- - Sunday, September 25, 2011


British politician says Greek default inevitable

LONDON — A Greek default on its debts is inevitable and eurozone countries must act now to prevent other countries going the same way, Britain’s former finance minister Alistair Darling said Sunday.

Mr. Darling, who held the key post during Britain’s 2008 banking bailout, accused European leaders of having allowed the Greek crisis to “run on and on and on,” in an interview with Sky News. European governments had “only this weekend … realized it is only a matter of time before Greece defaults,” the Labor lawmaker said.

“It is imperative the eurozone countries take action now and not let it drag on for the next few weeks because the risk is it will bring down other countries with it,” he added.

Greece and the euro face a week of trials from Monday as European and IMF experts resume a fiscal audit that will decide if debt-battered Athens can still escape default. The German Parliament will  vote on a stronger version of the permanent European Union stability fund that would permit sovereign debt restructuring, a fallback the eurozone looks increasingly likely to need.


GM’s OnStar accused of breaching privacy

ALBANY, N.Y. — The OnStar automobile communication service used by 6 million Americans maintains its two-way connection with a customer even after the service is discontinued, while reserving the right to sell data from that connection.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, says that’s a blatant invasion of privacy and is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate. But OnStar says former customers can stop the two-way transmission, and that no driving data of customers has been shared or sold.

“OnStar is attempting one of the most brazen invasions of privacy in recent memory,” Mr. Schumer said.

But the General Motors Corp. OnStar service says customers are thoroughly informed of the new practice. If a customer says he doesn’t want to have data collected after service is ended, OnStar disconnects the tracking. And although OnStar reserves the right to share or sell data on customers’ speed, location, use of seat belts and other practices, a spokesman says it hasn’t done so and doesn’t plan to do so.


Governor signs compromise on taxing online retailers

SAN FRANCISCO — California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that represents a compromise among Amazon.com, traditional retailers and lawmakers searching for ways to raise revenue.

The bill, AB155, delays until at least September 2012 tax rules that were implemented this past summer as part of California’s state budget package.

That reprieve, signed Friday, will give online and traditional retailers time to lobby Congress for a national standard on collecting sales tax for online purchases. If that effort fails, Amazon has agreed to start collecting sales tax from California customers.

The budget bill signed previously by Mr. Brown forced more online retailers to collect the state sales tax. The move prompted Amazon to cut ties with some 25,000 affiliate businesses in California and collect signatures for a 2012 referendum to repeal the law.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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