Obviously the situation in Japan is extremely serious. The northeast region of the country has suffered unprecedented devastation from the rapid sequence of a major earthquake, a historic tsunami, and a severe nuclear crisis.
The recent downgrade of Portugal’s sovereign credit by Fitch Ratings is symptomatic of issues in the broader region rather than an isolated event. In addition to Portugal, we have been watching the deteriorating fiscal position of several peripheral European countries. We’ve also observed that by participating in the EU, there are limitations on the ability