– The men who broke a bank (Times Online):
John Redwood, the Tory MP for Wokingham, said: “If buying one very large bank was careless, buying two is lunatic. “When the government bought RBS it bet the farm. Now, buying control of Lloyds, it is betting the farm, the shop, the factory and everything else of value in our overborrowed country.”
– Ex-UN prosecutor: Bush may be next up for International Criminal Court (Raw Story):
An ex-UN prosecutor has said that following the issuance of an arrest warrant for the president of Sudan, former US President George W. Bush could — and should — be next on the International Criminal Court’s list.
– Bank of England’s £150bn injection may not work, economists warn (Telegraph):
Economists have warned that the attempt by the Bank of England to revive Britain’s fortunes by injecting up to £150bn into the economy is a high-risk strategy that might not work. (This strategy works only for the crooks of the government and the Bank of England.)
– Bankspeak: it’s quantitatively easy-peasy (Telegraph):
According to Wikipedia, “quantitative easing” is “the creation of new money out of thin air by a central bank, and its injection into the banking system”. But it is not even as straightforwardly crazy as printing more banknotes. In an electronic age, when the Bank of England wants to quantitatively ease things, it simply makes computer transfers to itself. The men in pinstripes press a few buttons and tell themselves they have £150 billion more than they thought. (Creating money out of thin air. Zimbabwe magic.)
– Bank of England to ‘print’ first £2billion this week (Daily Mail):
Panicked financial markets will this week get the first dose of the Bank of England’s £150billion bailout as it launches its ‘quantitative easing’ plan.
– Nobel prize-winning economist Scholes Advises ‘Blow Up’ Over-the-Counter Contracts (Bloomberg):
The “solution is really to blow up or burn the OTC market, the CDSs and swaps and structured products, and let us start over,” he said, referring to credit-default swaps and other complex securities that are traded off exchanges. “One way to do that, through the auspices of regulators or the banking commissioners, is to try to close all contracts at mid-market prices.”
– GEO Group, Inc.: Despite a Crashing Economy, Private Prison Firm Turns a Handsome Profit (CorpWatch):
While the nation’s economy flounders, business is booming for The GEO Group Inc., a private prison firm that is paid millions by the U.S. government to detain undocumented immigrants and other federal inmates.
– Barack Obama ‘too tired’ to give proper welcome to Gordon Brown (Telegraph):
Sources close to the White House say Mr Obama and his staff have been “overwhelmed” by the economic meltdown and have voiced concerns that the new president is not getting enough rest.
– Sarcramento struggles with spiralling homelessness problem (Telegraph):
As many as 50 people a week arrive at the tent city and the authorities estimate it is now home to more than 1,200 people.
– Where’s global warming? (Boston Globe):
In Washington, D.C., what was supposed to be a massive rally against global warming was upstaged by the heaviest snowfall of the season, which paralyzed the capital.
Meanwhile, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has acknowledged that due to a satellite sensor malfunction, it had been underestimating the extent of Arctic sea ice by 193,000 square miles – an area the size of Spain.