1.5 Million Job Cuts So Far This Year, Factory Slump Probably Worsened: U.S. Economy Preview

Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) — The recession engulfing the U.S. economy deepened this month as employers slashed more jobs and manufacturing contracted at the fastest pace in a quarter century, economists said before reports this week.

Payrolls shrank by 320,000 workers in November, the biggest one-month drop since the 2001 terrorist attacks, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before the Labor Department’s Dec. 5 report. The jobless rate may have jumped to 6.8 percent, the highest level since 1993.

Employment may keep deteriorating as the credit crunch continues to bite, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts forecasting a 9 percent unemployment rate by late 2009. The worsening outlook prompted President-elect Barack Obama to craft a plan to save or create 2.5 million jobs in two years to stave off what he called a “crisis of historic proportions.”

“All signals point to a very weak labor market and further weakening,” said Dean Maki, co-head of U.S. economic research at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York. “We should expect a large stimulus program shortly after Obama takes office.”

The 11th consecutive drop in payrolls would follow a 240,000 decline in October and bring the total number of jobs eliminated so far this year to 1.5 million. Factories probably reduced staff by 80,000 workers, according to the survey median.

The jobless rate was 6.5 percent in October.

Read more1.5 Million Job Cuts So Far This Year, Factory Slump Probably Worsened: U.S. Economy Preview

Ocean currents can power the world, say scientists

A revolutionary device that can harness energy from slow-moving rivers and ocean currents could provide enough power for the entire world, scientists claim.


Existing technologies require an average current of five or six knots to operate efficiently, while most of the earth’s currents are slower than three knots Photo: AP

The technology can generate electricity in water flowing at a rate of less than one knot – about one mile an hour – meaning it could operate on most waterways and sea beds around the globe.

Read moreOcean currents can power the world, say scientists

It’s a depression

WASHINGTON — Few prominent economists will say it, but to me it looks and feels like we are in another Great Depression or a reasonable facsimile.

The current meltdown is dubbed a “financial crisis.” But a rose by any other name would still inflict the same hardship and suffering on most people and businesses.

Clearly, the lessons have not been learned from the Herbert Hoover era. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, a columnist for The New York Times, says the current banking crisis is “functionally similar to that of the Great Depression.”

“Many of the symptoms” are the same, including the impotence of monetary policy — like cuts in interest rates — that has not halted the economic downturn.

Read moreIt’s a depression

FDA sets safe levels for melamine in baby formula

First the FDA says that they “could not determine a threshold for the safe amount of certain toxic chemicals in infant formula.”

And then suddenly they know “that trace amounts are safe.”

So how does the FDA determine what is ‘safe’ for your children?

The FDA has probably contacted their local preacher because they “believe that at very low levels there should not be any health concerns.”

So the FDA “believes” which translates to “the FDA does not know whether trace amounts are safe or not.”


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(CNN)After first saying that they could not determine a threshold for the safe amount of certain toxic chemicals in infant formula, Food and Drug Administration officials said Friday that trace amounts are safe.

Worries over melamine in infant formula started in China and have spread to the United States.
Worries over melamine in infant formula started in China and have spread to the United States.


“Amounts of the industrial chemical melamine or the melamine-like compound called cyanuric acid that are below 1.0 ppm [1,000 parts per billion] do not raise public health concerns,” said Stephen Sundlof, the FDA’s director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

When it became known in September that thousands of babies in China had been sickened by tainted infant formula, the FDA ordered the testing of U.S.-manufactured infant-formula products.

Sundlof said Friday that results from 74 of 87 samples of infant formula and other products babies and young children had been completed. The results of the other 13 are pending.

That total differed slightly from the one the FDA offered Thursday, when its acting commissioner of public affairs, Judy Leon, told CNN that 77 sample results had been completed and just 10 were outstanding.

Among the 74 final test results discussed Friday, the FDA said, two samples of Nestle’s Good Start Supreme Infant Formula with Iron tested positive for melamine at levels of 137 and 140 parts per billion, well below the level of concern cited by Sundlof.

In addition, three samples of Mead Johnson’s infant powder, Enfamil LIPIL with Iron, tested positive for cyanuric acid at an average of 247 parts per billion, also well below the FDA trace level.

The FDA’s October 3 risk assessment of melamine and its analogues concluded that “levels of melamine and its analogues below 2.5 ppm in foods other than infant formula do not raise public health concerns.”

But the agency said then that it did not have enough data to determine a safe level of melamine and its analogues in infant formula.

On Friday, an FDA official said it was still not possible to determine a safe level for infant formula containing both melamine and cyanuric acid compounds, but officials “believe that at very low levels there should not be any health concerns.

Sundlof said the trace levels of melamine or related compounds detected in the samples are 10,000-fold less than the amount associated with Chinese infant-formula contamination.

According to the World Health Organization, contaminated infant formula in China has killed four babies and caused more than 47,000 infants and children to be hospitalized with possible kidney stones.

Read moreFDA sets safe levels for melamine in baby formula

Poverty spreading in suburbs: study


A sign reading ‘Foreclosure For Sale’ is posted on a house in the Boston suburb of Dedham, Massachusetts March 15, 2007. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Poverty in the United States is spreading from rural and inner-city areas to the suburbs, according to a study, a situation that can worsen as the economy confronts what may be a protracted recession.

The study by the Federal Reserve’s Community Affairs department and the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program found that poverty levels in the world’s richest nation were on the rise.

“It shows that concentrated poverty is still very much with us, and that it can be found among a much more diverse set of communities and families than previous research has emphasized,” said Bruce Katz, a director Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program.

“Poverty is spreading and may be re-clustering in suburbs, where a majority of America’s metropolitan poor now live.”

The study was released ahead of next week’s conference on concentrated poverty at the Fed. It shied away from explaining the causes of poverty, but past research have linked the phenomenon to loss of jobs in manufacturing, agriculture and mining.

With the U.S. economic outlook rapidly deteriorating, poverty could get worse.

Read morePoverty spreading in suburbs: study

Russia to boost staff at Iran’s nuclear power plant

Related articles: Israeli hawks ready to fly on Iran
So how will Russia react if Israel attacks Iran?
Russia definitely has NUCLEAR WEAPONS.
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MOSCOW, Nov 28 (Reuters) – The Russian state company building Iran’s first atomic power station said on Friday it would increase personnel at the plant by at least 25 percent as it readies to start up the nuclear reactor.

Under a $1 billion construction contract, Russia has already made deliveries of nuclear fuel to the Bushehr plant on the Gulf coast in southwest Iran.

“The nuclear power station at Bushehr is entering a new phase. Atomstroyexport is increasing its efforts to bring more personnel to work on the station,” the Russian contractor said in a statement e-mailed to Reuters.

“The main technology for the station has already been installed, so the construction work is being concluded while the activisation work is getting under way,” Atromstroyexport said.

This new phase of the project — which involves readying the nuclear reactor for start up — requires that staff be increased to more than 2000 workers from the current 1600, it said.

The head of Russia’s state nuclear corporation, Sergei Kiriyenko, was quoted on Thursday by state Russian media as saying that the Bushehr plant would be completed in 2009.

Read moreRussia to boost staff at Iran’s nuclear power plant

BayernLB Gets $38 Billion Lifeline; First German Bank to Get a Government Bailout

The troubled Munich-based lender, hit hard by U.S. and Icelandic losses, becomes the first German bank to get a government bailout

Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer warned the bank’s predicament was “very, very serious.”

BayernLB has already earned itself the unenviable accolade of becoming Germany’s first bank to request help from the government bailout funds. On Friday it added a massive bailout package to its trophy shelf: a €30 billion lifeline will be thrown to the ailing business.


To restore it to health, Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer said the Munich-based BayernLB would be granted €10 billion ($12.9 billion). He also said the bank requires lending guarantees to the tune of €20 billion. Of that he said he would seek €15 billion in interbank lending guarantees under the federal plan.

Germany’s second biggest regional bank has been hit hard amid the financial domino effect. First, the US subprime lending crisis and subsequent credit crunch left it, and many peers, with hefty write-downs. Then, BayernLB’s problems deepened with losses generated by bank failures in Iceland.

Read moreBayernLB Gets $38 Billion Lifeline; First German Bank to Get a Government Bailout