Chatter: Europe awaits big decisions by the ECB




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Need to know:

The European Central Bank (ECB), led by the bespectacled, Italian Mario Draghi is set to announce key decisions Thursday on the future of the euro.

The options on the table to save the euro are unpleasant. The ECB could buy government bonds with the European Rescue fund with questionable efficacy or with the much larger European Stability Fund - the latter still not fully functional. There is also talk of providing a kind of stimulus package to ailing economies - a move that would need German approval, which may not be forthcoming.

Draghi's words last week that that ECB will do whatever it takes to save the Euro, provided temporary respite for hangers-on Spain, Greece and Italy, that have seen dramatic rises in borrowing costs. Interests rates in those countries are threatening to sink them into bankruptcy.

There is still talk about a "Grexit" - Greece's exit from the Eurozone which many analysts say is inevitable as Greece remains insolvent. Meanwhile, Greek society is buckling under the pressure of austerity with new reports of the dire effects on the nation's children.

Want to know:

The battle for Syria still rages as Assad announces that "the enemy is among us." Assad's words were the first since the killing of members of his inner circle in mid-July and were meant to mark the 67th anniversary of the founding of the Syrian army.

Despite air assaults and mortar fire, it is believed that Syrian troops have lost control of large parts of the northern city of Aleppo. It was reported that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have taken control of two police stations in the city and key neighborhoods during the two week battle that continues today.

There appears to be mounting evidence that Al Qaeda-linked militants have joined the fight. The news is spurring Syrian Christians to take up arms to prevent an Iraq-style purge of the religious group during the post-invasion civil conflict.

Dull but important:

European manufacturing hits a three-year low with reverberations felt around the world. Cost-cutting and falling orders has led to job losses around the Eurozone, with Spain, Greece and Italy particularly hard hit. Europe's largest economy, Germany, also saw a contraction in export orders.

Asian manufacturers have consequently seen declines in export orders as the global economy stagnates. Output has all but stalled as the EU and US, major trade partners to Asian economies, face economic crises and even recession.

The news of manufacturing declines in Europe have also hit stocks hard after a hopeful week. Much depends on what is decided in both Washington and Brussels Thursday, where major announcements are expected on how to revive economic growth.

Just because:

Gore Vidal is dead at 86. The American author, playwright and polemicist penned over 25 novels, two memoirs and countless essays. He died of complications from pneumonia at his home in California.

A celebrity gadfly, Vidal took pleasure in his role as a public intellectual, appearing on television shows, like The Simpsons and Family Guy, while twice running for office in upstate New York in 1960 and for a Senate seat in California in 1982.

Vidal was no stranger to controversy. He peddled in conspiracy theories of all sorts and even brawled (literally) with fellow writers. He famously called conservative thinker, William F. Buckley, a "cryptofacist," and Norman Mailer akin to Charles Manson - words that earned him a headbutt by the famous author.

Strange but true:

Former cheerleader for the Cincinnati Bengals and one-time schoolteacher, Sarah Jones, has been charged with sleeping with a former underage student.

Jones, 27, who was enraged by comments that she was the female "Jerry Sandusky" is said to have "sexted" a student in her class and is alleged to have acted upon the electronic enticements five or six times.

Apparently, word of the relationship leaked after the young student's ex-girlfriend got word of what was going on.