China, Europe orders signal economic healing but U.S. disappoints

But then the FCC decided not to regulate broadband the same way. Whereas telecom providers had to practice unbundling, Internet providers didn’t the better to encourage them to build more infrastructure , or so the logic went. If all the companies expected to freeload, nobody would take the responsibility to lay the cables. Today, that means every ISP owns its own network. But it also means there are fewer competitors in the marketplace. “In the year 2000, there were 9,000 ISPs in the United States,” Kehl told me. After the FCC steered clear of unbundling for broadband, she said, the number fell by 74 percent to less than 2,500 in 2005. Now that the market for broadband has become so empty, net neutrality is one of the few policies that can keep the Internet open and affordable, Kehl said. Europe will be watching the D.C. Circuit closely for a decision on net neutrality. However the case turns out, it will set a major precedent for the dozens of activist groups working independently in each country, said Roslyn Layton, an American Internet economist at Aalborg University in Copenhagen. “Every country defines net neutrality differently. I’ve counted 12 different definitions,” she said. “This is how the individual groups capture their constituencies, but the definitions make it hard to develop a single regulatory framework” across the continent.

Merkel pledges stable German coalition but sets no deadline, sees no need for change on Europe

Heavy smoke rises from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi Kenya Monday Sept. 23 2013. Multiple large blasts have rocked the mall where a hostage siege is in its third day. Associated Press reporters on the scene heard multiple blasts and a barrage of gunfire. Security forces have been attempting to rescue an unknown number of hostages inside the mall held by al-Qaida-linked terrorists.  (AP Photo/ Jerome Delay)

Still, the bloc should be able to take on its continuing challenges from a position of improving economic growth, after the region pulled out of recession in the second quarter. Markit’s Eurozone Flash Composite PMI jumped to 52.1 in September from last month’s 51.5, its highest since June 2011 and beating expectations for a reading of 51.9. The pace of expansion in the bloc’s dominant services sector also beat all forecasts in a Reuters poll and the surveys suggested the recovery was becoming more broad-based. Business at firms in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, expanded at a faster pace than last month and in France, the second biggest, activity increased – albeit marginally – for the first time in 19 months. FORWARD MARCH Markit said the composite euro zone PMI, which surveys both manufacturing and service sector companies across the region and is seen as a good guide to economic growth, pointed to a 0.2 percent expansion this quarter, matching a Reuters poll taken earlier this month. “Today’s PMI figures support the view that the euro zone recovery is gradually becoming more entrenched and, as such, further reduce the odds that the ECB will follow up its forward guidance rhetoric with action,” said Martin van Vliet at ING. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said earlier this month monetary policy would remain accommodative for as long as necessary, and that interest rates would remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time. However, some analysts had speculated the bank may take solid action to keep a lid on rising loan rates which could inhibit the recovery. New business in the bloc increased again this month, boding well for October activity, and it was a similar story in China where new export orders jumped to a 10-month peak. Encouragingly, domestic demand also showed resilience, with new orders rising to a five-month high. The Chinese flash HSBC PMI climbed to 51.2 this month from August’s 50.1, hitting a high not seen since March. A breakdown of the data showed 10 of 11 sub-indices rose in September.

Next for Germany’s Merkel: Fix Europe

Merkel summarily crushed her opponents Sunday easily winning a third term as German Chancellor. To be more specific, her party, the CDU/CSU, crushed their opponents to secure a near majority in the lower house of the German parliament with 311 seats, thus giving the CDU/CSU party chairman, Merkel, the keys to the Chancellery. But Merkel does not have enough seats to govern alone — she needs five more to secure a clear parliamentary majority. That means she must form a coalition with one of her rival parties. Such an arrangement is normal in German politics — its odd voting system almost forces the issue. Unfortunately, her current coalition partner, the fiscally prudent and socially liberal FDP, were slapped so hard in the face by the electorate Sunday that they didn’t achieve enough of the vote to secure the high 5% threshold necessary to garner seats in the lower house — a first for the party since its founding in 1949. It is suspected that the party lost so many votes because it failed to achieve the tax reform it campaigned on in 2009. It is also suspected that it lost votes to the anti-euro AfD party, which also failed to reach the 5% threshold, meaning it will not have any seats in the lower house, either. MORE: Europe’s new Iron Lady With the FDP out, Merkel has very few options to form a coalition. There is absolutely no way she would align with Linke, the East German dominated communist party, which endorses policies like Germany exiting NATO, so that means she must work with either the Greens or the SPD, which garnered 63 and 192 seats in the lower house, respectively. Both are left of center with the SPD closer to the center and the Greens being further to the left. Merkel has governed successfully with the SPD during her first term in office so such a coalition isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.

Sudarsan Raghavan and Greg Miller The Kenyan government says most hostages have been freed, but the situation remains volatile. Ruth Eglash and William Booth Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Jewish families may move into a house near Abrahams tomb. Michael Birnbaum Voters cement her status as one of Germanys longest-serving and most influential post-World War II leaders. Kenyan forces rescue most hostages from Nairobi mall Sudarsan Raghavan and Greg Miller Kenyan security forces have swept into the mall in an effort to end a standoff with assailants that left at least 69 dead and more than 175 hurt. However, her partners of choice, the pro-business Free Democrats, lost all their seats in Parliament after a much-criticized performance in Merkels outgoing coalition. Germany has no tradition of minority governments, and Merkel made clear that she has no intention of forming one. So she will have to put together either a grand coalition with the Social Democrats of defeated challenger Peer Steinbrueck the same combination that ran Germany in Merkels first term or an improbable alliance with the environmentalist Greens. That could take time; in 2005, it took more than two months after an indecisive election before Merkel was sworn in as the chancellor of her first grand coalition. Even when traditional allies form a coalition in Germany, the process takes several weeks. Thoroughness goes before speed, Merkel told reporters on Monday, refusing to be drawn on how long the process might take. She said that Germany needs a stable government, and we will fulfill this task. Merkel said she already has been in contact with Social Democrat chairman Sigmar Gabriel but he told her understandably, I must say that he wants to wait for a party convention on Friday before going further. She said she wouldnt rule out further contacts, a reference to the Greens. During the campaign, Merkel rejected calls from the center-left parties for tax increases on high earners and a mandatory national minimum wage. She argued that both would hurt the economy. The Social Democrats and Greens have also been critical of her approach to the eurozone debt crisis, though they voted for her policies in Parliament.