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Eurozone growth lowered to zero

According to revised official figures, the economy of the eurozone, the sixteen European countries using the euro, did not grow at all in the final quarter of last year. Eurostat reports that the number was revised from an initial figure of +0.1%.

Eurozone 2010

Meanwhile, the eurozone’s lost more than 2.2% in a year-on year comparison, more than the initial estimate of 2.1%.

According to the numbers, Ireland saw an output drop of 2.3% in the last quarter of 2009, while Greece, the country in the eurozone with the most debt, had its economy contract by 0.8%. Italy was down by 0.3%, Germany saw no gain, but France posted a 0.6% quarterly growth.

The Associated Press reports the stagnation was unexpected by analysts, and will only reinforce expectations that the European Central Bank will keep the key interest rate at one percent for most of 2010.

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Giant waves hit Mediteranean cruise ship

Two passengers on a Mediterranean cruise ship were killed by a giant wave on Wednesday. The incident occured off the north-east coast of Spain. The ship, named the Louis Majesty, had left from Barcelona, Spain and was headed for Genoa, Italy.

The giant wave broke the windows on deck five of the ship, resulting in two fatalities as well as another fourteen injuries. The two victims were German and Italian citizens. Following the incident, the ship returned to Barcelona. The ship, carrying over 1300 passengers, is expected to continue its journey after the injured are moved from the ship for treatment.

According to French officials, there had been no previous trouble with the ship. The waves were believed to have been 26 feet (8 meters) high. The ship is 660 feet (200 meters) long, and had 732 cabins onboard.

On this day January 1, 2002

Euro banknotes and coins become legal tender in twelve of the European Union’s member states.

euro_banknotesThe euro (currency sign: ; currency code: EUR) is the official currency of fifteen member states of the European Union (EU).

The states, known collectively as the Eurozone are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain. Read More…

Northern Cyprus opposition party wins elections

The Turkish Cypriot’s right-wing National Unity Party (UBP), has won the republic’s elections on Sunday in a landslide, according to provisional results released by officials.

With all votes having been counted, the UBP won 44.06% of all votes, garnering it a majority in Northern Cyprus‘ 50-seat parliament by provisional accounts. Read More…

Eurozone in recession

The Eurozone is now officially in a recession, due to the recently released figures showing that, in the third quarter of 2008, the economy shrunk by 0.2%.

European Central Bank

European Central Bank

For a recession to be official, the economy must have shrunk for at least two consecutive quarters. This is the case as the Eurozone’s economy also shrunk by 0.2% in the second quarter of this year.

Howard Archer, the chief European economist for Global Insight commented on these results. “Not only did the third quarter contraction in GDP confirm that the Eurozone is now in recession, but latest data and survey evidence indicate that the fourth quarter is likely to see a sharper fall in GDP as the financial crisis bites harder,” he stated.

This development comes after two large countries in the Eurozone, Germany and Italy announced that they were in a recession. Read More…

Cyprus and Malta adopt the Euro

Today at midnight, the Republic of Cyprus and the Republic of Malta, both small island states in the Mediterranean and former British colonies, adopted the euro as their official currency; less than four years after their accession to the European Union.

Because Cyprus and Malta are in different time zones, Cyprus adopted the euro one hour before Malta did the same. In both countries the euro was welcomed with outdoor celebrations, including a fireworks display in Malta’s capital Valletta.

According to the BBC Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris has said the euro “will benefit consumers and businesses alike because of the eurozone’s low inflation, low interest rates and large market.”