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Did little Slovakia just exercise its muscle and kill the Euro bailout package?
The Slovaks have spoken! A nation with a population roughly the size the San Francisco area and a GDP of $86 billion has failed to ratify the eurozone's plan for it to contribute $10 billion — about 12 percent of that GDP — to the currency union's bailout plans. This is the latest chapter in a debt-crisis melodrama that's forcing Greece into default and threatening Italy, Spain, and the banks of German, France, and possibly the United States.
Slovakia was the only eurozone country that voted nay. This is from the New York Times:
If nothing else, the unwieldy process underscored how the entire $590 billion euro stability fund, approved by the 16 other members of the euro currency zone, could be held hostage to the domestic politics of one tiny country, in this case Slovakia. It showed as well how a measure intended to increase confidence in the euro zone could instead emerge as a telling example of the shortcomings of a system that relies on an unwieldy group of nations to make and execute difficult decisions.
It looks as if Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant may endure the NBA lockout by heading for Italy. As has been widely reported, Kobe initially demanded Vitrus Bologna, an Italian team, pay him $15 million for a full season, after the team had offered $6.7 million.
Now it's looking like "more than $3 million" is the number, for just 10 games. To keep the math simple, that obviously works out to $300,000 per game. On his current contract with the Lakers, Kobe gets $25,244,000 per season, which comes to $307,853 per game (I'm basing this on an 82-game regular season and not counting in playoff games or the championship).
That's money he won't collect if the lockout isn't resolved. So understandably he's investigating other opportunities, and the Vitrus Bologna deal will only cost him a paltry eight grand per game. Plus, he gets to return to Italy, where he says he learned to play ball the right way, according to an interview he gave to an Italian newspaper: