The euro-zone unemployment rate has unexpectedly jumped to 8.5 percent -- the latest sign that the 16 euro-zone economies are deteriorating faster than expected amid the global financial downturn.
Economists are revising their full-year forecasts
The EU statistics office said unemployment in the euro zone rose to 8.5 percent in February. Some 319,000 more people were seeking work in the euro zone than in January, when unemployment was at 8.3 percent.
Analysts said they expect the unemployment rate to reach about 10 percent later in the year, as the recession deepens.
More pressure on ECB
The latest figures are likely to increase the pressure on the European Central Bank, which was set to meet Thursday, April 2, to discuss lowering euro-zone interest rates.
On Wednesday, the European Union's statistics office, Eurostat, said the jobless rate across the entire 27-nation bloc is now 7.9 percent, up from 7.7 percent in January.
Unemployment is highest in Spain at 15.5 percent, Latvia at 14.4 percent and Lithuania at 13.7 percent. All three have been hit hard by the bursting of a housing bubble and a sharp economic downturn.
Quds Day protests have begun in Berlin and elsewhere in Germany. The annual event calls for demonstrations against Israel's occupation of Jerusalem.
German Greens MP Volker Beck heads the German-Israeli parliamentary group in the Bundestag. In an interview with DW, he said he condemns Quds Day because it denies Israel's right to exist.
This year's Tour de France set off minutes from Beryl Burton's home in Leeds, England. But few had ever heard of Britain's arguably greatest ever female cyclist until the peloton pedaled past.
More on this week's show from the Heidelberg Spring festival, featuring long-time collaborators Jörg Widmann and the Irish Chamber Orchestra with Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony.