Friday, 7 May 2010

Burma's NLD democracy party dissolved

NLD member locks the gates to the Rangoon headquarters on 6 May 2010
The NLD ceased to exist as a political party at midnight on Thursday

The pro-democracy party of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been disbanded after a registration deadline for elections expired.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) is boycotting the polls because it says the laws under which they will be held are unfair.

Wall Street's Ten-Minute Trillion-Dollar Computer Freak-Out May 6, 2010, 8:33PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell almost 1000 points in ten minutes today, wiping out $1 trillion in equity values as algorithmic trading by high-speed computers spun out of control.

What passes for sanity on Wall Street was eventually restored, and after falling 998.5 points or 9.2% in only a few minutes, stocks ended the day with a relatively benign loss of 3.2%, 347 points off the Dow, in what was still its biggest one-day tumble since February, 2009.

The more or less rational fraction of this mini-panic was apparently fear that the Spanish economy would collapse along with Greece, and then...

Worker Assaults Colleague For Joking About His Genitals During Body Scanner Training

The smallest things can cause the biggest problems.

Rolando Negrin, a TSA employee at Miami International Airport, was arrested for aggravated battery after he attacked a colleague, in response to coworkers poking fun at the size of his penis

The Fiat Money End Game

The rescue team, which consists of the stronger countries and the IMF, are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Instead of banks being insolvent with runs occurring on them as in the 1930s and 2008, we have whole countries being bankrupt, but their paper is held by banks in France and elsewhere, so there is a contagion thing to worry about. If the EU lets default happen, there is a run against all the bonds of all the weaker countries. Their yields rise, and they have to default too, and then that weakens a host of banks and others who hold the paper, and then they demand to be bailed out. If instead they rescue Greece and others, then the rescuing governments have to issue more debt, or else the IMF does too, or else the ECB gets into the act too, and this weakens the stronger countries and drives down the euro. So, either way, there are problems. It appears that the rescue option has been invoked, although tardily and reluctantly. This means that the governments are rescuing the bondholding banks and whoever else holds the Greek paper. That's the bailout here. This is preferable to the rescuers as compared with an outright default which then starts a contagion via the bond yields rising sharply which induces country bankruptcies and defaults.

European Economic Crash: Are France and Germany In Trouble?

You know that Greece, Portugal and Spain are in trouble.

You probably know that the UK is threatened by the sovereign debt contagion.

But as the following Reuters chart shows (based on information provided by BIS), France and Germany are the largest holder of Greek debt:

Probe after man shot dead in street

A murder inquiry has been launched after a man was shot dead in a street.

Officers were called to Mount Pleasant Road, in Tottenham, north London at 11.40am on Friday after reports of gun shots being fired.

The victim - thought to be aged 21 - was pronounced dead at the scene at around 12.20pm.

His family has been informed and a post-mortem examination is due to take place.

EU Is Collapsing Like Tower Of Babel

Monument Securities Chief Economist Stephen Lewis says the chaos in Greece could lead to collapse of the European Union, bringing down with it the dangerous assumption that structures of global governance provide stability in times of financial peril, but the World Bank and IMF vultures will be waiting as ever to feed on the remains of a dying country.

Striking Greek workers and civil servants have violently protested their government’s acceptance of the terms of an EU-IMF bailout, which sacrifices their future prosperity in a trade off for an attempt at stabilizing the Euro zone as a whole, a damning indictment of how global governance, which was introduced under the justification of maintaining financial stability, has had the exact opposite effect, with the virulence of the contagion from Greece threatening to spread to Portugal, Spain and Italy.

Gold 'Decouples' on International Debt Crisis, Forecast to Reach $3,000 Per Ounce

The sharp sell off on Wall Street and with equities internationally saw gold decouple and surge in all currencies yesterday. Oil, commodities and bonds also fell sharply in incredibly volatile trading.

Gold was up by more than 2% in dollar terms and by more than 3.5% in euros and pounds as the euro and pound fell sharply on contagion fears, hung parliament and economic concerns respectively. Gold reached new record nominal highs in sterling, euros and Swiss francs and 27 year highs in Japanese yen, also reaching a five-month high in dollars. Given the scale of the international debt crisis, the December record (nominal) high of $1,226 per ounce (interday) could be reached in the coming days and respected analysts are now forecasting gold to rise to $3,000 per ounce. more...

The Cover-up: BP's Crude Politics and the Looming Environmental Mega-Disaster

WMR has been informed by sources in the US Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Florida Department of Environmental Protection that the Obama White House and British Petroleum (BP), which pumped $71,000 into Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign -- more than John McCain or Hillary Clinton, are covering up the magnitude of the volcanic-level oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and working together to limit BP's liability for damage caused by what can be called a "mega-disaster." more...

Contagion Fears Go Global

ATHENS/LONDON – Governments around the world sought to calm markets after fears about Greece's debt crisis went global, with investors seeing it as an omen of turmoil in other European economies.

Group of Seven finance ministers discussed the debt crisis in a conference call on Friday after Federal Reserve officials expressed concern and the White House said President Barack Obama was watching developments closely.

Euro zone leaders were scheduled to meet for a special summit late on Friday to put their political stamp of approval on the EU-IMF deal to release 110 billion euros over three years to help Greece overcome its debt and deficit crisis. more...

This secret decree allowing travellers to build on green belt land is an insult to the law-abiding

Any country that calls itself a democratic republic, or worse still a people's republic, is likely to be a brutal dictatorship in which the people, poor things, need passes to leave home.
In rather the same fashion, Labour's Department of Communities and Local Government cares not a fig for communities.

And far from promoting the right of local people to run their own lives, its mission is to tell them what Whitehall has decided should happen to them, whether they like it or not. more...

Romania braces for austerity

BUCHAREST - ROMANIA braced on Friday for a wave of protests after the president unveiled austerity cuts in public sector wages and pensions to meet a deficit target set by the IMF and avoid a Greek emergency scenario.

'This programme to cut public expenses was inevitable,' President Traian Basescu said during a press conference on Thursday after a meeting with IMF and European Union representatives in Bucharest.

Wages in the public sector are to be cut by 25 per cent, Mr Basescu said, adding that 'all salaries, including the minimum one, will be affected.' Pensions will be slashed by 15 per cent, just like unemployment benefits. more..

Government Admits they Deal Heroin, Terrorize Families for Pot

Alex Jones puts into perspective the radical behavior of SWAT teams and other government enforcement agencies– who recently raided and terrorized a family and killed two dogs in order to bust a man for one gram of marijuana.

At the same time, the CIA and other agencies of government have admittedly carried out narcotrafficking operations for decades. This is especially true in Afghanistan, where troops guard opium crops, and the fight against the Taliban and al qaeda is mired in drug trafficking. more...

Poll:Most Aussies Don't Believe in Man-made Global Warming

Two out of three Australians are not convinced climate change is man-made, and even those who do believe it is aren't prepared to pay much to fix it, a new poll shows.

A Galaxy Poll, commissioned by the conservative Institute of Public Affairs, found 35 per cent of respondents blamed humans for global warming.
Fully 26 per cent believed it was just part of a natural cycle, while 38 per cent remained uncertain. more...

Sleaze finally hits home: Jacqui Smith and a string of expenses scandal MPs lose their seats

Disgraced former home secretary Jacqui Smith suffered a humiliating defeat last night as she became the highest profile victim of the Commons expenses scandal.

Former minister Tony McNulty and 'Mrs Expenses' Ann Keen also found themselves out of office as they finally paid the price for the sleaze that has engulfed the Commons.

Ms Smith was arguably the most high profile 'expenses' scalp as she crashed to an embarrassing defeat in her Redditch constituency. more...

Economic Slash and Burn: Greece’s Deadly Austerity Measures

The Greek government, and its citizens, are feeling the economic pinch. A brutal reaction to protestors who fear the winding back of the country’s social system has stunned visitors and the public alike. A general strike has been in progress that has crippled schools, hospitals, airline flights and ferries. Protestors have swarmed around the central square in front of Parliament.

On Wednesday, an assortment of violent groups began to dominate the protesting camp and began hurling rocks and casting gasoline bombs that set fire, according to the police, to the Marfin Egnatia Bank that left three workers dead due to smoke inhalation. It might well have been worse, given that twenty workers had been trapped. Many were not sure who these black clad individuals were. Anarchists, came the common view, were starting to take over proceedings and dictate the tune. more...

The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the XXI Century.

In all major regions of the world, the economic recession is deep-seated, resulting in mass unemployment, the collapse of state social programs and the impoverishment of millions of people. The economic crisis is accompanied by a worldwide process of militarization, a "war without borders" led by the United States of America and its NATO allies. The conduct of the Pentagon’s "long war" is intimately related to the restructuring of the global economy.

We are not dealing with a narrowly defined economic crisis or recession. The global financial architecture sustains strategic and national security objectives. In turn, the U.S.-NATO military agenda serves to endorse a powerful business elite which relentlessly overshadows and undermines the functions of civilian government. more...

Iceland volcano to emit large new cloud: meteorologists

An Icelandic volcano which caused havoc to European aviation after erupting last month is to emit a large new ash cloud after surging back to life, meteorologists said Thursday.
A plume of ash measuring up to seven kilometers (more than four miles) high had been detected at the Eyjafjoll volcano, said a statement from the Icelandic Met Office and Institute of Earth Science.

"The eruption has changed back to an explosive eruption, lava has stopped flowing and most of the magma gets scattered due to explosions in the crater," said the statement in English. more...

UK Hung Parliament Chaos Set To Reign Through The Weekend

What we have is a hung parliament and right now, the Conservatives are trying to work a deal with the Liberal Democrats to either form a coalition, or gain their support for a minority government.

Those negotiations begin in earnest tonight. If they fail, expect the Liberal Democrats to turn to the Labour Party to form some sort of "Coalition of the Losers."

What this means for the UK is that there will be a second election sometime soon, as there is no clear winner in this Parliament. Uncertainty reigns, and that is having a significant impact on markets. more..

Moody's Says Very Likely to Downgrade Portugal

Moody's Investors Service is more likely to downgrade Portugal's credit rating after putting it on a three-month review than when it first placed the country on negative outlook last year, a senior Moody's analyst said on Wednesday.

"We have sent a signal that it is possible, and I have to say statistically, there is a very strong likelihood that if we put it on a review for downgrade then we follow through with a downgrade," Anthony Thomas, vice president at Moody's Sovereign Risk Group, told Reuters. more..

Governments try to calm global fears over Greece

Governments around the world sought on Friday to calm financial markets hit by fears that Greece's debt crisis could cause turmoil in other European economies

Group of Seven finance ministers discussed the debt problems in a conference call after Federal Reserve officials expressed concern and President Barack Obama told German Chancellor Angela Merkel by telephone that he backed efforts to rescue Greece.

"We agreed on the importance of a strong policy response by the affected countries and a strong financial response from the international community," Obama said. more...

Record plunge in Dow stokes market panic

Stock exchange bosses and regulators were last night scrambling to explain the cause of a plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which took the index down by the largest number of points in its history and stoked panic across fragile financial markets.

With share prices already falling sharply in response to the eurozone debt crisis, the Dow went into a sudden freefall a little over an hour before the close of trading in New York. The result was a period of unprecedented chaos that also dragged in currency and credit markets. more...

Pound and bonds slide as City confronts a hung Parliament

Sterling fell to its lowest in more than a year, UK government bonds sold off and the FTSE 100 dropped as investors woke up to the first hung Parliament since the 1970s.

The pound extended Thursday's decline and was down another cent at $1.4729 by 9:30am in London trading. UK government bond prices, which had enjoyed a rally in recent days thanks to the Greece crisis, also sold off as investors fretted over how long it will take the polticial parties to form a Government.

"All in all not good for the pound, gilts or equities," said Marc Ostwald, a strategist at Monument Securities. "The constitutional position is likely to be a lot messier than the markets have been discounting." more...

Japan injects $20bn to calm markets

Japan's central bank on Friday said it would inject more than $20bn (£14bn) in liquidity to calm markets in response to global turmoil triggered by the Greek debt crisis.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama also vowed to take necessary steps as Tokyo stocks closed 3.1pc lower and the yen remained at relative highs against the euro following overnight panic selling on US markets.

"I am very concerned," Hatoyama told reporters. "The government should take responsible measures," he added without specifying what steps his centre-left government was considering. more...

Surprise fall in house prices

House prices in Britain unexpectedly fell in April, reversing a rise in March, mortgage lender Halifax said on Friday, raising doubts about the sustainability of a housing market upturn.

Halifax said house prices fell 0.1pc last month compared with a downwardly revised 1pc increase in March, and confounding forecasts for a 0.5pc rise.

That left prices up 6.6pc in the three months to April compared with a year ago, but was below an improvement to 7.1pc predicted by analysts. more...

More than 70 people an hour declared insolvent

More than 70 people an hour are being declared insolvent as record numbers of individuals fail to keep on top of their debts.

The credit crisis has seen a sharp spike in borrowers falling into difficulty, insolvencies have almost tripled in the past give years.

But experts warned worse is yet to come, predicting numbers will spike sharply once interest rates rise and the full extent of the fallout of the recession emerges. more...

FDA Says You Have No Right to Real Food Unless They Give You Permission First

I’d like to personally thank the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for articulating its food-rights policy. I know, I don’t usually have nice things to say about the FDA, but I’m feeling appreciative because the agency has made it so much easier to explain the food-rights struggle to large numbers of people. Just to re-cap, the agency’s position, as articulated in its response to the suit filed by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (described in my previous post), is three-fold:

--There’s no absolute right to any raw unprocessed food, unless the FDA says it’s okay;

--There’s no right to good health, except as approved by the FDA.

--There’s no right for citizens to contract privately for their food. more...

Will Peak Oil Turn Flying into Something Only Rich People Can Afford?

Expert physicist: 'At $150 dollars a barrel, the air industry is barely viable. At $200 a barrel, it’s going to [be] something that only rich people do.'

Sitting atop the queue in my inbox is an e-mail from a travel company advertising a $736 roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to Auckland. Captain Cook discovered New Zealand in 1769; for the next 200 years the idea of visiting it, for an American, would have been alien to all but a few very wealthy individuals. Things change. As I write this, a ticket to travel 6,500 miles — one-quarter of the circumference of the Earth — is only a few clicks away.

But how permanent is that change? In the last decade, studies have consistently demonstrated that the world’s storehouses of oil are drying up. Oil is now being consumed almost four times faster than it is being discovered, and in early March, Kuwaiti scientists projected that we will reach peak oil production in 2014. more...

School-leavers "Functionally Illiterate"

The number of 16- to 19-year-olds rendered functionally illiterate or innumerate has failed to improve over the last two decades, the study said, despite billions spent attempting to raise standards in the three-Rs.

Teenagers’ reading ability has barely changed since 1960, it was claimed, leaving thousands of young people struggling to “partake fully in employment [and] family life”.

Last month, a cross-party committee of MPs said that the number of school leavers without a job or college place had failed to improve “despite one policy strategy after another”.

It will also raise doubts over Labour claims that school standards have risen dramatically in the last 13 years. More ...

Our Neglected & Unhappy Armed Forces

A major Ministry of Defence survey of nearly 10,000 servicemen and women found only a third were happy with the standard and quantity of vehicles and other major equipment they are given.

More than half said the extra money they receive to compensate for the rigours of military life was not enough, and 13% of officers said they intended to quit before the end of their current engagement.

The newly published 2009 Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey found British servicemen and women were generally happier than in previous years but they continued to be concerned about pay, kit, morale and the quality of military accommodation.

Many opposition politicians and military commentators have accused the Government of failing to provide UK troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan with enough equipment, in particular helicopters. More ...

Falklands: Substantial Oil Findings

Argentina reacted with fury last night to the news that British company Rockhopper Exploration had made significant oil finds in waters around the Falkland Islands.

As news broke that the company had encountered a 53m-thick deposit of oil 220km (135 miles) north of the islands, that could lead to the discovery of up to 200 million barrels of oil worth £17 billion at current oil prices, Argentina’s Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana condemned British actions in the region as “illegal” and “unilateral”.

Argentine media labelled the British as “pirates” and said that British action in the region “would push Argentina to its limits”. More ...

Britain makes a collective sigh of relief

Thats it! done deal- read between the lines- it's a Con/Lib coalition government. Bye bye Gordon. Off to the pub for a stress relieving drink(or two)

Be back posting news again tomorrow as usual.


light posting

Apologies to regular news seekers for few posts today, we're all glued to the TV here trying to find out whats going to happen.

A deathly silence descends upon the blogosphere- the tension is palpable, the suspension murderous.

We'll be back posting news soon.

Pray for us!

Will the Lib Dems betray the British people?

It is my contention that had the Lib Dems won enough seats, together with Labour, to form a working Lib/Lab coalition they would almost certainly be working now towards that aim.

However, it appears that a Lib/Lab pact does not have, combined, a working parlimentary majority.

If the Lib Dems back Labour, refusing to work with the Tories, and the attempt fails a new election must be called.

Under these circumstances a large majority of the electorate would fully understand the Tories assertion that a vote for the Lib Dems is, infact, a vote for a corrupt Labour Government.

It would be a betrayal of the majority of the British people which would, no doubt, express itself in a massive loss of votes for the Lib Dems in any subsequent election.

Will the Lib Dems betray the British people?

They must think very carefully about what they do next.


UPDATE: Bravo Nick- it seems he will do the 'right thing'


Shock: Spain may ask for 280 billion Euro bailout

Europe Aflame, Another Socialist Experiment Ends in Failure

General Election 2010: Pound, Gilts and FTSE react

President of Greece says his nation on the brink of an 'abyss'

Sea of Red in Asia as Debt Fears Escalate

Greece Economic Depression: Inflationary Consequences for the European Union

'It's my duty to lead Britain': Brown determined to stay in Downing Street... as Labour hints at coalition

Death, er… Debt Spirals; Blow Out and BLOW UP, The Sovereign Policies of Insolvency

The Four Stages of Economic Collapse

The Oil Slick Cover-up: BP's Crude Politics and the Looming Environmental Mega-Disaster

US to expand drone murder program in Pakistan

Laptop Scandal School's Own Law Firm: Aside From Those 58,000 Spy Photos, There's No Evidence Of Spying

Greece Erupts in Riots Again As Austerity Measures Pass

Britain wakes up to a hung Parliament

Canary: Droves Of Australians Have Begun Defaulting On Their Utility Bills

ECB Chief Trichet: In Over His Head, And In Total Denial

Liberals and dictionaries.

The Angry Exile, upside down correspondent.

Not for the first time I'm going to have a go at the Australian Liberals about their name. There is nothing remotely liberal about banning things, and if the excuse is because a criminal used a burqa to commit a robbery what they're saying is that it should be banned just because it makes life too hard for law enforcement. Well, too bad, fellas, because that is an excuse to ban just about anything and everything. You've already banned guns for defence - actually banned a load for any reason whatsoever, and yes, that was the Liberals. But people use computers for crime, so let's ban 'em too. People use cars for crime, so that has to stop. Terrorists use rucksacks so clearly they mustn't be allowed anymore. In fact criminals are almost always fully dressed, so let's just ban clothes. Mind you that would mean a lot of criminally indecent exposure going on so probably everyone should be naked and confined to their homes where they can order their shopping online. Oh, wait, no, we banned computers, didn't we? So regulation clothes and a police escort to go down to the local shops.

Alternatively the Liberals could start acting as if their name is actually what they stand for and that that means something to them. Just a thought.

A long campaign and a longer result?

The Angry Exile, upside down correspondent.

Even though the election campaign officially began on April 11th it does seem to have been going on for bloody ages - something else which is Colostomy Brown's own fault since everyone knew it had to be by June 3rd and all the parties could start an unofficial campaign months beforehand. Now it seems the UK may have a long wait for the final result since, according to what Tom Paine hears, in places voters were being allowed in to vote after the polls had closed. This is a bit of a no-no and could allow results to be challenged in court, to say nothing of the possibility of serious and/or widespread fraud being discovered as a result of the various police investigations into postal voting in some areas. So imagine if the Tories get the result everyone is predicting at the moment and fall a couple of dozen seats short of an overall majority, but a couple of dozen seats had questionable results due either to iffy postal votes or late votes that should have been discarded and may not have been. Not just the TV debates Britain is importing from the Yanks but the need to get a courts in to decide the result, or at least if areas with 'irregularities' should re-run their elections. Though perhaps that's being unfair on the Yanks - I've blogged on the postal votes before but the late vote issue is either down to voters leaving it till the last minute, in which case stiff, or poorly run polling stations with insufficient ability to cope with what many expected to be a much higher than usual turnout. From where I sit this situation looks entirely self inflicted, and if it ends up being sorted out in a series of unedifying courtroom spectacles the UK will have no-one else to blame.

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