November 3rd, 2011
03:10 AM GMT
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Cannes, France (CNN)- It wasn't the kickoff to the Cannes G20 summit that we'd expected.

The official opening Thursday was hijacked by an emergency meeting late Wednesday evening hastily arranged by host French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In the dock: the Greek PM hauled in front of European leaders and banking chiefs to answer charges that he was jeopardizing the entire eurozone project after his shock announcement to call a referendum on the October 27 European Debt deal.

Things couldn't be worse, right?

Well maybe not. FULL POST



November 2nd, 2011
07:01 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – Greece’s future – and that of Europe – is in disarray after the decision by Prime Minister George Papandreou to call a referendum on its bailout. Now Italy’s soaring funding costs are injecting fresh anxiety into the crisis.

Italy is being crushed by investors, who are now insisting on yields of up to 6.4% to invest in its 10-year bonds. Markets regard 7% as a benchmark which, if breached, makes it extremely difficult for countries to fund themselves.

So these levels are now sending red alerts: Italy is flirting with the danger zone. This, over and above the sheer panic and difficulties which would ensue should Greece decamp to the drachma, is a very real problem.
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October 30th, 2011
04:16 PM GMT
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As world leaders prepare to gather in Cannes this week for the annual G20 summit, a generation of young people are being left out in the cold, forced to fend for themselves in the wake of the economic crisis.

Youth unemployment rates are at a record high: In Spain, it is at a staggering 44%. In Italy it's 28% while France does slightly better at 21%.

Even in Germany - the economic powerhouse of the Eurozone - youth unemployment is at 8%.

But has anyone really taken the time to hear how this generation of young people are doing?

Not really. At least I don't think so. That's why CNN's Diana Magnay and I will be embarking on a road trip around Europe to hear from young people and find out what their frustrations and fears really are.

On Monday, I'll be heading to Berlin to join Diana on the first leg of our epic journey, which will take us through Germany, Italy, France and Spain.

One of the things that makes this road trip so different is that we'll be organizing mini 'town hall meetings' in each city via social media.

We'll be reaching out via iReport, Twitter and Facebook to try and connect with some of you and share your stories on CNN.

At each stop on our journey we hope to have at least a few of you gathered with us to discuss how you feel about your European leaders, the economic crisis and the future - yours, and that of the continent as a whole.

We'll be sharing your views each and every day next week on CNN International on shows like Connect the World, Quest Means Business and World Business Today.

The key though is YOU!

We need you to reach out to us, and to make that trip into town to meet us. We promise there will be some coffee and snacks for you too!

Here's our schedule, if we can manage the mammoth drive.

Tuesday November 1: Munich, Germany

Wednesday November 2: Milan, Italy

Thursday November 3: Marseille, France

Friday November 4: Barcelona, Spain.

If you live in any of these cities and want to come and meet up with us, please send me an e-mail at Phil.Han@cnn.com or reach out to me via Twitter @PhilHanCNN.



September 20th, 2011
07:54 AM GMT
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(CNN) – The news that Italy, the eurozone's third largest economy, was downgraded by credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s dealt another blow to hopes of a sustained market recovery Tuesday.

The second paragraph of S&P’s report on the downgrade speaks volumes about the debt-laden tumult spreading across developed economies:

“In our view, Italy's economic growth prospects are weakening and we expect that Italy's fragile governing coalition and policy differences within parliament will continue to limit the government's ability to respond decisively to domestic and external macroeconomic challenges.”

It’s a script torn from the same page as the U.S. – the gold standard of debt worthiness – when it watched its debt rating reduced by S&P in August ,  as partisan brinkmanship put Washington near the edge of defaulting on its credit card bill.
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September 12th, 2011
06:31 AM GMT
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(CNN) – The global sell-off that began Friday continued as Asian markets opened Monday, despite weekend assurances that a Greek debt deal was imminent.

The euro was trading at its lowest level against the yen since 2001, as Bloomberg reported Germany was preparing for a possible default by Greece.

"We are watching Greece, and only Greece," said Satoshi Tate, a senior dealer at Mizuho Corporate Bank told the Wall Street Journal. "Conditions are getting very serious and everyone is worried how the issue will unfold."
FULL POST



July 5th, 2011
11:31 PM GMT
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(CNN) – When is a 'selective default' a default?

Seems like a silly question but it's giving a lot of banks, euro officials, European Central Bank governors, ratings agencies and yes, us mere journalists, a real headache. I'm still trying to figure this all out, but I will give it a go.

We all know Greece can't pay its bills. Giving it more loans and a longer time to pay it all back might give Greece some breathing room, but it means Greece will only have to pay even more money in the long run.

You still have to pick up the can, even if you "kick it" further down the road.

To avoid that, Greece could default, becoming the first Western country in decades to do so, and therefore start again.

FULL POST



June 24th, 2011
07:26 PM GMT
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The Troika trying to manage Greece’s path to normality – the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – struck an upbeat tone as they broke out from meetings in Brussels Friday, but the reality is one of long lasting pain for the Hellenes with little progress after a five year austerity plan.

The Troika and the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou are now at least singing from the same hymn sheet and the numbers look like this in the final package: $40 billion in higher taxes and cuts in spending until 2015. Privatisations have been put down to raise $72 billion and at late night Thursday the new Greek finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, closed a $5 billion budget short fall with a final burst of tax increases and spending cuts. Final tally now: $117 billion.
FULL POST



June 17th, 2011
08:38 AM GMT
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(CNN) – From Hong Kong to New York, investors are watching the events unfold in Greece with a dreaded sense of déjà vu.

The reality gap looming in Athens between what ordinary Greeks want and what their politicians can realistically achieve has ramifications that could ripple far beyond the Aegean shores.

The only thing that is certain for now is that the longer the impasse lasts, the more devastating its consequences will be – not just for Greece- but for other cash strapped countries that share the euro as well as Europe’s trading partners further afield.

As the IMF prepares to hand out yet another eye-watering chunk of bailout funds to Greece, it may appear to some like a parent handing cash to a spoiled child - even if they haven’t done their homework.

However the Greeks protesting from the Parthenon to the Parliament this week are not children. They are men and women coping with the most precipitous decline in living standards their generation has known.

FULL POST



June 17th, 2011
06:31 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Part of the backlash against this week's austerity measures in Athens stems from a breakdown in trust between the Greek people and its elected politicians.

But what the Greek government says and does now has little bearing on the country's financial future. As current Creditor-in-Chief the International Monetary Fund is the one setting the terms.

This begs the question: how much support does the Greek bailout have inside the IMF?

FULL POST



June 14th, 2011
08:49 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Greece has hit another low point in the 18 months since its debt problems worried global markets and even threatened the existence of the European Monetary Union.

On Monday, Standard & Poor’s – one of the ‘big three’ credit ratings agencies – cut the ratings of the troubled Mediterranean nation three notches to CCC with a negative outlook. That makes Greece the least credit-worthy country rated by the credit agency and signals the belief that Athens will default on its debt payments.

So if Greece is the worst, who is the second worst? According to the S&P, these are the top 10 nations least likely to pay back debts :

FULL POST



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