peHUB First Read

Some links to kick off your Monday:

* The U.S. economic outlook may be bleak, but it’s been a strong year for the world as a whole. Here’s the money quote from Newsweek International:

This year the economies of only three countries—Zimbabwe, Fiji and Tonga—are contracting. Two are highly isolated archipelagoes and the former is a hugely dysfunctional dictatorship. Harvard’s Ken Rogoff, a former chief economist at the IMF, sums it up simply: “We’re in a boom.”

* Steve Schwarzman goes on a groveling expedition to Wall Street.

* Is venture capital firm Spark Capital involved in a takeover attempt of CNet? The NY Times says yes.

* Banks are still worried that LBO-related debt could lead to another round of write-downs.

* Putting a positive spin on Imperium’s pulled IPO.