Global News (02/25/09)

Bailout Bank Blows Millions Partying in L.A. (TMZ):
Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank, sponsored the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in L.A. We’re told Northern Trust paid millions to sponsor the PGA event which ended Sunday, but what happened off the golf course is even more shocking. (!)

Troops’ revolt rocks Bangladesh capital (Guardian):
Soldiers in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, have revolted against senior officers apparently over rations and pay, with television reports claiming the troops killed a major general.

FBI raids University of Florida nuclear power institute (Orlando Sentinel):
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Federal investigators are alleging that a University of Florida professor and three other members of his family fraudulently received millions of dollars from NASA and then allegedly funneled money to their personal bank accounts, court documents show.

Big Brother spy planes that track the Taliban may soon hover over your home (Daily Mail):
Britain already has more CCTV cameras than the rest of Europe put together.

Anti-terror fight ‘will need privacy sacrifice’ (Independent):
Citizens will have to sacrifice their right to privacy in the fight against terrorism, a former senior security official warned today. Sir David Omand, the Cabinet Office’s former security and intelligence co-ordinator, said in future the security services would need access to a wide range of personal data, including phone records, emails and travel information.
(The real enemy here is the New World Order and Big Brother.)

Zimbabwe’s vice-president foiled in 3600kg gold deal (Times Online):
The Vice-President of Zimbabwe has been accused of trying to sell millions of dollars in gold nuggets and diamonds in defiance of international sanctions.

Gold investors make 120pc return in four months (Telegraph):
Private investors who have bought exchange traded funds that track the performance of gold miners have more than doubled their money since October last year.

Exxon drags its feet for 20 years to avoid paying damages to struggling Alaskans, while making record profits (BuzzFlash)

Anti-Putin oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky transferred to Moscow to face new charges (Telegraph):
Khodorkovsky, Russia’s richest man until his arrest in 2003, will go on trial next month after being accused of fresh counts of embezzlement and theft. Human rights activists and defence lawyers said the new charges were a politically-motivated concoction to keep the tycoon behind bars.

Obama to Seek $75.5 Billion More for Wars in 2009 (Bloomberg):

Wall Street sinks as Obama warns of oversight (Reuters):
The Dow is down 9.1 percent for the month and 17.2 percent year-to-date. “As we came close to the bell we got the curveball: our president came on TV,” he said.

San Francisco Chronicle may shut down (Reuters):
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – San Francisco may lose its main newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, as owner Hearst Corp cuts a “significant” number of jobs and decides whether to shut or sell the money-losing daily.

Miliband faces high court battle in UK over Gaza rights (Guardian):
Lawyers for Palestinian families claim foreign secretary’s failure to ban arms sales to Israel flouted international law

Russian economy hit by 8.8% decline (Financial Times)

Russia’s 2009 budget deficit to be 8% of GDP – economics minister (RIA Novosti)

RUSSIA: Problems Rise With Falling Oil Prices (IPS):
MOSCOW, Feb 24 (IPS) – The Russian economy is plunging into a crisis as oil prices fall and the government digs deep into its reserve fund.

A look at economic developments around the world (IHT)

European banking bail-outs threaten common market, finance baron warns (Guardian):
European government efforts to shore up their national banking systems could end up as a “dismal failure” by backfiring on the “real” economy and aggravating and prolonging the current crisis.

UK recession deepens as manufacturing wilts (Times Online)

Corporate Bonds Are Next ‘Bubble,’ RBS’s Janjuah Says (Bloomberg)

NYSE in talks to relax its $1 minimum rule (Financial Times):
NYSE Euronext is in talks with US regulators about relaxing its requirement that companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange maintain a share price of more than $1 to protect itself from a possible wave of delistings.

Best hope is recovery in 2010, Ben Bernanke tells US Congress (Guardian):
(Best ‘hope‘? … at worst there will be a total collapse in 2009, at best best in 2010.
“We ‘believe‘ the effect of the troubles in the subprime sector on the broader housing market will likely be limited”
– Ben Bernanke, May 2007 – Hope = Believe = Don’t Know)

Bernanke says recession to linger (Reuters)

Bank of America fights to hide bonus payouts (Times Online)

– Pacific Brands: Shock as 1800 jobs vaporise (Daily Telegraph):
THE maker of iconic clothing brands including Bonds and King Gee will slash more than 1,800 jobs after the company announced it no longer has a future manufacturing in Australia.

Tomkins cuts 2,500 more jobs (Financial Times):
Tomkins, the car parts maker that also supplies industrial belts and building products, is to shed a further 2,500 jobs and close 15 plants.

US house prices fall back to 2003 levels (Times Online)

Diebold ‘offices’ listed in yellow pages are mostly Wal-Marts (Raw Story):
Across the country, curious bloggers are calling up their local Diebold offices, and no one is answering. However, when calls were made to all of these offices, only one picked up the phone. And when the addresses of offices listed under Diebold in the White Pages were visited, the addresses turned out to belong to either a Wal-Mart, a Sam’s Club, or no building at all. In the end, 16 of the 18 Diebold offices in Utah listed in the White Pages were false listings.

Man charged with sending terrorist material by email (Daily Mail)

Five US soldiers, two Iraqi translators killed in Iraq (Monsters and Critics)

Depleted Uranium Hazard Awareness – US Army Training Video:
STILL TODAY the vast majority of servicemen and women in the U.S. military, and likely in the armed forces of other countries which are developing or have obtained depleted uranium munitions, are unaware of the use and dangers of depleted uranium munitions, or of the protective clothing and procedures which can minimize or prevent serious short-term exposures.

Excessive PlayStation gaming causes new skin condition (Telegraph)

Long hours put workers at risk of dementia, according to research into damage to brain (Telegraph):
Millions of workers are being put at greater risk of dementia by Britain’s long working hours culture, research has found.
Extreme tiredness and stress could be as bad for the brain as smoking, according to the study.

Worse than my darkest nightmare (Guardian):
I hope you will understand that after everything I have been through, I am neither physically nor mentally capable of facing the media on the moment of my arrival back to Britain. Please forgive me if I make a simple statement through my lawyer. I hope to be able to do better in days to come, when I am on the road to recovery.

Global News (02/24/09)

Green light for a close encounter: ‘Jupiter-sized’ comet to streak past Earth tonight (Mail on Sunday):
We have known of its existence for only two years. But if you raise your eyes heavenwards over the next few nights, you might just catch a glimpse of the comet Lulin. Glowing green, it will come within 38million miles of Earth, the closest it has ever been, and about the same distance away as Mars.

US carbon-tracking satellite crashes (Financial Times):
The US government’s pioneering attempt to map carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere flopped on Tuesday when a satellite plunged into the southern Pacific Ocean near Antarctica. The $278m Orbiting Carbon Observatory… (… flushed down the toilet.)

UK Army may use James Bond-style spy camera (Telegraph):
British soldiers and anti-terrorist police may soon be using a new James Bond-style spy camera hidden in a gadget the size of a cricket ball. The ball can be thrown at enemy suspects and will then send back pictures of their movements using wireless technology, the Daily Mirror said.It was first successfully used by Israeli forces during the Gaza conflict last month.

Defaults by Franchisees Soar as the Recession Deepens (Wall Street Journal):
List of Small Business Administration-Backed Bad Loans at 500 Brands Increased 52% in Most Recent Fiscal Year

Thousands of police to lose jobs as forces feel the pinch (Times):
Large numbers of police forces are planning to cut thousands of officers despite the threat of a recession-driven surge in crime and disorder. Representatives from dozens of police forces contacted by The Times last night gave a grim picture of falling numbers and “significant and painful” cuts.

US home prices fall at record pace, consumers fret (Washington Post):
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. home prices plunged at a record pace in December and consumer confidence hit a new low in February, …

Obama administration tries to kill e-mail case (AP):
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration, siding with former President George W. Bush, is trying to kill a lawsuit that seeks to recover what could be millions of missing White House e-mails.

Obama flops on secrecy (Houston Chronicle):
A few days ago in a San Francisco courtroom, the Obama administration faced a crucial early test — and, in the view of many liberal supporters, failed miserably.

Soldier questions eligibility, doubts president’s authority (WorldNetDaily)

Stanford Had Links to a Fund Run by Bidens (Wall Street Journal):
A fund of hedge funds run by two members of Vice President Joe Biden’s family was marketed exclusively by companies controlled by Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, who is facing Securities and Exchange Commission accusations of engaging in an $8 billion fraud.

Bank Nationalization Isn’t the Answer (Wall Street Journal):
Trust me. I’ve done this before. Mr. Isaac, chairman of the FDIC from 1981-1985, is chairman of the Washington financial services consulting firm The Secura Group, an LECG company.

High street job losses hit record level in UK (Guardian):
The CBI’s latest distributive trades survey showed that a balance of -49% of retailers said they had cut staff numbers in February, the worst level since the quarterly survey began in August 1983. A similar record rate of job cuts is expected for March.

ECB’s Trichet sounds alarm over Europe’s credit contraction (Telegraph):
The eurozone’s financial system is under “severe strain” and risks setting off a downward spiral as the banking crisis and economic recession feed on each other, according to European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet.

Ritz Camera seeks bankruptcy protection (BusinessWeek):
Ritz Camera Centers, the nation’s largest retail photography chain, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Chapter 11 an option for Chrysler and GM (Financial Times):
Law firms advising the US Treasury are preparing for possible bankruptcy protection for General Motors and Chrysler, US officials acknowledged on Monday.

Latvia debt rating cut to ‘junk’ (Financial Times):
Riga, February 24 – Latvia on Tuesday became the second European Union nation after Romania to receive a “junk” level credit rating after Standard & Poor’s reduced its rating on the crisis-hit nation.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 flirts with 26-year low (Financial Times):
The Nikkei 225 closed for the lunch break down 2.6 per cent at 7,181.20, just shy of its October close of 7,162.90 in October, the lowest level in 26 years.

States agree €13bn HSH bail-out package (Financial Times):
Two German federal states on Tuesday agreed a €13bn ($16.6bn) bail-out of HSH Nordbank, the shipping financier, whose losses on complex structured financial products have crippled the regional lender and blown a hole in government finances.

Home Depot swings to $54 million loss (MarketWatch)

TomTom lost $1.3bn in fourth quarter (Financial Times):
AMSTERDAM, Feb 24 – Dutch navigation device maker TomTom reported a €989m ($1.3bn) net loss on Tuesday, citing a writedown on its Tele Atlas acquisition, and said it was considering renegotiating its debt again.

McDonald’s gets $423.7M loan from Japanese banks (IHT)

Georgia furloughs 25,000 workers (CNN Money):
NEW YORK ( — Georgia regulators confirmed Tuesday that 25,000 state workers at various agencies have been furloughed over the last six months as part of ongoing budget reduction requirements.

Vatican complains to Israel about ‘blasphemous’ TV programme (Telegraph):
In the programme, the host denied Christian traditions – that Mary was a virgin and that Jesus walked on water – saying he would do so as a “lesson” to Christians who deny the Holocaust, a reference to the Vatican’s recent lifting of the excommunication of a bishop who denied 6 million Jews were killed during the Second World War. The rehabilitation sparked outrage among Jews.

China bars foreigners from Tibet (BBC News)

US set to offer ‘substantial’ aid to Gaza (Scotsman)

UK sees diabetes cases rise by three-quarters (Guardian)

Manila to slaughter 6000 pigs to stop Ebola spread (Reuters)

Scientists discover genetic ‘off switch’ for series of cancers (Scotsman):
SCIENTISTS have identified a cancer “master switch” that could open the door to revolutionary new treatments, research published today reveals.

UK blood enquiry finds fault in US practices (Philippines News):
Tainted blood supplies in Britain and other countries were partially responsible for the spread of Hepatitis-C and the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

50 Child prostitutes rescued by FBI (Telegraph):
The FBI has rescued nearly 50 child prostitutes in the United States, some as young as 13, in a nationwide operation against the trafficking of children for sex.

Global News (02/23/09)

Air America Poll: 90% Want Bush Crimes Investigation (Huffington Post)

Secret US unit trains commandos in Pakistan (IHT):
BARA, Pakistan: More than 70 United States military advisers and technical specialists are secretly working in Pakistan to help its armed forces battle Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the country’s lawless tribal areas, American military officials said.

America unmasked: The images that reveal the Ku Klux Klan is alive and kicking in 2009 (Independent):
These images show members of the Ku Klux Klan as they want to be seen, scary and secretive and waiting in the wings for Barack and his colour-blind vision for America to fail. Anthony Karen, a former Marine and self-taught photojournalist was granted access to the innermost sanctum of the Klan. He doesn’t tell us how he did it but he was considered trustworthy enough to be invited into their homes and allowed to photograph their most secretive ceremonies, such as the infamous cross burnings.

Jail the men who stole our economy, demands former DPP (Daily Mail):
Britain’s former chief prosecutor has attacked Labour’s record on tackling financial crime and declared that fraudulent bankers are more of a danger to society than terrorists.

Economic crisis ‘is as bad as they come’ (San Francisco Chronicle):
“The global economy is now literally in free fall as the contraction of consumption, capital spending, residential investment, production, employment, exports and imports is accelerating rather than decelerating,” Roubini wrote.

Desperate Gordon Brown plans £500billion bank gamble (Telegraph):
A £500 billion banking bail-out will be at the centre of a rescue package announced by Gordon Brown this week amid desperation over the Government’s failure to save the economy.

Billions to be pumped into Northern Rock (IHT):
LONDON (Reuters) – The government will inject billions of pounds into state-owned Northern Rock bank to try to unlock lending and help the economy emerge from recession, Chancellor Alistair Darling said on Monday.

World Financial System In A State Of Insolvency (Financial Forecaster):
The global financial system is in a tailspin and world leadership in Europe, china, Japan and the US act like the situation is some temporary breakdown. The system is beyond saving and the elitists planned it that way.

When Consumers Cut Back: A Lesson From Japan (New York Times):
“Japan is so dependent on exports that when overseas markets slow down, Japan’s economy teeters on collapse,” said Hideo Kumano, an economist at the Dai-ichi Life Research Institute. “On the surface, Japan looked like it had recovered from its Lost Decade of the 1990s. But Japan in fact entered a second Lost Decade — that of lost consumption.”

Police fear UK ‘summer of rage’ (BBC News):
Police are preparing to face a “summer of rage” in the UK as people join protests over the economic downturn, says a senior Met Police officer.

“Stress tests” for big banks to begin this week (Seattle Times):
(…and the poor banks will need another big bailout of taxpayers’ money, so that they can lend the money back to the people.)

– Nouriel Roubini: ‘Nationalize’ the Banks (Wall Street Journal)

US government eyes large stake in Citigroup (Telegraph)

Citigroup’s Clever Plan To Screw Taxpayers Again (The Business Insider)

Tony Blair cashing in after launching economic advice firm (Telegraph):
Tony Blair is to cash in on his experience as prime minister after establishing a business offering clients political and economic advice.

Dubai’s $10 billion bailout (CNN Money):
United Arab Emirates steps in and buys half of the country’s $20 billion long-term bond offering.

Airbus exec: Planemaker wants more government aid (USA Today):
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A senior Airbus official says the plane maker wants financing help from other European governments following a $6.4 billion aid package from France last month. The company’s Middle East president, Habib Fekih, says the euro 5 billion that Paris pledged is “not enough.”

VW Halts Production As Car Crisis Deepens (Deutsche Welle):
Europe’s biggest carmaker has introduced short-time work for the first time in 25 years.
Some 61,000 VW workers in five different plants have been given an enforced five-day break in response to poor sales forecasts.

Brown: World needs ‘global New Deal’ (CNN):
“We need a global New Deal — a grand bargain between the countries and continents of this world — so that the world economy can not only recover but… so the banking system can be based on… best principles,” he said, referring to the 1930s American plan to fight the Great Depression.

IMF emergency fund is doubled to $500bn in global rescue effort (Guardian):
European leaders yesterday agreed that an emergency IMF fund should be doubled to $500bn prevent the worldwide recession turning into a fullscale depression.

Thai Economy Shrinks More Than Expected on Exports (Bloomberg):
Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy contracted 4.3 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31 from a year earlier, and may shrink by at least that much in the first quarter, the government said today.

Up to 20000 jobs will go as RBS chief prepares to sell off unwanted assets (Times Online):
Royal Bank of Scotland will embark this week on a radical plan to split itself in two as it cuts tens of thousands of staff across the globe and confirms the biggest annual loss in British corporate history.

SFCG Files for Bankruptcy With 338 Billion Yen Debt (Bloomberg):
SFCG, which focuses on loans to small businesses, listed 338 billion yen ($3.6 billion) in liabilities, making it the biggest bankruptcy by a publicly traded Japanese company in almost seven years. The firm owed Citigroup 71 billion yen as of July 31, according to a filing by SFCG on Oct. 27.

China prepares to buy up foreign oil companies (Telegraph):
China is preparing to open a new phase in its race for the world’s resources by using its huge currency reserves to buy foreign oil and gas companies.

US stocks on course for 11-year low (Financial Times)

Nigerian Accused in Scheme to Swindle Citibank (New York Times)

Tourists targeted in Cairo market bombing (Independent):
Terrorism returned to the streets of Egypt’s capital, Cairo on Sunday when a bomb tore through a crowded market, killing a French tourist.

Thousands of foreign workers exploiting British jobs market (Telegraph):
The number of workers taking advantage of ‘intra-company transfers’ has increased by almost half in four years.

Amnesty calls on US to suspend arms sales to Israel (Guardian):
Hellfire missiles and white phosphorus artillery shells among weapons used in ‘indiscriminate’ attacks on civilians, says human rights group

Probe finds Army charity is hoarding millions (MSNBC):
Military’s biggest charity is stockpiling cash, rather than using it for aid

Soldiers still waiting for tour bonuses (USA Today):
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has not started complying with a law requiring the payment of monthly bonuses of up to $500 to soldiers forced to remain on active duty beyond their enlistment period, military officials said.

Colombian wiretap scandal grows (BBC News):
The director of Colombia’s secret police, Felipe Munoz Gomez, says he has the letters of resignation from the entire high command.

British Muslims ‘providing Taliban with electronic devices for roadside bombs’ (Telegraph):
British Muslims are providing the Taliban with electronic devices to make roadside bombs for use in attacks against British forces serving in southern Afghanistan, The Telegraph can disclose.

Iran’s First Nuclear Power Plant Set for Tests Before Launch (Washington Post)

Iraq faces a new war as tensions rise in north (Independent):
Violence between Iraqi Kurds and Arabs is threatening an all out conflict that could complicate US plans to withdraw troops

Australia bushfires: More than 100 evacuated as fresh blazes erupt in Melbourne (Guardian)

McDonald’s: No workers comp for employee shot protecting patron (Raw Story):
Fast food giant McDonald’s has denied workers compensation benefits to a minimum wage employee who was shot when he ejected a customer who had been beating a woman inside the restaurant.

Global News (02/22/09)

Karzai is US stooge says Afghan deputy president (Telegraph):
Afghanistan’s president and vice-president accused each other of being US stooges during a recent cabinet meeting which degenerated into a furious row, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

Swiss party wants to punish US for UBS probe (Reuters):
ZURICH, Feb 21 (Reuters) – The right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) called on Saturday for retaliation against the United States over a U.S. tax probe into the country’s biggest bank UBS that threatens prized banking secrecy.

Death threat to Greek media as terrorists plot bomb havoc (Guardian):
Amid growing fears that Greece could become a centre of terrorism in Europe, political extremists yesterday issued a warning to journalists, saying it had them within its sights because they represented a corrupt establishment.

After squalls in the Caribbean, Sarkozy faces a storm at home (Guardian):
Guadeloupe is 4,000 miles from the French mainland, but the demands of the rioters in Pointe-à-Pitre are the same as those of Parisians. With his approval ratings at a low, the president now faces a general strike and, potentially, a wave of social panic. Jason Burke reports from Paris

Demons of 1968 rise up to spook Sarkozy (Times Online):
The president is spooked as a new extremism hits France
RIOT police gathered outside the Sorbonne University in Paris on Thursday night. About 200 students had occupied it to display their opposition to the government. Then one of them stepped forward to make what sounded like an appeal for a general uprising.

Privacy law threat to Gordon Brown’s phone tap plan (Times Online):
(Gordon Brown is a ‘threat’ to freedom: here )

Past probes sought to tie Stanford to drugs (Houston Chronicle):
Authorities for years have investigated R. Allen Stanford, looking for ties to organized drug cartels and money laundering, going back at least a decade when the Texas billionaire’s offshore bank surrendered $3 million in drug money, state and federal sources told the Houston Chronicle Friday.

Obama Plans to Slash US Budget Deficit by 2013 (Bloomberg):
Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama plans to increase taxes on the wealthy and cut spending for the war in Iraq as part of a plan to slash the U.S. budget deficit to $533 billion by the end of his first term, according to an administration official. (Change you can believe in … but it will never happen.)

We will put people first, not bankers by Gordon Brown (Guardian):
(Then why are you looting taxpayers’, destroying the economy and the pound with everything you do???)

UAE Central Bank Steps In to Support Dubai Debt, Spending (Bloomberg):
Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) — The United Arab Emirates’ central bank stepped in to support Dubai after concern increased the emirate will struggle to repay its debt as global financial turmoil pushed up credit costs and burst a real-estate bubble.
(Dubai is collapsing. It has been bailed out already by Abu Dhabi. No other investor will by Dubai bonds = Trying to catch a falling knife.)

America’s Top 15 Emptiest Cities (ABC News):
These Once Boom Cities Are Now Quickly Turning Into Recession Ghost Towns

RBS and Lloyds close in on £500bn Treasury deal (Telegraph)

RBS signals £300bn asset sale (Telegraph):
Stephen Hester, the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), will this week trigger the dismantling of the empire assembled by his predecessor, Sir Fred Goodwin, by announcing plans to create a “non-core” subsidiary into which about £300bn of unwanted assets will be placed.

Clinton Urges China to Keep Buying US Treasury Securities (Bloomberg)

China, taking advantage of global recession, goes on a buying spree (Christian Science Monitor)

Galloway seeks inquiry into convoy arrests (Guardian):
The Respect MP George Galloway has called for an investigation after police stopped a convoy taking aid, toys and medical supplies to Gaza and arrested nine people under anti-terror laws. All nine men arrested on the M65 near Preston last Friday have been released without charge, but the organisers of the Viva Palestina convoy, which is headed by Galloway, said that aid donations dropped by 80% after news of the arrests.

Greatest 101 questions of all time: 1-20 (Telegraph):
(Maybe good questions at best. Not one of them should belong to the greatest questions.)

We’re a fast-food nation slowly eating ourselves to death (Guardian)

Shot arms dealer ‘knew too much’ (Times Online):
THE death of an American arms dealer in Iraq has led to one of the most intricate and far-reaching inquiries into corruption among US military officers in Iraq. Some suspect that he was killed because he was a whistleblower who knew too much.

Waste wars: how Britain became obsessed with bins (Telegraph):
“My name is Alan Price from Worcester City Council Environmental Services,” said the man. “I’ve just witnessed you throw a cigarette butt straight out the window of the car. Did you realise that that is an offence?’
“That’s an £80 fine,” he said.

Parents told: avoid morality in sex lessons (Times Online):
(Don’t teach your children! The government knows what is best for them … and the economy.)

NHS blunders are behind a spate of ‘vaccine overloads’ (Mail on Sunday):
Children are being given the wrong vaccinations and repeat doses of jabs they have already had due to mix-ups at GPs’ surgeries. Nearly 1,000 safety incidents involving child immunisations were reported in a single year. Of those studied in detail, more than a third involved babies and children given a different vaccine to the one they were supposed to have.

Global News (02/21/09)

Up to 120000 protest in recession-hit Ireland (AFP):
DUBLIN (AFP) – Up to 120,000 protesters brought Dublin city centre to a standstill on Saturday over government austerity measures aimed at stabilising the once high-flying economy now wracked by recession.

Binyamin Netanyahu warns of Iranian nuclear threat (Times Online)

Rocket from Lebanon wounds three Israelis: medics (Reuters):
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – At least one rocket fired from Lebanon landed in northern Israel on Saturday, lightly wounding three people and prompting Israel to respond with a brief artillery barrage, the Israeli army said.

US Concedes Afghan Attack Mainly Killed Civilians (New York Times):
KABUL, Afghanistan — An airstrike by the United States-led military coalition killed 13 civilians and 3 militants last Tuesday in western Afghanistan, not “up to 15 militants” as was initially claimed by American forces, military officials here said Saturday.

Guantánamo ‘is within Geneva conventions’ (Guardian):
The Pentagon report looked into various allegations of abuse. But Walsh’s report contains only two major recommendations for improving the prisoners’ lives: allowing them more opportunities to communicate with one another and to pray together. (Real change!)

Gates Sees Need for at Least $83 Billion More in 2009 for Wars (Bloomberg):
Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) — The Pentagon needs at least $83 billion more for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of this fiscal year, Pentagon officials told the White House.

Nearly 5 million Americans drawing jobless benefits (Reuters):
“The data indicates an accelerated deterioration … jobs are being lost and the pool of unemployed is growing faster,” said Kevin Logan, senior U.S. economist at Dresdner Kleinwort in New York. “People cannot find jobs.”

UK “could experience a crash similar to Iceland” (HedgeWeek):
The global financial crisis could be entering a ‘new and more treacherous phase’, which could push international countries to the brink of failure and further hinder the global economic recovery, according to Hennessee Group.

United they fall: post-communist states pull EU into the red (Guardian):

This financial crisis is now truly global (Telegraph):
The financial crisis has moved from Wall Street to all streets, as the economic shock causes strains and suffering in every part of the world economy.

Money for Idiots (New York Times)

Gaddafi offers oil and power to people (Times Online):
Forty years into the revolution he unleashed on Libya Muammar Gaddafi has announced plans to dismantle the Government, hand the riches from Africa’s biggest oil reserves to the people and nationalise foreign oil operations that have recently been allowed back into the country.
“The administration has failed and the state economy has failed. Enough is enough. The solution is, we Libyans take directly the oil money and decide what to do with the money,” he says.

US Wants UBS to Break Swiss Law By Naming Clients, Bank Says (Bloomberg):
Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) — U.S. efforts to force UBS AG, Switzerland’s largest bank, to disclose the names of 52,000 American customers would require the bank to violate Swiss sovereignty and criminal law, bank lawyers said.

Major indexes fall more than 6 percent for week (AP):
NEW YORK (AP) – Wall Street ended another terrible week Friday, leaving major indexes down more than 6 percent as investors worried that the recession will persist for at least the rest of the year and that government intervention will do little to hasten a recovery. (The Government intervention will make it much worse.)

Fears for BofA and Citi rattle markets (Financial Times):
Fears that Citigroup and Bank of America would be nationalised shook global markets on Friday, prompting the Obama administration to reaffirm its commitment to private ownership of financial institutions.

Bank of America chief Kenneth Lewis denies bank is facing nationalisation (Times Online):
Kenneth Lewis, the chairman and chief executive of Bank of America (BoA), was forced to defend the country’s biggest bank as its shares scraped historic lows on fears of nationalisation.

Thanks for the philanthropy, billionaires. Now pay your tax (Guardian)

Julie Christie: ‘I feared Bush would unleash a wave of sadism – he did’ (Independent):
This week she was back again highlighting Britain’s role in the alleged torture of a British resident held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

WTA Fines Dubai Tournament $300000 for Blocking Peer (Bloomberg):
Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) — The organizers of the women’s tennis event in Dubai were fined a record $300,000 today by the WTA Tour for blocking the entry of Israeli player Shahar Peer.

Hamas tells Israel it will not surrender captured soldier (Telegraph):
Hamas has told Israel that it will not succumb to pressure to release a captured soldier, Gilad Shalit, in return for peace in Gaza.

Meet iCub – the robot that moves and learns like a child (Daily Mail):
A sophisticated robot that is able to move and learn like a three-year-old child has made its first outing in the UK.
The iCub is able to crawl and walk, make human-like eye and head movements and recognise and grasp objects like a toddler, scientists say.

Big Pharma Quietly Hikes Drug Prices 100 Percent or More (Natural News)

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)