Feb 28

Iran needs the price of oil to stay above $70 per barrel or it will go bust in 2009.

Presidential powers in Iran are often circumscribed by the clerics

The sharp downward spiral of oil prices has prompted economists to predict that Tehran is facing severe financial hardship within the space of a few months.

Iran’s presidential contenders have to address the budget deficit brought about by the plummeting oil prices and the world banking crisis.

The country’s economy is almost totally dependent on oil, which accounts for 80% of the country’s foreign exchange receipts, while oil and gas make up 70% of government revenue.

Cash rolled in when the price of oil was above $140 a barrel and the country amassed huge foreign currency reserves, but with the price falling to around $40, that revenue has dried up accordingly.

For the first time since the Islamic revolution in 1979, Iranians will turn away from geopolitics and focus instead on the state of their economy when they go to the polls in June.

Impact of sanctions

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 28

Ireland’s ‘miracle’ economy has turned terrifyingly sour – and as it strains against the inflexibility of the euro, its next crisis may shake the entire EU.

Thousands of public sector workers protest on the streets of Dublin
Thousands of public sector workers protest on the streets of Dublin Photo: NIALL CARSON/PA

They can barely let the words pass their lips, but some of the EU’s most important policymakers were forced this week to discuss what was once unthinkable: that at least one of the 16 eurozone countries might be on the brink of ditching the single currency.

Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, admitted that the 10-year-old eurozone was under “extreme strain”, with weaker countries struggling to keep their economies afloat in the face of the devaluation of other currencies, such as sterling and the dollar.

Joschka Fischer, Germany’s former foreign minister, darkly suggested that we would soon find out whether the eurozone would turn out to be “a disaster”, while the German finance ministry is vacillating on whether it would be prepared to bail out insolvent states.

The current thinking is that Germany and France, as the strongest economies in the zone and “lenders of last resort”, would have to bail out failing states: the prospect of the eurozone breaking up would bring the future of the EU into question.

But the most startling fact to emerge this week is that the country which is seen as the most vulnerable, and therefore the most likely to ditch the euro, is not Slovenia, or Cyprus, or Greece, but Ireland.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 28

1 of 2:

Added: 28. Februar 2009
Source: YouTube

2 of 2:

Added: 28. Februar 2009
Source: YouTube

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 28

Two workers install a VW logo in the wall of a Volkswagen center in Berlin

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) — Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest carmaker, said it will cut all 16,500 temporary jobs in global operations as the recession and tight credit sap purchases.

“There’s no way around this,” Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said in an interview with Germany’s weekly Spiegel magazine published today. The financial crisis “is really brutal,” the CEO added. Company spokesman Stefan Ohletz confirmed Winterkorn’s published remarks by phone.

Responding to the worst car markets in almost two decades, Volkswagen shuttered five German factories this week, affecting two-thirds of its 92,000-strong German workforce. That’s on top of a three-day shutdown at the main plant in Wolfsburg.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , ,

Feb 28

Ryanair: “Lunatic bloggers can keep the blogosphere” (Guardian)

Military to use new gel that stops bullets (Telegraph)

Iraq hero goes on the warpath (Independent):
The Army’s most decorated serving war hero has accused the Government of failing soldiers suffering from mental trauma resulting from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bailout The United States Treasury: The Last Remaining Asset Bubble Is Cracking:
In the video, Santelli reports the price of US Treasury CDS have settled north of 100.  For newcomers, this means that it now costs $100k to insure $10 million in US government bonds for 5 years.  Twelve months ago this same insurance cost $2,000. (So many times I have warned about the bond bubble. I hope you are prepared. This will be the greatest economic collapse in history.)

Buffett says US Treasury bubble one for the ages (Reuters)

Buffett Says Economy Will Be ‘In Shambles’ for 2009 (Bloomberg)

The Two Documents Everyone Should Read to Better Understand the Crisis (Huffington Post):
The FBI has been warning of an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud since September 2004. It also reports that lenders initiated 80% of these frauds.

Give to the rich to help the poor? An idea worthy of Bono (Guardian):
Satire? No – a genius really has concocted a tax proposal to put our aid budget in the hands of the super-rich

Denying our children rights (Guardian):
MPs should think twice before they vote for the retention of innocent young people’s DNA

Economy moving in reverse faster than predicted (AP):
“Consumers are just hunkering down and saying ‘game over,’ and businesses in response are cutting back on investment and employment,” said Brian Bethune, economist at IHS Global Insight. “It’s a negative feedback loop.”

Fear of global depression rises as US reveals true extent of decline (Times Online):
(And the crisis has only just begun.)

Asian power on the rise amid global downturn (Telegraph)

Adapting to water woes (Las Vegas Sun):
The southwestern United States is moving headlong toward an environmental catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions.

£20bn bailout to defuse East Europe’s timebomb (Independent):
Three global development banks pledged more than £20bn yesterday to avert potential financial meltdown in eastern Europe, where plunging currencies, mounting job cuts and a deepening debt crisis have sparked riots, rocked governments and stoked fears of widespread social unrest.

HSBC to launch record $20bn share issue (Telegraph):
Fundraising to offset deterioration in its core Asian markets and escalating losses in the US.

Allen Stanford borrowed £1.6 billion from his investment empire (Times)

Jobless Angry at Possibility of No Benefits (New York Times)

Obama budget calls for major US student loan shift (Reuters)

US government takes 36% stake in Citigroup (Independent)

Drug Maker Is Accused of Fraud (New York Times):
The Justice Department charged the drug maker Forest Laboratories on Wednesday with defrauding the government of millions of dollars by illegally marketing the popular antidepressants Celexa and Lexapro for unapproved uses in children and teenagers.

Judge overturns verdict against Iraq war contractor in fraud case (AP)

Anti-tax movement holds ‘Tea Party’ to protest Obama policies (Raw Story):
Describing themselves as the spark of a “new conservative counterculture,” several thousand anti-tax protesters took to the streets in over thirty cities on Friday to object to President Obama’s plans to counter the growing economic crisis with government spending.

Patients at risk as NHS staff refuse flu jabs (Telegraph):
Hospital patients are being put at risk because health workers are ignoring government advice to have flu jabs
… (…that contain lethal stuff, destroy health and: Health Disaster: H5N1 DNA in Flu Vaccine)

13 Unsolved scientific puzzles (Times Online):
We can only account for 4 per cent of the cosmos

New Wave of Films Tackle Globalization Head on (Spiegel Online)


Feb 28

“Our food system is nearly broke, which is almost as serious as our country’s financial meltdown.”

In the coming economic collapse, the ‘Greatest Depression’, things will turn out to be far worse than in the Great Depression. Food prices will skyrocket, but first the elite bankrupts everyone.

Related article: Catastrophic Fall in 2009 Global Food Production

By John Kinsman:

As our government enacts a stimulus package and President Barack Obama announces bold initiatives to stem home mortgage foreclosures, disaster threatens family farmers and their communities.

The government’s response to plummeting commodity prices and tightening credit markets leads to the basic question: Who will produce our food? This is a worldwide crisis. U.S. policy and the demand for deregulation at all levels — from food production to financial markets — contribute greatly to the global collapse. The solution must be grounded in food sovereignty so that all farmers and their communities can regain control over their food supply. This response makes sense here in Wisconsin and was the global message from the 500+ farmer leaders at the Via Campesina conference in Mozambique in October.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Feb 28

• Miliband and Smith snub human rights committee
• MPs want head of MI5 to explain conduct of officers

David Miliband and Jacqui Smith have both refused to appear before Parliament’s human rights committee to answer questions about allegations of British collusion in the torture of British citizens and residents detained during counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan.

In a move that dismayed members of the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), a joint letter from the foreign secretary and home secretary is also said to have failed to answer any of the eight questions that the committee asked about legal provisions offering MI5 officers immunity in the UK for crimes committed overseas. The JCHR is now asking Jonathan Evans, the director-general of MI5, to appear before it to be questioned about the agency’s policy and the conduct of his officers.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Feb 28

Warren Buffett

We’re now in a world of overpricing risk rather than underpricing it, pushing yields up for municipal or corporate bonds and knocking them down to near zero for short-term government bonds “and no better than a pittance” for long-term government securities.

“When the financial history of this decade is written, it will surely speak of the Internet bubble of the late 1990s and the housing bubble of the early 2000s.

But the U.S. Treasury bond bubble of late 2008 may be regarded as almost equally extraordinary. Clinging to cash equivalents or long-term government bonds at present yields is almost certainly a terrible policy if continued for long.”

February 28, 2009, 10:22 am

Full article: The Wall Street Journal

Tags: , , , ,

Feb 28

“The penthouse, which first went on the market in October 2007 at $9.25 million, has since been appraised at $6.5 million, and its owner has decided to offer the property in a sealed-bid auction-like process in March, with a starting bid of $4.995 million.” “Mr. Orenstein says the owner decided on this process because he plans to move soon to Italy with his wife and baby.”

There are many millionaires and billionaires fleeing from the U.S. right now. No big city on this planet will be a safe place in the future.

THE real estate market in Manhattan has become so unnerving to buyers that some are forfeiting six-figure deposits rather than close on deals they have made.

FORFEITED A buyer for this Spring Street penthouse, with stunning river views, walked away from the deal, and a $780,000 deposit.

At 304 Spring Street, a sleek condominium building in SoHo with stunning Hudson River views, the buyer for the duplex penthouse recently decided he would not go through with the deal and walked away from a $780,000 deposit.

At 1120 Park Avenue, a classic prewar co-op filled with multimillion-dollar apartments, it appears that a buyer forfeited a deposit of as much as $1.1 million.

Real estate agents representing buyers of at least three other multimillion-dollar properties also report clients who knowingly left deposits of more than $1 million or hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.

In each case, the buyers had signed their contracts before the financial meltdown last fall, but decided in recent months that because values in the luxury real estate market have dropped 20 to 40 percent, it no longer made sense to go through with their deals.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Feb 28

Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., pauses during a news conference in Milan, May 22, 2008. Photographer: Giuseppe Aresu/Bloomberg News

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) — Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. posted a fifth-straight profit drop, the longest streak of quarterly declines in at least 17 years, on losses from derivative bets tied to stock markets.

Fourth-quarter net income fell 96 percent to $117 million, or $76 a share, from $2.95 billion, or $1,904 a share, in the same period a year earlier, the Omaha, Nebraska-based firm said in its annual report. Book value per share, a measure of assets minus liabilities that Buffett highlights in his yearly letter to shareholders, slipped 9.6 percent for all of 2008, the worst performance since Buffett took control in 1965.

“The credit crisis, coupled with tumbling home and stock prices, had produced a paralyzing fear that engulfed the country” at the end of 2008, Buffett in his letter to shareholders today. “A freefall in business activity ensued, accelerating at a pace that I have never before witnessed.”

Continue reading »

Tags: ,

Feb 28

Federal water managers plan to temporarily cut off water this March to thousands of California farms. The state has said it probably would deliver just 15 percent of the water contractors have requested this year.

The state delivers water to more than 25 million Californians and more than 750,000 acres of farmland.

“It’s too late,” he said. “It’s going to sound horrible coming from a farmer because you never turn down help, but come on, this thing is over with.”

Layers of sun-baked earth are exposed in an area of the San Luis Reservoir near Gustine that was previously underwater but was dried out in January because of drought conditions. (Patrick Tehan / Mercury News)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Friday because of three years of below-average rain and snowfall in California, a step that urges urban water agencies to reduce water use by 20 percent.

“This drought is having a devastating impact on our people, our communities, our economy and our environment, making today’s action absolutely necessary,” the Republican governor said in his statement.

Mandatory rationing is an option if the declaration and other measures are insufficient.

The drought has forced farmers to fallow their fields, put thousands of agricultural workers out of work and led to conservation measures in cities throughout the state, which is the nation’s top agricultural producer.

Agriculture losses could reach $2.8 billion this year and cost 95,000 jobs, said Lester Snow, the state water director.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 27

1 of 3:

Source: YouTube

2 of 3:

Source: YouTube

3 of 3:

Source: YouTube

Tags: , , ,

Feb 27

DNA samples of innocent to be kept on file

Jacqui Smith
Home secretary Jacqui Smith: has not indicated whether DNA samples already obtained would be destroyed. Photo: Cathal McNaughton/PA

The government is planning to get around a European court ruling that condemned Britain’s retention of the DNA profiles of more than 800,000 innocent people by keeping the original samples used to create the database, the Guardian has learned.

A damning ruling last December criticised the “blanket and indiscriminate nature” of the UK’s current DNA database – which includes DNA from those never charged with an offence – and said the government had overstepped acceptable limits of storing data for crime detection.

Don’t miss:
Information Commissioner Richard Thomas warns of surveillance culture (Times):
Richard Thomas told The Times that “creeping surveillance” in the public and private sectors had gone “too far, too fast” and risked undermining democracy.

Spy chief: We risk a police state (Telegraph):
Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, has warned that the fear of terrorism is being exploited by the Government to erode civil liberties and risks creating a police state.

Last month the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, said she would publish a white paper setting out “a more proportionate, fair and commonsense approach”, but she has not given any indication whether DNA samples already obtained would be destroyed. However, Home Office sources said the government, which was given three months to respond to the ruling, has “no plans” to destroy samples of DNA.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 27

A bigger proportion of non-investment grade companies will go bust in the US and overseas in the coming years than during the Great Depression, according to Moody’s, one of the world’s foremost experts on credit.

In what will be seen by many as die-cast confirmation that the world economy is plummeting towards an economic and corporate implosion of unprecedented proportions, Moody’s said it anticipated a tidal wave of defaults was approaching.

It said that in the coming months more than 15pc of speculative-grade bonds and loans – all but the most highly-rated – would default on their debts.

This peak is even higher than the peak reached in 1933, when bank after bank throughout America was collapsing, taking hoards of other companies with them. Back then, the default rate peaked at 15.4pc; moreover these companies were former investment grade issuers regarded as more reliable credit prospects than their contemporary counterparts.

Continue reading »


Feb 27

Related article:

–  Investors Behind Doomsday Seed Vault May Provide Clues to Its Purpose:

The group of investors includes The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto Corporation, Syngenta Foundation, and the Government of Norway.

The elite has always been known for their altruism, working for the benefit of mankind:

“If you control the oil you control the country; if you control the food you control the population.”
– Henry Kissinger

The remote, frozen landscape provides an ideal backdrop for the vault

(BBC NEWS) — Almost 90,000 food crop seed samples have arrived at the “doomsday vault” in the Arctic Circle, as part of its first anniversary celebrations.

The four-tonne shipment takes the number of seeds stored in the frozen repository to more than 20 million.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, built 130m (426ft) inside a mountain, aims to protect the world’s food crop species against natural and human disasters.

The £5m ($7m) facility took 12 months to build and opened in February 2008.

“The vault was opened last year to ensure that, one day, all of humanity’s existing food crop varieties would be safely protected,” explained Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT).

“It’s amazing how far we have come towards accomplishing that goal.”

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 27

Nineteen members of the state Legislature have failed to pay state and federal income taxes, some of them dating back to 2002, according to a Georgia Department of Revenue report given recently to legislative leaders.

The report on the alleged tax dodgers, with names and Social Security numbers redacted, has been forwarded to Republican and Democratic leaders of the state House of Representatives and Senate.

“Leaders of both parties have made it clear this will not be tolerated,” state Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs), chairman of the House Ethics Committee, said in an interview late Thursday night.

Wilkinson said House and Senate leaders are now discussing what should happen to the 16 House members and 3 senators in wake of the disclosure.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Feb 27

More information:
KBR wins Pentagon contract despite criminal probe of deaths
Halliburton accused of supplying rotten food to U.S. forces
KBR, Partner in Iraq Contract Sued in Human Trafficking Case
US Troops in Iraq talk about Halliburton & KBR (Flashback)

U.S. soldiers secure the area next to a damaged U.S. mine resistant, ambush protected vehicle (MRAP), after a roadside bomb explosion during an operation in the area of Al-leg, some 40 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq. The Army is updating its manual for the electronic battlefield — a move aimed at protecting soldiers against roadside bombs and other nontraditional warfare used by increasingly sophisticated insurgents. (AP)

WASHINGTON – Companies that defrauded the United States and jeopardized American lives received new government work despite rulings designed to stop them from receiving federal contracts, government investigators report.

Payments went to a company whose president tried to sell nuclear bomb parts to North Korea, a company that jeopardized lives on the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy, and a seller of body armor that the Air Force said was defective.

The companies were on a government database of 70,000 individuals and businesses suspended or barred by various U.S. agencies from receiving government contract work.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Feb 27

A former CIA officer has said its ridiculous that the Bush administration didn’t execute numerous prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, regardless of whether they have had a trial, when it had the chance.

“Many of those individuals that are there are enemy combatants and that’s based on the Geneva Conventions and should be executed,” said Gary Berntsen, who spent 20 years with the CIA, to Fox’s Gretchen Carlson on the show, Fox & Friends. “It’s ridiculous that the Bush administration, after seven years, didn’t deal with many of those that we know are enemy combatants.”

Berntsen, who commanded a team of CIA and special forces in Afghanistan in 2001, is the author of The Attack on bin Laden and Al-Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA’s Key Field Commander. A Bush supporter, he sued the federal government to win the right to release his book, which detailed his experiences searching for Osama bin Laden in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan. In 2008, Berntsen also actively campaigned for John McCain.

Carlson seemed to agree with Berntsen’s assertion saying of the detainees, “I’m thinking to myself, they’ve been, many of them, there since 2002. What was the wait?”

Berntsen also advocated for the execution of self-described 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, saying that he no longer serves any intelligence purpose for the U.S.

“After seven years, the intel is dried up. Execute him,” he said.

In one of his first orders as president, Obama ordered the closure of the detention center in January. It currently houses approximately 250 terrorism suspects and others in a camp and maximum-security facilities at the Guantanamo U.S. naval base, reports Reuters. Some inmates have been held there for as long as seven years without charges.

Fox & Friends guest Matthew Alexander, the author of How to Break a Terrorist said he believes the detainees can provide further intelligence to the U.S.

“I think it’s not as important as where as they go as how we continue to get intelligence from them,” Alexander said. “We can take them to other countries but we should ensure that those countries do not torture them and we have to continue to interrogate them effectively.”

This video is from Fox’s Fox & Friends, broadcast Feb. 27, 2009.

Download video via RawReplay.com

David Edwards and Rachel Oswald
Published: Friday February 27, 2009

Source: The Raw Story

Tags: , , , , , ,

Feb 27

The oldest human footprints – left more than 1.5 million years ago – have been discovered in northern Kenya.

A fossil footprint left by a human ancestor about 1.5 million years ago in Kenya has been discovered Photo: REUTERS

Two sets of prints left by Homo ergaster, an early ancestor of modern humans. were found in separate rock layers near Ileret.

Laser scanning revealed that feet have stayed much the same over 1.5 million years and the creature walked the same way as people do today.

Continue reading »


Feb 27

Added: 24. Februar 2009
Source: YouTube

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 27

Britain admits rendition of terror suspects (Times Online):
Gordon Brown was under growing pressure to hold an independent inquiry into Britain’s complicity in torture last night after ministers admitted that terror suspects detained by British soldiers in Iraq were secretly flown by the US to Afghanistan.

60000 face axe in banks bloodbath: Bailed-out RBS and Lloyds in cost-cutting spree (Daily Mail)

President Barack Obama unveils $4 trillion budget (Times Online):
(Yes we can … burst the bond bubble, destroy the dollar and default on our debt!)

Dear Mr. President, With All Due Respect …. (Mike Shedlock):
With all due respect Mr. President, The United States spends more on its military budget than the next 45 highest spending countries in the world combined; The United States accounts for 48 percent of the world’s total military spending; The United States spends on its military 5.8 times more than China, 10.2 times more than Russia, and 98.6 times more than Iran. Isn’t that enough Mr. President?
With all due respect Mr. President, the downfall of every great nation in history has been unsustainable military expansion. Mr. President, the US can no longer afford to be the world’s policeman. You act as if we can. Mr. President, can you please tell us how we can afford this spending?

Citi Gets Third Rescue as US Plans to Raise Stake (Bloomberg):
Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. government ratcheted up its effort to save Citigroup Inc., agreeing to a third rescue attempt that will cut existing shareholders’ stake in the company by 74 percent. The stock fell as much as 37 percent.

US economy suffers sharp nosedive (BBC News):
The US economy shrank by 6.2% in the last three months of 2008, official figures have shown, a far sharper fall than had previously been reported. Plunging exports and the biggest fall in consumer spending in 28 years dragged the figure down from the 3.8% estimate the government gave earlier. The decline was much worse than analysts had expected.

Crisis in the US newspaper industry (BBC News):
If the economic crisis goes on much longer, will there be any newspapers left in the US to write about it?

Bangladesh sends in tanks to quell mutiny (Telegraph):
The Bangladeshi government has sent in tanks to tackle a mutiny by the Bangladesh Rifles border security guards which has left more than 50 dead, including senior army officers.

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas warns of surveillance culture (Times):
Richard Thomas told The Times that “creeping surveillance” in the public and private sectors had gone “too far, too fast” and risked undermining democracy.

Protesters clash with Pakistan troops after court bars Nawaz Sharif (Times):
Paramilitary troops were called out to keep order in Pakistan yesterday after thousands of people took to the streets to protest at the imposition of direct central control over the key province of Punjab.

China hits back at US criticism on human rights (Telegraph):
China has retaliated to condemnation of its human rights record with its own report on human rights in the United States.

Obama Faces Prospect of Japan-Like Stagnation, Kamco’s Lee Says (Bloomberg):
“The U.S. seems to be lost, not knowing where to go,” Lee Chol Hwi, chief executive officer of Korea Asset Management Corp., said yesterday in an interview in Seoul. “The U.S. is inexperienced in dealing with this kind of crisis.”

Rocky Mountain News to close, publish final edition Friday (Rocky Mountain News):
The Rocky Mountain News has chronicled the storied, and at times tumultuous, history of Colorado for nearly 150 years.

Housing Bailout Déjà Vu (National Review Online):
Congress is poised to hand the Obama administration a housing-bailout bill that looks eerily like the ineffective one passed last year. Before that happens, we might want to ask Fannie and Freddie what happened to the first $200 billion we gave them.

In Geithner We Trust Eludes Treasury as Market Fails to Recover (Bloomberg):
(Geithner is a member of the Trilateral Comission and the CFR. Trust him? Not for a millisecond.)

Future is ‘bleak’ warns Joschka Fischer (Telegraph):
Joschka Fischer, the former German vice-chancellor, has issued a bleak assessment of Europe’s prospects for surviving the financial crisis, warning that leaders of a “self-weakening” continent are failing to come to grips with its decline.

Banks Vacate Towers Pushing Empty NYC Space to Record (Bloomberg)

East Europe banks set for €24.5bn loan (Financial Times)

Now Sarkozy gets the chance to redraw the map of France (Independent):
The political map of France may be radically redrawn under ambitious, intriguing – and explosive – proposals which will be presented to President Nicolas Sarkozy next week.

FDIC raising fees on banks, adds emergency fee (AP)

Global crisis hits Swedish economy hard (Financial Times):
Sweden is in the middle of a much more serious recession than previously thought, according to official figures for the fourth quarter of last year that revealed the economy contracted by nearly 10 per cent on an annualised basis.

Zimbabwe: British minister’s bank propped up Robert Mugabe, says Foreign Office (Telegraph):
Standard Chartered, a British bank that was run by Lord Davies, the trade minister, has been accused by the Foreign Office of ‘propping up’ President Robert Mugabe’s government in Zimbabwe.

Lloyds confirms £10.8bn HBOS loss (Financial Times)
Lloyds, which rescued HBOS last year, had been expected to reveal that the government was insuring up to £250bn of the bank’s assets.Meanwhile, the Financial Times has learnt that Barclays has also sounded out the government about potentially participating in the asset protection scheme.

Mexico is in free fall (Guardian)

It is time to resist (Guardian):
David Omand’s national security strategy report shows us we have a very short time to save society from tyranny.
“Once an individual has been assigned a unique index number, it is possible to accurately retrieve data across numerous databases and build a picture of that individual’s life that was not authorised in the original consent for data collection,” says Sir David Omand in a report for the Institute for Public Policy research. This is not some wild fantasy. It is the world that we are about to move into and which Jack Straw’s coroners and justice bill, the ID Cards Act, RIPA laws and the EBorders scheme have patiently constructed while we have been living in an idiots’ paradise of easy money.

We’re on the brink of disaster (Salon):
Violent protests and riots are breaking out everywhere as economies collapse and governments fail. War is bound to follow.

Thousands of Opel Workers Demonstrate against GM (Spiegel Online)

Indigenous people in legal challenge against oil firms over tar sand project (Guardian):
British oil firms are facing a legal battle over exploitation of the huge Canadian tar sand fields with indigenous people who claim the industry is ruining their traditional lands.

Rapid HIV evolution avoids attack (BBC News):
HIV is evolving rapidly to escape the human immune system, an international study has shown.

Greenland’s Ice Armageddon Comes To An End (The Resilient Earth):
One of the catastrophic results of global warming always cited by climate change alarmists is the melting of the ice sheets covering Greenland. Some even speculated that global warming had pushed Greenland past a “tipping point” into a scary new regime of wildly heightened ice loss and rapidly rising in sea levels. Now, from the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, comes word that Greenland’s Ice Armageddon has been called off.

Arsonists Torch Berlin Porsches, BMWs on Economic Woe (Bloomberg):
At least 29 vehicles were destroyed in arson attacks this year, most of them luxury cars, according to police. The number is already about 30 percent of the total for 2008.

French professor sacked over 9/11 conspiracy theory (Russia Today):
An academic in France has been sacked by the Ministry of Defence after questioning the official version of events surrounding the 9/11 attacks. He now reportedly plans to sue the government.

UK rules out charges against Pentagon hacker (Reuters):
A British court ruled in 2006 that he should be extradited to the United States to face trial. If convicted by a U.S. court, he could face up to 70 years in prison. McKinnon has been battling the British court decision ever since.

Fluoridation scheme could go England-wide (Guardian):
City of Southampton to get first water fluoridation project in 25 years despite 78% opposition in consultation

(The combination of chlorination and fluoridation causes heavy damage to the DNA.)

New Study Finds GM Genes in Wild Mexican Maize (Soyatech):
New Scientist — February 21, 2009 — Now it’s official: genes from genetically modified corn have escaped into wild varieties in rural Mexico. A new study resolves a long-running controversy over the spread of GM genes and suggests that detecting such escapes may be tougher than previously thought.


Feb 26

The increase would triple the law enforcement presence in the border city, which has been racked by drug violence. Its police chief quit recently and its mayor has received threats as well.

Reporting from Mexico City — Amid growing alarm over drug violence in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico will deploy up to 5,000 more troops to the border city, officials said today.

The increase would triple the number of troops and federal police officers operating there as part of President Felipe Calderon’s offensive against drug traffickers.

Related article: Napolitano On The War In Mexico (CBS News):
Acknowledging that the violent drug cartels of Mexico are now operating in many U.S. cities, America’s Homeland Security secretary says every American has a stake in Mexico’s war against the murderous gangs.

Jose Reyes Ferriz, the mayor of Ciudad Juarez, said the added troops would give the military a higher profile by taking control of police functions, including street patrols. Currently, soldiers tend highway checkpoints, guard crime scenes and take part in special operations, such as house searches.

The city is without a police chief since Roberto Orduña Cruz quit last week after several officers were slain and someone posted threats saying more would be killed unless he stepped down.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Feb 26

Gordon Brown helped fuel Britain’s banking crisis by pressuring the City regulator not to intervene and stop reckless lending, Lord Turner, the head of the Financial Services Authority, said.

Chairman of the FSA Lord Turner Photo: JULIAN SIMMONDS

The authority’s chairman claimed the regulator was under political “pressure” not to be “heavy and intrusive” with banks such as HBOS and Northern Rock.

Instead, it was told to operate a “light touch” approach, which had now been proved to be “mistaken”, he told a Commons committee.

The failure of the regulator to intervene earlier has been blamed for the banking crisis, which has led to the near-collapse of several of the country’s biggest banks.

Lord Turner’s remarks, made to MPs, are deeply embarrassing for the Prime Minister, who oversaw the FSA while he was Chancellor.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Feb 26

Rick Wagoner, chairman and chief executive officer of General Motors Corp., pauses during a news conference at the company’s headquarters in Detroit, on Feb. 17, 2009. Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg News

Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp. reported a $30.9 billion annual loss, the second-biggest in its 100-year history, as Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner asked the Treasury for more cash to survive through 2009.

GM’s cumulative deficit ballooned to $82 billion since the end of 2004, when the biggest U.S. automaker last had an annual profit. Full-year sales fell 17 percent to $149 billion, damped by a recession that ravaged new-car demand, GM said today.

“The size of the loss matters not only because it impacts what it will cost to restructure the company, but also the kind of bill for which the taxpayer is on the hook,” said John Casesa, a managing partner at consultant Casesa Shapiro Group LLC in New York.

Related articles:
GM’s Wagoner Meets With Auto Panel for Six Hours (Bloomberg)
Will GM bonds become worthless? (CNN Money)

The future of Detroit-based GM may pivot on whether Wagoner, 56, is able to persuade President Barack Obama’s auto task force to approve as much as $16.6 billion in additional money on top of $13.4 billion in loans so far. Wagoner is meeting with the panel today in Washington.

Should the panel decide against extending more aid, GM’s only option may be a government-backed bankruptcy, because the company said Feb. 17 it would run out of cash without at least $2 billion more in loans next month.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Feb 26

The Royal Bank of Scotland has reported a £40bn loss before tax – the biggest in UK corporate history. Net losses, which come after tax and interest and other charges, came in at £24.1bn.

The pre-tax loss in 2008 compares with a £9.8bn pre-tax profit in 2007 and comes after £32.6bn writedown of assets, mostly related to its ill-fated decision to buy ABN Amro for €71bn (£63bn).

Some £16bn of the losses relate to ABN assets bought by Belgian bank Fortis that RBS consolidates in its accounts under the terms of the 2007 acquisition of the Dutch bank by the RBS, Fortis and Spain’s Santander. Stripping those out, RBS made a £24.1bn loss.

Related articles:
Tax payers to insure £300 billion of Royal Bank of Scotland ‘toxic’ bad debt (Telegraph)
RBS record losses raise prospect of 95% state ownership (Guardian)
The worst business loss in UK history (Independent)

The previous record annual loss for a UK company was £14.9bn.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Feb 26

Yes, we can … take away your guns!

Previous Ban Expired in 2004 During the Bush Administration

Wednesday Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Obama administration will seek to reinstitute the assault weapons ban which expired in 2004 during the Bush administration. (AP Photos/ABC News Graphic )

The Obama administration will seek to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 during the Bush administration, Attorney General Eric Holder said today.

“As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons,” Holder told reporters.

CNN – Obama administration attacks the SECOND AMENDMENT:

Source: YouTube (Just take a look at Obama’s voting record. You will find a lot more information on YouTube and all over the internet.)

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 26

The worst financial crisis in seven decades is forcing thousands of previously middle-income workers to seek social services, overwhelming local agencies, clinics and nonprofits. Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg News

Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) — In California’s Contra Costa County, 40,000 families are applying for just 350 affordable-housing vouchers. Church-operated pantries are running out of food. Crisis calls have more than doubled in the city of Antioch, where the Family Stress Center occupies the site of a former bank.

The worst financial crisis in seven decades is forcing thousands of previously middle-income workers to seek social services, overwhelming local agencies, clinics and nonprofits. Each month 16,000 people, including many who were making $60,000 to $100,000 annually just a few years ago, fill four county offices requesting financial, medical or food assistance.

“Unless we do things differently, not only will we continue to be on life support, but the power to the machine is going to die,” said county Supervisor Federal Glover, who represents Antioch and the cities of Pittsburg and Oakley about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of San Francisco.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Feb 26

The rush by retail investors into bullion coins is creating shortages as mints across the world struggle to meet the surge in demand, dealers and mint officials say.

The scarcity is lifting coin premiums to as much as 5 per cent above the spot gold price, a level reached briefly after the collapse of Lehman Brothers last September, when coin shortages also surfaced.

Spot gold in London on Wednesday traded at $972 an ounce, below last week’s peak of $1,004.5.

“There is demand for double or triple what the US mint is able to produce,” said Michael Kramer, president of MTB in New York, one of the four US gold dealers authorised to purchase bullion coins directly from the government’s mint.

The US Mint has sold 193,500 ounces of its popular American Eagle gold coin in the first seven weeks of this year, the same amount it shipped during the whole of 2007 and about the same as in the first six months of last year.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Feb 26

Added: 13. Februar 2009
Source: YouTube

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 26

Hungary is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy with its citizens struggling to pay off mortages and personal loans taken out in foreign currency during one of the post-Communist era’s most exhuberant booms.

Hungary’s prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany Photo: BLOOMBERG

The birthplace of the Rubik’s Cube has provided its government with a multi-sided financial crisis that defies any ingenious solution.

The forint currency has plummeted and unemployment has ballooned, creating a voracious debt trap that is sucking down banks backed by Western taxpayers, particularly those of Switzerland and Austria.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Feb 26

Report: Army tanks roll toward Bangladeshi capital (AP):
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladeshi tanks rolled into the capital Thursday, according to local media reports, hours after the prime minister warned mutinous border guards she would “do whatever is needed to end the violence.”

Bangladesh mutiny spreads, 50 feared dead (AFP):
DHAKA (AFP) — A mutiny by thousands of members of Bangladesh’s paramilitary border security force spread to areas outside the capital Dhaka Thursday, as officials reported nearly 50 army officers were feared killed.

FDA ignored debris in syringes (News & Observer):
Complaints of filth came in 2005; plant’s microbiologist was a teenage dropout

Israel blocks pasta shipment to Gaza, and tensions boil (McClatchy):
JERUSALEM — For more than seven weeks, the international aid group Mercy Corps has been trying to send 90 tons of macaroni to the isolated Gaza Strip as part of a global campaign to help the 1.4 million Palestinians there rebuild their lives after Israel’s recent devastating 22-day military operation.

Obama forecasts $1,750bn deficit (Financial Times):
President Barack Obama on Thursday unveiled the most expansive blueprint for federal government involvement in the US economy in more than a generation in a ten-year budget outline that showed this year’s deficit quadrupling to $1,750bn. (Yes, we can … burst the bond bubble, devaluate the dollar and default on our debt. Yes we can!)

Obama Seeks $1 Trillion Tax Increase in Budget Plan (Bloomberg):
Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama proposed almost $1 trillion in higher taxes over the next decade on the highest-earning Americans, Wall Street financiers, U.S.-based multinational corporations and oil companies. (There will be no ‘new decade’ for the U.S.)

Fannie to Draw $15.2 Billion From Treasury After Loss (Bloomberg):
Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) — Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance company seized by regulators in September, asked the U.S. Treasury for $15.2 billion in capital and raised the possibility of requesting more aid after a sixth consecutive quarterly loss drove its net worth below zero. (Giant black holes for taxpayers’ money everywhere.)

US fund managers charged with fraud over multi-million dollar scams (Telegraph):
In the latest in a string of huge corporate fraud cases, James Nicholson, a New Jersey fund manager, was accused of cheating investors out of as much as $900 million since 2004. Prosecutors described it as “an egregious fraud of immense proportions”.

2 Money Managers Held in New Wall St. Fraud Case (New York Times):

For two decades, Paul Greenwood and Stephen Walsh looked like Wall Street wizards. Their supposed investment prowess lured hundreds of millions of dollars from public pension funds and universities and earned the two lavish trappings of success: stately homes, a stake in the New York Islanders and, for Mr. Greenwood, a horse farm that once belonged to Paul Newman.

Japan to intervene as Nikkei hits 20-year lows (Telegraph):
Japan’s government is looking at stock buying and other methods to support the share market, Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano said on Tuesday, as fears grow about the economic impact of a slide in stocks to two-decade lows.

Insurer RSA to axe 1200 jobs (AFP)

40000 jobs threatened as recession hits town halls (Times Online)

The light dims at General Electric (Independent):
Once the world’s largest company, GE’s disastrous exposure to the banking crisis is now a major threat to its future.

UK taxman takes 45pc of companies’ profits (Independent):
A report from the Hundred Group, the body that represents the finance directors of the UK’s top 120 to 150 companies, showed that their tax contributions rose from 34pc to 45pc of profits last year.

Mervyn King: ‘Impossible to say’ how much capital needed to shore up banking system (Telegraph):
Mr King said it would take “many months” to establish the scale of toxic assets held by banks, and the scale of problems would change depending on the international economic outlook.

US may break up AIG to keep it afloat: report (Reuters)

Health spending takes rising share of US economy (Reuters):
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Health spending will hit $2.5 trillion this year, devouring 17.6 percent of the economy, as the White House and Congress consider major changes to the healthcare system, U.S. government economists said on Tuesday. (The U.S. is about to collapse.)

Depression in the east points the way for the rest of the world (Guardian):
Anybody who doubts that the global economy is facing its most serious downturn since the 1930s should take a squint at the latest trade figures from Japan. Exports in January were 46% lower in January than they were a year ago – a phenomenal drop for a country that is so heavily dependent on sales of its industrial products overseas.

Pakistan faces new political crisis as Nawaz Sharif banned from office (Telegraph):
Pakistan has been plunged back into political crisis after its Supreme Court banned its former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, from holding political office.

Iran says there will be no slowdown in its nuclear plan and urges US to ‘face reality’ (Guardian):
Uranium enriched to a low level is used as fuel in a reactor; further enrichment makes it suitable for nuclear weapons.
(Iran’s uranium is enriched at 3%, nuclear weapon grade uranium has to be enriched at 96%. This is almost never mentioned in the mass media and we should all ask ourselves why this is so.)

Meningitis vaccine for babies recalled over contamination fears (Times Online):
Novartis, which manufactures the vaccine in Italy, said it had discovered traces of Staphylococcus Aureus in the aluminium hydroxide solvent in which the vaccine is suspended (Vaccines contain a lot of “healthy” incredients: Aluminum , mercury, foreign proteins etc. that are destroying the brain when it is the most vulnerable. Babies do not have the blood-brain barrier yet, which would at least protect the brain to some extent. Besides using a mobile phone opens the blood-brain barrier even in adults.)


Feb 25

Climate science is ‘ancient astrology’, claims report

Japanese scientists have made a dramatic break with the UN and Western-backed hypothesis of climate change in a new report from its Energy Commission.

Three of the five researchers disagree with the UN’s IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. Remarkably, the subtle and nuanced language typical in such reports has been set aside.

One of the five contributors compares computer climate modelling to ancient astrology. Others castigate the paucity of the US ground temperature data set used to support the hypothesis, and declare that the unambiguous warming trend from the mid-part of the 20th Century has ceased.

The report by Japan Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) is astonishing rebuke to international pressure, and a vote of confidence in Japan’s native marine and astronomical research. Publicly-funded science in the West uniformly backs the hypothesis that industrial influence is primarily responsible for climate change, although fissures have appeared recently. Only one of the five top Japanese scientists commissioned here concurs with the man-made global warming hypothesis.

JSER is the academic society representing scientists from the energy and resource fields, and acts as a government advisory panel. The report appeared last month but has received curiously little attention. So The Register commissioned a translation of the document – the first to appear in the West in any form. Below you’ll find some of the key findings – but first, a summary.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Feb 25

Still very important to see: Ron Paul on Iran and Energy June 26, 2008
(”Our own CIA says, that the Iranians have not been working on a nuclear weapon since 2003.”)

Russian Atomic Agency Chief Sergei Kiriyenko (centre right) and Iranian Vice President Gholamreza Aqazadeh (center left)

There is no room for Western concern over Russia’s nuclear cooperation with Iran, says the head of the Rosatom State Atomic Corporation.

Sergei Kiriyenko, in a joint Wednesday press conference with head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEO) Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh in Bushehr, addressed Western opposition to Moscow’s nuclear cooperation with Tehran.

“Cooperation between Iran and Russia is based on international norms and conventions and it should be said that nothing is being done outside the non-proliferation framework,” explained the Russian nuclear official in response to a question by Press TV’s correspondent Gisoo Misha Ahmadi.

Related article:
Barak Says Israel will ‘Stop at Nothing’ to Deny Iran Nukes (Arutz Sheva)

Kiriyenko added that those who seek to make excuses to hinder the Iranian nuclear program should “lose all hope as they witness the level of progress at the Bushehr power plant.”

“Russia’s cooperation with Iran in building the Bushehr power plant is not subject to any political games,” he stressed.

The remarks came after Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, in an interview with RIA Novosti, suggested the West had launched a misinformation campaign against the Iranian nuclear program to force an end to Russia’s nuclear presence in Iran for competitive reasons.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Feb 25

The cost of bankruptcy protection on German debt has reached an all-time high on spill-over from the financial crisis in Eastern Europe and mounting concerns about the stability of Germany’s banking system.

The state governments of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein agreed on 3bn (£2.7bn) cash rescue for Landesbank HSH Nordbank. Photo: Reuters

Credit default swaps measuring risk on five-year sovereign debt touched 90 basis points on Tuesday and looks poised to rise above French debt for the first time.

The spike follows a warning by Deutsche Bank that Germany’s economy will contract by 5pc this year as industrial exports collapse at the fastest pace since the Great Depression.

Norbert Walter, the bank’s chief economist, said there was a risk of an even deeper slump if the economy fails to stabilize by the summer. “A bigger contraction can’t be ruled out,” he said.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Feb 25

Ron Paul opening’s statement before Ben Bernanke testimony before House Financial Services Committee.

Source: YouTube

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 25

Banks in Europe and the US face a new wave of losses linked to contracts issued to insure against companies going bust and defaulting on their loans, City analysts have warned.

After the billions lost over the US subprime market and leveraged loans, investment banks such as Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, UBS and RBS face losses on credit default swaps (CDS) – contracts that allow an investor to be repaid if a company loan or a bond defaults.

CDS contracts became a favourite tool of speculators, mostly hedge funds, which bought the contracts without having any link to the original lending. They bought the contract to trade or in the expectation the company would in fact default, meaning they could claim back the full value of a loan they never made.

The CDS market exploded to be worth as much as $50 TRILLION, many times the size of the underlying assets. Each loan could have thousands of protection contracts, even if there were only a few lenders. Hedge funds accounted for about 60% of CDS trading, according to ratings agency Fitch.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 25

Japan’s big three carmakers today reported a dramatic fall in production as the auto industry counts the cost of plummeting global demand.

Toyota, the world’s biggest carmaker, said global production dropped 39.1% in January from a year earlier to 487,984 vehicles. Honda reported a fall of 33.5% worldwide to 226,551 vehicles and Nissan 54% to 145,286.

The global economic crisis has ravaged demand in major markets, forcing Japan’s carmakers to slash production and lay off thousands of workers.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Feb 25

Don’t forget another crisis, that will be much bigger than the subprime mortgage crisis:
Mass Retail Closings: About 220,000 stores may close this year
Interview with Gerald Celente: 2009 – The Worst Economic Collapse Ever (02/10/09)
Retailers may close 73,000 stores; Wave of store closings, bankruptcies and takeovers

Hot on the heels of the banking crisis, the employment crisis, and the mortgage/foreclosure crisis, the country is on the verge of experiencing a credit card crisis.

According to the Federal Reserve, the total outstanding credit card debt carried by Americans reached a record $951 billion in 2008 — a number that will only climb higher as more and more people reach for the plastic to make ends meet. What’s more, roughly a third of that is debt held by risky borrowers with low credit ratings.

Related article:
American Express paying card holders to close their accounts

Credit card defaults are on the rise and are expected to hit 10 percent this year. This will obviously drive many banks closer to failing their stress tests — but it will have an even greater impact on the lives of people who find themselves sinking deeper and deeper into debt.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Feb 25

Savers withdraw record amount from banks … and the reason is bla, bla, bla …

People live off of their savings, they know that the banking system might fail and so they buy gold, foreign currencies and have some cash at hand in case of a bank-holiday.
Some are even leaving the country.

Jim Rogers: Now it’s time to emigrate, says investment guru (Independent)

The British Bankers’ Association said that customers withdrew £2.3bn in January, the biggest drop since records began.

The BBA said personal deposits fell by £2.3bn as spending drained cash and savers sought alternative ways of getting a return on their cash. The previous high for falling deposits was £1.5bn in 1997.

David Dooks, BBA statistics director, said: “It is the biggest monthly fall in a decade. A fall in deposits in January reflects a tendency to draw on cash to pay off credit cards after Christmas, or to move into alternative financial products paying a higher return.”

Continue reading »

Tags: , ,

Feb 25

Bailout Bank Blows Millions Partying in L.A. (TMZ):
Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank, sponsored the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in L.A. We’re told Northern Trust paid millions to sponsor the PGA event which ended Sunday, but what happened off the golf course is even more shocking. (!)

Troops’ revolt rocks Bangladesh capital (Guardian):
Soldiers in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, have revolted against senior officers apparently over rations and pay, with television reports claiming the troops killed a major general.

FBI raids University of Florida nuclear power institute (Orlando Sentinel):
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Federal investigators are alleging that a University of Florida professor and three other members of his family fraudulently received millions of dollars from NASA and then allegedly funneled money to their personal bank accounts, court documents show.

Big Brother spy planes that track the Taliban may soon hover over your home (Daily Mail):
Britain already has more CCTV cameras than the rest of Europe put together.

Anti-terror fight ‘will need privacy sacrifice’ (Independent):
Citizens will have to sacrifice their right to privacy in the fight against terrorism, a former senior security official warned today. Sir David Omand, the Cabinet Office’s former security and intelligence co-ordinator, said in future the security services would need access to a wide range of personal data, including phone records, emails and travel information.
(The real enemy here is the New World Order and Big Brother.)

Zimbabwe’s vice-president foiled in 3600kg gold deal (Times Online):
The Vice-President of Zimbabwe has been accused of trying to sell millions of dollars in gold nuggets and diamonds in defiance of international sanctions.

Gold investors make 120pc return in four months (Telegraph):
Private investors who have bought exchange traded funds that track the performance of gold miners have more than doubled their money since October last year.

Exxon drags its feet for 20 years to avoid paying damages to struggling Alaskans, while making record profits (BuzzFlash)

Anti-Putin oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky transferred to Moscow to face new charges (Telegraph):
Khodorkovsky, Russia’s richest man until his arrest in 2003, will go on trial next month after being accused of fresh counts of embezzlement and theft. Human rights activists and defence lawyers said the new charges were a politically-motivated concoction to keep the tycoon behind bars.

Obama to Seek $75.5 Billion More for Wars in 2009 (Bloomberg):

Wall Street sinks as Obama warns of oversight (Reuters):
The Dow is down 9.1 percent for the month and 17.2 percent year-to-date. “As we came close to the bell we got the curveball: our president came on TV,” he said.

San Francisco Chronicle may shut down (Reuters):
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – San Francisco may lose its main newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, as owner Hearst Corp cuts a “significant” number of jobs and decides whether to shut or sell the money-losing daily.

Miliband faces high court battle in UK over Gaza rights (Guardian):
Lawyers for Palestinian families claim foreign secretary’s failure to ban arms sales to Israel flouted international law

Russian economy hit by 8.8% decline (Financial Times)

Russia’s 2009 budget deficit to be 8% of GDP – economics minister (RIA Novosti)

RUSSIA: Problems Rise With Falling Oil Prices (IPS):
MOSCOW, Feb 24 (IPS) – The Russian economy is plunging into a crisis as oil prices fall and the government digs deep into its reserve fund.

A look at economic developments around the world (IHT)

European banking bail-outs threaten common market, finance baron warns (Guardian):
European government efforts to shore up their national banking systems could end up as a “dismal failure” by backfiring on the “real” economy and aggravating and prolonging the current crisis.

UK recession deepens as manufacturing wilts (Times Online)

Corporate Bonds Are Next ‘Bubble,’ RBS’s Janjuah Says (Bloomberg)

NYSE in talks to relax its $1 minimum rule (Financial Times):
NYSE Euronext is in talks with US regulators about relaxing its requirement that companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange maintain a share price of more than $1 to protect itself from a possible wave of delistings.

Best hope is recovery in 2010, Ben Bernanke tells US Congress (Guardian):
(Best ‘hope‘? … at worst there will be a total collapse in 2009, at best best in 2010.
“We ‘believe‘ the effect of the troubles in the subprime sector on the broader housing market will likely be limited”
– Ben Bernanke, May 2007 – Hope = Believe = Don’t Know)

Bernanke says recession to linger (Reuters)

Bank of America fights to hide bonus payouts (Times Online)

– Pacific Brands: Shock as 1800 jobs vaporise (Daily Telegraph):
THE maker of iconic clothing brands including Bonds and King Gee will slash more than 1,800 jobs after the company announced it no longer has a future manufacturing in Australia.

Tomkins cuts 2,500 more jobs (Financial Times):
Tomkins, the car parts maker that also supplies industrial belts and building products, is to shed a further 2,500 jobs and close 15 plants.

US house prices fall back to 2003 levels (Times Online)

Diebold ‘offices’ listed in yellow pages are mostly Wal-Marts (Raw Story):
Across the country, curious bloggers are calling up their local Diebold offices, and no one is answering. However, when calls were made to all of these offices, only one picked up the phone. And when the addresses of offices listed under Diebold in the White Pages were visited, the addresses turned out to belong to either a Wal-Mart, a Sam’s Club, or no building at all. In the end, 16 of the 18 Diebold offices in Utah listed in the White Pages were false listings.

Man charged with sending terrorist material by email (Daily Mail)

Five US soldiers, two Iraqi translators killed in Iraq (Monsters and Critics)

Depleted Uranium Hazard Awareness – US Army Training Video:
STILL TODAY the vast majority of servicemen and women in the U.S. military, and likely in the armed forces of other countries which are developing or have obtained depleted uranium munitions, are unaware of the use and dangers of depleted uranium munitions, or of the protective clothing and procedures which can minimize or prevent serious short-term exposures.

Excessive PlayStation gaming causes new skin condition (Telegraph)

Long hours put workers at risk of dementia, according to research into damage to brain (Telegraph):
Millions of workers are being put at greater risk of dementia by Britain’s long working hours culture, research has found.
Extreme tiredness and stress could be as bad for the brain as smoking, according to the study.

Worse than my darkest nightmare (Guardian):
I hope you will understand that after everything I have been through, I am neither physically nor mentally capable of facing the media on the moment of my arrival back to Britain. Please forgive me if I make a simple statement through my lawyer. I hope to be able to do better in days to come, when I am on the road to recovery.