Showing posts with label Times. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Times. Show all posts

Sunday, December 25, 2016

When an Italian government official tells you "the banks are turning the corner" it means that the real trouble is just beginning...Renzi wasted time and political & financial capital on importing hundreds of thousands of Africans and billeting them on unfortunate Italians.... Yes  indeed, "Whether Italy is out of the woods is a burning question" is an accurate and pithy caveat to the latest declaration that this week`s sticking plaster solution means every is now rosy for Italian banks, the Italian economy...
...and of course by inference the EU. It will be until the next crisis hits 2 or 3 weeks down the road.  This bailout will certainly help MPS in the short term, but it doesn`t offer any solution to the problems effecting larger financial institutions such as  Unibanco. As A-EP points out the tapering of bond purchases by the ECB will lead to  rising bond yields doesn't bode well for Italy and it`s banks...." The Italian state will be allowed to compensate some of 40,000 retail investors shunted into MPS bonds without understanding the risk, but these rebates will be partial, glacially-slow, and conducted on a means-tested basis.  Fabio Fois and Giuseppe Maraffino from Barclays said the rescue falls short of a “systemic solution”, arguing that funding is too thin and the MPS model cannot easily be replicated. “We estimate that the largest six Italian banks could need about €30bn in total to clean-up their balance sheets,” they said. Some analysts think it could take €50bn, or more if the next global downturn hits early. If so, this risks another messy drama a year hence in even less hospitable circumstances."


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The International Monetary Fund, the third pillar of the creditors' Troika, has not yet accepted that and continues to ask for the application of a new debt reduction, so that it becomes bearable, as well as the continuation of the austerity programs. Even though the authorities in Athens have accepted the measures adopted in the Eurogroup meeting, once they got home they also "discovered" their true meaning. The measures for relieving the burden of the public debt will be applicable until 2060 and are subject to achieving the creation of a budget surplus of approximately 3.5% of the GDP over a ten year period, which will begin after the completion of the current bail-out program, in 2018.  Apparently no one knows why the new proposals of the European creditors are realistic. What will be extremely realistic and painful will be the new taxes provided in the draft budget for 2017. According to an article from French newspaper Le Monde, new taxes will be introduced for personal vehicles, landline phones, TVs, fuel, tobacco, coffee and beer.  Unfortunately, those taxes are missing one item, because there haven't been dance taxes introduced, as is happening in Brussels, where the local authorities have "rediscovered" a tax that was approved in the "50s and they send people undercover in bars and restaurants to make sure it is paid.  Of course, the "optimism" displayed by the European and the Greek authorities is completely out of place. "The agreement of the Eurogroup represents a chance for Greece to turn a corner", said Euclid Tsakalotos, finance minister in the government led by Alexis Tsipras, except his statement was made in spring this year, according to daily Kathimerini. Nobody expected miracles right away back then, but there are no signals that Greece is ready to turn a corner, just like nobody expects the new tax hikes and the newly introduced taxes to generate a virtuous circle of growth. As strange as it may seem, the notion of "virtuous circle of economic growth" actually exists in the discourse of the authorities in Athens. As always their optimism runs smack dab into the attitude of German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble. On the day of the referendum in Italy, Schäuble said, in an interview he gave Bild am Sonntag, that "Athens needs to finally apply the necessary reforms, or else it has no room in the Eurozone".

Friday, August 12, 2016

Turkey tried to assure its citizens and the outside world on Thursday that there will be no return to the deep repression of the past, even though President Tayyip Erdogan has imposed the first nationwide state of emergency since the 1980s.  With Erdogan cracking down on thousands of people in the judiciary, education, military and civil service after last weekend's failed coup, a lawmaker from the main opposition party warned that the state of emergency created "a way of ruling that paves the way for abuse". Announcing the state of emergency late on Wednesday, Erdogan said it would last at least three months and allow his government to take swift measures against supporters of the coup that attempted to topple him over the weekend.  It will permit the president and cabinet to bypass parliament in passing new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms as they deem necessary. For some Turks, the move raised fears of a return to the days of martial law after a 1980 military coup, or the height of a Kurdish insurgency in the 1990s when much of the largely Kurdish southeast was under a state of emergency declared by the previous government.   Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek - who previously worked on Wall Street and is seen as one of the most investor-friendly politicians in the ruling AK Party - took to television and Twitter in an attempt to calm nervous financial markets and dispel comparisons with the past. "The state of emergency in Turkey won't include restrictions on movement, gatherings and free press etc. It isn't martial law of 1990s," he wrote on Twitter. "I'm confident Turkey will come out of this with much stronger democracy, better functioning market economy & enhanced investment climate." But markets were less than confident. The lira currency was near a new record low, while the main stock index was down 3.6 percent. The cost of insuring Turkish debt against default also surged.  Erdogan blames a network of followers of an exiled U.S.-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, for the attempted coup in which 246 people were killed and hundreds more wounded as soldiers commandeered fighter jets, military helicopters and tanks in a failed effort to overthrow the government.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

At least two explosions and gunfire have rocked Istanbul's Ataturk international airport, with reports of "multiple" people injured.  Gunfire was directed from an airport car park, according to a witness quoted by Reuters news agency.  Taxis were ferrying wounded people from the airport, the witness added.  In December, a blast on the tarmac at a different Istanbul airport, Sabiha Gokcen, killed a cleaner.  Recent bomb attacks in Turkey have been linked to Kurdish separatists or the Islamic State group.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, has slammed the door on Britain retaining access to the single market if it votes to the leave the European Union.
In an interview in a Brexit-themed issue of German weekly Der Spiegel, the influential veteran politician ruled out the possibility of the UK following a Swiss or Norwegian model that would allow it to enjoy the benefits of the single market without being an EU member.
“That won’t work,” Schäuble told Der Spiegel. “It would require the country to abide by the rules of a club from which it currently wants to withdraw. If the majority in Britain opts for Brexit, that would be a decision against the single market. In is in. Out is out. One has to respect the sovereignty of the British people.”...Supporters of the British leave campaign argue that it is in Germany’s economic interest to maintain barrier-free trade relations with the United Kingdom. Britain is the third-largest export market for German car manufacturers and the destination of around 7% of total German exports. In a debate on the BBC, Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, went even further than the official leave campaign and suggested getting rid of tariffs on goods traded with all countries.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A review of 67 research studies, published in the journal Oncology and Cancer Case Reports, suggests that the nutrient can be used to slow down the enlargement of the prostate, which causes the embarrassing condition. With age most men suffer an unexplained expansion of the prostate, which is wrapped around the urinary tract. The prostate constricts the tube and may block it altogether, causing a condition called benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Professor Hiten Patel, from Bart’s and the Royal London Hospital, led the team which reviewed the research.  “We knew lycopene seems to slow down the development of prostate cancer, but now it seems it can slow down the enlargement of the prostate and development of BPH as well,” he said. “We need to do more research before we can say it should be recommended routinely for everyone, but the outcome of this review is very promising.” The findings appear to corroborate previous studies conducted in China where traditional diets include a much higher intake of fruit and vegetables and lower rates of BPH were found Other research by Bristol University showed that those who ate the most tomatoes had an 18% risk of prostate cancer.  Dr Athene Lane, lead author of the Bristol study, said: “There is definitely something in lycopene to be investigated further so we can understand how the mechanisms works.”  Despite identifying lycopene as a potentially helpful factor in controlling prostate expansion, treatment may be more complicated than simply eating more tomatoes.  This is because lycopene is not easily absorbed into the blood unless processed in some way.  However, researchers believe this problem can be circumvented by administering the nutrient in the form of a supplement pill LactoLycopene.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

CARACAS, April 26 (Reuters) - Venezuela's socialist government ordered public workers on Tuesday to work a two-day week as an energy-saving measure in the crisis-hit South American OPEC country.  President Nicolas Maduro had already given most of Venezuela's 2.8 million state employees Fridays off during April and May to cut down on electricity consumption. "From tomorrow, for at least two weeks, we are going to have Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays as non-working days for the public sector," Maduro said on his weekly television program.  Drought has reduced water levels at Venezuela's main dam and hydroelectric plant in Guri to near-critical levels. The dam provides for about two-thirds of the nation's energy needs.  Water shortages and electricity cuts have added to the hardships of Venezuela's 30 million people, already enduring a brutal recession, shortages of basics from milk to medicines, soaring prices, and long lines at shops. Maduro has also changed the clocks so there is half an hour more daylight in the evening, urged women to reduce use of appliances like hairdryers, and ordered malls to provide their own generators.  Regarding the public sector measure, the government is excluding workers in sensitive sectors such as food.  Full salaries will still be paid despite the two-day week.  Critics have derided Maduro for giving state employees days off, arguing it would hurt national productivity and was unlikely to save electricity because people would simply go home and turn on appliances there instead.  "Maduro says that 'we in government don't stop working for a second'. Of course. Except for Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays!" satirized Leonardo Padron, a columnist for pro-opposition El Nacional newspaper, via Twitter. Officials said the El Nino weather phenomenon is responsible for Venezuela's electricity woes. But critics accuse the government of inadequate investment, corruption, inefficiency and failure to diversify energy sources.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

An oil analyst with advisory group Peel Hunt, Werner Riding said: “I don’t think the North Sea is dead by a long shot. New successful companies will be born from this downturn, and it’s the smaller more nimble players who could benefit the most from low asset prices.” He added that small-cap players including Faroe Petroleum and Serica are both likely to complete deals within the next six months, at the bottom of the oil price cycle, before seller expectations become too optimistic. “I’d be surprised if both didn’t try to acquire more production assets before the end of the year. In particular Faroe will want to offset to the loss of production from the Njord area which is due to come offline this summer and will make a material impact on revenue if that production isn’t replaced,” he said. Faroe boss Graham Stewart confirmed that although the group is not currently in late stage discussions with anyone specific he expects to complete “a value enhancing acquisition by the end of the current year”.  A spokesman for Serica said the company is “keeping its ears to the ground”.  Mayfield’s Mr McKelvie said that as low oil prices have become entrenched asset-holders are beginning to accept a new economic reality which is helping to close the gap between bids and offers in asset sale talks. Meanwhile investors are more willing to support new deals, he said.  “Six months ago when we began looking at this people could see the opportunity but weren’t sure. But in the last two weeks we’ve been talking to investors and they’re more up for it. “Getting that pool [of investors] together has been really important, and the fact that these investors can now see the opportunity is good for us,” he said.

Friday, September 25, 2015

There was nothing “spontaneous” about the “Arab Spring.” It was organized years in advance by a corporate-government collaboration involving the US State Department, IT giants, a myriad of corporate-financier funded NGOs, and mainstream media players. 
Through the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and US State Department’s, agitators were literally flown on several occasions to both New York and Washington D.C. as well as other locations around the globe to receive training, equipment and funding before returning to their home countries and attempting to overthrow their respective governments....It is clear that the political cover – the Arab Spring – and the premeditated support of terrorist groups including Al Qaeda brought in afterward, were planned years before the Arab Spring actually unfolded in 2011. The goal was admittedly the overthrow of governments obstructing Washington and Wall Street’s hegemonic ambitions and part of a much wider agenda of isolating, encircling, and containing Russia and China...NATO is directly responsible for the refugee crisis. In fact, in Turkey, NATO is directly engineering it, while in Libya NATO is responsible for destroying any semblance of stable governance since 2011.   In reality, they did not appear out of a puff of smoke. They appeared in Turkey, a NATO member since the 1950’s and one of America’s closest regional allies. Turkey is currently hosting the US military, including special forces and the CIA who have, together with Turkish military and intelligence agencies, been conducting a proxy war on neighboring Syria since 2011.  Turkey has suspiciously maintained a very enthusiastic “open door” policy for refugees, spending inexplicable sums of money and political capital in accommodating them. The Brookings Institution – one of the chief policy think tanks helping engineer the proxy war with Syria – reported in its July 2015 “Order out of Chaos” article, “What Turkey’s open-door policy means for Syrian refugees,” that:  Turkey is now the world’s largest recipient of refugees. Since October 2013, the number of Syrian refugees has increased more than threefold and now numbers almost two million registered refugees.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Two decades of frontier-free travel across Europe unraveled on Monday as countries re-established border controls in the face of an unprecedented influx of migrants, which broke the record for the most arrivals by land in a single day.  Germany's surprise decision to restore border controls on Sunday had a swift domino effect, prompting neighbors to impose checks at their own frontiers as thousands of refugees pressed north and west across the continent while Hungary sealed the main informal border crossing point into the European Union.  A majority of EU interior ministers, meeting in Brussels, agreed in principle to share out 120,000 asylum seekers on top of some 40,000 distributed on a voluntary basis so far, EU president Luxembourg said. But details of the deal, to be formalized on Oct. 8, were vague with several ex-Communist central European states still rejecting mandatory quotas....Austria said it would dispatch its military to help police carry out checks at the border with Hungary after thousands of migrants crossed on foot overnight, filling up emergency accommodation nearby, including tents at the frontier.   Thousands more raced across the Balkans to enter Hungary before new rules take effect on Tuesday, which Budapest's right-wing government says will bring a halt to the illegal flow of migrants across its territory.  By 1400 GMT on Monday, police said 7,437 migrants had been recorded entering Hungary from Serbia, beating the previous day's record of 5,809.   Then helmeted Hungarian police, some on horseback, closed off the main informal crossing point, backed by soldiers as a helicopter circled overhead. A goods wagon covered with razor wire was moved into place to block a railway track used by migrants to enter the EU's Schengen zone of border-free travel.  Hungary later declared the low-level airspace over its border fence closed but allowed a trickle of refugees to enter the country at an official crossing point.
As the shockwaves rippled across Europe, Slovakia said it would impose controls on its borders with Hungary and Austria. The Netherlands announced it would make spot checks at its borders. Other EU states from Sweden to Poland said they were monitoring the situation to decide whether controls were needed.  "If Germany carries out border controls, Austria must put strengthened border controls in place," Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner told a joint news conference with Chancellor Werner Faymann. "We are doing that now."  The army would be deployed in a supporting role -hahaha ...!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The European Monetary Union (the Euro) was never going to work without full political union first. For the EU to be able rob Peter to Pay Paul and have the public support, without democracy getting in the way, they needed political union. They decided they could not wait for it, and went ahead with the Euro anyway. They now think they can use the Sub Saharans with welfare tickets & babies in hand as a weapon to bring this about by demoralising and destroying the homogeneity of the nations.
The EU's lack of patience to get the political union in place before the economic union, could cost them everything. I do not think importing 2,500,000-5,000,000 Muslim/Sub Saharans every year is going to save it either. This could trigger the end sooner than it would have occurred otherwise. I hope they have the EU army ready, cause they are going to need it.euro union...It's for the greater good.''- of the unelected, undemocratic, nepotists, submarxist/corporatist, sovereignty scamming, 19th cent social engineering 'Elite' who control the EU...Surely the strangest thing is that anyone in their right mind in the 21st cent would want to be part of a 19th cent POLITICAL social engineering retread like the European Union masquerading as a 'Trading Block' which doesn't believe in democracy, the sovereignty of the individual or the democratically expressed will of the people...but rather that all should be controlled by an unelected, nepotistic, self -serving EU 'elite' ? David Cameron is one of those brainwashed shallow submarxist/corporatist minded weirdos who bought into this '80's cultural marxism claptrap...
.''The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe.”― Mikhail Gorbachev
- and he should know eh?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Alexis Tsipras resigns and calls September snap election !!!!!!!!!!!
Embattled prime minister will stand down after losing backing from his MPs over Greece's punishing new bail-out agreement ... The rumour mill is well under way, with talk suggesting that speaker of the Greek parliament Zoe Constantopoulou will join a breakaway Leftist faction. Ms Constantopoulou has been a constant thorn in the side of the PM, and is one of the most vocal critics of the new bail-out deal in the government.  However, former minister Yanis Varoufakis - who is not affiliated with the Left Platform - is likely to stick by his prime minister and current finance chief Euclid Tsakolotos.  An election will create more political uncertainty, delay economic recovery and impede reform implementation.  However, it appears to be unavoidable if Greece is to have a government committed to implementing the bail-out agreement. An election will give Mr Tsipras the opportunity to secure a mandate for the reform programme and remove troublesome left-wingers from parliament.  Under Greek electoral law, if an election is held within 18 months of the previous poll, the order in which candidates are listed on ballots is also the order in which they are elected, and that order is set by the party leader.  The mind-boggling scope of the reforms in the new agreement, which extend into virtually every area of the economy and polity, exceed anything visited upon even the post-communist states of eastern Europe. The referendum result of 5 July, in which 61pc of voters rejected austerity measures demanded by Greece's creditors, revealed that there is a large body of opinion that is prepared to countenance a break with the euro. In coming months and years, support for remaining within the euro zone "at all costs" will diminish significantly.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

America’s biggest banks will have to hold an extra $68bn of cash on their balance sheets under stringent new rules designed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.  US regulators have also signaled they would like to tighten banking rules even further, as they introduced the new rule requiring lenders including JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs to shore up their capital reserves.  Under the new legislation, approved last night by the US Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Comptroller of Currency, the eight largest US banks will have to hold at least 5pc of their total assets in cash, instead of the 3pc previously required.   The rule, which will come into force in 2018, is the latest in a sweeping set of reforms designed to ensure banks have enough money to cover their losses in the event of a major financial disaster.   The change is expected to weigh on the profits of those banks affected as they will not be able to put quite as much of their cash to work. However, the Fed signaled yesterday that it may yet go further. Dan Tarullo, the Fed’s regulation tsar, said the central bank may “increase the risk-based capital surcharge for US systemically important firms to a higher level than the minimum agreed to internationally”.   Such a change is particularly serious for investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, who do not have retail banking operations that accept cash deposits from customers.  However, all of the affected banks, including Citigroup, Bank of New York Mellon, Wells Fargo and State Street, will have to take the new capital requirements into consideration as they weigh up whether to pay dividends.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Russia's economy is now forecast to have grown in 2013 at less than half the pace expected at the start of the year and will perform only slightly better in 2014, weighed down by weak investment and tapering consumer demand.
A Reuters poll of 15 economists said that gross domestic product had risen just 1.4 percent this year, when last December they had predicted an expansion of 3.2 percent.
Economists are also more pessimistic about the economy's well being next year than the government, envisaging growth of 2 percent, against the Economy Ministry's forecast of 2.5 percent.
Russia's economy decelerated sharply this year, reflecting deep structural problems that analysts and officials say undercut its long-term growth potential.
Investment by firms disappointed and international money has been flowing out of Russia, in part due to companies' concerns about political freedoms and the likely consistency of the legal backdrop in years ahead.
The fading of an economic success story that buoyed Vladimir Putin's first decade in power is increasingly a challenge to the president as he seeks reelection in 2018.
Economists now say there has been no growth in investment in tangible assets, such as buildings and plants, this year. A year ago, they had expected such expenditures would grow by 6 percent in 2013. For next year, they now expect a small rebound to 2 percent growth.
The pickup will come mainly from the expected spending from one of Russia's oil windfall revenue funds on infrastructure.
"However, their positive impact in 2014 should not be overestimated, as most likely it will not appear before the second half of the year," Maria Pomelnikova, an economist at Raiffeisenbank, said.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

European Union talks on how to assign losses at failing banks broke down as conflicts on "core issues" doomed 19 hours of talks in Luxembourg. Finance ministers plan to reconvene July in search of an agreement on proposed rules for bank resolution and recovery in time for an EU summit that begins the following day in Brussels. "There are still core issues outstanding," Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said as he left the meeting on early Saturday. "We have another meeting next (this) week and there's no guarantee it'll reach a conclusion." The new rules are intended to set standards for how to prop up or shut down failing banks, along with requirements for the kind of backstops each country must have in place. The draft law adds to the EU's push for common bank supervision in the eurozone and tougher across-the-board standards for authorities. After more than three years of crisis and bailouts in five eurozone nations, EU leaders have pursued banking union as a way to reassure investors that they can break the cycle of contagion between banks and sovereign debt. Talks foundered on the question of which creditors face write-downs when banks fail. Some countries demanded more flexibility for national authorities, while others sought strict rules across all 27 EU nations. Ministers considered several ways to set thresholds for losses that would need to be assigned via strict formulas before national discretion would be allowed. French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said he had "no doubt" ministers will reach an agreement next week, while his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schaeuble, said a final deal must be constructed in a way that won't burden taxpayers. The fight mirrored an earlier battle among eurozone ministers over when countries may seek direct bank aid from the European Stability Mechanism, the currency zone's 500 billion euro ($656 billion) firewall fund. On June 20, eurozone ministers said private investors must be tapped before the ESM will be allowed to step in, once ECB oversight begins and the new tool is in place. If finance chiefs don't reach a deal on the resolution rules before the EU's summer hiatus, this would jeopardize their ability to reach a deal on the bill with the European Parliament and could delay the EU's follow-on proposal for a single resolution mechanism, said Sharon Bowles, chairwoman of the parliament's economic affairs committee. "It needs to be handled very carefully," Bowles said. "Telling a citizen their savings are gone and that EU rules stop you from helping out via the taxpayer even if you want to, or stop you from saving small businesses and jobs, is about as political and tough as anything." During the talks, ministers sought to bridge differences between countries inside and outside the 17-nation eurozone. Austria and the European Commission sought common rules for all 27 EU members, while Sweden led the call for rules that grant more freedom to non-euro nations to prop up banks when financial stability is at risk. Anders Borg, the Swedish finance minister, said his country isn't "asking for anybody else's money" to take care of its banks. "We think we should have the leeway to do what we think is necessary," he said. "If we are building a very rigid system that can hardly work in practice, this could be something creating more uncertainty in the European economy."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A revised European Bathing Water Directive which is due to come into force in 2015 will require water to be twice as clean to achieve the highest standard – a rating of Excellent. Tourism bosses fear that the new rules could have a big impact on the communities around any beaches that fail to make the grade.
They are calling for a more flexible approach that would allow them to provide daily updates on the water quality meaning that they would only have to close the beaches to bathers on those days when the pollution reaches hazardous levels.  Malcolm Bell, the head of Visit Cornwall, said: “We are going to face a challenge to explain to people that things have not got worse – it is just that the hurdle has got higher.  “If a beach is on the new borderline, it doesn’t mean it will be borderline all the time.  “Sometimes it will be beautiful and other times there will be problems, so we want to be able to put up signs on those incidents but be able to take them down when it is more than safe.”  Jonathan Ponting, principal environment planning officer at the Environment Agency, said work was under way to improve the water quality in those areas at risk.  He said: “The vast majority of our beaches pass the current standards and they have seen a massive improvement over the past 20 years, but we are moving to a system that uses much tighter standards than the current ones that we report to.  “Tourism is a massive part of our economy in some of these areas and there is no doubt that if some of these beaches do have signs advising against bathing it could be damaging for the economies in those areas. “The Environment Agency has been working to get as many of those beaches as possible to meet those standards.”  Temperatures are expected to rise tomorrow to just shy of the hottest seen this year, with the South East expected to get up to 73.4F (23C), about the same as is forecast for the south of France.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Consider these five portents of doom...

According to the ancient Maya, the world is going to end on December 21. Until recently, I wasn’t much bothered: I hadn’t made any plans for the New Year anyway. But now that the evidence is stacking up, I’m starting to think more seriously about heading for the nearest magic mountain and hunkering down with some baked beans and a shotgun. Consider these five portents of doom:
1. The North Koreans have released photos of a successful rocket launch into space, which confirms our worst fears: they’ve finally mastered photoshop. But, seriously, we have to admire the North Koreans for their remarkable persistence. This is a country that can’t feed itself and its only source of entertainment is a theme park that visitors have only a 1 in 3 chance of surviving. Yet it’s determined to put a satellite into space. What for? Are they so desperate to get access to Sky Movies and reruns of Seinfeld? Whatever the rationale, it’s unlikely that the North Koreas satellite will spark World War 3. But don't be surprised if the hamster powering it gets a dose of vertigo and it crashes back down to Earth, killing us all.
2. UFO sightings are up, although only in parts of America populated by drug-addled hippies. On December 3, a flying saucer was spotted in Brooklyn and on December 9, a “ballet of lights” was seen in San Francisco. Mr Barrios, who filmed the San Francisco sighting, says, “I am 100 percent sure this was a UFO.” Alas, he was also 100 per cent sure that he drank a lot of Tequila that night, and the consensus is that the alien invasion he witnessed was actually a parade of Chinese floating lanterns. Nevertheless, keep watching the skies!
3. Everybody’s got Great Ark fever. Dutchman Johan Huibers has completed a 20 year challenge to build a replica of the Great Ark, following instructions laid down by God in Genesis. Amazingly, it works, although Huibers has made some adjustments. The ark contains plastic rather than real animals and it probably wasn’t part of God's original plan to include two cinemas and a restaurant. Meanwhile, archaeologist Robert Ballard claims to have found proof that the Great Flood really happened, along with evidence of a submerged ancient culture. Actually, this isn’t as batty as it first reads – there’s a consensus among many world historical traditions that a large proportion of the Earth was covered in water at some point. The question is, will he find the Great Ark? And will it have two cinemas and a restaurant?
4. NASA has denied that the Armageddon is coming, which makes me suspect that it almost certainly is. If the Obama administration issues a statement to the effect that everything’s okay and there’s no need to panic, that’s your cue to head for the hills. And if America is suddenly submerged by 100 feet of water, the mainstream media will be on hand to remind us of the things that really matter: Mitt Romney once put a dog on the roof of his car and Sarah Palin’s kids are getting divorced.
5. Right now an enormous asteroid is flying terrifyingly close to the Earth. Yep, that’s right – the very thing that the crazy New Age people warned would happen … is actually happening. RIGHT NOW. We are reassured that there will be no impact, but I love that Fox News throws in this fascinating counterfactual: “Toutatis would cause catastrophic damage if it ever did slam into Earth. In general, scientists think a strike by anything at least 0.6 miles wide could have global consequences, most likely by altering the world's climate for many years to come.” Finally, we shall have an answer to “Whatever happened to global warming?”
On a serious note, it’s fascinating how the Maya prophecy has turned us all into fortune tellers. The science pages of many websites are filled not with stories about science but stories about magic: Vatican astronomers, underwater civilisations, mystical mountains and little green men. It proves that for all our supposed commitment to “reason”, we remain sky god worshipping cave men at heart. One in the eye for Richard Dawkins, I feel.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A TIDAL wave of Romanian ....

A TIDAL wave of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants is threatening to swamp Britain — and flood our overstretched jobs market.An EU law means that from 2014, more than 29 million people from the two countries will be entitled to apply for any UK job. Many Romanians and Bulgarians are already free to come here if they have a guarantee of UK work before they leave their home country. But many thousands more are here working illegally for cash. One, Romanian Parafeni Vasile, 36, earns up to £130 for a day’s labouring. And he predicted: “All my friends will come in 2014. Why not?”He is one of hundreds of Bulgarians and Romanians who gather each day in the car park at DIY retailer Wickes in Tottenham, North London. Our investigators watched as white vans pulled up from time to time to take one of the men off to work on a building site. Without an NI number, it is impossible to earn legal wages, pay taxes or receive benefits. At the moment, Romanians and Bulgarians wishing to come to Britain can obtain one only if they have a guaranteed job before they arrive. But the Government has to lift that employment restriction by January 1, 2014. Britain currently takes in around 200,000 immigrants a year, including 40,000 Romanians and Bulgarians. The Government argues that most of the people from those countries who want to come to the UK are already here — so the law change will not have a bad effect on the jobs market. But it has got its immigration figures wrong before. In 2004, when the EU expanded to include countries including Poland, officials predicted fewer than 20,000 people would arrive from the new countries.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Greece has a German Governor - Horst Reichenbach - there is no "troika"

The Greek people can hardly complain when this greek government (right-wing) tries to accept the capitlistic approach of the IMF/EU. They had the chance only a few months ago to elect a party (Syriza) into Government that wanted to put Greek people first and they decided against it. They will now have to pay the price. Just as the Greeks led the way with Democracy over 2500 years ago, they should now be taking the first steps of overhauling systems put in place to ensure the continuation of Capitalism, by letting the "rule of the people" rather than the "rule of the creditors" such as Germany and other countries of the European Union decide. Although the measures, such as extending the working week, supposedly only apply to Greeks in a dysfunctional economy - the aim is clearly also to remind those at home, e.g. fellow Germans back home or in the UK for that matter, that work is the only way to save yourself. Instead, Greece should take advantage of this symptom of global financial mismanagement by those in 'power', and set it's own agenda for the "good of the people". Well, half of so called Europeans (the term is BS) (by "you" I mean non-Greeks) wanted for people to vote Syriza and the rest, especially the creditor countries, were "pushing" for the same old governments, by literally starting a campaign (or propaganda) of fear. So, damned if we did and damn if we didn't. You don't care now, others would not care if it was the other way around. Big whoop....I say : Greece will have to exit the Euro and return to the Drachma - with all the extreme pain this will lead to (making the current situation look like a picnic), but long-term, it will have to reform its labour laws and skills base, in order to compete with the likes of China, Germany and Eastern Europe (regardless of its currency). Borrowing to maintain a good standard of living is no longer an option.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

George Papandreou should resign

George Papandreou pledges to form a new government - After a day which saw world stocks tumble, on which tens of thousands marched on parliament to oppose the swingeing austerity measures designed to stave off bankruptcy, George Papandreou effectively conceded that he had not been able to muster enough support in parliament for the cuts required by international creditors to enable Greece to balance its books. Papandreou has told his conservative opposite number, Antonis Samaras, that he would stand aside and make way for a new leader if the opposition joined his party in a national unity government committed to sweeping reform to pull Greece's economy out of its tailspin. It remained unclear whether the opposition New Democracy party would agree to the move. Party insiders indicated that it would only do so if the government renegotiated the terms of last year's €110bn (£96bn) international bailout package, designed to save Greece from default. "The most important member of a ship's crew is the captain, and the captain has to go," conservative deputy Theodoros Karaoglou said, according to Associated Press. "If we joined forces, we could go to our [creditors] together to negotiate and the results of course would be better." Greece's economy is drowning in more than €300bn of debt – around one and a half times more than the country's entire annual output. Unemployment has rocketed to 16.2%, and the economy is predicted to contract by as much as 3% this year, making it Europe's worst performing economy – and one of the worst in the world.