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Societe Generale Waives Dividend on Greek Write-Down

French bank Societe Generale said on Tuesday it was scrapping its 2011 dividend and making a "significant" cut to bonuses after a tough third quarter owing to a Greek debt write-down.

The market welcomed this clearing of the decks and SocGen shares surged 7.26 percent to close 18.77 Euros, far outpacing Paris's benchmark CAC 40 index which gained 1.28 percent.

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EU Says Italy's Economic Situation is 'Very Worrying'

The economic situation in Italy is very worrisome as the country faces "very significant" market pressure, the EU's economic affairs chief said Tuesday.

"The economic and financial situation of Italy is very worrying," EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn told a news conference after a meeting of European Union finance ministers.

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France to Save 100 Billion Euros to Balance Budget by 2016

Prime Minister Francois Fillon announced plans on Monday to save 100 billion euros to eliminate France's budget deficit by 2016, including 500 million Euros in extra state budget savings next year.

"The time has come to adjust France's efforts. With the president, we have only one goal: to protect the French people from the serious difficulties that many European countries are now facing," Fillon said during a press conference.

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Oil Prices Mixed Before Energy Demand Data

Oil prices were mixed on Monday as traders tracked developments in the Eurozone debt crisis, awaiting a batch of data on world energy demand due this week.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December delivery fell 54 cents to $93.72 a barrel.

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'Awesome' United States Angles for More Tourists

Say goodbye to the United States of America. Say hello to "the United States of Awesome Possibilities" as it looks to visitors from abroad to help lift it out of the economic doldrums.

By soft-pedaling patriotism, the newly-formed U.S. national tourism board tasked with getting more tourists -- and their money -- onto U.S. soil is reinventing the nation as a hip new land of diversity and possibilities.

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Israel General Strike Ends after 4 Hours

Israel was hit by a brief general strike on Monday that affected hospitals, banks, ports and the country's main international airport, but which ended after just four hours.

The strike shut down all government offices, universities, ports, post offices and the Tel Aviv stock exchange for most of the morning following a dispute over the working conditions of hundreds of thousands of contract workers employed by the government.

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Greek PM Steps Down for Unity Government

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Sunday agreed to step down and political leaders will meet tomorrow to form a new unity government to end the political crisis, the president's office said.

The deal was reached after a meeting lasting nearly two hours between Papandreou, main opposition leader Antonis Samaras and President Carolos Papoulias, the Greek head of state.

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Eurozone Keeps Heat on Greece, Holds Back Aid

Eurozone finance ministers regroup Monday to pressure Greece to unite behind reforms in return for aid vital to its financial survival, and boost the firepower of a bailout fund to protect Italy.

As Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou scrambles to form a coalition government, the eurozone is holding back the next slice of aid, eight billion euros ($11 billion), until rival parties back a new eurozone rescue package.

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Over 1 Million People Visit Iraqi Kurdistan

More than one million people have visited the autonomous Kurdistan region in north Iraq -- a haven of relative stability -- in the past nine months, a tourism official said on Saturday.

"The number of tourists who visited Kurdistan during the last nine months reached 1.15 million tourists," Mawlawi Jabbar, the head of the General Committee for Tourism in the Kurdistan tourism and municipalities ministry, told Agence France Presse.

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France Passes G20 Baton after Messy Cannes Summit

France's year-long G20 term stumbled to a messy end at the Cannes summit, where President Nicolas Sarkozy's dreams of reforming world finance were torpedoed by the eurozone debt crisis.

The leaders of the world's most powerful economies cobbled together a list of promised measures to boost growth and reinforce the IMF, but the statement was short on detail and all eyes were fixed on Rome and Athens.

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