First there was Enron; then, subprime. Now it turns out that some governments have been just as adept at using financial alchemy to hide debts. Take Greece, a country with a $350 billion national debt that is now under investigation by the European Commission (EC) for underreporting its deficit by as much as 9 percent of GDP in 2009.
Why crisis will only make it stronger.
As other organizations were still trying to get into Haiti last week, Doctors Without Borders was already there, with more than 800 doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals on the ground—though getting supplies and more people in proved a critical problem.
György Dragomán was 3 when his father taught him to protect the family's privacy by lying to neighbors and teachers who were often informants for the Hungarian regime. "From then on I lived a double life," says the 36-year-old author, "telling one thing to one set of people and something else to another." For millions of Eastern Europeans, that was the basic survival strategy under communist regimes whose tentacles—and secret-police informants—reached deep into every facet of life.
Porsche headquarters were raided by German investigators Thursday due to suspicions of insider trading by former CEO Wendelin Wiedeking, who was ousted last month following an epic takeover battle in which the luxury carmaker almost swallowed Volkswagen─Europe's largest carmaker, which is more than 10 times Porsche's size─before VW turned the tables.
What happened to the idea that the U.S.—thanks to massive and early stimulus, radical financial-sector restructuring, and the innate flexibility of the American economy—would recover from the global recession before Europe, and certainly before Japan, the perpetual sick man of Asia?This week, unexpected OECD data showed Japan growing 0.9 percent in the second quarter.
How is it that supposedly rock-solid germany is home to some of the world's worst banks, while profligate Italy's rank among the best? With no housing bubble or consumer-credit boom (most Germans don't even use credit cards), German banks had to work overtime to amass the ¤700 billion in impaired assets they're estimated to hold.