– Gold hits record against euro on fear of Zimbabwean-style response to bank crisis (Telegraph):
Gold has surged to an all-time high against the euro, sterling, and a string of Asian currencies on mounting concerns that global authorities are embarking on a “Zimbabwe-style” debasement of the international monetary system.
– Israel engaged in covert war inside Iran: report (Reuters):
LONDON (Reuters) – Israel is involved in a covert war of sabotage inside Iran to try to delay Tehran’s alleged attempts to develop a nuclear weapon, a British newspaper said on Tuesday, quoting a former CIA agent and intelligence experts.
– Surveillance will cost more than £34 billion (Times Online)
– Obama orders 17000 US troops to Afghanistan (Reuters)
– US privately backs Pakistan’s ‘Sharia law for peace’ deal with Taliban (Telegraph):
American officials have privately backed Pakistan’s “Sharia law for peace” deal with Taliban militants in the Swat Valley despite publicly criticising it as a “negative development”.
– Barack Obama gambles billions to save homes and jobs (Times Online):
President Obama will reveal a plan today to stem the flood of home repossessions afflicting millions of American families after signing his $787 billion economic stimulus package into law last night.
– Miami banker gives $60 million of his own to employees (Miami Herald):
Lots of bosses say they value their employees. Some even mean it. And then there’s Leonard Abess Jr. After selling a majority stake in Miami-based City National Bancshares last November, all he did was take $60 million of the proceeds — $60 million out of his own pocket — and hand it to his tellers, bookkeepers, clerks, everyone on the payroll. All 399 workers on the staff received bonuses, and he even tracked down 72 former employees so they could share in the windfall.
– GM seeks up to $30B in aid, will cut 47000 jobs (AP):
DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Corp., presenting a dire outlook for the future, said Tuesday it may need $30 billion in total government financing to weather the economic downturn and would cut 47,000 jobs worldwide and shutter five more U.S. factories in a massive restructuring plan.
– GM seeks up to US$30b to avoid failure (Manawatu Standard):
Carmaker General Motors, facing 47,000 job cuts worldwide, says it could need up to US$30 billion in US government aid or will run out of cash as soon as March.
– Saab may go bust in 10 days, warns GM (Times Online):
Saab, the Swedish carmaker owned by America’s General Motors (GM), could go bust within ten days without an immediate injection of state aid, the US company warned last night.
– One in five California public workers to be fired as Arnold Schwarzenegger cuts deep (Times):
The state of California was yesterday set to fire 20,000 public employees as it teetered on the brink of a total financial collapse.
– Barack Obama refuses to rule out second stimulus pakage (Telegraph)
– US housing starts hit record low (Financial Times):
Housing starts fell for the seventh month running, sliding by 16.8 per cent from December and leaving January’s adjusted annual rate of construction at 466,000, commerce department figures showed on Wednesday. The results fell far below economists’ expectations of 527,000.
– Panicked Antiguans besiege Stanford bank (Financial Times):
The reverberations from Texas billionaire Sir Allen Stanford’s alleged $8bn fraud continued to spread on Wednesday, as Antiguan authorities attempted to calm panicked locals who had been queuing up to withdraw money from a Stanford-owned retail bank.
– Stanford’s Whereabouts Aren’t Known After Fraud Charge, SEC Official Says (Bloomberg):
Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) — U.S. regulators don’t know the whereabouts of R. Allen Stanford, the billionaire accused of running a “massive, ongoing fraud” through his Houston-based Stanford Group Co., a Securities and Exchange Commission official said.
– Explosives haul missing in Gaza (BBC News):
A large stockpile of unexploded weapons has disappeared in Gaza, before United Nations experts were able to dispose of it safely, the BBC has learned. The explosives, including aircraft bombs and white phosphorus shells, were fired by the Israeli military during its recent offensive in the Gaza Strip.
– Goodyear sheds 5,000 jobs amid Detroit downturn (Financial Times)
– Greenspan backs bank nationalisation (Financial Times):
(Greenspan was a main cause of the crisis, so you can trust he has the best solution.)
– Downgrades Loom for Hungary, Poland, Bond Yields Show (Bloomberg):
“Everybody is running for the door,” said Lars Christensen, head of emerging-market strategy at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “The markets have decided the central and eastern European region is the subprime area of Europe.”
– John Deere posts 45% fall in profits (Financial Times)
– Lawyers from 21 countries tackle Madoff case (Times Online)
– Greek police defuse bomb outside Citibank in Athens (Reuters):
Police in Athens defused a “powerful” makeshift time bomb on Wednesday outside the Greek headquarters of US banking group Citibank, a police source said.
– MI5 fed questions to CIA for interrogation (Guardian)
– Secret papers on Iraq war stolen from Eversheds lawyer on train (Times Online)
– Coffee Risks Squeezing Starbucks, Funds on Supply (Bloomberg):
Demand may exceed output by 8 million 60-kilogram bags in the coming year — almost what Germany consumes — and exporter stockpiles are the lowest since 1965, the International Coffee Organization said.
– Los Angeles nears water rationing (Reuters):
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With a recent flurry of winter storms doing little to dampen California’s latest drought, the nation’s biggest public utility voted on Tuesday to impose water rationing in Los Angeles for the first time in nearly two decades.
– In Flurry Of Studies, Researcher Details Role Of Apples In Inhibiting Breast Cancer (ScienceDaily):
“We not only observed that the treated animals had fewer tumors, but the tumors were smaller, less malignant and grew more slowly compared with the tumors in the untreated rats,”
– Aids is China’s deadliest disease (BBC News):
Chinese officials have said that HIV/Aids was the leading cause of death last year, compared with other infectious diseases.
– Elderly New Yorkers angry as crisis hits poorest (Reuters)
– Toxic British waste illegally sent to Africa (Times Online):
Tonnes of material left at municipal dumps in Britain – including hundreds of thousands of items such as televisions and computers – is being bought by dealers who are shipping the waste abroad, where it is harvested by young men and children trawling through toxic dumps.
– Contraceptive implants given to girls as young as 12 (Telegraph):
Girls as young as 12 are being given contraceptive implants on the NHS without the consent of their parents.