Headlines from around the world: 1-23-12

Standard & Poor’s, the creditworthiness rating agency, has lowered France’s perfect AAA credit rating to AA+, amid the lengthening financial crisis that continues to damage the economies of Euro-zone countries. In addition to lowering France’s coveted rating, S&P has lowered several other countries’ credit ratings to reflect the recent developments in the financial world. Currently, only four Euro-zone countries have been able to maintain their AAA rating, Germany, The Netherlands, Finland, and Luxembourg.

The largest Internet piracy crackdown in history took place as the FBI seized and shut down the file-sharing website megaupload.com. The website provided one-click file hosting services, which the justice department says enabled piracy on a massive scale. Four of megaupload.com’s board of directors are currently being tried in Auckland, New Zealand. The indictment could result in 20 years in prison.

The European Union is developing a plan to place an oil embargo on Iran if it refuses to comply with requests to go public with nuclear plans. This embargo would be an addition to the already stringent trade sanctions that the US has leveled against Iran.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao warned Iran away from developing nuclear weapons or starting a conflict in the Strait of Hormuz. China has begun making deals with other Middle-East oil suppliers to lower China’s reliance on Iran for oil. Iran is currently China’s number three oil supplier, but China may look to Saudi Arabia to make up the difference.

Congress has moved to suspend voting on SOPA and PIPA indefinitely, after a massive public outcry against the bills, meant to protect intellectual property rights. Legislation on this critical issue will be postponed until a broader agreement can be reached, according to the House Judiciary Committee.

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