June 8th, 2012
07:36 PM GMT
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Madrid (CNN) – Spain: a country home to 47 million people and a $1.4 trillion economy. The Spanish bull has stood proud on Iberian hilltops for years, a symbol of force and a fitting tribute to a country which up until recently was the euro zone's fourth richest.

But step out of the Castilian plain and onto the bustling streets of Madrid – or any other Spanish city for that matter - and the skyline tells a different story.

The horizon is dotted with relics from the country's now burst property bubble.

Empty apartment blocks stand idle in the suburbs, while downtown the glass towers of Spain's financial district cast shadows over the people below and a shadow over their children's future.
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May 4th, 2012
06:54 AM GMT
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London (CNN) – As French and Greek voters head to the polls this weekend, some property owners across the Channel will be rubbing their hands with glee.

The reason: a robust real estate market in London's most exclusive areas which have become a safe haven for eurozone investors keen to preserve family fortunes and avoid tightening tax regimes back home.

A favorite to win France's presidential elections on Sunday, Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande once quipped that he didn't like "the rich." Among his key policies: a 75% income tax band for the wealthiest citizens, which experts say will exacerbate an exodus already underway.

London is home to an estimated 300,000 French expatriates, often earning it the nickname “Paris-upon-Thames.”
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Filed under: BusinessFinancial crisisGreece


March 14th, 2012
05:51 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – We’ve all seen it before: A disgruntled employee quits his or her job and takes that fateful decision of putting pen to paper in fiery fashion.

The result varies from a whiny monologue to a master class in corporate psychology, depending on how familiar you are with their firm.

Unfortunately for Goldman Sachs, the company was already a household name by the time former executive Greg Smith chose to voice his reservations about it so publicly in The New York Times today.

The paper presumably wouldn’t have opted to publish the OpEd had Goldman not been such a high profile - and yet super secretive - institution.

For all the press attention Goldman has gathered over the years, those on the outside still know relatively little about what goes on inside its gilded cage.
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March 13th, 2012
07:33 PM GMT
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As Eurozone finance ministers sign off on another badly needed bailout for Greece, the second chapter of this never ending story comes to a close. Mind you, that isn't to say the country won't need a third dollop of cash in the future. Most economists I have asked reckon it will.

Greece's crisis has prompted almost as many dubious puns as it has snorts of derision.

So for those of you fed up with being told "Greece is the word" (get it?) or "it’s all Greek to me" (ha ha) fret not!

In fact, there's a whole dictionary of dodgy terms invented for politicians and pundits to couch themselves.

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February 28th, 2012
05:17 AM GMT
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(CNN) - Greece may be known for its tragedies and Iceland famous for its sagas but recent history tells us these stories may turn out to have very different endings–from an economic point of view at least.

In October 2008, Iceland became one of the earliest victims of a credit crunch whose ugly effects many Europeans are still living with today.

The North Atlantic island was the first entire country to almost go under, sunk by the weight of a banking sector whose debts amounted to more than six times Iceland's entire economy.

However, three years on, Iceland is poised to re-emerge from economic purgatory.
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February 9th, 2012
06:37 PM GMT
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London (CNN) - You may never look at your aunt’s old armchair quite the same way and, once you’ve read this, grandpa’s grandfather clock may seem worth keeping after all.

Why? Because some of the world’s most coveted customers are literally crazy about your historical heirlooms.

A burgeoning middle class in China is flocking to London to stock up on English antiques that are fetching a veritable fortune back home.
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January 30th, 2012
06:17 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – After days of public outrage, Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Stephen Hester has agreed to waive his near £1 million ($1.5 million) bonus.

Fellow bankers say we should applaud his magnanimity. They point out that Hester isn’t the villain who drove the company to the brink; on the contrary he’s the hero, who took on the challenge of trying to save it. Besides, they say, he is paid far less than his peers.

Meanwhile, the average earner is incensed that a largely taxpayer-owned entity could even contemplate such a generous sum - one which comes on top of Hester’s already £1.2 million salary.
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January 20th, 2012
06:54 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – It’s Friday and many of you out there may already have gone home for the weekend. Some of you may be reading this on your smart phone or handheld computer.

But here are some questions for you: Should checking such devices for work correspondence count towards your overtime? And is it affecting your productivity when you are in the office?

A law introduced recently in Brazil says workers who check their smart phones after hours because of their job are entitled to extra pay.

After years of issuing staff with company Blackberrys, the tide is shifting in Europe too.
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January 13th, 2012
05:23 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – European markets were given a final-hour fright Friday upon reports of an imminent downgrade for eurozone countries by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (the influential credit assessors declined to comment when approached by CNN.)

Although largely expected, a cut to the creditworthiness of eurozone countries would be worrying - not least because this week's successful bond sales by Italy and Spain had led many an investor to believe the eurozone was “turning a corner” and getting a grip on its issues.

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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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