News Links: EU to punish Spain for deficits
- EU to punish Spain for deficits, inaction | Reuters
The European Union is likely to take action against Spain’s newly installed government by May for delaying austerity measures ahead of a regional election next month, sources familiar with the situation have told Reuters.
- Brainstorming Doesn’t Really Work -The New Yorker
- TechCrunch | Kayak Partners With Trip Advisor To Integrate 60 Million Travel Reviews Into Hotel Search
Kayak is boosting its hotel search today with the integration of hotel reviews from Trip Advisor into search results. Via an agreement with the reviews giant, Kayak will be integrating all all TripAdvisor reviews into the Kayak Hotel Search. Simply put, when you search for a hotel on Kayak, all of the over 60 million TripAdvisor reviews will be included in the KAYAK search results.
In October, Kayak launched a hotel Recommendations filter that allowed users to narrow results by expert recommendations, and pulled in reviews from Frommer’s and Budget Travel. Users will also be able to filter search results by TripAdvisor as well, ticking off a box will filter out any non-TA reviewed properties.
- TechCrunch | Yes, It’s True: Kids Are Tablet Fiends. And Gaming Apps Are The Winners
If you own a tablet and have children, chances are that this will not come as news to you. For those who don’t but work in mobile, it’s something worth remembering when you’re concocting up your next big product: Kids are crazy about tablets.
According to some research out today from Nielsen in the U.S., in households that own a tablet, seven out of 10 children under the age of 12 use them. And that usage is on the rise: those numbers are for Q4 2011, and are a nine percent increase on the quarter before.
- Citigroup Whistle-Blower Says Bank’s ‘Brute Force’ Hid Bad Loans From U.S. – Bloomberg
Four years after rotten mortgages helped trigger a global financial crisis, Sherry Hunt said her Citigroup Inc. quality-control team was still finding flaws in new loans that included altered tax forms, straw buyers and borrowers who listed fictitious employers. Instead of reporting the defects to the Federal Housing Administration, the bank saddled the agency with losses by falsely declaring the loans fit for its federal insurance program, according to a complaint filed yesterday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. Citigroup agreed to pay $158.3 million to settle the claims, and admitted that it certified loans for FHA backing that didn’t qualify.
- BBC News – Moody’s may cut 17 banks’ ratings
Moody’s said Morgan Stanley, UBS and Credit Suisse could see their credit ratings cut by up to three notches.
- Germany is ‘playing with fire’ on Greece, warns finance minister – Telegraph
Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos accused European leaders of "playing with fire" by trying to oust the beleaguered country from the eurozone amid fears they want to delay releasing the €130bn (£108bn) bail-out until after Greek elections in April.
- Germany’s smear campaign against Greece – Telegraph Blogs
It is clear that Berlin, Helsinki, and the Hague have taken the decision to eject Greece from the euro whatever the country now does. Even if Greece complies to the letter with the impossible terms of the EU-IMF Troika, it will not make any difference. A fresh pretext will be found.
- New Economic Perspectives: Mine’s Bigger than Yours: Notes on Optimal Size of Govt.
What should government do? It’s a mostly political question. A 24% government (US) can do most of what most people seem to want government to do. And more than what others want. And so can a 50% government (France). The jury is still out on a 15% government (Mexico)
- Greece Is on Pace for the Worst Recession in Modern History – Derek Thompson – Business – The Atlantic
The Greek economy shrank nearly 7% in 2011, the fifth straight year the country has been in a recession. GDP has shriveled by a sixth since 2006, and unemployment has tripled over that period to 20%. With new rounds of austerity just announced, and a default yet to come, the nightmare isn’t even close to being over. Will Greece be the deepest recession of the last 30 years?
- Austerity Policy Destroying Greek Society « naked capitalism
Although we’ve featured quite a few news reports on the impact of austerity in Greece, this report from Dimitri Lascaris, a lawyer with family in Greece, via Real News Network, gives a flavor of how conditions have deteriorated, even in small towns where social ties are presumably tighter than in Athens.