Global News (02/20/09)

Czech leader attacks EU (Independent):
The Czech Republic President said the EU was undemocratic, elitist and reminiscent of Soviet-era Communist dictatorships in an attack which provoked an angry response from EU legislators.

Binyamin Netanyahu to be Israel’s next Prime Minister (Times Online):
(I am sure Iran has raised the threat level to ‘blood’ red already.)

Gold rises over $1000 on haven buying (Reuters):
NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Gold rose above $1,000 an ounce on Friday for the first time since March last year as nervous investors piled into the yellow metal to preserve wealth amid a tumbling stock market.

Police documents linking New York governor Eliot Spitzer to prostitutes to be released (Telegraph):
A US federal judge ordered the release of documents from the investigation that linked former New York governor Eliot Spitzer to a prostitution ring.

White House says world can’t delay on Iran (AP):
WASHINGTON — The White House says the international community must work together to urgently address Iran’s uranium enrichment activities.

Iran has enough uranium ‘to build a nuclear bomb’ (Telegraph):
(Iran’s uranium is enriched at 3%, for a nuclear weapon Iran needs 95% enriched uranium. Still a looong way to go. I just saw a documentary (aired by a big German TV station) that for only $ 5 million you can get a suitcase nuke. Besides everything that Iran does is “perfectly legal” says Ron Paul.)

Official: Pentagon report says Gitmo is humane (AP):
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says the Guantanamo Bay prison meets the standard for humane treatment laid out in the Geneva Conventions, according to a report for President Barack Obama, who has ordered the terrorist detention center closed within a year.

Former RNC director convicted in phone jamming case gets off without penalty (Raw Story)

AP IMPACT: Jobless Hit With Bank Fees on Benefits (ABC News):
First, Arthur Santa-Maria called Bank of America to ask how to check the balance of his new unemployment benefits debit card. The bank charged him 50 cents. He chose not to complain. That would have cost another 50 cents. So he took out some of the money and then decided to pull out the rest. But that made two withdrawals on the same day, and that was $1.50.

US bank stocks fall to 17-year low (Financial Times):
US banking shares hit their lowest level since 1992 on Thursday as fears mounted that the government would be forced to nationalise a key institution.

No TARP Can Mend the Economy Now (International Forecaster):
The collapse we see in the distance will bring about social dislocation and Martial law.

Russians Retrench as Crisis Evokes Memories of 1998 ‘Nightmare’ (Bloomberg)

Qantas Rating Cut to Baa2 at Moody’s on Travel Plunge (Bloomberg):
Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) — Qantas Airways Ltd., Australia’s largest carrier, had its credit rating cut for the first time in more than 15 years by Moody’s Investors Service as the global recession hammers demand for air travel.

Anglo American to shed 9,000 jobs (Financial Times)

Newly Poor Swell Lines at Food Banks (New York Times):
MORRISTOWN, N.J. — Once a crutch for the most needy, food pantries have responded to the deepening recession by opening their doors to what Rosemary Gilmartin, who runs the Interfaith Food Pantry here, described as “the next layer of people” — a rapidly expanding roster of child-care workers, nurse’s aides, real estate agents and secretaries facing a financial crisis for the first time.

Saab seeks bankruptcy protection in battle for survival (Times Online)

Japan turns to ‘work-sharing’ to avoid layoffs (AP):
Work-sharing is the latest buzzword in Japan Inc. Proponents say it’s a good way to avoid American-style layoffs in a society that has long fostered lifetime employment. Toyota Motor Corp., Mazda Motor Corp., Toshiba Corp. and Fujitsu Inc., have all taken up some kind of work-sharing. Nissan Motor Co. and others are considering it.

Highland Capital CDO Fund Is Insolvent, Wiping Out Investors (Bloomberg)

Obama Picks Bilderberger for Health Secretary (Prison Planet):
Obama has picked a Bilderberger to be his choice for health secretary — Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Obama initially picked former Senate Democrat leader Tom Daschle for the position, but Daschle “withdrew because of personal tax issues,” in other words he didn’t bother to pay any taxes because minions of the elite are not required to do so, except for public relations reasons. (Obama has also given 10 key positions to members of the Trilateral Commission. Obama is a New World Order puppet.)

GM shares hit 74-year low (AP)

Berkshire stock hits 5-year low below $74000 (BusinessWeek)

Sun-powered device converts CO2 into fuel (New Scientist):
Powered only by natural sunlight, an array of nanotubes is able to convert a mixture of carbon dioxide and water vapour into natural gas at unprecedented rates.

China recalls more than 320000 doses of flawed rabies vaccine: official (Xinhua)

Drinking two cups of coffee a day ‘cuts stroke risk by 20 per cent’ (Telegraph):
A study involving more than 80,000 women over a period of more than 20 years showed those who consumed several cups a day were much less likely to suffer a clot on the brain.

Texans to shoot wild pigs from helicopters (Telegraph):
Texans may be allowed to take to the air in helicopters to gun down the millions of pigs that are running wild in the state’s countryside.

Brian Eno: The well of freedom is running dry (Independent):
Nobody bothers about civil liberties until they’ve gone. As the old country song warns: “You don’t miss your water till your well runs dry.”

Global News (02/19/09)

Brzezinski: US Recession Could Lead to Riots (U.S. News & World Report):
And if we don’t get some sort of voluntary National Solidarity Fund, at some point there’ll be such political pressure that Congress will start getting in the act, there’s going to be growing conflict between the classes and if people are unemployed and really hurting, hell, there could be even riots.

Kabul on the edge (Stars and Stripes):
“People are saying that for six or seven years we have all these international troops, but everything is getting worse … security, the economy, everything. So they think America must be supporting the Taliban.”

Russian navy accused of sinking Chinese cargo ship (Telegraph):
The New Star was pursued out of port in Nakhodka in the Siberian Far East on Sunday by a Russian naval vessel which believed it was involved in smuggling. The pursuing ship fired at least 500 rounds, forcing it to turn back to port, but it sank on the way.

California Lawmakers Approve Tax Increases to Close $42 Billion Budget Gap (Bloomberg):
A $13 billion tax increase passed….

Rising debt may overwhelm Barack Obama’s effort to rescue the economy (Times Online):
President Obama was hit with another wave of grim financial news yesterday, amid signs that his Administration is in danger of being overwhelmed by the scale of the economic crisis.

Pentagon issues performance pay and bonuses averaging 8.35 percent (
Nearly all of the employees in the Defense Department’s new personnel system were rewarded for their job performance in their first paychecks of 2009, with the average pay raise and bonus totaling 8.35 percent.

Feb. could be worst month yet for jobless claims (AP):
WASHINGTON – February is shaping up to be another brutal month of job losses: The number of laid-off workers receiving unemployment benefits hit an all-time high of nearly 5 million, and new jobless claims are at levels not seen since the early 1980s.

Stock Decline Hits Depression Levels (BusinessWeek):
During the darkest 10 years of the Great Depression, from September 1929 to September 1939, the stock market dropped roughly 50%, adjusted for inflation. With today’s drop in the stock market, the U.S. has now matched that unfortunate milestone.

Greenwald: U.S. Is Bound By Treaty to Prosecute Torture Crimes (Crooks and Liars)

SEC Uncovers Ponzi Scheme Targeting Deaf Investors (CNBC)

Benefits neglected for civil retirees (USA Today):
State and local governments have set aside virtually no money to pay $1 trillion or more in medical benefits for retired civil servants, a USA TODAY survey found. With bills coming due as Baby Boomers start to retire, states, cities, school districts and other governments may be forced to raise taxes, cut benefits or both — a task made especially difficult in an economic downturn.

Foreign firms and investors flee from wounded Celtic Tiger (Guardian):
Brussels lumped Ireland together with Greece and Latvia yesterday on a hit list of countries with “excessive” government deficits, in the latest blow to the pride of the economy once envied across Europe and dubbed the Celtic Tiger.

Nicolas Sarkozy announces 2.65 bn euro in aid in bid to avert French unrest (Telegraph):
His speech came as violence in the French island of Guadeloupe put pressure on him to avert unrest on the mainland.

Anger over Labour’s ‘secret plan to push up council taxes’ (Daily Mail):
Labour was last night accused of secretly plotting to raise extra cash from millions of households with a nationwide council tax revaluation. The Government has quietly renewed a multi-million pound deal with one of Britain’s leading property websites to access details of sale prices and floorplans of tens of thousands of homes.

UK overshoots borrowing target (Financial Times):
… in the 12 months to the end of January 2009, tax revenues have been so weak that borrowing has already exceeded the pre-Budget report forecast and reached £79.3bn. For the past two months, the degree to which the government’s finances have been in deficit over the most recent year of data has deteriorated by £10bn a month.

UK public finances deteriorate dramatically (Telegraph):
The UK’s public finances deteriorated dramatically in January as the Government’s bank bail-out boosted debt levels and tax revenues dropped sharply.

Civil servants to benefit from £26 million bonuses (Telegraph)

Brown leads global drive to close down tax havens (Independent):
Britain is leading moves to end the privileged status of tax havens as part of a planned “global new deal” to tackle the international recession. (Can’t hide from the New World Order.)

EU fights plan to ring-fence British banks’ toxic assets (Guardian)

Banks agree to European CDS clearer (Financial Times):
Weeks of battling between regulators in Brussels and some of the biggest players in the huge $60,000bn credit derivatives industry ended on Thursday when the industry agreed to clear most EU-based credit default swap contracts in Europe.

Brown calls on world to strike ‘grand bargain’ to solve economic crisis (Times Online)

Venezuela Takes Over Local Bank Owned by Stanford (Bloomberg)

BNP Paribas, Axa Post Losses After Financial Markets Tumble (Bloomberg):
BNP Paribas, the biggest French bank, had a 1.37 billion- euro ($1.72 billion) fourth-quarter loss…
Axa, Europe’s second-largest insurer, had a deficit of 1.24 billion euros in the second half…

Bank of Japan Widens Asset-Purchase Program to Ease Credit Woes (Bloomberg)

Germany ready to help eurozone members (Financial Times):
Germany signalled that it would support emergency action to protect the eurozone if one of its 16 member-states found itself in such serious difficulties that it could not refinance its debt.

China Feasts on Miners as ‘Bank of Last Resort’ (Bloomberg):
“China has turned out to be the bank of last resort,” said Glyn Lawcock, head of resources research at UBS AG in Sydney. “China is a net importer of copper, bauxite, alumina, nickel, zircon, uranium. China is looking for ways to secure supply of these raw materials.” (Excellent investment strategy, because commodities will go through the roof.)

World Bank president Zoellick urges EU to help east Europe (Financial Times):

European banks warn of more job cuts (Guardian):
Mainland European banks today warned of a worsening economic environment throughout this year as they confirmed they had plunged into the red in the final quarter of 2008 and warned of thousands of job losses to come.

US Sen. Kerry goes to Gaza Strip, avoids Hamas (AP)

Geronimo’s kin sue Skull and Bones over remains (AP):
HARTFORD, Conn. – Geronimo’s descendants have sued Skull and Bones the secret society at Yale University linked to presidents and other powerful figures claiming that its members stole the remains of the legendary Apache leader decades ago and have kept them ever since.

What a mess! Experts ponder space junk problem (AP):
VIENNA – Think of it as a galactic garbage dump. With a recent satellite collision still fresh on minds, participants at a meeting in the Austrian capital this week are discussing ways to deal with space debris — junk that is clogging up the orbit around the Earth.

Global News (02/18/09)

Gold hits record against euro on fear of Zimbabwean-style response to bank crisis (Telegraph):
Gold has surged to an all-time high against the euro, sterling, and a string of Asian currencies on mounting concerns that global authorities are embarking on a “Zimbabwe-style” debasement of the international monetary system.

Israel engaged in covert war inside Iran: report (Reuters):
LONDON (Reuters) – Israel is involved in a covert war of sabotage inside Iran to try to delay Tehran’s alleged attempts to develop a nuclear weapon, a British newspaper said on Tuesday, quoting a former CIA agent and intelligence experts.

Surveillance will cost more than £34 billion (Times Online)

Obama orders 17000 US troops to Afghanistan (Reuters)

US privately backs Pakistan’s ‘Sharia law for peace’ deal with Taliban (Telegraph):
American officials have privately backed Pakistan’s “Sharia law for peace” deal with Taliban militants in the Swat Valley despite publicly criticising it as a “negative development”.

Barack Obama gambles billions to save homes and jobs (Times Online):
President Obama will reveal a plan today to stem the flood of home repossessions afflicting millions of American families after signing his $787 billion economic stimulus package into law last night.

Miami banker gives $60 million of his own to employees (Miami Herald):
Lots of bosses say they value their employees. Some even mean it. And then there’s Leonard Abess Jr. After selling a majority stake in Miami-based City National Bancshares last November, all he did was take $60 million of the proceeds — $60 million out of his own pocket — and hand it to his tellers, bookkeepers, clerks, everyone on the payroll. All 399 workers on the staff received bonuses, and he even tracked down 72 former employees so they could share in the windfall.

Investors flee stockmarkets on fears that global recession is deepening (Guardian)

Treasuries Tumble as Fed Signals US Debt Purchases on Hold (Bloomberg)

GM seeks up to $30B in aid, will cut 47000 jobs (AP):
DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Corp., presenting a dire outlook for the future, said Tuesday it may need $30 billion in total government financing to weather the economic downturn and would cut 47,000 jobs worldwide and shutter five more U.S. factories in a massive restructuring plan.

GM seeks up to US$30b to avoid failure (Manawatu Standard):
Carmaker General Motors, facing 47,000 job cuts worldwide, says it could need up to US$30 billion in US government aid or will run out of cash as soon as March.

Saab may go bust in 10 days, warns GM (Times Online):
Saab, the Swedish carmaker owned by America’s General Motors (GM), could go bust within ten days without an immediate injection of state aid, the US company warned last night.

One in five California public workers to be fired as Arnold Schwarzenegger cuts deep (Times):
The state of California was yesterday set to fire 20,000 public employees as it teetered on the brink of a total financial collapse.

Barack Obama refuses to rule out second stimulus pakage (Telegraph)

US housing starts hit record low (Financial Times):
Housing starts fell for the seventh month running, sliding by 16.8 per cent from December and leaving January’s adjusted annual rate of construction at 466,000, commerce department figures showed on Wednesday. The results fell far below economists’ expectations of 527,000.

Panicked Antiguans besiege Stanford bank (Financial Times):
The reverberations from Texas billionaire Sir Allen Stanford’s alleged $8bn fraud continued to spread on Wednesday, as Antiguan authorities attempted to calm panicked locals who had been queuing up to withdraw money from a Stanford-owned retail bank.

Stanford’s Whereabouts Aren’t Known After Fraud Charge, SEC Official Says (Bloomberg):
Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) — U.S. regulators don’t know the whereabouts of R. Allen Stanford, the billionaire accused of running a “massive, ongoing fraud” through his Houston-based Stanford Group Co., a Securities and Exchange Commission official said.

Explosives haul missing in Gaza (BBC News):
A large stockpile of unexploded weapons has disappeared in Gaza, before United Nations experts were able to dispose of it safely, the BBC has learned. The explosives, including aircraft bombs and white phosphorus shells, were fired by the Israeli military during its recent offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Goodyear sheds 5,000 jobs amid Detroit downturn (Financial Times)

Kansas Governor Signs Budget So State Employees Can Be Paid (Bloomberg)

Greenspan backs bank nationalisation (Financial Times):
(Greenspan was a main cause of the crisis, so you can trust he has the best solution.)

Downgrades Loom for Hungary, Poland, Bond Yields Show (Bloomberg):
“Everybody is running for the door,” said Lars Christensen, head of emerging-market strategy at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “The markets have decided the central and eastern European region is the subprime area of Europe.”

John Deere posts 45% fall in profits (Financial Times)

Lawyers from 21 countries tackle Madoff case (Times Online)

Greek police defuse bomb outside Citibank in Athens (Reuters):
Police in Athens defused a “powerful” makeshift time bomb on Wednesday outside the Greek headquarters of US banking group Citibank, a police source said.

MI5 fed questions to CIA for interrogation (Guardian)

Secret papers on Iraq war stolen from Eversheds lawyer on train (Times Online)

Coffee Risks Squeezing Starbucks, Funds on Supply (Bloomberg):
Demand may exceed output by 8 million 60-kilogram bags in the coming year — almost what Germany consumes — and exporter stockpiles are the lowest since 1965, the International Coffee Organization said.

Los Angeles nears water rationing (Reuters):
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With a recent flurry of winter storms doing little to dampen California’s latest drought, the nation’s biggest public utility voted on Tuesday to impose water rationing in Los Angeles for the first time in nearly two decades.

In Flurry Of Studies, Researcher Details Role Of Apples In Inhibiting Breast Cancer (ScienceDaily):
“We not only observed that the treated animals had fewer tumors, but the tumors were smaller, less malignant and grew more slowly compared with the tumors in the untreated rats,”

Aids is China’s deadliest disease (BBC News):
Chinese officials have said that HIV/Aids was the leading cause of death last year, compared with other infectious diseases.

Elderly New Yorkers angry as crisis hits poorest (Reuters)

Toxic British waste illegally sent to Africa (Times Online):
Tonnes of material left at municipal dumps in Britain – including hundreds of thousands of items such as televisions and computers – is being bought by dealers who are shipping the waste abroad, where it is harvested by young men and children trawling through toxic dumps.

Contraceptive implants given to girls as young as 12 (Telegraph):
Girls as young as 12 are being given contraceptive implants on the NHS without the consent of their parents.

Global News (02/17/09)

“Worst Is Yet to Come:” Americans’ Standard of Living Permanently Changed (Yahoo Finance):
…the standard of living is undergoing a “permanent change” – and not for the better as a result of:
An $8 trillion negative wealth effect from declining home values.
A $10 trillion negative wealth effect from weakened capital markets.
A $14 trillion consumer debt load amid “exploding unemployment”, leading to “exploding bankruptcies.”

Homeless families face strict new rules (Boston Globe):
Less than two years after vowing to end homelessness in Massachusetts, the Patrick administration has proposed new regulations that it acknowledges could force hundreds of homeless families back on the street.

Arnie Schwarzenegger joins the ranks of the girlie men (Times Online):
After years on the brink, California is finally going out of business

Abandon nuclear programme or lose aid, Hillary Clinton warns North Korea (Guardian):
(Excellent foreign policy! What a change!)

Will there be another Russian revolution? (Independent):
These are hard times for the town of Asbest, deep in Russia’s Urals industrial belt. For more than a century, asbestos has been mined here on a grand scale. And in recent years, despite an EU ban on the use of asbestos, the 19 factories that make up the world’s biggest asbestos mining and processing operation have been working at full stretch, fuelled by Russia’s construction boom. (Gesundheit!)

State sovereignty resolution passes in Senate Judiciary Committee (Red Dirt Report):
And while it is not getting a whole lot of attention in the mainstream press, a number of states, including Washington, New Hampshire, Arizona, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, California, and Georgia have all introduced bills and resolutions declaring sovereignty under the 10th Amendment. Additionally, Colorado, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Alaska, Kansas, Alabama, Nevada, Maine, and Illinois are considering such measures.

Sarkozy aide warns of risk of social unrest (Reuters):
“This crisis is already going through all the chapters of an economics textbook. We should be careful that it doesn’t also go through a history textbook as well,” he said.

Afghan civilian casualty rate ‘at highest’ since Taliban (Guardian):
The number of civilians killed in the war in Afghanistan increased by 40% last year to a record 2,118 people, the UN said in a report today.

Texas Financial Firm Is Accused by US of $8 Billion Fraud (New York Times):
HOUSTON — The Securities and Exchange Commission accused Robert Allen Stanford, the chief of the Stanford Financial Group, on Tuesday of conducting “a massive ongoing fraud” in the sale of about $8 billion of high-yielding certificates of deposit held in the firm’s bank in Antigua.

Whitehall devised torture policy for terror detainees (Guardian):
MI5 interrogations in Pakistan agreed by lawyers and government

A policy governing the interrogation of terrorism suspects in Pakistan that led to British citizens and residents being tortured was devised by MI5 lawyers and figures in government, according to evidence heard in court.

Trump Entertainment files for Chapter 11 (Financial Times):
In a stinging statement released last week following his resignation from the board, Mr Trump laid the blame for the group’s demise squarely on the bondholders. He accused their representatives of making “a series of bad decisions” and said they had “encouraged wasteful spending, which has led to severe problems with the company”.

House prices falling at record rate (Telegraph):
House prices in the UK dropped by 2.3 per cent during December, pushing the annual rate at which values are falling to a new record, figures show. (What will your house be worth one year from now?!)

Lloyds facing further writeoffs as HBOS loan losses mount (Guardian)

Market surprised by size of Daimler’s loss (Financial Times):
The group’s loss of €1.95bn before interest and tax in the last quarter of 2008 surprised the market….

Eastern Europe fears hit bank stocks (Financial Times)

US envoy Richard Holbrooke warns of Islamist threat (Telegraph):
An Islamist militancy in Pakistan’s Swat region is a common threat to the United States, India and Pakistan, a special US envoy said on Monday, after meeting India’s foreign minister and top security officials.

Redundant bankers to bolster Treasury (Financial Times):
Bankers who lost their jobs in the credit crunch are to be offered work in the Treasury as Alistair Darling beefs up his department to try to keep pace with the financial crisis.The chancellor is looking to hire up to 70 people, with a focus on sharpening up the Treasury’s dealings with the Square Mile. He is expecting a flood of applications from former bankers.

European investment fund assets fall by 20% (Financial Times):
According to figures published on Tuesday by the European Fund and Asset Management Association, total net assets of European investment funds plunged to €6,142bn by end-2008. That compared with €7,909bn a year earlier.

Madoff Victims Face Grim Prospects in Court (Bloomberg):

Cash bonuses cut by 90% at RBS (Financial Times)

New case of vCJD found in Britain (Times Online):
The first case of a person infected with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) from contaminated blood plasma will be confirmed today.

Thousands at risk of human form of mad cow disease after haemophiliac’s death (Telegraph):
Thousands of haemophiliacs are at risk of developing vCJD after the death of a man who had received infected blood clotting products.

Rise in number of pregnant women receiving anti-depressants (Times Online):
(Alternative medicine can easily help pregnant woman. Anti-depressants impair the development of the brain. Besides: Antidepressant drugs don’t work – official study)

Global News (02/16/09)

British, French nuclear subs collide in Atlantic (AP):
LONDON (AP) — Nuclear submarines from Britain and France collided deep in the Atlantic Ocean this month, authorities said Monday in the first acknowledgment of a highly unusual accident that one expert called the gravest in nearly two decades.

Top Mexico drug cop charged with working for cartel (IHT):
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The former head of Mexico’s special organized crime bureau has been charged with selling information to one of the country’s most powerful drug cartels, the attorney general’s office said on Sunday.

US missile strike kills 30 in Pakistan (Guardian)

America Has To Come To Grips With The Fact It Is Bankrupt (Financial Forecaster)

Japan Economy Shrinks 12.7%, Steepest Drop Since 1974 Oil Shock (Bloomberg):
Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) — Japan’s economy shrank at an annual 12.7 percent pace last quarter, the most since the 1974 oil shock, as recessions in the U.S. and Europe triggered a record drop in exports.

Unemployment forecast to reach 3 million before next election (Guardian)

Russia’s super-rich down to last few billions as fortunes slip away (Times Online)

Householders to be charged for each flush of toilet (The Sunday Telegraph):
HOUSEHOLDERS would be charged for each flush under a radical new toilet tax designed to help beat the drought. The scheme would replace the current system, which sees sewage charges based on a home’s value – not its waste water output.

Central banks urged to buy corporate debt (Financial Times)

Government pension agency braces for recession (AP):
WASHINGTON (AP) — The deepening recession spells trouble for a little-known government corporation that insures the pensions of 44 million workers and retirees.

Pound falls as CBI warns borrowing will have to rise by another £100bn (Telegraph):
The pound weakened on Monday after business leaders warned Alistair Darling will have to take on another £100bn in debt, requiring tax rises that risk depressing the economy for years.

BMW to shed 850 jobs at Mini plant (Financial Times)

UK’s richest landowner hit by slump (Guardian):
Britain’s wealthiest landowner, the Duke of Westminster, is in advanced talks with his bankers to prevent his £2bn property fund business breaching bank covenants. Pressure on the multibillionaire duke has intensified with investors in his funds suggesting that his property managers failed to heed advice to reduce borrowings 18 months ago, ahead of the collapse in property values.

Rich Chinese fly in to buy bargain homes in US (Times Online):
(Rich, but ignorant. This strategy has paid of for them in the Philippines, but not in the US. The U.S. is about to collapse. If you would buy that home to have a safe place for your family far outside of any major city, then that will be a good investment, besides from food, water, clothes, guns, gold and silver.)

Santander fund seeks to halt redemptions (Financial Times):
Spanish bank Santander has sought regulatory permission to freeze payouts from its main real-estate fund after investors sought to withdraw 80 per cent of the vehicle’s capital at once.

Pakistan to Seek Additional $4.5 Billion IMF Loan (Bloomberg)

Bad news dominates media businesses (Financial Times):
Real estate may be the gloomiest sector in the Gulf but its woes are spreading to other parts of the regional economy. Increasingly, the print media industry is feeling the pinch.

Alleged ‘brains’ of £360m fraud says he is victim (Times Online)

UK mobile phone firms to sell data about customer activity (Guardian):
The UK’s mobile phone networks are to start selling data about the internet sites visited by their customers to advertisers. The companies have been collecting the information over the past year and will use it in an attempt to generate more advertising. News that the industry has been monitoring what users do on the mobile web is likely to infuriate privacy campaigners.

Tony Blair wins million-dollar prize for global leadership (Guardian):
(… for lying GB into war.)

Iranian bioweapon researcher dies suspiciously (PRESS TV):
A US-based Iranian doctor working to discover an antitoxin therapy for biological weapons has purportedly died a “suspicious death.”

Students angered by Gaza revive sit-ins (Guardian):
“There is a new level of anger among students that we haven’t seen before,” he said. “There is definitely a new confidence among students who are beginning to realise that if they want to achieve anything simple negotiation won’t work, our actions have to escalate.”

Israel takes control of more West Bank land (AP):
JERUSALEM – Israel has taken control of a large chunk of land near a prominent West Bank settlement, paving the way for the possible construction of 2,500 settlement homes, officials said Monday, in a new challenge to Mideast peacemaking. Successive Israeli governments have broken promises to the United States to halt settlement expansion, defined by Washington as an obstacle to peace.

Livni: Give up half of ‘Land of Israel’ (AP):
JERUSALEM – Tzipi Livni, who hopes to be appointed Israel’s prime minister-designate, said Monday Israel must give up considerable territory in exchange for peace with the Palestinians, drawing a clear distinction with her rival, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli brinkmanship puts Gaza truce in peril (Reuters)

Study takes step toward erasing bad memories (Reuters):
LONDON (Reuters) – A widely available blood pressure pill could one day help people erase bad memories, perhaps treating some anxiety disorders and phobias, according to a Dutch study published on Sunday. The generic beta-blocker propranolol significantly weakened people’s fearful memories of spiders among a group of healthy volunteers who took it, said Merel Kindt, a psychologist at the University of Amsterdam, who led the study.
(Bad memories are not the only thing that is weakened by beta-blockers.)

Monkeys and apes know right from wrong, scientists say (Daily Mail)

Galaxy has ‘billions of Earths’ (BBC News)

Aliens ‘may be living among us’ undetected by science (Times Online)

Indian experts find bacteria to beat global heat (The Economic Times):
ALLAHABAD: In a major breakthrough that could help in the fight against global warming, a team of five Indian scientists from four institutes of the country have discovered a naturally occurring bacteria which converts carbon dioxide (CO2) into a compound found in limestone and chalk. When used as an enzyme — biomolecules that speed up a chemical reaction — the bacteria has been found to transform CO2 into calcium carbonate (CaCO3)

Global News (02/15/09)

Wanted: ‘survival strategies’ for dying US newspapers (AFP):
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The fate of US newspapers is in the news as journalists, editors, bloggers, media pundits and concerned citizens debate the future of the troubled industry.”How to Save Your Newspaper,” is the cover story in Time in which Walter Isaacson, a former managing editor of the magazine, revives a plan to make readers pay for news online through a “micropayments” system.

Prosperous Spanish city falls victim to hard times (Independent):
In a country destroying jobs at a breathtaking rhythm, once flourishing Zaragoza and the region around it is declining even faster than the national average – with unemployment up 75% in a year. The shock has already sent protesters on to the city’s streets in their tens of thousands. “If this isn’t fixed: Strike! Strike! Strike!”, they chanted at a recent rally.

Scientists warn of first ever case of human mad cow disease from blood plasma (Telegraph):
Warnings were sent to 4,000 haemophiliacs, and patients suffering from other rare blood conditions in 2004 to warn them that they had had received transfusions from 200 batches of blood products at risk of contamination with vCJD. The plasma was collected from nine people who went on to develop the brain-wasting disease.

Japan’s economy shrinks 3.3% (Financial Times):
On an annualised basis, gross domestic product declined at a rate of 12.7 per cent… (Japan is in a Depression)

Despite Pledges, Package Has Some Pork (Washington Post):
(Some? Read the Stimulus Bill: Nancy Pelosi)

UN lobbies for share of bank rescue funds (Times Online):
The UN and the World Bank are lobbying for a portion of the billions of dollars allocated to bailing out the West’s banking systems to be diverted to prevent 400 million people sinking into poverty across Asia in the wake of the global economic crisis. UN officials say that such a plan is necessary to prevent severe social unrest in poor countries, especially among the tens of millions of migrant workers who are being forced back to their villages as jobs dry up in the cities of Asia.

Fraud probe into UK firm’s role in collapse of world’s largest insurer AIG (Daily Mail)

Large US banks on brink of insolvency, experts say (IHT)

US Making Same Mistakes that Led to Japan’s Lost Decade, Say Analysts (Money Morning)

Boycott UN forum, says Israeli ex-envoy (Sydney Morning Herald):
A FORMER senior Israeli diplomat, Dan Gillerman, has urged Kevin Rudd to cancel Australia’s attendance at a United Nations forum on racism, saying it will be used as a platform to bash Israel.

Food banks toss out food linked to peanut recall (Chicago Tribune)

Catastrophic Fall in 2009 Global Food Production (Market Skeptics):
The countries that make up two thirds of the world’s agricultural output are experiencing drought conditions. Whether you watch a video of the drought in China, Australia, Africa, South America, or the US, the scene will be the same: misery, ruined crop, and dying cattle. The world is heading for a drop in agricultural production of 20 to 40 percent, depending on the severity and length of the current global droughts. Food producing nations are imposing food export restrictions. Food prices will soar, and, in poor countries with food deficits, millions will starve.

Feds charge NYPD officer with laundering $230000 (AP)

USS Cole Families Press Obama to Open Commission to Investigate Attack (FOX News)

Figures reveal Blair’s charity empire (Guardian)

NYPD okays Velcro handcuffs for use on unruly children (Daily News)

Intense light ‘could detect Parkinson’s’ (Telegraph)

Autism ruling fails to convince many vaccine-link believers (CNN)

The Wounds of Gaza (The Lancet):
Two Surgeons from the UK, Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah and Dr Swee Ang, managed to get into Gaza during the Israeli invasion. Here they describe their experiences, share their views, and conclude that the people of Gaza are extremely vulnerable and defenseless in the event of another attack.

Global News (02/14/09)

US foreclosure image is 2008 World Press Photo (Independent):

This picture by US photographer Anthony Suau, for Time won the World Press Photo of the Year 2008 award, it was announced by the organisers on 13 February 2009 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. US Economy in Crisis: Following eviction, Detective Robert Kole must ensure residents have moved out of their home in Cleveland, Ohio, 26 March 2008.

G7 sets sights on new world economic order (AFP):
ROME (AFP) – The world’s richest nations called Saturday for urgent reform of global finance to save the world from the economic devastation that is dragging more and more countries into recession. Italy’s Finance Minister called for a “new world economic order” as he wrapped up the crisis meeting of finance leaders from the Group of Seven leading economies over which he presided here.

US stimulus clears Congress (Financial Times):
The biggest economic stimulus in US history cleared the US Congress late on Friday night.

Britain’s bankers plumb new depths (Times Online):
Jon Moulton, the private equity chief, warned a City lunch this week that he feared serious civil unrest. There was, he said, a 25 per cent chance of one of the 15 member countries of the eurozone pulling out of the currency club. That, he said, would be a catastrophic shock leading to a “far greater financial crisis” than the current one.

Europe’s industrial base may never recover from crisis (Telegraph):
The European Commission has issued a red alert over the unprecedented collapse of industrial production, warning that EU states are running out of money for rescue packages.

Car sales across Europe plunge to 20-year low (Times Online):
France proved most resilient in terms of the drop in its market with a fall of 7.9 per cent while Germany, the Continent’s biggest seller, experienced a 14.2 per cent fall. The decline in the British market, published last week, was 30.9 per cent. In Western Europe the biggest falls were in Italy, at 32.6 per cent, and Spain, with 41.6 per cent.

Trump Quits Trump Entertainment as Debt Payment Deadline Looms (Bloomberg):
Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) — Donald Trump resigned from the board of debt-laden Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. as bondholders weighed forcing the casino company he founded into involuntary bankruptcy next week.

The Coming Crisis: White Collar Homelessness (End Homelessness)

100000 Parents of Citizens Were Deported Over 10 Years (New York Times):
WASHINGTON — Of nearly 2.2 million immigrants deported in the decade ended 2007, more than 100,000 were the parents of children who, having been born in the United States, were American citizens, according to a report issued Friday by the Department of Homeland Security.

Obama’s Wealth Destruction (Ludwig von Mises Institute)

Europe set for deep recession, economists warn (Telegraph):
The Eurozone economy, whose biggest members are Germany and France, shrank 1.5pc in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter – a steeper fall than economists had expected. Germany had the worst fall, with the economy shrinking the most since the country was reunified in 1990.

US drone attack kills 25 Taliban in Pakistan (Telegraph)

Mystery of New York flight that dropped out of sky, killing 49 in Buffalo suburb (Times Online)

Blackwater Sheds Name, Shifts Focus (Washington Post):
Blackwater Worldwide, a private security (mercenary) company whose work in Iraq was plagued by trouble, said yesterday that it is changing its name to Xe as it shifts its business focus.

Four More US Banks Are Shut, Bringing Total for Year to 13 (Bloomberg)

Secret plan to deprive independent Scotland of North Sea oil fields (Times Online)

Four in ten unaware that cancer is linked to poor diet (Scotsman)

Toxic waste blamed for birth defects (Independent)

Medical Director of Switzerland’s Paracelsus Clinic Takes Stand on Hazards of Electromagnetic Pollution – ‘Electromagnetic Load’ a Hidden Factor in Many Illnesses (Electromagnetic Health)

Global News (02/13/09)

“Kill yourself. Save us the paperwork” (Salon):
Pfc. Ryan Alderman, now deceased, sought medical help from the Army. He got a fistful of powerful drugs instead.

Dutch MP refused entry to Britain (BBC News):
A Dutch MP who called the Koran a “fascist book” has been sent back to the Netherlands after attempting to defy a ban on entering the UK.

US unemployment climbs to a 32-year high (Telegraph)

Why Geithner’s bank bailout plan got a Bronx cheer (Money and Markets):
Problem #2: The “same old, same old” efforts:

These programs appear to be nothing more than expanded versions of efforts that have already had either limited success, or failed entirely.
Problem #3: Investors may finally be starting to face reality:

“This latest scheme to save the world will fail just like all the others. That is because nothing … NOTHING … can prevent a painful adjustment process.

– Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts:
The Washington Morons – Driving Over the Cliff (CounterPunch)

Eurozone slump worst in 50 years (Financial Times)

France to call for hedge fund crackdown (Financial Times)

Lloyds hit by £10bn HBOS losses (Financial Times):
Shares in the banking group fell 35 per cent after it warned that its newly acquired HBOS had suffered a worse-than-expected £10bn loss in 2008.

US Auto-Parts Suppliers Seek $18.5 Billion in Aid (Bloomberg)

Inflation: Brace yourself for higher food prices (Telegraph):
The Telegraph’s measure of “real” inflation, the Real Cost of Living Index, is at minus 3.4pc. But the era of cheap food could be over within a decade. (I say within 7 months.)

Auto Workers’ 54-Year Safety-Net Pay May Be Scrapped in Talks (Bloomberg):
Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, trying to keep $17.4 billion in U.S. aid, are asking the United Auto Workers union to end a 54-year-old benefit that ensures almost full pay during layoffs.

Bernard Madoff could escape trial with guilty plea (Times Online):
The 70-year-old is currently under house arrest at his $7 million Manhattan penthouse apartment.
(What a horrible punishment!)

– Japan PM faces potential revolt (Financial Times)

US envoy in Kabul to map out surge (Independent)

PepsiCo defies global gloom (Financial Times):
(Soon people can only afford to drink tap water and then Pepsi will go down.)

Female suicide bomber kills 35 women and children near Iraq religious festival (CNN)

World in denial about trafficking, says UN (Independent)

Energy experts to visit every home to help them go green (Telegraph)

Millions ‘opt for DIY dentistry’ (BBC News)

Teenage handbag thief outpaced by 72-year-old ex-sprinter (Telegraph)

Global News (02/12/09)

Bank chief warns economy could shrink by 6%… just three months after Alistair Darling predicted a fall of 1.25% (Daily Mail)

Meet Labour’s City cronies: The roll call of bankers rewarded by rewarded by Brown and Blair (Daily Mail):
An analysis by the Daily Mail reveals that while ministers are now railing against the role of bankers in causing the economic crisis, they have spent the last decade cosying up to the industry. Labour has given 23 bankers honours, brought three into the Government as ministers and involved 37 in commissions and advisory bodies.

Bank will print money as UK sees ‘deep recession’ (Independent)

Millions face ‘stealth tax’ on heating bills to subsidise green energy (Daily Mail)

Australia’s Senate blocks A$42bn stimulus plan (Financial Times)

EU faces ‘toxic’ debt spiral (Telegraph):
It is not surprising that European Union finance ministers looked ashen faced in Brussels on Tuesday.

Jim Rogers: Treasury Bonds Last Bubble Left (Money News)

Treasury 30-Year Bonds Fall After Record Sale; U.S. Notes Rise (Bloomberg)

Economic And Financial Systems Deliberately Destabilized (Financial Forecaster)

‘Here’s the problem… people really hate you,’ US bankers told (Independent):
Announcing the hearings last week, Barney Frank, the chairman of the Financial Services Committee, said that public patience with Wall Street bailouts had worn thin. “As I’ve said to a couple of the bankers, ‘Here’s this problem: People really hate you, and they’re starting to hate us because we’re hanging out with you,'” Mr Frank said.

Wall Street Men Find World According to TARP Worth Fleeing (Bloomberg):

Bush-era offshore drilling plan is set aside (MSNBC):
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration on Tuesday overturned another Bush-era energy policy, setting aside a draft plan to allow drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Home prices in record plunge (CNN Money):
The National Association of Realtors reports that home prices dropped a record 12.4% in the final quarter of 2008 – the biggest decline in 30 years.

Meltdown 101: Highlights of economic stimulus plan (AP):
Many leading economists have concluded that the stimulus alone may be insufficient to bring a quick turnaround for the economy. (No government can turn around an entire economy and is also not supposed to do so.)

Schwarzenegger and California legislators reach tentative budget deal (Guardian):
Schwarzenegger threatened this week to send 20,000 layoff notices to state employees, on top of the other cuts, if lawmakers do not commit to a budget deal by then.

I Could Have Made a Fortune Wrecking a Bank: Margaret Carlson (Bloomberg)

Oil industry needs tax breaks to avert slump (Times Online)

Rio Tinto Drops After Chinalco Agrees to Invest $19.5 Billion (Bloomberg):
Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) — Aluminum Corp. of China agreed to invest $19.5 billion in debt-laden Rio Tinto Group, gaining access to copper and iron ore resources in the nation’s largest overseas acquisition.

France imposes limits on bank bonuses (Financial Times)

Take low-skilled jobs, class of 2009 told (Guardian)

US bankers yield to foreclosure demands (Financial Times)

The CIA and NSA Want You to Be Their Friend on Facebook (U.S. News & World Report):
The spy agencies are using the popular social-networking site as part of their recruiting efforts

Okla. town in ‘shock’ after tornado kills 9 (USA Today):
“The last February tornado to occur in Oklahoma was in 2000,” Carbin said. “They’re not common.”

Big satellites collide 500 miles over Siberia (AP):
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Two big communications satellites collided in the first-ever crash of two intact spacecraft in orbit, shooting out a pair of massive debris clouds and posing a slight risk to the international space station.

Powerful earthquake hits Indonesia, 42 injured (AP)

Chavez reports attempted coup (AFP):
CARACAS, (AFP) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez reported an attempted coup against his palace by army troops in contact with “a soldier on the run in the United States,” but said the government had everything under control.

Global News (02/11/09)

The Vatican claims Darwin’s theory of evolution is compatible with Christianity (Telegraph):
The Vatican has admitted that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution should not have been dismissed and claimed it is compatible with the Christian view of Creation.

Strip-Club Chief Is What Obama Could Afford With Bank-Pay Limit (Bloomberg):
The heads of the five biggest Wall Street firms took home more than $1 billion in the five years through 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. On Wall Street, “$500,000 will get you someone five years out of Harvard Business School or a sixth-year associate at a major law firm,” Reda said. “It’s not going to get you a lot.”
(Those banksters will be happy if they can manifest their daily bread in the future.)

Top Four Merrill Bonus Recipients Got $121 Million (Bloomberg)

Fox News producer arrested for child pornography (Boston Herald)

Madoff’s Wife Withdrew $15.5 Million Before His Fraud Arrest (Bloomberg)

Pain Beam to Get Tougher, Smaller, More Powerful (Wired News):
The Pentagon’s pain beam weapon could get tougher, smaller, more powerful, and more mobile under a series of new research and development projects. And that could pave the way for the so-called “Active Denial System” to finally be sent to war.

Credit Suisse losses widen to SFr8bn (Financial Times)

Coca-Cola Enterprises Swings To Loss On $2.3 Billion Write-Down (CNN Money)

Banking inquisition intensifies after whistleblower allegations (Guardian)

European bank bail-out could push EU into crisis (Telegraph):
A bail-out of the toxic assets held by European banks’ could plunge the European Union into crisis, according to a confidential Brussels document.

Pimco’s Gross Sold U.S. Debt Last Month (Bloomberg)

Wholesale inventories plunge by most in 17 years (AP)

Nokia to ax 320 jobs, temporarily lay off 2500 (BusinessWeek)

Afghan Government Offices Targeted as Bombers Kill 26 (Bloomberg)

France says it protects jobs, not breaking EU rules (Reuters)

Gates orders review of ban on photos of coffins (AP)

Obama’s $20 Billion Stirs Secrets-for-Sale Health Record Clash (Bloomberg)

Obama Could Order More Troops to Afghanistan This Week (Voice of America)

US launches spy operation over North Korea (Times Online)

China will build special railway for Muslim pilgrims in Saudi Arabia (Telegraph)

Global warming is not our fault … it’s nature (Scotsman)

Dubai tanker bursts into flames after collision with container ship (Telegraph)