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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

    The Judgment Of Paris: The Blind Taste Test That Decanted The Wine World

    Forty years ago, the top names in French food and wine judged a blind tasting pitting the finest French wines against unknown California bottles. The results revolutionized the wine industry.
    WAMU 88.5

    D.C.'s Public Schools Select New Lunch Providers

    D.C. Public Schools is abandoning longtime school food provider Chartwells in the wake of allegations of poor food quality and fraud and moving forward with new vendors for 2016. But, questions remain about the selection process and future oversight.

    WAMU 88.5

    Creating A D.C. State Constitution

    We explore the historic process of crafting a constitution for D.C. statehood nearly three decades after the last attempt, and find out how drafters are preparing for the June constitutional convention.

    NPR

    In A Lawsuit, New York Accuses Domino's Pizza Of Wage Theft

    It's the latest chapter in a long campaign against wage theft by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. His office has already recovered millions of dollars in wages for low-income workers.

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