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Recessions and depressions

Greek store closures spike as recession, austerity return

Shop owner's nightmare: Greek store closures spike as recession, austerity return
Derek Gatopoulos, The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece - Giorgos Prasinoudis ran his motocycle repair shop in Athens for three decades, through good times and bad. Now a "For Sale" sign hangs outside the window.

Empty storefronts are again a feature of Greece's towns and cities as spending dries up in a crisis that put Greece's future in the euro in doubt. The tales of hardship are repeated up and down the country of nearly 11 million people.

Retail sales weaken in Dec. but cap a record year

Retail sales inch up to end record year; holiday-season layoffs boost unemployment claims
Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - America's retailers enjoyed a record 2011 and their first $400 billion sales months ever. But the final month of the year was a dud.

Sales eked out a 0.1 per cent increase in December, to a seasonally adjusted $400.6 billion.

It was the second straight month that sales topped $400 billion. Revised government data showed that sales in November also surpassed that level.

Skyscraper boom may herald downturn

Pride cometh before a fall: Skyscraper boom may herald economic downturn
Erika Kinetz, The Associated Press

MUMBAI, India - A skyscraper building boom in China and India may be a sign of an impending economic correction in two of Asia's largest economies, according to a new report by Barclays Capital.

Barclays has mapped an "unhealthy correlation" between construction of the world's tallest buildings and impending financial crises over the last 140 years.

Today, China is home to half of the world's skyscrapers — defined as buildings over 240 metres tall — currently under construction.

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