Global News (02/19/09)

Brzezinski: US Recession Could Lead to Riots (U.S. News & World Report):
And if we don’t get some sort of voluntary National Solidarity Fund, at some point there’ll be such political pressure that Congress will start getting in the act, there’s going to be growing conflict between the classes and if people are unemployed and really hurting, hell, there could be even riots.

Kabul on the edge (Stars and Stripes):
“People are saying that for six or seven years we have all these international troops, but everything is getting worse … security, the economy, everything. So they think America must be supporting the Taliban.”

Russian navy accused of sinking Chinese cargo ship (Telegraph):
The New Star was pursued out of port in Nakhodka in the Siberian Far East on Sunday by a Russian naval vessel which believed it was involved in smuggling. The pursuing ship fired at least 500 rounds, forcing it to turn back to port, but it sank on the way.

California Lawmakers Approve Tax Increases to Close $42 Billion Budget Gap (Bloomberg):
A $13 billion tax increase passed….

Rising debt may overwhelm Barack Obama’s effort to rescue the economy (Times Online):
President Obama was hit with another wave of grim financial news yesterday, amid signs that his Administration is in danger of being overwhelmed by the scale of the economic crisis.

Pentagon issues performance pay and bonuses averaging 8.35 percent (GovExec.com):
Nearly all of the employees in the Defense Department’s new personnel system were rewarded for their job performance in their first paychecks of 2009, with the average pay raise and bonus totaling 8.35 percent.

Feb. could be worst month yet for jobless claims (AP):
WASHINGTON – February is shaping up to be another brutal month of job losses: The number of laid-off workers receiving unemployment benefits hit an all-time high of nearly 5 million, and new jobless claims are at levels not seen since the early 1980s.

Stock Decline Hits Depression Levels (BusinessWeek):
During the darkest 10 years of the Great Depression, from September 1929 to September 1939, the stock market dropped roughly 50%, adjusted for inflation. With today’s drop in the stock market, the U.S. has now matched that unfortunate milestone.

Greenwald: U.S. Is Bound By Treaty to Prosecute Torture Crimes (Crooks and Liars)

SEC Uncovers Ponzi Scheme Targeting Deaf Investors (CNBC)

Benefits neglected for civil retirees (USA Today):
State and local governments have set aside virtually no money to pay $1 trillion or more in medical benefits for retired civil servants, a USA TODAY survey found. With bills coming due as Baby Boomers start to retire, states, cities, school districts and other governments may be forced to raise taxes, cut benefits or both — a task made especially difficult in an economic downturn.

Foreign firms and investors flee from wounded Celtic Tiger (Guardian):
Brussels lumped Ireland together with Greece and Latvia yesterday on a hit list of countries with “excessive” government deficits, in the latest blow to the pride of the economy once envied across Europe and dubbed the Celtic Tiger.

Nicolas Sarkozy announces 2.65 bn euro in aid in bid to avert French unrest (Telegraph):
His speech came as violence in the French island of Guadeloupe put pressure on him to avert unrest on the mainland.

Anger over Labour’s ‘secret plan to push up council taxes’ (Daily Mail):
Labour was last night accused of secretly plotting to raise extra cash from millions of households with a nationwide council tax revaluation. The Government has quietly renewed a multi-million pound deal with one of Britain’s leading property websites to access details of sale prices and floorplans of tens of thousands of homes.

UK overshoots borrowing target (Financial Times):
… in the 12 months to the end of January 2009, tax revenues have been so weak that borrowing has already exceeded the pre-Budget report forecast and reached £79.3bn. For the past two months, the degree to which the government’s finances have been in deficit over the most recent year of data has deteriorated by £10bn a month.

UK public finances deteriorate dramatically (Telegraph):
The UK’s public finances deteriorated dramatically in January as the Government’s bank bail-out boosted debt levels and tax revenues dropped sharply.

Civil servants to benefit from £26 million bonuses (Telegraph)

Brown leads global drive to close down tax havens (Independent):
Britain is leading moves to end the privileged status of tax havens as part of a planned “global new deal” to tackle the international recession. (Can’t hide from the New World Order.)

EU fights plan to ring-fence British banks’ toxic assets (Guardian)

Banks agree to European CDS clearer (Financial Times):
Weeks of battling between regulators in Brussels and some of the biggest players in the huge $60,000bn credit derivatives industry ended on Thursday when the industry agreed to clear most EU-based credit default swap contracts in Europe.

Brown calls on world to strike ‘grand bargain’ to solve economic crisis (Times Online)

Venezuela Takes Over Local Bank Owned by Stanford (Bloomberg)

BNP Paribas, Axa Post Losses After Financial Markets Tumble (Bloomberg):
BNP Paribas, the biggest French bank, had a 1.37 billion- euro ($1.72 billion) fourth-quarter loss…
Axa, Europe’s second-largest insurer, had a deficit of 1.24 billion euros in the second half…

Bank of Japan Widens Asset-Purchase Program to Ease Credit Woes (Bloomberg)

Germany ready to help eurozone members (Financial Times):
Germany signalled that it would support emergency action to protect the eurozone if one of its 16 member-states found itself in such serious difficulties that it could not refinance its debt.

China Feasts on Miners as ‘Bank of Last Resort’ (Bloomberg):
“China has turned out to be the bank of last resort,” said Glyn Lawcock, head of resources research at UBS AG in Sydney. “China is a net importer of copper, bauxite, alumina, nickel, zircon, uranium. China is looking for ways to secure supply of these raw materials.” (Excellent investment strategy, because commodities will go through the roof.)

World Bank president Zoellick urges EU to help east Europe (Financial Times):

European banks warn of more job cuts (Guardian):
Mainland European banks today warned of a worsening economic environment throughout this year as they confirmed they had plunged into the red in the final quarter of 2008 and warned of thousands of job losses to come.

US Sen. Kerry goes to Gaza Strip, avoids Hamas (AP)

Geronimo’s kin sue Skull and Bones over remains (AP):
HARTFORD, Conn. – Geronimo’s descendants have sued Skull and Bones the secret society at Yale University linked to presidents and other powerful figures claiming that its members stole the remains of the legendary Apache leader decades ago and have kept them ever since.

What a mess! Experts ponder space junk problem (AP):
VIENNA – Think of it as a galactic garbage dump. With a recent satellite collision still fresh on minds, participants at a meeting in the Austrian capital this week are discussing ways to deal with space debris — junk that is clogging up the orbit around the Earth.

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