As China’s inflation soars, world fears knock-on effects

Inflation from the factory floor up is soaring in China.

As China’s factory floors feel the pressure from spiralling costs, there is growing nervousness in the rest of the world that the Asian giant’s next big export could be inflation.

From air-conditioned US shopping malls to bustling African street markets and remote Asian villages, shoppers have become accustomed over recent years to the vast array of ultra-cheap Chinese goods on offer.

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China’s trade surplus last year reached 262.2 billion dollars, a more than 10-fold rise from 2003.

But now a confluence of factors, led by soaring domestic inflation that hit an 11-year high of 7.1 percent in January, is ramping up the costs of doing business in China, with potential knock-on effects for the rest of the world.

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Russia quietly prepares to switch some oil trading from dollars to rubles

MOSCOW: Russia, the world’s second-largest oil-exporting nation after Saudi Arabia, has been quietly preparing to switch trading in Russian Ural Blend oil, the country’s primary export, from the dollar to the ruble. But the change, if it comes, is still some time off, industry analysts and officials said.

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“The role of the key reserve currencies is under review,” said Dmitry Medvedev, the likely successor to President Vladimir Putin, “And we must take advantage of it.”

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Pharmaceuticals lurking in U.S. drinking water

AP probe found traces of meds in water supplies of 41 million Americans
A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs — and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

From California to New Jersey
In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas — from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville, Ky.

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Sarkozy and Merkel draft agreement detailing role of nations on EU’s southern border

BRUSSELS: President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany will end months of wrangling Thursday by presenting a joint plan to strengthen Europe’s ties with countries on its southern borders.

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Banks to Seize Carlyle Capital Assets

NEW YORK — The likely liquidation of Carlyle Capital Corp.’s remaining assets sent the fund’s shares plummeting more than 90 percent Thursday and rattled stock markets around the globe. It was also a high-profile setback for private equity fund Carlyle Group.

Carlyle Capital said late Wednesday that it expected creditors to seize all of the fund’s remaining assets _ investment-grade mortgage-backed securities _ after unsuccessful negotiations to prevent its liquidation.

Its shares, which went public at $19 a share in July and traded at $12 just last week, tumbled 93.6 percent to 18 cents on the Euronext exchange.

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My Forbidden Fruits (and Vegetables)

IF you’ve stood in line at a farmers’ market recently, you know that the local food movement is thriving, to the point that small farmers are having a tough time keeping up with the demand.But consumers who would like to be able to buy local fruits and vegetables not just at farmers’ markets, but also in the produce aisle of their supermarket, will be dismayed to learn that the federal government works deliberately and forcefully to prevent the local food movement from expanding. And the barriers that the United States Department of Agriculture has put in place will be extended when the farm bill that House and Senate negotiators are working on now goes into effect.

As a small organic vegetable producer in southern Minnesota, I know this because my efforts to expand production to meet regional demand have been severely hampered by the Agriculture Department’s commodity farm program. As I’ve looked into the politics behind those restrictions, I’ve come to understand that this is precisely the outcome that the program’s backers in California and Florida have in mind: they want to snuff out the local competition before it even gets started.

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The Microchip is here !!! – New World Order

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The VeriChip can provide medical and identity information when scanned.
Derek, his mom Leslie and his dad Jeffrey are the first volunteer test subjects for a new, implantable computer device called VeriChip. Later this spring, pending Food and Drug Administration approval, doctors will load a wide-bore needle with a microchip containing a few kilobytes of silicon memory and a tiny radio transmitter and inject it under the skin of their left arms, where it will serve as a medical identification device. It sounds like science fiction. (Remember the Borg on Star Trek? Resistance is futile!) But VeriChip is quite real. The Jacobs family could be the first in a new generation of computer-enhanced human beings.

In case you missed reading this earlier …

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‘Fox’ Fallon Fired – And we’re f*cked…

 

“If, in the dying light of the Bush administration, we go to war with Iran,” says the March Esquire, “it’ll all come down to one man. If we do not go to war with Iran, it’ll come down to the same man.” The piece describes this top military figure as the last obstacle to the Bush administration’s persistent push for war with Iran: “It’s left to” him and him “alone … to argue that, as he told al-Jazeera last fall: ‘This constant drumbeat of conflict … is not helpful and not useful. I expect that there will be no war, and that is what we ought to be working [for].'”That was Adm. William “Fox” Fallon speaking, top U.S. commander in the Middle East, last of the Vietnam vets in the high command, and, yes, the very same Adm. Fallon who has just submitted his resignation as head of Central Command. What makes this particularly ominous is that, according to former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst Patrick Lang, Fallon told him, upon taking over at Centcom, that war with Iran “isn’t going to happen on my watch.” Lang asked him how he thought he could stop it: “‘I have options, you know,’ Fallon responded, which Lang interpreted as implying Fallon would step down rather than follow orders he considers mistaken.”

Read more‘Fox’ Fallon Fired – And we’re f*cked…