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On this day September 29, 1954

Eleven countries signed a convention establishing the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), currently the world’s largest particle physics laboratory.

Blue founding members

Blue founding members

The acronym CERN originally stood, in French, for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Council for Nuclear Research), which was a provisional council for setting up the laboratory.

The organization was established by the following 11 European governments; Belgium, Denmark, West Germany, France, Greece, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands and United Kingdom.

Today the organization has twenty European member states, and is currently the workplace of approximately 2,600 full-time employees, as well as some 7,931 scientists and engineers (representing 580 universities and research facilities and 80 nationalities). Read More…

Greek crisis drive the euro to one-year low

The euro fell to a one-year low against the US dollar earlier yesterday, over fears that the bailout package proposed for the ailing Greek economy would not prevent financial troubles elsewhere in Europe.

The currency reached $1.3088 against the dollar – a level not seen since April of last year – although it recovered slightly to end the day at $1.3094.

However, that was still lower than the $1.3212 it traded for on Monday. Euro also lost 1.6% against the yen, to a trading level of Y122.81, and 0.3% on the pound, going down to £0.8632.

The euro is losing strength as the Eurozone is struggling to prevent the Greek economy from defaulting on debts; a rescue loan package worth 110 billion euros (US$145.62 billion) is currently underway to help ease the crisis. Michael Hewson, who is a currency analyst for CMC Markets, commented that the euro probably will “continue to remain under pressure over the coming days.” Read More…

Standard & Poor’s downgrades Greece’s sovereign credit rating to junk

The Greek government requested that the EU/IMF bailout package be activated. The IMF has said it was “prepared to move expeditiously on this request”.

The size of the bailout is expected to be €45 billion ($61 billion) and it is expected to take three weeks to negotiate, with a payout within weeks of €8.5 billion of Greek bonds becoming due for repayment.

The Greek debt rating was decreased to BB+ (a ‘junk’ status) by Standard & Poor’s amidst fears of default by the Greek government. The Greek government was offering borrowers 15.3% on two-year government bonds. Read More…

Greece formally asks for EU-IMF loans

Greece has formally asked for rescue loans by the European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be activated, aimed at helping the country recover from an economic crisis.

Under the plan, countries in the Eurozone will provide up to 30 billion euros in loans in the first year, while the IMF will contribute ten billion euros.

“The moment has come,” said Greek prime minister George Papandreou. He stated that it is “a national and pressing necessity for us to formally ask our partners for the activation of the support mechanism, which we jointly created in the European Union.” The prime minister added that “several days will pass before money can start being drawn.” Read More…

Eurozone offer euro30 billion loans to Greece

The sixteen nations in the eurozone have offered to give Greece thirty billion euro in emergency loans for the debt-stricken country, should the latter want it.

The loans’ price will be determined using formulas by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and will be set at around five percent.

The Luxembourgish prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, speaking on behalf of eurozone finance ministers, commented that “[t]he total amount put up by the eurozone member states for the first year will reach 30bn euros.” He added that “[t]his is certainly no subsidy” to Greece. Read More…

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.

22 billion € in financing to support Greece

A meeting in Brussels has produced a plan, supported by all 16 countries in the eurozone, to make available up to 22 billion euros in financing to support Greece, which is laden with debt.

Eurozone 2010

The deal would come into force only if Greece was unable to borrow money from commercial lenders, and would require approval from all 16 eurozone countries.

While no figures were included in the agreement, anonymous officials said the total package would be around 22 billion euros, of which European countries would provide two-thirds.

The remainder would be supplied by the International Monetary Fund. Read More…