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Opening Bell: 08.17.11

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Fresh Plan For Europe Crisis (WSJ)
Meeting in Paris, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed that euro-zone leaders gather more often to better coordinate budget and tax policies across the currency bloc. They also recommended electing European Council President Herman Van Rompuy as euro-zone chief, but gave no indication that he would wield much power.

Perry's Swaggering Tone Towards Bernanke May Not Play Well Outside Of Texas (Bloomberg)
“You just can’t run around shooting your mouth off and talking about the Federal Reserve and talking about treason and getting ugly,” said Cornelius Hurley, a law professor at Boston University and a former assistant general counsel to the Fed’s Board of Governors. “That’s just not appropriate.” Hurley, a self-described “disenchanted” supporter of President Barack Obama, says tension long has existed between politicians and the Fed, yet Perry took it to new heights. “I have never heard the rhetoric ramped up the way Governor Perry did,” he said. “That’s a very troubling development. We expect more of our president and should expect more of our presidential candidates.”

Rising Spending Holds Off US Double Dip (Bloomberg)
Reports last week showed retail sales rose by the most in four months and claims for jobless benefits dropped to the lowest level since early April. “There’s nothing in here to suggest the economy is slowing, let alone declining,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York. “Production continues, and production continues because consumers are still making their purchases.”

Gerard Depardieu Urinates On Plane (NYP)
"Je veux pisser, je veux pisser," implored Depardieu, according to Daniele, who was among the 127 passengers on board the Air France jet left reeling by the antics of the giant of the French screen. "The attendant said 'I'm sorry, you'll have to wait fifteen minutes, [when] we'll be in flight. The toilets are locked'," Daniele added. Depardieu said he could not wait, unzipped his trousers and proceeded to urinate on the carpet.

Property Sale Set At BofA (NYP)
Blackstone is purchasing a global propety portfolio that Moynihan’s BofA inherited when it bought Merrill Lynch during the financial crisis that is valued at as much as $1 billion.

The Case For Harbinger Group As The Next Berkshire (Dealbook)
In a four-page letter, Christopher P. Mittleman, the chief investment officer at a small New York money management firm, likens Mr. Falcone, the embattled hedge fund billionaire, to Warren E. Buffett. He even suggests that Mr. Falcone’s publicly traded shell company, the Harbinger Group, could be the next Berkshire Hathaway.

China's Likely Next Premier Emerges From Shadows in Hong Kong (Reuters)
Bearing gifts for the people of Hong Kong, the man tipped to be China's next premier is wooing the southern financial boomtown this week in a political warm-up lap to assuming power from popular Premier Wen Jiabao. Vice Premier Li Keqiang, 56, is midway through a choreographed itinerary that has interspersed encounters with ordinary people with meetings

Mercedes, BMW Cars Burned In Berlin Protest (Bloomberg)
Arsonists have set fire to 26 cars in the German capital in the last two days, mainly from Daimler AG (DAI)’s Mercedes, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) and Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s Audi, police said today. That brings the total number torched this year in Berlin to at least 138, more than double the figure for all of 2010.

DSK On A 'Role' (NYP)
The upcoming season-premiere episode of "Law & Order: SVU" -- with some scenes shot this week on East 58th Street near the East River -- will feature a ripped-from-the-headlines plot based on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case. n one familiar-looking scene, the DSK character -- accompanied by his wife, an Anne Sinclair wannabe -- was escorted by detectives out of his pretrial luxury digs. As the cameras rolled, "Law & Order: SVU" extras screamed, "There he is!" and "You rapist!"