A Toad in the hole on a dinner table
Image: Wikimedia Commons

No to tampon tax and backpacker tax. 12 to 18 March: What just happened?

The good news: 'Bratwurst in the hole' might be on the cards, and the tampon tax is on its way out. The bad news: Trump might be as dangerous for the economy as global terrorism. Here's our bitesize review of all the big stories in the last seven days

Brits and Germans merge stock exchanges: Who knew that was possible?

The British and German stock exchanges have agreed a £20bn merger. Didn’t realise stock exchanges could merge? Neither did we. Didn't realise it mattered? It just might. They're doing it to save money, and make even bigger trades than they could alone. The New York Exchange, which is already merged with the Intercontinental Exchange, actually wanted dibs on the London Exchange too, but the Germans got there first. We’re hoping this means a more creative menu in the canteen. ‘Bratwurst in the hole’ anyone?

Donald Trump is as worrying as terrorism, says The Economist

Replaced Trumps eyes with his mouth...it doesn't look any different - Imgur
Credits: Twitter user Danny @recordsANDradio

Every year, the Economist Intelligence Unit tells the world what top ten things we should probably start worrying about. The main thing they're looking out for is scenarios that would damage economic growth. Although a Chinese economic slowdown tops the list, Donald Trump winning the presidential election is head-to-head with the risk of global jihadi terrorism at a rating of 12. Ouch. We're just seriously concerned about the idea of America being run by someone who looks exactly the same when you replace his eyes with his mouth...

Wait, tampons aren't a luxury good? Whoops

tampon tax
Credits: Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/84152482@N06/7702757094

It's been a very long time coming, but it's finally here: The EU has come to terms with the realisation that tampons are not a luxury good. Since the 1970s, tampons have been taxed at the reduced VAT rate of 5%, classed as a luxury item (despite the fact that male razors, not to mention Jaffa cakes and pitta bread, are classed as essential goods.) Last night, the insanity was finally reversed: the EU will now allow countries to determine themselves what is and isn't a luxury. As put so wisely by Rachel in Friends: No uterus, no opinion.

Farmers convince Australian government that backpacker tax is an all-round bad idea

A backpacker looks over mountains
Image: Wikimedia Commons

What do you do when you've got a $40 billion deficit to deal with? Don't tax the backpackers! Australia's government planned on raking in $450 million by taxing 32.5% on every dollar backpackers earned in the country to start bringing their deficit down, but farmers think this is a terrible idea, and told the government so. The majority of fruit pickers in Australia come from overseas, and tourism and agriculture are some of the most important parts of the Australian economy. Thankfully, the idea has been shelved by ministers. Here’s to some hard yakka ahead. And maybe a cold tinny or two.

Go out and do a bit of shopping, says US Fed

The Federal Reserve building in Washington D.C.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

On Wednesday the US Federal Reserve (its ) announced its decision not to raise interest rates. Ok, so this might not seem like the most thrilling story of the week, but it’s a pretty big one. It’s basically a signal that the US thinks the global economy is probably not particularly strong at the moment. High rates, usually mean less borrowing, which can mean less economic growth. So keeping rates low is meant to stimulate the economy. That’s the rationale anyway. The basic message is ‘tread carefully’, ‘don’t go crazy’, ‘we’re not out of the woods yet’.

British budget announced: They'll stick to their tea, but perhaps with less sugar

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne leaves his official residence No 11 Downing Street in London with his traditional red dispatch box as he departs for the House of Commons to deliver his annual budget speech
Image: © Matt Dunham / AP/Press Association Images

The man in charge of the UK’s finances, George Osborne, outlined his budget for 2016 on Wednesday, announcing a new sugar tax, plus sweeteners for savers, businesses and higher earners. As you can imagine, lots has been written on this in the British press: We thought we'd ask some questions we didn't see answered anywhere else:

Don't let Mario Draghi you down: Two-thirds of young Scots want to remain in the EU

Scottish Youth Theatre
Image: Scottish Government via Flickr

Last week we reported on the rather grim assessment on the future for young people in the EU made by the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi. But it looks like the youth aren't so pessimistic: a report in Sunday’s Herald suggests two-thirds of young Scots want to remain in the EU, according to a new survey by the Scottish Youth Parliament, and a student debate in Leeds last week saw only 2 out of 300 attendees vote to leave. They've got until June to decide, with economic factors like free movement, lower cost of living and cheaper study options all playing a part in their choice.

Hamilton The Musical creator Miranda has taken on his next economic challenge

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton The Musical.
Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton The Musical

Millions at the box office. Critical acclaim. Sold out shows. A performance at the White House. Even an article written about it in Economy. Hamilton has done it all. Now its creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is using his moment in the spotlight to speak out about the political and economic situation in Puerto Rico. On Wednesday he publicly supported a US Senate bill that would allow the debt-burdened island where his parents come from to declare bankruptcy and . It's never easy to convince countries to let that happen, but hey, it's not easy to write a good musical about economics either, so let's not give up on Miranda too soon.

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