Roman holiday

Money | The roots of European economic stagnation go back to the 1960s and '70s
by Timothy Lamer
Posted 10/22/05, 12:00 am

Western Europe over the past few months had the classic trappings of labor unrest: millions of workers walking out on their jobs, and companies, unable to hire replacement workers, struggling to cope with the loss.

You probably didn't read about it in the news, though, because it wasn't a strike; it was summertime as usual in France, Germany, and other European nations. Every year, a large portion of the full-time European work force leaves work at the same time, taking advantage of lavish paid vacation and holiday time mandated by law.

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High on the hog

Money | The Energy Information Administration predicts that heating oil prices will rise 34 percent this winter and that electricity bills will go up 11 percent
by Timothy Lamer
Posted 10/15/05, 12:00 am

He wasn't wearing a sweater, and he didn't mention anything about solar panels for the White House, but Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman last week still sounded a bit like Jimmy Carter, circa 1979.

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Disappearing act

Money | World's third largest economy facing demographic nightmare
by Timothy Lamer
Posted 10/08/05, 12:00 am

It's being called Florida 2000 without the hanging chads. The German political class is frantically trying to sort out what to do after an election in which Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder received 34.2 percent of the vote and Christian Democratic challenger Angela Merkel received 35.2 percent.

The parties have until Oct. 18 to try to scrabble together some sort of governing coalition, either with each other or with some of the smaller parties. "The voters have spoken," editorialized the Berliner Zeitung, "but what they have said is not easy to understand."

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