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.
British authorities have increased the perceived threat of a terror attack in the UK to "severe," the second-highest available level. Prime Minister David Cameron attributed the change to developments in Iraq and Syria.
A Russian parliamentarian and human rights observers are demanding Russia finally admit its own soldiers are fighting in Ukraine. The soldiers are risking their lives, they say, in an undeclared war.
An embargo on food imports from the West has sent grocery prices in Russia soaring and greatly worsened inflation. The move is seen as a severe blow to the country's stagnating economy.
In this week's show: A sampling of the sounds from Richard Strauss' operas, performed in the city in which many of them had their premieres by the Dresden Staatskapelle under Christian Thielemann.