The Japanese Bond Smugglers Are Missing

seized-bonds

At least the Japanese press is sitll interested in story of the two Japanese men caugh withs ome $134.5 billion in (presumably fake) US bearer bonds.

We can’t read Japanese, and Google Translate isn’t particularly helpful, but a reader informs us that the gist of this story is that a newspaper sent a reporter to Como, Italy and found that the men had been released, with their whereabouts unknown.

Now, the easiest, most-benign explanation for this whole thing is that it’s just a counterfeiting scheme. Fine, but then why do you let them go without tracking their whereabouts?

This could be the reason why: The US Bearer Bonds ‘Coincidence’

Related articles:
US Treasury says bonds seized in Italy are fakes
The Saga Of The Bearer Bonds; Smuggled Bonds Are Probably Genuine

Joe Weisenthal
Jun. 17, 2009

Source: The Business Insider

Illegal download fine: $1.9 million for 24 songs

  • Minnesota wife, mom slapped with fine of $80,000 per song, for total of $1.9 million
  • Spokeswoman for the Recording Industry Association of America lauds jury’s finding

Illegal downloads of musical files will cost a Minnesota woman $1.9 million, a jury has decided.
Illegal downloads of musical files will cost a Minnesota woman $1.9 million, a jury has decided.

(CNN) — A federal jury Thursday found a 32-year-old Minnesota woman guilty of illegally downloading music from the Internet and fined her $80,000 each — a total of $1.9 million — for 24 songs.

Jammie Thomas-Rasset’s case was the first such copyright infringement case to go to trial in the United States, her attorney said.

Attorney Joe Sibley said that his client was shocked at the fine, noting that the price tag on the songs she downloaded was 99 cents.

Read moreIllegal download fine: $1.9 million for 24 songs

The Saga Of The Bearer Bonds; Smuggled Bonds Are Probably Genuine

Update:
The Japanese Bond Smugglers Are Missing (The Business Insider)

US Treasury says bonds seized in Italy are fakes (Reuters)
The US Bearer Bonds ‘Coincidence’ (Must-read)

Related article: Italy Seizes $135 BILLION Of US Bonds: Smuggling Or Counterfeit-Printing?


The German newspaper ‘Die Welt’ (The World) reports:
(Original article: Welt Online , Translation courtesy of Google: Here)

Smuggled Bonds are probably genuine
Geschmuggelte Anleihen sind wohl echt

Bull’s eye for the customs officers:
Volltreffer für die Zöllner:

The smuggled bonds valued at 134 billion U.S. dollars are apparently authentic.

Die geschmuggelten Wertpapiere im Wert von 134 Milliarden Dollar sind offenbar echt.

The Italian financial police caught two Japanese, trying to carry multi-billion bonds in the false bottom of their suitcase to Switzerland.
Die italienische Finanzpolizei hatte zwei Japaner ertappt, die im doppelten Boden eines Koffers milliardenschwere Anleihen in die Schweiz schaffen wollten.

Note that this has received very little coverage in the so-called “mainstream US media” – but it is everywhere in Europe and Asia.

Japan, for its part, oddly said the following as soon as this story started to hit the press:

“We have complete trust in the fact that the U.S. views its strong-dollar policy as fundamental,” Yosano, 70, said in an interview in Tokyo on June 10 before attending a Group of Eight meeting of finance ministers starting today in Italy. “So our trust in U.S. Treasuries is absolutely unshakable.”

Uh huh. And the Japanese said in December of 1941 that all was well too. Anyone remember what happened on the morning of the 7th?

Let’s apply a little “Occam’s Razor” to this entire story.

You’re not going to walk into a bank with $130 billion in bearer bonds and cash them. Nor are you going to sell a bond with a $500 million face value to someone without them authenticating it. They will be authenticated before you get one dime out of them – no matter who you think you’re going to “give” them to.

So if they’re fakes and you’re “just screwing around”, there is no reason to hide them. Nor is there any particular reason to have authentic and recent original bank documents in your luggage with them, as has been reported.

Read moreThe Saga Of The Bearer Bonds; Smuggled Bonds Are Probably Genuine

Scotland Yard officers are suspected of defrauding taxpayers of millions

More than 300 elite Scotland Yard detectives are suspected of defrauding the taxpayer of millions of pounds by abusing their corporate credit cards, the Observer can disclose.

Auditors who have examined the American Express accounts of 3,500 officers involved in countering terrorism and organised crime have reported almost one in 11 detectives to the Metropolitan Police’s internal investigators.

A senior officer appears to have spent £40,000 on his Amex card in one year, without authorisation. Items bought by others without permission include suits, women’s clothing and fishing rods.

The scale of the suspected fraud, disclosed in an internal Metropolitan Police Authority report, will send shock waves through the force. Until now, the investigation into expenses fraud was thought to have focused on fewer than 40 officers. It comes days after Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met Commissioner, faced the potentially damaging disclosure that six officers face investigation over claims that a drug suspect’s head was forced into a lavatory that was flushed repeatedly.

Authority members expressed their dismay last night. Jenny Jones, a Green Party member, said: “Taxpayers have every right to be angry about this. Well done to the current auditing team for uncovering this, but what on earth was happening before? Why was there no accountability?

“It beggars belief that our police, who are supposed to be solving crime, are suspected of fraud on a grand scale.”

Read moreScotland Yard officers are suspected of defrauding taxpayers of millions

NASA orders $19 million space toilet from Russia

iss

Moscow, June 14: The US space agency NASA was forced to spend a whopping USD 19 million on a new toilet in their section of International Space Station (ISS), after repeated breakdown of the American lavatory due to “rich diet” of Russian cosmonauts.

Cosmonauts from both the countries had been using each others’ toilets, but the American astronauts recently denied access to their Russian colleagues to their lavatory, sparking a ‘space scandal’ between the two former Cold War rivals.

“The US astronauts were sick and tired of toilet breakdowns and unpleasant odours. NASA was eventually forced to order a toilet system from Russia. US tax payers paid USD 19 million for the space toilet. The new construction was installed in the US segment of the ISS,” Pravda.ru website reported.

Read moreNASA orders $19 million space toilet from Russia

Italy Seizes $135 BILLION Of US Bonds: Smuggling Or Counterfeit-Printing?

Update :
The Japanese Bond Smugglers Are Missing (The Business Insider)
US Treasury says bonds seized in Italy are fakes (Reuters)
The US Bearer Bonds ‘Coincidence’ (Must-read)
The Saga Of The Bearer Bonds; Smuggled Bonds Are Probably Genuine


Ok, this was rumored several days ago, but now I can find actual news reportsat least, outside the US:

Milan (AsiaNews) – Italy’s financial police (Guardia italiana di Finanza) has seized US bonds worth US 134.5 billion from two Japanese nationals at Chiasso (40 km from Milan) on the border between Italy and Switzerland. They include 249 US Federal Reserve bonds worth US$ 500 million each, plus ten Kennedy bonds and other US government securities worth a billion dollar each.

Those sound like Bearer Bonds – at least the Kennedy ones do.

We no longer issue those (nor does pretty much anyone else) for obvious reasons – they’re essentially money and can be had in VERY large size, making them great vehicles for various illegal enterprises.

But folks: This is $134.5 billion dollars worth.

If they’re real, what government (the only entity that would have such a cache) is trying to unload them?

If they’re fake, this is arguably the biggest counterfeiting operation ever, by a factor of many times. I’ve seen news about various counterfeiting operations over the years that have made me chuckle, but this one, if that’s what it is, is absolutely jaw-dropping.

The cute part of this is that if the certificates are real Italy just got a hell of a bonanza – their money laundering laws provide for a statutory 40% penalty for failure to declare instruments and cash in excess of $10,000 Euros, which means they’d garner a close-to-$40 billion dollar windfall.

That ought to help their budget problems!

Notice, by the way, that the US Media has totally ignored this story – even though the securities in question are allegedly US instruments.

Gee, I wonder why? Might the authorities know they’re real and be just a wee bit nervous that disclosure of a sovereign attempting to covertly dump nearly $140 billion in debt could cause a wee bit of panic, given that we’re running nearly $200 billion a month in deficits?

Inquiring minds want to know what’s really going on here.

Read moreItaly Seizes $135 BILLION Of US Bonds: Smuggling Or Counterfeit-Printing?

London’s Metropolitan Police accused of waterboarding drug suspects

police_torture_waterboarding_police-state
The claims are part of an investigation which includes accusations that evidence was fabricated and suspects’ property was stolen

Metropolitan Police officers subjected suspects to waterboarding, according to allegations at the centre of a major anti-corruption inquiry, The Times has learnt.

The torture claims are part of a wide-ranging investigation which also includes accusations that officers fabricated evidence and stole suspects’ property. It has already led to the abandonment of a drug trial and the suspension of several police officers.

However, senior policing officials are most alarmed by the claim that officers in Enfield, North London, used the controversial CIA interrogation technique to simulate drowning. Scotland Yard is appointing a new borough commander in Enfield in a move that is being seen as an attempt by Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met Commissioner, to enforce a regime of “intrusive supervision”.

The waterboarding claims will fuel the debate about police conduct that has raged in the wake of hundreds of public complaints of brutality at the anti-G20 protests in April.

The part of the inquiry focusing on alleged police brutality has been taken over by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. It is examining the conduct of six officers connected to drug raids in November in which four men and a woman were arrested at addresses in Enfield and Tottenham. Police said they found a large amount of cannabis and the suspects were charged with importation of a Class C drug. The case was abandoned four months later when the Crown Prosecution Service said it would not have been in the public interest to proceed. It is understood that the trial, by revealing the torture claims, would have compromised the criminal investigation into the six officers.

Read moreLondon’s Metropolitan Police accused of waterboarding drug suspects

Royal Canadian Mint lost tens of millions in precious metals

Tories call in Mounties over mint’s missing millions

Canada’s money-makers can’t find tens of millions in precious metals that are shown on the books

royal-canadian-mint
Employees work June 8, 2009 at the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa, where there are worries security could have been breached following the revelation that a large amount of precious metals recorded on the books is missing. The mint uses gold, silver, platinum and palladium in its operations.

OTTAWA – The federal government has asked the RCMP to launch an investigation into the tens of millions worth of precious metals that have gone missing from the Royal Canadian Mint.

The announcement comes after an external audit was launched to reconcile the mint’s records with the physical stock of metals.

And it comes after the Star revealed today that the value of the missing metal was worth more than $10 million.

“I think we are all very concerned,” said Rob Merrifield, minister of state for transport, the department responsible for the mint.

Merrifield said he “instructed” mint staff today to call in the Mounties to assist with the ongoing audit, which has been under way since early March.

Read moreRoyal Canadian Mint lost tens of millions in precious metals

Air France crash killed two of the world’s “most prominent” illegal arms trade and international drug trafficking foes

pablo_dreyfus
Pablo Dreyfus

The puzzling crash of Air France’s Flight 447 killed two of the world’s “most prominent” illegal arms trade and international drug trafficking foes, according to a little-noticed report.

In a revelation sure to fuel conspiracy theories over the plane’s demise, the report reveals that two key figures in the neverending internecine battle against global arms and drug trafficking perished when the plane abruptly fell out of the sky. Both were particularly active in efforts to stem illegal arms trading in Latin America.

A 39-year Argentinian man, Pablo Dreyfus, was said to be a major player in an effort by Brazilian authorities to stop flow of arms to drug gangs in Rio. He was a consultant for Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based thinktank.

Another consultant for Small Arms Survey also died in the crash, “Ronald Dreyer, a Swiss diplomat and co-ordinator of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence who had worked with UN missions in El Salvador, Mozambique, Azerbaijan, Kosovo and Angola,” according to Scotland’s Sunday Herald.

“Both men were consultants at the Small Arms Survey, an independent think tank based at Geneva’s Graduate Institute of International Studies,” the Herald reported. “The Survey said on its website that Dryer had helped mobilise the support of more than 100 countries to the cause of disarmament and development.”

Dreyfus and Dreyer were reportedly traveling to Switzerland to “present the latest edition of the Small Arms Survey handbook, of which Dreyfus was a joint editor.”

Dreyfus advocated for “stringent labeling” of ammunition produced by weapons companies, the paper said. He averred that such labeling would greatly aid the tracking of arms acquired by criminals.

Read moreAir France crash killed two of the world’s “most prominent” illegal arms trade and international drug trafficking foes

Global News (04/11/09)

Old NASA Tapes Reveal Stunning New Moon Images; Resolution Unparalleled (KTVU)

US accused of covert operations in Somalia (Observer):
Dramatic evidence that America is involved in illegal mercenary operations in east Africa has emerged in a string of confidential emails seen by The Observer.

Treasury tells US investors to buy American (Telegraph):
US private investors are to be encouraged to “Buy American” as a number of financial houses prepare to launch investment bonds that will allow individuals to part-fund the American government’s $1 trillion (£682bn) toxic asset clean-up. (Yes, we can … buy worthless garbage.)

Nigeria oil unrest ‘kills 1000’ (BBC News):
Violence in Nigeria’s oil region left 1,000 people dead and cost $24bn (£16bn) last year, a report says, according to an official and activist.

Sending a Brutal Message About Human Rights (Washington Post):
For 3 1/2 years, Morales has been scouring and digitizing an extraordinary trove of millions of documents discovered by chance in a rotting warehouse. The archive contains the secret files of Guatemala’s notorious national police agency.

Israel wants time limit on Iran nuclear talks (AFP):
“What is certain is that neither Israel, nor the Arab countries, Europe and the United States can tolerate an Iran armed with a nuclear weapon,” Silvan Shalom said. (Israel has at least 150 nuclear weapons.)

North Carolina, Colorado Banks Shut as 2009 Failures Reach 23 (Bloomberg):
The Washington-based FDIC insures deposits at 8,305 institutions with $13.9 trillion in assets. The FDIC’s insurance fund, used to reimburse a bank’s customers as much as $250,000, tumbled 45 percent in the quarter. The fund fell to $18.9 billion after 25 lenders closed last year. (So do not think for one moment that your money is safe!)

Global News (04/10/09)

US military blew up pigs to test body armour (Telegraph):
American military researchers have blown up live pigs dressed in body armour in an attempt to study the link between roadside bomb blasts and brain injury.

Fed Said to Order Banks to Stay Mum on ‘Stress Test’ Results (Bloomberg)

IMF: German economy to contract by 5% in ‘09 (Inquirer):
BERLIN — The International Monetary Fund (IMF) now sees the German economy shrinking 5.0 percent this year, a sharp downward revision from the 2.5 percent contraction forecast in January, the weekly Der Spiegel reported Friday.

The dark side of Dubai (Independent):
Dubai was meant to be a Middle-Eastern Shangri-La, a glittering monument to Arab enterprise and western capitalism. But as hard times arrive in the city state that rose from the desert sands, an uglier story is emerging.

Russia furious with EU over Twitter revolution (Independent):
Moscow backs Moldovan President after he accuses Romania of supporting coup

GM, Chrysler Ratings Are Cut by S&P as Deadlines Loom (Bloomberg):
April 10 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC had ratings cut on some of their debt by Standard & Poor’s as the automakers face government deadlines to restructure or file for bankruptcy.

Microsoft fined $388 million over patent breach (Times Online)

EU warns China over increasing steel exports (Telegraph):
A simmering trade conflict between Europe and China is nearing the boil as state-supported Chinese steel companies ramp up capacity despite drastic cuts by the rest of the world.

Aso’s $153 Billion Boost to Japan Economy May Incur `Massive’ Future Cost (Bloomberg):
“Aso is very optimistic” on that jobs creation number when you compare it with Obama’s plan, Daley said. “When you throw $150 billion at an economy in one year, you will see an effect. It will not be long term, nor sustainable.”

Obama to Push Immigration Bill as One Priority (New York Times)

Gold price to break $1000 as people scrap gold jewellery for cash (Telegraph):
Gold may reach a record this year as demand for a hedge against inflation outpaces an expanding scrap supply and weaker usage by jewellers, according to researcher GFMS.

Read moreGlobal News (04/10/09)

Global News (03/29/09)

– NZ Women: No dating, thanks, just sex (Sunday Star Times):
Dating culture is dead – instead, young New Zealand women are regularly getting drunk and cruising around in packs looking for men to have sex with. That’s one of the findings of a TVNZ Sunday investigation into the sexual behaviour of New Zealand women.

7 residents, 1 nurse die in nursing home shooting (AP):
7 residents, 1 nurse killed in NC nursing home shooting; Suspect faces 8 murder counts

Le Pen repeats slur that Nazi gas chambers were a ‘detail’ (France24):
Jean-Marie Le Pen, MEP and leader of France’s far-right Front National, outraged assembled members of the European Parliament by repeating his assertion that the Nazi gas chambers were “a mere detail” in the history of the Second World War.

Suicide watch for soldiers in Iraq (Telegraph):
An unprecedented “suicide watch” has been launched by commanders at Britain’s main military base in Iraq following the deaths of three soldiers.

Mexican drug violence spills over into US (Times Online)

Pakistan intelligence agency elements must stop support for Taliban, al-Qaeda: US (Telegraph):
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General David Petraeus, head of US Central Command, said that elements within the Inter-Services Intelligence agency must end their support for Islamic militants.

Read moreGlobal News (03/29/09)

Global News (03/28/09)

Militants attack Nato supply terminal in Pakistan (Independent)

Thousands flee Fargo ahead of floodwaters (Independent):
The National Weather Service targeted the crest near 42 feet, but said it was still possible the river could rise to 43 feet – the same level at which the levees are built to protect the city and nearly 3 feet higher than the record set 112 years ago.

Russia deploys new nuclear cruise missiles (Independent)

Russia plans military force to patrol Arctic as ‘cold rush’ intensifies (Guardian):
Countries in the northern hemisphere are vying for control of the polar region, which is thought to contain up to a quarter of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas.

Canada says will defend its Arctic (AFP):
The Canadian government on Friday reaffirmed its Arctic claims, saying it will defend its northern territories and waters after Russia earlier announced plans to militarize the North.

Is there any gold inside Fort Knox, the world’s most secure vault? (Times Online):
“It has been several decades since the gold in Fort Knox was independently audited or properly accounted for,” said Ron Paul, the Texas Congressman and former Republican presidential candidate, in an e-mail interview with The Times. “The American people deserve to know the truth.”

The Dance of the Trillions to Shore up Banks, Bankers, and Gamblers (Global Research)

Merkel warns on further stimulus (Financial Times):
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, will warn leaders of the world’s largest economies next week against pumping too much money into reviving global growth, saying that such action would create an unsustainable recovery.

Ruth Madoff took $2m from London office before collapse (Independent)

Fears police tactics at G20 protests will lead to violence (Guardian)

Read moreGlobal News (03/28/09)

Global News (03/27/09)

Suicide attack on Pakistan mosque kills 50 (Times Online):
A suicide bomb attack on a packed mosque in the volatile tribal regions of Pakistan has killed nearly 50 people and left dozens of others wounded, in the latest wave of violence to hit the country.

US tent cities highlight new realities as recession wears on (Guardian)

North Korea rocket launch: First pictures of launch pad (Telegraph)

Japan’s guided-missile destroyers head for Sea of Japan ahead of DPRK’s rocket launch (Xinhua)

China reacts with fury to US military report (Telegraph):
China has reacted with fury to a US government report on Beijing’s military power which claimed it was altering the military balance in Asia.

Australia quashes China bid for Oz Minerals (Financial Times):
The Australian government on Friday cited national security concerns to block a A$2.6bn ($1.8bn) bid by China’s Minmetals for Oz Minerals, fuelling doubts about Beijing’s ability to secure backing for other deals in the resource-rich country.

Britain sees 40 per cent rise in cash lost to Brussels, National Audit Office says (Telegraph):
The National Audit Office found that Britain’s net cash contribution to Brussels jumped by 40 per cent to more than £4billion between 2006 and 2007. In the same year, the total value of reported irregularities rose by 20 per cent to €1,392 million (£1.3billion) across all European Union countries, a report published today finds.

Bank of England: It’s time to call a halt, Prime Minister (Telegraph)

Mounties accused of ‘cooking up’ story (Toronto Star):
VANCOUVER–Four Mounties “collaborated to fabricate” their story to justify their conduct when Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski died while in their custody, a lawyer told a public inquiry yesterday.

Madoff Liquidator Says $2.6 Billion Will Pay Victims of Fraud (Bloomberg):
March 27 (Bloomberg) — The agency liquidating Bernard Madoff’s brokerage says the $2.6 billion it has on hand is enough to satisfy all legitimate claims by victims of the money manager’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme.

Two more quit AIG as depth of bonus anger emerges (Guardian):
Two senior European bosses have resigned from AIG citing a “hostile” environment as the insurer faces a public backlash over multimillion-pound bonus payouts.

Most electronic voting isn’t secure, CIA expert says (Boston Herald)

Read moreGlobal News (03/27/09)

Global News (03/26/09)

Emanuel’s profitable stint at mortgage giant (Chicago Tribune):
Short Freddie Mac stay made him at least $320,000

Why secretly funded DEA surveillance planes aren’t flying (McClatchy)

G20 rioters to hang banker effigies from lampposts as city staff are told to wear disguises (Daily Mail):
Thousands of City staff told to stay at home next week, Bankers told not to wear suits and ‘dress down’,Additional 2,500 police deployed at cost of £10million

‘I’m having a very good crisis,’ says Soros as hedge fund managers make billions off recession (Daily Mail):
A hedge fund manager who predicted the global credit crunch has said the financial crisis has been ‘stimulating’ and the culmination of his life’s work.

Top hedge fund managers still raking in the money (CNN Money):
LONDON (CNNMoney.com) — Despite turbulence in the financial markets and the global economic downturn, the world’s 25 top-earning hedge fund managers raked in a staggering $11.6 billion last year, according to a ranking released Wednesday.

Why Gold Prices Didn’t Really Rise Last Week (Seeking Alpha)

Stimulus? U.S. to buy Chinese condoms, ending Alabama jobs (McClatchy)

IMF rescues Romania with €20bn aid while Serbia handed €4bn (Telegraph):
Romania is the seventh country in the region to need IMF help along with Hungary, Ukraine, Latvia, and Belarus. Serbia on Wednesday secured a €4bn bail-out and Bosnia said it was starting rescue talks.

Revised Rate Shows G.D.P. Is Falling at a Faster Pace (New York Times):
And what says Obama: Barack Obama trumpets ‘signs of economic progress’ (Telegraph)

Read moreGlobal News (03/26/09)

Global News (03/25/09)

Straight from the teapot, a golden anti-cancer brew (Daily Mail):
Teapots could be used to brew ‘golden’ anti-cancer drugs, scientists believe. Researchers have used a pot of Darjeeling to turn gold salts into tiny particles of gold, capable of easing their way into cancerous cells. The golden nanoparticles, each thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair, could be used to zap tumours, the U.S. researchers say.

“Reclusive” Ex-CIA Contractor Killed on Loudoun County Trail (NBC):
A man killed while apparently exercising with his wife on a trail in Loudoun County over the weekend had worked for the CIA until 2000, sources said. Early Sunday morning, deputies found William Bennett’s body in a grassy area next to Riverside Parkway in the Lansdowne area. His wife, Cynthia Bennett, was found injured nearby. She was airlifted to an area hospital, where she remains in critical condition, unable to talk.

Police raid home of Wikileaks.de domain owner over censorship lists (WikiLeaks)

Double atomic bomb survivor found in Japan (Telegraph):
A 93-year-old Japanese man has become the first person to be officially recognised as a survivor of both atomic bombs dropped on Japan by the United States at the end of the Second World War.

Oxford pupils to text school nurse for morning-after pill (Times Online):
Schoolgirls will be able to request the morning-after pill by text message to their school nurse as part of a scheme being introduced this year.

Police uncover ‘Aladdin’s cave of criminality’ (Independent):
A police raid on three safe deposit vaults in salubrious London neighbourhoods has uncovered an “Aladdin’s cave of criminality” including ivory smuggling, child pornography and murder that has sparked more than 1,000 inquiries around the world, Scotland Yard has said.

Czech Government’s Collapse Hits the EU (TIME)

Czech Republic joins East Europe’s falling dominoes (Times):
The economic crisis sweeping Central and Eastern Europe has claimed a third victim in a month after the Czech government lost a vote of no confidence on Tuesday night in a drama that risks setting off a fresh round of investor flight from the region.

Fears of unrest in eastern Europe grow as Czech government collapses (Independent):
The collapse of the Czech government sent shivers through financial markets in eastern Europe yesterday fanning fears about the growing political unrest that appears to be sweeping through the EU’s eastern fringes.

Russia ‘Concerned’ About Safety of Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal (Bloomberg)

US willing to look at China currency proposal (Financial Times):
“It’s been a tough few weeks for Mr Geithner, but if there is a lesson from today, it is that the dollar is on thin ice and any loose talk will be quickly punished,” said Chris Turner, a strategist at ING Capital Markets.

UN urges $1,000bn for developing world (Financial Times):
Ban Ki-moon, United Nations secretary-general, on Wednesday called on Group of 20 leaders to support a $1,000bn stimulus package for developing countries threatened by the global financial crisis.

Read moreGlobal News (03/25/09)

Global News (03/24/09)

Magna Cum Lousy — Where Today’s Bad CEOs Went To School (The Business Insider):
No big surprise: Most of the bankers, politicians and regulators who got us into this mess went to a handful of elite universities and business schools. (Watch the slideshow.)

Scientists in possible cold fusion breakthrough (AFP):
The scientists on Monday described what they called the first clear visual evidence that low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR), or cold fusion devices can produce neutrons, subatomic particles that scientists say are indicative of nuclear reactions.

Veterans face HIV risk from hospital pumps (MiamiHerald):
Thousands of veterans who underwent certain routine medical procedures at Miami’s VA Medical Center are at risk of being infected with hepatitis or HIV, the hospital announced Monday.

‘IDF troops used 11-year-old boy as human shield in Gaza’ (Ha’aretz):
Israel Defense Forces soldiers used an 11-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield during the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, a group of UN human rights experts said Monday. IDF troops ordered the boy to walk in front of soldiers being fired on in the Gaza neighborhood of Tel al-Hawa and enter buildings before them, said the UN secretary-general’s envoy for protecting children in armed conflict.

IDF soldiers ordered to shoot at Gaza rescuers, note says (Ha’aretz)

UN reports say Israel targeted civilians in Gaza (Reuters)

Fighting for life: American peace activist shot by Israelis (Independent):
The parents of an American peace activist publicly appealed yesterday for a full investigation into how their son was shot in the head with a high velocity tear gas canister by Israeli security forces.

Israel slams UN rights report on Gaza (AFP)

Thirteen die after C. diff outbreak at hospital (Telegraph):
Three died as a direct result of clostridium difficile while the bug was linked to a further 10 deaths at the hospital. A further 17 patients are still being treated for the fatal infection.

Sweden Says No to Saving Saab (New York Times)

HR 1207 Update (Campaign For Liberty)

Read moreGlobal News (03/24/09)

Global News (03/23/09)

Parrot Honored For Saving Toddler’s Life (WJZ):
Megan went into the bathroom and moments later heard Willie screaming, “Mama, Baby” over and over.

Twin’s ‘sixth sense’ saves drowning sister (Telegraph)

Israel Military condemns soldiers’ shocking T-shirts (Independent):
The report quotes one soldier as explaining: “These are shirts for around the house, for jogging, in the army. Not for going out.”(!!!) (The most moral army in the world)

Gaza war crime claims gather pace as more troops speak out (Guardian):
Fresh allegations have come to light that gung-ho leadership inculcated a culture of disregard for Palestinian casualties

GOP predicts doomsday if Obama budget passed (AP):
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Republicans on Sunday predicted a doomsday scenario of crushing debt and eventual federal bankruptcy if President Barack Obama’s massive spending blueprint wins passage.

Geithner plan spurs rally on Wall Street (Financial Times):
(… because the taxpayer is bailing out Wall Street again.)

Brown warns of enduring al-Qaida threat to UK (Guardian):
Gordon Brown today warned that al-Qaida remains the biggest security threat to the UK, as he revealed that tens of thousands of civilians have been trained to deal with terrorist attacks as part of a new strategy to combat extremists.

Gun sales going ballistic (PostStar):
“Handguns, shotguns, rifles — it’s every type,” Nemec said. “People are worried the government is going to take their guns away, or they’re going to tax them (guns and ammunition) to death.”
(And the people will be proven right in every aspect.)

737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire (Global Research):
With more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel serving across the planet and military bases spread across each continent, it’s time to face up to the fact that our American democracy has spawned a global empire. The following is excerpted from Chalmers Johnson’s new book, “Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic” (Metropolitan Books).

Read moreGlobal News (03/23/09)

Global News (03/21/09)

AIG warns staff to travel in pairs after death threats over bonuses (Guardian):
The embattled US insurance company AIG has warned its staff to travel in pairs after dark, not to wear company logos and to avoid discussing their work outside the office, as public outrage boils over at multimillion-dollar executive bonuses.

British bankers on Merrill bonus list (Telegraph):
A clutch of senior London bankers are expected to be on a list of 200 of Merrill Lynch’s biggest bonus recipients demanded by the New York Attorney General.

Banks Lost $32.1 Billion in Fourth Quarter (AOL Money):
WASHINGTON (March 20) – Federal regulators now say the nation’s banks lost $32.1 billion in the final quarter of last year, even worse than the $26.2 billion originally reported last month.

Geithner’s Crappy Bank Plan Coming Monday (The Business Insider):
So what’s wrong with the plan? The same thing that has been wrong with every plan the Geithner-Paulson-Bernanke regime has rolled out since last September: The price the government is going to pay for the bad assets.

Argentine farmers step up fight with government (Financial Times):
In an escalating conflict with the government over export tariffs, Argentine farmers on Friday announced a new week-long halt to sales of cereals, soya and beef, a move likely to spark fresh supply fears among importers.

Read moreGlobal News (03/21/09)

Global News (03/20/09)

The Big Takeover (Rolling Stone):
The global economic crisis isn’t about money – it’s about power. How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution. It’s over — we’re officially, royally fucked. no empire can survive being rendered a permanent laughingstock,…..

‘Break up the banks, bust the trusts!’ exclaims Olbermann (Raw Story):
Keith Olbermann used his Thursday Special Comment on MSNBC’s Countdown to lay out one of his most impassioned tirades yet, this time a diatribe against “the latest atrocity” from banks he feels the US should “break up” and regulate “to within an inch of their existences.”

Feds shut banks in Georgia, Colorado, Kansas (AP)

China backs talks on dollar as reserve – Russian source (Reuters):
MOSCOW, March 19 (Reuters) – China and other emerging nations back Russia’s call for a discussion on how to replace the dollar as the world’s primary reserve currency, a senior Russian government source said on Thursday.

UK car production slumps 60% (Guardian)

The Real AIG Scandal (By Eliot Spitzer):
Everybody is rushing to condemn AIG’s bonuses, but this simple scandal is obscuring the real disgrace at the insurance giant: Why are AIG’s counterparties getting paid back in full, to the tune of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars?

Democracy teeters in Pakistan as President falters (Sydney Morning Herald)

GM, Chrysler May Need ‘Considerably’ More Aid, Rattner Says (Bloomberg):
“It could be considerably higher, I won’t deny that,” Rattner said, when asked whether U.S. aid sought could rise to $30 billion or $40 billion.

Treasury throws $5 billion lifeline to auto suppliers (McClatchy):
WASHINGTON — Adding to the growing list of economic sectors that are going under the protective wing of government, U.S. auto-parts suppliers will receive up to $5 billion in a taxpayer-funded revolving line of credit, the Treasury Department announced Thursday.

Citigroup May Spend $10 Million for Executive Suite (Bloomberg):
March 19 (Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc. plans to spend about $10 million on new offices for Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit and his lieutenants, after the U.S. government injected $45 billion of cash into the bank.

Read moreGlobal News (03/20/09)

Global News (03/19/09)

Preparing for Civil Unrest in America (Global Research):
In the words of Rep. Ron Paul: “…the fusion centers, militarized police, surveillance cameras and a domestic military command is not enough… Even though we know that detention facilities are already in place, they now want to legalize the construction of FEMA camps on military installations using the ever popular excuse that the facilities are for the purposes of a national emergency. With the phony debt-based economy getting worse and worse by the day, the possibility of civil unrest is becoming a greater threat to the establishment. One need only look at Iceland, Greece and other nations for what might happen in the United States next.”

Leaked Australian blacklist reveals banned sites (Sydney Morning Herald):
Wikileaks, an anonymous document repository for whistleblowers, obtained the list, which has been seen by this website, and plans to publish it for public consumption on its website imminently:
Australian government secret ACMA internet censorship blacklist (Wikileaks)

Fannie Mae chiefs in line for huge bonuses (Times Online):
Fannie Mae will pay its top executives retention bonuses of up to $611,000, the state-controlled mortgage lender and guarantor revealed yesterday amid the furore over compensation at AIG.

Israel troops admit Gaza abuses (BBC News):
An Israeli military college has printed damning soldiers’ accounts of the killing of civilians and vandalism during recent operations in Gaza. One account tells of a sniper killing a mother and children at close range whom troops had told to leave their home.

Underwater volcano sends huge columns of ash into Pacific sky (Times Online):
Scientists are on their way to the site of a large undersea volcano that has been erupting for days near Tonga, sending columns of smoke and ash thousands of feet into the sky above the Pacific Ocean.

Magnitude-7.9 earthquake hits Tonga (Xinhua)

Google launches Street View in UK (Guardian):
Google has launched its controversial Street View mapping service in the UK, with web and mobile phone users able to see 360-degree views of 25 cities from Southampton to Aberdeen

Soldier suicides skyrocket (Salon):
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., called the latest trends “alarming.” Army Vice Chief of Staff Peter Chiarelli admitted, “I, and the other senior leaders of our Army, readily acknowledge that these current figures are unacceptable.”

Fed to Buy Treasurys is Not a Good Sign (Chairman for Asia at Morgan Stanley)

AIG will not exist in four years, says chairman (Telegraph)

Credit card fraud soars by 14% as criminals find ways to hack ‘secure’ chip and pin (Daily Mail):
Losses on plastic cards totalled £609.9million during the year, up from £535.2million in 2007, according to payments group Apacs.

US House passes tax to recoup most of AIG bonuses (Reuters):
WASHINGTON, March 19 (Reuters) – Moving with unusual speed, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation to recoup most of the $165 million in retention bonuses paid to American International Group Inc (AIG.N) employees.

Real cost of EU is ten times higher than EC figures show, Taxpayers’ Alliance says (The Telegraph):
According to the Taxpayers’ Alliance, EU membership costs every Briton £2,000 per year, compared with the £220 quoted by the EU.

Attorney general signals shift in marijuana policy (AP):
WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder signaled a change on medical marijuana policy Wednesday, saying federal agents will target marijuana distributors only when they violate both federal and state law. (The ‘high’ comes from dying brain cells. People are destroying their brain.)

’07 US Births Break Baby Boom Record (New York Times)

Kentucky counties fined $400,000 for posting Ten Commandments (Guardian):
Two southern Kentucky counties where officials posted copies of the Ten Commandments in courthouses have been ordered by a federal judge to pay more than $400,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union and citizens who successfully challenged the displays.

Read moreGlobal News (03/19/09)

Global News (03/18/09)

Former Bush aide gets 30 months in prison (AP):
WASHINGTON (AP) — A former Bush White House aide was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for stealing nearly $600,000 from a government program that promotes democracy in Cuba.

Aboriginal elder arrived ‘with third-degree burns’ (The Australian):
A RESPECTED Aboriginal elder who died in the back of a non-airconditioned prison van while being transported across the West Australian outback in the middle of summer arrived at hospital drenched in sweat, unconscious and with third-degree burns on his stomach, an inquest has heard.

Government launches bid to allay fears over GM food (Independent):
PM hopes to gather enough evidence to prove genetically modified crops are safe
(Which proves that there is obviously not enough evidence that genetically modified crops are safe! GM food is lethal junk and that has been proven many times.)

Israeli army ordered to devise Iran war (PressTV):
Tehran is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and, according to the UN nuclear watchdog, has not opted to violate the treaty. (Plus U.S. intelligence agencies agree that Iran does not have ANY weapon grade uranium: Iran still lacks arms-grade nuclear material: U.S. So could those warmongers please shut the f… up.)

Israel could use ballistic missiles against Iran-report (Reuters):
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Ballistic missiles could be Israel’s weapon of choice against Iranian nuclear facilities if it decides on a pre-emptive attack and deems air strikes too risky, according to a report by a Washington think-tank. (PS: According to Jimmy Carter Israel has about 150 nuclear weapons. What Iran does is “perfectly legal” according to Ron Paul and attacking Iran would be just another war crime and a violation of international law.)

Avigdor Lieberman – branded Arab-hating racist – set to be Israeli foreign minister (Times Online)

Robert Fisk: Why Lieberman is worst thing that could happen to the Middle East (Independent):
World Focus: I can identify Lieberman’s language with the language of Messrs Mladic and Karadzic and Milosevic

Britain will be only nation still in recession next year (Independent):
The British economy is heading for its worst year since the Great Depression, according to the latest predictions from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
(Britain will go into depression this year.)

Goldman Offers Loans to Stretched Employees (New York Times):
(Maybe I should make a documentary: ‘Goldman: The Poorest Guys in the Room.’)

Unemployment surges through 2m (Guardian):
Unemployment has topped 2 million on the widest measure of joblessness, while the claimant count has suffered its biggest jump on record. (And the economic crisis has just started!)

UniCredit to seek €4bn aid (Financial Times):
UniCredit, one of Italy’s top two banks, is to seek up to €4bn in state aid, joining a growing list of European banking groups turning to governments to boost their capital base as they grapple with the global financial crisis.

Murder in Nairobi: Wikileaks related human rights lawyers assassinated (WikiLeaks):
The two were on their way to a meeting at the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights. Both had been investigating extra-judicial assassinations by the Kenyan Police. Part of their work forms the basis of the “Cry of Blood” report Wikileaks released on November 1 last year and subsequent follow ups, including a UN indictment last month.
Since 2007 the Oscar foundation has documented 6,452 “enforced disappearances” by police and 1,721 extra-judicial killings.

Madoff’s accountant released on $2.5m bail (AP):
Bernard Madoff’s longtime accountant has been released on $2.5 million in bail. The 49-year-old David Friehling was arrested on fraud charges Wednesday and accused of helping the disgraced money manager cheat thousands of investors out of billions of dollars.

Russia plans military upgrade to match Nato (Guardian):
Russia plans to boost both conventional armed forces and nuclear forces to counter a growing threat from Nato, President Dmitry Medvedev said yesterday, raising the spectre of a military confrontation between Moscow and the west.

Shell dumps wind, solar and hydro power in favour of biofuels (Guardian):
(Dump Shell!)

World Bank warns China can’t make up for collapse in Western demand (Telegraph):
David Dollar
, the Bank’s country director for China, added that the world should not expect China’s economy to make up for plummeting demand in the West in the near future. (David Dollar! You just couldn’t make these things up.)

Eurozone recession to deepen, says IMF (Financial Times):
“The scenario will be worse but the managing director has already said this,” she said in Lisbon. “This is a true global crisis, impacting all parts of the world and countries at different levels of development.”

Ford cuts production in Europe (Guardian)

Plan Would Limit Prison Chapel Books (New York Times)

Pope’s attack on condoms sickens Aids campaigners (Times Online):
The Pope caused dismay among Aids campaigners yesterday by declaring on his first trip to Africa that condoms were not the solution to the epidemic ravaging the continent.

Global News (03/17/09)

Hundreds of patients ‘died unnecessarily’ at flagship hospital (Guardian):
Appalling emergency care resulted in enormous suffering, says health watchdog in most damning report ever on an NHS hospital

Mexican drug cartels’ new weaponry means war (MiamiHerald):
Narcotics traffickers are acquiring firepower more appropriate to an army — including grenade launchers and antitank rockets — and the police are feeling outgunned.

AIG Budgeted $57 Million Retention Pay for Staff Facing Dismissal (Bloomberg):
March 17 (Bloomberg) — American International Group Inc., the insurer under fire for handing out bonuses after its $173 billion government bailout, budgeted $57 million in “retention” pay for employees who will be dismissed.

Tenth Amendment Movement: Taking On the Feds (New American):
We Americans are expected to play by the rules — to obey traffic regulations, pay taxes, observe zoning ordinances — in short, to abide by the law. If we don’t, we may find ourselves fined or even jailed. Our federal government is also expected to abide by rules — in its case, the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution specifies which powers the federal government may exercise, and forbids any others. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution is explicit: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Florida legislator wants random drug tests for the unemployed (Raw Story):

Central Banks Gorge on Dollars, Englander Sees Fall (Bloomberg):
“People are sitting there holding massive amounts of zero- yielding dollar assets,”
said Englander, a Yale University Ph.D. who started his career at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and studied the currency markets for 25 years. “If there is any sort of good news, demand for dollars can drop off very, very quickly.”

Bank of Japan May Increase Government Bond Purchases as Aso Eyes Stimulus (Bloomberg):
(The Zimbabwe school of economics rules.)

More than 1m jobs to go in UK (Financial Times):
More than a million British workers will lose their jobs over the next two years as the recession takes an unexpected turn, hitting the north and Midlands as badly as the south, a leading economic forecaster has warned.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer halts print edition (CNNMoney):
SEATTLE (CNN) — The Hearst Corp. announced Monday it will publish its last print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on Tuesday and shift the operation of Seattle’s oldest business wholly to the Internet.

Mexico to impose sanctions on US exports (Financial Times):
A long-simmering trade dispute boiled over into sanctions on Monday after Mexico said it would raise tariffs on $2.4bn of US exports in retaliation for ending a pilot programme to allow Mexican trucks on American roads.

Banks scramble to return bailout funds (Los Angeles Times):
A growing number of healthy bank chains across the country are bailing out of the $700-billion federal banking bailout program, saying it has tarnished the reputation of banks that took the money and tangled them in unwieldy regulations.

Nokia to cut 1700 jobs in sinking phone market (Reuters)

Taxes must rise to pay for climate change, MPs warn (Telegraph):
Taxes will need to rise to pay for the green revolution which is necessary to save the planet from global warming, MPs warn today.

Voluntary code to make banks pay taxes could be made law (Independent):
The Chancellor will publish proposals with his Budget on 22 April for a voluntary code to ensure the banks obey “the spirit and letter of the law” on taxation. If they do not comply, he will enshrine the code in law. It is claimed that the state-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland tied up £25bn in tax-avoidance schemes while it was expanding, costing the British and US taxpayers more than £500m in lost revenue.

Students tie £56 camera to balloon and send it to edge of space to capture stunning images of Earth (Daily Mail):
Teenagers with a £56 camera and latex balloon have managed to take stunning pictures from 20 miles above Earth. Proving that you don’t need Google’s billions or the BBC weather centre’s resources, the four Spanish students managed to send a camera-operated weather balloon into the stratosphere.Taking atmospheric readings and photographs, the Meteotek team of IES La Bisbal school in Spanish Catalonia completed their incredible experiment at the end of February this year.

Global News (03/16/09)

Cherie Blair Hired to Sue Royal Bank of Scotland Over Losses (Bloomberg):
Cherie Blair is to act on behalf of British pension funds in a lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation from Sir Fred Goodwin and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

AIG massive payments to banks stoke bailout rage (Reuters):
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc and a parade of European banks were the major beneficiaries of $93 billion in payments from AIG — more than half of the U.S. taxpayer money spent to rescue the massive insurer.

Obama tries to stop AIG bonuses: ‘How do they justify this outrage?’ (CNN):
“Under these circumstances, it’s hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. I mean, how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?”

‘It’s Taxpayer Money’: Cuomo Will Subpoena AIG Over Bonuses (ABC News)

More than three-quarters of Britons want to see jobless immigrants forced to leave UK (Daily Mail):
The Government has failed to ‘get control’ of the issue of immigration, ministers admitted today. Phill Woolas, the Immigration Minister, said he was not surprised by findings of a poll which showed that nearly eight out of ten people believe all unemployed foreign migrants should be asked to leave the UK.

Afghan Violence Kills 14, Including 4 US, 2 British Troops (Voice of America):
A string of bomb blasts in eastern and southern Afghanistan Sunday killed 14 people, including four U.S. and two British soldiers, while coalition and Afghan forces killed five suspected militants.

Bernanke May Buy Treasuries After Gilt Yields Fall (Bloomberg):
“The economy is in a free-fall,” says Tim Duy, an assistant professor at the University of Oregon in Eugene who writes on Fed policy. “They need to flood the financial system with money.” (Do they really think that the people will believe this nonsense?)

Fed-up Americans mobilize: More than 150 tea parties (WorldNetDaily):
A revolution is brewing as American patriots and free-market advocates unite in protest against out-of-control government spending – with a wildfire movement of more than 150 nationwide tea parties.

New Hampshire in uproar over US Administration (RT):
“The federal government is assuming powers that weren’t delegated to it. It is already acting to destroy the economy of the United States. It is going to devalue our currency, it is further corrupting domestic policies of the states, motivating them to do things they would not do naturally, except for being bribed with the people’s money,” said State Representative Dan Itse. “If anything is going to cause the dissolution of the United States, it’s the stimulus package and the excessive spending of the federal government,” he added. (The Federal Reserve is also playing a key role and the Bush administration has also done a excellent job in destroying the economy, the dollar and the constitution. Both Bush and Obama are puppets of the elite.)

Merkel Keeps Cashbox Closed as She Spurns Obama’s Stimulus Plea (Bloomberg):
Just as the German chancellor vetoed a bailout for eastern Europe on March 1, she is now leading European opposition to U.S. President Barack Obama’s call for a global pump-priming package. She’ll determine the fate of a 5 billion-euro ($6.4 billion) infrastructure proposal at an EU summit in Brussels later this week. “Germany really has contributed its share,” said Merkel, 54, as she stood alongside Brown, the U.K. prime minister. (At least Merkel’s brain got some signs of brain function.)

Gordon Brown pledges G20 massive stimulus to get world trading again (Telegraph)

Unemployment among young workers hits 15 per cent (Independent)

Turmoil pierces heart of the global economy (Times Online):
The stark collapse in industrial output in countries such as Japan, Germany and Korea shows that the firestorm that has engulfed financial markets for the past 20 months is now sweeping into the real economy. This will have an immense impact on future corporate earnings.

China lost billions in diversification drive (Financial Times):
But judging from the subsequent fall in global stock prices and a conservative estimate that Safe held about $160bn worth of overseas equities, Chinese losses on those investments would exceed $80bn, or more than 50 per cent, according to Brad Setser, an economist at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

UBS cutting 5,000 management jobs:report (Reuters):
GENEVA (Reuters) – Switzerland’s biggest bank UBS (UBSN.VX) plans to cut up to 5,000 senior and management jobs in the next few weeks, Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung said on Sunday.

Madoff Property Is Subject to Forfeiture, US Says (Bloomberg):
March 16 (Bloomberg) — More than $100 million in real estate, cash, bonds, art, autos, boats and other property owned by Bernard Madoff and his wife, Ruth Madoff, is subject to forfeiture, prosecutors said.

Obama’s Approval Rating Slips in CNN Poll as Economy Takes Toll (Bloomberg)

Obama to Test Fundraising Skills Amid ‘Donor Fatigue,’ Crisis (Bloomberg)

Another twist for the unemployed: Debit card fees (CNN):
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) — If you’re out of work like Steve Lippe, who was laid off from his job as a salesman in January, you know you already have problems. But looking at the fine print that came with his new unemployment debit card, he became livid.

“Fees should not be attached to unemployment benefits that the taxpayers are paying to help Americans,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, told CNN. “Particularly, these fees should not be attached by banks that are getting TARP money and are being supported by taxpayer dollars.”

Hardliner set to be Israeli foreign minister (Financial Times):
Avigdor Lieberman, the controversial Israeli far-right politician, is set to become foreign minister of the incoming government, to the alarm of the country’s neighbours and allies. (‘In Force We Trust.’)

EU banks must disclose toxic assets for aid (Financial Times):
“To protect taxpayers and maintain the level playing-field, the public purse will simply not be open to banks who do not want to open their books in return,” she told a conference, organised by Deutsche Bank.

Hedge funds may sue Porsche (Financial Times):
Hedge funds are considering possible legal action against Porsche, the German carmaker, over its involvement in an extreme share price spike in Volkswagen that led to billions of dollars of losses for the funds.

German police suspect chat room posts were faked (AP)

Thailand questions IMF loan rules (Financial Times)

Air passenger numbers drop for first time in 17 years (Times Online):
Britain’s airports were hit by recession and high fuel prices last year, with 4.6 million fewer people taking to the air, the first passenger decline in 17 years.

Australia slashes immigration as recession looms (Financial Times):
Australia will cut its intake of migrants for the first time in a decade, the government said today, amid concern that skilled foreign workers could stoke resentment by taking jobs at a time of rising unemployment.

Motorists could be banned from leaving Britain over unpaid parking fines (Telegraph):
A million motorists with unpaid parking fines face being stopped from leaving the country.

AIDS Rate Soars in Nation’s Capital (ABC News):
D.C. Officials to Release Report Showing 3 Percent of City Population Has Virus
Health officials in Washington say that stigma keeps people from getting tested, so the actual rates of HIV-AIDS in the nation’s capital is probably much higher.