YouTube Added: Dec 27, 2013
– Bailout Of World’s Oldest Bank In Jeopardy, Rests On Hope That “Ship Does Not Sink” (ZeroHedge, Dec 28, 2013):
The ongoing debacle of Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi (BMPS) took a turn for the worst today. The bank’s largest shareholders (MPS Foundation) approved (read – forced through) a delay in a EUR 3 billion capital raise, which the bank needs to avoid nationalization, until May. The delay (which will cost the bank EUR 120 million in interest) allows MPS more time to liquidate their 33.5% holding before their stake is massively diluted. Management is ‘considering’ resignation and is “very annoyed,” but the city Mayor is going Nationalist with his delay-supporting comments that “we cannot let the third biggest bank in this country fall prey to foreign interests.” So Europe is recovering but they can’t even raise a day’s worth of POMO to save the oldest bank in the world?
Italy’s third-biggest bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena was forced to delay a vital 3 billion euro ($4.1 billion) share sale to raise capital until mid-2014 because of shareholder opposition, plunging its turnaround plan into uncertainty.
– Caught On Tape: Suicide Bombing In Russia’s Fifth Largest Train Station Kills 15, One Month Ahead Of Sochi Games (ZeroHedge, Dec 29, 2013):
Two months ago, we reported when a female suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a bus in the Russian city of Volgograd, located 400 miles northeast of Sochi where the winter Olympic games begin in just over a month.
The explosion was caught on dashcam (the video can be seen here). But more than a mere isolated terrorist incident in a region of Russia which has historically been rife with conflict between Russia and Chechen separatists, this explosion, which took place just after Russia managed to impose its will in the Syrian conflict’s outcome, and left Saudi (and Israeli) relations with the US in tatters, we reminded readers just who is the invisible hand behind all terrorist activities in proximity to Sochi: Saudi Arabia.
Recall from our commentary on the October Volgograd explosion:
– Shelters Fill as Rent Aid Disappears (Wall Street Journal, Dec 27, 2013):
New York City residents who received rent subsidies are flocking to homeless shelters.
New York City homeless shelters—swelling with record-high populations not seen since the Great Depression—are increasingly being sought out by people who participated in a now-defunct rent-subsidy program designed to reduce homelessness, according to a report to be released Saturday.
– French Constituional Court Approves 75% Tax On High Earners (ZeroHedge, Dec 29, 2013):
Almost a year ago, the French constitutional court ruled against Francois Hollande’s triumphal blast into socialist wealth redistribution, with his proposed 75% tax rate on high earners, and so indefinitely delayed the exodus of the bulk of French high earners (even if some, like Obelix, aka Gerard Depardieu, promptly made their way to the country that has become the land of solace for all oppressed people everywhere, Russia) into more tax-hospitable climes. That delay is now over, when earlier today the same court approved a 75% tax on all those earning over €1 million. The proposal passed after the government modified it to make employers liable for the 75% tax. As BBC reports, the levy will last two years, affecting income earned this year and in 2014.
And with the tax passage, the preparations for an exodus by all high earnings begin, first among the local football teams.
– One million US jobless to lose financial aid (BBC News, Dec 28, 2013):
More than a million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits after an emergency federal programme expired on Saturday.
Lawmakers failed to agree on an extension of the scheme before the US Congress began its winter recess.
A federal judge in New York rules that the NSA’s phone surveillance program is legal. Target data breach also included customer debit card PIN information. Delta website glitch offers domestic fares for bargain prices. Paul Vigna reports.
– Judge Backs the NSA’s Surveillance (Wall Street Journal, Dec 28, 2013):
Ruling on U.S. Phone Data Contradicts Recent Decision, Boosting Likelihood of Supreme Court Review
The National Security Agency’s collection of data about most calls made in the U.S. is legal, a federal judge ruled, dismissing a significant court challenge and setting the stage for a bigger legal battle over secret surveillance programs.
U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III in Manhattan sided with the government in his decision, calling the collection program a vital tool that represents the government’s “counter-punch” against al Qaeda’s diffuse terror network.
The ruling comes less than two weeks after a federal judge in the District of Columbia took on the same issue and concluded in strong language that the program “almost certainly” violates the Constitution.
– ‘High Alert’: Mystery illness killing bald eagles in Western U.S. — Wings paralyzed, full blown seizures — Experts: “Very big concern”… “Never seen anything like this”… “It’s something new”… “We just don’t know what’s going on” (VIDEOS) (ENENews, dec 29, 2013):
KUTV, Dec. 28, 2013: Wildlife experts are on high alert as more bald eagles are found suffering from a mysterious illness […] It’s a very big concern. Wildlife experts have never seen anything like this before with bald eagles. […] Wildlife experts have never seen bald eagles suffer like this before in Utah and scientists are unsure of what is making them ill.
KSTU, Dec. 15, 2013: Officials thought the symptoms might have been from lead poisoning, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. […] “I don’t think words can describe what you see and what you feel, and the helplessness and trying to figure out what’s going on,” [DaLyn Erickson, executive director at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah] said. Symptoms suffered by the birds include, leg paralysis, wing paralysis, head tremors and seizures.
WTMJ, Dec. 26, 2013: Wildlife experts say they’ve never seen anything like this before. […] “Weakness in the legs, weakness in the wings. And then very quickly move into having tremors, and then full blown seizures.”
– Epidemiologist back from Fukushima: “We’re talking about a sacrifice zone and millions of people live in this area” — Exceeds allowable radiation dose for nuclear workers 40 kilometers from Fukushima plant (VIDEO) (ENENews, Dec 28, 2013):
NC WARN Hosts Dr. Steve Wing, Dec 9, 2013:
At 18:00 in
Epidemiologist Dr. Steve Wing, University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill, discusses the human impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster based on his visit to the area: This reading here, just to put it in perspective, the guard there if he stood there for a year, right where he is now in this picture, he would exceed the allowable radiation dose for a nuclear workers inside a plant. And this is 40 kilometers away. So we’re talking about a sacrifice zone, and millions of people live in this area.
Read moreEpidemiologist back from Fukushima: ‘We’re talking about a sacrifice zone and millions of people live in this area’ — Exceeds allowable radiation dose for nuclear workers 40 kilometers from Fukushima plant
– Navy Times: Now 70+ men & women report suffering from Fukushima radiation — Testicle removal, optic nerve removal, leukemias, polyps… were in their early 20s with good health (VIDEO) (ENENews, Dec 28, 2013):
Navy Times, Dec. 28, 2013: A group of sailors who were aboard the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan as it rendered aid in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown in Japan nearly three years ago […] say they’ve suffered since their radiation exposure. […] the attorney [Paul C. Garner] now has 71 plaintiffs listed, with myriad health issues. […] Garner estimated about one-third of the plaintiffs remain on active duty, adding that one is still assigned to the Reagan. […] A spokesman for the Navy […] said Reagan crew members weren’t exposed to enough radiation to cause long-term health effects […] aircrews delivering supplies to Fukushima were given medication to stave off thyroid gland exposure to radiation, and the ships were monitored for levels of radioactivity […]
– Post-Fukushima Report: Concern over Plutonium and Uranium being deposited and re-concentrating far away — Isotopes transfer to land via sea spray, aerosols, flooding — Human exposure by inhalation, food, contact (ENENews, Dec 29, 2013):
House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee (pdf), Volume II Additional written evidence, Sixth Report of Session 2012–13:
Recommendations for post event marine monitoring programmes
[…] At Fukushima the monitoring authorities chose to focus on those isotopes (iodine and Caesium) [and] failed to investigate the presence, concentration and radiological significance of “hot” particles of reactor fuel, used fuel from cooling ponds and/or pieces of reactor of cooling pond structure released into coolant and ECW [Emergency Cooling Water] flows as a result of explosion, meltdown, containment breach, washout of coolant and through flow of ECW.
Read morePost-Fukushima Report: Concern over Plutonium and Uranium being deposited and re-concentrating far away — Isotopes transfer to land via sea spray, aerosols, flooding — Human exposure by inhalation, food, contact
– Steam coming from Fukushima Unit 3 reactor building — Observed multiple times this week (ENENews, Dec 28, 2013):
Tepco (translation), Dec. 27, 2013: At around 7:00 am on December 27, and confirmed by the camera that from Unit 3 reactor building, 5th floor near the center, steam is generated. Have not been identified abnormal plant conditions of 54 minutes at 7:00 am the same day, the indicated value of the monitoring post (meteorological data of 50 minutes at 7:00 am, 5.1 ℃ temperature, 93.1% humidity).
– Chinese icebreaker turns back from Antarctic rescue mission (CNN, Dec 29, 2013):
A Chinese ship trying to reach a trapped expedition vessel in Antarctica has turned back.
The icebreaker Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, was just six nautical miles away from the Russian-flagged vessel when the captain decided the ship could not get any closer, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said Saturday.
The Snow Dragon went back to open water and remains in the vicinity of the stuck ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, to provide support, said Andrea Hayward-Maher, spokeswoman for the AMSA. The Chinese vessel has a helicopter on board that could assist in evacuation.
A French icebreaker was en route to assist, but AMSA called off that vessel’s mission at midday Saturday.
– Chinese Media Compares Japan PM To “Terrorists And Fascists”; Blasts Abe’s Homage To “Devils”, Urges Boycott (ZeroHedge, Dec 27, 2013):
On Thursday, Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe stunned the world by defying everyone – including the EU and the US whose embassy sent a tersely worded letter in which is said that it is “disappointed that Japan’s leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan’s neighbors” – when he visited the Yasukuni Shrine where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal after World War Two are honored along with those who died in battle, for the first time in 7 years. The response was fast and furious. Below, courtesy of Reuters, is a snapshot of the morning after in the Chinese media. The reviews of Abe’s action were not glowing.
In an editorial headlined “Abe’s paying homage to the devils makes people outraged”, the Chinese military’s People’s Liberation Army Daily said Abe’s action had “seriously undermined the stability of the region”.
– Greenwald: US, British media are servants of security apparatus (RT, Dec 27, 2013):
Journalist Glenn Greenwald condemned the mainstream media during an address at a German computer conference on Friday and accused his colleagues of failing to challenge erroneous remarks routinely made by government officials around the globe.
Thousands of attendees at the thirtieth annual Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg packed into a room to watch the 46-year-old lawyer-turned-columnist present a keynote address delivered less than seven months after he started working with former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
– ISU Researcher Quits Amid Allegations Of $19M AIDS Vaccine Fraud: Dr. Dong-Pyou Han Faked HIV-Resistance Test Results (Medical Daily, Dec 26, 2013):
Iowa State University researcher, Dr. Dong-Pyou Han, resigned after news broke of an investigation into the validity of his AIDS research. Han is believed to have tampered with research results for a possible AIDS vaccine.
“At Iowa State’s request, the research samples in question were examined by researchers at another university; they confirmed samples had been spiked,” ISU spokesman John McCarroll wrote in an email to the Des Moines Register. “He later admitted responsibility and resigned from Iowa State, effective Oct. 4, 2013.”
– Turkish Stocks, Bonds, Lira Collapse As Erdogan Fires Prosecutor, Asks “Who He Works For?” (ZeroHedge, Dec 27, 2013):
Muammer Akkas, the prosecutor who complained his government corruotion investigation efforts were being blocked by the government – has been removed from the investigation. Prime Minister Erdogan’s efforts to rein in “the final attack” on “new Turkey” are failing even after his cabinet reshuffle but this morning’s rhetoric has sent asset prices tumbling once more:
- *’THE NEW TURKEY IS UNDER SERIOUS ATTACK’: ERDOGAN
- *IN NEW TURKEY, SOVEREIGNTY CAN’T LIE WITH JUDICIARY: ERDOGAN
- *LAWMAKERS SHOULD AVOID REMARKS HURTING ERDOGAN: ARINC
- *ERDOGAN SAYS HE’S ISSUING LEGAL COMPLAINT AGAINST MEDIA LEAKS
As one analyst noted, “Erdogan continues to present the developments as a conspiracy despite having to shuffle his cabinet, which indicates that there may be some serious findings behind the probe.“
– Obama’s New Normal: The Drone Strikes (Nation of Change, Dec 24, 2013):
There has been yet another violent attack with mass casualties. This was not the act of a lone gunman, or of an armed student rampaging through a school. It was a group of families en route to a wedding that was killed. The town was called Radda—not in Colorado, not in Connecticut, but in Yemen. The weapon was not an easy-to-obtain semiautomatic weapon, but missiles fired from U.S. drones. On Thursday, Dec. 12, 17 people were killed, mostly civilians. The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism has consistently tracked U.S. drone attacks, recently releasing a report on the six months following President Barack Obama’s major address on drone warfare before the National Defense University (NDU) last May. In that speech, Obama promised that “before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured—the highest standard we can set.” The BIJ summarized, “Six months after President Obama laid out U.S. rules for using armed drones, a Bureau analysis shows that covert drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan have killed more people than in the six months before the speech.” In a nation that abhors the all-too-routine mass killing in our communities, why does our government consistently kill so many innocents abroad?
– McDonald’s on employee resources site: Not lovin’ it (CNN, Dec 26, 2013)
– The Stock Market Has Officially Entered Crazytown Territory (Economic Collapse, Dec 26, 2013):
It is time to crank up the Looney Tunes theme song because Wall Street has officially entered crazytown territory. Stocks just keep going higher and higher, and at this point what is happening in the stock market does not bear any resemblance to what is going on in the overall economy whatsoever. So how long can this irrational state of affairs possibly continue? Stocks seem to go up no matter what happens. If there is good news, stocks go up. If there is bad news, stocks go up. If there is no news, stocks go up. On Thursday, the day after Christmas, the Dow was up another 122 points to another new all-time record high. In fact, the Dow has had an astonishing 50 record high closes this year. This reminds me of the kind of euphoria that we witnessed during the peak of the housing bubble. At the time, housing prices just kept going higher and higher and everyone rushed to buy before they were “priced out of the market”. But we all know how that ended, and this stock market bubble is headed for a similar ending.
It is almost as if Wall Street has not learned any lessons from the last two major stock market crashes at all. Just look at Twitter. At the current price, Twitter is supposedly worth 40.7 BILLION dollars. But Twitter is not profitable. It is a seven-year-old company that has never made a single dollar of profit.
Anna Sablina, cancer researcher and assistant professor at University of Leuven, Dec. 26, 2013: […] in case of such high radioactive dose and exposure it obviously can increase a probability of cancer development especially thyroid cancer and leukemia. […] We can always compare what people already know about the Chernobyl accident because it is a quite similar situation [to Fukushima] […] the only problem in the Chernobyl area is a really increased rate of thyroid cancer especially for kids. More than 5,000 kids there diagnosed the thyroid cancer after Chernobyl, so I would say it probably could be the same case as in Japan. And for the rest it is a bit difficult to say […] I think most of the time the only people who were directly involved in cleaning up and fixing the accident could have a really increased rate of cancer but for the rest it will be really difficult to say […]
– 5 Surprising Things We Feed Cows (Mother Jones, Dec 19, 2013):
– We Feed Cows Chicken Poop (Mother Jones, Dec 19, 2013):
The practice isn’t just gross, it could spread mad cow disease—and yet the FDA has done nothing to stop it.
Anyone who pays even scant attention to where our food comes from is likely aware that some pretty unsavory things happen between the farm and your fork (see this month’s big story in Rolling Stone, for example). But some of these farming methods are more than just unappetizing: they could be deadly. One practice in particular could allow for the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, the gruesome and fatal neurodegenerative disorder more commonly known as mad cow disease.