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    Citing Eurozone Crisis, Fitch Threatens Downgrade Of 6 EU Countries

    Fitch ratings agency, one of the big three, said today that it was considering downgrading the credit ratings of six Euro-zone countries. Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia and Cyprus could see their their rating cut by one or two notches.

    The AP reports:

    "Fitch says that following last week's EU summit, it 'has concluded that a "comprehensive solution" to the eurozone crisis is technically and politically beyond reach.'

    "It expects to complete the review of the countries' ratings by the end of January."

    Fitch also kept France's rating intact, which as the AP reports is a big deal because it keeps the underpinning of the European bailout intact.

    Fitch's decision, however, comes just after the EU received a rash of bad news:

    -- Ireland said today that its economy had contracted 1.9 percent in the third quarter, worst than predicted. As The Guardian puts it, it signifies that "Ireland's problems are far from over." The Financial Times adds that the poor GDP numbers won't encourage other countries to take on austerity measures the way Ireland did. The FT says the news spoils "Ireland's emerging image as a 'poster boy' for other debt-laden peripheral eurozone economies."

    -- The S&P downgraded six Portuguese banks to junk status. The AP reports that "the announcement cranked up the pressure on Portugal and the wider eurozone, which is scrambling to free itself from a debt crisis."

    -- The AP adds: "Spain's central bank reported that debt levels for the country's 17 regions have soared 22 percent over the past year. EU officials in Brussels warned that private creditors were resisting EU efforts to write off euro100 billion ($130 billion) in Greek debts."

    Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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    Dystopian Novel Challenges Misogyny As 'The Natural Way Of Things'

    Charlotte Wood's short, gripping book focuses on 10 women who have been sent to a prison camp after various sex scandals. Critic John Powers calls The Natural Way of Things a ferocious novel.
    NPR

    Collards And Canoodling: How Helen Gurley Brown Promoted Premarital Cooking

    The legendary Cosmo editor, subject of two new biographies, knew sex sells – and food brings in ad money. She cannily combined them with features like "After Bed, What? (a light snack for an encore)."
    NPR

    The Rise And Fall Of FOX News CEO Roger Ailes

    Ailes resigned last week amid allegations of sexual harassment. Biographer Gabriel Sherman joins Fresh Air to discuss the accusations, as well as Ailes' influence on political discourse in America.
    NPR

    FBI Investigates Possible Russian Connection To Leaked DNC Emails

    Hackers tied to two Russian intelligence agencies breached DNC computers in May, but whether the same hackers turned over thousands of emails to WikiLeaks is still under investigation.

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