January 18th, 2012
06:53 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – The World Bank is not an organization noted for hyperbole and exaggeration. Certainly the sober-suited Washington bankers don't usually go around the world forecasting calamity, unless it is to drum up more support for the disadvantaged and poor.

And that's why their comments surrounding the Global Economic Prospects for 2012 were so unusual. The bank has just downgraded growth estimates for this year, by the biggest amount in three years.

It forecasts the euro area will be in recession (-0.3 %) and developing nations will see growth at 5.4%, down from earlier forecasts of more than 6 percent.

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January 18th, 2012
02:23 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – The experts are in back in Athens to assess the damage, looking for answers to Greece's massive debt. They are part of the team to help Greece, so the country can get another dose of money from the International Monetary Fund and Europe.

But this is not the bankers who are negotiating to get less money out of Greece.

People are confusing the two teams now back in Athens. One is to clean up the mess; one is to give Greece a break on debt through so-called Private Sector Involvement (PSI) which is econ-speak for a voluntary agreement.

Let’s break them down. FULL POST

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January 18th, 2012
01:13 PM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – More than 10 months after the Fukushima meltdown and Japan is still dealing with the fallout - this time the key industry of tourism is reeling from the catastrophe.

According to government figures released Tuesday, the number of foreign nationals entering Japan dropped 24.4% from a record of 9.45 million in 2010 to 7.14 million in 2011.

New entries of foreign nationals - a figure that excludes working or studying expatriates that may have returned after home leave - made a similarly dismal showing. The Immigration Bureau of the Justice Ministry said new entrants fell from 7.92 million in 2010 to 5.45 million in 2010, slumping 31.2%.
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January 18th, 2012
12:40 PM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – The Yahoo co-founder and one-time CEO leaves behind disgruntled investors, upset at his handling over potentially lucrative merger deals.

The Taiwan-born Silicon Valley billionaire also leaves behind a company whose share price has tumbled 54% since its five-year high back in 2007.

And as stakeholders see Yang’s silhouette fade to black, you can bet many of them are now shouting their own “Yahoo!”
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January 18th, 2012
01:00 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) - Hong Kong is one of the world's richest cities. Almost one in 10 households boasts a millionaire. The government sits on a cash pile of about $80 billion. Yet Hong Kongers are choking, sometimes to death, on their own success.

A bold claim, but the statistics are compelling. The Hong Kong University School of Public Health has just unveiled a new real-time cost of pollution index. According to new research from the university and local think tank Civic Exchange, there are 3,200 avoidable deaths a year in Hong Kong due to air pollution - more than three times higher than previous estimates.

As I write this (at 7:15 p.m. HKT Tuesday) the index reports there has been seven preventable deaths and more than 14,000 preventable doctor's visits in Hong Kong in the 19 hours beginning midnight on Monday. Preventable, because the bad air quality that researchers say was responsible, can be easily improved.

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