Europe

1:54pm

Tue January 31, 2012
Europe

For Hungarian Borrowers, A Mortgage Nightmare

Originally published on Tue January 31, 2012 6:16 pm

A woman passes by a real estate agency in Budapest, Hungary, in January. As the Hungarian currency plunges to new lows, ordinary citizens are struggling to repay foreign-denominated loans.
Laszlo Balogh Reuters/Landov

Since the U.S. housing bubble burst, many Americans have found themselves struggling to pay off mortgages that are worth more than their homes.

Now, imagine if those mortgages were in a foreign currency that has soared in value compared with the domestic currency — the one in which paychecks are issued.

As Hungary's currency plummets to record lows, this is exactly the plight of some 1 million Hungarians, who, during better financial times, took out mortgages and consumer loans in Swiss francs.

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10:01pm

Mon January 30, 2012
Europe

In Italy, Art As A Window Into Modern Banking

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:05 am

Oil painting by Marinus van Reymerswaele.
Courtesy of Palazzo Strozzi

As Italy and much of Europe struggle with their finances, the city of Florence has staged an art exhibition looking at the critical — and controversial — role that financial institutions have played for centuries.

The recent Money and Beauty exhibit, held in the majestic 15th-century Palazzo Strozzi, illustrated how Florentine merchants got around the Catholic Church's ban on money-lending and bankrolled the Renaissance.

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1:13pm

Mon January 30, 2012
Europe

Tables Are Turned On Crusading Spanish Judge

Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon (center) arrives at the Supreme Court in Madrid, Spain, on Jan. 24. The crusading human-rights judge is on trial for his attempt to investigate the more than 100,000 disappearances during Spain's civil war in the 1930s and the subsequent dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
Juan Medina Reuters/Landov

Thousands marched in Spain on Sunday in support of Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish judge who became an icon for human-rights activists when he indicted former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998.

Now, Spain's most famous judge is on trial, after turning his investigations toward the country's own fascist past.

Garzon, 56, is a champion of universal jurisdiction — the idea that the most heinous crimes need to be prosecuted, no matter where or when.

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12:55pm

Mon January 30, 2012
The Two-Way

Lost In Translation: Because Of Twitter Joke, Brits Denied Entry To U.S.

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 12:56 pm

Leigh Van Bryan.
Twitter

Talk about lost in translation: Today's British press is buzzing with a story in the British tabloid The Daily Mail, which reports that two British travelers were denied entry into the U.S., after authorities uncovered two tweets.

In one Leigh Van Bryan quipped, "Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America." And in another Van Bryan said that he was going to "dig up Marilyn Monroe."

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10:54am

Mon January 30, 2012
The Two-Way

At E.U. Meeting, Countries Expected To Agree That Austerity Is Not Enough

In this photo provided by the German Government Press Office, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel speak at a meeting at the European Council in Brussels ahead of the European Union leaders summit on Monday.
Getty Images

European Union leaders are meeting in Brussels today to discuss the monetary union's ongoing economic crisis. According to The New York Times, the countries will decide that austerity is not enough to curb the sovereign debt crisis.

The Times reports:

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