FROM Bronwen Maddox
European and US Economies at the Tipping Point? Europe's debt crisis is causing financial ripples all over the world, and elected leaders are trying to prevent a tidal wave. Looking a lot like Greece but much bigger, Italy is having trouble paying its bills. The national debt is 120 percent of gross domestic product and, recently Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced sweeping austerity measures. The reaction was a national strike on Tuesday that shut down public transportation and air travel. Today, Berlusconi re-vamped his plan and then called for a confidence vote in the Parliament. Will Germany bail out Greece? Italy? If not, what's in store for the US and the global economy? Segment image: Angela Merkel arrives to speak during debates over the federal budget on September 7, 2011 in Berlin. German Chancellor said, 'Should the Euro fail, then Europe fails.' Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Economics and Politics in the Euro Zone It's not just Greece any more but larger countries facing an economic crisis. If they can't pay their debts, the big fear is collapse of a major financial institution. With Italy's national debt at 120% of gross domestic product, last week Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced sweeping austerity measures. The reaction was a national strike on Tuesday that shut down public transportation and air travel. Today, Berlusconi re-vamped his plan and called for a confidence vote in the Parliament. Like the failure of Lehman Brothers in 2008, such a collapse could set off a global chain reaction and another recession with drastic consequences here in the US. Italians don't like austerity measures, Germans don't want to bail them out, and elected leaders in 17 countries are struggling to figure out what to do. US investors are cutting back on exposure to Europe, which could make things worse. We get updates from several countries.
Hollywood, Smart Power and Public Diplomacy Americans are about to celebrate the Fourth of July at a time when America's international reputation has been in decline. A country that sees itself as free, prosperous and generous is identified with the war in Iraq, Abu Ghraib and the defense of torture. Since Americans don't know much about the rest of the world, restoring the country's image will be a two-way street. Can Hollywood be an agent of public diplomacy, explaining the US to other people, at the same time it educates Americans about the rest of the world?
PM Brown to Pull Half of British Troops Out of Iraq by Spring Prime Minister Gordon Brown told Parliament today that British troops in Iraq will be cut in half by spring of next year. Conservatives were outraged that he announced a reduction last week while he was in Iraq and accused him of playing politics with the armed forces. Bronwen Maddox is Chief Foreign Commentator for the Times of London.
PM Tony Blair Appointed Special Middle East Envoy Hours after he stood down as Prime Minister, came the long-expected announcement that Tony Blair will be Middle East envoy for the co-called Quartet, the US, Russia, UN and European Union. Addressing his goals today in the House of Commons, he stressed the absolute need for a two-state solution, comprised of a secure Israel and a viable Palestinian government and institutions. Bronwen Maddox is chief foreign commentator at the Times of London .
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.