Saturday, 8 May 2010

General Election 2010: Probes into 'fraudulent' polling results mar election

Claims of malpractice have included cases where electoral rolls are said to have been packed with bogus voters, and others where marginal constituencies saw a flood of questionable late postal vote applications.

There are at least 81 allegations of electoral malpractice have been lodged with police forces around the United Kingdom.


Cameron and Clegg hold discussions

Tory leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg have held face-to-face talks as they continued their attempts to thrash out a power-sharing deal.

A senior Conservative Party spokeswoman said the talks were "constructive and amicable".

The meeting took place at Admiralty House in Whitehall and lasted for 70 minutes. Further negotiations between the two parties are planned on Sunday.

The spokeswoman said: "David Cameron and Nick Clegg met alone this evening at Admiralty House. The meeting lasted 70 minutes and was constructive and amicable.

"The negotiating teams will meet as planned tomorrow at 11am to continue discussions."


America's hidden soup lines hit 40 million

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nearly 40 million Americans received food stamps -- the latest in an ever-higher string of record enrollment that dates from December 2008 and the U.S. recession, according to a government update.

Food stamps are the primary federal anti-hunger program, helping poor people buy food. Enrollment is highest during times of economic distress. The jobless rate was 9.9 percent, the government said on Friday.

The Agriculture Department said 39.68 million people, or 1 in 8 Americans, were enrolled for food stamps during February, an increase of 260,000 from January. USDA updated its figures on Wednesday. more...

Why the ageing population is driving the debt crisis

The latest report from the Bank of International Settlements puts the global stock market meltdown in perspective.

Look at Table 1 on page 3. US government debt will explode from 62% of GDP in 2007 to an estimated 100% in 2011. Over the same time, Britain's will double from 47% to 94%, Greece's level will go from 104% to 130%, Spain's will rise from 42% to 74% (and unemployment there is 20%), Portugal's will go from 71% to 97% in the next two years and Japan will end 2011 with a debt ratio of 204%.

Growing fears that the Greek fiscal mess is just the tip of a sovereign debt crisis have spooked markets for weeks. more...

Lib Dem MPs back Clegg's Tory talks

Liberal Democrat MPs have endorsed leader Nick Clegg's decision to enter talks with the Conservatives over possible co-operation in forming a new government.

Mr Clegg addressed his senior frontbench team and a meeting of the party's 57 MPs in Westminster and received the "full and complete" support of both groups for his strategy, said Lib Dem negotiator David Laws.

The Liberal Democrat and Conservative negotiation teams are to meet again on Sunday morning at the Cabinet Office to continue talks after it became clear that no party had secured an outright majority in Thursday's General Election.


Smoke and mirrors politics and the UK endgame

A Predicition

It's all smoke and mirrors, pre-planned in the corridors of real power, well worked out and ultimately deadly in it's final plan for the destruction of the UK.

The Lib/Con pact will fail. The Lib Dems will form a coalition with Labour and the others involved in the 'Alliance of the losers'- Socialist, one and all. Proportional Representation will be forced through quickly, resulting in a permanent Lib/Lab coalition.

Within a week Milliband will be PM and all hope will be lost.

It will be blamed on the voters, of course- it's the will of the voters, but some of us will know the truth- precious few alas.

Hope I'm wrong but I doubt it, it's too much of a perfect opportunity for the Global Elite to silence and subjucate us once and for all, to destroy us in the debt maelstrom soon to come. Can they afford to miss such a golden opportunity? Unlikely... me thinks.


Euro Falls Most Since Financial Crisis on Contagion Concern

The euro fell the most against the dollar since the collapse of global credit markets in 2008 as the European Central Bank failed to ease concern that Greece’s fiscal crisis would intensify across the region.

“There was blood on the street,” said Samarjit Shankar, a managing director for the foreign-exchange group in Boston at Bank of New York Mellon, the world’s largest custodial bank, with more than $20 trillion in assets under administration. “The focus has been on the inability of European policy makers to come up with something coherent to try to calm investor nerves. There is a faint glimmer of hope that there could be something out of the ordinary that could be announced over the weekend.” more...


THE pound took a battering and stock markets nose-dived yesterday as the City braced itself for days of turmoil following the hung Parliament result.

And home owners were warned that the fall-out could mean higher mortgage repayments. more...

US takes the war into Pakistan

ISLAMABAD - The approval given to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by the administration of President Barack Obama to expand drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions is on face value a declaration of war by the US inside Pakistan. The move comes at a time when Pakistan is trying to win some breathing space to delay an all-out operation in North Waziristan, home to powerful militant groups and an al-Qaeda headquarters.

The CIA was given authority on Wednesday to expand strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles against low-level combatants, even if their identities are not known. Obama had previously said drone strikes were necessary to "take out high-level terrorist targets". more...

Computer Software decodes emotions over the phone, predicts behavior

The innovative program can not only predict a caller’s emotional state, but may also diagnose a range of medical conditions.

Less than two minutes into a cell phone conversation, a new computer program can predict a broken heart -- literally and figuratively.

An Israeli company called eXaudios has developed a computer program, known as Magnify, that decodes the human voice to identify a person’s emotional state.

Some companies in the United States already use the system in their call centers. eXaudios is even testing the software’s use in diagnosing medical conditions like autism, schizophrenia, heart disease and even prostate cancer. more...

Look Out, Obama Seems to Be Planning for a Lot More War

Judging by the Barack Obama administration's reports, pronouncements and actions in recent months point to even greater war-making across the planet.

There's more war in America's future - a great deal more, judging by the Barack Obama administration's reports, pronouncements and actions in recent months.

These documents and deeds include the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), the Ballistic Missile Defense Report, the nuclear security summit in New York and the May 3-28 United Nations nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference, as well as the continuing wars in the Middle East and Central Asia, and the 2011 Pentagon war budget request . more...

Labour MP urges Brown to stand down

A newly re-elected Labour MP has called on Gordon Brown to step down as the party's leader.

Bassetlaw MP John Mann said that Labour would only have influence in the outcome of the current negotiations over the future of the government if Mr Brown agrees to give up the leadership.

And he said that the Prime Minister cost Labour votes in last week's election from people who would otherwise have supported the party's programme.

Mr Mann's comments are the first overt Labour challenge to the Prime Minister's position since the party lost 91 seats and its Commons majority in Thursday's poll.


If You Think Sovereign Debt Is Just A Greek Problem, Get Ready For It To Hit Home Soon

As Americans observe the chaos in Greece, most assume that the strength of our currency, the credit worthiness of our government, and the vast expanse of two oceans, will prevent a similar scene from playing out in our streets. I believe these protections to be illusory.

Once again the vast majority fails to see a crisis in the making, even as it stares at them from close range. Just as market observers in 2007 told us that the credit crisis would be confined to the subprime mortgage market, current analysts tell us that sovereign debt problems are confined to Greece, Spain, Portugal, and perhaps Italy. They were wrong then, and I believe that they're wrong now. more...

DNA evidence = 'Do Not Assume' evidence.

The Angry Exile, ʇuǝpuodsǝɹɹoɔ uʍop ǝpısdn

Millions to one against, that's what they used to say about the reliability of DNA evidence. Soon it became billions to one, and now juries around the world are given the impression, perhaps aided by TV, that DNA evidence is a magical standard on a par with several dozen eye-witnesses and a signed confession. So much faith is put in it that people will even say that murderers convicted on DNA evidence may as well be executed since no doubt exists. more...

Pound is hung out to dry as the nation’s indecision takes its toll

The pound, gilts and equities all came under huge selling pressure yesterday as traders — already punch-drunk from Thursday’s violent convulsions on Wall Street — digested the news that Britain had elected a hung Parliament for the first time in 36 years.

Sterling, which had risen to $1.4935 against the US dollar after early results pointed to big swings from Labour to the Conservatives, fell as low as $1.4478 once it became clear that no party would have an overall majority. more...

Weeds Are Now Resisting Monsanto Weed Killer, Spurring Crisis in American Agriculture

Yep, thanks to Monsanto Roundup, American agriculture is in quite a fix now. See, Monsanto sells genetically modified seed that’s supposed to survive spraying with their weedkiller. Unfortunately, the weeds learned to resist it – and now their GMO seed is struggling against the pesticide-resistant weeds that evolved as a result of their own product.

Wouldn’t it be nice if companies thought that far ahead before they pushed their products into the mainstream? And wouldn’t it be nice if we had government agencies that didn’t rubber stamp them? more...

Big Brother is watching in high definition

The Homeland Security Department is testing a new 360-degree video surveillance system at Logan International Airport in Boston that is described as offering high-resolution imaging and analytics without the distortion of the typical fisheye lens.

DHS' Science and Technology Directorate partnered with the Massachusetts Port Authority to evaluate the new Imaging System for Immersive Surveillance (ISIS) technology. The significant new capability of the system is its high-definition, image-stitching technology that seamlessly melds together images from several cameras in real time and without the usual distortion, according to a May 6 news release from the department. more...

Greenspan: "Most Virulent Global Financial Crisis Ever"

Alan Greenspan previously said that the current credit crunch is "by far the greatest financial crisis, globally, ever" -- including the 1930s Great Depression.

As Bloomberg noted:

Greenspan said that while the economy was in worse shape in the Great Depression, the recent financial crisis was potentially more harmful than that in the 1930s because “never had short-term credit literally withdrawn.”
Today, Greenspan said:

The evaporation of the supply of such credits on so global a scale within hours or days of the Lehman failure is, I believe, without historical precedent ...

The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 precipitated what, in retrospect, is likely to be judged the most virulent global financial crisis ever.....

Greenspan is not alone. more...

UK credit rating safe - for now

Ratings agency statements helped stem the losses in UK government bond prices after a torrid few days

Credit ratings agencies have rushed to reassure jittery markets that Britain's coveted top notch rating is not under immediate threat following an inconclusive election result.

Investors fear that the incoming government will lack the firepower to cut Britain's deficit swiftly enough to stay the hand of agencies such as Standard & Poor's that have recently cut their assessment of Greece and Spain. But both S&P and Moody's today say nothing in their view of the UK will change for now.

Their remarks leave the door open for downgrades later in the year, but they helped stem losses in government bond prices which had sold off sharply this morning. more...

Euro crisis goes global as leaders fail to stop the rot

The growing crisis in the eurozone threatened to undermine the global economic recovery as markets plunged across the world on fears that European leaders may not be able to contain the debt contagion spreading from Greece.

Stock markets in London, New York, and Shanghai dived following criticism that much delayed and half-hearted measures to rescue Greece were undermining confidence in wider efforts to kick start the world economy. more...

Would you put up with what is being asked of the Greek people?

Want to know exactly why public anger in Greece is running at such explosive levels? Then take a look at the austerity measures currently being debated by the Greek parliament.

The BBC reports that as part of the IMF/ EU bailout Greek leaders are proposing the following measures. more...

15 Mind-Blowing Facts About Wealth And Inequality In America

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

Cliché, sure, but it's also more true than at any time since the Gilded Age.

The poor are getting poorer, wages are falling behind inflation, and social mobility is at an all-time low. more...

One teenager in five leaving school unable to read or do maths

One in five teenagers leaves school illiterate and innumerate despite two decades of education reform, research shows. More than 100,000 lack the basic skills needed to function in society.

A study found there has been little or no change in the last 20 years in the proportion of youngsters rendered unemployable because they have such a poor grasp of words and numbers.

About 17 per cent of 16 to 19-year-olds are functionally illiterate, according to the study led by Professor Greg Brooks from the University of Sheffield. more...

Why solar panels are the new double glazing: They don't work much of the time and take 100 YEARS to pay for themselves...

Once upon a time, Lee Comer was a plumber. But he has come a long way since those days. He is now a company director and lives in a beautiful thatched cottage in Dorset complete with its own stables.

How did he make his money? Answer: out of pensioners like Wendy Hammett.

Mrs Hammett, 66, a former secretary, paid Comer's firm, Simplee Solar, more than £10,000 for solar panels at her bungalow outside Bournemouth.

Stubborn PM refuses to quit despite winning just 29% of the vote

Aides tell Gordon Brown to form coalition with Lib Dems, nationalist parties and others if talks between Cameron and Clegg fail

Mandelson: It's 'premature' to speculate on Brown's future

Foreign Secretary David Miliband favourite to succeed as Labour leader

General Election 2010: the markets are in no mood for horse-trading

For once, both the markets and the polls had it right: hung parliament, Tories with the most seats, no clear majority; LibDems to hold the balance. It was the result markets had priced in for weeks, so you might have expected a pretty mild reaction yesterday.

But whether it was the pall cast by the Greek sovereign debt crisis, or merely cold, hard reality biting, Friday's result could hardly have gone down any worse. As the prospect of days, if not weeks, of uncertainty, of the lack of a government, dawned on investors they responded in the only way they knew, and dumped anything with a UK hallmark. These were not Black Wednesday-style collapses in sterling and gilt prices, but they were enough to send a potent reminder to policymakers: there is no patience for horse-trading in the face of the biggest budget deficit in modern history. more...

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