I'm not sure if anyone here has been watching the goings on in the small island nation of Cyprus. It's fairly complicated, but the gist of it that the EU proposed a bailout of insolvent banks in Cyprus with the caveat that in order to fund said bailout - money would be extracted from the bank accounts in the bank. Basically, it would mean that the bank would take out 6-9% of your money to pay their debts.
Well, the Cypriots said nuts to that. So now there'll be much political theater which may lead to some modification of the %'s or $'s to be taken; or the banks may default and depositors could lose all of their money. Another option would be that Cyprus defaults and leaves the EU.
So by now you're asking, "just what does this have to do with us here?" Well, it has a lot to do with us. The financial system is so globally interwoven that even the comparatively small bail out of Cyprus (5-13 billion euros, I think) can affect our nation where the Fed Reserve bank pumps about 10x that amount into our system monthly.
There are a bunch of countries in Europe that are in as bad of shape as Cyprus and the same game plan might be used there: Spain, Greece, Italy... Say the banks decide to reopen some time this week and the Cypriots decide to pull all of their money out, causing a bank run. Then the Greeks and Spaniards think, "oh crap, we're next. The EU is going to try to take our savings to bail out our banks" causing a bank run there. Just a small ripple will cause a wave that reaches all the way to our shores.
I hope everyone realizes that our govts and central banks have "kicked the can" of fiscal responsibility for so long that we are one event away from a serious economic slide. There is the possibility that what's going on in Cyprus might just be the start of such an event.
The bottom line is that we need to keep informed on what's going on in the world so we won't be caught flat-footed in a crisis situation. There are tons of alternative media sites on the web where current news can be found. My favorite for financial-type news is zerohedge.com
Hopefully, this whole thing will be resolved as painlessly as possible for all parties involved. In the meantime, we need to keep our ear to the ground, nose to the wind, and eyes on the horizon (that's quite the mental picture, but you know what I mean.....)
Here's a good essay that lays it out much better than I can: