Global “Oil Shock” Rattles World Stock markets

Cleaning up the mess that Mr Greenspan left behind was never going to be easy. Banks and brokers around the world face more than half-trillion dollars in write-offs as a consequence of the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, which is spreading from the US property market and roiling global stock markets. It’s toppled the US economy into a recession and the tremors are also rattling Asian stock markets.

Roughly $7 trillion has been wiped from world stock markets since the beginning of the year amid fears of a severe US economic recession and financial institutions reporting more mega losses. “The market crisis will preoccupy us well into 2008,” he said German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck on Feb 15th. “The financial risks securitized by banks contained packaged explosives,” and he accused rating agencies of having a conflict of interest in the role they played in the process.

So far, the Bernanke Federal Reserve has pumped more than half-a-trillion dollars into the markets with open market operations and special emergency lending schemes, to help cushion the blow to the US economy and stock markets. However, there’s evidence that the Fed’s prescription for dealing with the sub-prime debt crisis, is actually making matters much worse, and leading to “Stagflation.”

Read moreGlobal “Oil Shock” Rattles World Stock markets

Bear Stearns gets emergency funds

_44492712_bear203ap.jpg
Bear Stearns is one of the best-known US Wall Street firms

US bank Bear Stearns has got emergency funding, in a move that raises fears that one of Wall Street’s biggest names is on the verge of collapsing.

JP Morgan Chase will provide the money to Bear Stearns for 28 days with the Federal Reserve of New York’s backing.

Read moreBear Stearns gets emergency funds

Right now, feds might be looking into your finances

Banks tip off government to possible money laundering, fraud

WASHINGTON – Each year, federal agents peek at the financial transactions of millions of Americans – without their knowledge.

The same type of information that raised suspicions about New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is reviewed every day by authorities to find traces of money laundering, check fraud, identity theft or any crime that may involve a financial institution.

As concerns about fraud and terrorist financing grow, an increasing number of suspicious deposits, withdrawals and money transfers are being reported by banks and others to the federal government. Banks and credit unions as well as currency dealers and stores that cash checks reported a record 17.6 million transactions to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in 2006, according to a report from the network, a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department.

“I don’t think Americans understand that their financial transactions are being reported and routinely examined,” said Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Read moreRight now, feds might be looking into your finances

House agrees to rare secret session on spy bill

wwwreuterscom.jpeg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives abruptly postponed a vote on a spy bill on Thursday after Democrats agreed to a Republican request to hold a rare secret session to discuss classified security matters.

The vote was reset for Friday.

The bill would revamp a 1978 surveillance law and reject President George W. Bush’s demand that phone companies that participated in his warrantless domestic spy program begun after the September 11 attacks be immunized from lawsuits.

Read moreHouse agrees to rare secret session on spy bill

Climate change soon could kill thousands in UK, says report

Climate change could lead to a heatwave in the south-east of England killing 3,000 people within the next decade, a Department of Health report said today.It put the chances of a heatwave of that severity happening by 2017 at 25%.

Without preventative action, the report said that a nine-day heatwave, with temperatures averaging at least 27 degrees over 24 hours, would cause 3,000 immediate deaths, with another 3,350 people dying from heat-related conditions during the summer.

It predicted that there would be an increase in skin cancers due to increased exposure to sunlight and that, over the next half century, air pollution could lead to an extra 1,500 deaths and hospital admissions a year.

While malaria outbreaks were likely to remain rare, the report – Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK 2008 – said health authorities would need to be alert to the dangers posed by possible larger outbreaks of malaria in continental Europe.

eggborough460.jpg

Eggborough power station, near Selby. The report says climate change
could lead to a heatwave in the south-east of England killing 3,000 people.
Photograph: John Giles/PA

Read moreClimate change soon could kill thousands in UK, says report

Polar ice pack loss may break 2007 record

TREND: Ocean currents, global warming and wind combine to leave the Arctic ice fragile. New data this winter on Arctic winds and currents indicate that next summer’s ice loss at the North Pole may be even greater than 2007’s record-setting shrinkage.

Read morePolar ice pack loss may break 2007 record

Return of the Plague

Victims of the plague during the 1574 Siege of Leiden by the Spaniards black death black plague bubonic plague

black_death_0212.jpg

Like no other disease, plague evokes terror. One of the most lethal illnesses in human history, it killed probably a third of Europe’s population in the 14th century. It may also have been one of the first agents of biological warfare: It’s said that in the 1340s, invading Mongols catapulted their plague dead over the city wall into Kaffa in the Crimea.

Yet the plague is not just a disease of the distant past. While cases tapered off in the mid-20th century, the World Health Organization (WHO) now classifies plague as “re-emerging.” No one is predicting another pandemic like the Black Death that devastated Europe. The WHO now records at most only a few thousand cases worldwide per year; and, if detected early, the disease can be treated effectively with antibiotics. But since the early 1990s, plague has returned to places – including India, Zambia, Mozambique, Algeria and parts of China – that had not seen it in many years or even decades.

Read moreReturn of the Plague

Drought spreading in Southeast – USA TODAY

ATLANTA – Georgians will be able to water their azaleas and swim in their pools this spring after the state eased a ban on outdoor watering.Barely 400 miles away, residents of Raleigh, N.C., should be so lucky. Their city council just enacted the toughest water restrictions available, essentially banning all outdoor watering in Raleigh and six surrounding towns.

droughtx.jpg

Read moreDrought spreading in Southeast – USA TODAY

Fossil Record Suggests Insect Assaults On Foliage May Increase With Warming Globe

During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum more than 55 million years ago, insects chewed large holes in this leaf.

paleocene-eocene-thermal-maximum-leaf-fossil-bg.jpg

More than 55 million years ago, the Earth experienced a rapid jump in global carbon dioxide levels that raised temperatures across the planet. Now, researchers studying plants from that time have found that the rising temperatures may have boosted the foraging of insects. As modern temperatures continue to rise, the researchers believe the planet could see increasing crop damage and forest devastation.

Read moreFossil Record Suggests Insect Assaults On Foliage May Increase With Warming Globe

GlobalIncidentMap.com – RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service

To see what is going on in the world:

GlobalIncidentMap.com:
http://www.globalincidentmap.com/home.php

RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service:
http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/woalert_read.php?cid=15814&cat=dis〈=eng

This world is changing rapidly, everywhere…and it is doing so NOW!

Mystery Bee Disappearances Sweeping U.S.

mystery-bee-disappearances-sweeping-us.jpg

( Commentary from the Infinite Unknown:
There will be FOOD SHORTAGES very soon !!!

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” – Albert Einstein )

Without a trace, something is causing bees to vanish by the thousands. But a new task force hopes to finger the culprit and save the valuable crops that rely on the insects.

Pennsylvania beekeeper Dave Hackenberg was the first beekeeper to report to bee researchers what’s become known as colony collapse disorder (CCD).

In October Hackenberg had delivered honeybees to a Florida farm to pollinate crops. The bees typically return to their boxed hives when their work is done. But this time was different.”I came to pick up 400 bee colonies and the bees had just flat-out disappeared,” Hackenberg said. “There were no dead bees, no bees on the ground, just empty boxes.”

“In almost 50 years as a beekeeper, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

CCD has spread throughout 24 states and ruined hundreds of thousands of bee colonies.

Hackenberg has lost roughly 1,900 of his 2,900 hives. Other operators have lost up to 90 percent of their hives.

Read moreMystery Bee Disappearances Sweeping U.S.

WMO: La Nina may be partial cause of S China’s freeze-up

wmo-la-nina-may-be-partial-cause-of-s-chinas-freeze-up.jpg

GENEVA — The current La Nina weather phenomenon may just be a partial cause of South China’s freeze-up at the start of 2008, said the United Nations World Meteorological Agency (WMO) Monday.

The latest La Nina pattern, which began in the third quarter of 2007, has picked up strength in the past three months, with sea surface temperatures now about 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius colder than average over large parts of the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean, said the latest report issued by the WMO.

A rescuer carries an 80-year-old woman out of Jinlian village in Longnan county, East China’s Jiangxi Province, Feb. 3, 2008. After being trapped for days in frozen weather and without electricity and water supply, 1,761 people in the village were rescued successfully on Sunday. [Xinhua]

Read moreWMO: La Nina may be partial cause of S China’s freeze-up

70 Reasons To Doubt The Offical Story of 9/11

70 reasons to doubt…
DISTURBING FACTS ABOUT THE 9/11 ATTACKS
John Doraemi

Read more70 Reasons To Doubt The Offical Story of 9/11

“WAR HAS BEGUN”, SAYS VENEZUELA

March 5, 2008 — CUCUTA, Colombia – Venezuela and Ecuador reinforced their borders with Colombia yesterday as the three nations traded increasingly bitter accusations over Colombia’s cross-border strike on a leftist guerrilla base in Ecuador.Rejecting a Colombian apology as insufficient, Ecuador sought international condemnation of the attack during an emergency meeting of the Organization of American States, convened in Washington to help defuse one of South America’s most volatile crises in years.

Read more“WAR HAS BEGUN”, SAYS VENEZUELA

Chinese Cyberattacks Target US Think Tanks

Washington DC (UPI) Mar 07, 2008
Defense-related think tanks and contractors, as well as the Pentagon and other U.S. agencies, were the target of repeated computer network intrusions last year apparently originating in China, the Department of Defense said this week.

In its annual report to lawmakers on China’s military power, the department said the intrusions “appeared to originate in” China but added, “It is unclear if these intrusions were conducted by, or with the endorsement of” the Chinese government or military.

Read moreChinese Cyberattacks Target US Think Tanks

Top Iraq contractor skirts US taxes offshore

kbr1

CAYMAN ISLANDS – Kellogg Brown & Root, the nation’s top Iraq war contractor and until last year a subsidiary of Halliburton Corp., has avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through shell companies based in this tropical tax haven.More than 21,000 people working for KBR in Iraq – including about 10,500 Americans – are listed as employees of two companies that exist in a computer file on the fourth floor of a building on a palm-studded boulevard here in the Caribbean. Neither company has an office or phone number in the Cayman Islands.

The Defense Department has known since at least 2004 that KBR was avoiding taxes by declaring its American workers as employees of Cayman Islands shell companies, and officials said the move allowed KBR to perform the work more cheaply, saving Defense dollars.

Read moreTop Iraq contractor skirts US taxes offshore

‘Frankenfoods’ Giant Monsanto Plays Bully Over Consumer Labeling

Monsanto doesn’t want consumers to know the truth about the milk they’re drinking. The corporation’s monopoly is at stake.

“There are some corporations that clearly are operating at a level that are disastrous for the general public … And in fact I suppose one could argue that in many respects a corporation of that sort is the prototypical psychopath, at the corporate level instead of the individual level.”

–Dr. Robert Hare, The Corporation

Since 1901, Monsanto has brought us Agent Orange, PCBs, Terminator seeds and recombined milk, among other infamous products. But it’s currently obsessed with the milk, or, more importantly, the milk labels, particularly those that read “rBST-free” or “rBGH-free.” It’s not the “BST” or “BGH” that bothers them so much; after all, bovine somatrophin, also known as bovine growth hormone, isn’t exactly what the company is known for. Which is to say, it’s naturally occurring. No, the problem is the “r” denoting “recombined.” There’s nothing natural about it. In fact, the science is increasingly pointing to the possibility that recombined milk is — surprise! — not as good for you as the real thing.

“Consumption of dairy products from cows treated with rbGH raise a number of health issues,” explained Michael Hansen, a senior scientist for Consumers Union. “That includes increased antibiotic resistance, due to use of antibiotics to treat mastitis and other health problems, as well as increased levels of IGF-1, which has been linked to a range of cancers.”

Read more‘Frankenfoods’ Giant Monsanto Plays Bully Over Consumer Labeling

OPEC blames ‘mismanaged’ U.S. economy for soaring oil prices

OPEC, rebuffing calls from U.S. President George W. Bush to increase oil output, cited “mismanagement” of the American economy as a major factor driving prices up.Record prices are suddenly creating the sharpest tensions in years between the oil cartel and the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer. Two days after the president called for more oil on the global market, OPEC members, meeting in Vienna, Austria, chose to leave their production levels unchanged, declaring that the market has plenty of oil already.

The cartel’s president on Wednesday blamed financial speculators and American economic problems, which have helped lower the value of the dollar, for the high oil prices. After the meeting, oil prices settled above $104 a barrel, a record.

Bush, who had said this week it would be a mistake for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries not to raise production, was disappointed by the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting, according to the White House.

It is the second time this year that OPEC ignored public calls from the United States to boost supplies. In January, Bush traveled to Saudi Arabia and urged producers to open their taps. But the plea failed to sway OPEC. When the group met in February, it kept its production level unchanged.

Read moreOPEC blames ‘mismanaged’ U.S. economy for soaring oil prices

National Dragnet Is a Click Away

Authorities to Gain Fast and Expansive Access to Records
Several thousand law enforcement agencies are creating the foundation of a domestic intelligence system through computer networks that analyze vast amounts of police information to fight crime and root out terror plots.

As federal authorities struggled to meet information-sharing mandates after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, police agencies from Alaska and California to the Washington region poured millions of criminal and investigative records into shared digital repositories called data warehouses, giving investigators and analysts new power to discern links among people, patterns of behavior and other hidden clues.

Those network efforts will begin expanding further this month, as some local and state agencies connect to a fledgling Justice Department system called the National Data Exchange, or N-DEx. Federal authorities hope N-DEx will become what one called a “one-stop shop” enabling federal law enforcement, counterterrorism and intelligence analysts to automatically examine the enormous caches of local and state records for the first time.

Read moreNational Dragnet Is a Click Away

Small Bomb Rocks NYC Times Square in Early Morning Hours

A bomb exploded in New York City’s Times Square early this morning, damaging a military recruiting center. Police are now on the hunt for a man seen on a bike wearing a grey hoodie. While authorities remain on full alert, they insist that there is no imminent threat after the 4 a.m. explosion.

nycbomb.jpg

Read moreSmall Bomb Rocks NYC Times Square in Early Morning Hours

Lou Dobbs: U.S. Heading For Stagflation Crisis – CNN host slams Fed’s depreciation of dollar

CNN host Lou Dobbs says the U.S. economy is heading for a stagflation crisis as a result of the U.S. government’s policy of dollar depreciation and that the only solution is for the American people to restore a proper Constitutional system of government.Dobbs told The Alex Jones Show today that the decline of the dollar was, “a clear signal as to how much trouble this economy is in,” added to a 9 trillion dollar national debt and a 6 trillion dollar trade debt.

America’s dependence on cheap imported Chinese consumer electronics, clothes and toys was negating any elasticity that could be gained from the demand relationship with China on imports, meaning that the only conceivable benefit of a weak dollar – cheaper exports – was not even applicable, Dobbs explained.

“We have the specter of stagflation staring at us coldly and inevitably right now,” said Dobbs, adding, “There’s no doubt that those who would degrade the sovereignty of this country would want to certainly the power, the strength, and the respect of the U.S. dollar and it is the last thing we should permit.”

Stagflation is a macroeconomics term used to describe a period of inflation combined with stagnation, ie slow economic growth allied to a potential recession.

“We have to come to terms with the amount of debt that we have allowed the elites of this country to run up,” Dobbs concluded.

Read moreLou Dobbs: U.S. Heading For Stagflation Crisis – CNN host slams Fed’s depreciation of dollar

Foreclosures hit all-time high

Over 900,000 borrowers are losing their homes, up 71% from a year ago, and a record number of home owners are behind on payments.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — More home owners than ever are losing the battle to make their monthly mortgage payments.

Over 900,000 households are in the foreclosure process, up 71% from a year ago, according to a survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association. That figure represents 2.04% of all mortgages, the highest rate in the report’s quarterly, 36-year history.

Another 381,000 households, or 0.83% of borrowers, saw the foreclosure process started during the quarter, which was also a record.

Additionally, the number of mortgage borrowers who were over 30 days late on a payment in the last three months of 2007 is at its highest rate since 1985.

“Boy, that was ugly,” said Jared Bernstein, an Economic Policy Institute economist of the data.

“It’s another reminder that anyone who thought we had hit bottom was wrong. This was a huge bubble, and when a bubble of this magnitude breaks, it creates a huge mess,” he said.” It could take a lot longer for the correction to work through the system.”
Housing rescue: What you need to know

One reason it may take so long is that there seems to be no end in sight for falling home prices.

Read moreForeclosures hit all-time high