Palin caught out by ‘President Sarkozy’

Canadian radio comedian persuades Republican vice-presidential hopeful he is French leader in prank phone call

Perhaps Sarah Palin should have realised something was amiss when the caller purporting to be France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, referred to “my special American adviser, Johnny Halliday”.

Later in the call, maybe, she could have guessed that even the real Sarkozy would be unlikely to refer to his wife, Carla Bruni, as “so hot in bed” or talk about a supposed mutual love of hunting by saying “to take away a life, that is so fun”.

The would-be vice president was, of course, speaking to Canadian comedian Marc-Antoine Audette, part of a radio duo who have made prank calls to a series of world leaders over the years.

Palin didn’t give away anything of real note – except perhaps an ambition to be president herself “maybe in eight years” – or suffer any real embarrassments.

It is interesting, however, to hear Palin’s eager tone of voice and exaggerated politeness (“We love you! Thanks you for talking to me!”) which seemed to go beyond courtesy into sheer fandom.

Maybe Palin – like many others – still can’t believe the position she’s in right now.

Peter Walker
Sunday November 02 2008 10.05 GMT

Source: The Guardian

In 6 lousy weeks, all of the total credit in the banking system created by the Fed since 1913 was almost instantly doubled! We’re freaking doomed!

Nightmares of Financial Misery


“But this monetary expansion thing is the stuff of nightmares, too, and one day soon you will wake up screaming in the middle of the night, bathed in sweat, jolted out of a nightmare of financial misery and suffering that is all but unimaginable…”


The astonishing news to me was that the Fed has pledged to plow $540 billion into the money market, which is composed of very short-term debt, which is, as I already said, pretty astonishing since the total money market is about $3.5 trillion, and which has had (according to Doug Noland in his Credit Bubble Bulletin) “a y-t-d expansion of $423bn, or 16.8% annualized”. And in an odd bit of symmetry to the just-pledged $540 billion, he goes on to report that “Money Fund assets have posted a one-year increase of $566bn (19.1%).” And now they need half a trillion dollars? Half a freaking trillion?

And since we are talking about things that are astonishing, get this: Total Fed Credit jumped by another $63.2 billion last week! I was going to try and add up the astonishing amounts of credit that the Fed has cooked up in the past month or so, but I am so Scared Out Of My Freaking Mind (SOOMFM) at what I might find that my hands are shaking too much to handle a calculator. That’s my excuse, anyway, and it’s a lot of work, besides.

Read moreIn 6 lousy weeks, all of the total credit in the banking system created by the Fed since 1913 was almost instantly doubled! We’re freaking doomed!

Space station trash plunging to Earth

Tank of toxic ammonia coolant thrown from station more than a year ago


NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson, an Expedition 15 flight engineer, tosses a hefty unneeded ammonia tank the size of a refrigerator ovebboard from the space station during a July 23, 2007 spacewalk. The tank is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere on Nov. 2, 2008.

A piece of space station trash the size of a refrigerator is poised to plunge through the Earth’s atmosphere late Sunday, more than a year after an astronaut tossed it overboard.

NASA and the U.S. Space Surveillance Network are tracking the object – a 1,400-pound (635-kilogram) tank of toxic ammonia coolant thrown from the international space station – to make sure it does not endanger people on Earth. Exactly where the tank will inevitably fall is currently unknown, though it is expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere Sunday afternoon or later that evening, NASA officials said.

Read moreSpace station trash plunging to Earth

Tibet: Worst Snowstorm On Record Kills 7

BEIJING, China (CNN) — At least seven people have been found dead after “the worst snowstorm on record in Tibet,” China’s state-run news agency reported Friday.

About 1,350 people were rescued in Lhunze County — another 300 were trapped — after nearly five feet (1.5 meters) of snow blanketed much of Tibet this week.

The storm caused buildings to collapse, blocked roads and killed about 144,000 head of cattle, the state-run China Daily newspaper reported.

The seven people who died either froze to death or were killed as a result of collapsing buildings, and one person is still missing, China Daily said.

October 31, 2008 — Updated 0715 GMT (1515 HKT)

Source: CNN

Rescued RBS to pay millions in bonuses

RBS ‘making monkeys’ out of the government, says Vince Cable


Royal Bank of Scotland. Photograph: Newscast

Royal Bank of Scotland, which is being bailed out with £20bn of taxpayers’ money, has signalled it is preparing to pay bonuses to thousands of staff despite government pledges to crack down on City pay.

The bank has set aside £1.79bn to cover “staff costs” – including discretionary bonuses – at its investment banking division for the first six months of the year alone. The same division caused a £5.9bn writedown that wiped out the bank’s profits for the same period.

The government had demanded that boardroom directors at RBS should not receive bonuses this year and the chief executive, Sir Fred Goodwin, is walking away without a pay-off. But below boardroom level, RBS and other groups are preparing to pay bonuses to investment bankers who continue to generate profits.

Read moreRescued RBS to pay millions in bonuses

Libya ‘ready to host Russian naval base’

MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) – Libya is willing to host a Russian naval base as a means of security against any possible U.S. attack, a Russian business daily said on Friday.

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi will pay an official visit to Russia at the invitation of President Dmitry Medvedev from October 31 to November 2.

The Kommersant newspaper cited a source close to the preparations for the visit as saying that the Libyan leader was planning to raise the naval base issue during talks with the Russian leadership.

“The Libyan leader believes that a Russian military presence in the country would prevent possible attacks by the United States, which despite numerous Libyan attempts to amend bilateral relations is not in a hurry to embrace Colonel Qaddafi,” the paper said.

Read moreLibya ‘ready to host Russian naval base’

‘The banks are cheating us’

Hong Kong investors protest Lehman Brothers losses

HONG KONG – Angry Hong Kong investors, some banging gongs and others waving banners, scuffled outside a bank on Friday as frustration mounted over losses tied to investments linked to failed U.S. bank Lehman Brothers.

Several hundred investors, many of them elderly retirees, marched to eight banks which had sold Lehman structured products, including ABN Amro, Standard Chartered, Bank of China, Citic Ka Wah and DBS bank, demanding compensation for their losses.

Some investors tried to barge into a DBS bank branch on Hong Kong island, jostling with security staff who linked arms to form a human barricade.


Lehman Brothers mini-bonds holders scuffle with officials during a protest against various banks which sold them the product in Hong Kong Friday.

“The banks are cheating us,” shouted some investors, while others banged gongs and waved protest banners accusing the banks of misleading investors on the risks involved.

Read more‘The banks are cheating us’

Colombia killings cast doubt on war against insurgents


President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, center, accompanied by Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, left, and Chief Army Commander Freddy Padilla, in Bogota on Wednesday. (Miguel Angel Solano/Reuters)

SOACHA, Colombia: Julian Oviedo, a 19-year-old construction worker in this gritty patchwork of slums, told his mother on March 2 that he was going to talk to a man about a job offer. A day later, Oviedo was shot and killed by army troops about 560 kilometers to the north. He was classified as a subversive and registered as a combat kill.

Colombia’s government, the Bush administration’s top ally in Latin America, has been buffeted by the disappearance of Oviedo and dozens of other young, impoverished men and women whose cases have come to light. Some were vagrants, some were street vendors or manual laborers. But their fates were often the same: They were catalogued as insurgents or criminal gang members and killed by the armed forces.

Prosecutors and human rights researchers are investigating hundreds of such deaths and disappearances, contending that the Colombian security forces are murdering civilians and making it look as if they were killed in combat, often by planting weapons on or near their bodies or dressing the corpses in guerrilla fatigues.

With soldiers under intense pressure in recent years to register combat kills to earn promotions and benefits like time off and extra pay, reports of civilian killings are climbing, prosecutors and researchers said, pointing to a grisly facet of this country’s long internal war against leftist insurgencies.

Read moreColombia killings cast doubt on war against insurgents

Beginning of Hyperinflation

Hard Cash Investor Walter K. Eichelburg Sees Hard Times


After the panic in the financial markets, the government might panic also ensues. (Rolf van Melis/Pixelio)

GERMANY-Hard-Cash investor Walter K. Eichelburg, predicted the mortgage bubble bust and insolvency of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the United States in an early 2007 Epoch Times interview. He made himself available for another interview with The Epoch Times.

Epoch Times (ET): Mr. Eichelburg, what can we learn from today’s crisis?

Read moreBeginning of Hyperinflation

One in five US homeowners with mortgages underwater

NEW YORK, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Nearly one in five U.S. mortgage borrowers owe more to lenders than their homes are worth, and the rate may soon approach one in four as housing prices fall and the economy weakens, a report on Friday shows.

About 7.63 million properties, or 18 percent, had negative equity in September, and another 2.1 million will follow if home prices fall another 5 percent, according to a report by First American CoreLogic.

The data, covering 43 states and Washington, D.C., includes borrowers nationwide, even those who took out mortgages before housing prices began to soar early this decade.

Read moreOne in five US homeowners with mortgages underwater