October 20th, 2011
08:40 PM GMT
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London (CNN) - Deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s death injects fresh impetus into Libya’s move toward a stable economic and political influence in the region, but the transition remains difficult, according to regional experts.

The export-led country’s huge oil reserves, the largest in Africa, are a key resource to assist the country’s recovery, but a return to prewar output will be slow and complicated. According to the International Monetary Fund, oil has accounted for more than 95% of export earnings and 75% of government receipts in 2010.

If properly managed, they could contribute to the country’s long term prosperity, according to Edward Djerejian, the founding director of the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.  And under Libya's new leadership, the National Transitional Council, there are hopes oil capacity – over time – will increase, helping push down global prices.
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August 10th, 2011
06:59 PM GMT
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London, (CNN) – Liz Pilgrim opened her boutique babywear store, babye, in Ealing seven years ago. She decided to build up her own business after she had her first child, and saw a niche in high quality maternity products.

She has since expanded the business, opening a second retail outlet and online store. But last Monday babye was targeted as part of the violence which swept London and through the UK.

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August 9th, 2011
05:43 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – The unprecedented downgrade of the U.S. debt rating Friday triggered mass sell-offs in equity markets around the world, with $2.5 trillion wiped off global stocks yesterday following last week’s losses.

While markets are steadying, the dramatic slump and unhealthy economic data has raised questions over the risk of another U.S. recession – one which could tumble into Europe.

The debt crises on either side on Atlantic have also thrown into sharp contrast the different strategies employed to deal with financial meltdowns.

The U.S. used stimulus; Europe turned to austerity. Both strategies are struggling to stave off economic pain.

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August 3rd, 2011
01:34 PM GMT
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How did Europe react to the U.S. debt deal?

The U.S. debt ceiling deal has been signed into law but European stocks fell amid fears around the country’s economic recovery and its ability to avoid a major credit downgrade.

The debt debate revealed the country’s political intransigence and threw more doubt over the world’s recovery, already struggling to deal with the financial crisis in Europe.

Questions are now being raised around the damage caused to the reputation of the U.S. Treasury and currency markets as the world’s safe investment haven.

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July 25th, 2011
04:36 PM GMT
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Amy Winehouse's CDs have sold out in shops across the UK, after the troubled star's untimely death sparked a surge in sales of her critically-acclaimed work.

Downloads of the "Valerie" singer's albums - 2006's "Back to Black" and 2003's "Frank" - spiked over the weekend, and sales of her CDs and records have jumped, both in store and online.

Winehouse, 27, was found dead at her home in Camden, London, on Saturday. The cause of her death is as yet unexplained, but she had a long and well-publicized battle with drink and drugs.

"Back to Black," which featured some of the singer's best-known hits, including "Rehab" is currently topping the sales charts at Amazon.com, and on the online retailer's French and German sites.

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July 22nd, 2011
05:22 PM GMT
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The fractured 17-nation eurozone is heading toward the first default of one its members after Greece was last night forced to accept its second bailout in the face of an overwhelming mountain of debt.

The EUR109 billion bailout, which follows last May’s EUR110 billion bailout, introduces new measures including extensions on the time allowed for Greece to pay back its debts, decreased interest rates and a financial hit for private sector investors, who were previously regarded as sacrosanct.

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March 25th, 2011
07:13 PM GMT
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The political crisis in Portugal has ratcheted up its chance of a financial bail-out, with investors driving the cost of the country’s borrowing to euro-era highs Friday.

The drama playing out in Lisbon rippled through the 17-member eurozone, coming as it did on the eve of this week’s European Union summit in Brussels.

CNN correspondent Jim Boulden was there, and reports the summit was dominated by discussions of the Libya conflict and Germany’s bail-out fund negotiations.

It was also meant to be the meeting which would cauterize the bloc’s fiscal crisis. Instead, there was talk of a $99 billion bail-out package for Portugal.

The European leaders did reach some answers on the bloc’s fiscal crisis: Outlining details of the new eurozone bail out fund, which will have a lending capacity of €500 billion and be in place when the temporary fund expires in 2013.

It follows the bloc’s scramble to deal with the Greece fiscal crisis and subsequent Ireland bail-out.

But it’s done little to calm investors in Portugal, who Friday pushed the cost of the country’s borrowing – as calculated by the costs of its ten-year benchmark sovereign bond – to near 8%. Rising costs make it increasingly untenable for countries to borrow in the capital markets, pushing them toward bailouts.

The costs have risen steadily since Portugal prime minister Jose Socrates’ dramatic resignation Wednesday, which put the nation's fragile economy squarely in the spotlight. Ratings downgrades from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings this week didn’t help.

Comparatively, Greece and Ireland’s bond yields of similar maturities both cracked 9% before they turned to their eurozone peers for support, according to data from financial services firm Markit.

While the situations in Greece and Ireland were more urgent – Greece was facing significant bond repayments and Ireland’s banking sector was a black hole for cash – those levels of borrowing are painfully expensive for a country trying to balance its books.

While Portugal could arguably fund itself for a limited time at those levels, it would be a problem in the long term. And cheaper money appears to be available.

Eurozone watchers will be seeing the pattern. Denials that a bail-out is on the agenda mean little. Both Greece and Ireland protested loudly before swallowing fiscal medicine.

As Portugal marches toward sovereign bond repayments of around $13 billion by June, it remains to be seen if the country can do it alone, and what it means for the bloc if it can’t.



June 10th, 2010
12:44 PM GMT
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In the latest blow to the summer travel season in Greece, tourism workers have announced that they will hold a 24 hour strike to protest against recent government imposed austerity measures.

Are you affected by tourism strike?
Are you affected by tourism strike?

The strike, which will be held on June 30, will see roughly 100,000 restaurant, hotel and bar employees walk off the job to protest cuts in government pension funds and other belt-tightening measures.

The Panhellenic Federation of Catering and Tourist Industry Officials, which is the union representing tourism workers, say the strike is designed to highlight the challenges facing the industry.

“We want to inform the Greek people, the domestic and the foreign tourists, of the big problems in the industry that is forcing us to proceed with labor actions,” president of the union, Leonidas Karathanasis, said.

“We understand the difficult situation, but we are not doing this to create problems. However, we have reached a state where we can’t go any further.”

The union also announced a four-hour work stoppage strike on June 16.

The strikes are being seen as another harsh blow to the already weak tourism economy, which accounts for 15 percent of the gross domestic product.

Tourism officials estimate that about 30,000 nights in Athens’ hotels were cancelled because of violent riots on May 5 which killed three people.

Industry insiders also expect a drop of 15 percent in revenue at the country’s hotels.

We want to know what you think.

Have you changed your travel plans because of the delicate economic situation in the country? Has the low Euro and cheap prices lured you to the Greek islands this summer? Are you going to be in Greece on either June 16 or June 30?

Please leave your comments below.



April 26th, 2010
02:29 PM GMT
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The economic downturn has hurt many sectors of business around the world, but the restaurant industry may have been one of the hardest hit.

Alain Ducasse is seen at his Tokyo restaurant.
Alain Ducasse is seen at his Tokyo restaurant.

Restaurants around the world have been suffering because of the recession and in January of this year a record 100 restaurants went out of business in the UK alone, according to the “Independent” newspaper.

Many of the world’s top chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, have had to close restaurants with Ramsay closing two of his London locations. Ramsay is also reported to have a overdraft of almost $15 million.

World famous French chef, Alain Ducasse has also had to put plans for a global expansion on hold because of the downturn.

In September 2009, celebrity chef Tom Aitkens put his flagship restaurant in London’s west end into administration. He re-opened the restaurant soon after, enabling him to clear more than $5 million in debt.

But it’s not just the upscale restaurateurs that are feeling the pinch of the global financial crisis.

Many mid-range and inexpensive eateries are being affected, with many of them closing over the past 18 months.

We want to know what you think.

How has the economic downturn affected your eating habits? Are you eating out less? Are restaurants with $200 a head averages just too much?



April 1st, 2010
03:21 PM GMT
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Obese passengers who require a second adjoining seat to fly will no longer be charged by Air France if the flight is not full, the airline announced today.

Should obese people be given a second airplane seat for free?

Since 2005, the airline has charged larger customers for an extra seat (with a discount of 20-25%) if they cannot adequately fit in their designated space.

Similar policies have been adopted by other airlines but authorities in the U.S. and Europe are now planning on harmonising their plans.

The FAA has specific rules on obese people and requires that all passengers use FAA required restraint devices and that no aisle may be blocked by any passenger or bags in case of an emergency.

Currently nearly 73 million U.S. adults are classified as obese and the World Health Organization predicts that the global figure will be greater than 700 million by 2015.

We’d like to know what you think.

Should overweight passengers be forced to buy a second seat? Should the airlines give them a second seat for free? Have you ever been uncomfortable next to an overweight passenger?

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CNN International's business anchors and correspondents get to grips with the issues affecting world business, and they want your questions and feedback.

 
 
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