Gordon Brown suggests world heading for a depression

Gordon Brown appeared to acknowledge for the first time today that the world economy was heading for a 1930s-style “depression”.

Mr Brown stumbled slightly over his words at Commons question time, just a week after admitting that Britain was facing a “deep” recession.

As the financial gloom deepens, he told the Tory leader David Cameron today: “We should agree, as a world, on a monetary and fiscal stimulus that will take the world out of depression.”

The comment went unnoticed during rowdy question time exchanges between Mr Cameron and Mr Brown, which centred on protectionism and the Prime Minister’s use of the phrase “British jobs for British workers”. Ironically, the exchange ended with Mr Brown accusing the Tory leader of deliberately “talking Britain down”.

Read moreGordon Brown suggests world heading for a depression

Japan’s Panasonic to cut 15,000 jobs, shut plants

Panasonic’s Director in charge of Financing and Accounting Makoto Uenoyama speaks during a press conference in Tokyo Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009. Panasonic Corp. said Wednesday it will slash 15,000 jobs and shut down 27 plants worldwide to cope with plunging demand for its TVs, semiconductors and other electronics products. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

TOKYO (AP) – Panasonic Corp. said Wednesday it will slash 15,000 jobs and shut down 27 plants worldwide, joining a slew of major Japanese companies announcing deep cuts as the global slowdown batters the world’s second-largest economy.

The world’s largest maker of plasma display TVs also announced a net loss for the October-December quarter and lowered its forecast for the fiscal year through March to a net loss of 380 billion yen ($4.2 billion), its first annual loss in six years.

Read moreJapan’s Panasonic to cut 15,000 jobs, shut plants

Madoff whistleblower to slate ‘inept’ SEC regulators

The man who repeatedly tried to blow the whistle on Bernard Madoff’s $50bn (£34.7bn) fraud will this morning brand regulators at the US Securities and Exchange Commission as “inept” and “financially illiterate”.

In a damning written testimony prepared for Congress, where he will be appearing before the House financial services committee, Harry Markopolos says he feared for his safety during a nine-year campaign to unmask Mr Madoff, one of Wall Street’s grandees and a former chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange. Mr Madoff confessed in December to running “a giant Ponzi scheme” which faked returns for thousands of investors built over several decades.

Mr Markopolos, a Boston accountant, says he waged the equivalent of a military campaign, using tip-offs and intelligence reports from field officers, to build the case against Mr Madoff, but when he passed his concerns to the SEC he was repeatedly “dismissed and ignored”. He says: “It led me to conclude that the SEC securities lawyers, if only through their ineptitude and financial illiteracy, colluded to maintain large frauds such as the one to which Madoff later confessed.”

Read moreMadoff whistleblower to slate ‘inept’ SEC regulators

Zimbabwe dollar loses 12 zeroes

Zimbabwe’s central bank on Monday cut 12 zeroes off the country’s currency, the third such revaluation in 30 months.

Presenting his 2009 monetary policy statement, Gideon Gono, the reserve bank governor, also announced a huge devaluation of the official exchange rate from Z$12.3 billion to the US dollar to Z$20,000bn.

In the newly revalued currency – with the 12 zeroes lopped off – the exchange rate will be Z$20 to the US dollar. But although the official devaluation is massive it still leaves the exchange rate hugely overvalued. On Monday, one supermarket was selling bread for 80 US cents a loaf or Z$250,000bn in local currency – an implicit exchange rate of Z$312,500bn.

Mr Gono’s 200-page statement was laced with claims that his monetary policies, which have delivered inflation estimated by some economists at trillions of per cent, were now a model for central banks around the world to fight recession. Seemingly unfazed by demands from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change that he be fired when it joins Zimbabwe’s “inclusive” government next week, the Governor’s demeanour suggests he expects to complete his second five-year term, which started only two months ago.

Read moreZimbabwe dollar loses 12 zeroes

City police sued over strip search

Civil suit seeks $210 million

A Baltimore man filed a $210 million civil lawsuit yesterday against the city Police Department, a former commissioner and several officers in connection with a 2006 incident during which he says a band of rogue cops held him at gunpoint in the street, stripped him and searched his rectum in front of about 30 onlookers.

The federal suit is the second filed since March in U.S. District Court in Baltimore alleging “widespread and persistent” civil rights violations by police officers who belonged to an elite “Special Enforcement Team” that worked mainly in the southeastern part of the city.

The SET unit was dismantled and its officers reassigned in 2006 after allegations of misconduct surfaced, leading the city prosecutor’s office to dismiss more than 100 Circuit Court cases the officers had investigated in the previous two years.

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Congresswoman Kaptur Points Out The Revolving Door Between Wall Street & The White House

Source: YouTube

Rep. Marcy Kaptur warns: There are domestic enemies to the Republic
Rep. Michael Burgess: “We Are Under Martial Law” (!)

China falls into budget deficit as spending balloons

China’s attempts to spend its way out of economic depression led to a fiscal deficit of 111bn yuan (£12bn) last year.

China falls into budget deficit as spending balloons

Despite a near 20pc rise in tax revenues and a record surplus of 1.19 trillion yuan (£128bn) in the first six months of the year, the dramatic scale of government spending in November and December was enough to plunge the entire year into deficit.

The figures are the first indication of how quickly and forcefully China reacted to the economic crisis after it announced a fiscal stimulus package of 4 trillion yuan in November to build new roads, railways, schools and hospitals.

Government spending in December surged to 1.66 trillion yuan, more than triple the previous month’s total and 31pc higher compared to the same month last year.

The news came as Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister, said that he was mulling over another fiscal stimulus package. “We may take further new, timely and decisive measures. All these measures have to be taken pre-emptively, before an economic retreat,” he told the Financial Times.

Read moreChina falls into budget deficit as spending balloons

Global News (02/03/09)

FACTBOX – Banks, funds, insurers cut 312500 jobs in crisis (Forbes)

Daschle withdraws as health secretary nominee (Guardian)

Obama: Enough Of This Crap (The Market Ticker):
This is FOUR people who you’ve appointed that can’t pay their damn taxes, including your Treasury Secretary?
The latest is that Daschle has withdrawn, of course. CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN?
“Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter.” Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

Firms’ secret tax avoidance schemes cost UK billions (Guardian):
British taxpayers are being left to plug a multibillion-pound hole in the public finances as hundreds of the country’s biggest companies increasingly employ complex and secretive tax arrangements to limit the amount they hand over to the exchequer.

Now China’s premier gets flying shoe treatment (Independent)

Central bank tested as rouble hits floor (Financial Times)

Beijing rocked by 26 million lost jobs (Independent):
Before the Telegraph reported: 40 Million Chinese Set to Lose Their Job as New Year Celebrations End

New Jersey earthquake sparks panic (Telegraph)

California Cut to Lowest Credit Rating Among States (Bloomberg)

IMF almost halves Asia’s growth prospects (Financial Times)

Worse Than the Great Depression (Gold Seek)

Bad bank, bad plan (Guardian):
(Dean Baker is co-director of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research.)

Iran launches first homemade satellite (Guardian)

Funding crisis forced lenders to access Bank for £185bn (Telegraph):
Britain’s lenders have borrowed £185bn from the Bank of England in a desperate attempt to fund themselves through the financial crisis.

Hitachi set for biggest loss suffered by Japanese firm (Guardian)

US car sales near 27-year low (Reuters)

GM, Chrysler Look to Cut Workforce (Washington Post)

BP ahead 39% to record $25.6bn (Financial Times):
He also warned that the company needed an oil price of $50-$60 a barrel to be able to pay for its capital spending and dividends without borrowing, compared with a price of about $40 on Tuesday morning.

Hawker Beechcraft announces 2300 layoffs (Forbes)

German memory-chip maker closing US plant (IHT)

Fidelity starts second round of layoffs (Reuters)

EU Raids Undersea Power Cable Makers in Cartel Probe (Bloomberg)

European equity issues could raise €300bn (Financial Times)

German Jews break with pope (IHT):
BERLIN: A leading member of Germany’s Jewish community said Monday that Benedict XVI, the German-born pope and leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide, was sowing divisions and abetting far-right groups by rehabilitating four ultra-conservative bishops, one of whom has denied the Holocaust.

Gingrich: Economy headed ‘off a cliff’ (Washington Times):
Says Obama response is ‘more of the same’

Israel restrictions on al-Jazeera (BBC News)

Ehud Barak proposes tunnel connecting Gaza to West Bank (Telegraph)

Your ISP is watching you (Guardian):
Did you know … BT wants to monitor your online activities to serve you targeted ads? Don’t let it spy on you

Snow Britain: Another 10 inches of snow to hit by Thursday (Telegraph)

Pentagon Letter Complicates Blackwater Case (Washington Post):
The Pentagon wrote in 2007 that Blackwater Worldwide contractors in Iraq are not subject to U.S. civilian criminal laws, a position that undercuts the Justice Department’s effort to prosecute five Blackwater security guards on manslaughter charges.

Children throwing snowballs in public could be arrested or fined

Children who throw snowballs in public places could be arrested or fined under measures to cut down on anti-social behaviour.

Girls brave a snow flurry in Queen's Square, near Bristol city centre and enjoy a snowball fight
Children could be fined or arrested for throwing snowballs in public Photo: PA

Police have vowed to crack down on youngsters caught “acting irresponsibly’ following the worst snowfall to hit the UK in 18 years.

Those found throwing snowballs in such a way have been warned they face arrest, a fine, or both.

The new measures have been introduced in Hertfordshire after a small number of youths damaged motorists’ cars.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire Police said: “The warning was made to remind people who were throwing snowballs that throwing one through a car window isn’t a good idea.

“If a snowball went through a window screen that could cause danger to someone’s life.”

Chief Inspector Nigel Brown added: “What may seem like high jinx at the time could have a detrimental effect on the safety of others, and you could be arrested.

“Anyone who is causing anti social behaviour or who is acting irresponsibly in these current conditions could be subjected to criminal charges.

Read moreChildren throwing snowballs in public could be arrested or fined

Pakistan militant attack halts US, NATO supplies

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) – Islamist militants blew up a bridge in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, cutting a major supply line for Western troops in Afghanistan, a government official and a NATO spokesman said.

The attack was the latest in a series on the Khyber Pass by insurgents seeking to hamper the U.S.-led mission against the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.

A NATO spokesman in Afghanistan confirmed that supplies along the route had been halted “for the time being,” but stressed the alliance was in no danger of running out of food, equipment or fuel.

The attack will add urgency to NATO and U.S. efforts to find alternative supply routes to landlocked Afghanistan, an already vital task given American plans to double its troop numbers in the country.

Read morePakistan militant attack halts US, NATO supplies