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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/.

    NPR

    Is It All Greek To You? Thank Medieval Monks, And The Bard, For The Phrase

    Ben Zimmer, language columnist at The Wall Street Journal, explains the origin of the phrase "it's all Greek to me" — and shares a few variants from other languages.
    NPR

    Do Try This At Home: 3 Korean Banchan (Side Dishes) In One Pot

    If you've ever eaten at a Korean restaurant, you're used to the endless side dishes that come out with the meal. They're called banchan, and they're remarkably simple to make for yourself.
    WAMU 88.5

    Cutting Local Taxes in The District

    The D.C. Council has taken steps to accelerate tax cuts for all income earners. They're part of a broader overhaul of the city's tax levels, but some council members argued there wasn't enough time for a rigorous debate about the new schedule. We explore the debate over cutting taxes for D.C. residents and how it affects the city's ability to pay for critical local services.

    NPR

    Reddit CEO Says Miscommunication Led To Blackout Protest

    A user revolt briefly shut down the social site last week after a key employee was dismissed. Interim CEO Ellen Pao says the company has "apologized for not communicating better" with site moderators.

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