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EU Labour Policies: Contours of a European Minimum Wage Policy - by Thorsten Schulten

The aim of a European Wage Policy can not be the determination of a Europe-wide uniform minimum wage amount, but rather an agreement on a European Minimum Wage Norm. Such Norm could establish minimum wages as a certain percentage of national median or average wages.

A possible European Minimum Wage Norm according to which all national minimum wages should at least be equivalent to 60 per cent of national median wages would affect about 28 million workers or 16 per cent of the overall European workforce.

A European Minimum Wage Policy could also contribute to a better coordination of wages in Europe in order to stabilise domestic demand and to prevent deflationary developments.

Download the full report 11008.pdf

Energy: It's Coming: $65 Oil - by Derek Thompson

Gas prices are falling below $3 a gallon across the United States for two big reasons: (1) the world economy is growing slower than we hoped, and (2) global oil production is improving faster than we expected.

"India and China are slowing down,” said Charles K. Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings. "The IMF just downgraded Europe’s growth to less than 1 percent, and they're already quite energy efficient. Brazil’s a problem, too. All around the world there is no great growth story, and expectations are that things will stay that way or get worse."

There is also unanticipated supply. A few years ago, political turmoil was taking up to 2 million barrels a day off the market. Now production is roaring back in Libya, southern Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, and even Iraq, and the global price of crude has fallen about 25 percent in the last five months. It's the same old story: low demand, high supply, etc.

Read more: It's Coming: $65 Oil - The Atlantic

Euro zone inflation edges up to dim chance of new ECB action - Robert-Jan Bartunek

Inflation in the 18 countries sharing the euro edged up slightly in October, reinforcing the view that the European Central Bank will hold fire on any additional policy action at its meeting next week.

A first estimate on Friday from the European Union's statistics office showed consumer prices in the euro zone rose by 0.4 percent in October, in line with market expectations. A day earlier, German data showed inflation in Europe's largest economy slowing in October to 0.7 percent, its lowest reading since May.

Nick Kounis, head of macro research at ABN AMRO, said a number of factors meant ECB action as early as next week was unlikely, but that he expected further measures by the first quarter of next year.

"We still think that the ECB is likely to further step up its monetary easing," he said "If you get any kind of economic shock with inflation this low, there is a risk, albeit a small risk, of deflation."

Read more: Euro zone inflation edges up to dim chance of new ECB action | Reuters

Euro Little Changed After Eurozone CPI, Unemployment Rate

Eurostat released Eurozone consumer price index for October and unemployment report for September at 6:00 am ET Friday. After these data, the Euro changed little against its major rivals. As of 6:01 am ET, the Euro was trading at 0.7863 against the Pound, 1.2059 against the Swiss franc, 1.2578 against the U.S. dollar and 140.43 against the Yen.

Read more:
Eurostat released Eurozone consumer price index for October and unemployment report for September at 6:00 am ET Friday. After these data, the Euro changed little against its major rivals. As of 6:01 am ET, the Euro was trading at 0.7863 against the Pound, 1.2059 against the Swiss franc, 1.2578 against the U.S. dollar and 140.43 against the Yen.

Read more:
Eurostat released Eurozone consumer price index for October and unemployment report for September at 6:00 am ET Friday.

After these data, the Euro changed little against its major rivals.

As of 6:01 am ET, the Euro was trading at 0.7863 against the Pound, 1.2059 against the Swiss franc, 1.2578 against the U.S. dollar and 140.43 against the Yen.

Read more: Euro Little Changed After Eurozone CPI, Unemployment Rate

The US Political Divide: The 10 most conservative (and liberal) cities in America - Allegra Kirkland

Americans have countless stereotypes about people from different regions of the country. There’s the polite Midwesterner, the abrasive New Yorker, the Berkeley hippy, the gun-toting Texan. There is red America and there is blue, and never the twain shall meet. But a study of conservative cities published in American Political Science Review suggests that the United States has a much more complicated political patchwork than we might expect.

In order to determine which cities are most conservative, researchers analyzed large-scale surveys that questioned residents of over 1,600 towns and cities about a range of policy areas, from education to healthcare. Study authors Chris Tausanovitch of UCLA and Christopher Warshaw of MIT created an ideological score for each city based on these responses. The final study looks at the 51 U.S. cities that have at least 250,000 residents.

Some of their findings, like the fact that the U.S.’ biggest urban centers lean toward the liberal side of the spectrum, are unsurprising. But there is a remarkable ideological range within states, and beyond the top contenders, the rankings aren’t what you might expect. Mesa, Arizona’s title as the most conservative city in the country fits in with our preconceptions about national politics, but the fact that Buffalo, New York is more liberal than Chicago or that Portland doesn’t even crack the top 10 is more of a surprise. According to their results, San Francisco is the most liberal city, followed by Washington DC and Seattle.

The most interesting takeaway of the study is that ideology has tangible effects on policy at the municipal level. Academic literature has long held that city officials are unresponsive to their constituents, thanks to the constraints placed on them by state and federal governments and the impossibility of catering to a constantly changing demography. Yet as it turns out, “the substantive impact of citizens’ preferences on policy outcomes is quite large.”

The most liberal cities have higher taxes per capita, rely on less regressive tax systems, and spend twice as much per person as their most conservative counterparts. And as Hunter Schwarz points outat the Washington Post, “even cities with governments designed to be less partisan, with institutions like nonpartisan elections and professional managers instead of elected mayors, are in line with residents’ political beliefs.”

Read more: The 10 most conservative (and liberal) cities in America -


Turkey: Not Everyone's In Awe Of The Insanely Opulent Turkish Presidential Palace - by Nick Robins-Early

"Sutan" Erdogan's new palace
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled the new presidential palace on Wednesday, a sprawling and ornate complex that reportedly cost over $350 million to build.

Called Ak Saray, or the White Palace, the new 1,000-room-building near Ankara is drawing harsh criticism from opposition groups who suggest that spending hundreds of millions of dollars building a palace is not a sound use of government funds.

"What could have been done with that money?" a member of the CHP opposition party, Umut Oran asked before going on to ridicule the lavish complex.

The BBC reports that environmentalists, too, are unhappy with the construction, as the palace is located in an environmentally protected zone. Erdogan pressed on with construction despite court orders to halt the build.

EuroNews notes that the palace was envisioned to become the base for the prime minister's office when construction started. However, as Erdogan moved from the premier post to the presidency, the building changed purposes as well.

The building is somewhat emblematic of the kind of divisive figure Erdogan is in Turkey, whose projection of economic prosperity for the country garners support while critics warn of his rising autocratic tendencies.

This latest monument to Erdogan's rule seems to be in the latter camp, along with giant hologram projections of himself, in terms of showcasing the president's sultanic tendencies.

Read more: Not Everyone's In Awe Of The Insanely Opulent Turkish Presidential Palace

Religion - Evolution - Creation: Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand' -

The theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real and God is not “a magician with a magic wand”, Pope Francis has declared.

Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI. 

Francis explained that both scientific theories were not incompatible with the existence of a creator – arguing instead that they “require it”.

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said.

“The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it.

“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

The Catholic Church has long had a reputation for being anti-science – most famously when Galileo faced the inquisition and was forced to retract his “heretic” theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun.

But Pope Francis’s comments were more in keeping with the progressive work of Pope Pius XII, who opened the door to the idea of evolution and actively welcomed the Big Bang theory. In 1996, John Paul II went further and suggested evolution was “more than a hypothesis” and “effectively proven fact”.

Read more: Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand' - Europe - World - The Independent


US Elections: Christian Right key to Republican performance in U.S. midterms - by Alistair Bell

If Republicans win control of the Senate in the midterm elections they should say a prayer of thanks for Christian conservatives.

Although they get little attention from candidates, white evangelical Christian voters are likely to be fundamental to any Republican victories in the key Senate races, especially in the South.

Ipsos polling data shows evangelicals are more enthusiastic than the general population about the midterms.

The religious right's influence may be much reduced since the days of Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell's alliances with Republican presidents.

But Christian conservatives will probably vote in greater numbers on Nov. 4 than others, giving them an outsized say in who runs Congress.

Forty-nine percent of evangelicals say they have a great deal of interest or quite a bit of interest in news about the elections, compared to 38 percent of non-evangelicals.

"It strongly shows that the evangelical population is very engaged, very interested in what's happening and much easier to turn out for an election than the population as a whole," said Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson.

Almost 40 percent of Republicans said they were born-again or evangelical Christians, according to the online survey.

Read more: Christian right key to Republican performance in U.S. midterms | Reuters

Quitting European Union Will Be Damaging For British Exports - by Kalyan Kumar

The rising clamour in Britain to quit the European Union will ultimately backfire the British exports. This warning has been sounded out by David Godfrey, CEO, UK Export Finance. 

Godfrey is the head of the UK's export credit agency and he has fact to argue that sustained association with the European Union is "critical" for British exporters to avoid the risk of being frozen out of the biggest overseas markets. Godfrey, in an interview with The Telegraph, said: "I personally think most business leaders gain an awful lot from being part of the EU. It is critical and important for us to continue there."
The export credit guarantee agency was set up in 1919 to support British foreign trade soon after the First World War. Funded by the Treasury, the agency has more than £20 billion exposure on its balance sheet and helps British companies to stimulate exports by way of letters of credit, payment guarantees and direct loans.

The remarks by Godfrey have come in the backdrop of Prime Minister David Cameron's statements and the soaring popularity of the Euro-sceptic UK Independence Party asking to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU. The prime minister even wants tightening of the UK's borders to clamp down on migrant workers from other EU states.

In a recent reaction, Jose Manuel Barroso, the outgoing president of the European Commission, also cautioned Britain against quitting EU and end up losing its global influence. The quitting process, referred  as "Brexit," will land the U.K. in distress and would find it hard to negotiate with major trading partners such as China and the US on its own account, Boroso said. 

US Fed Stops The Money Press and US Stock Market Loses a Big Crutch as Fed Ends ‘QE

The US Fed has concluded its asset-purchasing program thanks to an improving labor market. Here's what QE3 has meant to investors and the economy.

After spending trillions of dollars on bond purchases since the end of the Great Recession — to keep interest rates low to boost spending, lending, and investments — the Federal Reserve ended its stimulus program known as quantitative easing.

The central bank’s decision to stop buying billions of dollars of Treasury and mortgage-related bonds each month comes as the U.S. economy has shown signs of recent improvement.

U.S. gross domestic product grew an impressive 4.6% last quarter. And while growth dropped at the start of this year, thanks to an unusually bad winter, the economy expanded at annual pace of 4.5% and 3.5% in the second half of 2013.

Meanwhile, employers have added an average of 227,000 jobs this year and the unemployment rate rests at a post-recession low of 5.9%. It was at 7.8% in September 2012, when this round of quantitative easing, known as QE3, began.

For more click here

Immigration: EU migration is essential for a healthy economy, says CBI's John Cridland - by John Cridland

As a proud Bostonian, the change in my Lincolnshire home town over the past decade is striking. West Street is now interspersed with vibrant Polski skleps selling an array of Eastern European goods. And while it was unusual to hear so many languages spoken when I was a boy, Slav languages are now being taught in local schools.

I understand that immigration has social and cultural impacts that can’t be ignored. But as head of the UK’s biggest business group, I am concerned about where the debate on immigration is heading. I know business leaders share this unease.

Across the political spectrum, there is a mismatch between rhetoric and reality. Immigration has helped keep the wheels of this recovery turning by plugging skills shortages. This has led to more jobs for British people and driven growth. Without free movement of workers, the recovery would grind to a halt.

Our hospitals and care homes couldn’t function without overseas workers; building sites that we need to deliver more homes and big infrastructure projects, such as the roll-out of broadband, would also stall.

EU migration also has a positive impact on the UK’s fiscal position. Research from University College London shows that over the decade since 2001 EU migrants made a positive net contribution of £2,732 per person per year.

Businesses benefit too, with 63pc of CBI members saying free movement of labour has been beneficial. And that free movement cuts both ways: well over a million Britons live and work in the EU. Of course, there are concerns around immigration.

Note EU-Digest: Regardless what Eurosceptics and Nationalists, Ultra Conservatives are saying the EU needs more not less immigrants.

 Read more: EU migration is essential for a healthy economy, says CBI's John Cridland - Telegraph

Disparity: How Shadow Banking and Extreme Wealth Inequality Threaten Us - by David DeGraw

Hidden wealth estimates vary widely. Many of them only take a partial look at the most basic methods of offshoring wealth.  Given the unprecedented growth of wealth over the past generation, the secretive methods used to hide it have evolved far beyond well-known tax havens in Switzerland and small-island jurisdictions such as the Bahamas.  While estimates based on banking secrecy and tax havens help to give us a more accurate picture of overall wealth, they do not give a total view.

Research by Gabriel Zucman, which analyzed banking secrecy, estimated that “around 8% of the global financial wealth of households is held in tax havens.”  If we correlate this 8% with the $82 trillion in accounted for wealth reported by the Federal Reserve, that would be an additional $6.6 trillion for the wealthy, bringing the richest 1% up to roughly $39 trillion in overall wealth.

However, to get a more complete understanding of the reality of the situation, the most wide-ranging look into hidden wealth was done in 2012 by economist John Henry in partnership with the Tax Justice Network (TJN).  They estimated that there was $21- $32 trillion hidden globally at the end of 2010. As shocking as that sounds, that estimate still did not give a complete view of hidden wealth.  As they put it, “We consider these numbers to be conservative. This is only financial wealth and excludes a welter of real estate, yachts and other nonfinancial assets owned via offshore structures.”

We also need to consider that overall US household wealth is up 30% and has increased by $25 trillion since the end of 2010. Globally, High Net Worth Individual investible wealth has increased 19% since then, and has begun to accelerate at a record pace.  In 2013, it increased globally by 14%, with a 17% increase in North America, which is now at an all-time high.  Given these factors, and several others that will be explained below, the higher TJN estimation of $32 trillion in 2012 is conservative today.

Correlating TJN’s wealth estimates with US distribution percentages is not an exact science but it gives a much more accurate total of overall wealth than excluding it.  Based on TJN’s estimation, Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWI) accounted for 48% of hidden wealth.  If we correlate that to the overall estimate of $32 trillion, it equates to $15.4 trillion for the UHNWI population.

The US accounts for 35% of the UHNWI population, which correlates to $5.4 trillion.  In the next tier, High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) also accounted for 48% of hidden wealth.  The US currently has 42% of the HNWI population, which correlates to $6.5 trillion.  The additional 4% of hidden wealth is estimated to be held below the economic top 1% of the US population, which correlates to roughly $538 billion.

This brings the estimated total of hidden US wealth to $12.4 trillion, with $11.9 trillion of that held within the top 1%.  We can now estimate that the top .01% has $14.5 trillion in wealth, the top .1% has $26.4 trillion and in total the top 1% has $44.5 trillion.

Read more: How Shadow Banking and Extreme Wealth Inequality Threaten Us | Alternet


Tunisian Elections: Islamist party congratulates secular rivals on election win

Official election commission results from Sunday's vote were still to come, but exit polls and statistical samples both point towards a win for Nida Tunis (Tunisia Calls), with about 35 percent of the seats in the 217-seat parliament.

That would give the party the right to name a prime minister. Its leader, 87-year-old Tunisian political veteran Beji Caid Essebsi, had vowed to form a coalition with other parties.

"The Tunisian people have reinforced their commitment to democracy with credible and transparent elections that gave Tunisians of all political tendencies a free vote," Annemie Neyts-Uytterbroeck, head of the European Union's observer mission, told reporters on Tuesday.

The election had been held amid tight security aimed to protect against extremist attacks. Sunday marked the country's first parliamentary vote since 2011 when it became the birthplace of the Arab Spring revolution, which has since led to turmoil in neighboring nations. Tunisia has also struggled with security in the revolution's aftermath, though not to the same extent.

Read more: Tunisia Islamist party congratulates secular rivals on election win | News | DW.DE | 28.10.2014

Britain opposes migrant rescue operations in Mediterranean Sea

Laying out London's position, the British Foreign Office said on Tuesday that an EU rescue mission would simply encourage more migrants to attempt the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea, which has claimed more than 3,000 lives so far this year.

"We do not support planned search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean," said Joyce Anelay, the Minister of State in Britain's Foreign Office.

She was responding to a question published on the House of Lords' website on October 15, according to The Guardian newspaper.

"We believe that they create an unintended 'pull factor,' encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths," Anelay said.

According to London, the most effective way to protect migrants is to crack down on human smugglers and combat trafficking at its source in the origin and transit countries.

Note EU-Digest: Shame on you Britain....

Read more: UK opposes migrant rescue operations in Mediterranean Sea | News | DW.DE | 28.10.2014

Inequality: 7 cities that are playgrounds for the rich and nightmares for the poor - by Aaron Cantú

Seven years after Wall Street’s near total collapse, housing markets in the world’s major cities are surging once again, driven by megadevelopers and superrich individuals flush with cash. Financial Times reports that investors spent $1.2 trillion on “high-end commercial properties in 2013,” an 80 percent increase from 2010.

The seeds of the buying boom was planted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, when the Federal Reserve cut interest rates and pumped commercial banks with cash in exchange for toxic assets (known as quantitative easing), relieving affluent buyers of risk in global property markets.

In many of the world’s major metropolitan areas, private capital investment in real estate has become a central component of urban planning, and following market logic, these cities compete with each other for developers’ money. That means that urban planners in a global capitalist hub, like New York, will bend over backwards to accommodate developers and investors so that their money doesn’t go to London instead.

This jousting for capital in real estate is having an increasingly obvious side effect: Diverting attention from the growing ranks of the desperately poor. Ironically, in nearly all global cities where housing markets are booming, there is also a concurrent rise or entrenchment of homelessness.

Using a recent survey from Knight Frank on global property markets, we can glimpse at this grotesque urban duality. If anything, it captures the essence of our gilded age. Here’s a list of just 7 cities in the US and abroad that best illustrate this phenomenon.

Read more: 7 cities that are playgrounds for the rich and nightmares for the poor -

The Euro Zone: The world’s biggest economic problem

The world economy is not in good shape. The news from America and Britain has been reasonably positive, but Japan’s economy is struggling and China’s growth is now slower than at any time since 2009. Unpredictable dangers abound, particularly from the Ebola epidemic, which has killed thousands in West Africa and jangled nerves far beyond. But the biggest economic threat, by far, comes from continental Europe.

Now that German growth has stumbled, the euro area is on the verge of tipping into its third recession in six years. Its leaders have squandered two years of respite, granted by the pledge of Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank’s president, to do “whatever it takes” to save the single currency.

The French and the Italians have dodged structural reforms, while the Germans have insisted on too much austerity. Prices are falling in eight European countries. The zone’s overall inflation rate has slipped to 0.3% and may well go into outright decline next year. A region that makes up almost a fifth of world output is marching towards stagnation and deflation.

Optimists, both inside and outside Europe, often cite the example of Japan. It fell into deflation in the late-1990s, with unpleasant but not apocalyptic consequences for both itself and the world economy. But the euro zone poses far greater risks. Unlike Japan, the euro zone is not an isolated case: from China to America inflation is worryingly low, and slipping. And, unlike Japan, which has a homogenous, stoic society, the euro area cannot hang together through years of economic sclerosis and falling prices. As debt burdens soar from Italy to Greece, investors will take fright, populist politicians will gain ground, and—sooner rather than later—the euro will collapse.

Note EU-Digest:Even though the Euro Sceptics would love this it won't -  If the euro collapses, the world will go in an economic tailspin and most economists know this.

Read more: The euro zone: The world’s biggest economic problem | The Economist

Global Economy: The Stark Facts of Global Greed, a Disease as Challenging as Climate Change

Global inequality, like global warming, is a disease that may be too far along to ever be cured.

We seem helpless, both in the U.S. and around the world, to stop the incessant flow of wealth to an elitist group of people who are simply building on their existing riches. The increasing rate of their takeaway is the message derived from the  Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook (GWD).

It's already been  made clear that the richest Americans have taken almost all the gains in U.S. wealth since the recession. But the unrelenting money grab is a global phenomenon. The GWD confirms just how bad it's getting for the great majority of us. 

Read more: The Stark Facts of Global Greed, a Disease as Challenging as Climate Change | Alternet

Meat Products - Russia to hold talks with EU Commission on illegal imports of European meat

Russian veterinary standards officials will hold urgent talks with the European Commission on illegal supplies of European meat to Russia, the country's veterinary regulator said on Monday.

“We have asked for a meeting in Brussels considering large-scale issues connected with uncontrolled movement of meat products of unknown origin across EU territories,” Sergey Dankvert, head of the Russian veterinary and phytosanitary service Rosselkhoznadzor, told TASS.

Negotiations between Bernard Van Goethem, director of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Consumers, and Rosselkhoznadzor Deputy Head Yevgeny Nepoklonov will take place on October 28, Dankvert said.

Last week, the Russian regulator busted major supplies of European pork to Russia declared as juices, vegetables and mushrooms.

“These supplies passed customs clearance in the European Union. The content of containers is under the direct responsibility of EU veterinary services, which we see do not exercise any control and promote smuggling,” Dankvert said then, noting that container checks had halted supplies of around 360 tonnes of frozen pork from Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Brazil. Deliveries were declared as juices, vegetables, jams and chewing gum, he said.

Read more: TASS: Economy - Russia to hold talks with EU Commission on illegal imports of European meat


The Global Banking Sector: Why Do Banks Really Want Our Deposits? - by Ellen Brown

Many authorities have said it: banks do not lend their deposits. They create the money they lend on their books.

Robert B. Anderson, Treasury Secretary under Eisenhower, said it in 1959:

When a bank makes a loan, it simply adds to the borrower’s deposit account in the bank by the amount of the loan. The money is not taken from anyone else’s deposits; it was not previously paid in to the bank by anyone. It’s new money, created by the bank for the use of the borrower.
The Bank of England said it in the spring of 2014, writing in its quarterly bulletin:

The reality of how money is created today differs from the description found in some economics textbooks: Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits.
. . . Whenever a bank makes a loan, it simultaneously creates a matching deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money.
All of which leaves us to wonder: If banks do not lend their depositors’ money, why are they always scrambling to get it? Banks advertise to attract depositors, and they pay interest on the funds. What good are our deposits to the bank?

The answer is that while banks do not need the deposits to create loans, they do need to balance their books; and attracting customer deposits is usually the cheapest way to do it.

Read the complete report: Why Do Banks Really Want Our Deposits? » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Middle East: Kerry Blames Israel for ISIS Recruitment - by Joseph Klein

Secretary of State John Kerry chose a White House ceremony on October 16th for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha to regurgitate a false theory linking the Israeli/Palestinian conflict with the increase of jihadist violence and recruitment in the Middle East region.
“As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL [also referred to as ISIS or the Islamic State] coalition, the truth is we — there wasn’t a leader I met within the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to,” Kerry said. “And people need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity, and Eid celebrates the opposite of all of that.

After Israeli Economic Minister Naftali Bennett sharply criticized Kerry’s statement, the State Department tried to walk it back, claiming, in the words of Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf, that Kerry “did not make a link between the growth of ISIL and Israel, period.”

At best, Harf is telling only a half-truth. While Kerry did not explicitly state that it was his own view there was a link between the growth of ISIS and the failure of the peace talks or IsraelKerry transmitted the linkage theory he heard from leaders in the region to a receptive audience at the White House. And he did not refute it. In fact, he lent credence to the linkage theory by saying that “people need to understand the connection.” 

Note EU-Digest: Joseph Klein the author of the above article is a staunch Republica. He is also  the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam. and consequently this report can be described as not exactly balanced.

Read more: Kerry Blames Israel for ISIS Recruitment | FrontPage Magazine

US Presidential Elections: Hillary Clinton: Businesses Don’t Create Jobs - by Andrew Desiderio

Speaking at a rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley in Massachusetts, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised her husband’s increase to the minimum wage and slammed trickle-down economics as a “spectacularly” failed system.

“Don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs,” Clinton said. “They always say that.”

She said millions of jobs were created after her husband raised the wage in the 1990s and after she herself voted to increase it when she was a U.S. Senator.

In what seemed to be a preparation for a 2016 presidential run Clinton also told the crowd “don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” and slammed trickle-down economics as a system that has been tried but has failed “rather spectacularly.”

Read more: Hillary Clinton: Businesses Don’t Create Jobs | Mediaite

The Global Economy - there is always hope for all the believers in the:"Tooth Fairy"

Is it over yet? Brian Tora says there’s still enough reason for investors to be feeling twitchy at the moment. Fingers crossed.  .

As the nights started to lengthen and autumn began to exert its cooling influence on our weather, so the markets cooled too – weighed down by the gathering risks generated by geo-political conflicts.

In some regards, it is remarkable this didn’t happen sooner. When the Footsie was flirting a few weeks ago with its previous all-time high (back in 1999, no less), Islamic State was already garnering headlines
and tanks were rolling in Ukraine.

As it happens, a colleague of mine suggested that, based on technical analysis, the Footsie was due a pull-back from the then 6700-6800 level that it had achieved earlier this year. As a new all-time high looked
possible (though it was never reached), it seemed he had got it wrong.

Recent market behaviour is making his assertion look more credible. Remember though, that the further we fall, the better the chance of a recovery.

Despite current uncertainties, in the long term equities should be the place to be.

Note EU-Digest: another believer in Santa Claus ?

Read more: Ifa Magazine » An Autumnal Chill?


Brazil: Dilma Rousseff re-elected Brazilian president with small majority

A combination photo shows Brazilian presidential candidates Dilma Rousseff (L) and Aecio Neves gesturing to photographers after voting in Porto Alegre (L) and Belo Horizonte on 26 October 2014.
Dilma Rousseff beats Aecio Neves
Left-leaning President Dilma Rousseff has been re-elected president of Brazil, after securing 51.45% of votes in a closely-fought election.

An official count showed her rival, centrist candidate Aecio Neves, taking 48.55% of the vote.

Both candidates made economic growth and lifting Brazilians out of poverty central to their election campaigns.


Israel: Putin and Obama agree on very little except the illegality of West Bank settlement construction

Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama agree on very little. But on the subject of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, they're on the same page. In a speech delivered Sunday at the Valdai Club, an annual gathering of Russian experts,

Putin blamed the settlement construction for increased tension in the Middle East and beyond.
"The humiliation of the Palestinian people and any other people is a source of danger and instability and must be removed with all means and ways acceptable to all parties," Putin said.

Israel maintained its neutrality on the Russia/Ukraine dispute, a position that did not go unnoticed in Washington.

"We were surprised Israel did not join the vast majority of countries that vowed to support Ukraine's territorial integrity in the United Nations," Jen Psaki, the U.S. State Department spokesperson, said at the time.

Unlike the United States and China, Russia has refrained from direct attempts to mediate the Israeli/Palestinian dispute. But Vladimir Putin's position on the settlements shows that, warm ties aside, he remains unwilling to march in lockstep with Israel—even if it does mean agreeing with Washington.


Ukraine election: Ukraine overwhelmingly elects pro-European parliament

Ukrainians have overwhelmingly voted in several pro-European parties in a landmark parliamentary election Sunday, another nudge in the former Soviet nation's drift away from Russia.

As votes are counted, President Petro Poroshenko's bloc looks set to win the most, with PM Arseny Yatsenyuk's People's Front party a close second.

Addressing Ukrainians two hours after polling ended, he thanked voters for backing a "democratic, reformist, pro-Ukrainian and pro-European majority".

"The majority of voters were in favor of the political forces that support the president's peace plan and seek a political solution to the situation in the Donbass," Poroshenko said, referring to the region of the industrialized east where government forces have been fighting separatist rebels.

The result, confirmed by other exit polls, opened up the possibility of Poroshenko, a 49-year-old confectionery magnate, continuing to work in tandem with Yatseniuk, with the latter staying as prime minister to handle sensitive talks with the West on aid for the war-shattered economy.

The People's Front of Yatseniuk, a hawk in dealings with Russia who is liked in the West for his commitment to deep reforms and stewardship of the economy, took just over 21 percent of the vote, according to the exit poll, with a third pro-Europe party from western Ukraine in third place.

Speaking later at a news conference, Poroshenko said People's Front was the "main partner" in any parliamentary coalition and talks to form the majority could begin on Monday.


European Banking System: One fifth of EU banks fail stress test - with twenty-five European banks in trouble

Twenty-five European banks have failed stress tests of their finances, the European Banking Authority has announced.

The banks now have nine months to shore up their finances or risk being shut down. No UK banks are included.

The review was based on the banks' financial health at the end of 2013.

Ten of them have taken measures to bolster their balance sheets in the meantime. All the remaining 14 banks are in the eurozone.

The health check was carried out on 123 EU banks by the EBA to determine whether they could withstand another financial crisis.

The list of 14 includes four Italian banks, two Greek banks, two Belgian banks and two Slovenian banks.

The worst affected was Italian bank Monte dei Paschi, which had a capital shortfall of €2.1bn (£1.65bn, $2.6bn).

Read more: BBC News - Twenty-four European banks fail


The Netherlands: Crowdfunding - Debut Of Exciting New Dutch Vocalist Jo Sarah

Jo Sarah
Following our earlier report we met up again with the exciting new Dutch singer Jo Sarah and asked her how her  recordings have been going these past weeks. 

"These have been some fast moving weeks recording my album. It was really  awesome recording my songs at the Wedgeview studio’s with my band - they were fantastic", said Jo

The album is going to be really special.  she said and will have 5 songs and a small surprise!! "So please stay tuned for the release in January 2015."

 "We are now in the process of mixing the songs….and I can already hear and feel it’s going to be an album to be proud about", says Jo Sarah

Sarah said she has also started a "crowdfunding" to finance the production of her album and  donations already reached 50% of her goal - thanks to all the people who have graciously donated funds.

Anyone interested to help Jo Sarah reach her funding goal can find out more about it by clicking on the following link:  Crowdfunding Jo Sarah!


Middle East: Kurds fear Isis use of chemical weapon in Kobani - by Emma Graham-Harrison

Kurds battling Islamic State militants for control of Kobani fear the extremist group may have used an unidentified chemical weapon, according to officials and one of the few doctors still working in the besieged Syrian town.

Patients with blisters, burning eyes and breathing difficulties turned up at a clinic after a blast was heard on Tuesday evening, Dr Walat Omar said. He described the symptoms as abnormal and said he could not identify their cause, but suspected a chemical weapon.

“After a loud explosion [on Tuesday night], we received some patients with abnormal symptoms. They reported a bad smell which produced some kind of allergic reaction,” Omar said in a telephone interview that was periodically disrupted by heavy explosions.

Read more: Kurds fear Isis use of chemical weapon in Kobani | World news | The Guardian

Germany could be home to 7,000 Muslim extremists by Christmas

German authorities fear there could be as many as 7,000 Muslim extremists in the country by the end of the year. Disenfranchised youths are particularly vulnerable to being recruited, while there are around 450 German extremists in Syria and Iraq.

The extremists all follow the strict interpretation of Islam known as Salafism and believe that jihad is a legitimate tool in their fight against the West, which they believe is an enemy of Islam. Hans-Georg Maassen, who is the head of Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency,told rbb-Inforadi that there are currently around 6,300 Islamic extremists in Germany, but this figure could rise to as many as 7,000 by the end of the year, AP reports.

There has been a steep rise in the number of Germans attracted to fundamentalist Islam. Three years ago there were only in the region of 3,800 followers of Salafism in the country, which then rose to 4,500 in 2012.
Speaking in late August in Berlin, Maassen said young Muslims are attracted to Islamic State (IS) because of its brutality.

The militant group has become infamous for beheading captives amongst other things. The German domestic intelligence chief also says the group formally known as ISIS, seems to be “more authentic” than Al-Qaeda.

Read More: Germany could be home to 7,000 Muslim extremists by Christmas — RT News


Middle East: IS prisoners reportedly executed by Kurds

"IS prisoners have been executed by Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq., said a Dutch citizen from Kurdish descent, Serdar Dosky, who is fighting with the Kurds against ISIS.  He told this to a Dutch TV reporter from the Nieuwsuur (Newshour) TV news station, when he thought the camera and mike had been turned off.

He said that wounded IS fighters were immediately excecuted . "A bullet costs only about about fifty cents he said. We just do not want to take any prisoners of war "

It was also reported that Kurdish fighters had completely destroyed the Arab city of Barzan.  Inhabitants of the village who escaped also reported Kurdish fighters gruesomely murdered many of the inhabitants as an act of revenge against IS..

The videos and pictures made by Nieuwsuur were submitted to Human Rights Watch and they have requested a full investigation.

Later in the day Dosky said his comments that were picked up were just a joke. "These kind of statements we often just make in anger about the horrors committed by IS," he said.

He also said that in reality there were no prisoners taken at all. .

Read more: original report in Dutch - PowNed : IS-gevangenen geëxecuteerd

The Environment: EU leaders agree CO2 emissions cut

EU leaders have reached a landmark deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

The binding decision came after heated discussions at a summit in Brussels, as some members had argued that their varied interests should be protected.

Correspondents say the final deal is a compromise between countries that rely heavily on coal, and those willing to instil greater emissions cuts.

Environmental groups welcomed the deal, but said it did not go far enough.
The bloc also agreed to boost the use of renewable energy to 27% in the total energy mix and increase energy efficiency to at least 27%.

There were deep divisions within the EU on emissions cuts.

Poland, which is heavily reliant on coal, fears that the costs of decarbonising its economy will slow business growth. Its concerns at the summit were echoed by other central and east European members.

The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, said afterwards that some poorer EU members would get help - including additional funds - in reaching the agreed targets.

The UK also had opposed nationally binding targets for renewables - mainly wind, solar and hydroelectric power. It is embracing shale gas and nuclear as alternatives to the current over-reliance on oil and gas imports.

Note EU-Digest: Lets hope, China, India and US follow suit .....

Read more: BBC News - EU leaders agree CO2 emissions cut


CO2 Emissions: EU Leaders Fight Over How to Spread Pain of Toughest CO2 Goals - by Ewa Krukowska

European Union leaders are wrangling over how to spread the pain as they close in on the most-ambitious climate goals of any major economy, part of a deal that will also boost the security of energy supplies amid a natural-gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine.

Heads of government from the bloc’s 28 nations are discussing a binding target to cut greenhouse gases by at least 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 at a summit in Brussels today, according to draft conclusions obtained by Bloomberg News. Meeting that goal would cost about 38 billion euros ($48 billion) a year, the EU has said. The current target is a 20 percent reduction by 2020.

“We’re aiming for the same effort in 10 years as we previously had in 30,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said before the gathering. “This is a formidable effort. That means the negotiations won’t be easy, because we also need to have our international competitiveness in mind.”

The question of how to share out the carbon cuts divides poorer, mostly ex-communist east European nations and richer countries in western Europe. France is also fighting calls from Spain and Portugal to build more gas and power connections across the Pyrenees while the U.K. resists German demands for binding targets on energy efficiency.

The agenda of the two-day meeting, the final one to be chaired by EU President Herman Van Rompuy, also features a debate on the European economy and on measures to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.

Read more: EU Leaders Fight Over How to Spread Pain of Toughest CO2 Goals - Bloomberg

Denmark: : "Give them a job": how Denmark deals with returned Islamist fighters - by Anthony Faiola and Souad Mekhenne

The rush of morning shoppers parted to make way for Talha, a lanky 21-year-old in desert camouflage and a long, religious beard. He strode through the local mall with a fighter's gait picked up on the battlefields of Syria. Streams of young Muslim men greeted him like a returning king.

n other countries, Talha - one of hundreds of young jihadists from the West who has fought in Syria and Iraq - might be barred from return or thrown in jail. But in Denmark, a country that has spawned more foreign fighters per capita than almost anywhere else, the port city of Aarhus is taking a novel approach by rolling out a welcome mat.

In Denmark, not one returned fighter has been locked up. Instead, taking the view that discrimination at home is as criminal as Islamic State recruiting, officials here are providing free psychological counselling while finding returnees jobs and spots in schools and universities. Officials credit a new effort to reach out to a radical mosque with staunching the flow of recruits.

Some progressives say Aarhus should become a model for other communities in the United States and Europe that are trying to cope with the question of what to do when the jihad generation comes back to town. In Australia, the federal government has tackled the issue by proposing laws that reverse the onus of proof for people returning from terrorism hot spots.

Note EU-Digest: Lets hear it for the Danes - after all as the saying goes - "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar"

Read more: Give them a job: how Denmark deals with returned Islamist fighters

Greece's Alpha Bank passes ECB stress tests - by George Georgiopoulous and Laura Noon

Greece's Alpha Bank has passed the European Central Bank's stress tests without requiring further capital, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

One source said Alpha Bank had passed based on the 'static balance sheet', which takes no account of the bank's restructuring plan that was approved over the summer.

The other said Alpha Bank had no problems in the tests, without giving further detail. Alpha Bank declined to comment as the results are not due to be published until Sunday 1100 GMT.

Read more: Greece's Alpha Bank passes ECB stress tests - sources | Reuters

Britain: Lloyds Said to Cut 9,000 Jobs Amid Online Banking Shift - by Stephen Morris

Britain’s largest mortgage provider, will announce about 9,000 job cuts next week as its customers increasingly shift to online services from branches, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The bank will detail the cuts, a target for branch closures and the increasing automation of its services as part of a new three-year plan on Oct. 28, when it releases third-quarter results, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the strategy hasn’t been finalized.

Chief Executive Officer Antonio Horta-Osorio, 50, has been seeking ways to bolster earnings to help return Lloyds to full private ownership and resume dividends. The bank, which has about 88,000 full-time employees, has eliminated more than 37,000 jobs since its government bailout in 2008, with the latest plans shaping up as the biggest round of cuts since at least 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Read more: Lloyds Said to Cut 9,000 Jobs Amid Online Banking Shift - Bloomberg

The Netherlands: Unilever share price falls as it records lowest growth in five years - by Catherine Neilan

While Dave Lewis is putting out one fire at his new employer Tesco, things back at Unilever are also looking less than rosy.

The consumer goods business, where Lewis had worked for 28 years before becoming Tesco chief executive, this morning reported its weakest rate of quarterly sales growth in five years.

Underlying sales grew just 2.1 per cent in the third quarter, compared with the 3.7 per cent growth experienced during the first half of the year – well below analyst expectations.

Unilever's share price dropped as much as 4.8 per cent this morning on the back of the news.

Paul Polman said market growth slowed in emerging countries “particularly in China”, while price deflation and a poor summer in Europe also hampered performance, despite an improvement in North America.
Read more: Unilever share price falls as it records lowest growth in five years | City A.M.


Russia's First Arctic Base Opens for Business

Russia's plans to militarize its Arctic territories gained pace on Wednesday with the opening of a new military base on Wrangel Island, Alexander Gordeyev, a spokesperson for the Eastern Military District told the RIA Novosti news agency.

Six weeks ago, Gordeyev announced that Russia had begun laying down prefabricated modular structures on Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt — located far into the Arctic Circle, near Alaska in the Chukchi Sea. The bases are the first in a series of military installations that will pepper Russia's northern frontier.

These defenses, which will include revitalized Soviet bases as well as new facilities built from scratch, are part of a broader plan initiated under President Vladimir Putin to lay claim to the vast natural resources locked beneath the Arctic shelf.

Russia's claims on the Arctic — and the oil, gas and rare metals tucked below — compete with the ambitions of Canada, Denmark, Norway and the U.S., leading many observers to point to the region as potentially one of the world's most volatile regions.

Wrangel Island, classified as a nature reserve, is the first of these installations to come online, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday. However, work on a Soviet-era radar installation on the island continues.

Last week, Putin responded to environmental concerns about using the island, which one activist described as “the polar bear's maternity ward” by promising to protect the local wildlife.

The announcement of the base's opening came on the same day that the Russian military announced it would clean up the Arctic from an accumulation of debris such as discarded Soviet-era aircraft and old fuel barrels.

"The president of our country, commander-in-chief Vladimir Putin, has initiated a large-scale program on clearing the Arctic from all the heritage of past decades or, to be more precise, centuries," state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as telling a meeting at his ministry Tuesday.

"The garbage is mostly discarded aircraft that were produced in the 1960s," along with "thousands of tons of old, expired oil products, tens of thousands of barrels," he said.

Shoigu said cargo ships delivering supplies to military bases on Arctic islands would carry trash on their return trips.

Read more: Russia's First Arctic Base Opens for Business | Business | The Moscow Times

US Aircraft Industry: Why Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Remains a Financial Mess - by Justin Bachman

Amid all the fine financial news Boeing (BA) can tout—a record order backlog, robust profit margins, a higher profit outlook—one of the airplane maker’s dreariest performers continues to be its highest-tech, most fuel-efficient product: the 787 Dreamliner.

Boeing continues to lose money on each Dreamliner it builds. The company expects to reach the break-even point on some models turned out by its 787 program in 2015. In the most recent quarter, production costs rose again for the 787, which has become one of Boeing’s most popular models due to its lightweight carbon composite airframe and the resulting lower fuel burn. The program’s deferred production cost, an accounting measure of how efficient an assembly program becomes over time, rose 4 percent, to $25.2 billion, in the third quarter, topping the $25 billion cap Boeing had forecast for the 787 program.

Of course, Boeing officials insist the 787′s assembly costs will continue to drop over time as workers improve the efficiencies of the line and the rate at which they can build new planes. But the airplane—which suffered several delays before its 2011 introduction and then a grounding due to battery fires—remains a critical drag to the commercial airplane division’s financial performance. Wall Street analysts are ready to see black ink in the program and pressed Boeing officials repeatedly on Wednesday, Oct. 22, about how quickly the 787 can stop bleeding cash.

Read more: Why Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Remains a Financial Mess - Businessweek

Global Economy: Global shares falter as Wall Street tumbles; bond prices fall - by Herbert Lash

Global equity markets fell on Wednesday, reversing earlier gains driven by solid corporate earnings and mild U.S. inflation data that may let the Federal Reserve keep interest rates lower for longer, as U.S. stocks retreated after some big corporate names sold off.

Wall Street fell as Boeing Co (BA.N) and Biogen Idec (BIIB.O) tumbled after their results disappointed investors, the two biggest drags on the S&P 500.

A shooting at the Canadian parliament in Ottawa also unnerved investors.

Boeing lost 4.5 percent as analysts raised concern about the costs of its 787 Dreamliner jet. Biogen slid 5.4 percent after reporting that sales of its big-selling new multiple sclerosis drug, Tecfidera, fell short of Wall Street's lofty expectations. 

Read more: Global shares falter as Wall Street tumbles; bond prices fall | Reuters

Canada - Ierrorism: Downtown Ottawa remains in lockdown after parliament shooting – live updates - by Alan Yuhas

Canadian police have given the name of the dead gunman to the FBI, the New York Times reports:
The Canadian authorities provided FBI agents with the name of the dead Parliament assailant, law enforcement officials in Washington said. A search of FBI databases has so far not come up with anything, they said. They declined to reveal the gunman’s name.
 Read more: Downtown Ottawa remains in lockdown after parliament shooting – live updates | World news | The Guardian

Britain - Terrorism: Police in UK arrest two over possible links to jihad in Syria - by - by Vikram Dodd

Counter-terrorism officers trying to staunch the flow of recruits travelling to Syria have made two arrests they say may be linked to the war zone.

A woman aged 25 was arrested in Kempston, Bedfordshire by detectives from Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command investigating whether she had travelled to Syria, and if so, whether that trip was linked to violent jihad.

Hours later officers made a second arrest in London, detaining a 32-year-old man “on suspicion of attending a place used for terrorist training”, which they believe was in Syria.

The two operations that led to the arrests are not believed to be linked.

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said five Britons a week were travelling to Syria to join up with Islamic State (Isis) extremists.

Counter-terror officials say there has been a large increase this year in operations related to Syria, amid fears that returning Britons may be so radicalised they attempt to carry out attacks here.

Read more: Police in UK arrest two over possible links to jihad in Syria | UK news | The Guardian


Brritain: Barosso warns Cameron against 'historic mistake' over EU membership

The UK government and the European Union are on a collision course over Prime Minister David Cameron's plans to curb immigration by renegotiating the the agreement on the free movement of labour.

Jose Manuel Barroso, who will step down next month as president of the European Commission, warned Mr Cameron on Monday that the UK would not even be of "marginal relevance" in the world if his attempted renegotiation led to the UK voting to leave the EU in the referendum promised for 2017.

Speaking at a Chatham House think-tank meeting in London, Mr Barroso said that Mr Cameron would be making an "historic mistake" if he alienated eastern European countries by going ahead with a reported plan to use the tax system to cap the number of low-skilled workers from the EU who could come to Britain.

Acknowledging that there was "widespread concern" in the UK over immigration levels, Mr Barosso said: "The Commission has always been ready to engage constructively in this discussion. But changes to these rules need all countries to agree.

"And it is an illusion to believe that space for dialogue can be created if the tone and substance of the arguments you put forward question the very principle (of the free movement of labour) at stake and offend fellow member states.

"It would be an historic mistake if on these issues Britain were to continue to alienate its natural allies in central and eastern Europe, when you were one of the strongest advocates for their accession."

Mr Barroso said that he appreciated that the Conservatives were being spurred into action by the recent electoral success of the UK Independence Party, but he added: "My experience is that you can never win a debate from the defensive. We saw in Scotland that you actually need to go out and make the positive case. In the same way, if you support continued membership of the EU you need to say what Europe stands for and why it is in the British interest to be part of it.

"Over three-quarters of CBI members want the UK to stay in, because they consider the single market is worth between £62 and £78 billion pounds to the economy. Five out of six City UK members say they do not want to see the UK leave, and the same is true for manufacturers.

Read more: Relocate Magazine - Barosso warns Cameron against 'historic mistake' over EU membership

EU Economy: Europe shares rally on ECB stimulus hopes

European shares traded sharply higher on Tuesday as buying was fueled by corporate earnings and reports that the European Central Bank (ECB) would provide extra liquidity in the near future.

Banks and shares in peripheral countries led the rally, offering investors some much-needed relief as consistent selling from last week bled into yesterday's close.

Investors were also buoyed by reports from Reuters - citing sources - which said that the ECB could begin buying corporate bonds in the secondary debt markets from as soon as this December. Both the Spanish and Italian markets rallied to close more than 2 percent higher.

Read More: Europe shares rally on ECB stimulus hopes

France: Total CEO killed in Moscow airport accident - Europe

Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive officer of Total SA, the French oil company, has been killed in an accident at Moscow's Vnukovo airport, according to official sources.

A representative of the transport investigative committee said the French-made Falcon 50 business jet, headed for France, collided with the snow-removal machine during take-off, TASS news agency reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences over the incident, calling de Margerie a "true friend of our country".

Mr. Putin praised the 63-year-old oil boss as "an outstanding French entrepreneur who originated many major joint projects that formed the basis of many years of fruitful cooperation between Russia and France in the energy sector."

"In Christophe de Margerie, we lost a real friend of our country, whom we will remember with the greatest warmth," Putin said.

The Total Group on Tuesday confirmed de Margerie's death "with great and profound sadness".

Read more: Total CEO killed in Moscow airport accident - Europe - Al Jazeera English

European Unemployment: Crisis cost 5 million jobs in Europe while Turkey boosted employment - by Mustafa Sonmez

The global crisis is behind us, almost six years on. Even though the epicenter was the United States, the European Union also caught fire immediately during the crisis. The U.S. is attempting to stand on its feet after the half-dozen years that have passed, but it is not easy to say the same thing yet for the EU.

For the 28-member EU, various countries were affected to varying degrees. Some members were heavily wounded, such as Spain and Italy. Germany, on the other hand, which is considered the leader of the union, is in a relatively good situation, and one could even say it grew stronger during the crisis. The United Kingdom is trying to recover with difficulty. However, the big picture tells us that the EU is going through recession and the light at the end of the tunnel has yet to appear.

The biggest pain of the crisis was felt by those who lost their jobs. The easiest way to measure the damage of the crisis from country to country is to review the employment losses of countries.

According to the European Statistics Office Eurostat’s data, the EU’s growth rate before the crisis, in 2007, was 3.2 percent. It was rolled back to 0.4 percent first in 2008 when the crisis erupted, but hit the bottom in 2009 when it experienced the biggest shrinkage in its history, dropping 4.5 percent.

Following this shrinkage, in 2010 and in 2011, some relative recoveries were experienced. However, in 2012 the union again experienced a negative growth rate of 0.2 percent. In 2013, a recovery of 0.1 percent was recorded from there. The expectations for 2014 were not pleasant either.

While six years have passed since the global crisis, economic troubles varied from one country to the other. Mediterranean countries, which had difficulty in harmonizing with the transfer to the joint currency, the euro, after 2000, were hit the most by the crisis. Greece experienced the heaviest blow while Spain, Portugal and Italy also received heavy blows. While Germany suffered minor scars because of its export capacity and its current account surplus, the U.K. was fiercely shaken by the crisis but is trying to recover rapidly.

In Europe, the most direct impact of the crisis is on employment. Before the crisis reached its peak, in the last quarter of 2008, the total number of employed in the EU was 219 million. In the second quarter of 2014, however, this number dropped to 214 million, meaning that roughly 5 million people lost their jobs in the global crisis.

No doubt, some of the 28 members experienced major losses in employment; some, though, were able to increase their employment rates. The total losses in the losing countries amounted to 8.9 million, while the winners created around 3.9 million jobs, giving a balance of around 5 million fewer jobs.

Read more: Crisis cost 5 million jobs in Europe as Turkey boosted employment - ECONOMICS

EU - How many banks will fail ECB stress tests?

Results of the European Central Bank's Asset Quality Review (AQR) of 130 lenders in the region are due on October 26 and will be the latest indicator of the European Union's economic recovery.

Known as a stress test, the check-up looks at a bank's ability to withstand a future crisis and comes as the ECB takes over as a banking supervisor on November 4.

Anticipation of the results has already impacted bank shares; last week, Italy's Monte dei Paschi slumped nearly 10 percent to a record low amid fears it would fail the tests.

If a bank does fail the tests, they will have to raise capital from stock markets. In the case they are unable to do so, experts say they may have to impose losses on bondholders or tap governments or Europe's bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

Read more: How many banks will fail ECB stress tests?

Produce: Vietnam walking a tightrope with EU produce exports

Vietnamese produce exporters are edging dangerously close to the maximum amount of phytosanitary interceptions allowed in Europe this year.

According to the country’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, three shipments of Vietnamese basil and bitter melon were stopped by European authorities as they were contaminated with harmful bacteria.

Earlier this year, the European Commission Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DGSANCO) said it would only allow for five interceptions from the Southeast Asian country before February, 2015.

If the authority delivers on its promise, that means just two more interceptions and Vietnam will be kicked out of the market,

Read more: » Vietnam walking a tightrope with EU produce exports

Britain: The Return Of Class Politics In The UK - by Mark Blyth:

The British prime minister’s speech at the lord mayor’s banquet last year was notable in part because its main message, that “we need to do more with less. Not just now, but permanently,” was delivered from a throne bedecked in gold to applause from members of the financial elite. But it’s the other less commented upon aspects of last year’s speech that signal why the government felt confident enough to reveal its true colours. David Cameron’s claims simply don’t add up to a coherent explanation as to why “more with less” – perma-austerity – is a policy worth pursuing.

First of all, he insisted that “the biggest single threat to the cost of living in this country is if our budget deficit and debts get out of control again”. Yet while the deficit rose to 11.2% of GDP in 2010, the markets that fund British debt never once thought the situation “out of control”. 

Quite the contrary occurred as the interest payments due on UK bonds have gone steadily down since 2006, and have only risen now, when the UK is supposedly in recovery. A much more likely culprit for the drop in living standards is the fall in British real wages of over 5% since 2010 coupled with relatively high price inflation, but that doesn’t fit with the story of “out of control” spending needing to be reined in for the common good.

Read more: Mark Blyth: The Return Of Class Politics In The UK


European Economy: US shares end on a high as European stock markets rebound

Shares in Europe and US have rebounded after a turbulent week in which stock markets tumbled to multi-month lows.

On Friday US stocks closed more than 1% up, with the S&P 500 posting its biggest gain in more than a week.
Europe's main indexes closed higher, having fallen sharply over concerns that the global economic recovery was running out of steam.

Despite the rises, Charles Stanley's Jeremy Batstone-Carr saying: "I'm not sure we're out of the woods."
Poor economic and corporate data, along with worries about the impact of the Ebola crisis, had sent stock markets into a nosedive.

 Read more: BBC News - US shares end on a high as European stock markets rebound

Wall Street: IBM Tanking - Q3 Earnings drop - by Sam Ro

IBM shares are tumbling after the company announced disappointing Q3 earnings.

The business services giant announced $3.68 per share of operating earnings from continuing operations, which is much weaker than the $4.32 expected by analysts.

Revenue fell 4% year-over-year to $22.4 billion.

"We are disappointed in our performance," CEO Ginni Rometty said. "We saw a marked slowdown in September in client buying behavior, and our results also point to the unprecedented pace of change in our industry. While we did not produce the results we expected to achieve, we again performed well in our strategic growth areas — cloud, data and analytics, security, social, and mobile — where we continue to shift our business."

This is concerning, not just for IBM investors. As a global provider of business software and services, this could be reflective of problems in the global economy.

Fear Factor: The World's Greatest Fears, Mapped by Country - byJeanne Kim

The biggest fear among the Japanese is, unsurprisingly, nuclear weapons. People in South Africa, Kenya, and Uganda are most worried about AIDS and other diseases. And inequality is the deepest concern for much of Europe and the U.S.

These are among the findings of Pew Research Center’s survey of more than 48,000 people in 44 countries this spring (so, it’s worth noting, pre-Ebola epidemic). 

The survey asked people to choose among five categories of threat: AIDS and other diseases, nuclear weapons, pollution and environment, inequality, and religious and ethnic hatred.

Read more: The World's Greatest Fears, Mapped by Country - The Atlantic

Middle East: Turkey Allows Iraqi Kurds to Join the Fight Against ISIS - by Polly Mosendz

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced a new development on Monday in the fight to save Kobani: Iraqi Kurdish fighters will be allowed to cross into Syria through the border with Turkey, to assist the Kurdish fighters already on the ground holding off the Islamic State.

No further details were announced, as the minister only told the BBC that Turkey would allow the passage of the fighters and discussion would be continued on the matter.

Thus far, Turkey has refused to intervene in the siege of Kobani, which sits just on the other side of its border with Syria. It has also refused to allow Kurds to cross the border to join the fight, in part because of its own conflict with the PKK, the Kurdish party in Turkey that has battled the government in Ankara for decades. The PKK, which has ties to the Syrian Kurds, is considered a terrorist group by both Turkey and the U.S.

The change in policy came, in the BBC's words, as "Turkey has come under pressure from its own Kurdish population, and more widely, to allow fighters in to help push IS out of Kobani, a town that has become highly symbolic of the wider battle against IS." The foreign minister told the BBC, "Turkey has no wish to see Kobani fall."

The United States has been aiding the Syrian Kurdish fighters, providing supplies and weapons, while also bombing ISIS targets in Syria. Overnight, just before Cavusoglu's announcement, 27 bundles of supplies were airdropped into the area. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, has previously shown disapproval of this arming of Kurds by the U.S.; however, he has not spoken out against this most recent airdrop.

 Read more: Turkey Allows Iraqi Kurds to Join the Fight Against ISIS - The Atlantic

The Netherlands - Almere - Christianity: KIDZARK Productions Captivates Young and Old at NDIC

When Sunday arrives in Almere, one of Europe's most modern, functional and multi-cultural cities in Europe, its citizens have a variety of choices,varying from sleeping in, sports, reading, attending Church services, you name it.

And to think that Almere, situated east of Amsterdam, was created just 36 years ago as part of a huge land reclamation project. This eventually resulted in a new Dutch Province called Flevoland. It has been a successful venture.  In those 36 years Almere has attracted over 195,000 residents and 14,500 businesses and more flowing in every day..

Almere today is the largest city in the province of Flevoland and the seventh largest city in the Netherlands.

This past Sunday in Almere was probably not much different from other Sundays, as to what people choose to do during the weekend or on Sunday's -- except maybe at NDIC,  which stands for "New Day International Church"

NDIC opened its doors in Almeer at the beginning of September 2007, mainly because of the large influx of expats and internationals into the city,
and the need for an English language church.

"One of our primary goals has always been", say NDIC Pastor Melvin Ho and his wife Louise, " to be sensitive to multi-national cultures and provide a spiritual home for people from all around the globe living in this city and surrounding areas".

"Obviously we also have our doors wide open for Dutch folks who prefer to listen to sermons in English", says Louise..

Over the past years NDIC has become the  home to many people from all over the world, with or without a previous church background, and as one churchgoer at NDIC noted, "we like it here because it feels like family, and we find the environment is conducive to exploring faith whereby God can be encountered in new and creative ways. It is very refreshing and stimulating."

Judy Mensch of Kidzark Productions
And indeed, this refreshing dynamism was also noticeable this past Sunday at NDIC, when Judy Mensch and Carolina Neeft of Kidzark Productions visited and captivated young and old church members alike with their lively participative family presentation.

"Our plays are morally based and biblically principled, but they are not, per se, ‘Christian” plays.  The idea is to bring a popular story that families would want to see.  By doing this we do our best to come along-side local churches and help them with family evangelism through drama. The shows we bring to churches are purposed to reach families in local communities but they are also a great introduction to the principles of God", says Judy.

The happy faces during the fellowship coffee and tea break, following the Kidzark presentation seemed to signal that this new, open and refreshing approach to Christianity is not only appreciated,  but also here to stay.