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Saturday, December 11, 2021 11:28 AM

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BERLIN, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said Germany would stand behind the euro, despite its opposition to a joint European bond issuance.

"All European countries are determined to keep this European currency stable, and we have the means to do it," Schauble said, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

Schauble said, "Sometimes it takes crises so that Europe moves forward. In this crisis, Europe will find steps toward further unification."

The eurozone shares a common currency, but each of the 16 countries that use the euro has independent fiscal responsibilities.

Schauble said it was too early to tell if fiscal integration was the correct course of action, however, IHS Global Insight chief economist Nariman Behravesh said, "If Germany is willing to go down that road, it's a big plus."

Since the European Union extended a $93 billion emergency loan to Ireland, finance ministers have discussed increasing the size of the emergency fund.

Luxembourg premier Jean-Claude Juncker called for a joint bond issuance, then called German "un-European" for rejecting the proposal. Investors and finance ministers worry the EU will next have to bail out Portugal and after that Spain, a far larger economy.

But Schauble said, "There will be no domino effect, because we will defend the common currency."

U.S. firms fend off cyberattacks

NEW YORK, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Cyber attackers brashly said they were aiming to disrupt, but not disable, U.S. company Web sites to protest recent treatment of Internet firm WikiLeaks.

"We do not want to steal your personal information or credit card numbers. We do not seek to attack critical infrastructure of companies such as MasterCard, Visa, PayPal or Amazon," said an online posting by a group called Anonymous, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

"Our current goal is to raise awareness about WikiLeaks and the underhanded methods employed by the above companies to impair WikiLeaks' ability to function," the posting said.

Attacks on Visa and MasterCard Inc. (NYSE:MA) Web sites briefly knocked them off line this week. PayPal was able to avoid an outage, but the firm's technical staff went into "red alert status," after an online posting said, "PayPal is the enemy," the Journal said.

The cyber-assaults have mostly been relatively unsophisticated "distributed denial of service" type attacks that have available counter-measures.

The attacks generally try to overwhelm a company's server, causing slowdowns or outages.

WikiLeaks released thousands of diplomatic cables to the public recently, causing several U.S. companies to distance themselves from the whistle-blower Web site. Some firms disabled or removed links from their Web sites that made it possible for users to donate to WikiLeaks.

Government balked at egg regulations

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. egg producers were on board with tighter regulations well before this summer's salmonella outbreak, a former Washington lobbyist for the industry said.

The United Egg Producers, a trade group, initially resisted regulations after President Bill Clinton made it a priority in 1999, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Then, the group caved. "We were going to be regulated. This was going to happen and the industry had to respond," said former chief lobbyist Ken Klippen.

Even then, regulations were delayed by philosophical differences and regulatory turf wars that held back regulations until 1,900 people fell ill with salmonella poisoning, the newspaper said.

Caroline Smith DuWaal, director of food safety at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the Post, "The government dysfunction over the salmonella problem really started with the turf issues."

For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is responsible for ensuring chickens are healthy. The Food and Drug Administration, however, is responsible for the egg.

Crack open the egg, however, and the FDA is, again, the regulator of choice. The USDA, similarly, is responsible for transportation of an intact egg, but the FDA oversees safety at restaurants.

Regulations then ran into the issue of body counts. Not enough people were sick to make regulating the industry a priority.

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget held the trump card, deciding not to endorse regulations because they "didn't think there were enough bodies in the street," said William Hubbard, associate FDA commissioner from 1991 to 2005.

Food prices in China up 11.7 percent

BEIJING, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- China said Saturday its consumer price index rose 5.1 percent on an annual basis in November with food prices climbing 11.7 percent.

Core prices, which exclude food, rose 1.9 percent from November to November, CNNMoney.com reported.

On Friday, the People's Bank of China (OOTC:BACHY) raised its reserve requirement for banks 0.5 percent after customs officials said exports had increased 35 percent over the past 12 months and imports were up 38 percent.

Analysts expect the bank will take further steps to slow the economy and curb the inflationary trend. Last week, China said it would aim for a more "prudent" monetary policy next for 2011.

In contrast, the annual CPI is about 1.2 percent in the United States. Core prices in the United States are rising at an annual rate of 0.6 percent.

(Source: UPI )
(Source: Quotemedia)
 

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