global financial crisis

Punitive bank fees prevent many people from using banks – and protecting themselves from loan sharks and other dodgy financial services

There’s one thing worse than the banks fleecing you on fees, and that's not providing you with banking services at all. Over half the working age population of the world is ‘unbanked’.

A new Oxfam report released in time for the World Economic Forum spells out just how vast the inequality divide has become and the urgent need to act. It's just not good for anyone

The annual meeting of the ultimate insider's club has begun in Davos, Switzerland today. The World Economic Forum attracts the rich, powerful and seriously cool from all over – the opening day has seen speeches from Mario Monti, David Cameron and Larry Summers, an award for Charlize Theron and reports of Prince Andrew drifting around for some reason.

If John Key wants to talk about obligations and responsibilities, he should listen more to Warren Buffett and less to David Cameron. Building community is about everyone sharing those old rights and responsibilities

Sometimes fragments of news from all round the world fit together into a single story.

Pakistan closes supply route to Afghanistan in protest at drone strikes (+ Woodward analysis); US passes law to pressure Chinese yuan; Korean military talks break down; Ireland announces billions for bank bailout; and more

Top of the Agenda: Pakistan Closes NATO Supply Line

New Zealand has turned from a nation of squirrels to one of nutty spenders, yet there's still little debate about just how the global recession will change our behaviour

At 86% of GDP, New Zealand’s national debt is the highest among all developed nations – except Iceland. And Iceland’s banking system has collapsed.

It may be because Scottish blood swirls within my veins but I am not at all comfortable knowing that New Zealanders are so close to not being able to pay their way.