News Links: Italy, Europe, and Red Brigade terror

  • Italy’s labour minister Maurizio Sacconi has just warned that a rushed shake-up of the labour market – as demanded by the EU – risks setting off a fresh cycle of terrorism in the country. Here is the story from Il Sole.

    tags: Italy austerity

  • Ireland has no moral obligation to repay $1 billion in unsecured loans from private transactions – chiefly with Anglo Irish bank – an Independent Dail Depuy claimed today.

    tags: ireland default banks

  • Well, this one’s right up there with the most spectacular CEO disasters ever. Yesterday, 18 months after Jon Corzine took over the helm of MF Global with the goal of building it into a real investment bank, he flew the company into a mountain. Why? Because part of becoming a real investment bank, apparently, is betting the company.

    tags: bankruptcy executives finance

  • What makes these discussions so utterly absurd, so ridiculous, and farcical, is that robo-signing, an abuse the banks have admitted to and clam they’ve ceased, is still going on. The AP reported this in July; mortgage servicers in Nevada have stopped foreclosing because of a law explicitly criminalizing robo-signing. Yes, the banks are asking for a release of claims on acts, or perhaps crimes, that are ongoing. And these abuses are extensive: lying to investors about the quality of the mortgages; violating their own contracts by failing to convey mortgages properly to securitization trusts; charging fees that are impermissible under Federal law and the contracts; making a mess of property records and engaging in deceptive consumer practices through the use of MERS; and engaging in document forgeries and fabrications in foreclosures. All these people trying to give the banks “a settlement” are in fact immunizing banks against acts they are committing and will commit going forward. Only in the future, when a voter complains to his or her state AG, that official will have to explain to that voter that his/her rights have been given away.

    tags: mortgages

  • With economists warning that the eurozone’s debt crisis could even push it back into recession, 2012 growth forecasts are being sharply reduced for the former socialist economies further east. Many of them rely heavily on the single currency area as export destination and financing source. Investors are getting jittery. With important exceptions such as Poland, "emerging" Europe was collectively the region hardest hit by the last crisis. Half a dozen countries needed International Monetary Fund bail-outs, though sovereign defaults were avoided.

    tags: eastern Europe economy

  • The discovery that money could not be located might simply reflect sloppy internal controls at MF Global. It is still unclear where the money went. At first, as much as $950 million was believed to be missing, but as the firm sorted through its bankruptcy, that figure fell to less than $700 million by late Monday, the people briefed on the matter said. Additional funds are expected to trickle in over the coming days.

    tags: fraud bankruptcy

  • My dispute wasn’t with Gordon’s research (I’m no economist) but with Pethokoukis’s relaying of it. It’s worth noting that even this Gordon paper specifically notes 2005 research of his finding that between 1966 and 2001 “only the top 10 percent of the income distribution had a gain in real income equal to growth in labor productivity.”

    tags: wealth wages

  • 3,538 bridges were closed in 2010, as customers shop elsewhere rather than take detours. With the average U.S. bridge seven years from the end of its useful life, and one- fourth of 600,000 crossings classified by regulators as “structurally deficient,” more places will be hurt by closings, said Barry LePatner, founder of LePatner & Associates LLP, a New York-based construction law and consulting firm.

    tags: infrastructure

  • you’ve just made a tidy profit that works out to $2,314 an hour each. Not too shabby! Can we get this woman working on revenue creation for Congress, maybe?

    tags: celebrities

  • A woman who first checked in to a Virginia Marriott more than 10 years ago has finally decided to move on. The company says she was the longest-term customer on record. The 79-year-old woman, who checked out after first moving into the hotel on Aug. 4 2001, chose to stay so long because the rate was cheaper than the $1,500 to $1,700 a month she would have had to dig up to rent an apartment in the nearby Washington, D.C. area.

    tags: hotels

  • Herman Cain’s two top campaign aides ran a private Wisconsin-based corporation that helped the GOP presidential candidate get his fledgling campaign off the ground by originally footing the bill for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses for such items as iPads, chartered flights and travel to Iowa and Las Vegas – something that might breach federal tax and campaign law, according to sources and documents.

    tags: politics

  • Italy’s borrowing costs have once again surged to danger levels amid growing doubts over the viability of Europe’s bail-out machinery, dashing hopes that last week’s summit deal would at last contain the crisis.

    tags: Italy

  • SunTrust Banks Inc (STI.N) said on Monday it planned to drop a $5 monthly debit card service fee, adding the Atlanta-based regional bank to the list of lenders dropping such maintenance fees amid rising public criticism of the industry.

    tags: bank fees

  • US brokerage firm MF Global has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after revealing £4bn of eurozone debt exposure.

    tags: sovereign debt crisis speculation bankruptcy

  • tags: ows protest

  • there is a subtle optimism lurking in all of Kahneman’s work: it is the hope that self-awareness is a form of salvation, that if we know about our mental mistakes, we can avoid them. One day, we will learn to equally weigh losses and gains; science can help us escape from the cycle of human error. As Kahneman and Tversky noted in the final sentence of their classic 1974 paper, “A better understanding of these heuristics and of the biases to which they lead could improve judgments and decisions in situations of uncertainty.” Unfortunately, such hopes appear to be unfounded. Self-knowledge isn’t a cure for irrationality; even when we know why we stumble, we still find a way to fall.

    tags: psychology

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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