Russia confirms sending warships to the Atlantic, Caribbean

MOSCOW, September 8 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian naval task force from the Northern Fleet will go on a tour of duty in the Atlantic Ocean and participate in joint naval drills with the Venezuelan navy in November, a Navy spokesman said on Monday. (Russian Navy modernized – Image gallery)

“In line with the 2008 training program and in order to expand military cooperation with foreign navies Russia will send in November a naval task force from the Northern Fleet, comprising nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy and support ships, to the Atlantic Ocean,” Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.

During the tour of duty, the Russian warships will participate in joint naval exercises with the Venezuelan navy.

Related article: Russia to send naval squadron, planes to Venezuela

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French revolt over Edvige: Nicolas Sarkozy’s Big Brother spy computer


Edvige, which is also a woman’s name, has been dubbed Sarkozy’s “Big Sister” in France

President Nicolas Sarkozy faced an embarrassing split in his Cabinet today over a computer system that a new French internal intelligence service will use to spy on the private lives of millions of law-abiding citizens.

Hervé Morin, the Defence Minister, broke government ranks to side with a growing revolt against Edvige, an acronym for a police database that will store personal details including opinions, the social circle and even sexual preferences of more or less anyone who interests the State.

Edvige, which is also a woman’s name, was created by decree in July to store data on anyone aged 13 or above who is “likely to breach public order”.

“Sarkozy’s Big Sister”, as it has been dubbed, will also track anyone active in politics or trade unions and in a significant role in business, the media, entertainment or social or religious institutions. Listed people will have limited rights to consult their files.

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Harrowing video film backs Afghan villagers’ claims of carnage caused by US troops

As the doctor walks between rows of bodies, people lift funeral shrouds to reveal the faces of children and babies, some with severe head injuries.

Women are heard wailing in the background. “Oh God, this is just a child,” shouts one villager. Another cries: “My mother, my mother.”

The grainy video eight-minute footage, seen exclusively by The Times, is the most compelling evidence to emerge of what may be the biggest loss of civilian life during the Afghanistan war.

These are the images that have forced the Pentagon into a rare U-turn. Until yesterday the US military had insisted that only seven civilians were killed in Nawabad on the night of August 21.

Read moreHarrowing video film backs Afghan villagers’ claims of carnage caused by US troops

US waves goodbye to prosperity and democracy

THE events of the weekend begin the greatest intervention in the US economy by the Federal Government since the Great Depression, with the Bear Stearns rescue but a splutter on this road we must now travel.

If you were wondering what all the flag-waving at the Republican convention has been about, it is now clear. Americans are waving goodbye to the prosperity the nation has enjoyed since the Great Depression and a final goodbye to democracy. But while preparation for the most important decision made in the nation’s post-depression financial history towered above the conventions, I don’t think the fate of Freddie and Fannie and the remaining government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) was mentioned during either convention.

Related article: Jim Rogers: US Is More Communist than China

And the politicians. President Bush has long authorised the Treasury to open its purse strings and, naturally, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said he did not expect the line of endless taxpayer credit to be used. This is like signing an authority to go to war and saying we don’t expect to go to war. Once the authority is given, it will happen. It was always laughable to expect otherwise. Paulson “briefed” John McCain and Barack Obama on the “plan”. The fact is that while America, and the world, wait to see who will govern, Mr Paulson has decided to take matters out of the politicians’ hands.

They willingly agreed. The ultimate political power, to spend taxpayers’ money, has been tossed away. Obviously the economy is too important to be left to the politicians. Instead it is to be put into “conservatorship”. It has come to this.

Read moreUS waves goodbye to prosperity and democracy

Taxpayers take on trillions in risk in Fannie, Freddie takeover

USA TODAY WASHINGTON – The unprecedented federal takeover of mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae announced on Sunday is a bold attempt to stabilize financial markets and restore the faltering housing market, but it thrusts trillions of dollars of risk directly onto taxpayers’ shoulders.

“You can call it a bailout, you can call it a safety net or you can call it a rescue package, but the bottom line is the American taxpayer is left footing the bill,” says Richard Yamarone, director of economic research at Argus Research.

Read moreTaxpayers take on trillions in risk in Fannie, Freddie takeover

Brazil, Argentina drop dollar for bilateral trade

BRASILIA, Brazil: Brazil and Argentina are ready to stop using U.S. dollars to trade goods between them.

Brazil’s president tells the Buenos Aires-based Clarin newspaper that exports and imports between the two nations will be bought and sold in local currency – reals and pesos.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva did not say when the measure would take effect.

Silva says the move will boost bilateral trade, which reached $US17.6 billion so far this year through July.

During that time, Brazil sold more to Argentina than it bought, building a US$3 billion trade surplus.

Silva and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez plan to sign the deal in Brasilia on Monday. It was first proposed two years ago.

Published: September 7, 2008

Source: Herald Tribune

16 US troops commit suicide in Iraq

Sixteen US troops from the 57th Unit of the Airborne Division have committed suicide inside a military base in Iraq, security sources say.

Iraqi security sources have revealed that 21 US troops had committed suicide inside a former Iraqi air force base 27 days ago, Fars News Agency reported on Monday.

According to the sources, the 21 troops were treated in a hospital but only five soldiers have survived and they are in a critical condition. Security officials said they used potent narcotics to kill themselves.

The troops’ motivations for suicide are not known but according to Iraqi sources the servicemen belonged to the 57th Unit of the US Airborne Division that was behind the massacre of several Iraqi families– mostly women and children– in northern Baghdad, said Ali al-Baghdadi an Iraqi security official.

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Jim Rogers: US Is More Communist than China

The nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shows that the U.S. is “more communist than China right now” but its brand of socialism is meant only for the rich, investor Jim Rogers, CEO of Rogers Holdings, told CNBC Europe on Monday.

“America is more communist than China is right now. You can see that this is welfare of the rich, it is socialism for the rich… it’s just bailing out financial institutions,” Rogers said.

Stock markets jumped after the U.S. government’s decision to launch what could be its biggest federal bailout ever, in a bid to support the housing market and ward off more global financial market turbulence.

But Rogers said in the long term the move spelled trouble.

“This is madness, this is insanity, they have more than doubled the American national debt in one weekend for a bunch of crooks and incompetents. I’m not quite sure why I or anybody else should be paying for this,” Rogers told “Squawk Box Europe.”

European stocks soared on Monday, led by banks. UBS was up 11 percent, BNP Paribas up 8 percent, Credit Agricole up 11.1 percent and HBOS up 13.8 percent.

“You certainly gonna see a huge jump in any financial institutions which owned a lot of Fannie [FNM 0.75 -6.29 (-89.35%) ] or Freddie [FRE 0.75 -4.35 (-85.29%) ] … because they don’t have to worry about going bankrupt all of a sudden,” Rogers said.

“Bank stocks around the world are going through the roof, that’s ’cause they’ve all been bailed out. You don’t see the homeowners in Kansas going through the roof ’cause they’re not being bailed out,” he added.

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Russia to send naval squadron, planes to Venezuela

MOSCOW – Russia said Monday it will send a naval squadron and long-range patrol planes to Venezuela this year for a joint military exercise in the Caribbean, an announcement made at a time of increasingly tense relations with the United States.

The apparently retaliatory move follows the U.S. deployment of warships to deliver aid to the former Soviet nation of Georgia, barely a month after Russian armor and aircraft crushed the Georgian military in a five-day war.

Read moreRussia to send naval squadron, planes to Venezuela