Thai government declares state of emergency at two Bangkok airports

Apichart Weerawong / Associated Press Suvarnabhumi International Airport is the site of anti-government protests that have halted flights, stranding scores of travelers.

The action avoids broader restrictions that many Thais had feared. Protesters are demanding the ouster of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.

Reporting from Bangkok, Thailand — Thailand’s beleaguered Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat on Thursday declared a state of emergency around two Bangkok airports occupied by protesters but insisted he wanted a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

“I do not have any intention to hurt any members of the public,” he said in announcing the targeted restrictions on civil liberties aimed at reopening the country’s main international airport.

By declaring the state of emergency, the government can suspend civil liberties, ban public gatherings and take other measures to restore order without imposing broader restrictions that many Thais have feared.

Thousands of People’s Alliance for Democracy demonstrators on Tuesday seized the newly built Suvarnabhumi Airport, one of the busiest airports in Asia, marooning thousands of foreign travelers.

Read moreThai government declares state of emergency at two Bangkok airports

VIDEO: Brazil reels from flood damage

Nov 27 – President Lula flies over flooded area in southern Brazil where 100 have died and some 54,000 are homeless.

Six areas in Brazil’s southern state of Santa Catarina declared a state of emergency and as many as 100,000 people are still trapped after landslides and raging rivers washed out roads and cut power.

In Rio Bonito in the province of Rio de Janeiro ambulances rushed to a scene of a landslide while residents scrambled to dig through the mud, searching for survivors.

Houses and cars were buried under mudslides throughout the region, while trees and household items drifted through flooded streets.

Fri Nov 28, 2008 3:30am EST

Source: Reuters

China’s banks to pump billions into economy – but will it work?

China is about to pump billions of dollars through state-owned banks to save the domestic economy. But will it work? That depends on whether the banks know when to lend – and when not to. The fallout from the failed $66bn takeover of miner Rio Tinto suggests they have much to learn.

China Development Bank (CDB) helped Chinalco, the Chinese state-owned mining group, buy a 12pc stake in Rio in February. Chinalco spent $14bn on the shares, cheered on by Chinese steel makers who feared a takeover of Rio by rival BHP Billiton might leave them at the mercy of the enlarged metals giant.

BHP’s bid for Rio indeed foundered this week – albeit not because of Chinalco – sending Rio’s shares tumbling 37pc in a day. Chinalco now nurses a horrible loss. Its $14bn investment is worth a paltry $3bn.

That could be even worse for CDB than it is for Chinalco. The state bank lent Chinalco $6bn up front, plus a $7bn facility of which $2bn had been drawn but not used when the shares were purchased, according to US regulatory filings. That makes for $8bn lent against assets which, today, are worth less than half that amount.

Assuming $8bn of loans drawn, Chinalco would owe $260m of interest this year. Dividends paid to Chinalco from Rio, though, are unlikely to top $200m. Worse, $1.8bn of borrowings are due for repayment in January 2009.

Read moreChina’s banks to pump billions into economy – but will it work?

Top Chinese official warns on downturn

The downturn in the Chinese economy accelerated over the past month and could lead to high unemployment and social unrest, the country’s top economic planner warned on Thursday.

Zhang Ping, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the government needed to take “forceful” measures to limit the slowdown in the economy, which included Wednesday’s large cut in interest rates and a sharp increase in fiscal spending. The rate cut was the fourth since September.

“The global financial crisis has not bottomed out yet. The impact is spreading globally and deepening in China. Some domestic economic indicators point to an accelerated slowdown in November,” Mr Zhang said on Thursday at a rare news conference.

Mr Zhang’s warning about the potential for social unrest as a result of factory closures underlined the mounting concern in Beijing about the fallout from the global financial crisis.

“Excessive production cuts and closures of businesses will cause massive unemployment, which will lead to instability,” Mr Zhang said.

His comments came a day after the mayor of Shenzhen, China’s largest export centre, said factory closures had claimed 50,000 jobs in the city so far this year after 682 factories closed or stopped production.

Read moreTop Chinese official warns on downturn

‘Heavy water’ could help us live longer

Drinking “heavy water” enriched with a rare form of hydrogen could prolong our lives by up to ten years, it has been claimed.

Mikhail Shchepinov, a former Oxford University scientist, says that the modified drink protects against dangerous chemicals known as free radicals that are known to contribute to conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

He also claims that foods such as steak and eggs could be enriched with the special hydrogen isotope, known as deuterium, raising the possibility of people being able to “eat themselves healthy”.

His research has shown that worms live 10 per cent longer and fruitflies up to 30 per cent longer when fed on heavy water, which is slightly sweeter than normal water.

Read more‘Heavy water’ could help us live longer

Yield on 10-year Treasury debt below 3%

Liquidation, not deflation, is what is happening in the financial markets.
In the near future we will see hyperinflation.


Financial markets notched up another historic milestone on Wednesday as the yield on 10-year US Treasury debt fell below 3 per cent for the first time in 50 years.

The decline in yields – to a low of 2.98 per cent – comes in response to unconventional policy measures taken by the US Federal Reserve this week aimed at pushing short-term and long-term interest rates lower.

This so-called “quantitative easing” is a strategy central banks use to fight deflation, the dreaded combination of declining growth and falling asset prices.

“It is astonishing [that yields are so low],” said Michael Chang, interest rate strategist at Credit Suisse. “The current environment is not like anything we’ve seen before. The Fed’s being very aggressive in quantitative easing, and the fall in yields is the result.”

Read moreYield on 10-year Treasury debt below 3%

GM Said to Study Shedding Saturn, Saab, Pontiac to Win U.S. Aid

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp., working to cut costs to win $12 billion in government loans, is studying whether to shed its Saturn, Saab and Pontiac brands in addition to Hummer, people familiar with the matter said.

Selling or dropping brands would save money and reduce overlap as the biggest U.S. automaker struggles to avoid running out of operating cash by year’s end, said the people, who didn’t want to be identified because no decision has been made. GM’s other U.S. brands are Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac.

The review of the 82-year-old Pontiac division, one of GM’s earliest, shows the scope of the survival plan being given to Congress on Dec. 2 to show GM can repay federal aid. GM also seeks to cut debt levels and reduce costs for active and retired union workers, people have said.

Read moreGM Said to Study Shedding Saturn, Saab, Pontiac to Win U.S. Aid

Government bailout hits $8.5 trillion

The federal government committed an additional $800 billion to two new loan programs on Tuesday, bringing its cumulative commitment to financial rescue initiatives to a staggering $8.5 trillion, according to Bloomberg News.

View Larger Image

That sum represents almost 60 percent of the nation’s estimated gross domestic product.

Given the unprecedented size and complexity of these programs and the fact that many have never been tried before, it’s impossible to predict how much they will cost taxpayers. The final cost won’t be known for many years.

The money has been committed to a wide array of programs, including loans and loan guarantees, asset purchases, equity investments in financial companies, tax breaks for banks, help for struggling homeowners and a currency stabilization fund.

Most of the money, about $5.5 trillion, comes from the Federal Reserve, which as an independent entity does not need congressional approval to lend money to banks or, in “unusual and exigent circumstances,” to other financial institutions.

Read moreGovernment bailout hits $8.5 trillion

Commandoes Launch Operations to Clear Luxury Hotels Seized by Gunmen in Mumbai

The Taj Hotel, Mumbai’s landmark hotel, catches fire after an attack in Mumbai, early Thursday morning, 27 Nov 2008

In India’s financial hub of Mumbai, commandoes and troops have mounted an operation to clear two luxury hotels seized by gunmen.

Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi, at least 101 people have been killed and as many as 287 wounded in coordinated attacks mounted by terrorists at night.

A crack team of 200 commandoes flew in to Mumbai from New Delhi early Thursday to take charge of rescue operations in two of the city’s most posh hotels – the Taj Mahal hotel and Oberoi Hotel. Soldiers have ringed the hotels.

Sporadic gunshots could be heard outside as commandoes entered the hotels.

Foreign tourist breaks down after being rescued safely from hotel following attack in Mumbai, India, 27 Nov 2008

The two hotels were among several high profile targets attacked by gunmen who fired indiscriminately and tossed grenades late Wednesday. Since then, an unknown number of people – both foreigners and Indians – are trapped inside parts of the hotels, popular with both business travelers and tourists.

Some foreigners are believed to be held hostage by the gunmen.

Some people evacuated overnight

Through the night, fire crews evacuated a number of people from the Taj Mahal hotel where a grenade apparently caused a huge blaze in a part of the building.

Some of the people trapped inside, like this guest at Taj Hotel, managed to communicate what was happening to reporters via their phones.

“Till about 15 minutes ago, near my room, in the stairwell, there was lot of firing going on, automatic weapons,” says a guest. “The hotel management has done a very good job… They told us to turn the lights off, shut the curtains and stay inside and do not answer the door.”

Read moreCommandoes Launch Operations to Clear Luxury Hotels Seized by Gunmen in Mumbai

Americans’ Food Stamp Use Nears All-Time High

Fueled by rising unemployment and food prices, the number of Americans on food stamps is poised to exceed 30 million for the first time this month, surpassing the historic high set in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

The figures will put the spotlight on hunger when Congress begins deliberations on a new economic stimulus package, said legislators and anti-hunger advocates, predicting that any stimulus bill will include a boost in food stamp benefits. Advocates are also optimistic that President-elect Barack Obama, who made campaign promises to end childhood hunger and whose mother once briefly received food stamps, will make the issue a priority next year.

“We soon will have the most food stamps recipients in the history of our country,” said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, a D.C.-based anti-hunger policy organization. “If the economic forecasts come true, we’re likely to see the most hunger that we’ve seen since the 1981 recession and maybe since the 1960s, when these programs were established.”

Read moreAmericans’ Food Stamp Use Nears All-Time High

Max Keiser on the Obama economic team; Global Banking System is still on the cusp of a massive implosion

Max Keiser’s appearance on Aljazeera English on November 24, 2008 as Obama announces his economics team including Tim Geithner and Larry Summers.

Max discusses whether Obama can do anything to rescue the financial system that has already had $7 trillion showered on it. And whether or not the Chinese will continue to finance America’s increasing debt needs.

Finally, will there be a devaluation of the US dollar?

Source: YouTube

Max Keiser Calls Henry Paulson A Financial Terrorist

If you want to see a very emotional financial analyst this is a must see.

Max Keiser calls treasury secretary Hank Paulson a “Financial Terrorist”. He states America is issuing non collateralized bonds that are worthless.

The Dollar and the Bonds are counterfeit. They have nothing backing them. This will lead to an economic collapse to all countries who play into this Wall Street scheme.

Developing nations are giving away their commodities for worthless paper.

Source: YouTube

Stubborn glaciers fail to retreat, awkward polar bears continue to multiply

Second only to the melting of the Arctic ice and those “drowning” polar bears, there is no scare with which the global warmists, led by Al Gore, more like to chill our blood than the fast-vanishing glaciers of the Himalayas, which help to provide water for a sixth of mankind.

Read moreStubborn glaciers fail to retreat, awkward polar bears continue to multiply

Oceans Passing Critical CO2 Threshold

UXBRIDGE, Canada – An apparent rapid upswing in ocean acidity in recent years is wiping out coastal species like mussels, a new study has found.

Coral at the Great Barrier Reef. Rising carbon dioxide levels in the world’s oceans due to climate change, combined with rising sea temperatures, could accelerate coral bleaching, destroying some reefs before 2050, said an Australian study in January 2002. (Reuters)

“We’re seeing dramatic changes,” said Timothy Wootton of the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, lead author of the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study shows increases in ocean acidity that are more than 10 times faster than any prediction.

“It appears that we’ve crossed a threshold where the ocean can no longer buffer the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere,” Wootton told IPS.

Read moreOceans Passing Critical CO2 Threshold

Mass testing plan to tackle Aids

  • Radical WHO strategy aimed at halting epidemic
  • Preventive use of drugs raises human rights issues
  • A nurse prepares a dose of anti-HIV drugs
    Intervention with anti-Aids drugs before symptoms appear could reduce HIV rates to under 1% in 50 years, a study claims. Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters

    A radical new strategy to stop the Aids epidemic in its tracks was proposed yesterday by World Health Organisation scientists but ran into immediate controversy over its implications for human rights.

    The plan involves testing everybody for HIV every year in hard-hit areas like sub-Saharan Africa and immediately putting those who are positive on Aids drugs. It could slash dramatically the number of new infections, because Aids drugs lower the levels of virus in the body, making HIV transmission through unprotected sex much less likely.

    But the strategy, expounded in a paper published online today by the Lancet medical journal, raises major issues both over implementation and over ethics.

    Currently people who are HIV positive are not put on treatment until they need it, because of the toxicity and side-effects of antiretroviral drugs. It raises the prospect of subjecting people to potential medical harm for the public good, rather than their individual benefit. “We wouldn’t do that in the UK,” said John Howson of the International HIV/Aids Alliance. “These are huge issues.”

    Read moreMass testing plan to tackle Aids

    Toyota woes deepen with rating downgrade

    Toyota has lost its top credit rating

    Toyota Motor, the world’s biggest automaker and a towering icon of Japanese industrial power, has been stripped of its AAA credit rating under the darkening global economic storm.

    The downgrade, said analysts at Fitch Ratings, effectively passes sentence on the entire worldwide auto industry, showing that the business of building cars can no longer produce a single player with the sort of cast-iron corporate resilience of Exxon Mobil or Johnson & Johnson.

    “This crisis is demonstrating that the auto industry cannot support a triple-A rating,” said Frederic Gits, a Tokyo-based credit analyst at Fitch Ratings, which issued the downgrade earlier today and declared the auto-industry’s problems “substantial and fundamental”.

    Fitch Ratings’ downgrade of Toyota’s unsecured debt to AA deals a stunning blow to Japanese corporate pride, but reflects “severe” turmoil across world car markets and the company’s own spectacular profits warning earlier this month.

    To demonstrate the extent of the problem, brokers in Tokyo have recently started circulating aerial photographs of a military airfield in Oxfordshire that has become a colossal warehouse for thousands of unsold cars.

    Read moreToyota woes deepen with rating downgrade

    Fed Risks `Spitting in the Wind’ With $800 Billion Pledge to Thaw Lending

    Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve’s new $800 billion effort to combat the financial crisis is designed to make credit more accessible to shaken consumers who aren’t sure they want more debt.

    Households and lenders may not respond much because of the wealth destruction from plunging property and stock values, and the deepening economic slump, economists say. That means banks may end up returning the Fed’s new liquidity through deposits at the central bank.

    “We are sort of spitting in the wind,” said Michael Darda, chief economist at MKM Partners LP in Greenwich, Connecticut. “Banks won’t be throwing a lot of loans out there when they fear — rationally — those loans may not be paid back.”

    Read moreFed Risks `Spitting in the Wind’ With $800 Billion Pledge to Thaw Lending

    Hard times and long lines for Southern Californians

    TOSS-UP: Volunteer Shannon Amparan organizes bags of fruit before a food giveaway at Montebello Park. About 5,000 people showed up. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

    Thousands turn out for separate offerings of free food and mortgage help. Some leave empty-handed.

    Some sought a cart of groceries the week before Thanksgiving, others sought a way to keep from losing their homes in the new year. By the thousands, a diverse group of Southern Californians converged on two events Saturday aimed at helping families in hard economic times.

    The problems, and the aid offered, were vastly different. But both reflected the worries and needs of many.

    In Montebello, nearly 5,000 turned out for a food giveaway, a number that stunned organizers who had tried to keep it a low-key event, targeting publicity to several churches and schools. But word of mouth proved stronger than a few fliers, and crowds inundated Montebello Park. A diverse mix of people stood in a six-hour-long line — families from middle- and working-class communities, including Pico Rivera, Montebello, Norwalk and Whittier. No one left empty-handed, though.

    In Van Nuys, about 2,000 homeowners attended a workshop promoted as Home Preservation Day. But this was not about how to lay tile or install plumbing. A bank had mailed notices to homeowners in trouble with their mortgages, and Saturday offered them a chance to rework the terms of their loans. Bankers had hoped 100 would turn out, and planned for 200. Loan counselors had time to meet with a fraction of homeowners and some were turned away.

    Filling empty cupboards

    Read moreHard times and long lines for Southern Californians

    China slashes interest rates as panic spreads

    The People’s Bank of China cut interest rates by more than 1pc point as the economy crumbles and millions of jobs are predicted to go ahead of Christmas.

    Factory workers surround a damaged police car during a protest outside Kai Da toy factory in Dongguan, China. Photo:REUTERS

    The move came just one day after the World Bank predicted that China would grow by 7.5pc next year. The level of growth may appear robust by Western standards, but it would represent the slowest economic expansion in China for the last two decades.

    It is also perilously close to the 7pc minimum level of growth that Chinese economists believe is necessary in order to create enough jobs for the 6m university graduates who will enter the jobs market next year.

    Factory workers smash an office during a protest at Kai Da toy factory in Dongguan, China. Photo: REUTERS

    It is the fourth interest rate cut from the Chinese central bank in the last ten weeks as the government desperately battles an evident economic collapse. “China is out to save itself here,” said Patrick Bennett, an analyst with Societe Generale in Hong Kong.

    The PBOC reduced its main borrowing rate by 1.08pc points to 5.58pc, the biggest one-off cut since the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997.

    In recent weeks, a series of riots across central and southern China have flowered as disgruntled employees aired their grievances at the downturn.

    Read moreChina slashes interest rates as panic spreads

    Melamine Traces Found in U.S. Infant Formula

    The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that it had discovered the toxic chemical melamine in infant formula made by an American manufacturer, raising the possibility that the problem was more extensive in the United States than previously thought.

    While few details were available late Tuesday, agency officials said they had discovered melamine at trace levels in a single sample of infant formula. It was also discovered in several samples of dietary supplements that are made by some of the same manufacturers who make formula.

    F.D.A. officials insisted that the levels of melamine were so low that they did not pose a health threat.

    “There’s no cause for concern or no risk from these levels,” said Judy Leon, an agency spokeswoman. Ms. Leon said the contamination was most likely the result of food contact with something like a can liner, or from some other manufacturing problems, but not from deliberate adulteration.

    She declined to name the company that made the tainted infant formula.

    Read moreMelamine Traces Found in U.S. Infant Formula

    Food Prices Will Rise, Causing Export Bans, Riots: Chart of Day

    Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) — Food prices will rise next year, prompting a revival of protectionism from food-growing nations and risking a renewed bout of rioting, according to Jochen Hitzfeld, an analyst at UniCredit SpA in Munich.

    “Agricultural commodities will outperform the broad commodity indices in 2009,” Hitzfeld wrote in a research note this week. “If key crop-producing countries then impose export bans again and speculators drive up prices via physical stockpiling and futures contracts, new food unrest is even conceivable in the second half of 2009.”

    The CHART OF THE DAY shows food prices for the past 10 years as measured by an index compiled by UBS AG and Bloomberg that tracks at least 13 foodstuffs, including wheat, soybeans, sugar, cocoa and coffee. The index has declined 35 percent since peaking in July.

    “The prices of many agricultural commodities are now clearly below their production costs,” Hitzfeld wrote. “We expect the coming year to bring a cutback in area under cultivation as well as a decline in the yield per hectare.”

    Read moreFood Prices Will Rise, Causing Export Bans, Riots: Chart of Day

    Thailand Cancels Flights as Protesters Storm Airport

    Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) — Thai authorities warned of flight chaos for thousands of passengers and damage to the tourism industry after anti-government protesters stormed the main terminal at Bangkok’s international airport, closing it down.

    Four people were injured by a grenade this morning at the airport, TPBS television station reported. Parnthep Pongpourpan, a spokesman for the protesters, said the injuries weren’t serious and the People’s Alliance for Democracy group will wait for the return of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, whose resignation they are demanding.

    The demonstrators, who want Somchai to take responsibility for deadly clashes with police last month, may force him to declare a state of emergency to prevent escalating violence. The prime minister, set to return today from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Peru, has rejected the resignation calls and police have avoided using force since the Oct. 7 clash in which two people died and 470 were injured.

    “Tens of thousands of tourists will be stranded here as we stopped departure flights,” Porntip Hirunkate, secretary-general of the Tourism Council of Thailand, told Thai PBS television late yesterday. “This will hurt our tourism in December, which is our high season. The impact may go further to next year too.”

    Read moreThailand Cancels Flights as Protesters Storm Airport

    Ron Paul Questions Fed Chairman Bernanke About a New International Currency

    Here are three videos concerning Ron Paul’s questioning of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke during a congressional hearing on November 18, 2008.

    The first video shows the actual questioning during the hearing; the second video shows Ron Paul commenting on his questioning of Bernanke; and the third video shows Ron Paul being interviewed on Fox News later the same day regarding his questioning of Bernanke, and his views on the current financial crisis in general, the bailouts, and the need for sound money.

    Ron Paul Questions Fed Chairman Bernanke About a New International Currency on Nov. 18, 2008

    Ron Paul’s Own Video Commentary Regarding His Questioning of Bernanke on Nov. 18, 2008.

    Ron Paul on Fox Business News, 11/18/2008, regarding his questioning of Bernanke, and his views regarding the Wall Street Bailout, the proposed auto bailout, and the need for sound money.

    Written by Larry Greenley
    Sunday, 23 November 2008 15:56

    Source: The John Birch Society

    End The Fed Demonstrations in 39 Cities Across the U.S.

    Lorie Kramer – November 25, 2008

    In 39 cities across the country, FED-UP! citizens protested
    the Federal Reserve Banking System in the United States.
    This page is a collective report of those demonstrations.

    End The Fed 2008

    Washington DC

    End the Fed [Washington, DC] 22-Nov-2008

    Rick Williams: “The Fed is a Fraud!”

    Adam Kokesh: “Matter of Life and Death”

    Tony Teolis: Legacy of the Fed is Death

    Gary Franchi: “Bury the Beast!”

    Jordan Page Sings “The War Machine”

    Ted Terbolizard Call 4 END of FED & IRS

    End The Fed Nationwide Rally! – Photos

    3 YT’ers @ End the Fed

    Houston, Texas

    Ron Paul: End the Fed!

    Ron Paul’s Address at Houston Rally

    Complete Address – 4 parts

    Video of Ron Paul’s Questioning of Fed Chairman Bernanke
    Regarding a New International Currency on Nov. 18, 2008

    Dallas, Texas

    Alex Jones End the Fed Interview

    End the Fed Rally 112208

    “End the Fed” protesters assemble in downtown Dallas

    El Paso, Texas

    Protest group calls for an end to the Federal Reserve Bank

    San Antonio, Texas

    Protesters state their case in front of Federal Reserve FOX

    END THE FED – SAN ANTONIO 11-22-08

    End the Fed San Antonio Local News

    Talking to a SA Cop about september 11th

    Educating Tourists at the Alamo about HR 2755

    WeAreChange San Antonio End the Fed 11-22-08

    Read moreEnd The Fed Demonstrations in 39 Cities Across the U.S.

    Ron Paul: End the Fed!

    Saturday afternoon Ron Paul addressed a crowd of about 500 people in front of the Fed building in downtown Houston. They had come together for one of many End the Fed demonstrations throughout the country.

    Here’s a partial transcript of Ron Paul’s speech (slightly edited for clarity):

    “It is a great event, and I understand that there are a lot of events like this throughout the country. And this should be very significant. We won’t be on the evening tonight, I’m quite sure of that around the country. But we are on the evening news every single night, every single day, and we’re on the minds of the people every single day because there is a crisis in this country that is as bad as, if not worse than the crisis of the Depression of the 30s. That’s on endlessly [on TV], and we know who caused it. It was the Federal Reserve that gave us all this trouble.

    Read moreRon Paul: End the Fed!