- Japan and China to start direct currency trading on Friday (Japan Today, May 29, 2012):
TOKYO — Japan and China will start direct currency trading this week, Tokyo said Tuesday, the first time Beijing has let a major unit other than the dollar swap with the yuan.
The move, which will scrap the greenback as an intermediary unit, comes as China introduces measures as part of a long-term goal of internationalizing its currency to rival the dollar.
How to ‘lose’ your country with Goldman Sachs:
- Mitt Romney IS Goldman Sachs! … and so is Obama.
- How To Lose All Your Money With Goldman Sachs (ZeroHedge, May 30, 2012):
It seems the Muppets have been well-and-truly Oscar’d this time. Combining Goldman’s once-in-a-lifetime equity buying opportunity position recommendation with their short Treasuries trade has produced an astoundingly un-positive return of -29% in just 48 days (based on SPY (stocks) and TBT (ultra-short TSYs given duration and beta). Extrapolated using the only tool that counts (Birinyi’s famous ruler) this means your account is Corzined by Thanksgiving – happy holidays.
Percentage performance of the Goldman ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trade recommendation from 3/21…
- Spain in a state of ‘total emergency’ (Telegraph, May 30, 2012):
Felipe González, the country’s elder statesman, said: “We’re in a situation of total emergency, the worst crisis we have ever lived through.”
Global financial markets lurched yesterday at the spectre of the eurozone’s fourth biggest economy being locked out of international capital markets and being unable to fund itself.
- Greek Pensioner Hangs Himself In Protest That “Greece Will Be Wiped Off The Map” (ZeroHedge, May 30, 2012):
Two months ago, an elderly Greek took his life in broad daylight in Athens’ central square while decrying the country’s traitors in government, and who preferred to take his own life than to defer his debts to his children or “fishing through garbage cans for his sustenance.” Hours ago, another tragedy struck.
From Athens News:
A 61-year old pensioner was found hanging from a tree on Wednesday, in the Agios Filipos park of the Nikaia area. The lifeless body of the pensioner was discovered by a park attendant, who also found his suicide note which read as follows:
“The police does not know me. I have never touched a drink in my life. Of women and drugs I have never even dreamed of. I have never been to a kafenio (coffee house), I just worked all day! But I commited one horrendous crime: I became a professional at age 40 and I plunged myself in debt. Now, I’m an idiot of 61 years and I have to pay. I hope my grandchildren are not born in Greece, seeing as there will be no Greeks here from now on. Let them at least know another language, because Greek will be wiped off the map! Unless of course there was a politician with Thatcher’s balls so as to put us and our state in line.
Signed, Alexandros 29/5/2012”
His neighbours described the pensioner – a father of two- as a hard working man. He had been employed in ship repairs and construction sites and up until recently, he had been working as an electrician on a merchant ship.
He was facing sizeable financial problems and it was these that pushed him over the edge.
According to neighbours, prior to taking his own life, he was seen wearing his work overalls, carrying his tools and sitting on a bench in the park.
- Auto Jobs: Sign of the Times (CNBC, May 30, 2012):
It should not come as a surprise with unemployment over 8% that good paying jobs in manufacturing are harder than ever to land.
At the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Alabama more than 20,000 people have applied for one of the 877 job openings.
- The Second Act Of The JPM CIO Fiasco Has Arrived – Mismarking Hundreds Of Billions In Credit Default Swaps (ZeroHedge, May 30, 2012):
As anyone who has ever traded CDS (or any other OTC, non-exchange traded product) knows, when you have a short risk position, unless compliance tells you to and they rarely do as they have no idea what CDS is most of the time, you always mark the EOD price at the offer, and vice versa, on long risk positions, you always use the bid. That way the P&L always looks better. And for portfolios in which the DV01 is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars (or much, much more if your name was Bruno Iksil), marking at either side of an illiquid market can result in tens if not hundreds of millions of unrealistic profits booked in advance, simply to make one’s book look better, mostly for year end bonus purposes. Apparently JPM’s soon to be fired Bruno Iksil was no stranger to this: as Bloomberg reports, JPM’s CIO unit “was valuing some of its trades at prices that differed from those of its investment bank, according to people familiar with the matter. The discrepancy between prices used by the chief investment office and JPMorgan’s credit-swaps dealer, the biggest in the U.S., may have obscured by hundreds of millions of dollars the magnitude of the loss before it was disclosed May 10, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to discuss the matter. “I’ve never run into anything like that,” said Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.’s Brad Hintz in New York. “That’s why you have a centralized accounting group that’s comparing marks” between different parts of the bank “to make sure you don’t have any outliers,” said the former chief financial officer of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.” Continue reading »
- Security backdoor found in China-made US military chip (InformationAge, May 28, 2012):
Cambridge University researchers find that a microprocessor used by the US military but made in China contains secret remote access capability UPDATED
A microchip used by the US military and manufactured in China contains a secret “backdoor” that means it can be shut off or reprogrammed without the user knowing, according to researchers at Cambridge University’s Computing Laboratory.
UPDATE: However, one security consultancy has said that the implication that the backdoor might have been secretly inserted by the Chinese manufacturer is “bogus”, and that malicious intent is unlikely.
In a draft paper, Cambridge University researcher Sergei Skorobogatov wrote that the chip in question is widely used in military and industrial applications. The “backdoor” means it is “wide open to intellectual property theft, fraud and reverse engineering of the design to allow the introduction of a backdoor or Trojan”, they said.
- US troops imitate invasion of Iran with Arab allies (RT, May 29, 2012):
Around 12,000 troops from more than 19 nations are wrapping up a massive military training drill in the Middle East. But for some of those servicemen, these exercises might be just the beginning of something much bigger to come.
The United States, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan are just a sampling of the many countries — along with European allies — that have been involved in the nearly month-long Eager Lion 2012 exercise expected to end this week. Although much of the drills have been kept under wraps, it isn’t a secret that these states have spent the last month cooperating together through mock combat drills and comprehensive training. Some sources overseas report, however, that as many as 3,000 troops aligned with US forces have conducted a simulated landing and attack on Iran, preparing America and its allies for a war that becomes more likely by the day.
Intelligence sources speaking to Israel’s Debka news agency report that US troops and other forces aligned with America recently staged a landing on a Jordanian beach that was immediately followed by a military seizure of fortified mountain bases and command posts. The exercise was meant to emulate an attack on Iran and accompanies other drills that witnesses say show off just what America’s foes face if they continue to put the heat on the United States and its pals abroad.