The coffee’s freshly ground, there’s a wide variety of teas and the sticky buns are homemade.

  • “China’s export-dependent economy grew at its slowest pace in more than two years in the final quarter of 2011, Reuters reported. Officials from the world’s second-largest economy announced today that gross domestic product grew 8.9 percent, after measures were taken to tame inflation and create a buffer from the global debt crisis. This is the slowest rate of expansion since the second quarter of 2009.”
  • “A group of hedge funds is threatening to block a last-ditch attempt to save Greece from defaulting on its huge debt pile, unless they are guaranteed a significant payout. There will be a final attempt today – when a group representing Greece’s private sector bondholders meets senior ministers in Athens – to negotiate a writedown of the value of the country’s debt ahead of a crucial bond repayment deadline next month.”
  • “Thousands of Greek workers took part in rallies in central Athens today and marched on parliament in protest against austerity measures as European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials arrived in the city to inspect Greece’s battered finances. Around 10,000 protesters participated in the demonstrations, according to the Associated Press, disrupting public transport and other services. No ferries left from its main ports, and journalist unions began a 48-hour strike.”
  • “Gurkhas today claimed they were being unfairly targeted for cuts after the [UK] Ministry of Defence announced around one in 10 posts in the brigade will be axed. Up to 2,900 members of the Army, 1,000 members of the Royal Air Force and 300 members of the Royal Navy, including military top brass, will be made redundant in the latest round of Government cuts. The MoD confirmed 400 Gurkhas with more than six years’ service in the 3,500-strong brigade will lose their jobs.”
  • “The European court of human rights has blocked the deportation to Jordan of Abu Qatada – who has been called Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe – because he risks facing a trial based on torture-tainted evidence. The Strasbourg judges upheld the British government’s strategy of attempting to deport international terror suspects to countries which have given diplomatic assurances that they will not face torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.”
  • “The Chinese authorities have indicted a veteran dissident on subversion charges for writing a poem urging people to gather to defend their freedoms, his lawyer said yesterday. The dissident, Zhu Yufu, is the latest activist facing such charges in a continuing clampdown. The 60-year-old, from Hangzhou, was arrested last April for “inciting subversion of state power”, a charge often used against critics of the ruling Communist Party.”
  • “The European Union’s executive body says it will take legal action against the Hungarian government for failing to make disputed reform laws comply with EU legislation. The European Commission said on Tuesday that the new laws undermine the independence of the national central bank and judiciary and does not respect data privacy principles. It said it had found enough evidence to start legal proceedings, which may end up in a court case later this year.”
  • “Guatemala may be facing a violent escalation of the drug-war ravaging the country. New president Otto Perez Molina has promised to deal with the cartels with an “iron fist.” But will it work? If Perez Molina, a conservative retired army general, is true to his word, Guatemala could end up repeating the experience of its larger neighbor Mexico, where nearly 50,000 have died since President Francisco Calderon took a strategic decision to meet the narco-traffickers’ fire with fire in 2006.”
  • “The European Commission should consider passing legislation to prevent finance generated within its member states being used to support illegal Israeli settlements in occupied territory, the bloc’s top diplomats in Jerusalem and Ramallah have advised.”

From Real News:

Editorial cartoon

The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off.