Beijing swells dollar reserves through stealth

China has resorted to stealth intervention in the currency markets to amass US dollars, using indirect means to hold down the yuan and ease the pain for its struggling exporters as the global slowdown engulfs the economy.

A study by HSBC’s currency team in Asia has concluded that China’s central bank is in effect forcing commercial banks to build up large dollar reserves, using them as arms-length proxies in a renewed campaign of exchange rate intervention.

Beijing has raised the reserve requirement for banks five times since March, quickening the pace with two half-point rises in late June.

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Russia recognizes Georgia’s breakaway republics

MOSCOW, August 26 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s president signed decrees on Tuesday recognizing Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states and called on other countries to follow suit.

“This is not an easy decision, but it is the only way to protect people’s lives,”Dmitry Medvedev said in a televised address.

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FBI saw mortgage crisis coming

A top official warned of widening loan fraud in 2004, but the agency focused its resources elsewhere.


WASHINGTON — Long before the mortgage crisis began rocking Main Street and Wall Street, a top FBI official made a chilling, if little-noticed, prediction: The booming mortgage business, fueled by low interest rates and soaring home values, was starting to attract shady operators and billions in losses were possible.

“It has the potential to be an epidemic,” Chris Swecker, the FBI official in charge of criminal investigations, told reporters in September 2004. But, he added reassuringly, the FBI was on the case. “We think we can prevent a problem that could have as much impact as the S&L crisis,” he said.

Today, the damage from the global mortgage meltdown has more than matched that of the savings-and-loan bailouts of the 1980s and early 1990s. By some estimates, it has made that costly debacle look like chump change. But it’s also clear that the FBI failed to avert a problem it had accurately forecast.

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Rockets, guile and the lessons of history: the Taleban besiege Kabul

The lorry drivers who bring the Pepsi and petrol for Nato troops in Kabul have their own way of calculating the Taleban’s progress towards the Afghan capital: they simply count the lorries destroyed on the main roads.

By that measure, and many others, this looks increasingly like a city under siege as the Taleban start to disrupt supply routes, mimicking tactics used against the British in 1841 and the Soviets two decades ago.

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Lone accountant takes on IRS and wins

In this Feb. 25, 2005 file photo, Charles Ulrich talks about taxes from his
Charles Ulrich talks about taxes from his Baxter, Minn. home. (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON – It took seven years, but Charles Ulrich did something many people dream about, but few succeed at: He beat the IRS in a tax dispute.
Not only that, but tax experts say potentially millions of other taxpayers could benefit from his victory.

The accountant from Baxter, Minn., challenged the method the IRS has used for more than 20 years to tax shares and cash distributed by mutual life insurance firms to their policyholders when they reorganize as public companies.

A federal court recently agreed with his interpretation.

“There’s a tremendous amount of money at stake,” said Robert Willens, a New York City-based tax analyst at Robert Willens LLC. “Tens of thousands of people could be in line for a refund.”

Read moreLone accountant takes on IRS and wins

Putin Can’t Afford to Back Down


“Don’t blame the mirror if your face is crooked.” Vladimir Putin quoting Russian proverb

If the Bush administration proceeds with its plan to deploy its Missile Defense System in Poland, Russian Prime Minister Putin will be forced to remove it militarily. He has no other option. The proposed system integrates the the entire US nuclear arsenal into one operational-unit a mere 115 miles from the Russian border. It’s no different than Khrushchev’s plan to deploy nuclear missiles in Cuba in the 1960s.

Early last year, at a press conference that was censored in the United States, Putin explained his concerns about Bush’s plan:

“Once the missile defense system is put in place it will work automatically with the entire nuclear capability of the United States. It will be an integral part of the US nuclear capability….And, for the first time in history—and I want to emphasize this—there will be elements of the US nuclear capability on the European continent. It simply changes the whole configuration of international security…..Of course, we have to respond to that.”

Nuclear weapons specialist, Francis A. Boyle, says the Bush administration’s plans represent the “longstanding US policy of nuclear first-strike against Russia.” In Boyle’s article “US Missiles in Europe: Beyond Deterrence to First Strike Threat” he states:

“By means of a US first strike about 99%+ of Russian nuclear forces would be taken out. Namely, the United States Government believes that with the deployment of a facially successful first strike capability, they can move beyond deterrence and into “compellence.”…This has been analyzed ad nauseam in the professional literature. But especially by one of Harvard’s premier warmongers in chief, Thomas Schelling –winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics granted by the Bank of Sweden– who developed the term “compellence” and distinguished it from “deterrence.” …The USG is breaking out of a “deterrence” posture and moving into a “compellence” posture. (Global Research 6-6-07)

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FDA: Many irradiated foods will not be labeled as such

Source: http://www.foodsafety.gov/~lrd/fr070404.html

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Food and Drug Administration
21 CFR Part 179
[Docket No. 2005N-0272]
RIN 0910-ZA29

Irradiation in the Production, Processing and Handling of Food

AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION: Proposed rule.
_____________________________________________________________________________

SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to revise its labeling regulations applicable to foods (including dietary supplements) for which irradiation has been approved by FDA.

FDA is proposing that only those irradiated foods in which the irradiation causes a material change in the food, or a material change in the consequences that may result from the use of the food, bear the radura logo and the term “irradiated,” or a derivative thereof, in conjunction with explicit language describing the change in the food or its conditions of use.

For purposes of this rulemaking, we are using the term “material change” to refer to a change in the organoleptic,
nutritional, or functional properties of a food, caused by irradiation, that the consumer could not identify at the point of purchase in the absence of appropriate labeling.

FDA is also proposing to allow a firm to petition FDA for use of an alternate term to “irradiation” (other than “pasteurized”).

In addition, FDA is proposing to permit a firm to use the term “pasteurized” in lieu of “irradiated,” provided it notifies the agency that the irradiation process being used meets the criteria specified for use of the term “pasteurized” in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the act) and the agency does not object to the notification.

This proposed action is in response to the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (FSRIA) and, if finalized, will provide consumers with more useful information than the current
regulation.

Related article:
The Food Irradiation Plot: Why the USDA Wants to Sterilize Fresh Produce and Turn Live Foods into Dead Foods

Millions forfeit water to Olympic Games

Farmers in Baoding face ruin from a man-made drought

THOUSANDS of Chinese farmers face ruin because their water has been cut off to guarantee supplies to the Olympics in Beijing, and officials are now trying to cover up a grotesque scandal of blunders, lies and repression.

In the capital, foreign dignitaries have admired millions of flowers in bloom and lush, well-watered greens around its famous sights. But just 90 minutes south by train, peasants are hacking at the dry earth as their crops wilt, their money runs out and the work of generations gives way to despair, debt and, in a few cases, suicide.

In between these two Chinas stands a cordon of roadblocks and hundreds of security agents deployed to make sure that the one never sees the other.

The water scandal is a parable of what can happen when a demanding global event is awarded to a poor agricultural nation run by a dictatorship; and the irony is that none of it has turned out to be necessary.

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Joe Biden in 2007 interview: I am a Zionist

Barack Obama’s new running mate praises Israel In 2007 interview with ‘Shalom TV’


Biden. Pro-Israel
Photo: ‘Meet the Press’, AP

By Yitzhak Benhorin
Published: 08.23.08

WASHINGTON – Senator Joe Biden, who was chosen by Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama to be his running mate in the upcoming US elections, has previously declared himself to be a Zionist. Calling Israel “the single greatest strength America has in the Middle East,” he also revealed a Jewish connection in an interview last year.

During the interview conducted by the Jewish ‘Shalom TV’ Biden said, “I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” He also revealed that his son is married to a Jewish woman, of the Berger family from Delaware, and that he had participated in a Passover Seder at their house.

Read moreJoe Biden in 2007 interview: I am a Zionist