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Monday, August 6, 2012

Eurozone Confidence Drops

Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti said yesterday that disagreements within the 17-member Eurozone could lead to a break-up. He says the bloc’s inability to come to an understanding is preventing it from taking appropriate action, and he added there were already “signs of a psychological dissolution of Europe.” French President François Hollande urged Italy to take a bailout package, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported. He is also said to be pressuring Spain to do the same thing in an effort to shield France from speculators.  Meanwhile, sentiment in the region fell for a fifth month to its lowest in three years, Germany’s Sentix research institute said.

Syrian Prime Minister Defects

Syrian rebels and the country’s official media said today the country’s Prime Minister Riad Hijab defected, two months into his term. He said through a spokesman he left Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which he called “terrorist, murderous,” and called himself “a soldier of this holy revolution.” White House Spokesman Jay Carney said this is “a sign that Assad’s grip on power is loosening.” The state-run media initially tried to pass his departure off as a dismissal. It also denied reports that the Finance Minister also defected.

U.K. Bank Faces Suspension over Deals with Iran

British bank Standard Chartered Plc may be suspended after a New York regulator said it hid $250 billion worth of dealings with Iran. The U.S. monitors transactions with Iran for fear that banks operating in America will also help fund the country’s nuclear program or terrorist activities based there. The bank accepted hundreds of millions of dollars in fees conducting business for the Central Bank of Iran, Bank Saderat, and Bank Melli, among others, and the regulator also found evidence that it entered “similar schemes” to work with Burma, Libya, and Sudan.

Curiosity Rover Lands Safely on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity Rover landed safely on Mars at 05:32 a.m. GMT today (10:32 p.m. PST last night), and sent its first photos back to Earth instants later. Its mission is to look for elements that could’ve allowed for life to develop on the red planet. The rover, which is essentially an automated lab on wheels, will spend the next two years exploring the Gale Crater in Mars’ South Hemisphere and a 5,000-meter high mountain nearby. The project will cost $2.5 billion.

Romney, GOP Outraise Obama and DNC in July

U.S. Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and the Republican party outraised President Barack Obama and the Democrats for the third straight month in July, bringing in $101.3 million to the incumbent’s $75 million. Even though Obama and the Democratic National Committee are still ahead overall ($627 million compared with the GOP’s $495 million), Romney is quickly closing the gap thanks to “super PACs” and large contributors, with fewer than 6 percent of donors giving three quarters of the cash. The President’s campaign has overspent its rivals, prompting some democrats to say they are “burning cash” much too quickly.

Apple Pried Open in Trial Against Samsung

Apple was forced to give up more information than it is normally comfortable sharing as its suit against Samsung required judge and jury to take a close look at its creative process, its strategy, and its spending. In the first few days of the trial, we’ve learned how the iPhone and the iPad were born and how much money the company invested in marketing and advertising for its two devices. We’ve also found that an executive said Apple should create a 7-inch tablet, inspired by Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. It’s also been revealed that Apple relies heavily on product placement and market research. Apple is suing Samsung for patent infringement.

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