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.

Global News (03/15/09)

Militants torch NATO trucks in Pakistan: police (AFP):
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) — Taliban militants in northwestern Pakistan torched eight trucks carrying supplies for NATO forces in neighbouring Afghanistan in a pre-dawn attack on Sunday, police said. A dozen more trucks and trailers were damaged when the militants, armed with automatic weapons and rockets, attacked a terminal on the outskirts of Peshawar city.

Pakistan ex-PM ignores ‘arrest’ (BBC News):
Pakistan opposition leader Nawaz Sharif has defied an apparent bid to put him under house arrest in Lahore ahead of a “march” on the capital Islamabad. Thousands of supporters joined him after he broke through a police barricade of his home to reach a rally. Police fired tear gas as protesters hurled stones.

Pakistan clamps down on protests amid fresh fears of a military coup (Independent):
The government is trying to stop a march by lawyers from reaching Islamabad

Hawaii Soldier Charged With Stealing $400K In Afghanistan (MSNBC):
HONOLULU – A former dispersing officer for Schofield Barracks units in Afghanistan pleaded not guilty to stealing $400,000 from the government while on deployment in a finance battalion.

Staggering Deficits In A Depressionary Economy (International Forecaster)

As travel declines, aircraft ‘boneyard’ in Victorville fills up (Los Angeles Times):
Industry experts say this year is likely to set a record for planes sitting on the ground rather than flying. Storing them is a growing business.

Administration Is Open to Taxing Health Benefits (New York Times):
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is signaling to Congress that the president could support taxing some employee health benefits,…. (Yes, we can!)

Job centre crisis as ten bid for each vacancy (Guardian):
Startling new figures have revealed that on average there are 10 jobseekers for every vacancy advertised in the UK. In one area of the south-east, 60 workers are available for each job.

The price of a sterling crisis (Guardian):
‘A weak currency arises from a weak economy, which in turn is the result of a weak government.”
That was Gordon Brown, speaking in the wake of the exchange rate mechanism debacle in 1992.

Barclays tax dodge ‘nets £1bn a year ’ (Times Online):
BARCLAYS, the high street bank, is alleged to be making about £1 billion a year from an international web of financial schemes designed to avoid paying tax in the UK and abroad.

G20 summit approves IMF cash boost (Telegraph):
The world’s biggest economies yesterday sanctioned an unprecedented cash injection into the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and pledged to launch a major overhaul of the way it distributes cash, as the fund prepares to bail out a further swathe of struggling governments.

Now Coca-Cola feels force of Chavez’ colourful revolution (Guardian):
The soft drinks giant, a symbol of America and globalisation, is feeling the edge of what Chávez calls “21st-century socialism”: extended state control over the economy and controls over private companies. The president has threatened to oust Coca-Cola delivery trucks from this plot of land in Catia, a slum in the capital, to make way for housing for the poor. “We have to accelerate the transition to socialism,” he said.

Israel’s new defence minister accused of war crime (Times Online):
A HAWKISH general, who cancelled a trip to London four years ago because he feared being arrested on war crime charges, is expected to become Israel’s new defence minister.

The far right is on the march again: the rise of fascism in Austria (Daily Mail):
In Austria’s recent general election, nearly 30 per cent of voters backed extremist right-wing parties. Live visits the birthplace of Hitler to investigate how Fascism is once again threatening to erupt across Europe.

Britons suffer 17% plunge in wealth (Times Online)

‘Bridge to Microsoft’ Is One of Puget Sound Prizes in Stimulus (Bloomberg):
March 13 (Bloomberg) — Microsoft Corp., which has $20 billion of cash in the bank, is among the first in the Puget Sound area to benefit from the investment in roads and bridges through President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan.

Living in US, rejecting its laws, targeted as terrorists (Las Vegas Sun)

Sex claims against US Roman Catholic Church rise (BBC News):
The number of new claims of sexual abuse made against US Roman Catholic priests rose by 16% to more than 800 last year, a Church report says.

Volcanic smog shutting down some Hawaii farmers (AP):
Sulfur dioxide volumes have reached levels unseen since scientists began keeping data in 1979.

Global Cooling Continues (Heartland Institute)

Global News (03/14/09)

It all began in a small store in Arkansas… (Guardian):
Four of the world’s top 15 billionaires are from one family. So who are the Waltons?

Biggest police operation for a decade to be launched at G20 summit in London (Telegraph):
The biggest police operation for a decade will be launched next month for the G20 summit after protesters said they planned to bring chaos to London.

Bonfire of the billionaires (Independent):
The global rich list just got shorter. Billionaires are an endangered species after the crunch cost them $2trillion, Stephen Foley reports

Madoff appeals for bail and reveals wife’s huge fortune (Guardian):
Documents filed by defence lawyers estimate that Madoff and his wife, Ruth, have assets worth between $823m and $826m (£589m to £591m) including four homes, four boats, a share in a private jet and a Steinway piano. To maintain their properties, they are burning through cash at a rate of $346,757 a month.

Bailout money is flowing abroad (Independent):
Study casts doubt on the effectiveness of Bank of England’s ‘quantitative easing’ policy

Plans for minimum alcohol price (BBC News):
The government’s top medical adviser has drawn up plans for a minimum price for alcohol which would double the cost of some drinks in England.

Washington Post to cut business section (Reuters)

How to protest at work the French way – take the boss hostage (Independent)

Swiss banks agree to end secrecy, after international pressure (Times Online):
Wealthy individuals and companies will no longer be able to hide their riches in Zurich bank accounts after Switzerland bowed to international pressure to end the era of “no questions asked” banking.

The success of drug decriminalization in Portugal (Salon):
Last year, working with the Cato Institute, I went to that country in order to research the effects of the decriminalization law (which applies to all substances, including cocaine and heroin) and to interview both Portuguese and EU drug policy officials and analysts (the central EU drug policy monitoring agency is, by coincidence, based in Lisbon).

Medical students warned bad behaviour could cost them career (Telegraph):
Medical students at university who skip lectures, take drugs or drink too much will face GMC-style hearings and could be banned from ever becoming a doctor, under new guidance.

Colombia’s desert war (Guardian):
The aerial assault on cocaine funded by the US is wiping out everything – apart from coca plants

Lesbians subjected to “corrective rape” in South Africa (Telegraph):
Lesbians living in South Africa are being subjected to “corrective rape” and severe violence by men trying to “cure” them of their sexual orientation, human rights groups have said.

Cops Arrest Priest For Filming Them (CBS News):
(AP) A Roman Catholic priest who monitors law enforcement treatment of minorities with a video camera released footage that appears to contradict the police account of his own arrest.

Global News (03/13/09)

Pentagon plans blimp to spy from new heights (Los Angeles Times):
Reporting from Washington — The Pentagon said Thursday that it intends to spend $400 million to develop a giant dirigible that will float 65,000 feet above the Earth for 10 years, providing unblinking and intricate radar surveillance of the vehicles, planes and even people below. “It is absolutely revolutionary,” Werner J.A. Dahm, chief scientist for the Air Force, said of the proposed unmanned airship — describing it as a cross between a satellite and a spy plane.

Gordon Brown and Bernard Madoff are separated by a single detail – Bernie’s pleading guilty (Telegraph):
What’s the difference between Bernard Madoff and Gordon Brown? Answer: one has drained fortunes from gullible victims, plundering their income and savings to create an illusion of prosperity. The other is going to jail.

Bernard Madoff’s guilty plea leaves questions unanswered (Telegraph):
Fraud victims demand to know where their money went.

Mystery of Madoff’s rapid confession (Guardian)

Intelligence agencies were concerned about Iraq WMD dossier, emails reveal (Telegraph):
British intelligence agencies were concerned that the Government’s notorious dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction exaggerated the threat, secret emails have revealed.

Secret emails show Iraq dossier was ‘sexed up’ (Independent)

Obama Seeks to Reassure China U.S. Debt Safe, Deficits Are Under Control (Bloomberg):
(… and the economy is sound. Sure!)

Why the Patient Is Not Getting Better: Government is Strengthening the Parasite and Poisoning the Real Economy (George Washington’s Blog):
Why isn’t the economy getting better, even though the government is pumping trillions of dollars into bailouts and stimulus packages and intervening in markets left and right? Because the government is treating the wrong patient.

Destroyer to Protect Ship Near China (Washington Post):
The U.S. Navy has dispatched a guided-missile destroyer to the South China Sea after Chinese ships allegedly harassed an American ship operating there last weekend, a Pentagon official said yesterday.

Illinois Income Tax May Jump 50 Percent (CBS2 Chicago)

Ghost Towns Sprout in Finland as Forest-Industry Collapse Threatens Growth (Bloomberg)

Swiss agree to relax bank secrecy rules (Financial Times):
Switzerland is to water down its bank secrecy laws, it said on Friday, after a week in which offshore banking centres from Liechtenstein to Singapore have bowed to international pressure to help tackle tax evasion. (Now watch the CHF.)

Europe’s Economic Stimulus Message: Enough Already! (TIME):
As the economic tsunami continues to rage across the planet, the near universal refrain has been that joint action is needed to pull us out of the crisis. But when it comes to stimulus spending, the United States and Europe have taken different paths, jeopardizing hopes of a united front to combat the downturn.

Norway to use oil billions to buy UK commercial property (Telegraph):
(Catching a falling knife.)

Berkshire, GE Lose Top Credit Ratings (Washington Post)

DNA of one-year-old baby stored on national database (Telegraph):
The DNA of a one-year-old baby was recorded on the national database, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has admitted.

Sacramento tent city is just one of dozens in an ailing America (Times Online):
Across America, from Washington State to Nevada, Georgia and even Florida, homeless advocacy groups and city agencies are reporting the biggest rise in homeless encampments in a generation, as the US economy takes a spectacular plunge. (And this crisis has just started.)

Japanese economy in worst shape since Second World War (Telegraph)

B&B bankrupt after key NZ shake-up vote (Financial Times):
Babcock & Brown collapsed into bankruptcy Friday, ending the public life of the Australian infrastructure investment group that went on a spree of acquisitions of toll roads, ports, property and power generators around the globe.

Group finds carcinogens in bath products (USA Today):
Many children’s bath products contain chemicals that may cause cancer and skin allergies, according to a report released Thursday by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Doctors ‘too reliant on prescribing drugs’ (Telegraph):
Doctors are too reliant on prescribing drugs for heart disease at the expense of helping their patients to lead healthier lives, a new study suggests.
(The average lifespan of doctors in the U.S. is 58 years, so they really know nothing about real health.)