Global News (02/04/09)

Britain ‘headed’ for deepest slump in 60 years (Times Online):
The sharpest plunge in consumer spending since the Second World War will drive Britain this year into its deepest economic slump for 60 years, according to the country’s leading economic research institute.

Cheney Warns Of New Attacks (CBS News):
Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned that there is a “high probability” that terrorists will attempt a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack in coming years, and said he fears the Obama administration’s policies will make it more likely the attempt will succeed.

Dick Cheney Is A Liar (The Washington Independent)

President Obama to water down ‘Buy American’ plan after EU trade war threat (Times Online):
The European Union warned the US yesterday against plunging the world into depression by adopting a planned “Buy American” policy, intensifying fears of a trade war.

Europe and Canada warn US over ‘Buy America’ clause (Telegraph)

EU issues warning over Buy American plan (Financial Times):
The European Union has warned of possible trade litigation against the US if Washington presses ahead with a Buy American provision in its forthcoming economic stimulus bill.

Senate Republicans Slam Obama Stimulus (CBS News)

PM slams economic protection (Scotsman):
AUSTRALIA’S prime minister Kevin Rudd warned that nations using protectionist policies to stimulate economies would throw “a spear at the heart” of his country’s economy.

Japan slams Buy American plan (Financial Times)

ADP index shows 522000 jobs lost in January (MarketWatch)

Kazakhstan devalues currency (Financial Times):
Kazakhstan allowed its currency, the tenge, to drop by almost one-fifth in a move it blamed on falling world oil prices and the sharp depreciation of the Russian rouble.

Russia and Belarus sign air defence pact (Telegraph)

Japan’s Panasonic to cut 15000 jobs, shut plants (AP)

Abu Dhabi injects liquidity (Financial Times)

Obama caps executive pay tied to bailout money (AP):
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Wednesday imposed $500,000 caps on senior executive pay for the most distressed financial institutions receiving federal bailout money, saying Americans are upset with “executives being rewarded for failure.”

Treasury reveals record US debt sale plans (Financial Times):
The US Treasury on Wednesday opened the floodgates of government bond issuance, revealing plans for a record debt sale in February and more frequent auctions in the months to come.

Foreclosures Now One in Five Home Sales (NewsMax)

Wells Fargo defends, then cancels Vegas junket (AP):
WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s a tradition for Wells Fargo & Co. to reward top employees with a lavish junket. In previous years, though, the company hadn’t just received a $25 billion bailout from taxpayers.

Chinese earthquake may have been man-made, say scientists (Telegraph):
An earthquake that killed at least 80,000 people in Sichuan last year may have been triggered by an enormous dam just miles from the epicentre

Time seen running out for attack on Iran (Reuters):
HERZLIYA, Israel (Reuters) – Israel has a year in which to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities preemptively, an Israeli legislator and weapons expert said Wednesday.

UK and US put Iran at heart of the agenda (Independent)

State pension funds tally their losses (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Editorial: Judges Sentenced (Philadelphia Inquirer):
Kids for cash
The setting is Pennsylvania coal country, but it’s a story right out of Dickens’ grim 19th-century landscape: Two of Luzerne County’s most senior judges on Monday were accused of sending children to jail in return for kickbacks.

British colonel ‘passed Afghan casualty secrets to female friend’ (Times Online)

Lovells hired to trace Bernard Madoff’s UK assets (Times Online)

Exploding mobile phone kills man in China (Telegraph)

The Army’s Remote-Controlled Beetle (MIT Technology Review):
A giant flower beetle with implanted electrodes and a radio receiver on its back can be wirelessly controlled, according to research presented this week. Scientists at the University of California developed a tiny rig that receives control signals from a nearby computer. Electrical signals delivered via the electrodes command the insect to take off, turn left or right, or hover in midflight. The research, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), could one day be used for surveillance purposes or for search-and-rescue missions.

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.

Read moreCity police sued over strip search

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

California goes broke, halts $3.5 billion in payments

I said many, many times that the U.S. is broke.

Things are much, much worse than you have been told.

This will be the ‘Greatest Depression’.


California, the eighth largest economy in the world, is broke.

“People are going to be hurt starting today,” said Hallye Jordan, speaking on behalf of the state Controller. “There’s no money.”

Since state legislators failed to meet an end of January deadline on an agreement to make up for California’s $40 billion budget gap, residents won’t be getting their state tax rebates, scholarships to Cal Grant college will go unpaid, vendors invoices will remain uncollected and county social services will cease.

At least, temporarily. Services and payments will resume once state legislators come to an agreement on the budget.

“This time, there are real-world consequences,” said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the California Department of Finance, in a report by KCRA in Sacramento. “Because we have not been able to get to a budget agreement, payments aren’t going to be made.”

“This is an issue of fairness,” said Assemblyman Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, in the KCRA report. “It hurts hardworking families the most. Refunds, in fact, will stimulate the economy, and taxpayers need their money.”

“Included are $515 million in payments to the state’s vendors and $280 million to help people with developmental disabilities. Other public assistance agencies will be left waiting for hundreds of millions of dollars,” reports CNN. “Other public assistance agencies will be left waiting for hundreds of millions of dollars.”

“I see the will during the negotiations even though these are very, very tough things that we talk about, where we go into areas that we have never, ever dreamt of going into and trying to solve,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “So you will be very surprised when the whole thing is done. We’re still not there yet. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done but we are moving slowly forward with this process.”

“If there is no deal by Friday, state government workers will take their first furlough day,” reports the San Diego Union Tribune. “Schwarzenegger has ordered state employees to take two days off a month without pay through June 2010 to save about $1.4 billion.”

Read moreCalifornia goes broke, halts $3.5 billion in payments

EU attacks ‘Buy American’ clause

Buy American is meant to ensure that only US goods are used in public works

The EU has increased its pressure on the US to reconsider the “Buy American” clause in the $800bn (£567bn) economic recovery package now before Congress.

The clause seeks to ensure that only US iron, steel and manufactured goods are used in projects funded by the bill.

A European Commission spokesman said it was the “worst possible signal” the Obama administration could send out.

The EU will launch a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if the clause remains, the spokesman said.

Related interview: Jim Rogers: If Obamanomics happens it’s all over

The EU and Canadian ambassadors to Washington have already warned that the clause could promote protectionism and trigger retaliatory moves.

The rescue plan has already been approved by the US House of Representatives and is under discussion in the Senate this week.

Mixed trade signals

“There isn’t a great deal of scope for doing much more but if America went ahead and did this we would have to take it up with the World Trade Organisation,” the European Commission trade spokesman, Peter Power, told the BBC’s Chris Mason in Brussels.

British Conservative Members of the European Parliament warned of the dangers of “a new economic iron curtain” being drawn across Europe.

Read moreEU attacks ‘Buy American’ clause

Australia and Japan offer new stimulus plans

HONG KONG:Australia announced a $26.5 billion stimulus plan and a deep interest rate cut on Tuesday as the Japanese central bank said it would start buying shares held by financial institutions to try to ease the burden on lenders in efforts to shield their economies from the worsening downturn.

The announcements followed a flurry of economic data, job cuts and profit warnings in recent weeks that have shown the region is slowing faster than had been expected as demand in the United States and Europe withers.


Related article: Australia launches massive stimulus package (AFP):
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the massive stimulus package was aimed at nation building and supporting up to 90,000 jobs “in the face of the unfolding national and international economic emergency.”


“The weight of the global recession is now bearing down on the Australian economy,” said Wayne Swan, Australia’s treasurer, in a statement accompanying the stimulus announcement. “In the midst of this global recession it would be irresponsible not to act swiftly and decisively to support jobs.”

Read moreAustralia and Japan offer new stimulus plans

U.S. Property Owners Lost $3.3 Trillion in Home Value Last Year

About $6.1 trillion of value has been lost since the housing market peaked in the second quarter of 2006


A for sale sign stands outside of a home in Mount Ephraim, New Jersey on Sept. 24, 2008. Photographer: Mike Mergen/Bloomberg News

Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. housing market lost $3.3 trillion in value last year and almost one in six owners with mortgages owed more than their homes were worth as the economy went into recession, Zillow.com said.

The median estimated home price declined 11.6 percent in 2008 to $192,119 and homeowners lost $1.4 trillion in value in the fourth quarter alone, the Seattle-based real estate data service said in a report today.

“It’s like a runaway train gaining momentum,” Stan Humphries, Zillow’s vice president of data and analytics, said in an interview. “It’s difficult to say when we’ll see a bottom to the housing market.”

The U.S. economy shrank the most in the fourth quarter since 1982, contracting at a 3.8 percent annual pace, the Commerce Department said on Jan. 30. Record foreclosures have pushed down prices as unemployment rose. More than 2.3 million properties got a default or auction notice or were seized by lenders last year, according to RealtyTrac Inc., a seller of data on defaults.

About $6.1 trillion of value has been lost since the housing market peaked in the second quarter of 2006 and last year’s decline was almost triple the $1.3 trillion lost in 2007, Zillow said.

Read moreU.S. Property Owners Lost $3.3 Trillion in Home Value Last Year

Channel 4 freezes all salaries for year

Channel 4, the impoverished publicly owned broadcaster at the heart of a debate over the future of UK television, said on Monday it had frozen salaries for all staff and its two most senior staff members were waiving their performance bonuses for 2008.

The decision came as the television industry got down to what one person familiar with the discussions called “the gruntwork” of figuring out how to fill a funding gap of up to £100m that is forecast to emerge in C4’s finances by 2012.

Read moreChannel 4 freezes all salaries for year

Treasury rethink hits defence budget

Britain’s deepening financial crisis has prompted the Treasury to pull back from funding any unexpected costs from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, putting further pressure on the core defence equipment budget.

Gordon Brown, as chancellor, set up the Treasury reserve to pay for any equipment urgently needed for operations and half of any unforeseen costs. But Treasury officials have recently told the Ministry of Defence to cover the entire cost of any overruns itself.

The Treasury sees the move as increasing the incentive for the MoD accurately to estimate the costs of operations. But it was attacked as a cost-cutting measure that would put further pressure on the strained military budget and have a negative impact on troops in the field.

Read moreTreasury rethink hits defence budget

Glenn Beck: Economic Apocalypse

Glenn Beck on the coming devaluation of the dollar.

“We have pumped all of this money in (see chart) and devalued our money.”

“How is it not going to be worthless?”

“This has never ever been done by anybody ever before.”

“This is real trouble, not in a thousand years, perhaps the next year.”


Added:
Source: YouTube

Dissent beginning to spread across Russia as crisis bites

Thousands protest at Putin’s handling of economy while rift with Medvedev grows


Supporters of the banned National Bolshevik party protest against Moscow’s rulers

The Kremlin’s rule is beginning to look much shakier than at any time since Vladimir Putin came to power, after a series of protests in cities across its vast landmass this weekend by Russians disgruntled about the economy. And as the country starts to feel the effects of the global credit crunch, there are also signs of a growing rift between Prime Minister Putin, and his hand-picked successor as President, Dmitry Medvedev.

In Vladivostok, 2,000 protesters took to the streets, with some carrying banners reading “Kremlin, we are against you”, and other people chanting directly for the removal of Mr Putin. The Pacific port city, seven time zones away from Moscow, has become a focal point for dissent after riot police broke up a march last year over car imports and detained 100 people. Saturday’s demonstration, under the watchful eye of the police, passed off peacefully.

Nearly every major city had a street rally, and though most were low key, the unusual scale of dissatisfaction is likely to worry the authorities. The Russian economy has been hit hard by falling oil prices, many oligarchs have seen billions of pounds wiped off the value of their shares, and ordinary Russians are feeling the pinch as factories struggle to stay afloat and companies lay off employees.

In Moscow, a motley band of communists, anarchists and liberals gathered at several points across the city to protest against Kremlin rule. At one spot, a dozen protesters taped over their mouths with white tape, held up white placards with no slogans, and handed blank white flyers to passers-by. Bemused by such a conceptual approach to protest, the police rounded them up and arrested them anyway, and the organiser got five days in prison.

Read moreDissent beginning to spread across Russia as crisis bites

Global News (02/02/09)

Riot police clash with protesters at Davos summit (Sunday Herald):
RIOT POLICE fired tear gas and water cannons at bottle-throwing demonstrators in Geneva who protested yesterday against the annual World Economic Forum meeting in the Swiss Alps.

Riot police fire tear gas at Greek farmers (AP)

Heaviest snow in 20 years brings large parts of Britain to a halt (Times Online)

Travel chaos as Europe shivers in heavy snowfalls (ABC News)

California delays $3.5B in payments (CNN Money)

Europeans are finally waking up to the demise of democracy (Telegraph)

Let banks fail, says Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz (Telegraph)

Personal bankruptcies soar 33% (MSN Money)

Macy’s cutting 7000 jobs (CNN)

Nuclear power workers join wildcat strike action over foreign labour (Guardian)

Italy bans kebabs and foreign food from cities (Times Online)

Huge rise in speed cameras (Telegraph):
The number of speed cameras sites nearly trebled in just six years, according to figures released by the Government.

Jamie’s food fuels pupils’ brain power (Times Online):
An independent study shows the performance of 11-year-old pupils eating Oliver’s meals improved by up to 8% in science and as much as 6% in English, while absenteeism due to ill-health fell by 15%.

Fed Monetizes Debt, Investors Buy Gold (Gold Seek)

Where Are US Consumer Goods Prices Headed? (Lew Rockwell)

WEF 2009: Global crisis ‘has destroyed 40pc of world wealth’ (Telegraph):
The past five quarters have seen 40pc of the world’s wealth destroyed and business leaders expect the global economic crisis can only get worse.

Vladimir Putin faces more protests over economy (Telegraph):
Russian opposition groups are planning new protests over the economy after weekend demonstrations that challenged the authority of Vladimir Putin.

Nuclear workers join UK wildcat strikes (Financial Times)

Number of UK long-term jobless set to soar (Financial Times)

Australia faces first budget deficit for 7 years (Financial Times)

Two children should be limit, says green guru (Times Online)

Folding dealers shock car buyers with unpaid liens (AP)

India risks losing its nuclear ally in Washington (The National)

Wars And Economic Failure Have Been Marching Us Towards One World Government (The International Forecaster)

Welfare Aid Isn’t Growing as Economy Drops Off (New York Times)

Federal Agency Kills Thousands of Birds with Pesticide (Natural News)

Unpaid taxes return to haunt Obama cabinet


Tom Daschle: Nominated as Health Secretary despite $140,000 tax debt

The high ethical standards which Barack Obama set for his administration have hit a bump on the road, after revelations that his choice for Health Secretary, Thomas Daschle, waited nearly a month after being nominated before revealing to the President that he was a tax delinquent.

Mr Daschle, one of Mr Obama’s earliest backers, only paid the back taxes totalling $140,000 (£97,000) on 2 January and told the White House about it two days later. The money covered tax owed on additional income from consulting work, undertaken for a wealthy New York investor, as well as the exclusive use of a Cadillac limousine complete with driver.

The Senate finance committee meets today to discuss Mr Daschle’s nomination. He is the second of Mr Obama’s cabinet picks to have found themselves scrambling to smooth out their financial records. Tim Geithner’s confirmation as Treasury Secretary was delayed after it was discovered he had failed to pay $34,000 in taxes.

Read moreUnpaid taxes return to haunt Obama cabinet

Barack Obama to allow anti-terror rendition to continue

The highly controversial anti-terror practice of rendition will continue under Barack Obama, it has emerged.


Barack Obama is to allow the highly controversial anti-terror practice of rendition to continue Photo: AP

Despite ordering the closure of Guantanamo and an end to harsh interrogation techniques, the new president has failed to call an end to secret abductions and questioning.

In his first few days in office, Mr Obama was lauded for rejecting policies of the George W Bush era, but it has emerged the CIA still has the authority to carry out renditions in which suspects are picked up and often sent to a third country for questioning.

The practice caused outrage at the EU, after it was revealed the CIA had used secret prisons in Romania and Poland and airports such as Prestwick in Scotland to conduct up to 1,200 rendition flights. The European Parliament called renditions “an illegal instrument used by the United States”.

According to a detailed reading of the executive orders signed by Mr Obama on Jan 22, renditions have not been outlawed, with the new administration deciding it needs to retain some devices in Mr Bush’s anti-terror arsenal amid continued threats to US national security.

Read moreBarack Obama to allow anti-terror rendition to continue

Britain ‘must revive farms’ to avoid grave food crisis

GMOs are not the solution:
Austrian Government Study Confirms Genetically Modified (GM) Crops Threaten Human Fertility and Health Safety (Institute For Responsible Technology)

Exposed: the great GM crops myth (The Independent):
“Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis.”

Life running out of control – Genetically Modified Organisms (Documentary)
The World According to Monsanto (Documentary)
Greenpeace: No need for condoms – GE corn can do the job
(Greenpeace)
Europe’s secret plan to boost GM crop production (The Independent)
FDA Considers Engineered Animals For Food (CBS NEWS)
Genetically ‘improved’ oysters behind France’s shellfish plague (Telegraph)
Prince Charles warns GM crops risk causing the biggest-ever environmental disaster (Telegraph)
At stake is no less than control of the world’s food supply
(Edmonton Journal)
BIODIVERSITY: Privatisation Making Seeds Themselves Infertile (IPS)

Yes, there will be a engineered global food crisis – like the engineered financial crisis – in the near future and the elite is preparing for it:
‘Doomsday’ seed vault opens in Arctic
(msnbc):

They are storing “real” seeds. Take a close look who is behind this:
Investors Behind Doomsday Seed Vault May Provide Clues to Its Purpose (Natural News):
“The group of investors includes The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto Corporation, Syngenta Foundation, and the Government of Norway.”

If there would be no crisis coming and/or GMOs would not be a problem for the environment then why would they do this ‘now’?


Source: The Observer

Top thinktank issues stark warning of unrest over prices and says GM crops could offer a solution

Britain faces a major food crisis unless urgent steps are taken to revive its flagging agricultural sector, warns one of the world’s most influential thinktanks.

Following a week in which world leaders and the United Nations expressed deep concern about the prospect of global food shortages, Chatham House suggests there needs to be a major shake-up in the UK’s supply chain if the country is to continue feeding itself.

Controversially, the report’s authors claim the debate about the use of GM crops in the UK will have to be reopened if productivity is to be increased, a suggestion likely to spark anger from the green lobby.

Read moreBritain ‘must revive farms’ to avoid grave food crisis

Sir Jock Stirrup: Even a US surge won’t beat the Taliban

Sir Jock Stirrup, Britain’s chief of the defence staff, tells Carey Schofield only politics can bring peace to Afghanistan

Fighter reconnaissance pilots possess steely resolve. Having served his time flying Strikemasters during Britain’s “secret war” in Oman in the 1970s and a Jaguar reconnaissance aircraft during the cold war, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, now chief of the defence staff, knows something about steering a difficult course into hostile territory. Indeed, he’s still doing it today. He is described by many in the services as “Gordon’s favourite defence chief” – and it is not meant as a compliment.

At a time when the armed forces are stuck in two unpopular wars, Stirrup has come under heavy fire for his willingness to work with his political masters. Typically, he brushes aside suggestions that the defence budget is in trouble. There is “serious pressure” he admits, but “we have to adjust our programme so that we can live within the available resources”. It is not hard to see why this frustrates troops waiting on the ground in Afghanistan for a helicopter that may or may not arrive to deliver supplies.

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