All rise for German court's decision
THIS WEEK:AS RELATIONSHIPS go, the euro zone’s has been troubled to say the least. Like every celebrity partnership, it has been scrutinised mercilessly from the outside, with many questioning its capacity to survive. Now the future of the bloc, and its ability to avoid a painful break-up, lies in the hands of several judges in Karlsruhe, Germany.
The German Constitutional Court will rule on Wednesday on the euro zone’s permanent bailout mechanism and, while nothing is ever certain, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) is not expected to be torpedoed. The ESM is the permanent rescue fund set up by the euro zone to grant financial assistance to member countries in financial difficulty. It was meant to succeed the temporary European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) from July, erecting a €700 billion firewall to contain the euro zone debt crisis.
But Karlsruhe threw a spanner in the works by deciding in mid-July to look into complaints over the constitutionality of the ESM, leaving the fate of the fund in limbo.
While it is seen as unlikely, a ruling to strike down or impose tough conditions on the fund would effectively cripple the largest crisis management tool in Europe’s armoury, plunging the euro zone back into turmoil. Any break-up of the euro zone would likely create severe turbulence in world financial markets.
However, German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has noted that the constitutional court has never before struck down a European treaty. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan will be hoping for a positive result as he traipses around Europe meeting French, German and Italian counterparts.
Kinsale to bask in Shark Awards
IT’LL BE a case of the deadliest ad this week in Cork, as opposed to deadliest catch, when the 50th annual Shark Awards takes place on Friday and Saturday.
Established in 1962, at the birth of commercial television in Ireland, the Kinsale International Shark Awards is the second oldest advertising festival in the world.
A melting pot of directors, studio crews and producers from around the world, the festival has attracted big names over the years including Simpsons writer- producers Mike Scully and Mike Reiss, Rocky Horror Show writer Richard O’Brien and Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal.
The chairman of this year’s event is award-winning art director and advertising agency co-founder Sir John Hegarty, whose firm has created many memorable campaigns for brands such as Google, British Airways and Johnnie Walker over the past three decades. Hegarty was also behind the slogan of German efficiency – Audi’s “Vorsprung durch Technik”.
Apple to bite back with launch of new iPhone
FANS OF Apple are on tenterhooks amid speculation that the hotly anticipated iPhone 5 will be unveiled on Wednesday.
The secretive firm, which is set to be $1 billion richer thanks to a recent court ruling in its favour in its ongoing patent dispute with Korean rival and supplier Samsung, has been fuelling rumours it will launch a new version of its best-selling iPhone this week.
The technology giant sent out invitations for a special event on September 12th ahead of the unveiling last week of new devices by rival Nokia and Microsoft. The Nokia Lumia 920 and Nokia Lumia 820, which both run on the Windows 8 platform, are the Finnish company’s latest attempt to claw back market share.
It has been nearly a year since Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S, which thousands of fans queued for when it went on sale. The new iPhone is expected to have a larger screen and a thinner body. Apple kept the iPhone body the same in last year’s upgrade, so a design overhaul will be the first since 2010.
Apple has seen its fortunes soar since the launch of the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010, with the company now worth $623.52 billion. Bill Cullen’s book It’s a Long Way From Penny Apples springs to mind.
With Apple products now taking the form of phones and computers, and costing several hundred euros, we certainly are a long way from penny apples.