German industrial production drops again in June

BERLIN — German industrial production declined for a second consecutive month in July in the latest sign that Europe’s biggest economy is headed for a recession in the current quarter.The Economy Ministry said Friday production was 0.6% lower than the previous month, following a 1.1% drop in June. That followed separate data showing factory orders fell 2.7% in July.Germany’s economy contracted 0.1% in the April-June period. It is considered likely to shrink again in the third quarter, placing it in a technical recession, and business confidence recently hit a nearly seven-year low.UniCredit bank economist Andreas Rees argues the extent of pessimism is “an exaggeration” and said “the story is not one of outright collapse in the German industrial sector but of negative spillover effects from manufacturing to internal demand.”The Associated Press read more

Pope Francis and UN agency discuss sustainable future of agriculture

“If all Member States work for one another, consensus for action by FAO will not be late in arriving and, moreover, FAO’s original role will be rediscovered,” the Pope declared during a special audience at the Vatican, as he cited the agency’s Latin logo, ‘fiat panis,’ or ‘let there be bread.” “Volatile food prices prevent the poor from planning ahead, from being able to count on getting even a minimum level of nutrition,” the Pontiff continued. “Let us seek another path.”In a separate meeting with FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, Pope Francis underscored the importance of the UN agency’s ongoing efforts to decentralize “so as to be in the midst of the rural world, in order to understand the needs of the people the Organization is here to serve.” The Pontiff, however, also drew attention to the dangers of market influences and speculation on agriculture, voicing concern over large scale acquisitions of agricultural land by transnational companies and governments which, he said, “not only deprives farmers of an essential good [but also] affects the sovereignty of nations.”He expressed the same tone of concern when discussing the state of food waste around the world, urging consumers to “decisively commit” to modified lifestyles and sustainable living. “Sobriety is not in opposition to development, indeed it is now clear that the one is a necessary condition for the other,” he said. read more