Italian grandma tries to ask Siri the time in Italy, it doesn't end well
Economists (German ones, as it happens) have calculated that, allowing purely for inflation, Greece’s 1942 loan to Germany would today be worth £9bn. But if one adds even a modest rate of interest of 3 per cent, then that debt increases to a staggering £6
"The price index for personal consumption expenditures, the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, was up 0.7% in December from a year earlier, the Commerce Department said Monday. That was the smallest 12-month gain for consumer prices since October 2009 and the 32nd straight month it was below the central bank’s 2% target."
"This is fast becoming the popular explanation for low borrowing costs across the West. One endorsed by an FT leader this week.
The argument is that low yields simple reflect the bond markets belief that interest rates are going to remain very low for a very long time. UK thirty year yields at just 2.4%, US at 2.6% and German at an almost unbelievable 1.3%.
Expectations of low central bank rates for years ahead imply explanations of low inflation and weak growth.
That might reflect what some have called Secular Stagnation. The idea that aggregate demand is weak and that the rate of interest required to generate full employment and decent growth is now negative."
"The U.S. government has released proof that it repeatedly spied on American citizens without being allowed to—and you probably missed it. "
"The world’s largest miners are choosing to overproduce, driving prices lower and forcing the closure of higher-cost suppliers, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The commodity will average $70 next year and $65 in 2016, it said on Dec. 3, cutting forecasts. Citigroup Inc. said on Nov. 11 that iron ore may drop below $60 in the third quarter of 2015. "
"Greek banks have significantly reduced their ECB dependency over the last few months and it now stands at below 44 billion euros, as low as it was back at the start of the Greek crisis in November 2009. Overall, total eurosystem funding is 12.1 percent of the combined 346.4-billion-euro balance sheets of the four systemic banks. When the round of state recapitalisations started two years ago, the target was to bring eurosystem dependency below 15 percent of the combined balance sheets in 2017, a target that was easily achieved three years ahead of time."
"Angela Merkel ist zum achten Mal in Folge zur CDU-Vorsitzenden gewählt worden – mit einem leicht schwächeren Ergebnis als 2012. Die Kanzlerin erhielt auf einem Bundesparteitag am Dienstag in Köln 96,7 Prozent der Stimmen. Es ist ihr bisher zweitbestes Ergebnis. Vor zwei Jahren hatte sie bei ihrer sechsten Wiederwahl als CDU-Chefin 97,9 Prozent bekommen. Ihr schlechtestes Ergebnis bekam sie 2004 mit 88,4 Prozent."
"Mr. Osborne has also belatedly recognized that the average voter doesn’t like banks, rich tax-dodging foreigners, or, indeed, the very wealthy in general. Especially not wealthy foreigners in London.
To that end, he slashed much of the previous losses banks can carry forward to offset against future taxes. He also raised the taxes paid by long-term foreign residents who live in the U.K. with non-domiciled status. And he changed the structure of stamp duty on properties so that residential properties worth up to around £940,000 would be charged the same or less tax when sold while those above would pay increasingly more.
Mr Osborne claimed that the stamp duty changes would benefit 98% of homebuyers. What he neglected to say is that most of the rest aren’t voters anyway. The property tax increases will fall most heavily on London properties, particularly those at the most rarefied price points, which are disproportionately owned by rich foreigners.
Meanwhile, he also moved to ensure firms generating profits on their U.K. operations couldn’t shift those earnings to subsidiaries in low- or no-tax jurisdictions to avoid paying Britain’s taxman, the so-called Google tax.
There’s little doubt Mr. Osborne played a canny political game here."
"Spain’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest since the end of 2011 in the third quarter as its economy turned into one of the fastest-growing in the euro region.
Joblessness fell to 23.7 percent in the three months through September from 24.5 percent in the previous quarter, Spain’s national statistics institute INE said in Madrid on Thursday."
"Mr. Schlein said lenders had left other states that had recently capped rates at 36 percent or lower. "Consumer choice has always worked best," he said. "That's what drives prices down, not eliminating competition."
In Arizona, an exemption allowing payday lenders to charge 400 percent interest will expire in 2010, with the cap reverting to 36 percent. Lenders there are supporting a ballot measure in November to extend the exemption permanently. The payday loan industry has grown fivefold this decade, from lending $10 billion in 2000 to $50 billion in 2007, according to Stephens Inc., a brokerage in Little Rock, Ark., which said lenders collected $8.6 billion in fees last year. "
"Newly-brought-to-light documents leaked by Snowden discuss operations by the NSA working inside China, Germany and South Korea to help physically subvert and compromise foreign networks and equipment, according to a report published by The Intercept. They also suggest the NSA may have undercover agents planted inside companies to provide assistance in gaining access to systems in the global communications industry. And they bolster previous reports that the NSA works with U.S. and foreign companies to weaken their encryption systems."
"Government agencies keep asking us not to notify users of requests for their data, even when they are not legally entitled to do so. If we receive a request that comes with a gag order, we'll inform requesting agency of our policy and let users know about the request unless the agency provides a valid court order (or an equivalent)."
"The case matters, as it will help set the precedent for the ability of the United States Government to command access to data that stored by U.S.-based companies anywhere in the world — those companies would therefore not be able section off their user data by storing it abroad, protecting foreign nationals from the sticky fingers of the government. Users would not appreciate that. Revenue would fall. Hence the suit."