Spend Matters Afternoon Coffee

A Back-to-Front Look at the Impact of the EU Crisis on Youth
Toilet paper restrictions imposed on schoolchildren in Spain in latest austerity cuts -- The northeastern region has been ordered to rein in its deficit and has embarked on a series of stringent austerity cuts. The latest edict issued by the region's ministry of education instructs state schools to cut "excessive consumption" of toilet roll among pupils and limit the quota to a maximum of 25 metres per child per month. This most recent penny saving measure comes amid widespread cuts to education budgets across Spain that has led to regular protests in the streets by teachers.

It's not 50 cats and 50 years worth of newspapers, but...
Largest Public Companies Continue to Hoard Cash at Record Levels -- Large public companies in the U.S. are continuing to hoard cash at record levels, and 1000 of the largest are now holding $850 billion, according to new research from REL Consulting, a division of The Hackett Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: HCKT). REL's research, which is based on corporate filings through June of 2011, shows that as revenues have increased over the past year, so has cash on hand, with companies now holding 11 percent more cash than they did in Q2 of 2010. Total debt also increased by 7 percent during the period, indicating that companies are taking advantage of low-cost borrowing opportunities to increase their cash on hand. REL's research also found that companies are beginning to incrementally increase the amount of cash they are putting to use for purposes such as paying dividends, making capital expenditures, and share buy-backs.

Refreshed fleet.
Southwest Nears Deal to Purchase Boeing Jets -- Boeing and Southwest, one of the biggest operators of Boeing's workhorse single-aisle planes, could announce the planned order in the coming weeks, although details are still being worked out, the people said. The commitment by Southwest would mark the latest boost to Boeing's sales prospects for the 737 Max, a revamped version of its top-selling plane that will carry new, advanced engines. Boeing plans to deliver the first 737 Max in 2017--two years behind a competing Airbus jet called the A320neo that has garnered more than 1,400 firm orders and commitments.

In 54 wide-ranging lists, TIME surveys the highs and lows, the good and the bad, of the past 12 months.

Sheena Moore

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