Computer scientists predict that a new generation of malware will mine social networks for people's private patterns of behavior.
The prevailing exchange rate system is lopsided. China has essentially pegged its currency to the dollar while most other currencies fluctuate more or less freely. China has a two-tier system in which the capital account is strictly controlled; most other currencies don't distinguish between current and capital accounts.
In a summer of suffering, America's military death toll in Afghanistan is rising, with back-to-back record months for U.S. losses in the grinding conflict. All signs point to more bloodshed in the months ahead, straining the already shaky international support for the war.
Stingy is as stingy does. The bout of miserable U.S. employment data on Friday is a sign that suddenly penny-pinching Americans are unlikely to return to their spendthrift ways for years, an echo of the generation that came out of Great Depression.
Britain's third-largest banking group joins government scheme to insure toxic assets. Lloyds Banking Group has become the latest U.K. bank to fall under government control since the run onNorthern Rock in September 2007. The U.K.'s third-largest bank confirmed Saturday that the government is raising its stake to at least 65%, and possibly as high as 77%, in return for insuring $367 billion dollars in toxic assets. The bank has also promised to increase its lending, primarily to businesses, by $39 billion over the next two years.
Still, the hope for a Northwest Passage lingers and has become central to a key international debate heating up over the Arctic north. If climate change and global warming are real -- and there's currently little doubt over that-then it stands to reason that the ice covering Arctic waterways will decrease in coming decades, presenting fewer navigational problems for shipping. If the ice recedes -- and few experts expect it will do so year-round-cargo shipping times and distances could, the thinking goes, be cut: A 12,400-mile voyage from Japan to England by way of the Panama Canal could be shortened to less than 8,700 miles using the Northwest Passage, saving 14 days and costs.
Despite Twitter's success in the U.S., the three-year-old company's service hasn't caught on in Europe. According to Twitter's search tool, Twitter Scan, there is one account under Tesco, the U.K.'s largest retailer, but it has only one outside comment so far. The same goes for financial services firm HSBC, which has 18 followers but no status updates. Most European companies haven't even heard of Twitter, and some might think it's a time waster. A spokeswoman for energy firm Total says that Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie has no idea what Twitter is. British Telecom says it doesn't have a Twitter account and doesn't plan to open one. Nestle's communications manager says using Twitter "just never came up within the group strategy." In general, experts say Europeans don't latch on to new social networking technologies as quickly as Americans.
On the eve of Barack Obama's inauguration as president of the United States, Wharton finance professor Richard J. Herring discussed with [email protected] some of the advice offered to the new chief executive by the Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee, a group of economists, former regulators and lawyers, of which Herring is a co-chair. In an open letter to Obama, the committee suggested that the government should quickly extract itself from the investments it made to rescue the financial system and devise a new regulatory framework for preventing future crises.
U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke says the plan proposed by President-elect Barack Obama should provide the economy with a "significant boost." But he also warns the government must take strong steps to reform the financial system. During a speech at the London School of Economics Tuesday, Bernanke also warned that the timing and strength of a global economic recovery are still "highly uncertain." He said the financial crisis has shown that the world is too interconnected for nations to "go it alone" in economic, fiscal and regulatory policies. Meanwhile, the U.S. government says the country's trade deficit plunged to its lowest level in five years in November as oil prices fell and consumers cut back on spending. The government report says U.S. imports fell by 12 percent, with imports from China dropping by the largest amount on record.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats party was scheduled to meet with its allies, the conservative Christian Social Union and the left-of-center Social Democrats on Monday about a second fiscal package worth 25.0 billion euro ($34.2 billion), to be announced later this month. The government launched a 31.0 billion euro ($42.5 billion) stimulus package last year, which has since been criticized for being inadequate--economists are widely reported to have said that only a third of that figure represents new spending in 2009.