December 22nd, 2011
06:24 PM GMT
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London (CNN) –Eager for action and anxious about the future, Hungarians are taking to the streets to protest a gradual overhaul of the country’s key organs of democracy.

Eastern Europe's most indebted nation faced another unexpected obstacle after Standard & Poor’s this week became the second ratings agency to cut its debt to “junk” status.

The move, which followed a similar decision by Moody’s Investors Service, piles pressure on Hungary’s strained finances, making it more expensive to raise money to refinance existing obligations.

The vicious cycle has been exacerbated by a steady and significant decline for Hungary’s currency - the forint - which has lost 13% of its value against the euro since June.
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December 22nd, 2011
04:47 PM GMT
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(CNN) – With football facing another racism row, questions are being raised about how the "beautiful game" can protect its brand – and its players’ marketability.

In November, FIFA president Sepp Blatter stoked controversy after telling CNN that racism on the pitch could be settled with a handshake. On Tuesday Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing a Manchester United player in October.

The UK prosecution service Wednesday said England football captain John Terry would face charges of racially abusing another player.

Terry will appear before magistrates in west London on February 1, 2012, and faces a maximum penalty of £2,500 ($3,900). He has denied the charges, saying in a statement that he will fight “tooth and nail to prove my innocence.”

Footballers are stars and should act like it

Whatever the outcome of the case, football itself has been tainted, says Ray Rudowski, regional director of crisis planning and training at PR agency Edelman. He told CNN that the wider questions for sponsors are how to use their influence and association with the game to ensure racism is eliminated.

The sport, Rudowski says, needs to admit to its problems if it wants to clean up. It then needs to formulate a policy for dealing with any issues that arise.

Individual situations are more complicated, he adds - but they should try and “reframe the conversation around ending racism as a stain on the game.”

Filed under: Business


December 22nd, 2011
10:02 AM GMT
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Editor's note: "Along the Silk Road" is a weekly segment on Global Exchange, that will explore the burgeoning trade and investment links from the Middle East to Asia. Watch Global Exchange, on CNN International, Sunday to Thursday 1100 ET, 1600 GMT and 1700 CET.

Baku, Azerbaijan (CNN) – Azerbaijan was once known as the gateway between China and Europe, where ancient transport links were crucial in transporting goods east to west on the silk trading route. Now, in the capital Baku, authorities are developing the country's transport infrastructure to claim Azerbaijan as a central stop on the new Silk Road.

“The road to development begins with the development of roads, so clearly it's a very crucial element of allowing the flow of goods between people so that markets can function,” Joseph Owen, World Bank manager for Azerbaijan, told CNN’s Becky Anderson.

Today the region is focused is on the TRACECA project - a Transport Corridor of Europe, the Caucuses and Asia.

Azerbaijan is located in the very center of the TRACECA project and it's a gateway to both Europe and Asia.

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