September 22nd, 2011
11:47 PM GMT
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Editor’s note: Edward Hugh is an independent macro economist and writer based in Barcelona.

 (CNN) - According to a recent study by Stephane Deo and his collegues at UBS, the euro – as it is currently structured – should not exist. It is hard to disagree. The problem is that it does, and just like the legendary Eagles' song "Hotel California" they refer to, it was intentionally set up in such a way that once you get inside there is no way you can leave. There is no checkout procedure.

Reading the UBS report put me in mind of Stanley Kubrick’s cult film, “Dr. Strangelove.” In a key scene the U.S. President, on being informed of the existence of a device (termed the “Doomsday Machine”) which shares notably similar characteristics with the current euro area, is stupefied. On asking those around him -“but how is it possible for something to be triggered automatically, and at the same time impossible to untrigger?” – Peter Sellers, as Dr. Strangelove, replies: “Mr. President, it is not only possible, it is essential. That is the whole idea of this machine, you know.”

Which takes us directly to last week’s European Finance Ministers meeting in Poland. In a setting horribly reminiscent of the Strangelove “War Room,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner informed the assembled dignitaries that, in a nutshell, Europe was facing catastrophe.
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September 22nd, 2011
07:31 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – The Chicago River started as a port for industry, helping the city's economy grow. But until recently, the river has been neglected, used as a dumping ground and filled with pollution and disease.

Now, Chicago is realizing the river’s potential, bringing it back to heath and developing it as a commercial asset by building a new river walk.

Filed under: Future Cities


September 22nd, 2011
12:53 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – Care for some Japanese sushi, Spanish paella or Vietnamese pho for your next meal?

Or maybe just a steamy bowl of white rice to go with your Filipino adobo, Indian red curry or Indonesian beef rendang?

About one of every two people in the world relies on rice as a staple food, according to the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute.

So if the price of rice jumps, nearly half of the global population could be impacted.

HSBC noted Tuesday that the cost of the consumable commodity is rising – and will continue to do so.
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