Athens’ stocks fell 12.8 per cent on Tuesday partly due to investors’ concerns about the radical left Syriza party winning power. But public anger is understandable: in total, Greek gross domestic product has fallen 26 per cent from its pre-crisis peak.

 

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Keith Fray

 

People in the UK are more likely to support a third party rather than vote Conservative or Labour in the general election next May, say pollsters YouGov. Supp0ort for Ukip and the Scottish National party has risen sharply.

 

 

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Real wages in Germany and the US have risen slightly since the financial crisis, whereas in the UK they have fallen 7.5 per cent. But Spain has really suffered, with real wages down by a quarter.

 

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Oil is not the only commodity to suffer a price fall. Commodities have been falling in general this year after a decade-long boom — driven by China’s rapid economic growth. Now as its economy has slowed, demand and prices have fallen.

 

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Overall the BRC-Nielsen shop price index, which measures the changes in prices of 500 commonly bought items, records a fall in prices of 1.9 per cent year on year. Non-food prices fell by 2.9 per cent in November while food fell by 0.2 per cent.

The news comes after data from the Living Costs and Food survey — released on Tuesday — showed the extent to which living standards were squeezed following the financial crisis. Spending on housing, fuel and power became the largest category of spending in 2011 as increasing energy bills and a greater proportion of the population became renters. At the same time transport, the previous highest category, fell as more drivers economised due to higher petrol prices. Read more

Keith Fray

 

Chancellor George Osborne presents his latest take on the UK’s finances on Wednesday. The share of government debt in national income is at its highest since the late 1960s, but Bank of England estimates back to the 19th century show that the debt share has usually been higher.

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Steve Johnson

A question, dear reader. You are setting out to measure gender inequality. One of the indicators in front of you has a gender splt of 49/51. Another has a 72/53 divide. Which of the two is more redolent of a happy, inequality-free nirvana?

If you’re the World Economic Forum, the answer is the latter. Welcome to the Orwellian world of the WEF’s annual Gender Gap Report. Read more

The global financial crisis of 2008 had a big impact on migration, with a million fewer people a year moving to another country on average after 2010 than in the 10 years before. But since 1960, the percentage of the global population classified as migrants has remained steady at roughly 3 per cent, largely as a result of population growth. The OECD last year found that if there was a cost from new migrants it was generally small.

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The amount Americans spend during the Black Friday sales that follow Thanksgiving Thursday more than doubled from $26bn in 2005 to $61.4bn in 2013.

 

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Emily Cadman

How well is Britain’s economy doing? The default answer has always been to look at GDP – which is why legions of city analysts are anxiously hunched over their screens at precisely 9.30am every quarter.

But over the past decade there has been widespread acceptance that this headline number doesn’t adequately describe whether most people are in fact feeling better off. Read more

 

Average fuel consumption of new US cars has risen by a quarter over the past seven years to just over 25 miles per gallon, which is well below the average for Europe which is closer to 50 mpg.

 

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The UK’s information technology sector could be about 40 per cent bigger than previously though, with at least 70,000 more ICT companies in operation.

That’s according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research who have come up with a pretty novel way of measuring the size of Britain’s tech sector using one of the industry’s most hyped concepts ‘big data’.

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Keith Fray

 

Ed Milliband, leader of the UK Labour party, has the lowest voter satisfaction rating this close to an election of any opposition leader in the past 40 years, according to Ipsos Mori. In this period, Margaret Thatcher had the lowest rating of those who became prime minister.

 

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Europe’s producers of pears are leaving crops to rot because of retaliation by Russia, the biggest buyer of European pears, against sanctions.

Many growers say it is cheaper not to harvest any but the most perfect fruit in a year when, according to Mintec, the commodities research and data group, overall production in Europe is estimated at 2.27m tonnes, down 2 per cent year-on-year from high output levels of 2013. Read more

 

Countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development spend, on average, 22 per cent of GDP on social expenditure, which includes transfers in cash, such as pensions and in-kind, such as education. North and western Europe tend to spend the most: the east and anglophone countries, the least.

 

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In the aftermath of the financial crisis the world saw an increase in the number of street protests. Many inspired by perceived connections between the political elite and business interests; Occupy Wall Street and Los Indignados in the west to the Arab Spring and the protests against Victor Yanukovich in Ukraine. A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research presents evidence on their power.

Daron Acemoglu, Tarek Hassan and Ahmed Tahoun examines the correlation between street protests in Egypt and the stock market returns for firms connected to former president Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP), the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military. Read more

 

The fashion for craft beer and artisan products has led to an explosion in the number of microbreweries. Since 2008 their number has more than doubled in the European Union to 3,616 and almost doubled in the US to 2,768 at the last count.

 

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goal scorers, Champions League and European Cup

By Wednesday night it is almost certain there will be a new name atop the goal scoring charts of European club football’s elite competition.

Lionel Messi currently sits level with former Real Madrid star Raul on 71 goals, and behind them is Cristiano Ronaldo on 70. Either Messi or Ronaldo could become the outright leader when their sides play on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

And the fierce competition between Messi and Ronaldo may even be ushering in a new higher scoring era. The goals-per-game ratio across all players declined steadily from four per match in the late 1950s to settle around 2.5 in the past decade, but has jumped back up to three in the past five seasons.

Looking back across the Champions League and its predecessor the European Cup, the 100 highest scoring players are packed with modern greats. And this is no coincidence – there are 126 matches in the current format, excluding qualifiers, up from fewer than 60 in the early years of the European Cup.

But that hasn’t stopped some of the greats of yesteryear breaking into the upper echelons of that top 100.

Alfredo di Stefano – one of 22 Real Madrid players on the list – scored 49 goals in the 1950s and 1960s, placing him sixth in the all-time rankings. Portugal and Benfica star Eusebio is two places behind on 46. So what happens when we adjust the absolute goal tallies for the number of matches each player took part in?

Eusebio tops the rankings, followed by former Manchester United forward Ruud van Nistelrooy. Messi, Raul and Ronaldo complete the top five, and then Ronaldo’s team mate Karim Benzema is sandwiched between two men who stopped playing before he was born – di Stefano and the Hungarian Ferenc Puskas. Read more

Global consumption of farmed fish and seafood is set to exceed that of wild fish this year, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. With the total traded fish market worth $136bn in 2013, this turning point for the industry ensures a more stable food supply but it also carries environmental risks.

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The countries in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries rely on their foreign reserves to insulate them from a decline in oil prices. The four-month decline in the price shouldn’t affect Saudi Arabias public finances too badly — it has reserves of $739.5bn — Venezuela may have a tougher time with only $21.2bn.

 

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