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Friday, February 22, 2013

Eurozone to Stay in Recession in 2013

The European Union has published its latest economic forecast, warning that the eurozone recession would continue into 2013. Olli Rehn, Commission Vice-President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, said that “the current situation can be summarised like this: we have disappointing hard data from the end of last year, some more encouraging soft data in the recent past, and growing investor confidence in the future”. The eurozone economy is expected to contract 0.3 percent in 2013 after a 0.6 percent reduction last year. On the employment front, the number of those out of work was deemed “unacceptably high” by the Commission Director General for Economic Social Affairs, Marco Butti. It will peak at 12.2 percent in 2013, with more than 19 million people out of work. “This has grave social consequences and will, if unemployment becomes structurally entrenched, also weigh on growth perspectives going forward”, said Butti.

South African Court Grants Oscar Pistorius Bail

South African champion paraolympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius was granted bail by a South African court on Friday. Charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Pistorius was deemed by magistrate Desmond Nair as too recognisable to pose a flight risk. “I come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail,” he said. He also strongly criticised the work of the South African police in their handling of evidence relating to the case and their inability to follow up leads properly. Bail was set at 1 million rand (US$113,000) and hearings on the case were postponed until June 4. Some of the conditions attached to the bail were that the athlete would have to hand over firearms and passports, not return to the crime scene or contact witnesses and report to a police station twice a week. He was also told not to drink alcohol. Pistorius shot his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, at his gated community home in Pretoria in the early hours of February 14.

UN Rejects Haiti Cholera Compensation Claims

The United Nations has invoked its own Convention on Privileges and Immunities to formally reject compensation claims by Haitian victims of a cholera outbreak that killed almost 8,000 people and infected at least another 600,000. Evidence suggested that the disease was introduced through leaking sewage pipes coming from a UN base housing infected Nepalese peacekeepers. A spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the damages claims were “not receivable” under the convention, which gives the UN immunity for its actions. A lawyer for the cholera victims, Brian Concannon, told the BBC that his team would challenge the UN’s immunity from Haitian courts. Secretary General Ban told Haitian President Michel Martelly that the UN is committed to the elimination of cholera in Haiti, having launched a US$2 billion appeal to fight the cholera epidemic last December.

BBC ‘Incapable of Getting to Basic Truths’ During Savile Crisis

A report published on the BBC’s handling of an investigation into alleged sexual abuses committed by Sir Jimmy Savile, one of the broadcasters’ high-profile stars between the 60s and 80s, has shown a news organisation obsessed with hierarchy and procedures and “incapable of getting to basic truths”. Headed by former Sky News head Nick Pollard, the authors of the report sifted through more than 3,000 emails, interviews and submissions by BBC executives and journalists on the subject. The chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, said that the corporation was gripped by “frantic faffing about” during the Savile crisis, with senior managers not talking to each other across a structure with “more senior leaders than China”. “I mean, in this case, you have a director general, a head of news, somebody responsible for current affairs and an experienced editor and things still get horribly screwed up”, added Lord Patten.

Weekend Read: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

Sugary, salty, fatty foods are not good for us in the quantities that we consume them. So why are the diabetes and obesity and hypertension numbers still spiraling out of control? In the New York Times Magazine.

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