BRUSSELS â¿¿ The European Union's health chief is calling for bigger warnings covering cigarette packs and bans on certain flavorings like menthol, strawberry and vanilla, which can draw youngsters to smoking.
EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK-GREECE
FRANKFURT, Germany â¿¿ The European Central Bank says it will once again accept Greek government bonds as collateral for loans to banks, citing Greece's progress in fixing its finances and economy. It's an important way for Greece's shaky banks to get the money they need to keep operating.
â¿¿ GREECE-FINANCIAL CRISIS â¿¿ Civil servants in Greece are on a 24-hour strike against new austerity measures that will see more pay cuts next year as well as a rare round of job cuts.
â¿¿ GERMANY-ECONOMY â¿¿ A key measure of German business optimism rose slightly more than expected in December, suggesting Europe's largest economy will avoid a recession despite a recent slowdown in growth.
â¿¿ FRANCE-BANKS â¿¿ France's government is proposing to split banks' risky trading activities from their more traditional lending operations as part of a Europe-wide effort to shore up a fragile industry that contributed to the continent's financial crisis.
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The year in ETFs
Exchange-traded funds remain relative upstarts compared with mutual funds. But they're leading the race for investors' assets, on Main Street as well as Wall Street. ETF assets have doubled over the past three years, reaching $1.3 trillion. They continue to grow at a faster pace than mutual fund assets. So far this year -- with more than $150 billion in net deposits through November -- ETFs are on track to match a 2008 record for the amount of new cash taken in, according to Morningstar.