2/6/08 News Radar

by JASON | 7:15 AM in |

“I am getting more nervous about how the banking side will work out, and what the impact will be on the real economy,” said Erik Nielsen, chief Europe economist at Goldman Sachs in London.

“At today’s meeting, we exchanged all possible views,” Mr. Trichet said. “It was a very profound and deep meditation.”

“Unemployment is rising pretty rapidly and that’s restraining consumer spending and reinforces the vicious circle of a downturn,” said James Knightley, an economist at ING Financial Markets in London. “More stimulus is needed. Credit availability is still very tight.”

GUANGZHOU, China — Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are returning here earlier than usual from their home villages after the Chinese New Year holiday. Lugging their belongings in plastic sacks and cardboard boxes, they are hoping to find increasingly scarce jobs. Many will fail.

A spokeswoman for the Guangdong Provincial Labor and Social Security Bureau said Thursday that 3 million of an expected 9.7 million migrant workers had returned to the province by Wednesday evening. Many have jobs waiting for them, but two million have no employment lined up and must look for work, she said.

Beijing authorities disclosed Monday that based on an agriculture ministry survey of villages just before the Chinese New Year holiday last week, about 20 million of the nation’s 130 million migrant workers are unemployed.

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- China is suffering another natural disaster -- this time, the worst drought in half a century. The land is parched and the irrigation dams have dried up. Crops and livestock are dying.

China on Thursday raised the drought-emergency-alert level from orange to red and allocated an additional $44 million dollars on top of the $13 million in emergency aid already released.

Since November northern and central China has had little rain. Many places have not had rainfall for more than 100 days.

"The extent of drought is quite extensive, the impact is quite great," forecaster Zhang Peiqun said in an interview with state television CCTV. "Rainfall on average has been 50 to 80 percent less than that of last year."

China has been hit by a string of natural disasters in the last year. In addition to the drought, Chinese officials have had to battle back against a brutal winter that stranded millions and a deadly earthquake that killed tens of thousands.

In the drought, more than 4.3 million residents face a shortage of drinking water, as do 2 million livestock. The drought has hit 12 provinces, including the wheat-producing areas in Henan, Anhui, and Shandong provinces. Chinese media says the total area affected has reached 1,370 million hectares (3,385 million acres).

Reached by telephone, a spokesman of the Henan Drought Relief Headquarters told CNN that the worst affected areas were north of the Yellow River, including the cities of Zhengzhou, Kaifeng, Jiaozuo and Luoyang.

"The water level of the Yellow River is very low at this moment and the government is doing relief operations," he said. The water level at the Xiao Langdi reservoir is only half of last year's.

Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Bill Gross, co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., said the U.S. may slump into a “mini depression” unless policy makers spend trillions of dollars to spur growth.

“This economy needs support from the government, a check from the government in the trillions,” Gross said today in a Bloomberg Television interview from Pimco’s headquarters in Newport Beach, California. “There is a potential catastrophe if the U.S. government continues to focus on billions of dollars.”

I love how they just throw that word around...TRILLION. Exactly where is that money going to come from...remember that the government gets its money from the taxpayers...oh sure they can print -The Fed actually - but that just devalues the currency as you still have the same amount of goods. Say hello to deflation. We are at the tail end of the biggest credit bubble in the history of the world. We've had excessive inflation for the past 8 years with all the credit being converted into debt. Debt is by nature deflationary as at some point you have to pay it back - WITH INTEREST. The interest sucks additional money out of the system as it was never created to begin with.

Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Every Sunday night, New York bankruptcy lawyer Marshall Huebner spends a 13-hour shift on call as an emergency medical technician. His day job involves work on another sort of rescue: The government’s $152.5 billion bailout of American International Group Inc.

“There’s a stronger parallel than you would think,” Huebner, a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell, said in an interview. Helping resuscitate the insurance giant takes “a lot of the same qualities that I think stand you in very good stead with emergency medicine -- the ability to remain calm in almost any situation, and the ability to assess, triage and treat, even in a crisis.”

The US economy is suffering its steepest downturn since at least the 1970s and could descend into a depression, Jeff Immelt, General Electric’s chief executive, warned on Thursday. When asked whether he would call the current slowdown a recession or a depression, Mr Immelt joked that he would need to refer to his college economics text book for a precise answer but said “it is one of those”.

He contended that governments were “firing as many bullets” as they could to stimulate economic growth and stabilise the credit markets. Those measures, he said, should begin to take hold by early next year.

“Governments are all in,” he said. “And in my view, government always wins.”

Not very bright is he....considering governments come and go! Shows who he's betting on though!

Watching the crowds in Iceland banging pots and pans until their government fell reminded me of a chant popular in anti-capitalist circles in 2002: "You are Enron. We are Argentina."

Its message was simple enough. You--politicians and CEOs huddled at some trade summit--are like the reckless scamming execs at Enron (of course, we didn't know the half of it). We--the rabble outside--are like the people of Argentina, who, in the midst of an economic crisis eerily similar to our own, took to the street banging pots and pans. They shouted, "¡Que se vayan todos!" ("All of them must go!") and forced out a procession of four presidents in less than three weeks. What made Argentina's 2001-02 uprising unique was that it wasn't directed at a particular political party or even at corruption in the abstract. The target was the dominant economic model--this was the first national revolt against contemporary deregulated capitalism.

It's taken a while, but from Iceland to Latvia, South Korea to Greece, the rest of the world is finally having its ¡Que se vayan todos! moment.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Recession-battered employers eliminated 598,000 jobs in January, the most since the end of 1974, and catapulted the unemployment rate to 7.6 percent. The grim figures were further proof that the nation's job climate is deteriorating at an alarming clip with no end in sight.

MONTREAL - CANADA shed a much worse than expected 129,000 jobs in January, sending unemployment up 0.6 per cent to 7.2 per cent, Statistics Canada said on Friday. The jobs loss was worse than the grimmest monthly showings of the downturns of the 1980s and 1990s, Statistics Canada said in a statement. And the January drop in employment topped by far the 40,000 job losses analysts had forecast. They predicted unemployment would edge up to 6.8 per cent from 6.6 per cent in December.

NEW YORK – Top-level Iranian and American officials participated in four closed-door international conferences
last year to discuss Tehran's nuclear program, the director of the sponsoring organization confirmed to WND.

Jeffrey Boutwell, the Washington, D.C.-based executive director of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, insisted the meetings were unofficial gatherings in which the participants did not represent their governments in direct negotiations.

The Pugwash Conferences, according to its home website in the UK, originated in the Russell-Einsein Manifesto of 1955, which called on scientists to oppose the development of thermonuclear weapons. The group's name is derived from the venue of its first meeting in the Canadian village of Pugwash, Nova Scotia, in 1957.

Amid grim news on almost every front, it appears parts of Ireland are also experiencing the coldest winter in 18 years. Met Éireann said today that while there was nothing unusual about the current bout of sleet, snow and general wintry weather in February, it was indeed the coldest winter in the capital since 1991.

Buffalo State College hosts the national teach-in on Global Warming Situations today — a day the local temperature bottomed out at minus 6 degrees. No evidence of global warming here, at least not this morning, when unofficial reports to the National Weather Service listed temperatures as low as 9 degrees below zero elsewhere in Erie County.

According to the Prophet Zechariah, when the Messiah sets foot on the Mount of Olives, the mountain will split in two (Zechariah 14:4). This obviously did not happen two millennia ago at Jesus Christ’s first coming. But the resurrected Jesus did ascend to heaven from the Mount of Olives at the end of His earthly ministry in a.d. 31. When that happened, notice what God asked the awestruck onlookers who witnessed the ascension: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11; emphasis mine throughout).

Jesus Christ is coming back in the same way and to the very same spot He left from 2,000 years ago—on the Mount of Olives!

After that, we are informed from Scripture, Christ will then establish His world headquarters across the Kidron Valley, immediately south of the present-day Old City, at the City of David—the original Jerusalem established by King David 3,000 years ago. The Messiah, the Prophet Zechariah foretold, “shall choose Jerusalem again” (Zechariah 2:12). He chooses the city again because that’s where His throne will be. Jesus Christ will rule from David’s throne (Luke 1:32-33).

But before the coming Messiah establishes God’s earthly headquarters in Jerusalem—before He sets foot on the Mount of Olives—Zechariah 14:2 says the city will be violently divided, which is why Netanyahu’s campaign stops on Monday are revealing.

Last week, Israel’s outgoing prime minister, Ehud Olmert, briefed President Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, on the status of negotiations with Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas. According to Yediot Aharonot, Olmert tabled a comprehensive offer to Abbas for Palestinian statehood just a few months ago.

It was a stunning proposal—not unlike the package Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat in 2000. Olmert agreed to hand over most of the West Bank and to uproot 60,000 Jewish settlers from the region—more than five times the number Israel evacuated from Gaza four years ago. In exchange for Israel’s largest settlements in the West Bank, Olmert offered Abbas a commensurate strip of land in the Negev desert and a 30-mile-long corridor that would join the Gaza Strip (controlled by Hamas) to the West Bank.

As for the thornier dispute over Jerusalem, Olmert agreed to turn over Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority. While Israel would retain formal sovereignty over Jerusalem’s holiest sites, an international body would be responsible for administering the attractions and ensuring uninterrupted access for Jewish, Christian and Muslim worshipers.

Not surprisingly, just like Arafat did in 2000, Abbas rejected the offer.

That Israel keeps submitting proposals for peacefully relinquishing half of Jerusalem is no surprise either. It has been offering the Palestinians half of Jerusalem, in some form or another, for almost nine years now—and with popular support from Israelis. As recently as 2007, a poll conducted by the Jerusalem Institute for Israeli Studies found that 57 percent of Israelis were willing to make concessions on Jerusalem in order to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

This widespread support for cutting the capital in half, however, has subsided dramatically in recent months—as evinced by the groundswell of support for right-wing parties headed by Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman.

It seems a majority of Israelis are finally waking to the fact that the peace process has failed. “Peace is not a popular word in Israel right now,” a retired army officer running for parliament with Kadima told the Los Angeles Times. “Parties running on an all-out peace platform are bound to lose.”

The more popular platform appears to be strength and security. If Israel gave up half of Jerusalem, Benjamin Netanyahu has often said, there would be an Iranian base in Israel’s capital city. “This election is about whether our capital will be given to our enemies,” Netanyahu told a throng of reporters while touring the City of David on Monday. “We did not unite the city in order to divide it, and my government will maintain a united Jerusalem.”

This is not the only hard-line promise Netanyahu has made during his campaign. “If we want to remove the threat of the missiles coming from Gaza,” he said in a speech on Wednesday night, “we have no choice but to topple the rule of Hamas in Gaza.”

Good insight into what's driving the conflict.

Personal bankruptcy hit a record level and company failures soared by 50% as the collapse in the economy in the final three months of 2008 took its toll, official figures showed today.

Data from the Insolvency Service revealed that the steepest decline in output in almost 30 years led to 19,100 people being declared bankrupt - a 22% increase on the fourth quarter of 2007.

UK is ahead of us by 3 to 6 months.

WASHINGTON: The United States moved into its second year of uninterrupted job losses last month, with companies shedding another 598,000 jobs and the unemployment rate moving up to 7.6 percent, the Labor Department reported on Friday. Economists had forecast a loss of 540,000 jobs and a unemployment rate of 7.5 percent. The jobless rate is at its highest since September 1992.

NEW ORLEANS – Residents in and around New Orleans have been hearing the sounds of low-flying helicopters and what sounds like bomb blasts over the past few nights, but the sounds are part of a training exercise for some of America's elite military troops.

HAMADA, Japan: The Hamada Marine Bridge soars majestic over this small fishing harbor, so much larger than the squid boats anchored below that it seems out of place.

And it is not just the bridge. Two decades of generous public works spending have showered this city of 61,000 mostly graying residents with a highway, a two-lane bypass, a university, a prison, a children's art museum, the Sun Village Hamada sports center, a bright red welcome center, a ski resort and an aquarium featuring three ring-blowing Beluga whales.

Nor is this remote port in western Japan unusual. Rural areas across the country have been paved over and filled in with roads, dams and other big infrastructure projects, the legacy of trillions of dollars spent to lift the economy out of a severe downturn caused by the bursting of a real estate bubble in the late 1980s. During those nearly two decades, Japan accumulated the largest public debt in the developed world — totaling 180 percent of its $5.5 trillion economy — while failing to generate a convincing recovery.

Remember that the rest of the world was chugging ahead full speed while Japan floundered. Not the case today!

BEIJING: Nearly nine months after a devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province left 80,000 people dead or missing, a growing number of U.S. and Chinese scientists are suggesting that the calamity was triggered by a four-year-old reservoir built close to the fault line at the center of the earthquake.

A Columbia University scientist who studied the quake has said that it may have been triggered by the weight of 320 million tons of water in the Zipingpu Reservoir less than a mile from a well-known major fault. His conclusions, presented to the American Geophysical Union in December, coincide with a new finding by Chinese geophysicists that the dam caused significant seismic changes before the earthquake.

Scientists emphasize that the link between the dam and the failure of the fault has not been conclusively proved, and that even if the dam acted as a trigger, it would only have hastened a quake that would have occurred at some point. Nonetheless, any suggestion that a government project played a role in one of the biggest natural disasters in recent Chinese history is politically explosive.

The 4,200-ton destroyer Moonmu the Great has been selected as the ship the Navy will send to the Somali waters to fend off pirate attacks, officials said yesterday.

"Following our latest visit to discuss cooperation with the international naval force already operating in the area, we have decided to send Moonmu the Great," said Rear Admiral Choi Soo-yong of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Moonmu - one of the Navy's three KDX-II class destroyers - is to be despatched as early as February following last-minute preparations.

Is it me or does it seem like we've stepped back in time with world powers sending out armada's after pirates???

The U.S. CIA director-designate, Leon Panetta, confirmed on Thursday that North Korea conducted a test for a nuclear weapon three years ago. "We know North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon in 2006," Panetta said in his opening statement at his Senate confirmation hearing.

The CIA director-designate's comments are somewhat different from the position that had been held by the former Bush administration that North Korea detonated a nuclear device, not a nuclear weapon. The Bush administration had vowed not to regard North Korea as a nuclear weapon state, refusing to confirm whether the North possesses nuclear weapons. But Panetta's comments are in line with recent remarks made by new Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Gates said in his contribution article to Foreign Affairs journal that North Korea has built several nuclear bombs. Some U.S. intelligence and defense reports have also categorized the North as a nuclear weapon state. Diplomatic observers in Seoul said the CIA director-nominee's remarks indicate that the Obama administration is accepting North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons as a fait accompli although it would not officially recognize the communist country's nuclear-state status.

New reports said North Korea is getting ready to test-launch another ballistic missile capable of reaching the western part of the mainland U.S., raising tension on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea last test-fired a ballistic missile in 2006, but its success is disputed because of its short-lived flight time. The CIA director-designate also pointed to North Korea as one of the security priorities facing the United States.

"I really do think that if we are going to come into the 21st century we have got to set a list of priorities that not only look at current crises - and clearly we've got Afghanistan, we've got Pakistan, we've got Iraq, we have North Korea," Panetta said. He was stressing the importance of "clearly looking at Russia and China" and other "potential crises" that could develop in the future.

Let's not forget Mexico which is on the verge of collapse!

SEOUL—North Korea could be looking to stir up tension by firing short-range missiles at a disputed maritime border with the South, while it may also launch its longest-range missile to check design improvements, reports said on Friday.

North Korea has been preparing to launch its longest-range Taepodong-2 missile in the direction of Japan, reports said this week in a move analysts said is aimed at pressuring the South to drop its hard-line stand toward its neighbor and at grabbing the attention of new U.S. President Barack Obama.

The rise of the Citizens' Command for Juarez that, with financing from businessmen, promises to "end a criminal's life every 24 hours" is the latest in a series of recent appearances of other alleged armed groups, mainly in Guerrero, Morelos, the State of Mexico, and Sonora.

From the "Popular Anti-Drug Army," which has been hanging banners in various cities in Guerrero and Morelos since November, to the Citizens' Command for Juarez that considers itself to be the "first citizens' pos-revolutionary [sic] movement," federal and state authorities have detected at least a dozen "expressions" of this sort, according to judicial authorities from various federal and state entities that were consulted.

In the case of Chihuahua, at the end of last year, the imminent creation of a parapolice group that would combat organized crime in Ciudad Juarez was made known through guild events and publications. Juarez authorities, faced with assassinations and desertions, have decided to travel to indigenous communities in Oaxaca to beef up their paltry police forces with new recruits.

Yesterday, the president of the Chihuahua Congress' Security Commission, Andreu Rodriguez, responded to the communique issued by the self-proclaimed Citizens' Command. Through a written document sent to Milenio, the Institutional Revolution Party (PRI) legislator stated that "this sort of citizens' response was expected. However, this is not the way things should be resolved."

According to the legislator, "Neither the Military nor the federal government, through its police forces, have any room to defend themselves. The same goes for the state and municipal governments. If there isn't a response to the people's complaint, this is going to get bigger. Either they solve the problem or the social breakdown will multiply around the country. Be careful about that."

Operating clandestinely since the middle of last year, the rancher initiated the formation of a group called the "Army that Liberates the People," which has hung banners with messages threatening the region's drug traffickers, as well as praising the Mexican military "for its achievements in the struggle against drug trafficking."

As a result, Rogaciano Alba, who in SIEDO's [SIEDO is the Assistant Attorney General's Office for the Specialized Investigation of Organized Crime] Operation Clean-Up depositions was indicated as an alleged drug trafficker working for Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, has become the leader of a group plainly identified as a paramilitary organization. This group has been credited with various executions, including that of the Iguala [Guerrero] police commissioner "for working for the Beltran Leyva brothers." [1]

In its first message sent out on November 20, Rogaciano's "Army that Liberates" states: "The people of Mexico are called to participate in the war against the drug trade... In Guerrero the Popular Anti-Drug Army was born and we have important cells in other parts of the Republic."

According to official reports, this group operates in Guerrero, Morelos, and the State of Mexico.

Another two groups in the same vein have appeared in the same zone over the past couple of months. One is called "The Black Command" and another is called "The Avenger of the People." The latter has hung messages in public places, accusing the ex-leader of the ranchers of directing a drug cartel in Guerrero for years, and for having ordered the assassination of lawyer Digna Ochoa, defender of activists in the region. The appearance of armed groups have been recorded in Oaxaca and Chiapas in regions with organized crime influence.

Investigator Luis Astorga says that after the rise of Los Zetas, criminal groups around the country have changed their traditional operating schemas, disposing of their teams of hitmen in order to begin to form that which the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) specialist calls "paramilitary groups."

Dario Azzellini, an Italian expert in organized crime and particularly that which he calls "the new wars," compared Mexico's situation with Colombia's. "The paramilitary model in Mexico is different from Colombia. In Colombia irregular troops are organized to take over territory, houses, etc. In Mexico paramilitary communities are created. They infiltrate them, they prepare them, and the become paramilitary communities."

In the middle of this wave of appearances of alleged armed groups, an organization called "Armed Movement of the North" issued an electronic communique in which it declares war against the Mexican government. The missive signed in Sonora manage to catch the attention of the armed forces, according to Milenio commentator Javier Ibarrola.

In contrary to other groups, this message circulated on virtual networks where writings from the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), and the Insurgent People's Revolutionary Army (ERPI) normally appear. In the message, the Armed Movement of the North says it is "an organization of revolutionary character made up of students, professionals, and workers with the objective of defending the sovereignty of the Mexican people against aggressions from foreign capital, imperialism, and the abuses and injustices of the current government. Our fundamental base are social principles and ideas. Born in March 2006, today organized as a Movement of Armed Resistance against the Government due to the necessity of facing our country's current political and economic system in defense of the people."

Counties in California say they've had enough – and they aren't going to take it anymore. In what amounts to a Boston Tea Party-style revolt against the state Capitol, they're threatening to withhold money. Los Angeles is considering such an option. And Colusa County supervisors said they authorized payment delays for February.

"We didn't vote on it, because I don't think anybody wants to go to jail," Colusa County Supervisor Kim Vann said.

Closer to home, Sacramento County is planning to file a lawsuit this week against the state and Controller John Chiang for withholding millions of dollars – much of it for social service programs.

Riverside County is looking at a similar lawsuit but plans to go one step further. It authorized going to court to relieve it from having to provide state-mandated services without state funding.

Regardless, a coalition of six Southern California counties is headed to Sacramento for a Feb. 12 meeting to call attention to the counties' plight, Riverside County spokeswoman Lys Mendez said. By the time leaders from Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Imperial and San Bernardino counties come together, the revolt could be at full steam.

"When we hear things like, 'We're out of cash and you're going to have to borrow the money,' it doesn't make us very happy," Yolo County Supervisors' Chairman Mike McGowan said.

"We've heard rumors that the (state's) deferral approach will be longer than one month," he said.

In that case, McGowan added, there are smaller counties that will "simply go out of business. They'll not be able to borrow the money."

One budget proposal calls for the state to delay $3.5 billion in payments to counties over seven months, Wiltshire said.

"Counties just don't have the cash position to operate those programs and wait for a check to come in September," he said.

The rumor that the state could extend the delayed payments to counties sent a chill through Colusa County, which qualifies as small with only 22,000 people. If the state delays payments for a longer period, "we can stay open for three months – period," Colusa County's Vann said.

"But, of course, the state has never been in this fiscal position," Sexton said. "At some level, it doesn't make any difference whether the counties are suing the state or whatever.

"You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip. The money doesn't exist. What does it ultimately mean? Will there be cutbacks in those services? I think that's where we're headed."


  1. Blogger on January 19, 2017 at 6:27 AM