai Razvan Ungureanu as prime minister designate,” President Traian Basescu said in a statement. The nomination now requires approval by Romania’s parliament.
Chemotherapy is an accepted method by the mainstream medical establishment as a means to fight against cancer, but its effectiveness and reliability is highly in question.
Now, research even brings into question the effect chemotherapy has on your entire hereditary line, with researchers linking chemotherapy drug usage with DNA mutations that extend to your offspring.
Greece’s coalition government has agreed to demands to cut civil service jobs, announcing 15,000 positions would go this year, amid mounting international pressure to agree on austerity measures needed to secure major new debt agreements.
The announcement on Monday signals a major shift in Greece’s policy, as state jobs have so far been protected during the country’s acute financial crisis, which started about two years ago.
Dimitris Reppas, Greece’s minister for public-sector reform, said the job cuts would be carried out under a new law that allows such firings.
The eight member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance bloc, or ALBA, met to approve an agreement barring any boats flying Falkland Islands flags from docking in their ports.
“The issue of the Malvinas Islands is an issue that concerns us, especially with the strong language that has emerged from the British government, accusing Argentina of being colonialist,” Mr Chavez, the Venezuelan president, said, calling it “the world in reverse”.
Austerity Measures?: Nicolas Sarkozy Spends £10,000 a Day on Food and Keeps 121 Cars Under His Palace
Nicolas Sarkozy has been promising to cut back on his presidential spending, but he’s actually splashing out £10,000 a day on food and keeps 121 cars under the Elysee Palace, according to a new book.
Socialist MP Rene Dosiere, in L’argent de l’État (Money from the State), sets out what he sees as extraordinary excesses by the French President.
In the explosive book, he accuses Sarkozy of ‘ignoring the most elementary principles of the separation between private and public accounts’
A small group of leading climate scientists, financially supported by billionaires including Bill Gates, are lobbying governments and international bodies to back experiments into manipulating the climate on a global scale to avoid catastrophic climate change.
The scientists, who advocate geoengineering methods such as spraying millions of tonnes of reflective particles of sulphur dioxide 30 miles above earth, argue that a “plan B” for climate change will be needed if the UN and politicians cannot agree to making the necessary cuts in greenhouse gases, and say the US government and others should pay for a major programme of international research.
Solar geoengineering techniques are highly controversial: while some climate scientists believe they may prove a quick and relatively cheap way to slow global warming, others fear that when conducted in the upper atmosphere, they could irrevocably alter rainfall patterns and interfere with the earth’s climate.
Geoengineering is opposed by many environmentalists, who say the technology could undermine efforts to reduce emissions, and by developing countries who fear it could be used as a weapon or by rich countries to their advantage. In 2010, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity declared a moratorium on experiments in the sea and space,except for small-scale scientific studies.
Concern is now growing that the small but influential group of scientists, and their backers, may have a disproportionate effect on major decisions about geoengineering research and policy.
Syrians and their supporters in Libya beset the Chinese embassy in Tripoli on Monday, hurling eggs, rocks and tomatoes, to show their anger over the decision by the Chinese regime to veto a UN Security Council resolution that would have urged Syria’s ruler Bashar al-Assad to step down.
Around 50 protesters crowded outside the embassy, brandishing the Syrian-opposition flag while pelting rocks to smash its windows. Some graffitied the walls of the compound, according to BBC Chinese.
“All of this is because of what is happening in Homs, this is because of the Chinese and Russian veto,” said Ahmed Mourad, a Syrian expatriate in Libya, according to Reuters.
For more than 1,000 years, the Byzantine Empire was the eye of the entire world – the origin of great literature, fine art and modern government. Heir to Greece and Rome, the Byzantine Empire was also the first Christian empire.
After a year of filming on three continents, TLC unlocks this ancient civilization, spanning 11 centuries and three continents. Pass through the gates of Constantinople, explore the magnificent mosque of Hagia Sophia and see the looted treasures of the empire now located in St. Marks, Venice.
Byzantium, brings to life an empire that, while seemingly distant, is very closely linked to the evolution of Western Civilization. Traces the growth of the first Christian empire, one that lasted for over a thousand years and the maturity and decline of Byzantium through its conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
John Romer, the author and on-screen guide for the series, breathes life into the city and the powerful ideas that made the Byzantium a thriving cultural and commercial center while western Europe was slogging through the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages.
At its height, Byzantium housed the most precious Christian relics, including a piece of Christ’s cross. Located on the border of Europe and Asia, it ruled an empire that extended across Asia Minor and the Balkans. Then, after the rise of Islam, the empire shrank until little was left outside the city walls.
Byzantium turned to Europe for help in fighting the infidels, only to have its own city sacked by the Crusaders whose help it sought. Venice, its erstwhile trading partner, carried off many of its artistic masterpieces. The Hagia Sophia, originally built as a Christian church, became Istanbul’s most famous mosque.
And the scholars who had kept alive the study of Greek for more than a millennium fled to Europe where they helped lay the groundwork for the Renaissance. Byzantium, the video, takes us on a visually sumptuous journey to key locations throughout the empire, while putting a human face on the key actors in the history of this unique and vital empire. I never suspected I would find this story as compelling as it turned out to be.