FDIC Will Need Half A Trillon Dollars, Says Analyst

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s (FDIC) list of troubled banks has increased by 30 percent this quarter, and this jump is causing the FDIC and the banking community to prepare for tomorrow’s problems today.

The FDIC may have to borrow money from the Treasury Department to handle an expected wave of bank failures coming down the road, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It would not be surprising if this were to occur, according to Chris Whalen, managing director of Institutional Risk Analytics. In an interview with CNBC, Whalen said the FDIC needs a backstop.

“They need about a half a trillion dollars in borrowing authority, and they need a vehicle to own these banks while we triage them and sell them.”

Read moreFDIC Will Need Half A Trillon Dollars, Says Analyst

Wall Street Journal: New credit hurdle looms for banks

U.S. and European banks, already burdened by losses and concerns about their financial health, face a new challenge: paying off hundreds of billions of dollars of debt coming due.

At issue are so-called floating-rate notes – securities used heavily by banks in 2006 to borrow money. A big chunk of those notes, which typically mature in two years, will come due over the next year or so, at a time when banks are struggling to raise fresh funds. That’s forcing banks to sell assets, compete heavily for deposits and issue expensive new debt.

The crunch will begin next month, when some $95 billion in floating-rate notes mature. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. analyst Alex Roever estimates that financial institutions will have to pay off at least $787 billion in floating-rate notes and other medium-term obligations before the end of 2009. That’s about 43 percent more than they had to redeem in the previous 16 months.

The problem highlights how the pain of the credit crunch, now entering its second year, won’t end soon for banks or the broader economy. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said on Tuesday that its list of “problem” banks at risk of failure had grown to 117 at the end of June, up from 90 at the end of March. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said her agency might have to borrow money from the Treasury Department to see it through an expected wave of bank failures. She said the borrowing could be needed to handle short-term cash-flow pressure brought on by reimbursements to depositors after bank failures.

Read moreWall Street Journal: New credit hurdle looms for banks

World’s Largest Gold Refiner Runs Out of Krugerrands

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) — Rand Refinery Ltd., the world’s largest gold refinery, ran out of South African Krugerrands after an “unusually large” order from a buyer in Switzerland.

The order was for 5,000 ounces and it will take until Sept. 3 for inventories to be replenished, said Johan Botha, a spokesman for Rand Refinery in Germiston, east of Johannesburg. He declined to identify the buyer.

Coins and bars of precious metals are attracting investors as a haven against a sliding dollar and conflict between Russia and its neighbor Georgia. The U.S. Mint suspended sales of one- ounce “American Eagle” gold coins, Johnson Matthey Plc stopped taking orders for 100-ounce silver bars at its Salt Lake City refinery and Heraeus Holding GmbH has a delivery waiting list of as long as two weeks for orders of gold bars in Europe.

“A lot of people are worried about the dollar, they’re worried about inflation and now we have geopolitical risk with what’s happening in Russia,” said Mark O’Byrne, managing director of brokerage Gold and Silver Investments Ltd. in Dublin. O’Byrne said his company’s sales are up fourfold this year, heading for a record since its founding in 2003.

Read moreWorld’s Largest Gold Refiner Runs Out of Krugerrands

Belarus says to recognize Abkhazia, S. Ossetia by weekend

MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) – The Belarusian ambassador to Moscow said Thursday that Belarus would in the next day or two recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“We are allies and this says it all,” Vasily Dolgolev said of Minsk’s relations with Moscow. He added that the relevant announcement would be made by President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday or Friday.

Russia recognized the two separatist Georgian republics’ sovereignty Tuesday, but despite President Dmitry Medvedev’s call for other countries to follow suit, none has.

Read moreBelarus says to recognize Abkhazia, S. Ossetia by weekend

Cells switch identity in biological breakthrough

Scientists transform one type of cell into another in living mice

Talk about an extreme makeover: Scientists have transformed one type of cell into another in living mice, a big step toward the goal of growing replacement tissues to treat a variety of diseases.

The cell identity switch turned ordinary pancreas cells into the rarer type that churns out insulin, essential for preventing diabetes. But its implications go beyond diabetes to a host of possibilities, scientists said.

It’s the second advance in about a year that suggests that someday doctors might be able to use a patient’s own cells to treat disease or injury without turning to stem cells taken from embryos.

The work is “a major leap” in reprogramming cells from one kind to another, said one expert not involved in the research, John Gearhart of the University of Pennsylvania.

Read moreCells switch identity in biological breakthrough

Rat meat in demand in Cambodia as inflation bites

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – The price of rat meat has quadrupled in Cambodia this year as inflation has put other meat beyond the reach of poor people, officials said on Wednesday.

With consumer price inflation at 37 percent according to the latest central bank estimate, demand has pushed a kilogram of rat meat up to around 5,000 riel (69 pence) from 1,200 riel last year.

Spicy field rat dishes with garlic thrown in have become particularly popular at a time when beef costs 20,000 riel a kg.

Read moreRat meat in demand in Cambodia as inflation bites

Russia test-fires Topol missile, Georgia desperately cries for NATO membership

Russia’s strategic and space troops successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile Topol (RS12M).

The missile is designed to avoid detection by anti-missile defense systems. The launch was performed at 2:36 p.m. Moscow time from Plesetsk space port, RIA Novosti reports.

The missile successfully covered the distance of almost 6,000 kilometers and hit a hypothetical target on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Read moreRussia test-fires Topol missile, Georgia desperately cries for NATO membership

EU threatens sanctions against Russia


The French foreign affairs minister, Bernard Kouchner, said sanctions were ‘being considered’. Photograph: Gerard Cerles/AFP/Getty Images

European Union leaders will discuss sanctions against Russia ahead of an emergency summit meeting, the French foreign minister said today, as western leaders increased diplomatic pressure on Moscow.

When asked what measures the west could take against Russia in the crisis over Georgia, Bernard Kouchner told a press conference in Paris: “Sanctions are being considered.”

Read moreEU threatens sanctions against Russia

Russia warns Turkey on U.S. ships in Black Sea

Russia said U.S. ships could only stay in the Black Sea for 21 days according to the Montreux Convention, and warned if they do not leave by then Turkey would be responsible.

Russia’s deputy military chief Anatoly Nogovitsyn said the NATO warships’ entrance to the Black Sea is a “serious threat to our security,” Hurriyet daily reported on Thursday.

He said under the Montreux Convention, signed in 1936 on the status of the Turkish Straits, the warships can only stay in the Black Sea for 21 days.

“If the NATO ships continue to stay in the Black Sea after the expiration of 21 day-period, then I would like to remind you that Turkey would be responsible,” he added.

Read moreRussia warns Turkey on U.S. ships in Black Sea

Lawsuit questions Obama’s eligibility for office

Citizenship claim at issue

Pennsylvania’s former deputy attorney general and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter Philip J. Berg has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Pennsylvania accusing presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama of lying about his U.S. citizenship, which would make him ineligible to be president.

Mr. Berg is one of a faction of Clinton supporters who haven’t heeded the party’s call for unity, filing the suit just days before the opening of the Democratic National Convention, which will nominate Mr. Obama as the party’s presidential candidate.

Read moreLawsuit questions Obama’s eligibility for office

Cold War tension rises as Putin talks of Black Sea confrontation


Russia has criticised the US for using naval ships to deliver aid to Georgia

A new Cold War between Russia and the West grew steadily closer yesterday after the Kremlin gave a warning about “direct confrontation” between American and Russian warships in the Black Sea.

Dmitri Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister, declared that Russia was taking “measures of precaution” against American and Nato naval ships. “Let’s hope we do not see any direct confrontation in that,” he said.

Any attempt by countries in the West to isolate Russia would “definitely harm the economic interests of those states”, he said.

Read moreCold War tension rises as Putin talks of Black Sea confrontation

Military help for Georgia is a ‘declaration of war’, says Moscow in extraordinary warning to the West

Moscow has issued an extraordinary warning to the West that military assistance to Georgia for use against South Ossetia or Abkhazia would be viewed as a “declaration of war” by Russia.

The extreme rhetoric from the Kremlin’s envoy to NATO came as President Dmitry Medvedev stressed he will make a military response to US missile defence installations in eastern Europe, sending new shudders across countries whose people were once blighted by the Iron Curtain.

And Moscow also emphasised it was closely monitoring what it claims is a build-up of NATO firepower in the Black Sea.


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (right) meets with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin – the ‘real architect’ of the Georgia conflict – and the Security Council (unseen) in Sochi yesterday

The incendiary warning on Western military involvement in Georgia – where NATO nations have long played a role in training and equipping the small state – came in an interview with Dmitry Rogozin, a former nationalist politician who is now ambassador to the North Atlantic Alliance.

“If NATO suddenly takes military actions against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, acting solely in support of Tbilisi, this will mean a declaration of war on Russia,” he stated.

Read moreMilitary help for Georgia is a ‘declaration of war’, says Moscow in extraordinary warning to the West

The Orwellian nightmare is here

In the Queen’s speech this autumn Gordon Brown’s government will announce a scheme to institute a database of every telephone call, email, and act of online usage by every resident of the UK. It will propose that this information will be gathered, stored, and “made accessible” to the security and law enforcement agencies, local councils, and “other public bodies”.

This fact should be in equal parts incredible and nauseating. It is certainly enraging and despicable. Not even George Orwell in his most febrile moments could have envisaged a world in which every citizen could be so thoroughly monitored every moment of the day, spied upon, eavesdropped, watched, tracked, followed by CCTV cameras, recorded and scrutinised. Our words and web searches, our messages and intimacies, are to be stored and made available to the police, the spooks, the local council – the local council! – and “other public bodies”.

Read moreThe Orwellian nightmare is here

Tiny Cellular Antennae Trigger Neural Stem Cells


Tiny thread like cilia on brain cells act as sort of an antennae that directs signals telling stem cells to create new neurons. (Credit: Image courtesy of Yale University)

ScienceDaily (Aug. 25, 2008) – Yale University scientists today reported evidence suggesting that the tiny cilia found on brain cells of mammals, thought to be vestiges of a primeval past, actually play a critical role in relaying molecular signals that spur creation of neurons in an area of the brain involved in mood, learning and memory.

The cilia found on brain cells of mammals until recently had been viewed as a mysterious remnant of a distant evolutionary past, when the tiny hair-like structures were used by single-celled organisms to navigate a primordial world.

“Many neuroscientists are shocked to learn that cells in the brain have cilia. Thus it was even more exciting to show that cilia have a key function in regulating the birth of new neurons in the brain,” said Matthew Sarkisian, post doctoral fellow in the department of neurobiology and co-first author on the study.

Read moreTiny Cellular Antennae Trigger Neural Stem Cells

The United States of America is the Next Argentina

DON’T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA SAVE YOUR TEARS FOR YOURSELF – While bankers do control the issuance of credit, they cannot control themselves. Bankers are the fatal flaw in their deviously opaque system that has substituted credit for money and debt for savings. The bankers have spread their credit-based system across the world by catering to basic human needs and ambition and greed; and while human needs can be satisfied, ambition and greed cannot-and the bankers’ least of all.

I have a bad feeling about what’s about to happen. The Great Depression is the closest that comes to mind. I, like most, was not alive during the 1930s when it happened. Nonetheless, what once was feared in private is now being discussed in public. It’s going to be bad. It’s going to make high school seem like fun.

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA THE NEXT ARGENTINA

This Time is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises by University of Maryland‘s Carmen Reinhart and Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff makes for perfect reading when flying between the US and Argentina.

There is perhaps no better analysis than Reinhart and Rogoff’s on the history of sovereign defaults; and, as such, Reinhart and Rogoff’s paper was ideal reading material when traveling between the US and Argentina , for the sovereign defaults that happened in the past to Argentina will soon be happening to the US .

Read moreThe United States of America is the Next Argentina

South Ossetia conflict: Russia seeks Chinese support

Russia sought to bolster its diplomatic position in its stand off with the West over Georgia today by dispatching President Dmitry Medvedev to meet his Chinese counterpart.

Mr Medvedev was to meet President Hu Jintao at a Central Asian security summit in Tajikistan in an encounter that is unlikely to yield the sort of criticism that Russia has attracted from Europe and America over its actions in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Read moreSouth Ossetia conflict: Russia seeks Chinese support

Russia to respond militarily to U.S. missile shield

MOSCOW, August 27 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia will have to respond militarily to the deployment of elements of a U.S. missile shield in Central Europe.

The deal to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland was reached in mid-August, and followed the signing of an agreement on July 8 by the U.S. and Czech foreign ministries to place a U.S. radar in the Czech Republic.

“These missiles are close to our borders and constitute a threat to us,” Medvedev said in an interview with Al-Jazeera television on Tuesday. “This will create additional tension and we will have to respond to it in some way, naturally using military means.”

Read moreRussia to respond militarily to U.S. missile shield

FDIC: 117 troubled banks, highest level since 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) – The number of troubled U.S. banks leaped to the highest level in about five years and bank profits plunged by 86 percent in the second quarter, as slumps in the housing and credit markets continued.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data released Tuesday show 117 banks and thrifts were considered to be in trouble in the second quarter, up from 90 in the prior quarter and the biggest tally since mid-2003.

Read moreFDIC: 117 troubled banks, highest level since 2003

Canadian consular staff sells visas to members of the Chinese mafia and China’s intelligence service

For Canadian diplomat Brian McAdam, it wasn’t that he had uncovered the lucrative sale of Canadian visas during his posting at Canada’s Hong Kong consulate.

Both Canadian and Chinese consular staff, he says, were selling visas to members of the Chinese mafia and Communist China’s intelligence service. The price, he heard, ranged from $10,000 to $100,000 per visa.

It wasn’t that reports he sent to his bosses in Canada — details on murderers, money launderers, smugglers and spies trying to enter Canada — were met with silence or mostly destroyed.

It wasn’t dozens of threatening calls — “Stop what you’re doing or you’re going to find yourself dead” — from Triad members during his 1989-1993 stint in Hong Kong.

What finally broke him down, he says, was “the incredible feeling of betrayal from my colleagues. I’d worked with these people for years.”

Read moreCanadian consular staff sells visas to members of the Chinese mafia and China’s intelligence service

Is War With Russia on the Agenda?

Related article: Putin Can’t Afford to Back Down:
“If the Bush administration proceeds with its plan to deploy its Missile Defense System in Poland, Russian Prime Minister Putin will be forced to remove it militarily. He has no other option.”
“By means of a US first strike about 99%+ of Russian nuclear forces would be taken out. Namely, the United States Government believes that with the deployment of a facially successful first strike capability, they can move beyond deterrence and into “compellence.”…
_________________________________________________________________________________

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS:

(Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review.)

Thinking about the massive failure of the US media to report truthfully is sobering. The United States, bristling with nuclear weapons and pursuing a policy of world hegemony, has a population that is kept in the dark–indeed brainwashed–about the most important and most dangerous events of our time.

The power of the Israel Lobby is an important component of keeping Americans in the dark. Recently I watched a documentary that demonstrates the control that the Israel Lobby exercises over Americans’ view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The documentary:

Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land: Media & the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Source: Google Video

Related article: A human rights crime in Gaza By Ex-President Jimmy Carter

As a result of the US media’s one-sided coverage, few Americans are aware that for decades Israel has been ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their homes and lands under protection of America’s veto in the United Nations. Instead, the dispossessed Palestinians are portrayed as mindless terrorists who attack innocent Israel.

Read moreIs War With Russia on the Agenda?

Moscow Dismisses Economic Threats

Attempts to isolate and punish Russia for its military actions in Georgia will backfire, given Russia’s economic muscle and key role in mediating international disputes, senior Russian officials said Friday.

Top officials in President George W. Bush’s administration have said Russia’s continued military presence in Georgia could jeopardize its membership in the Group of Eight and its bid to join the World Trade Organization, among other things.

“We are a big economy today,” said Vladislav Reznik, chairman of the State Duma Financial Markets Committee. “Whether they like it or not, we have to be reckoned with.”

Yevgeny Fyodorov, chairman of the Duma’s Economic Policy and Entrepreneurship Committee, was even more blunt.

“It’s a political bluff,” he said. “It’s an absolute certainty that the Americans won’t [impose any sanctions] because they themselves would suffer.”

Read moreMoscow Dismisses Economic Threats

Backlog of US homes for sale is worst on record

The number of unsold homes on the market in the United States is at levels not seen for at least 40 years, and prices are continuing to slide, according to a disheartening new survey.

With participants throughout the financial system saying that the credit crisis cannot end until the US housing market stabilises, the monthly data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) failed to show any unequivocal improvement.

The July figures did show an increase in the number of buyers, lured by the prospect of getting a long-term bargain. However, two out of every five sales are now distressed sales – such as foreclosed homes put on the market by banks – and desperate sellers are continuing to drop their prices.

Read moreBacklog of US homes for sale is worst on record

Inflation in consumer prices is actually running at over 13%!

It was when “official government-approved” inflation figures were released that I really lost it last week, as that particular rate of inflation is now a staggering 5.6%. This is – as you can probably tell by the look of panic and terror on my face – Terrible, Terrible News (TTN).

And when you look at what John Williams at shadowstats.com calculates as inflation, according to the time-honored method of actually looking at real prices instead of the “qualified estimates” that are used today, you will see that annual inflation in consumer prices is actually running at over 13%! Some of the worst in American history! We’re freaking doomed!

Read moreInflation in consumer prices is actually running at over 13%!