Global News (03/11/09)

16 Dead After Shooting Spree in Germany (Washington Post):
BERLIN, March 11 — A gunman dressed in black combat fatigues burst into a German secondary school Wednesday morning and launched a shooting rampage, killing 13 people before fleeing the area, authorities said.

Alabama gunman fired more than 200 rounds in killing spree (USA Today):
Alabama authorities say the gunman who killed 10 people, including five members of his family, was armed with two assault rifles and a .38-caliber pistol. They say he fired more than 200 rounds in his crime spree Tuesday afternoon.

Quadruple Shooting in Northeast DC (WUSA):
WASHINGTON (WUSA) — Four people were shot while walking away from a vigil at a cemetery in Northeast Washington. Police say that around 7 pm they responded to the 2100 block of Lincoln Road in Northeast for shots fired. Four people were shot while walking from a vigil at the Glenwood Cemetery.

Terrorist watch list hits 1 million (USA Today):
WASHINGTON — The government’s terrorist watch list has hit 1 million entries, up 32% since 2007.

After attacks, Europe hurries to tighten gun laws (AP):
HELSINKI – Several European countries have restricted gun laws in the wake of school massacres, gang violence and other gun-related crimes: …

Madoff Lawyer Absorbs Part of the Rage (New York Times):
“As one Jew to another, I deeply regret that the Sorkin family did not perish in the Nazi death camps.” That is just one of the angry messages that have poured in to Ira Lee Sorkin since he became lawyer for Bernard L. Madoff, expected to plead guilty this week to a fraud that prosecutors call a giant Ponzi scheme.

Bank buoyed by its monetary move (Financial Times):
In the 2½ days of trading since the Bank took the decision to introduce quantitative easing last Thursday, yields on gilts have fallen fast, other longer-term interest rates have fallen sharply, the cost of corporate debt has fallen and there is no sign that the markets expect the policy to play havoc with future inflation rates. (Really? Take a look what happened to the pound – EUR/GBP – just the last 3 days. Destroying the pound works. Will the Bank of England end up owning a mountain of gilts and corporate bonds and the people just have a lot of bad toilet paper pound notes?)

Bank to begin ‘printing money’ to boost economy (Times Online):
The Bank of England will start pumping newly created money into the economy today by buying £2 billion in gilts as it embarks on “quantitative easing” in an effort to boost the economy. (… to destroy the pound and the economy.)

Sarkozy confirms full return to Nato (Financial Times):
Forty-three years after President Charles de Gaulle pulled France out of Nato’s integrated military command in a defiant show of independence from the US, Mr Sarkozy said it was time to resume a full role in Nato. “Our strategic thinking can’t remain frozen when the world around us has completely changed,” he said.

Stocks Post Best Rally of 2009 on Improving Citigroup Outlook (Bloomberg):
March 10 (Bloomberg) — Stocks around the world staged the biggest rally of the year after Citigroup Inc. said it was having its best quarter since 2007, spurring speculation the worst of the banking crisis is over. Treasuries and gold fell.
(As predicted: One of several short violent rallies in a bear market. Now watch the dollar.)

US Stocks Rise, Led by Banks; JPMorgan, Citigroup Shares Gain (Bloomberg):
JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank by market value, climbed 4.6 percent and Citigroup added 6.2 percent. The S&P 500 Financials Index rallied 2.4 percent to extend its advance this week to 21 percent. Hewlett-Packard Co. jumped 5.8 percent after UBS AG analysts recommended buying the shares. (If you are the best market timer in the world this may be an opportunity. The worst is yet to come.)

UBS Has SF20.9 Billion Loss, ‘Cautious’ on Outlook (Bloomberg):
(Jim Rogers said that he pulled all his money out of UBS.)

Food caravan stops in hard-hit Ind. county (MSNBC):
ELKHART, Ind. – In this job-starved city where President Barack Obama last month made a public appeal for his economic stimulus plan, hundreds of volunteers — and an agency that specializes in handing out food — worked together Tuesday to feed 5,200 hungry families. (Do everything you can to grow your own food and raise your own live stock. This is very important in the future.)

Council spends £6000 fitting sat-nav to its fleet of mowers… to stop gardeners getting lost in the grass (Daily Mail):
They’re never going to have to deal with a difficult route across country, or conquer the maze of an inner city. In fact, the trickiest test of navigation they are likely to face is getting from one side of a field to the other. But that hasn’t stopped council chiefs buying a set of sophisticated satnavs – for their fleet of lawnmowers. They spent £6,000 hooking up the devices to 14 mowers because gardeners claimed they kept getting lost in long grass.

Mercedes lottery contest sparks outcry (Canada.com):
TORONTO — Ontario’s scandal-plagued gaming operator says it “regrets” a decision to offer 22 foreign-built — instead of North American — automobiles as prizes for a springtime promotion.

Hannity suggests Christianity compatible with torture (Raw Story):
(The Roman Catholic Church was putting a burning iron in front the eyes of babies, so that the mother of the baby would confess to be a witch. All mothers appeared to be witches. After confession the baby was run through with the burning iron and the witch was burnt at the stake. “Do unto others…”)

Iran nuclear plant to open for tourists (PRESS TV):
Iran says it is ready to host tourists who wish to visit its nuclear power plant in Bushehr during the Persian New Year holidays.

Iraq sentences two of Saddam’s half-brothers to death (People’s Daily Online):
BAGHDAD, March 11 (Xinhua) — Iraqi High Criminal Court on Wednesday sentenced two of Saddam Hussein’s half-brothers to death penalty over their role in execution of dozens of Iraqi merchants.

Museum finds “secret” message in Lincoln’s watch (Reuters)

The Good Food Revolution (Yes):
As a Native American friend of mine used to say, “Here’s a little bit of native wisdom: If we don’t change direction pretty soon, we’ll end up right where we’ve been headed!”

Global News (03/10/09)

Guantanamo detainees say they planned Sept. 11: report (Reuters):
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The five detainees at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay prison camp charged with plotting the September 11 attacks have filed a document expressing pride at their accomplishment and accepting responsibility for the deaths of nearly 3,000 people, The New York Times reported on Monday. (They would have also admitted to be Jesus Christ while tortured.)

‘Dozens dead’ in Baghdad bombing (BBC News):
At least 33 people, including a local army chief, have died and 46 have been injured in a suicide attack on the western edge of Baghdad, officials say.

Analysis: so much more than a naval water fight (Times Online):
The Pentagon accused the Chinese of “harassment” in international waters; Beijing denounced the Americans for operating illegally in its exclusive economic zone. (What would the reaction be if China would operate its Navy very close to the U.S.?)

53% Say It’s Likely the U.S. Will Enter a Depression Similar to 1930’s (Rasmussen Reports)

World in grip of ‘Great Recession’, IMF warns (Telegraph):
The world is now in the grip of the “great recesssion” and global economic growth could dip below zero for the first time in sixty years, said Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the IMF. Last month he said the IMF expected zero growth in 2009 and the month before that the fund released data including a 0.5pc global growth forecast.

Intelligence pick wants national ID (WorldNetDaily):
JERUSALEM – Following the 9/11 attacks, President Obama’s nominee for a top intelligence post advocated that to effectively combat terrorism, the U.S. government should implement a national identity system, “so we better know who is who.” In testimony before the 9/11 commission, Charles “Chas” Freeman, the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, also recommended conducting the war on terrorism primary as a law enforcement effort.

Hedge Funds May Cut 20000 Jobs as Losses Erode Fees (Bloomberg):
March 10 (Bloomberg) — Hedge funds may cut 20,000 workers worldwide this year, a record 14 percent of the industry’s jobs, as investment losses and client withdrawals erode fees.

Never waste a good crisis, Clinton says on climate (Reuters)

United Technologies to Cut 11600 Jobs Worldwide (Bloomberg)

French industrial production plunges (Financial Times):
French industrial production plunged dramatically by an annual rate of 13.8 per cent in January, the biggest drop since the official series began in 1980, as the deepening recession slashed demand for manufactured goods.

Kodak, MGM Mirage Among 283 Firms at Highest Default Risk (Bloomberg)

Dow ends up nearly 380 on Citigroup profit news (AP)

Japan bankruptcies soar by 10 per cent (Telegraph)

EADS warns on A400M debacle (Financial Times):
Cancellation of the A400M military transport aircraft project could cost EADS €5.7bn in repayments to European governments, Europe’s leading aerospace and defence group warned on Tuesday.

McClatchy to slash 1600 jobs, cut executives’ pay (Reuters):
The news drove McClatchy shares down as much as 35 percent in Monday morning trading to 44 cents a share, after having lost 95 percent of their value over the last 12 months.

RBS to pump £800m of taxpayers’ money into pension schemes (Telegraph):
Royal Bank of Scotland, the stricken bank bailed out by the Government, is to use more than £800m of taxpayers’ money to bolster its pension schemes – which include the £703,000-a-year payout to Sir Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive.

Drugs giants Merck, Schering-Plough, Roche and Genentech in $90bn mergers (Telegraph):
Four of the world’s largest pharmaceuticals companies are to become two in a pair of deals worth almost $90bn (£65bn), which are likely to accelerate consolidation elsewhere in the sector.

China accuses US Navy of breaking the law (Telegraph)

Men who take vitamin C supplements are less likely to develop gout (Telegraph)

Chimpanzee planned stone attacks on zoo visitors (Independent)

What do cars and cows have in common? No, not horns (Times Online):
A cow tax of €13 per animal has been mooted in Ireland, while Denmark is discussing a levy as high as €80 per cow to offset the potential penalties each country faces from European Union legislation aimed at combating global warming.
((( More information:
Japan’s boffins: Global warming isn’t man-made (The Register)

Al Gore sued by over 30.000 Scientists for fraud (YouTube)
World is getting colder: It’s the sun, not CO2, that’s to blame (Washington Times)
Global warning: We are actually heading towards a new Ice Age, claim scientists (Daily Mail)

Scientists find greenhouse gas hysteria to be myth (World Net Daily)
2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved (Telegraph)
Army: Sun, Not Man, Is Causing Climate Change (Wired)
World might be heading towards Ice Age (Economic Times)
)))

Global News (03/09/09)

Plunging assets have cost global economy $50,000bn, report says (Financial Times):
Falls in the value of financial assets worldwide might have reached more than $50,000bn, equivalent to a year’s global economic output

World Bank offers dire forecast for world economy (IHT):
The World Bank also warned that global trade would contract for the first time since 1982, and that the decline would be the biggest since the 1930s.

Thanks to the Bank it’s a crisis; in the eurozone it’s a total catastrophe (Telegraph):
As it is we have seen industrial production collapse in every region. The drops in January were: Japan (-31pc), Korea (-26pc), Russia (-16pc), Brazil (-15pc), Italy (-14pc), Germany (-12pc). Falls that took two years from late 1929 have been compressed into five months.
(Yes, this will be the ‘Greatest Depression’. Krugman is not a economist worth listening and you should be very carefully with Mr. Deflation-Evans-Pritchard.)

Trillions Have Dissappeared Into The Ether (International Forecaster)

Britain ‘nation of form fillers watched by quarter of world’s CCTV cameras’ (Telegraph):
National debt is running at £175,000 per household, five times more than thought, while each year the Government has passed 3,500 regulations, along with 100,000 pages of rules and explanation.

EU membership costs each Briton £2000 a year, Taxpayers’ Alliance claims (Telegraph)

Mortgage lending sinks 43% in January (Times)

British house prices fall 2.3% in February (Times Online)

Japanese household benefit claims hit record high (Telegraph):
Around 1.17 million households received welfare benefits during January, 30 per cent more than the previous month, according to figures compiled by the daily Asahi newspaper.

Japan logs first current account deficit in 13 years, pushing Nikkei to 26-year low (Telegraph)

China’s £35 bn World Expo risks humiliation as financial crisis keeps foreign companies away (Telegraph)

Obama urged to let banks fail (Financial Times):
Two powerful Republicans on Sunday called on Barack Obama, US president, to let some big banks fail instead of propping them up with public money. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate banking committee, warned that the US would end up following the same path as Japan, which suffered a lost decade of economic growth by tackling its banking crisis too slowly, unless some big institutions were allowed to fail.

Scandal at Treasury: Official Quits Amidst Fraud Scandal (ABC NEWS):
The man at the center of a fraud scandal at the Treasury Department has been allowed to quietly quit and retire from his job as a government regulator, despite allegations that he allowed a bank to falsify financial records and amidst outcries from investigators who say the case shows how cozy government regulators have become with the banks and savings and loans they are supposed to be checking on.

Pentagon’s nuclear weapons theory bombs (Winnipeg Sun):
UN inspectors report Iran has produced 1,010 kg of 2% to 3% enriched uranium for energy generation. Theoretically that is enough for one atomic bomb. But to make a nuclear weapon, U-235 must be enriched to over 90% in an elaborate, costly process. Iran is not doing so, say UN inspectors. Iran would be wiped off the map by even a few of Israel’s 200 nuclear weapons. Iran is no likelier to use a nuke against its Gulf neighbours. The explosion would blanket Iran with radioactive dust and sand. Much of the uproar over Iran’s so far nonexistent nuclear weapons must be seen as part of efforts by Israel’s American partisans to thwart President Barack Obama’s proposed opening to Tehran, and to keep pushing the U.S. to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. They and many Israeli experts insist Iran has secret weapons programs that threaten Israel’s existence.

Flash mob protest outside RBS causes smiles… and confusion (Telegraph)

Unemployment ‘to hit 3.2 million’ (Telegraph):
Unemployment will hit 3.2 million as the economy shrinks by even more than had been feared, business leaders at the British Chambers of Commerce have predicted.

Workers losing jobs to be offered counselling for ‘recession depression’ (Telegraph):
Thousands of extra therapists are being trained amid Government fears that the financial crisis could drive up levels of mental illness and long-term unemployment.

HSBC plunges over 24 percent to near 14-year low (IHT)

Former Israeli president faces rape charge (Guardian):
Moshe Katsav, the former Israeli president, is to be charged with raping a former female employee and with other sex crimes against three women who also once worked for him.

Sen. Joe Lieberman now sings Obama’s praises (AP):
WASHINGTON (AP) – Sen. Joe Lieberman has changed his tune on Barack Obama. After campaigning across the country for Republican John McCain in 2008 and attacking Obama as naive, untested and unwilling to take on powerful special interests, Lieberman now showers praise on the popular new Democratic president. “He’s shown real leadership,” Lieberman told The Associated Press in an interview. “Bottom line: I think Barack Obama, president of the United States, is off to a very good start.” (Just take a look at the DOW JONES.)

Sir Paul Judge starts ‘Jury Team’ campaign for more independent MPs (Telegraph)

The Dumbest Fundraising Event Ever? American Cancer Society Joins BBQ Meat “Cook Off” to Raise Money for Cancer Research (Natural News)

Tourists flee Category Five cyclone in Australia (Times Online)

Bomb Explodes Outside Citibank Branch In Athens (CNN Money)

Auschwitz is a beer, schoolchildren tell researchers (Telegraph)

Global News (03/08/09)

The men who broke a bank (Times Online):
John Redwood, the Tory MP for Wokingham, said: “If buying one very large bank was careless, buying two is lunatic. “When the government bought RBS it bet the farm. Now, buying control of Lloyds, it is betting the farm, the shop, the factory and everything else of value in our overborrowed country.”

Ex-UN prosecutor: Bush may be next up for International Criminal Court (Raw Story):
An ex-UN prosecutor has said that following the issuance of an arrest warrant for the president of Sudan, former US President George W. Bush could — and should — be next on the International Criminal Court’s list.

Bank of England’s £150bn injection may not work, economists warn (Telegraph):
Economists have warned that the attempt by the Bank of England to revive Britain’s fortunes by injecting up to £150bn into the economy is a high-risk strategy that might not work. (This strategy works only for the crooks of the government and the Bank of England.)

Bankspeak: it’s quantitatively easy-peasy (Telegraph):
According to Wikipedia, “quantitative easing” is “the creation of new money out of thin air by a central bank, and its injection into the banking system”. But it is not even as straightforwardly crazy as printing more banknotes. In an electronic age, when the Bank of England wants to quantitatively ease things, it simply makes computer transfers to itself. The men in pinstripes press a few buttons and tell themselves they have £150 billion more than they thought. (Creating money out of thin air. Zimbabwe magic.)

Bank of England to ‘print’ first £2billion this week (Daily Mail):
Panicked financial markets will this week get the first dose of the Bank of England’s £150billion bailout as it launches its ‘quantitative easing’ plan.

Nobel prize-winning economist Scholes Advises ‘Blow Up’ Over-the-Counter Contracts (Bloomberg):
The “solution is really to blow up or burn the OTC market, the CDSs and swaps and structured products, and let us start over,” he said, referring to credit-default swaps and other complex securities that are traded off exchanges. “One way to do that, through the auspices of regulators or the banking commissioners, is to try to close all contracts at mid-market prices.”

GEO Group, Inc.: Despite a Crashing Economy, Private Prison Firm Turns a Handsome Profit (CorpWatch):
While the nation’s economy flounders, business is booming for The GEO Group Inc., a private prison firm that is paid millions by the U.S. government to detain undocumented immigrants and other federal inmates.

Barack Obama ‘too tired’ to give proper welcome to Gordon Brown (Telegraph):
Sources close to the White House say Mr Obama and his staff have been “overwhelmed” by the economic meltdown and have voiced concerns that the new president is not getting enough rest.

Sarcramento struggles with spiralling homelessness problem (Telegraph):
As many as 50 people a week arrive at the tent city and the authorities estimate it is now home to more than 1,200 people.

Where’s global warming? (Boston Globe):
In Washington, D.C., what was supposed to be a massive rally against global warming was upstaged by the heaviest snowfall of the season, which paralyzed the capital.
Meanwhile, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has acknowledged that due to a satellite sensor malfunction, it had been underestimating the extent of Arctic sea ice by 193,000 square miles – an area the size of Spain.

Global News (03/07/09)

Jailed for a MySpace parody, the student who exposed America’s cash for kids scandal (Guardian):
Less than a minute into the hearing the gavel came down. “Adjudicated delinquent!” the judge proclaimed, and sentenced her to three months in a juvenile detention centre. Hillary, who hadn’t even presented her side of the story, was handcuffed and led away. But her mother, Laurene, protested to the local law centre, setting in train a process that would uncover one of the most egregious violations of children’s rights in US legal history.

Army captain charged with stealing $690000 (AP):
PORTLAND, Oregon – An Army captain accused of stealing nearly $700,000 from the U.S. government while serving in Iraq pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges including theft of government property and money laundering.

IMF: Fifth of Britain’s GDP spent so far on bailouts (Guardian):
Alistair Darling has already spent almost a fifth of Britain’s GDP on bailing out its shattered banking system – more than any other major economy, according to a grave assessment of the world financial crisis published today by the International Monetary Fund.

G7 outlook worsens, OECD says (Telegraph):
The outlook for all the world’s major economies worsened in January, and all four BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – are now experiencing a “strong slowdown”, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said on Friday.

The US Financial System Is Effectively Insolvent (Forbes):
For those who argue that the rate of growth of economic activity is turning positive–that economies are contracting but at a slower rate than in the fourth quarter of 2008–the latest data don’t confirm this relative optimism. In 2008’s fourth quarter, gross domestic product fell by about 6% in the U.S., 6% in the euro zone, 8% in Germany, 12% in Japan, 16% in Singapore and 20% in South Korea. So things are even more awful in Europe and Asia than in the U.S. There is, in fact, a rising risk of a global L-shaped depression that would be even worse than the current, painful U-shaped global recession.

Bernanke Says Fed to `Forcefully’ Deploy All Tools to Revive U.S. Economy (Bloomberg):
“Mr. Bernanke has never been right. He has been in the government for six or seven years, he has never been right.” Jim Rogers (“We are going to have another Depression in the U.S.”)

Minnesota Bank Asks Why It Pays for Wall Street Greed (Bloomberg):
Every taxpayer should ask that question too. – March 6 (Bloomberg) – TCF Financial Corp., the Wayzata, Minnesota-based bank that never made a subprime loan and hasn’t lost money since 1995, is asking why it should help clean up the mess made by Wall Street. “I’m kind of bitter,” said William Cooper, chief executive officer of the 448-branch bank, adding that over the years TCF has invested about $1 billion in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s fund that guarantees bank deposits. “We pay for the excesses of our competitor over and over again.”

Job Losses Hint at Vast Remaking of Economy (New York Times):
“The current pace of decline is breathtaking,” said Robert Barbera, chief economist at the research and trading firm ITG. “We are now falling at a near record rate in the postwar period and there’s been no change in the violent downward trajectory.”

America loses 23,000 jobs every day and output suffers biggest slump in 25 years (Times Online)

Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad submits resignation (AP)

Obama’s backsliding on torture (Guardian)

Lloyds to Cede Up to 75% Stake to U.K. for Insuring $367 Billion of Assets (Bloomberg)

US judge sets bail conditions for fund manager Nadel (Reuters):
NEW YORK, Feb 25 (Reuters) – A U.S. judge set a $5 million bond, house detention and other conditions of bail on Wednesday for accused Florida hedge fund manager Arthur Nadel, who authorities say was on the run for two weeks in January before the FBI arrested him.

Fatal Tsvangirai crash ‘was not accident’, says MDC (Telegraph):
The wife of Zimbabwean leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been killed in a car crash in what his party claims may have been an assassination attempt.

Obama ends Bush ban on embryo stem cell research (Guardian)

Health Canada finds bisphenol A in soft drinks (CBC):
A Health Canada study of canned pop has found the vast majority of the drinks contain the chemical bisphenol A, a substance that imitates the female hormone estrogen and is banned in baby bottles. Out of 72 drinks tested, 69 were found to contain BPA at levels below what Health Canada says is the safe upper limit.

Bird flu spreading afresh (The Daily Star):
Avian influenza has started spreading in different poultry farms across the country again as department of fisheries and livestock detected the bird flu virus and culled birds at different places.

Global News (03/06/09)

To my special friend Gordon, 25 DVDs: Obama gives Brown a set of classic movies. Let’s hope he likes the Wizard of Oz (Daily Mail):
Because all he got was a set of DVDs. Barack Obama, the leader of the world’s richest country, gave the Prime Minister a box set of 25 classic American films – a gift about as exciting as a pair of socks.

Fed’s Kohn Says Risks of Not Rescuing AIG Too Large (Bloomberg):
The bulk of AIG’s losses, which totaled more than $100 billion in the past five quarters, stem from credit-default swaps sold to investors to protect them from the declining value of financial assets.

Dow/Gold Ratio Hits 7; Multi Decade Low (Charting Stocks)

Berlin losing patience over Opel rescue (Financial Times):
“Politically, Berlin will have to do something and Opel and GM know that. They are using the threat of job losses in an election year as a blackmailing device to get our support cheaply,” the insider said.

UK stake in Lloyds set to hit 70pc (Telegraph):
Lloyds Banking Group is close to a deal to insure around £250bn of toxic assets that could see the taxpayers’ stake in the bank rise to 70pc, the Financial Times reported.

Malaysian exports suffer fast fall (Financial Times):
Malaysia reported its sharpest monthly export fall in at least 28 years for January as the government prepares to announce a new stimulus package next week. Exports, focused on electronics and commodities, fell 28 per cent after sliding by 15 per cent in December.

China crisis as economy crumbles (Independent):
An 8 per cent growth rate sounds impressive, but the Beijing leadership fears social unrest in the countryside as it struggles to create jobs

Bailout Money – Instead of Being Used to Stabilize the Economy or Even the Bailed-Out Companies – is Just Going to Line the Pockets of the Wealthy (George Washington’s Blog)

Barack Obama bets the farm in $4 trillion poker game (Times):
The President believes he can change US politics for a generation. If he’s wrong he could bankrupt the whole country. (Can’t blame it only on Obama. Always remember Obama is just a puppet of the elite, as was Bush.)

BUDGET BACKLASH: Thousands Rally At City Hall (WCBS-TV)

ECB cuts rates to record 1.5pc, mulls radical action (Telegraph):
“I don’t exclude anything,” said Jean-Claude Trichet, the ECB’s president. “We did not decide that this is the lowest level. We are studying additional non-standard measures.” Bond yields plummeted across the eurozone as the markets instantly priced in further monetary loosening.

Gaza homes destruction ‘wanton’ (BBC News):
Human rights investigators say Israeli forces engaged in “wanton destruction” of Palestinian homes during the recent conflict in Gaza. Amnesty International has told the BBC News website the methods used raised concerns about war crimes.

U.S. Military Aid to Israel (CounterPunch):
Israel is by far the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid.  Since 1949, the United States has provided Israel with $101 billion in total aid, of which $53 billion has been military aid.  For the last 20-plus years, Israel has received an average of $3 billion annually in grant aid;, until now the grant has been a mix of economic and military aid.

US offers $0 for Gaza reconstruction (The National):
Although the Obama administration is pledging $900 million (Dh3.3 billion) of aid, none of the money will go to rebuilding Gaza, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Russia building anti-satellite weapons (Independent):
Russia is working on anti-satellite weapons to match technologies developed by other nations and will speed up modernization of its nuclear forces, a deputy defense minister was quoted as saying today.

Russia to outlaw criticism of WWII tactics (Telegraph):
The Russian government is to outlaw criticism of Soviet military tactics during the Second World War in the latest example of its heavy-handed approach to dissent.

U.S. to Invite The Wealthy To Invest in The Bailout (Washington Post):
The initiative to revive the consumer lending business, outlined by officials this week, offers these wealthy investors a new chance to make sizable profits — but, thanks to the government, without the risk of massive losses.

Mauritania expels Israeli diplomats, shuts embassy (Reuters):
NOUAKCHOTT (Reuters) – Mauritania’s military junta expelled Israeli diplomats and shut the embassy on Friday after freezing ties with the Jewish state over its invasion of Gaza.

Mandelson custard attack probed (BBC News)

Revealed: police databank on thousands of protesters (Guardian):
Police are targeting thousands of political campaigners in surveillance operations and storing their details on a database for at least seven years, an investigation by the Guardian can reveal.

Experts uncover cause of greyness (BBC News):
Experiments found it is caused by a massive build-up of hydrogen peroxide due to wear and tear of hair follicles, which blocks hair’s natural pigment.

Global News (05/03/09)

Suspicions grow that attack was ‘inside job’ (Independent):
Conspiracy theories fuelled by security lapses as hunt for gunmen continues

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez tightens state control of food amid rocketing inflation and food shortages (Telegraph):
Venezuela’s public finances are unravelling, with oil prices at $40 a barrel, while the national budget is calculated at $60 a barrel. Inflation is running at over 30 per cent, yet with the new measures Mr Chavez is seeking to ensure that his core support, the poor, can still fill their shopping baskets with food.

Iran says its missiles could reach Israel’s nuclear facilities (Telegraph):
The country’s military chief, Gen Mohammad Ali Jafari, said Iran now has a mighty military force capable of deterring any US or Israeli attack. “All nuclear facilities in various parts of the lands under occupation of the Zionist regime are within the range of Iran’s missiles,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Jafari as saying Wednesday.

Ukraine in new gas showdown with Russia (Independent):
Police raid state energy firm days ahead of deadline for next gas payment:
Armed agents of Ukraine’s national security service raided the head office of the state energy company, Naftogaz, in Kiev yesterday, as part of an investigation into the alleged diversion of gas.

Now As The Much Greater Depression Progresses (International Forecaster)

US military chief to offer help to Mexico in violent drug war (AFP):
WASHINGTON (AFP) — America’s top military officer heads to Mexico this week to offer help to a government battling powerful drug cartels, amid alarm in Washington over escalating violence across the border.

NKorea threatens SKorean planes amid tensions (AP):
SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea threatened South Korean passenger planes flying near its airspace on Thursday and accused the U.S. and South Korea of attempting to provoke a nuclear war with upcoming joint military drills.

US private sector cuts 697,000 jobs (Financial Times):
“The nightmare continues,” said Ian Sheperdson, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics. “Every indicator tells us that employment is tanking across the economy.”

Citigroup Falls Below $1 as Investor Faith Erodes (Bloomberg):
March 5 (Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc., once the world’s biggest bank by market value, dropped below $1 in New York trading for the first time as investors lose confidence the shares can recover after more than $37.5 billion in losses and a government rescue.

Beer tax increases cost 20000 jobs so far (Guardian):
A record 2,000 British pubs have closed with the loss of 20,000 jobs since the chancellor, Alistair Darling, increased beer tax in the 2008 budget, new figures published by the British Beer and Pub Association reveal today.

GM’s auditors raise the specter of Chapter 11 (Houston Chronicle):
DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Corp.’s auditors have raised “substantial doubt” about the troubled automaker’s ability to continue operations, and the company said it may have to seek bankruptcy protection if it can’t execute a huge restructuring plan.

Fed Refuses to Release Bank Data, Insists on Secrecy (Bloomberg):
March 5 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve Board of Governors receives daily reports on bailout loans to financial institutions and won’t make the information public, the central bank said in a reply to a Bloomberg News lawsuit.

One in 8 US homeowners late paying or in foreclosure (Reuters):
NEW YORK, March 5 (Reuters) – About one in eight U.S. homeowners with mortgages, a record share, ended 2008 behind on their loan payments or in the foreclosure process as job losses intensified a housing crisis spawned by lax lending practices, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Thursday.

World’s poor suffering most in the credit crunch (Guardian):
The credit crunch is hitting the income of the world’s poorest people the most and will make the UN’s Millennium Development Goals more difficult to achieve than ever, according to research released today. The Global Monitoring Report from Unesco estimates the 390 million poorest Africans will see their income drop by around 20% – far more than in the developed world.

JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Bank America Face Ratings Cuts (Bloomberg):
March 5 (Bloomberg) — JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp., the three largest U.S. banks by market value, may face credit-rating downgrades by Moody’s Investors Service amid signs they’ll set aside additional cash for loan losses.

Rights versus liberty (Guardian):
Hidden by the spirit of the Convention On Modern Liberty was a row about the Human Rights Act, which I want to bring out into the open

Pakistan poses global security worry, says top US official (Guardian):
The top US diplomat in Kabul warned yesterday that Pakistan posed a bigger security challenge to America and the world than Afghanistan, as Islamabad grappled with the latest terrorist attack on its soil and the escalating Taliban ­insurgency on its north-western border.

Merrill Lynch executives subpoenaed over bonuses (Guardian):
The row over bankers’ bonuses has intensified after subpoenas were issued to several top Merrill Lynch executives over payments for last year.

Obama bid to stamp out tax havens (Guardian):
The world’s most secretive tax havens are to be prised open after Barack Obama’s new administration endorsed far-reaching legislation to crack down on them.

Bank cuts rates by 50 points to 0.5% (Financial Times):
The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee cut its key rate by half a percentage point to 0.5 per cent on Thursday and unveiled a programme under which it will buy up to £150bn in government gilts and corporate bonds.
It is the first European central bank to begin this process – known as quantitative easing – in an effort to kick-start demand. (The Zimbabwe school of economics)

Pimco Says Closed-End Funds Delay Dividend Payments (Bloomberg):
March 2 (Bloomberg) — Pacific Investment Management Co. said three of its closed-end funds had postponed dividend payments declared Feb. 2 because they failed to meet the ratio of assets to borrowing set by regulators.

Bogus peer Hugh Rodley tried to pull off world’s biggest bank raid (Times Online):
A fake British aristocrat was convicted yesterday of playing a leading role in an audacious attempt to carry out the world’s biggest bank raid.

Snow closes roads and railways in southern England (Guardian):
Snow has returned to parts of southern England with blizzards closing several roads and freezing temperatures bringing rail services to a standstill. (Global Freezing)

US court allows man to sue Vatican over sexual abuse by priest (Telegraph):
A US federal appeals court has opened the way for a man to sue the Vatican after he was allegedly sexually abused 40 years ago as a teenager by a Roman Catholic priest.

Patients can sue drug companies, Supreme Court rules (Chicago Tribune):
Patients have the right to sue drug companies when they’ve been harmed by medications whose risks aren’t adequately disclosed, the Supreme Court ruled today in an important 6-3 decision.

Two-year-old girl can see for the first time following stem cell treatment (Telegraph):
The £30,000 treatment, which involves stems cells taken from an umbilical cord being fed into her forehead, has allowed her to see people, objects, colours and lights around her.

Global News (03/04/09)

You’re Dead? That Won’t Stop the Debt Collector (New York Times):
MINNEAPOLIS — The banks need another bailout and countless homeowners cannot handle their mortgage payments, but one group is paying its bills: the dead.

The D-word: Will recession become something worse? (AP):
“We’re probably in a depression now. But it’s not going to be acknowledged until years go by. Because you have to see it behind you,” said Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland. (It won’t take years, maybe just a few months, until it is clear that the U.S. is in a depression, the ‘Greatest Depression’.)


The single currency may not survive the recession Photo: Reuters

It’s the Europhiles versus reality, and reality is going to win (Telegraph):
During the current crisis we have several times heard invoked the wisdom of Milton Friedman about the unfeasibility of the euro as a currency surviving a recession. In an interview not long before his death three years ago, Friedman said: “The euro is going to be a big source of problems, not a source of help. The euro has no precedent. To the best of my knowledge, there has never been a monetary union, putting out a fiat currency, composed of independent states. There have been unions based on gold or silver, but not on fiat money – money tempted to inflate – put out by politically independent entities.” (The dollar and the pound are even worse. The dollar will never survive, the pound most probably not. And the euro? To have a monetary union before a economic union was putting the cart before the horse and a major mistake. I still think that the euro has more chances to stay alive a few more years longer than the dollar, unless the elite pulls the plug on the entire world economy, which hasn’t happened yet. This economic crisis has just started.)

Projecting CDS Curve US Treasuries (USA Credit Rating Will Plummet):
Everyone wants to know, how long will it take before the Uncle Sam goes bust?

Bernanke Says Insurer AIG Operated Like a Hedge Fund (Bloomberg):
March 3 (Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said American International Group Inc. operated like a hedge fund and having to rescue the insurer made him “more angry” than any other episode during the financial crisis. “If there is a single episode in this entire 18 months that has made me more angry, I can’t think of one other than AIG,” Bernanke told lawmakers today. “AIG exploited a huge gap in the regulatory system, there was no oversight of the financial- products division, this was a hedge fund basically that was attached to a large and stable insurance company.”

US banks may need more bail-outs, says Ben Bernanke (Telegraph):
Stock markets across the world suffered a second day of turbulence as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve warned that the US Government may have to pour even more cash into the twin bail-outs of its financial and economic systems.

Bernanke says deficit is the price of growth (Financial Times):
(“Mr. Bernanke has never been right. He has been in the government for six or seven years, he has never been right.” – Jim Rogers)

Schwarzenegger calls for end to ‘whining’ about economic crisis (Telegraph):
(“Arnie” is right, stop whining! …. because the economic crisis will get a lot worse soon.)

Projecting CDS Curve US Treasuries (USA Credit Rating Will Plummet):
Everyone wants to know, how long will it take before the Uncle Sam goes bust? (Just a few months left.)

In US prison spending outpaces all but Medicaid (International Herald Tribune):
One in every 31 adults, or 7.3 million Americans, is in prison, on parole or probation, at a cost to the states of $47 billion in 2008, according to a new study.

Food prices surge 9% despite inflation fall (Times Online):
Shop price inflation rose last month because of the increasing cost of meat, fresh produce and tinned goods, with overall prices up at an annual rate of 9 per cent, from 7.5 per cent in January.

Antigua moves to seize back Stanford’s idyllic island (Guardian)

Madoff revealed as ‘cold-hearted control freak’ (Times Online):
Bernard Madoff was a cold-hearted control freak who ripped off friends’ widows weeks after their funerals and ruled his family with fear, according to a revealing new report published today.

China to increase defence spending by 15 per cent (Telegraph)

Argentina holds fire on grain controls (Financial Times):
The Argentine government on Tuesday confirmed it was considering a national board to regulate grains trading, but said it would take no immediate action.

Airlines that break emission rules could have planes seized (Guardian):
The Environment Agency is to be given powers to seize planes from airlines which break the rules of a new scheme to limit flights’ carbon emissions.

Pakistan declares: ‘We are at war’ (Independent):
Pakistan in shock after masked gunmen ambush Sri Lankan cricket team, leaving seven people dead and six players injured

Former Countrywide executives cash in on federal housing bailout (Raw Story):
The company’s biggest deal has been with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. It paid the government agency just $43.2 million for $560 million worth of residential loans, which were formerly on the books of the failed First National Bank of Nevada.

World Bank grants $2bn loan to Indonesia (Financial Times):
The World Bank on Tuesday approved its largest ever loan to a country not classified as being in crisis when its board signed off on a “unique” $2bn contingency facility to Indonesia to support government spending and external fundraising during the current market turmoil.

Australian GDP shrinks for first time in 8 years (Times Online):
The Australian economy has slipped into negative growth for the first time in eight years, raising fears that the country is on the brink of recession.

Cash-back car scheme triggers record sales (Times Online):
Motor manufacturers hope a £2,000 cash-back car scheme could come to UK following its early success in Germany
( When the consumers realize that the economy is only getting worse, they will not be fooled into buying a new car anymore. And it will get a lot worse. So this is a momentary success and then?)

Israelis react with fury to British boycott call (Independent)

Italian doctor claims he cloned three babies (Telegraph):
An Italian doctor known for helping post-menopausal women to have children has claimed to have cloned three babies who are now living in eastern Europe.

GPs are medicalising healthy elderly people, professor warns (Telegraph):
Elderly people are being turned into patients by GPs blindly following guidelines to hand out pills for high blood pressure and cholesterol, a professor has said.

Wartime troop brain injures could reach 360000 (AP):
The number of U.S. troops who have suffered wartime brain injuries may be as high as 360,000 and could cast more attention on such injuries among civilians, Defense Department doctors said Wednesday.The previous high estimate offered publicly was 320,000 in a study released a year ago by the private Rand Corp. It was based on about 1.6 million who had done tours of duty in the wars from late 2001.

Mars had ‘recent’ running water (BBC News):
Mars appears to have had running water on its surface about one million years ago, according to new evidence.

Global News (03/03/09)

The Bank’s £200bn gamble (Independent):
“The Bank of England will this week announce its intention to flood the economy with ‘helicopter money’, its latest attempt to tackle the recession. Won’t quantitative easing cause inflation? Yes – and that is the general idea. Warren Buffett, the world’s most successful investor, has warned of “an onslaught of inflation” as a result of current policies.”

Destroying the value of your money through inflation is the general idea?(!!!)

Quantitative easing = Increasing the money supply (by creating money out of thin air) = Inflation

Inflation is a hidden tax:
“By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.
There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

– John Maynard Keynes

Quantitative easing = Zimbabwe school of economics (Stealing)

Former Northern Rock chief gets £800000 payout as repossessions soar (Guardian):
Northern Rock revealed yesterday that it was forced to pay disgraced former chief executive Adam Applegarth more than £800,000 last year in pay and pension top-ups following his departure from the bank after he failed to find another job. Applegarth was paid £731,000 after he quit the bank in November 2007 following a deal that awarded him a year’s pay until he found another job. The Newcastle-based bank also had to stump up an extra £108,000 to fund Applegarth’s guaranteed £305,000-a-year pension which pays out from the age of 60.(Failure is so rewarding these days!)

Shares crash as savers raid £8bn from accounts (Independent):
The pressure of an intensifying recession saw British companies and households launch an £8bn raid on their savings in January, according to the figures from the Bank of England.

Geithner Says US Financial Rescue ‘Might Cost More’ (Bloomberg):
March 3 (Bloomberg) — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the U.S. bank rescue program may cost more than the $700 billion Congress approved, and he pledged to crack down on companies and individuals who try to avoid paying taxes. (Surprise!)

Medvedev rejects Obama missile defence deal (Financial Times):
Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday rejected any suggestion that Moscow would “trade or exchange” in policies in order to dissuade the US from installing an anti-ballistic missile system near its borders in Eastern Europe.

Japan to use forex reserves to fight credit crunch (AFP):
TOKYO (AFP) — Japan said Wednesday it would use five billion dollars from its currency reserves to help companies raise funds as auto giant Toyota Motor asked the government for financial aid. (Looks like Japan is starting to dump the dollar.)

Ukraine: Nation on the brink of bankruptcy (Independent)

Secret report reveals how MEPs make millions (Times Online):
Ukraine is so broke the nation is expecting to be cut off this week for failing to pay the gas bill.

HSBC attacks ‘perverse’ pay as it awards banker £13m (Telegraph):
HSBC chairman Stephen Green attacked “perverse” pay practices in banking and called for a “more sober and reasonable approach to compensation” as it emerged the bank paid two senior employees almost £25m last year.

GM urges EU states to come to its aid (Financial Times):
General Motors said on Tuesday that its European arm could run out of money by as early as next month, putting up to 300,000 jobs on the continent at risk.

Fed launches new $200B consumer credit program (AP):
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve on Tuesday rolled out a much-awaited program aimed at boosting the availability of credit to consumers and small businesses. (Wow. First you create the money out of thin air, then you lend it to the people. Sounds like a plan to me.)

The Obama Economy (Wall Street Journal):
As the Dow keeps dropping, the President is running out of people to blame.

US Auto-Sales Rate Falls to 27-Year Low, Led by GM (Bloomberg)

Harvard Losing AAA Benefit in Market Shows Swap Risk (Bloomberg)

Eurozone ready to rescue members (Financial Times):
“If crisis emerges in one eurozone country, there is a solution before visiting the IMF,” Joaquín Almunia, the EU’s monetary affairs commissioner, said. “It’s not clever to tell you in public the solution. But the solution exists.”

Brown to remain defiant on economy (Financial Times):
Gordon Brown has told aides he has no intention of admitting mistakes in his handling of the economy when he makes a keynote speech in Washington on Wednesday … (… everything Mr. Brown did was a economic disaster. He is the Bushbama of the U.K.)

Madoff’s Wife Says $62 Million ‘Unrelated’ to Fraud (Bloomberg):
March 2 (Bloomberg) — Ruth Madoff, the wife of accused fraudster Bernard Madoff, said she owns a Manhattan apartment, $45 million in bonds, and $17 million in cash that are “unrelated” to her husband’s alleged Ponzi scheme.
(Oh, sure!)

Rod Blagojevich signs six-figure book deal (Chicago Tribune):
Blagojevich, who was recently impeached for abuse of power, “plans on exposing the dark side of politics that he witnessed on both the state and national level,” Glenn Selig said in a statement.

Stanford investors set to recover only millions (Times Online)

Toyota’s car loan arm asks for $2bn in aid (Financial Times)

Freddie Mac chief resigns after five months (Times Online):
Freddie Mac, which is due to report its fourth-quarter figures this month, is expected to ask for between $30 billion and $35 billion in Government aid, having already received almost $14 billion last November.

Global recession will be ‘worse than forecast’ (Times Online)

Taxpayers hit by expanding black hole of AIG (Telegraph)

Asia markets gyrate on global financial fears (Times Online):
Fears over the global banking market dragged down shares across Asia overnight, sending Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng below the critical 12,000 mark as Japan’s Nikkei briefly headed towards a 26-year low.

Empty Containers Clog South Korea’s Busan Port as Trade Slumps (Bloomberg):
March 3 (Bloomberg) — South Korea’s biggest port is running out of room to store shipping containers, said Park Jung Ho, an official at one of Busan’s nine operators. The bigger concern is that the boxes are almost all empty.

Russia Stock Gains Strengthen Putin as Ukraine Drops (Bloomberg):
March 2 (Bloomberg) — Russia, the worst-performing major stock market in 2008, was Europe’s best last month as the ruble rose and reserves stabilized. Every neighboring market crumbled.

New ruling to force British voters to show ID before voting (Times Online):
In an historic shift, which comes after years of campaigning by the Electoral Commission and The Times, the Government finally agreed yesterday to end the system whereby one person in each household names all those eligible to vote in their property.

This revolting trade in human lives is an incentive to lock people up (Guardian):
It’s a staggering case; more staggering still that it has scarcely been mentioned on this side of the ocean. Last week two judges in Pennsylvania were convicted of jailing some 2,000 children in exchange for bribes from private prison companies.

To politicians, we’re little more than meaningless blobs on a monitor. Bring on the summer of rage (Guardian):
We’re the ants in their garden. The bacteria in their stools. Politicians have nothing but contempt for us

Scientists make HIV strain that can infect monkeys (Reuters)

Gypsy vaccination scheme starts (Financial Times):
Italy’s Red Cross has launched its biggest vaccination programme since the second world war, with the goal of immunising several thousand gypsy children living in camps around Rome.

Scientists warn of drug-resistant ‘super-flu’ (Times Online):
Warn??? Want to get a shock?: Here

Warning of attacks on Sri Lanka cricket team was ignored (Guardian)

Global News (03/02/09)

Stem cell breakthrough ends ethical dilemma (Guardian):
Scientists have found a way to make an almost limitless supply of stem cells that could safely be used in patients while avoiding the ethical dilemma of destroying embryos.

Dow Jones decline rate mimics Great Depression (CNET News):
With the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling below the psychological watermark of 7,000, investors may be wondering how they stack up against the stock market crash of the Great Depression.
“It’s very troubling if you have a mirror image,” said Phil Dow, market strategist for RBC Dain Rauscher & James.

Wall Street’s Dow index sinks 4pc to below 7000 points (The Australian)

US takes another crack at AIG rescue (CNN Money):
Wracked by turmoil in the credit markets, the insurance giant posts $62 billion quarterly loss. Government amends bailout to insulate financial system.

Hugo Chavez seizes control of rice mills in price dispute (Telegraph):
Soldiers were ordered to take control of the rice mills, which include installations owned by US food giant Cargill.
Mr Chavez accused the companies of disrupting the supply chain by refusing to produce rice at prices set by the government.

President of Guinea-Bissau killed by soldiers (Telegraph):
The president of Guinea-Bissau, Joao Bernardo Vieira, has been killed by soldiers in an apparent revenge attack following the assassination of the army chief of staff.

Ukraine Teeters as Citizens Blame Banks and Government (New York Times):
KIEV, Ukraine — Steel and chemical factories, once the muscle of Ukraine’s economy, are dismissing thousands of workers. Cities have had days without heat or water because they cannot pay their bills, and Kiev’s subway service is being threatened. Lines are sprouting at banks, the currency is wilting and even a government default seems possible.

RBS pays for Goodwin’s security (Independent):
Mr Osborne told BBC Scotland’s Politics Show today he thought most people would find the situation “very surprising”.
He said: “I don’t think it’s appropriate that the taxpayer should be providing any more benefits to Fred Goodwin.”

Factory downturn ‘accelerating’ (BBC NEWS):
Manufacturers in the UK cut jobs and output at a record pace in February, according to the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

Worst job losses in 60 years expected (MarketWatch):
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The recession tightened its grip on U.S. businesses and consumers in February, according to economists, who are predicting the largest one-month job loss in almost 60 years.

140000 British manufacturing jobs to be lost this year (Guardian)

Bank of England set to pump cash into economy to avoid deflation (Times):
The Bank of England is set this week to begin “printing money” in a ground-breaking move that will mark its most forceful action yet to curb the slump in the economy. (The Zimbabwe school of economics.)

FTSE 100 falls to six-year low (Telegraph):
The sharp decline takes the FTSE 100 below the lows experienced last October as UK banks teetered on the edge of collapse and were bailed out by the Government.

Pressure mounts over secret HBOS papers (The Observer):
The government was under pressure last night to publish confidential documents relating to the merger of failed bank HBOS and Lloyds TSB. Their existence emerged during a recent two-day hearing at the Competition Appeal Tribunal in which HBOS shareholders challenged the government’s decision to allow the takeover without referring it to the competition authorities.

New ‘Iron Curtain’ will split EU’s rich and poor (Times Online):
Eastern European countries gave an apocalyptic warning yesterday of hordes of unemployed workers heading west as a new Iron Curtain divides rich from poor inside Europe. Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Western leaders were told yesterday that five million jobs could be lost in the “new” European Union countries of the East unless radical action were taken to bail them out.

Hillary Clinton to offer $1bn to Gaza in move to sideline Hamas (Telegraph):
(Ron Paul: Israel Created Hamas)

Feds defy judge’s order in Islamic group case (San Francisco Chronicle):
A federal appeals court rejected the Obama administration’s attempt Friday to stop a judge in San Francisco from reviewing a challenge to the wiretapping program ordered by former President George W. Bush.
Hours later, President Obama’s Justice Department filed papers that appeared to defy the judge’s order to allow lawyers for an Islamic organization to see a classified surveillance document at the heart of the case. The department said the judge had no power to enforce such an order. (More CHANGE!)

Six years later in Iraq: still no good news (Washington Square News):
First, there’s how bad things were before the surge: “The strategic edifice of the American effort in Iraq was collapsing,” according to Col. Peter Mansoor, executive officer to Gen. David Petraeus. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker put it like this: “Iraq came pretty close, I think, to just unraveling.” Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks sums up the surge this way: “It is unclear in 2009 if [it] did much more than lengthen the war.” In other words, the surge prevented the imminent defeat of the U.S. (a defeat that by most estimates would have been worse than losing in Vietnam). (” We are brilliantly succeeding in Iraq!” – Dick Cheney)

Older soldiers find a niche in new Army (MiamiHerald):
‘GI Jorge,’ a father, grandfather and struggling property appraiser, is becoming a soldier at 40 to secure his family’s financial future.

HRT ‘could double the threat of skin cancer’ (Daily Mail):
Those on HRT for more than six months at a time are twice as likely to develop a malignant melanoma, researchers discovered.

Banks earn $900m with state-backed debt (Financial Times):
The world’s biggest banks have earned more than $900m in fees in less than four months by selling government-guaranteed bank debt to investors.

GOP senator Orrin Hatch’s charity tied to massive pharmaceutical donations (Raw Story):
A charity founded by a senior Republican lawmaker who was a key ally to the pharmaceutical industry received more than $170,000 in 2007 from drugmakers, far in excess of campaign finance rules had the money been donated to him directly, leaked documents show.

France poised to slash GDP forecasts (Financial Times):
France is steeling itself for the worst recession of the postwar era as the government prepares to admit the economy will contract by as much as 1.5 per cent this year, against previous official forecasts for growth.

Starvation and Strife Menace Torn Kenya (New York Times):
Ten million people face starvation, partly because farmers in crucial food-producing areas who fled their homes last year have not returned, instead withdrawing deeper into their ethnic enclaves, deeper into fear.

Scores of stranded whales and dolphins saved (Telegraph)

Fat children should be given gastric bands to tackle diabetes says expert (Telegraph):
Obese children with weight-related diabetes should be given gastric band surgery from the age of 15, according to expert paediatrician Professor Julian Shield. (Maybe someone should give this expert a brain! Children that get the the right food, teachers, doctors (alternative medicine) and parents will never ever get fat. Did you know that mice are injected with MSG to create those super fat lab mice? MSG also destroys the brain.)

Pink dolphin appears in US lake (Telegraph):