World View: German Court to Decide Constitutionality of Euro Bailouts

This morning's key headlines from
  • Protesters attack U.S. Embassy in Cairo Egypt
  • U.S. consulate employee killed in attack on Libya embassy
  • Catalonia demands independence from Spain
  • Germany's Constitutional Court to rule on legality of bailouts
  • Greece to determine WW II reparations from Germany for Nazi war crimes

Protesters attack U.S. Embassy in Cairo Egypt

About 2000 Salafi protesters, chanting "There is no god but Allah," protested in front of the United States embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Several dozen of the protesters climbed over the walls of the embassy and tore down a large American flag, replacing it with a black flag on which it was written: "There's no God but God and Muhammad is the prophet of God." What triggered the protests was an American made film, "Muhammad's Trial," posted on YouTube in July, that portrays Muhammad as a womanizer, pedophile and fraud. The controversial film is reportedly being produced by US-based expatriate Coptic-Christian Egyptians, including Esmat Zaklama and Morees Sadek, with the support of the Terry Jones Church in the United States. Al-Ahram (Cairo) and The Daily News Egypt

U.S. consulate employee killed in attack on Libya embassy

An armed angry mob attacked and set fire to the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing a consulate employee. The Benghazi attack followed the Cairo attack by several hours, and protestors claimed it was in response to the same film. Since the film has been available on YouTube for several weeks, there is speculation that both protests were organized by the same Salafist group. The situation is reminiscent of the "Danish cartoons" that depicted Muhammad. ( "Cartoon controversy explodes into worldwide confrontations between Muslims and Westerners") The cartoons were published in September, 2005, but nothing happened until January, 2006, when uncontrolled mobs in Syria and Lebanon attacked the Danish and Norwegian embassies. Al-Jazeera

Catalonia demands independence from Spain

As Spain becomes more and more deeply mired in the euro crisis, the Catalonia region is adding to Spain's problems by demanding independence. In particular, Catalonia wants to collect its own taxes and pay its own expenses. Catalonia has already requested a 5 billion euros bailout from Spain, but says that Catalonians pay 20 billion euros each year in taxes to Madrid, and so they should be able to get the 5 billion euros for free. Catalonia was one of the biggest benefactors of Spain's huge real estate bubble, and the region used the money from the bubble to go into further debt to pay for expensive new projects that it now can't afford. Irish Times

Germany's Constitutional Court to rule on legality of bailouts

By the time that you read this on Wednesday morning, Germany's Verfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court) will probably have ruled on an issue that has caused European politicians to hold their breaths for weeks: Is the European bailout found (European Stability Mechanism or ESM) legal under German constitutional law? A "NO" ruling would send the markets into chaos, so it's thought unlikely that the court will make that ruling. However, many analysts expect a "YES" with restrictions: The ESM is OK so far, but if Europeans want to expand it, then doing so will require a vote of the Bundestag (Parliament), and passage there would be very seriously in doubt. Deutsche Welle

Greece to determine WW II reparations from Germany for Nazi war crimes

Greece's finance ministry has set up a "working group" to scour historical archives and determine how much Germany might own to Greece in outstanding reparations for Nazi war crimes during World War II. It's estimated that the total will come to $7.5 million, a small fraction of the money that Germany and the rest of Europe are spending to bail Greece out. Greek Reporter/AFP

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