– To my special friend Gordon, 25 DVDs: Obama gives Brown a set of classic movies. Let’s hope he likes the Wizard of Oz (Daily Mail):
Because all he got was a set of DVDs. Barack Obama, the leader of the world’s richest country, gave the Prime Minister a box set of 25 classic American films – a gift about as exciting as a pair of socks.
– Fed’s Kohn Says Risks of Not Rescuing AIG Too Large (Bloomberg):
The bulk of AIG’s losses, which totaled more than $100 billion in the past five quarters, stem from credit-default swaps sold to investors to protect them from the declining value of financial assets.
– Dow/Gold Ratio Hits 7; Multi Decade Low (Charting Stocks)
– Berlin losing patience over Opel rescue (Financial Times):
“Politically, Berlin will have to do something and Opel and GM know that. They are using the threat of job losses in an election year as a blackmailing device to get our support cheaply,” the insider said.
– UK stake in Lloyds set to hit 70pc (Telegraph):
Lloyds Banking Group is close to a deal to insure around £250bn of toxic assets that could see the taxpayers’ stake in the bank rise to 70pc, the Financial Times reported.
– Malaysian exports suffer fast fall (Financial Times):
Malaysia reported its sharpest monthly export fall in at least 28 years for January as the government prepares to announce a new stimulus package next week. Exports, focused on electronics and commodities, fell 28 per cent after sliding by 15 per cent in December.
– China crisis as economy crumbles (Independent):
An 8 per cent growth rate sounds impressive, but the Beijing leadership fears social unrest in the countryside as it struggles to create jobs
– Bailout Money – Instead of Being Used to Stabilize the Economy or Even the Bailed-Out Companies – is Just Going to Line the Pockets of the Wealthy (George Washington’s Blog)
– Barack Obama bets the farm in $4 trillion poker game (Times):
The President believes he can change US politics for a generation. If he’s wrong he could bankrupt the whole country. (Can’t blame it only on Obama. Always remember Obama is just a puppet of the elite, as was Bush.)
– BUDGET BACKLASH: Thousands Rally At City Hall (WCBS-TV)
– ECB cuts rates to record 1.5pc, mulls radical action (Telegraph):
“I don’t exclude anything,” said Jean-Claude Trichet, the ECB’s president. “We did not decide that this is the lowest level. We are studying additional non-standard measures.” Bond yields plummeted across the eurozone as the markets instantly priced in further monetary loosening.
– Gaza homes destruction ‘wanton’ (BBC News):
Human rights investigators say Israeli forces engaged in “wanton destruction” of Palestinian homes during the recent conflict in Gaza. Amnesty International has told the BBC News website the methods used raised concerns about war crimes.
– U.S. Military Aid to Israel (CounterPunch):
Israel is by far the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid. Since 1949, the United States has provided Israel with $101 billion in total aid, of which $53 billion has been military aid. For the last 20-plus years, Israel has received an average of $3 billion annually in grant aid;, until now the grant has been a mix of economic and military aid.
– US offers $0 for Gaza reconstruction (The National):
Although the Obama administration is pledging $900 million (Dh3.3 billion) of aid, none of the money will go to rebuilding Gaza, the Los Angeles Times reported.
– Russia building anti-satellite weapons (Independent):
Russia is working on anti-satellite weapons to match technologies developed by other nations and will speed up modernization of its nuclear forces, a deputy defense minister was quoted as saying today.
– Russia to outlaw criticism of WWII tactics (Telegraph):
The Russian government is to outlaw criticism of Soviet military tactics during the Second World War in the latest example of its heavy-handed approach to dissent.
– U.S. to Invite The Wealthy To Invest in The Bailout (Washington Post):
The initiative to revive the consumer lending business, outlined by officials this week, offers these wealthy investors a new chance to make sizable profits — but, thanks to the government, without the risk of massive losses.
– Mauritania expels Israeli diplomats, shuts embassy (Reuters):
NOUAKCHOTT (Reuters) – Mauritania’s military junta expelled Israeli diplomats and shut the embassy on Friday after freezing ties with the Jewish state over its invasion of Gaza.
– Mandelson custard attack probed (BBC News)
– Revealed: police databank on thousands of protesters (Guardian):
Police are targeting thousands of political campaigners in surveillance operations and storing their details on a database for at least seven years, an investigation by the Guardian can reveal.
– Experts uncover cause of greyness (BBC News):
Experiments found it is caused by a massive build-up of hydrogen peroxide due to wear and tear of hair follicles, which blocks hair’s natural pigment.