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European Central Bank To Make Crucial Decision



FRANKFURT - The European Central Bank (ECB) is holding a meeting today in Frankfurt (Germany) to make a crucial decision on the euro's future reports French financial newspaper La Tribune.

Investors are looking for the European Central Bank President to make good on his promise to do whatever is needed to protect the euro, interpreted by most as a signal that the ECB will intervene in bond markets, reports Bloomberg.

While the leaders of Germany, France and Italy have appeared to endorse Draghi's plan, echoing his language in saying they will do whatever is necessary to protect the euro, significant hurdles remain, adds Bloomberg.

There is also speculation that the Eurozone's current bailout fund - with the ECB as its agent - will buy government bonds at auction to drive down the Spanish government's actual cost of borrowing, reports BBC News. But there is controversy around any such plan as the ECB is forbidden from lending money to European governments under its constitution.

"If Draghi just comes out with a do-nothing, markets are going to react extremely badly and the ECB will have a full-blown crisis on their hands," James Nixon, chief European economist at Societe Generale SA in London, told Bloomberg.

Last month, the ECB's President Mario Draghi had some strong words about how high peripheral borrowing costs were impeding monetary policy, reports Business Insider.

According to a survey carried out by Bloomberg, economists expect ECB officials to keep the benchmark interest rate at a record low 0.75%. The deposit rate will be left at zero, another survey shows.

Meanwhile, markets in Europe are currently slipping, reports Business Insider. Italy is down 0.6%. Spain is down a little less.

The ECB will make its decision public at 1:45 pm local time in Frankfurt while Mario Draghi will hold a press conference at 2:30 pm.

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food / travel

Legalizing Moonshine, A Winning Political Stand In Poland

Moonshine, typically known as “bimber” in Poland, may soon be legalized by the incoming government. There is a mix of tradition, politics and economics that makes homemade booze a popular issue to campaign on.

Photo of an empty vodka bottle on the ground in Poland

Bottle of vodka laying on the ground in Poland

Leszek Kostrzewski

WARSAWIt's a question of freedom — and quality. Poland's incoming coalition government is busy negotiating a platform for the coming years. Though there is much that still divides the Left, the liberal-centrist Civic Koalition, and the centrist Third Way partners, there is one area where Poland’s new ruling coalition is nearly unanimous: moonshine.

The slogan for the legalization of moonshine (known in Poland as "bimber") was initially presented by Michał Kołodziejczak, the leader of Agrounia, a left-wing socialist political movement in Poland that has qualified to be part of the incoming Parliament.

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”Formerly so-called moonshine was an important element of our cultural landscape, associated with mystery, breaking norms, and freedom from the state," Kołodziejczak said. "It was a reason to be proud, just like the liqueurs that Poles were famous for in the past.”

The president of Agrounia considered the right to make moonshine as a symbol of "subjectivity" that farmers could enjoy, and admitted with regret that in recent years it had been taken away from citizens. “It's also about a certain kind of freedom, to do whatever you want on your farm," Kołodziejczak adds. "This is subjectivity for the farmer. Therefore, I am in favor of providing farmers with the freedom to consume this alcohol for their own use.”

A similar viewpoint was aired by another Parliament member. “We will stop pretending that Polish farmers do not produce moonshine for their own use, such as for weddings,” the representative said, pointing out the benefits of controlling the quality. “Just like they produce slivovitz, which Poland is famous for. It's high time they did it legally.”

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