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Death of a currency as eurogeddon approaches

Euro Coffin
© AFP
They need to wake up fast; it's happening before their very eyes. In its current form, the single currency may always have been doomed, but it has been greatly helped on its way by an extraordinarily inept series of policy errors.
It's time to think what hitherto markets have regarded as unthinkable - that the euro really is on its last legs.

The defining moment was the fiasco over Wednesday's bund auction, reinforced on Thursday by the spectacle of German sovereign bond yields rising above those of the UK.

If you are tempted to think this another vote of confidence by international investors in the UK, don't. It's actually got virtually nothing to do with us. Nor in truth does it have much to do with the idea that Germany will eventually get saddled with liability for periphery nation debts, thereby undermining its own creditworthiness.

No, what this is about is the markets starting to bet on what was previously a minority view - a complete collapse, or break-up, of the euro. Up until the past few days, it has remained just about possible to go along with the idea that ultimately Germany would bow to pressure and do whatever might be required to save the single currency.

The prevailing view was that the German Chancellor didn't really mean what she was saying, or was only saying it to placate German voters. When finally she came to peer over the precipice, she would retreat from her hard line position and compromise. Self interest alone would force Germany to act.

But there comes a point in every crisis where the consensus suddenly shatters. That's what has just occurred, and with good reason. In recent days, it has become plain as a pike staff that the lady's not for turning.

People

UK: Prepare for Riots in Euro Collapse, Foreign Office Warns

euro/pound
© Bloomberg
The Treasury confirmed earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way.
British embassies in the eurozone have been told to draw up plans to help British expats through the collapse of the single currency, amid new fears for Italy and Spain.

As the Italian government struggled to borrow and Spain considered seeking an international bail-out, British ministers privately warned that the break-up of the euro, once almost unthinkable, is now increasingly plausible.

Diplomats are preparing to help Britons abroad through a banking collapse and even riots arising from the debt crisis.

The Treasury confirmed earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way.

A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government's concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.

Vader

Leaked UN Report Reveals Torture, Lynchings and Abuse in Post-Gaddafi Libya

soldier/Libya
© AFP/Getty Images
Thousands of people, including women and children, are being illegally detained by rebel militias in Libya, according to a report by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Many of the prisoners are suffering torture and systematic mistreatment while being held in private jails outside the control of the country's new government.

The document, seen by The Independent, states that while political prisoners being held by the Gaddafi regime have been released, their places have been taken by up to 7,000 new "enemies of the state", "disappeared" in a dysfunctional system, with no recourse to the law.

The report will come as uncomfortable reading for the Western governments, including Britain, which backed the campaign to oust Gaddafi. A UN resolution was secured in March in order to protect civilians from abuses by the regime, which was at the time mercilessly suppressing the uprising against the Gaddafi regime.

There was evidence, says the report by Ban Ki-moon, due to be presented to the Security Council, that both sides committed acts amounting war crimes in the bitter battle for Colonel Gaddafi's hometown, Sirte. The Secretary-General who recently visited Libya, echoes the concern expressed by many world leaders over the killing of the former dictator by rebel fighters pointing out that Gaddafi was captured alive before being put to death.

Ambulance

West Virginia, US: Man Dies on Black Friday; Shoppers Unfazed

Walter Vance, died,black friday
© Snip/WSAZ
Walter Vance
South Charleston - A man collapsed while doing some Black Friday shopping in a crowded store, and people nearby continued to shop.

Family members tell WSAZ.com that Walter Vance, of Logan County, W.Va., passed away after being taken to the hospital.

It happened at Target in the Southridge Shopping Center in South Charleston about 12:15 a.m. Friday.

Vance got sick and collapsed on the floor while shopping for Christmas decorations for his newly remodeled workplace.

Vance started working at the Aracoma Drug Company store in Logan when he was 16. He liked it so much, he went to pharmacy school at WVU and has worked there ever since.

He started a new Aracoma Drug Company store in Chapmanville and had co-owned it since the 70's.

Heart - Black

Beware, female journos in Cairo warned

Image
© The Associated Press
Paris - Press watchdog Reporters Without Borders urged media organisations on Friday to take care to protect female reporters from sexual assault while covering unrest in Egypt, following several serious attacks.

The group initially warned women journalists not to work in Cairo's Tahrir Square, epicentre of the revolt against Egypt's junta, at all, but after protests from press unions decided instead to advise great caution.

"It is more dangerous for a woman than a man to cover the demonstrations in Tahrir Square. That is the reality and the media must face it," RSF said.

"It is the first time that there have been repeated sexual assaults against women reporters in the same place. The media must keep this in mind when sending staff there and must take special safety measures.

"We are not saying the international media should pull out and stop covering events in Egypt, but they need to adapt to the threats that currently exist. Women journalists going to Tahrir Square should be aware of this situation."

V

US, California: Mayor: Occupy LA must leave City Hall camp Monday

Image
© Robert Gauthier, Los Angeles Times
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, left, and Police Chief Charlie Beck hold a news conference to announce plans to close the City Hall park to Occupy protesters.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gave a lengthy tribute to Occupy LA protesters on Friday before telling them they must leave their encampment on the lawn of City Hall by 12:01 a.m. Monday, citing public health and safety concerns.

Villaraigosa, who has expressed sympathy for the protest's aims from its beginning seven weeks ago, announced the ouster at an afternoon news conference with police Chief Charlie Beck. He said the movement that has spread in two months from New York to numerous other U.S. cities has "awakened the country's conscience" - but also trampled grass at City Hall that must be restored.

"The movement is at a crossroads," the mayor said. "It is time for Occupy LA to move from holding a particular patch of park land to spreading the message of economic justice and signing more people up for the push to restore the balance to American society."

The camp of about 485 tents was unsustainable because public health and safety could not be maintained, and the park had to be cleared, cleaned and restored for the public's access, he said.

Outside City Hall, Occupy LA protester Opamago Casciani, 20, said he found the Mayor's priorities insulting, and he intends to continue demonstrating peacefully through the deadline.

Stormtrooper

US: Black Friday Wal-Mart Violence: Police Taser Man, Arrest Grandpa


If they're not pepper spraying each other or rioting over waffle makers, Black Friday customers are being tasered by cops and being violently arrested for shoplifting.

WAAY reports that cops said they had to use a stun gun to subdue belligerent customer Christopher Blake Pyron at a Wal-Mart in Florence, Ala.

Stormtrooper

US: Police use pepper spray to calm Black Friday crowd at North Carolina Walmart

An incident involving pepper spray used at a Walmart in Kinston during Black Friday is under investigation.

Authorities say the off-duty officer was hired by the store to help with security and was trying to subdue a disturbance and make an arrest when he used his pepper spray.


Sheeple

US, Pittsburgh: 'Girls Punching Each Other' Over Yoga Pants Sale at Victoria's Secret


People camped out, lined up and pushed through the doors when stores opened as early as midnight for early bird specials this Black Friday.

Everyone was looking for a good deal on that holiday gift, but not everyone was in a giving mood. A small scuffle reportedly broke out at one sale in the Monroeville Mall.

Some consider Thanksgiving to be the start of the holiday season, but dedicated shoppers say it's today, and they were out in full force.

Arrow Down

US: Man rescued from quicksand in Utah after 8 hours

Image
© Joe Austin, ABC 4 News
Utah authorities say they rescued a 25-year-old man who was stuck in a pool of quicksand for eight hours.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office says dispatchers were contacted at 5 p.m. Wednesday by a Florida military agency about an emergency alert beacon transmitting from an area along the Dirty Devil River.

Police tell KTVX of Salt Lake City a helicopter spotted the man stuck in a thick, muddy, wet substance.