Sep 30


U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, left, and Senator Judd Gregg, a Republican from New Hampshire, speak to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sept. 29, 2008. Photographer: Jay Mallin/Bloomberg News

Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Senate will try to salvage a $700 billion financial-rescue package after the measure was defeated in the House of Representatives. The lawmakers won’t have a lot of room to negotiate.

While the legislation will need to be tweaked enough to win over reluctant House Republicans, the lawmakers will risk losing votes from Democrats if they veer too far from the delicate compromise that congressional leaders hammered out with the U.S. Treasury.

“They’re not going to totally revamp the bill,” said Pete Davis, president of Davis Capital Investment Ideas in Washington, who spoke to House and Senate leaders yesterday. “They’ll make some minor changes and pass it. This is all about political cover.”

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Sep 30

The financial crisis has put a spotlight on the obscure world of credit default swaps – which trade in a vast, unregulated market that most people haven’t heard of and even fewer understand. Will this be the next disaster?

(Fortune Magazine) — If Hieronymus Bosch were alive today to paint a triptych called “The Garden of Mortgage Delights,” we’d recognize most of the characters in the bacchanalia and its hellish aftermath. Looming largest, of course, would be the Luciferian figures of Greed and Excessive Debt. Scurrying throughout would be the Wall Street bankers who turned these burgeoning debts into exotic securities with tangled structures and soporific acronyms – CDO, MBS, ABS – that concealed the dangers within. Needless to say, we’d see the smooth-tongued emissaries of the credit-rating agencies assuring people that assets of lead could indeed be transformed into investments of gold. Finally, somewhere past the feckless Fannie Mae executives and the dozing politicians, one final figure would lurk in the shadows: a hulking and barely recognizable monster known as Credit Default Swaps.

CDS are no mere artist’s fancy. In just over a decade these privately traded derivatives contracts ballooned from nothing into a $54.6 trillion market. CDS are the fastest-growing major type of financial derivatives. More important, they’ve played a critical role in the unfolding financial crisis. First, by ostensibly providing “insurance” on risky mortgage bonds, they encouraged and enabled reckless behavior during the housing bubble. Continue reading »

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Sep 30

Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) — House prices in 20 U.S. cities declined in July at the fastest pace on record, signaling the worst housing recession in a generation had yet to trough even before this month’s credit crisis.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index dropped 16.3 percent from a year earlier, more than forecast, after a 15.9 percent decline in June. The gauge has fallen every month since January 2007, and year-over-year records began in 2001.

The housing slump is at the center of the meltdown in financial markets as declining demand pushes down property values and causes foreclosures to mount. Banks will probably stiffen lending rules even more in coming months to limit losses, indicating residential real estate will keep contracting and consumer spending will continue to falter.

“The fact that house prices quickened their slide before the worst point in credit markets hit this month does not bode well,” said Derek Holt, an economist at Scotia Capital Inc. in Toronto.

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Sep 29


In this artist conception, the Phoenix Mars Lander, which launched in August 2007 and the first project in NASA’s Mars Scout missions, landed on Mars on May 25, 2008. (UPI Photo/NASA)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (UPI) — The U.S. space agency says its Phoenix Mars Lander has detected snow falling from Martian clouds, vaporizing before reaching the planet’s surface.

And the National Aeronautics and Space Administration says that, plus soil test experiments, have proven evidence of past interaction between minerals and liquid water — both processes that occur on Earth.

“A laser instrument designed to gather knowledge of how the atmosphere and surface interact on Mars detected snow from clouds about 2.5 miles above the spacecraft’s landing site,” NASA said, adding data shows the snow vaporizing before reaching the ground.

“Nothing like this view has ever been seen on Mars,” said Jim Whiteway, of Canada’s York University, the lead scientist for the Canadian-supplied Meteorological Station on Phoenix. “We’ll be looking for signs that the snow may even reach the ground.”

Since landing May 25, Phoenix has also confirmed a hard subsurface layer at its far-northern site contains water-ice. NASA said determining whether that ice ever thaws will help answer whether the environment there has been favorable for life, a key aim of the mission.

Published: Sept. 29, 2008 at 3:40 PM
Source: UPI

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Canadian laser gadget finds snow in Martian sky

OTTAWA – Trust a Canadian weather instrument to find snow. Even on Mars.

A Canadian university’s laser aboard a NASA Mars lander has detected snow falling from Martian clouds about four kilometres above the landing site, and vaporizing before reaching the ground.

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Sep 29


Added: Sept. 29, 2008

Source: YouTube

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Sep 29

The value of mortgages lent to British homebuyers fell 95 per cent last month, according to the Bank of England.


Mortgage approvals hit a record low after banks tightened lending Photo: PA

It said mortgage lending dived to just £143 million during August – its lowest since this data was first collected in April 1993 and a fraction of the £2.998 billion lent in July.

The bank also revealed that mortgage approvals fell to 32,000 last month from 33,000 in July.

While marginally higher than analyst forecasts, it was the lowest since data began being collected and means approvals are running at less than a third of their 109,000 total in August 2007.

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Sep 29

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) — U.S. stocks plunged and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index tumbled the most since 1987 after the House of Representatives voted down a $700 billion plan to rescue the financial system.

Sovereign Bancorp Inc. tumbled 66 percent and National City Corp. slid 52 percent, leading financial shares in the S&P 500 to an 11 percent slide. The MSCI World Index of 23 developed markets sank 6 percent, the most since its creation in 1970

“It’s pretty much a nightmare,” said Michael Nasto, the senior trader at U.S. Global Investors Inc., which manages $5 billion in San Antonio. “This is the worst we’ve seen it since the credit mess started. Until we know exactly why they didn’t pass it, we’re going to be selling off for a while.”

The S&P 500 sank as much as 87.02 points, or 7.2 percent, to 1,125.99. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 631.13, or 5.6 percent, to 10,512 at 2:09 p.m. The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 148.4, or 6.8 percent, to 2,034.94.

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Sep 29

A surge for demand in gold and silver has resulted in an unprecedented shortage of the metals for retail investors in recent days, according to Gold and Silver Investments, a Dublin-based firm that allows retail investors to speculate on movements in the value of precious metals.

Gold and Silver Investments director Mark O’Byrne said the supply of gold and silver available for small retail investors suffered a dramatic deterioration within hours on Friday, as wholesalers reported that government mints and refiners, the primary suppliers of the metals, had stopped offering new supplies.

‘‘It’s absolutely unprecedented,” said O’Byrne, who said the shortages were likely to drive up the costs of gold and silver in the secondary market.

‘‘This did not happen even in the 1930s and the 1970s, and will result in markedly higher prices in the coming months.”

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Sep 29

Related:
Rep. Michael Burgess: “We Are Under Martial Law”
Rep. Marcy Kaptur warns: There are domestic enemies to the Republic


Source: YouTube

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Sep 29

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) — The rally in U.S. Treasuries may be running out of steam after yields fell to the lowest since Franklin D. Roosevelt was president.

Renewed concern about the stability of the banking system sparked a run on Treasuries that drove bill rates down to 0.02 percent. Concern is so widespread that investors are buying 30- year bonds even though their yields are the furthest below inflation since at least 1980.

“It’s like the Mark Twain quote, `I am more concerned with the return of my money than the return on my money,”’ said James Evans, a senior vice president at New York-based Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. who helps oversee $15 billion in fixed- income assets.

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Sep 29

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve will pump an additional $630 billion into the global financial system, flooding banks with cash to alleviate the worst banking crisis since the Great Depression.

The Fed increased its existing currency swaps with foreign central banks to $620 billion from $290 billion to make more dollars available worldwide. The Term Auction Facility, the Fed’s emergency loan program, will expand to $450 billion from $150 billion. The European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan are among the participating authorities.

The Fed’s expansion of liquidity, the biggest since credit markets seized up last year, comes as Congress prepares to vote on a $700 billion bailout for the financial industry. The crisis is reverberating through the global economy, forcing European governments to rescue four banks over the past two days alone.

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Sep 29

FIGHTER jets, infantry troops, destroyers and submarines will converge on Wales next month for one of the largest military exercises of all time.

The two-week exercise – codenamed Joint Warrior – is designed to recreate a scenario in which Britain and other sovereign nations go to war against a “state-sponsored terrorist movement” – using a vast array of lethal modern weapons.

Taking place between October 6 and October 16, it will provide coordinated training for all three UK Armed Services, plus forces from EIGHT allied nations.

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Sep 29

Citigroup has agreed to buy Wachovia bank in a deal brokered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to avoid another major corporate failure in the midst of the ongoing financial crisis.

The FDIC announced the deal on its Web site this morning. No price for the transaction was included in the announcement. But the FDIC said that the deal hinged on a loss sharing arrangement between Citigroup and the FDIC, the agency responsible for insuring bank deposits.

Wachovia has been saddled by mortgage-related losses. Under the terms of the deal, Citigroup will absorb up to $42 billion of losses on a $312 billion pool of loans. The FDIC will be responsible for any losses beyond that, but was given $12 billion in Citigroup preferred stock and warrants in return for that guaranty.

The Wachovia purchase is the second major bank buyout orchestrated by the FDIC in the last week. The agency also helped arrange the sale of the failed Washington Mutual to J.P. Morgan Chase.

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Sep 28

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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Sep 28


Photo:
Perpetrators of the greatest financial crime in history celebrating their fraud against the American people.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) warns the American people about Constitutional enemies of the Republic and the fraudulent trillion(s) dollar bailout:

“My message to the American people don’t let Congress seal this deal. High financial crimes have been committed.”

“The normal legislative process has been shelved. Only a few insiders are doing the dealing, sounds like insider trading to me. These criminals have so much political power than can shut down the normal legislative process of the highest law making body of this land.”

“We are Constitutionally sworn to protect and defend this Republic against all enemies foreign and domestic. And my friends there are enemies.”

“The people pushing this deal are the very ones who are responsible for the implosion on Wall Street. They were fraudulent then and they are fraudulent now.”

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Sep 28

The bailout has already failed, because it cannot not fail. Now nobody will laugh anymore at Ron Paul who predicted all of this chaos a long time ago.

Do you remember this article? Fortis Bank Predicts US Financial Market Meltdown Within Weeks
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The US stock market could suffer a devastating crash with shares losing a third of their value this week if Hank Paulson’s financial bailout plan fails, US Treasury officials have warned.

The financial system could face a meltdown of 1929 proportions unless US politicians succeed in their efforts for a $700bn rescue scheme, experts added.

The warning came as Republicans and Democrats met in Washington for a rare weekend debating session to attempt to seal agreement on the contentious plan, aimed at preventing a long-lasting recession in the US.

Officials close to Paulson are privately painting a far bleaker portrait of the fragility of the global economy than that advanced by President George W Bush in his televised address last week.

One Republican said that the message from government officials is that “the economy is dropping into the john.” He added: “We could see falls of 3,000 or 4,000 points on the Dow [the New York market that currently trades at around 11,000]. That could happen in just a couple of days.

“What’s being put around behind the scenes is that we’re looking at 1930s stuff. We’re looking at catastrophe, huge, amazing catastrophe. Everybody is extraordinarily scared. It’s going to be really, really nasty.”

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Sep 28

How can anyone trust Bush and Paulson with a $ 700.000.000.000 bailout?
They either lie every time they open their mouth or they have set a new world record for unlimited ignorance.

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WASHINGTON -The Bush administration signaled strongly today that troubled Wall Street should not expect more rescues from Washington.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson declared that the current turmoil in markets and financial institutions ultimately will “make things better.”

By Associated Press
Monday, September 15, 2008

Source: Boston Herald

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Sep 28

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) reports from the floor of the House that the Republicans have been cut out of the process and called unpatriotic for not blindly supporting the fraudulent bailout. He says the only debate has been about what talking points to use on the American people. The most ominous revelation is when he claims the Speaker has declared martial law.

“I have been thrown out of more meetings in this capital in the last 24 hours than I ever thought possible, as a duly elected representative of 825,000 citizens of north Texas.” Said Congressman Burgess.

Burgess asks the Speaker of the House to post the bailout bill on the internet for at least 24 hours instead of passing the largest piece of legislation in US financial history in the “dark of night.”

The most frightening part of Rep. Burgess’ one-minute floor speech is when he says, “Mr. Speaker I understand we are under Martial Law as declared by the speaker last night.”

By: D. H. Williams @ 4:20 PM – EST
September 28th, 2008

Source: Daily Newscaster

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Sep 28

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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Sep 28

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) — The U.K. government will act to protect Bradford & Bingley Plc customers, Chief Whip Geoff Hoon said after the British Broadcasting Corp. reported the country’s biggest lender to landlords will be taken over by the state.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling “have worked right through this weekend to sort out the problems we’re facing,” Hoon, a parliamentary officer, told Sky News today. “I’m confident that in due course there will be a statement from the Treasury about Bradford & Bingley. We will act to ensure that the interests of depositors are properly protected.”

The government will take control of Bradford & Bingley, whose shares have tumbled 93 percent this year, the BBC reported on its Web site, without saying where it got the information. The Treasury and Financial Services Authority will negotiate with banks interested in buying parts of the Bingley, England-based bank, the BBC said. Possible buyers include Banco Santander SA, HSBC Holdings Plc and Barclays Plc, the report said.

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