I have a neat little app on my smartphone that I like to look at when I’m feeling bored. It won’t change anything in my life, but it makes me think as I see the numbers clocking up, and then suddenly stopping for a few seconds. It’s the app that tells me the how much the National Debt of each country stands at in real-time. As I sit down at my computer screen the USA National Debt amounts to $17 041 241 xxx xxx. Forgive the x’s…they’re not kisses…I tried to get the last six digits, but, there’s no point, they’re moving too fast! Speedie Gonzalez has got into that app! It works out to $54 087 per person. That’s the same value as 3 408 248 816 XXX Big Mac Meals.
Inflation is hot property today, hyperinflation is even hotter! We think we are modern, contemporary, smart and ready to deal with anything. We’ve got that seen-it-all-before, been-there-done-it attitude. But, we are not a patch on what some countries have been through in the worst cases of hyperinflation in history. Here’s the top 10 list of worst cases in history. We’ll start with the worst first…let’s think positive! Continue reading »
When it comes to being a NWO debt slave, one can accept their fate demurely and bent over, like a conditionally habituated dog electroshocked into perpetual submission just as the banker elites like it, with threats that the world would end the second one dared to change the status quo (see Greece), or one can do something about being a debt slave. Like Iceland. And then rapidly proceed to be the best performing economy in Europe. And reading some of the latest news out of Hungary, which has to count its lucky stars is not stuck in the inflexible nightmare that is the mercantilist Eurocurrency union, gives us hope that we may soon witness the next sovereign rebellion against the banker yoke. The WSJ reports: “Hungary’s premier fired a new broadside in the country’s running battle of wills with the European Union, saying that Hungarians should be free to make their own laws without interference from Brussels. Speaking to a large crowd of supporters celebrating the anniversary of a 19th-century Hungarian revolt against Austrian rule, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said: “Hungarians will not live as foreigners dictate.” This has promptly generated the anticipated response from European unelected dictator Barroso, who minutes ago said that Hungary’s Orban doesn’t get democracy. Oh, we think he does. What he doesn’t seem to get, or like, is existence in a banker-governed technocratic, klepto-fascist state, in which the peasantry is merely an intermediary vessel for asset confiscation by insolvent banks. Like Greece… which however already is the butt of all jokes of personal submission to a foreign oppressor, so there is no dignity in kicking a dog that is down.
Hungary’s central bank, currently at the centre of a dispute between the country’s government and the EU, has launched an unusual social programme to counter the effects of the current cold snap. It’s handing out blocks of disused bank notes to the country’s poorest citizens, so that they can be burned for fuel.
When Hungary’s former central bank governor was buying a house two months before Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed and the country sought an emergency bailout, he received an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Peter Akos Bod, now an economics professor at Corvinus University in Budapest, was given a choice of mortgages by his bank. The 60 year-old could select a loan in Hungary’s currency, the forint, at 13 percent interest, or one in Swiss francs at less than 6 percent. After crunching the numbers on a spreadsheet, he picked the cheaper franc loan.
“It was rational,” he said of his 2008 decision in an interview in the Hungarian capital. “I put it into a model.”
Three years later, Bod and about one million compatriots who took mortgages in francs are faced with a debt pile that has swelled to 4.9 trillion forint ($22 billion). The currency’s 40 percent slump against the franc has raised repayment costs, pushing mortgage arrears to a two-decade high and prompting Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government to brand the loans “debt slavery.”
To help homeowners, Orban imposed currency losses on banks including Erste Group Bank AG and Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) that may total 900 million euros ($1.2 billion). Faced with the risk Orban would impose further measures, lenders have offered to accept $2.2 billion of additional losses if the government promised to take no further action. If it doesn’t, banks are threatening they may withdraw from the country. Continue reading »
17 November 2011 | The IAEA has received information from the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (HAEA) that the source of the iodine-131 (I-131) detected in Europe was most probably a release to the atmosphere from the Institute of Isotopes Ltd., Budapest. The Institute of Isotopes Ltd. produces radioisotopes for healthcare, research and industrial applications. According to the HAEA, the release occurred from September 8 to November 16, 2011. The cause of the release is under investigation.
As previously mentioned, the levels of I-131 that have been detected in Europe are extremely low. There is no health concern to the population. If any member of the public were to breathe iodine for a whole year at the levels measured in European countries, then they would receive a dose in the range of 0.01 microsieverts for the year. To put this into perspective, the average annual background is 2400 microsieverts per year.
The IAEA was first notified of the presence of trace levels of I-131 by authorities from the Czech Republic on 11 November. Since this notification, the IAEA contacted several member states throughout the region to determine the cause and origin. The IAEA also worked with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to conduct air dispersion modelling, as part of efforts to determine the source.
At least IAEA didn’t mention X-ray or transcontinental flight. Never mind that the average annual background includes external radiation, and that iodine-131 goes almost exclusively to thyroid; talking about the whole body radiation is irrelevant. Continue reading »
Hungary’s sovereign credit grade may be cut to junk this month after Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services placed the country’s lowest investment grade on “CreditWatch with negative implications.”
S&P is likely to make a decision this month on Hungary’s credit grade, currently at BBB-, the rating company said in a statement today. Fitch Ratings yesterday cut the outlook on Hungary’s lowest investment grade to negative from stable, joining S&P and Moody’s Investors Service.
Hungary is now the closest possible to junk grade at Fitch Ratings as the credit rating agency has revised the Outlooks on the country’s Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) to Negative from Stable and affirmed the ratings at ‘BBB-’ and ‘BBB’, respectively. Hungary is now a single step away from non-investment status with a negative outlook at all three major rating agencies (Fitch, S&P and Moody’s).
Some 400 hectares of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said.
The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said Lajos Bognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added. Unlike several EU members, GMO seeds are banned in Hungary.
Authorities have been checking for GMO crops since the beginning of this year as a new regulation came in force this March which stipulates GMO checks before seeds are introduced to the market.
The checks will continue despite the fact that seed traders are obliged to make sure that their products are GMO free, Bognar said.
Controllers have found Pioneer and Monsanto products among the seeds planted. The free movement of goods within the EU means that authorities will not investigate how the seeds arrived in Hungary but they will check where the goods can be found, Bognar said.
Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Ireland and France take over citizens’ pension money to make up government budget shortfalls.
People’s retirement savings are a convenient source of revenue for governments that don’t want to reduce spending or make privatizations. As most pension schemes in Europe are organised by the state, European ministers of finance have a facilitated access to the savings accumulated there, and it is only logical that they try to get a hold of this money for their own ends. In recent weeks I have noted five such attempts: Three situations concern private personal savings; two others refer to national funds.
The most striking example is Hungary, where last month the government made the citizens an offer they could not refuse. They could either remit their individual retirement savings to the state, or lose the right to the basic state pension (but still have an obligation to pay contributions for it). In this extortionate way, the government wants to gain control over $14bn of individual retirement savings.
The Bulgarian government has come up with a similar idea. $300m of private early retirement savings was supposed to be transferred to the state pension scheme. The government gave way after trade unions protested and finally only about 20% of the original plans were implemented.
A slightly less drastic situation is developing in Poland. The government wants to transfer of 1/3 of future contributions from individual retirement accounts to the state-run social security system. Since this system does not back its liabilities with stocks or even bonds, the money taken away from the savers will go directly to the state treasury and savers will lose about $2.3bn a year. The Polish government is more generous than the Hungarian one, but only because it wants to seize just 1/3 of the future savings and also allows the citizens to keep the money accumulated so far.
The fourth example is Ireland. In 2001, the National Pension Reserve Fund was brought into existence for the purpose of supporting pensions of the Irish people in the years 2025-2050. The scheme was also supposed to provide for the pensions of some public sector employees (mainly university staff). However, in March 2009, the Irish government earmarked €4bn from this fund for rescuing banks. In November 2010, the remaining savings of €2.5bn was seized to support the bailout of the rest of the country.
The final example is France. In November, the French parliament decided to earmark €33bn from the national reserve pension fund FRR to reduce the short-term pension scheme deficit. In this way, the retirement savings intended for the years 2020-2040 will be used earlier, that is in the years 2011-2024, and the government will spend the saved up resources on other purposes.
“It’s unprecedented in Europe that a government is threatening to kick its own citizens out of the state pension system,”Zoltan Torok, a Budapest-based economist at Raiffeisen Bank International AG.
“This is open blackmail,” Julianna Baba, president of the Stabilitas Penztarszovetseg, which groups private pension funds, said in a phone interview today. “It’s a rigged deal.”
George Carlin would say: “They are coming for your f$$$ing retirement money!”
Hungary Follows Argentina in Pension-Fund Ultimatum, `Nightmare’ for Some
Hungary is giving its citizens an ultimatum: move your private-pension fund assets to the state or lose your state pension.
Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy announced the policy yesterday, escalating a government drive to bring 3 trillion forint ($14.6 billion) of privately managed pension assets under state control to reduce the budget deficit and public debt. Workers who opt against returning to the state system stand to lose 70 percent of their pension claim.
“This is effectively a nationalization of private pension funds,” David Nemeth, an economist at ING Groep NV in Budapest, said in a phone interview. “It’s the nightmare scenario.”
Hungary is rolling back pension changes implemented more than a decade ago as countries from Poland to Lithuania find themselves squeezed by policies designed to limit long-term liabilities by shifting workers into private funds. Now the cost is swelling debt and deficit levels at a time when the European Union is demanding greater fiscal discipline.
Hungary, the most indebted eastern member of the EU, is following the example of Argentina, which in 2001 confiscated about $3.2 billion of pension savings before the country stopped servicing its debt. The government in Buenos Aires nationalized the $24 billion industry two years ago to compensate for falling tax revenue after a 2005 debt restructuring.
A week after around one million cubic metres of red sludge escaped from a Hungarian alumina factory, an analysis commissioned by the environmental group Greenpeace has revealed that more than 50 tonnes of arsenic may have been released as a result of the spill.
In addition to containing almost twice as much arsenic (110 milligrams per kilogram dry mass) as expected for the red mud resulting from aluminium oxide production, the concentrations of mercury and chromium are also relatively high, says chemist Herwig Schuster, chief Greenpeace campaigner for Central and Eastern Europe. “Because arsenic is readily soluble we might be in for a major groundwater problem,” he adds.
Schuster says that Greenpeace’s figures suggest that the drinking water supplies of at least 100,000 people could be affected by potentially toxic levels, including inhabitants of the city of Györ downstream of the contaminated rivers. Exactly how fast and far the contamination will spread depends on the permeability of local soils — which scientists have not yet assessed.
Although small amounts of arsenic in bauxite sludge might have accumulated over time, “If that [Greenpeace] sample is representative there is no question that industrial wastes have been mixed in the basin,” says Weiszburg.
Greenpeace also suspects that the leaked basin may have contained toxic waste besides the sludge from aluminium oxide production.
Hungary toxic spill plant reopens as villagers return
Homes in the village of Kolontar were among the worst affected
The Hungarian alumina plant which caused a toxic sludge leak has reopened as villagers forced to abandon their houses begin to return home.
Dozens of homes in the western village of Kolontar, the closest to the plant, were made uninhabitable by the sludge.
Nine people died following the 4 October spill that devastated towns and rivers in the west of the country.
Some 30 people were taken to Kolontar from the nearby town of Ajka, where evacuated residents had been staying.
The plant of the Aluminium Production and Trade company (MAL Zrt) restarted its operations on Friday.
The state commissioner – now in charge of MAL Zrt’s operations after the government took control of the plant earlier this week – said in a statement: “It will take a maximum four days for the plant to go back to normal operation.
“Next Tuesday, production will be up to full capacity.”
The plant will remain under state control for up to two years.
A criminal investigation continues into whether the owners followed safety regulations and whether they knew of warnings that the waste reservoir might collapse.