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  • Thousands protest austerity measures in Spain

    Madrid – In Spain on Thursday, yields on the country’s five-year bond reached a 16-year record high as the Conservative government tried to convince investors and European finance ministers that Spain can properly handle its budgetary crisis. The news came as tens of thousands of protestors took the streets in some 80 cities across the country, angry at the country’s recent austerity measures. Puerta del Sol is a popular Madrid plaza, filled with shops, cafes and, on Thursday, thousands of demonstrators from all across the capital region. A march that began less than one kilometer away ended steps away from…

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  • Cyprus assumes EU Presidency amid bank crisis

    Nicosia – The small eastern Meditteranean nation of Cyprus has taken over the six-month presidency of the Council of Europe just days after two of its three largest banks asked for assistance. The lanes have all been freshly painted, the flowers have been freshly planted, and the flags have been freshly flown. Yes, the Cypriot capital has been given a face lift as the nation of a little over one million people – a figure that includes Northern Cyprus (more on that soon) - assumes the European Union’s presidency. Cypriot President Demetris Christofias could not be prouder, returning from last…

  • Heads of Europe's biggest economies meet in Rome

    Rome, Italy -- Leaders from Germany, France, Spain and Italy meet in rare 4-way meeting to try to reach consensus on Euro crisis plan ahead of critical summit in Brussels. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, easily the biggest fan of the Euro currency among those who attended the so-called “Mini-EU Summit” alongside her on Friday - the heads of government from France, Spain and Italy – arrived at Rome’s Villa Madama Palace a little more reassured than she could have expected just one week ago. In recent days, voters in economically-troubled Greece chose a centrist, pro-bailout government just one month after…

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  • Letter from Lisbon: Portuguese voters elect new government

    Vote comes amid greatest economic crisis in three decades, and represents a shift to the political right LISBON - They say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if it IS broke, fix it. And fix it fast. One of the fundamental ideas behind democracy is that if the government is doing a bad job, the voters can – and will – give it the boot. On Sunday, the Portuguese people did just that. They went to the ballot box and voted for “mudar,” or change, as promised to them by the party of Prime Minister-elect Pedro Passos Coelho.…

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  • Learning lessons from Portugal's elections

    What do politics in Lisbon teach us about fixing the problems in the Middle East? The Middle East has always fascinated me. And like many others, it has always frustrated me. My first university degree was in political science, of which the foundation is the belief that there is a science – yes, science – to politics. In theory, formulas can be applied to similar situations. Yes often, those involved in the “world’s longest conflict” think it is beyond parallels. So where they exist, I try to find them. And I landed in Lisbon, which reminds me nothing of Tel…

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