Our third and final headlines post features that latest from the U.S. and Europe, with the emphasis on the continuing deconstruction of Greece.
We start here in the Golden State with Salon:
California Wal-Mart workers strike today, following stunning Florida victory
West Coast Wal-Mart workers walk off the job as the union-backed campaign says Florida strikers won major changes
From Salon again, recognizing the obvious:
The super-rich no longer need a middle class
They now inhabit a privatized economy and have left us at the mercy of the market
SINA English watches from across the Pacific:
U.S. poverty rate remains high, 50 million are poor
The number of poor people in the United States held steady at nearly 50 million last year, but government programs appear to have lessened the impact, especially on children and the elderly, federal data released on Wednesday showed.
More numeration from the Contributor Network:
American Riches: Three Million More Poor People Than Previously Reported
The number of poor people in America is 3 million higher than the official count, encompassing 1 in 6 residents due to out-of-pocket medical costs and work-related expenses, according to a revised census measure released Wednesday.
Reuters gives us a mixed report card:
U.S. growth picks up in third quarter as restocking offsets weak spending
U.S. economic growth accelerated in the third quarter as businesses restocked shelves but the slowest expansion in consumer spending in two years pointed to an underlying weakness.
The Colorado Independent cover the Centennial State’s tax coffers going up in smoke:
New pot tax will pay for enforcement and satisfy the feds
Coloradans on Tuesday passed a meaty statewide sin tax on pot in Proposition AA, handing a windfall to the state’s emerging marijuana regulatory regime and some yet-to be determined amount to local school budgets.
For our next drugs story we turn to Al Jazeera America:
US patients again look to Canada in quest for affordable medication
Maine is first state in nation to pass law allowing its citizens to buy mail-order drugs from foreign countries
Raw Story brings the latest Randian rapaciousness:
Fox Business’ John Stossel ‘upset’ poor people aren’t selling kidneys for $1,200
Libertarian Fox Business host John Stossel on Thursday said he was outraged that most government services like the military and “organ selling” had not been turned over to private business.
And the Associated Press covers the pathetic consequences of the U.S. 2011 decision to stop funding UNESCO because members allowed Palestine to join their ranks:
US to lose vote at UNESCO, incurs debts
American influence in culture, science and education around the world is facing a blow with the United States expected to lose its vote on Friday at UNESCO.
North of the border, where the National Post reports a career tripped up by a crack [pipe]:
Rob Ford’s senior policy advisor quits after his boss’s crack cocaine confession
Rob Ford’s longtime policy advisor has quit, one day after the mayor’s stunning admission that he had used crack cocaine after months of denials
And it gets worse, as BBC News reports:
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in video murder rant
Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is embroiled in fresh controversy over a video which shows him threatening to commit “first-degree murder”.
The National Post has more:
New Rob Ford video surfaces: ‘I need f—ing 10 minutes to make sure he’s dead’
A new video has surfaced that features the mayor rambling incoherently about an unidentified person, whom he apparently threatens to ‘kill’ and ‘murder’
And Salon sums up:
Butt-groping, bachelorette parties and rape threats: Rob Ford’s non-crack scandals!
Yes, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s a crack-smoking, vicious, xenophobic, Tea Party hack. But it actually gets even worse
Another Canadian, another dream, from the Globe and Mail:
Canadian mining tycoon follows Hollywood dream
Canadian mining tycoon Robert Friedland, who made billions from discoveries in Labrador and Mongolia, is embarking on a new career: Hollywood film mogul.
On to Europe with a desperate move from The Guardian:
ECB surprises markets by cutting eurozone interest rates to 0.25%
European Central Bank cuts interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point amid fears over deflation in the currency bloc
Bloomberg Businessweek comes to a conclusion:
Why the ECB’s Surprise Rate Cut Probably Won’t Help
European Union data show that the cost of credit in the euro zone’s weakest economies has risen steadily even as the ECB repeatedly cut its benchmark refinancing rate to record lows. Currently, businesses in Italy and Spain are paying about three times as much for credit as their counterparts in Germany. Those in Greece and Portugal pay about seven times as much.
World Socialist Web Site casts a jaundiced eye on motivations:
Euro zone officials: No let-up in economic stagnation, mass unemployment
Continuing stagnation and mass layoffs across the euro zone’s devastated economies constitute a condemnation of the economic irrationality of capitalism.
From Deutsche Welle, an inter-raptor feud:
Troika tensions heat up
Plagued with power struggles and in-fighting, the Troika faces its own internal woes and external criticism as it audits loan recipients.
Reuters brings us more Banksters Behaving Badly:
Exclusive: EU to levy record fines on Libor banks: source
EU antitrust regulators will levy a record fine of at least 1.5 billion euros on six financial institutions, including Barclays (BARC.L) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L), for rigging the yen Libor interest rate benchmark, a banking industry source said on Wednesday.
And the London Telegraph conjures consolidation:
One hundred big banks could go, warns McKinsey
A fifth of the largest global banks could be broken up or bought within the next few years, according to McKinsey
From EUobserver, usual suspects, usual games:
Corporate interest dominates EU ‘expert groups,’ transparency NGO says
People with close connections to top banks implicated in the financial crisis are said to have helped steer the European Commission’s response to the economic meltdown.
EUobserver records another assault on sovereignty:
Economic governance tool to be part of regional aid
MEPs in the regional affairs committee Thursday (7 November) gave the go-ahead to an overhaul of the EU regional aid policy, including its most controversial element – linking payouts to good economic governance.
Reuters rings an alarm:
Euro zone Sept retail sales fall more than expected
Euro zone retail sales fell more than expected in September, data showed on Wednesday, as shoppers held back with purchases amid a slow economic recovery weighed down by record high unemployment and tight access to credit.
And New Europe hints at designer genes to come:
EFSA had already submitted six positive opinions on the matter
Commission passes GMO cultivation request to the Council of Ministers
Following the General Court’s ruling finding that the Commission failed to act on a Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) cultivation request which had been submitted in 2001, the European Commission has today referred this cultivation request to the Council of Ministers.
England next, starting with a report from Channel NewsAsia Singapore:
Bank of England freezes interest rate, stimulus levels
The Bank of England held its key lending rate at a record-low point of 0.50 per cent and froze its cash stimulus level on Thursday, as Britain’s economic recovery gathers pace.
From the London Telegraph, more designer genes:
Vince Cable boosts Britain’s science firms with £10m biology fund
Business Secretary Vince Cable has created a £10m synthetic biology fund to target financial support at the UK’s early-stage science companies.
And Channel NewsAsia Singapore covers a fleeting resistance:
Austerity protesters target Buckingham Palace
Hundreds of Anonymous protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks protested outside Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II’s London home, as part of a global demonstration against austerity on Tuesday.
From the Emerald Isle, the Irish Times covers a warning to the national health service [HSE]:
Dublin hospitals warn HSE cuts threaten patient safety
Chief executives say it is unsustainable to cut staff and waiting lists on reduced resources
And Reuters has some good news:
Euro zone’s Ireland gets green light for bailout exit
Three years after going cap in hand to international lenders, Ireland got the green light on Thursday to step out on its own as the first euro zone country to exit its bailout program.
But Independent.ie hints that “exit” may be too strong a word:
Department of Finance chief says no deadline for discussions with Troika on ‘backstop’ deal
John Moran indicates that talks can continue after December 15 date
TheJournal.ie has more:
The reviews are over but we may not leave for “a number of years” — IMF Mission Chief
Ireland remains on track to exit the bailout following the final review, but the IMF says it has no immediate plans to withdraw its officials from Dublin.
Sweden next, with TheJournal.ie a a headline with what we presume is a typo in the second line, with “beg” instead of “bed”:
Swedish political party seeks to ban foreigners from begging
The far-right Sweden Democrats party said the main reason beggars go to Sweden is to bed in a “professional manner”.
From the Los Angeles Times, French tradition gets the chop:
French fight making Wednesday a school day
The French government’s decision to no longer give schoolchildren Wednesdays off has parents up in arms. Reformers say the move is aimed at reversing France’s slide in international education rankings.
And Europe Online reports another chop:
French transport and energy company Alstom to cut 1,300 jobs
French energy and transport company Alstom said Wednesday it would cut 1,300 jobs worldwide, mostly in Europe, as part of a plan to dramatically cut costs.
To Germany next, with a setback from Europe Online:
German industrial output posts surprise slump in September
German industrial output posted a surprise fall in September following a slump in the production of investment goods, data released Thursday showed.
From Spiegel, another German woe:
No Training, No Work: Unemployment Rising Despite More Jobs
Although there are more jobs than ever before, unemployment continues to rise in Germany. Many long-term unemployed are looking for work again, but their lack of qualifications means they hardly stand a chance in a highly specialized industrial society.
After the jump, conflicting news from Spain and Portugal, Bunga Bunga hubris, and the ongoing disaster in Greece continues, plus Latin America and Africa. . .
On to Spain with Europe Online:
Spain’s industrial production up for first time since 2011
Year-on-year Spanish industrial production went up for the first time since February 2011 and the treasury sold bonds at lower interest rates on Thursday, adding to signs that the economy is rebounding.
But Quartz gives good reason for sober, second thoughts:
Spain faces staggering losses as it accepts the reality of the housing bust
Sales of repossessed properties were on average done at prices 71.5% lower than where the houses were originally valued. That means the average price for a house that was originally sold for €100,000 in say, 2006, repossessed and then sold during the first half of 2013, would have brought a price of €28,500.
From thinkSPAIN, austerian compassion:
Sacked by recorded delivery two days after a heart attack
AN EMPLOYEE who was fired two days after suffering a heart attack whilst on the job for ‘not completing his probation period’ has caused a media sensation.
And ANSAmed covers another typical austerian move, the destruction of public media:
Valencia shuts down public TV due to spending cuts
1,300 laid off; gov’t ‘needs to ensure essential services’
The Christian Science Monitor covers a worrisome development:
Is ‘Spain’s Fox News’ leading its own Tea Party-style insurrection?
Pedro J. Ramirez, the founder of daily El Mundo and a key shaper of Spain’s conservative narrative, appears to have set his sights on conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
El País has more on the station after ruling Popular Party board members depart:
Opposition assumes control of RTVV after PP board members step down
Leftist representatives vow to keep broadcaster afloat as anti-government programing menu sees audience share soar
Valencia public broadcaster RTVV to close after court ruling on layoffs
From thinkSPAIN, another case of Banksters Behaving Badly:
Five CAM bank directors arrested
A NATIONAL Court judge has ordered the arrest of the former CAM bank’s managing director and four other members of the board in connection with alleged illegalities in their management of the Comunidad Valenciana-based financial institution.
From El País, a setback for Education Minister José Ignacio Wert after he canceled Spanish students’ study abroad grants in mid-semester:
Party pressure forces Wert to go back on Erasmus decision
Education minister says all exchange students will keep grants for this year as controversial cutback plan is ditched
Across the peninsula with the Portugal News:
Brussels predicts further Portugal austerity in 2014
The European Commission (EC) has said in its autumn forecasts that Portugal would not grow until the end of the year and anticipated a new €1.7 billion austerity package for 2015.
And another plank of the neoliberal agenda gets the green light, via the Portugal News:
Post office privatisation formalised
The Portuguese post office (CTT) has formalised the intention of Parpública to go ahead with an initial public offering of the company as part of its privatisation.
And from the Portugal News yet again, a spot of good news:
Jobless rate drops again
Portugal’s unemployment rate in the third quarter was 15.6%, down 0.8 of a point from the second quarter and 0.2 of a point from the third quarter of 2012, according to a report released by the National Statistics Institute (INE) on Thursday.
From Italy, via the Associated Press, hubris personified:
Berlusconi: my woes like Jews had under Hitler
Italian ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi has likened Jewish suffering in Hitler’s Germany to what his family feels about his judicial woes, triggering criticism from Italian politicians and Jewish leaders that he is trivializing the Holocaust.
And the Associated Press gives us an item from Eastern Europe:
Thousands of Romanian teachers march for more pay
Thousands of teachers are marching through Bucharest to demand better wages and working conditions and an end to political interference in education.
ANSAmed gives us the perfect entry to our latest Greek coverage, including the destruction of Greek public television:
Crisis: Greece, talks with troika amid tension over ERT
Public sector layoffs still on the agenda
To Vima covers the grim demands for the lords of money:
Troika Presses Greece For More Reforms
Talks between Greece and envoys from its international lenders immediately led to more demands for reforms and pressure on the government to shed itself of one of its defense industries and improve the woeful rate of tax collection with a budget hole of as much as 2.9 billion euros ($3.9 billion) looming for 2014.
More, again from To Vima:
Troika representatives to discuss possibility of measures on Friday
IMF, ECB and EU representatives will gather data from Ministries before sitting down for negotiations
The troika representatives visited the Minister of Finances Yannis Stournaras yesterday, despite the previous uncertainty and confusion regarding the troika’s return to Athens. The initial talks were conducted in a positive climate, mostly because the prior actions were not discussed.
EUobserver notes a development sure to intensify the outrage:
Troika officials admit errors, as criticism mounts
To Vima covers heated pressure on the state privatization agency, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund [TAIPED being the Greek acronym]:
New austerity measures are inevitable, regardless of the prime minister’s intentions, opposition Democratic Left (DIM.AR) party leader Fotis Kouvelis said on Wednesday in an interview with ANA-MPA web television.
Troika concerned about TAIPED’s delays with privatizations
Creditors favor the creation of a new development fund to manage the privatization of “prime assets”
And the bombshell, debt collectors greenlighted, via Greek Reporter:
Seizure of Wages and Pensions Will be Possible
As of next month, the impossible will become possible. The Ministry of Finance with a simple order to the banks through the General Secretariat of Information Systems can seize wages and pensions.
Meanwhile, more debt piled on via ANA-MPA:
EIB to sign 550-mln-euro loan agreements for Greek projects
European Investment Bank (EIB) will sign new agreements worth 550 million euros to finance a series of projects in Greece such as road projects, regional and municipal infrastructure projects and support of small- and medium-sized enterprises.
And from To Vima, an event sparking outrage, the foreful ending of the occupation of the beleageured public broadcaster:
Riot police forces evacuate ERT HQ in Agia Paraskevi!
ERT employees removed from occupied building – government spokesman announces “restoration of rule of law”
At around 4:20am riot police entered the ERT HQ in Agia Paraskevi to evacuate the building of ERT employees and supporters, which has been occupied since 1 June.
Kathimerini English covers one response:
Athens journalists call three-hour work stoppage to protest ERT raid
The Athens journalists union (ESIEA) called a 3-hour work stoppage from 3 p.m. on Thursday in protest at the police raid at the headquarters of the now defunct state broadcaster ERT earlier in the day.
And To Vima another:
Fierce clashes in Parliament over ERT HQ evacuation
Opposition parties lash out against the New Democracy & PASOK coalition government in Parliament
Greek editorial cartoonist Michael Kountouris offers his take in Eleftheros Typos, via Presseurop:
Television in Greece: Charge!
Yet another response from Kathimerini English:
SYRIZA calls for vote of no confidence in Greek government
The head of the main leftist opposition SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, submitted a censure motion to Parliament on Thursday, responding to a police raid on the headquarters of the defunct broadcaster, ERT, paving the way for a no confidence vote in the government.
Deutsche Welle brings us up to date on the action called to greet the Troikarchs:
Anti-austerity strikes in Greece cripple public services
In another round of strike action against austerity measures in Greece, public transport has been disrupted across the bailed-out eurozone nation. Protesters said international lenders were destroying the country.
But euronews adds a shadow:
Low turnout for Greece strike as Athens tackles troika on austerity
The latest general strike against austerity in Greece saw a lower turnout than in previous rallies, blamed partly on bad weather and partly on a sense of despondency.
And ANA-MPA covers another threat to another action:
PM orders education minister to resort to justice to end university strikes
Education and Religions Minister Constantine Arvanitopoulos, acting on the orders of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, on Wednesday announced that he will resort to the justice to end strikes that have kept Greek universities closed.
From EnetEnglish.gr, insult added to injury:
Let them eat wood
Priced out of the heating oil market, some cold citizens may face a ban on burning wood for home heating
Environment minister signs a draft joint ministerial decision that will allow a ban on the use of fireplaces and stoves in areas where air pollutants exceed 150 micrograms per cubic metre (mg/m3)
To Vima covers a ruling:
ECHR: “Exclusion of same-sex couples from civil unions is illegal”
Greek government guilty of discriminating against same-sex couples in violation of Human Rights Convention
While Kathimerini English notes protection granted:
Golden Dawn MPs, offices to have police protection again after deadly shooting
The police guards removed from protecting Golden Dawn MPs and offices in September, in the wake of the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas by a member of the neo-Nazi party, are set to be reassigned to their earlier duties, sources have told Kathimerini.
To Cyprus next with a single item from Reuters:
U.N. struggles to break impasse in Cyprus talks
U.N. diplomats struggled on Wednesday to revive stalled peace talks on Cyprus, where an ethnic division dating back four decades is dogging Turkey’s bid to join the European Union.
While Deutsche Welle gives us an African entry:
German companies urged to invest in Africa
Most German entrepreneurs shy away from investing in southern Africa and bilateral trade is relatively low. A business lobby group wants to reverse this trend.
And the Santiago Times affords the first of two Latin American items:
Eighty three percent of Chileans back re-nationalization of copper
CEP poll finds vast majority of Chileans for the nationalization of the copper industry — the country’s main money maker — though presidential candidates far more divided on the issue.
The Santiago Times again, with a final item, famniliar to folks here in the U.S.:
Backlash at home and abroad as Congress approves digital TV law
Law which requires TV channels to go digital has been labeled unconstitutional, catastrophic for community channels and even a threat to Chile’s soccer team.