Fortis Gets EU11.2 Billion Rescue From Governments

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) — Fortis, the largest Belgian financial-services firm, received an 11.2 billion-euro ($16.3 billion) rescue from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg after investor confidence in the bank evaporated last week.

Belgium will buy 49 percent of Fortis’s Belgian banking unit for 4.7 billion euros, while the Netherlands will pay 4 billion euros for a similar stake in the Dutch banking business, the governments said in a statement late yesterday. Luxembourg will provide a 2.5 billion-euro loan convertible into 49 percent of Fortis’s banking division in that country.

Fortis is the largest European firm so far caught up in the global financial crisis that drove Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. into bankruptcy two weeks ago and prompted U.S. President George W. Bush to seek a $700 billion bank rescue package. Fortis dropped 35 percent last week in Brussels trading on concern the company would struggle to replenish capital depleted by the 24.2 billion- euro takeover of ABN Amro Holding NV units and credit writedowns.

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Belgian, Dutch Central Banks Seek Solution for Fortis

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) — Discussions between European, Dutch and Belgian officials on the future of Fortis, Belgium’s largest financial-services firm, carried into the evening as they sought a “solution” for the beleaguered bank.

Dutch central bank chief Nout Wellink and Finance Minister Wouter Bos went to Brussels for talks with the Belgian government and regulators. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet met with Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme and Finance Minister Didier Reynders today.

Fortis fell a record 20 percent in Brussels trading two days ago on concern the firm would struggle to raise the 8.3 billion euros ($12.1 billion) it’s seeking to bolster reserves. The bank said Sept. 26 its financial position is “solid,” and replaced interim Chief Executive Officer Herman Verwilst with Filip Dierckx, who heads the banking unit. Managers and government officials are considering a possible sale of part or all of the bank, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation.

“Fortis failed to restore confidence on its own and that can only be done now with the help of the regulatory institutions or rivals,” said Corne van Zeijl, a senior portfolio manager at SNS Asset Management in Den Bosch, the Netherlands, who oversees about $1.1 billion, including Fortis shares.

Fortis has fallen 71 percent this year in Brussels, the second-worst performance among the 69 companies on the Bloomberg Europe Banks and Financial Services Index, cutting the lender’s market capitalization to 12.2 billion euros ($17.8 billion).

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Markets face major crash if US bail-out plan collapses

There will be a depression anyway, but if the bailout “succeeds” there will be a complete meltdown in the not too distant future. Again the elite is pressing the fear button.
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World markets depend on Paulson’s plan Photo: GETTY

London shares could lose a fifth of their value and the money market faces collapse unless US politicians succeed with their financial bail-out plan, it has been warned.

A leading investor predicted that the FTSE 100 could drop by as much as 1,000 points on Monday if Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s $700bn (£380bn) plan fails. Such a fall would come close to matching the stock market crash of 1987.

The warning came as markets lurched their way to the end of another fraught week amid fears that the White House rescue operation could be derailed in Congress by conservative Republicans.

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De Telegraaf: “Attack on Iran expected”

AMSTERDAM – The Dutch intelligence agency AIVD has conducted an ultrasecret operation in Iran with the purpose of infiltrating and sabotaging the weapons industry in the islamic republic.

The operation, deemed extremely succesfull, has recently been cancelled because of an imminent aerial attack on Iran. Targets include sites that are connected to the Dutch spying.
(….)
One of the involved agents, that has infiltrated the Iranian industry under supervision of the AIVD, has been called back recently because the US has made the decision to attack Iran with unarmed aircrafts within weeks. Potential targets include not only nuclear facilities, but also military installations that have been mapped by the AIVD. Information from the AIVD-operation has been shared with the American Intelligence Agency CIA, according to sources.

Source: Daily Kos

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Original article: De Telegraaf

AIVD haalt spion terug wegens plan VS

Aanval op Iran verwacht


De Iraanse president Ahmadinejad.

AMSTERDAM – De Nederlandse inlichtingendienst AIVD heeft de afgelopen jaren een ultrageheime operatie laten uitvoeren in Iran met als doel infiltratie en sabotage van de wapenindustrie in de islamitische republiek.

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Dutch health system rated best, U.S. worst – polls

NEW YORK, July 7 (Reuters Life! ) – Americans are the least satisfied with their health care system – and their President –, while the Dutch system is rated the best, according to new research.

Polls about health care in 10 developed countries by Harris Interactive revealed a range of opinions about what works and what doesn’t.

In the United States a third of Americans believe their system needs to be completely overhauled, while a further 50 percent feel that fundamental changes need to be made.

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Ex-Dutch Prime Minister accuses Israel of terrorism


Ex-Dutch prime minister and Israel critic Andreas Van Agt (Cnaan Liphshiz)

The emotion in Andreas Van Agt’s voice as he lambastes Israel’s behavior seems puzzling for a man of his status. It is especially intriguing when one is reminded that this blue-eyed professed idealist is an astute statesman who presided as the Dutch prime minister for five years, until 1982.

“My involvement in the Middle East is certainly unusual,” Van Agt confessed in an interview with Haaretz at his home in Nijmegen, where he discussed Israel, the Palestinians, European foreign policy, the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.

Currently, Van Agt is writing a book about the Israeli-Arab conflict. In December he launched an info-site (www.driesvanagt.nl) about the subject, in which he accuses Israel of brutal treatment of the Palestinians, violating international law and implementing racist policies.

Among other illustrations, the site contains one snapshot of a graffiti slogan said to have been sprayed by Jewish settlers on a Hebron wall, reading: “Arabs to the gas chambers.”

Last year, Van Agt spoke as keynote speaker at a controversial solidarity rally with the Palestinian people in Rotterdam, where he lamented the Dutch boycott of Hamas, calling it wrong “and even stupid.” He has also been outspoken in accusing the Israel Defense Forces of acting like a terrorist organization.

“In my country, people are highly surprised by my demeanor. Some even say it should be ascribed to my advanced age; that I’m not fully in my right mind anymore,” the 77-year-old says with a snicker while sitting under the outdated portrait of the Queen, which hangs on the wall of his modern-style, taupe-colored den.

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The Collapsing Dollar – Authorities lose patience

Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU’s ‘Mr Euro’, has given the clearest warning to date that the world authorities may take action to halt the collapse of the dollar and undercut commodity speculation by hedge funds.


Jean-Claude Juncker, who is calling for Washington to
take steps to halt the slide of the dollar

Momentum traders have blithely ignored last week’s accord by the G7 powers, which described “sharp fluctuations in major currencies” as a threat to economic and financial stability. The euro has surged to fresh records this week, touching $1.5982 against the dollar and £0.8098 against sterling yesterday.

“I don’t have the impression that financial markets and other actors have correctly and entirely understood the message of the G7 meeting,” he said.

Mr Juncker, who doubles as Luxembourg premier and chair of eurozone financiers, told the Luxembourg press that he had been invited to the White House last week just before the G7 at the urgent request of President George Bush. The two leaders discussed the dangers of rising “protectionism” in Europe. Mr Juncker warned that matters could get out of hand unless America took steps to halt the slide in the dollar.

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