Showing posts with label Show all posts
Showing posts with label Show all posts

Monday, January 30, 2017

The templates for recent relationships between the American Head of State and the British Head of Government have not been inspiring. We had Mr Blair’s obsequiousness to Mr Clinton and Mr Bush; Mr Brown’s near-invisibility to Mr Obama; and the conspiracy of cynicism between Mr Cameron and Mr Obama that led to the disastrous (from Mr Cameron’s point of view) interference by the last president in our referendum campaign. Watching the press conference held by Mrs May and President Trump, it seemed this Prime Minister had, commendably, adopted a dignified approach of her own.  Indeed, I would go further: from what emerged, Mrs May seemed to have done a superb job in furthering British interests, and those of the West, in her meeting with Mr Trump. She should be congratulated. She acted precisely in accordance with the realities of our present politics. There was no fawning.

Monday, April 25, 2016

In October 2013, the provisions of articles 12 and 13 of the Law no. 193/2000 concerning abusive clauses in contracts concluded between professionals and consumers, with the modifications that were made to them by the Law no. 76/2012 for the implementation of the Law no. 134/2010 concerning the Civil Procedure Code. Article 12 stipulates: "If the use of adhesion contracts which include abusive clauses are found, the control entities stipulated in Art. 8 (ed. note: the authorized agents of the National Consumer Protection Agency and authorized specialists of other entities of the public administration, depending on their competences) will notify the court from the domicile, or the headquarters of the professional, and demanding that the professional be required to amend the ongoing contracts, by removing the abusive clauses they may contain. (...) The consumer protection associations (...) can sue professionals that use adhesion contracts that contain abusive clauses, with the courts stipulated in paragraph (1), and ask the latter to decide the cessation of their use, by eliminating the abusive clauses".  Article 13 states: "The court, if it finds the existence of abusive terms in the contract, requires the professionals to change all ongoing adhesion contracts, as well as to eliminate all abusive clauses from boilerplate contracts, meant to be used as part of the professional activity". There are several ongoing "class action" lawsuits filed by the ANPC, especially against banks. The Parakletos Association has intervened in seven of the ANPC cases against the banks, as a third party. The leaders of Parakletos state that, through the ruling in the ANPC/OTP Bank case, lays the groundwork for the straightening of all the contracts between professionals and consumers, when they contain abusive clauses, without the consumers in question having to resort to individual lawsuits.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sterling plunged to a five-and-a-half year low against the US dollar on Tuesday, as the UK's manufacturing sector shrank unexpectedly. Manufacturing production dropped by 0.4pc in November according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, compared to a 0.7pc fall in the wider industrial sector. The fall in industrial output was worse than any of the 30 analysts polled by Reuters had anticipated. There figures were described by Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, as "unambiguously rubbish". No surprise at all....What do you expect with an overvalued currency, a global recession, rigged competition from the slave labor Chinese manufacturing system and a UK government hell bent on jobs at any price in the bloated service sector? There is no industrial strategy, vocational training is a mess and unlike Corporatist Germany, government leaves manufacturing industry to sink or swim on its own. We are headed for a full blown Sterling crisis and all those two million new jobs of phone sanitizers, Cab drivers, hairdressers and delivering online shopping will disappear overnight...Figures and statistics are always reality British people have been mislead by the politicians just as people are mislead in nearly all countries on the planet. When lying and morally corrupt politicians are the captains one never knows where the journey will take us. Britain's feel good factors are essentially due to nearly a decades printing of money and of course the false sense of security generated by a.......massively overheated property market...Britain is in effect a nation which doesn't produce very much any more, its a nation of supermarkets and banking and insurance.  Dear Mr. Cameron please lets have a breakdown of how Britain earns its money .Britain has possibly lived above its means since before the second world war.......with a few rare between. Billions have been frittered away and yet we do not have a few pounds more for the junior doctors who keep our decrepit NHS afloat. Something seriously wrong here. The markets always know the truth though and the pound is likely to get whacked even more.  Wait till the euro recovers !!

Monday, March 23, 2015

OECD - In its latest interim economic assessment the thinktank warns that against a backdrop of better growth prospects for big economies, including in the eurozone, there is a growing risk of financial instability.  Its prime concern is that low borrowing costs and inflation mean activity is driven by easy money rather than fundamentals. The OECD highlights an over-reliance on central bank policy and warns that more needs to be done by governments in terms of tax and spending policy as well as structural changes.   Lower oil prices and widespread monetary easing have brought the world economy to a turning point, with the potential for the acceleration of growth that has been needed in many countries,” said OECD chief economist Catherine Mann.    “There is no room for complacency, however, as excessive reliance on monetary policy alone is building up financial risks, while not yet reviving business investment. A more balanced policy approach is needed, making full use of fiscal and structural reforms, as well as monetary policy, to ensure sustainable growth and public finances over the longer term.”   The OECD used its latest in-depth report into the UK to warn that more needs to be done to fix the country’s poor record on productivity, which it sees as key to raising living standards. The thinktank also had some encouraging words for George Osborne as he heads towards the election – it praised his economic policies and renewed backing for the chancellor’s austerity drive.   The group’s latest outlook highlighted a boost to the US economy from strong domestic demand, which, combined with a strengthening dollar, was adding to demand in the rest of the world. The euro area should benefit from low oil prices, monetary stimulus and euro depreciation, which “combine to offer the chance to escape from stagnation”, the OECD added.
Summarising the outlook for other big economies, the thinktank says:  In Japan, monetary and fiscal stimulus provide the impetus for faster near-term growth, but longer-term challenges remain. A gradual slowdown in China, towards the new official growth target, is expected to continue. India is expected to be the fastest-growing major economy over the coming two years, while the outlook is likely to worsen for many commodity exporting nations, with Brazil falling into recession.”

Thursday, December 5, 2013

China's growing engagement with Central and Eastern European countries is an essential part of its China-Europe strategy, which has focused on achieving strategic win-win outcomes, said a senior Chinese diplomat.
"China has made great efforts to enhance mutual understanding and the willingness to deepen cooperation," Xu Jian, Chinese ambassador to Poland, told China Daily recently in an exclusive interview.
"Premier Li Keqiang's visit and talks in Romania with the regions' leaders demonstrate China's consistent efforts."
Xu, who was Chinese ambassador to Romania before his current position, said Beijing has been bridging the gap and exploring the potential of deepening exchanges in Central and Eastern Europe. By comparison, China's ties with Western European countries are relatively mature.
China launched the political dialogue with the region last year when then premier Wen Jiabao visited Poland. And Premier Li carried on the momentum through his summit with European Union leaders in Beijing last week, his first since taking office in March.
Observers have begun to refer to this month as Chinese leaders' "Europe season", following the frequent exchanges between China and EU member states.
"Poland, as the biggest trading partner of China in the region, has put China on the priority list when developing foreign relations, which is very encouraging," said Xu, adding that its top leaders have frequently stressed the strategic importance of deepening ties with China.    The ambassador said the Polish government has launched a "Go to China" project, but he did not elaborate. 
Poland, like other countries in the region, is still engaged in transforming its economic development patterns, the ambassador said, and China can offer its experience, technologies, finance and investment to speed up the process. "It is very complementary in this regard," Xu said.
Poland has been China's biggest trading partner in Central and Eastern Europe for eight years, Xu said, so bilateral relations have been fruitful. Trade volume reached $14.3 billion in 2012. "The two-way investment is also picking up," Xu said.
Investment and trade are expected to grow quickly within the framework of the EU-China 2020 strategy, which will double the trade volume, the ambassador said.
Poland's cultural strength and traditional friendship with China are the foundations for the future development of bilateral relations, Xu said.   Poland is the biggest country in the region regarding size and population, and it has growing influence in regional and international affairs, he added.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Since 1976, the US dollar's role as an international currency has been slowly waning. International use of the dollar to hold foreign-exchange reserves, denominate financial transactions, invoice trade, and as a vehicle in currency markets is below its level during the heyday of the Bretton Woods era, from 1945 to 1971. But most people would be surprised by what the most recent numbers show.
There is an abundance of explanations for the downward trend. Since the Vietnam war, US budget deficits, money creation and current-account deficits have often been high. Presumably as a result, the dollar has lost value relative to other major currencies or in terms of purchasing power. Meanwhile, the US share of global output has declined. And, most recently, the disturbing willingness of some members of the US Congress to pursue a strategy that would cause the Treasury to default on legal obligations has undermined global confidence in the dollar's privileged status.
Moreover, some emerging-market currencies are joining the club of international currencies for the first time. Indeed, some analysts have suggested that the Chinese yuan may rival the dollar as the leading international currency by the end of the decade.
But the dollar's status as an international currency has not fallen uniformly. Interestingly, the periods when the public is most concerned about the issue do not coincide with the periods when the dollar's share in international transactions is in fact falling.
By the criteria of international use as a reserve currency among central banks and as a vehicle in foreign-exchange markets, the most rapid declines took place from 1978 to 1991 and from 2001 to 2010. Between these two intervals, from 1992 to 2000, there was a clear reversal of the trend, notwithstanding a popular orgy of dollar declinism around the middle of that decade. Central banks held only an estimated 46% of their foreign-exchange reserves in dollars in 1992, but that share rebounded to almost 70% by 2000.

Subsequently, the long-term downward trend resumed. According to one estimate, the dollar's share in central-banks' foreign reserves declined from about 70% in 2001 to barely 60% in 2010. During the same decade, its share in the foreign-exchange market also declined: the dollar constituted one side or the other in 90% of foreign-exchange trades in 2001, but only 85% in 2010.

The International Monetary Fund's most recent statistics suggest, unexpectedly, another pause in the dollar's long-term decline. According to the IMF, the dollar's share in foreign-exchange reserves stopped falling in 2010 and has been flat since then. If anything, the share is up slightly thus far in 2013. Similarly, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) reported in its recent triennial survey that the dollar's share in the world's foreign-exchange trades rose from 85% in 2010 to 87% in 2013.
 Given dysfunctional US fiscal policy, the dollar's resilience is surprising. Or maybe we should no longer be surprised. After all, when the global financial crisis erupted in 2008 from the bowels of the American sub-prime mortgage market, global investors responded by fleeing to the US, not from it. They obviously still regard US Treasury bills as a safe haven and the dollar as the top international currency, especially given the absence of good alternatives. In particular, the euro has its own all-too-obvious problems. Indeed, the euro's share in reserve holdings and foreign-exchange transactions have both declined by several percentage points in the most recent statistics. At the same time, the IMF's data indicate that the vaunted yuan is not yet among the top seven currencies in terms of central-bank reserve holdings. And, according to the BIS, while the yuan has finally broken into the top 10 currencies in foreign-exchange markets, it still accounts for only 2.2% of all transactions, just behind the Mexican peso's 2.5% share. Despite recent moves by the Chinese government, the yuan still has a long way to go. To try to explain the recent stabilisation of the dollar's status, one might note something that the last three years have in common with the previous period of temporary reversal from 1992 to 2000: striking improvements in the US budget deficit. By the end of the 1990s, the record deficits of the 1980s had been transformed into record surpluses; today, the federal deficit is less than half its 2010 level.  Perhaps the fiscal observation is a coincidence. After all, it would be foolish to read too much into two historical data points. It would be even more foolish to believe that just because American politicians have failed to dislodge the US dollar from its paramount status over the last 40 years, they could not accomplish the job with another few decades of effort. It is not an eternal law of nature that the dollar shall always be number one. The pound sterling had the top spot in the 19th century, only to be surpassed by the dollar in the first half of the 20th century. The day may come when the dollar, too, succumbs to a rival. But today is not that day

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The UK and US must do more to protect internet users' privacy, the inventor of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has warned as a new survey of online freedoms is released.
Berners-Lee warned that "a growing tide of surveillance and censorship" posed a threat to the future of democracy, even as more and more people were using the internet to expose wrongdoing.
His remarks came before the second annual release of a global league table that classifies countries according to a set of freedoms. Since last year, the US has dropped from second place to fourth, while the UK has remained in third place. Sweden still tops the list, though Norway now takes second place. All of the Scandinavian countries – Sweden, Denmark and Norway – feature in the top 10.
The UK was poorly placed on privacy rights but was lifted by its high scores for availability of relevant content and the internet's political impact.
The table is compiled by comparing 81 countries, combining measures such as the extent of access to the internet, how much censorship is employed, and how "empowered" people are by its availability. The list has been expanded from the 61 countries surveyed last year.
Last year Berners-Lee introduced the inaugural index by pointing out that there was no off switch for the internet – a fact that was proving uncomfortable for a number of governments that had tried to shut down radical dissent in the previous 12 months through the Arab spring.
But this year his remarks focused more on the threat of surveillance, which has been highlighted by the Guardian's revelations about the extent of online spying and subversion of internet protocols by the US's National Security Agency and the UK's GCHQ.
The survey found that 76 of the 81 countries examined did not meet "best practice" standards for checks and balances on government interception of electronic communications.
Speaking before an event to launch the updated version of the index, the 58-year-old British computer scientist said: "One of the most encouraging findings of this year's Web Index is how the web and social media are increasingly spurring people to organise, take action and try to expose wrongdoing in every region of the world.
"But some governments are threatened by this, and a growing tide of surveillance and censorship now threatens the future of democracy.
"Bold steps are needed now to protect our fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of opinion and association online."
The survey also found that almost a third of countries surveyed block politically sensitive content.
Web innovators, experts and policymakers, including Berners-Lee and the Wikipedia chief Jimmy Wales, were gathering in London on Friday to assess the World Wide Web Foundation's independent annual measure of the web's impact.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

EU spending will total €135.5bn next year under a deal reached by EU negotiators overnight, which included extra funds to fight soaring youth unemployment in the 28-nation bloc.  The deal, which cuts EU spending by about 6pc from this year, is the first to reflect the new terms for EU budgets from 2014-20 agreed by the bloc’s leaders in February and had little room to manoevre on the overall figures involved. “I’m glad that we could reach an agreement with the European Parliament on the financing of priority areas such as growth, employment, innovation and humanitarian aid,” said Algimantas Rimkunas, deputy finance minister for Lithuania, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency.  The deal reached after more than 16 hours of negotiations includes up to €3.9bn to support job creation, training and apprenticeships for the estimated 19 million young Europeans currently out of work.  Critics say the extra cash is a drop in the ocean, working out at about €200 for every unemployed young person in the region.   The vast majority of EU spending - around two thirds of the total - will be spent on subsidies for European farmers and investment projects such as road construction in the bloc’s poorer central and eastern European member states.  The agreement must now be rubber-stamped by EU ministers and the full parliament before it can enter force.  The European Commission had originally proposed a budget of €136bn for next year, which the parliament had sought to increase to €136.4bn.  As part of the earlier deal on the EU’s long-term budget, funds earmarked but not spent in a particular budget year can be carried over to the next year’s budget, subject to approval by EU governments.  The European Union budget is equivalent to about 1pc of the bloc’s annual gross domestic product - a small fraction of total EU government spending of almost 50pc of GDP in 2012. Reuters

I have been warning about the ever increasing powers of the EU for some time now, could this be the straw that finally breaks the camels back? What sovereign Govt. will tolerate such interference in it's financial affairs? If this measure is allowed to happen it signals the end of Democracy in Europe, is that a price worth paying? As I see it we now have no choice but to vote UKIP to remove ourselves from this wholly dictatorial club before we lose our sovereignty forever.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Six of the world's leading central banks, including the US Federal Reserve, say they will provide each other with ready supplies of their currencies on a standing basis, extending arrangements set up to steady the global financial system during post-2007 turbulence.
The decision, announced on Thursday, extends currency swap arrangements that until now had been considered temporary measures.
The central banks are: the Fed, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England, the Bank of Canada and the Swiss National Bank.
The so-called swap lines enable those central banks to make sure banks in their home countries can always borrow ready cash from them in any of the currencies involved, should they need it.
The ECB said the arrangements "have helped to ease strains in financial markets" and "will continue to serve as a prudent liquidity backstop".
The Fed and the ECB started their first dollar-euro swap arrangement in December 2007 as the losses on mortgage-backed bonds began to shake the banking system. Subsequent bilateral deals between the different banks were added during the financial turbulence that followed, which included the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, sudden extreme falls on stock markets, the subsequent recession and Europe's crisis over too much government debt in several countries.
Central banks serve as custodians of their countries' currencies and play an important role in supporting the stability of banks so companies can do business and the economy can function properly.
They typically provide liquidity – ready cash to meet the demands of everyday business – to their banks, even when banks may be having trouble borrowing elsewhere due to market trouble. With the new currency arrangements, they can do this in currencies other than their own.
For example, the European Central Bank holds credit offerings in US dollars for periods of seven days and three months, offering as much in dollars as European banks may want in return for collateral such as bonds or other securities.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A railway tunnel underneath the Bosphorus Strait is due to open in Turkey, creating a new link between the Asian and European shores of Istanbul.  The tunnel is the world's first connecting two continents, and is designed to withstand earthquakes.   It is being opened on the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey.    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has for years championed the undersea engineering project, first conceived by an Ottoman sultan in 1860.  Work began in 2004 but archaeological excavations delayed construction.  The underwater section runs for 0.8 miles (1.4 km), but in total the tunnel is 8.5 miles (13.6 km) long. It is scheduled to be inaugurated at 13:00 GMT.
Reha Muhtar in Vatan: "It is a miraculous project that tells something about the horizons of this country and its people… Today, two continents are being united under the sea. This is a first in the world."
Suleyman Solmaz, from the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects, in Radikal: "Firstly there are no safety wagons; secondly, there is no electronic security system. The tunnel about to open doesn't have a safety control centre."
Taha Akyoll in Hurriyet: "Let us make the opening of a historically great project like Marmaray, on the 90th anniversary of the Republic, a symbol of overcoming polarisation. In the inauguration of this work, which was constructed with the taxes of 75 million people, the government should use an inclusive tone."
Japan invested $1bn of the $4bn (£3.4bn) total cost of the project, named Marmaray, which is a conflation of the nearby Sea of Marmara with "ray", the Turkish word for rail.    The BBC's James Reynolds in Istanbul says the Turkish government hopes the new route under the Bosphorus will eventually develop into an important trading route.  In theory it brings closer the day when it will be possible to travel from London to Beijing via Istanbul by train.   The Marmaray project will upgrade existing suburban train lines to create a direct link joining the southern part of the city across the Bosphorus Strait.    Istanbul is one of the world's biggest cities, with about 16 million people. Some two million, according to the AFP news agency, cross the Bosphorus every day via just two bridges, causing severe traffic congestion.    The rail service will be capable of carrying 75,000 people per hour in either direction.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Czech's want out of the European Union - the desperation vote...

An election held to resolve months of uncertainty in the Czech Republic has failed to produce a clear winner.  With all the ballots counted, the Social Democrats have the most votes - just over 20% - but they do not have enough to form a government alone.  Analysts say the result could pave the way for another unstable coalition, with the second-placed ANO party in a powerful bargaining position.  The election has come after months of political turmoil.  The centre-right government of Petr Necas was brought down by a corruption scandal in June. If ever there was a textbook Pyrrhic victory, this was it. After seven years in opposition, after seven months of vertigo-inducing opinion poll results, the Social Democrats finished on just 20.45%. No wonder the mood at Social Democrat headquarters was subdued - you'd think they'd lost these elections, not won them, and in a sense, they have. Some believe party leader Bohuslav Sobotka will resign within days.   The real victor was the Slovak-born billionaire Andrej Babis, whose centrist ANO party campaigned against corruption and for change. His second place showing is simply astonishing, and can be read as the voters' resounding verdict on the established political parties. He is being coy about a possible coalition with the Social Democrats - as kingmaker, he can dictate the terms.   So what lies ahead for this Central European nation of 10 million? Almost certainly not a minority Social Democrat government propped up by the political pariahs, the Communists. That ship has sailed. Instead weeks - maybe months - of arduous coalition talks.   The country has been without a proper administration ever since - and is currently being governed by a caretaker cabinet of technocrats.
Tough talks ahead - Correspondents say that this election is likely be followed by weeks of difficult negotiations. The BBC's Rob Cameron, in Prague, says the Social Democrats had hoped to win enough to run the country if they were supported or at least tolerated by the Communists. But even together, they do not have enough votes to form a government, he says.  That opens the way for arduous talks on forming a coalition with some of the other parties in parliament.   Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka admitted the results of the election were "not what we expected,'' but he told reporters he was ready to start negotiations with all parties.  Our correspondent says the real winner in this election is second-placed ANO, a new centrist party which campaigns against corruption and is run by a food and agriculture billionaire.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The sluggishness of the global economy has been highlighted, with German exports rising by less than expected and leaders from across the Asia Pacific region warning that trade is weakening.
Exports from Europe's largest economy rose 1% in August but came in short of the expected 1.5% increase.
Despite the rise, which followed an unexpected fall in July, the data from the federal statistics office showed German exports continue to be hit by weak demand from the eurozone.
Imports rose by 0.4%, widening Germany's trade surplus to €15.6bn (£13.2bn) from €15bn in July – higher than analysts had predicted but below a surplus of €18.1bn in the same month last year.
On an annual basis, German imports were 2.2% lower than in August 2012 while exports of goods were 5.4% lower.
Meanwhile, leaders at an Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) meeting in Bali warned global growth was too weak and trade was slowing.
"Global growth is too weak, risks remain tilted to the downside, global trade is weakening, and the economic outlook suggests growth is likely to be slower and less balanced than desired," leaders said in a statement.
"We will implement prudent and responsible macroeconomic policies to ensure mutually reinforcing effect of growth and to maintain economic and financial stability in the region, and prevent negative spillover effect."
The group of 21 countries includes Japan, China, Russia, Australia and the US, although the US government shutdown meant President Barack Obama was not present at the meeting to back the statement.
Elsewhere, HSBC said British companies needed more help from the government to fulfil their export potential. Since the onset of the financial crisis, UK policymakers have repeatedly emphasised the need to rebalance the economy away from a reliance on spending and towards manufacturing and exports.
The government has an ambition to double exports to £1tr by 2020, an increase HSBC said would require "considerable work".
Britain's largest bank said UK business confidence was rising, and predicted growth in hi-tech manufacturing, but it said companies needed more practical help.
Publishing a manifesto for British exports, HSBC said businesses required assistance to make connections with other parts of the world, support with the initial costs and risks of exporting, and the confidence that came from clear information about international opportunities.
Among its recommendations was an examination of the case for export tax credits for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), an improvement in SME access to export credit guarantees, and a simplification of the business visa process.
"Britain's businesses are among the most innovative and imaginative in the world. But in recent years, these talents have failed to deliver significant export growth," said Alan Keir, chief executive of HSBC Bank.
"Achieving the government's target of doubling exports to £1tn by 2020 will take considerable work by all parties, yet we know from talking to our customers that many businesses with massive export potential are still holding back from looking overseas."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

World Bank cuts China growth forecasts - America's deadlock isn't the only issue worrying the City today. The World Bank has warned that East Asia's economic growth is slowing as it cut its GDP forecasts several nations, including China.
In a new report, the Bank said weaker commodity prices means weaker growth in the region. It also urged Chinese policymakers to tackle the consequences of recent loose policy and tighten financial supervision.
Here's a flavour:Developing East Asia is expanding at a slower pace as China shifts from an export-oriented economy and focuses on domestic demand," the World Bank said in its latest East Asia Pacific Economic Update report.
"Growth in larger middle-income countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand is also softening in light of lower investment, lower global commodity prices and lower-than-expected growth of exports," it added.
It now expects the Chinese economy to expand by 7.5% this year, down from its April forecast of 8.3%. For 2014, the forecast is cut from 8% to 7.7%.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lies and deceit ....

Besides the 26 trillion Dollars pumped by The FED in Budesbank, The ECB pumped more than €1 trillion (£840bn) of liquidity into the banks through two long-term refinancing operations (LTROs) to stabilize financial markets, in December 2011 and February 2012,  The move has come to be seen as the first step towards bringing Europe’s crisis under control and was reinforced by Mr Draghi’s promise in July last year to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro. Yesterday(MOn, addressing the European Parliament, he said: “We are ready to use any instrument, including another LTRO if needed, to maintain short-term money market rates at a level which is warranted by our assessment of inflation in the medium-term.”  His fresh commitment is likely to allay any lingering concerns about the state of Europe’s banks, which face another stress test in the coming months. His comments came amid signs of improvement in the eurozone economy. Business activity in the region picked up to a 27-month high in September, the closely-watched purchasing managers’ index (PMI) showed. Meanwhile, European markets edged lower as traders awaited news from Germany after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s election victory over the weekend. Traders urged her to strike a coalition deal swiftly to stop bail-out fears spreading among the eurozone’s troubled nations. Markets expect Ms Merkel’s Christian Democrats to go into partnership with the Social Democrats, the main opposition party, but observers noted that it took two months to negotiate an agreement last time the parties worked together. Given the fragile eurozone, traders called for Ms Merkel to move fast. Peter Schaffrik, head of European rates strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said: “If finding a new government takes too long, markets might get jumpy as regards the stability of the German government, particularly with key European issues – the Portuguese, Irish and Greek programmes – coming up for a negotiation." ... They will do whatever it takes to save the € up to and including - the theft of people's money in their bank accounts as per Cyprus - after all the sheep didn't protest - they just accepted their shearing without a murmur - and so will all the other sheep in the corrupt EU.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In September 1995, a secret agreement was signed inside the Romanian government giving convicted criminal Frank Timis the rights to mine Europe's largest gold deposit, located under the ancient mountain town of Rosia Montana. Soon after, the deposits were floated on the Canadian Stock Exchange, listed under Timis' firm, Gabriel Resources, a newly created mining company registered in the tax haven of Jersey, with no previous mining experience and a bank balance of close to zero.  Now, 18 years later, a near continuous rise in the price of gold has driven the value of the deposits under Rosia Montana up by 400 percent to over $20 billion, and the constant issuing of shares from Gabriel Resources has drawn in nearly a billion dollars to the project.   Restructured and rebranded as the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC), the company has launched the biggest PR campaign Romania has ever seen. It also bought up most of the town of Rosia Montana and the four surrounding mountains, all of which would have to be flattened to make way for the open-cast mine, funded multiple NGO's, museums and a high-profile documentary to support their cause.  Yet the mine remains unopened. The company is unable to get past public opposition that has mobilized tens of thousands across the country, and a legal system that deems the project unlawful on three counts -- under environmental law, international mining laws and the Aarhus convention for transparency in decision-making.   But all of this is set to be overridden. At the end of August, Prime Minister Victor Ponta signed a proposed law that would annul all of the legal barriers standing in the way of the Rosia Montana project and get the mine underway by the beginning of next year. The law, currently waiting on a parliamentary vote, would give the company extraordinary powers. The hundred or so villagers who have refused to sell their homes in Rosia Montana would be forcefully expropriated, escorted by RMGC's private security firm and compensated at a rate set by the company. The government would then be mandated to issue all necessary permits for construction and exploitation on set terms drawn up by the company, allowing the project to begin well before the new law could be challenged in the European Court of Justice. Once passed, the law would also apply to all new mining projects in the country -- which sparks fears that, given the mineral richness of the Transylvania region, extend far beyond Rosia Montana. Three days after the law was proposed, thousands of people took to the streets in opposition. In the weeks since, the protests have grown and spread, with each successive Sunday bringing activists to the streets of cities increasingly far removed from the hills of Transylvania. The demonstrations are held in cities as far flung as Budapest, Berlin, London, Washington, Singapore. This weekend, protests are set to be larger still and, the organizers believe, they will keep growing "until something gives and our demands are recognized."  The scale of the protests reflects the size of the environmental risks involved. Using outdated techniques, 13,000 tons of cyanide are to be be pumped into the mine each year. This is over 130 times the amount used in the Romanian Baie Mare gold mine at the time of the catastrophic cyanide spill in 2000, Europe's worst environmental catastrophe since Chernobyl. Nevertheless, the extent of the opposition has surprised everyone, from the protest's organizers to government officials and, crucially, Gabriel Resources' shareholders, who have been selling off in droves, causing the company's stock price to crash.  But the significance of the case extends far beyond Rosia Montana. Ramona Duminicioiu, a constant figure in the Save Rosia Montana movement for over a decade, sees it as part of a process that links movements as diverse as the Occupy protests in America to this year's uprisings across Europe, from Bulgaria to Turkey, Greece and other countries. "This is a case of our elected government putting corporate interests over public priorities and then blocking any democratic process of opposition through legal measures," she says. "It resonates far beyond Romania as this is a crisis of global capitalism and impotent governments."   The actions of the Romanian government over the last fortnight certainly suggest a political powerlessness in the face of the proceedings. After the first protests, President Traian Basescu, always an avid supporter of the mine, came out condemning it on environmental grounds, stating that it should not go ahead given that the majority of Romanians are opposed to it. Soon after, Prime Minister Victor Ponta announced an emergency procedure that would, he claimed, stop the project once and for all.   Then, as Gabriel Resources' shares plummeted, the company threatened to sue. They claim that if members of parliament vote against the project they will "commence litigation for multiple breaches of international investment treaties for up to $4 billion." Ponta's emergency procedure was soon abandoned and a new committee was created that seems to allow the law to bypass both the Senate and Chamber of Deputies and be put directly to vote in parliament. However, with the new committee apparently unburdened by regular transparency regulations and the government unavailable to comment, the situation as it stands is unclear.   Whatever happens, the Romanian government is unlikely to survive the coming months in its present form. Calls for the removal of the Ponta-led Social Liberal Union (USL) coalition, brought into power largely on the back of promises that they would stop the Rosia Montana project, are increasingly dominating the protests in Bucharest. Meanwhile, the coalition is visibly shaky, one minute declaring unity in its approach to the mine and the next publicly threatening to split over the issue.   But the stuttering rhetoric of party politics has always felt more like a comic interlude than the main plot line in the story of Rosia Montana. For over a decade and a half, the Romanian government has swung back and forth on the issue but never been able to make any final decision.   "We still don't know the exact nature of the original contract signed between the government and Gabriel (Resources)," says Duminicioiu, "but as it is clear that the vast majority of Romanians oppose the mine. If the project goes ahead, it must be stronger than democracy."  What happens then? "We keep fighting, until we have a government that can represent its people," she says.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The 4th. Reich will continue the implementation of the Ribbentrop - Molotov Pact, Europeans are doomed !

Angela Merkel's conservatives won a resounding victory in Sunday's general election, sharply increasing their share of the vote to around 42 percent and putting her on track for a third term.
But she may have to form an alliance with the rival center-left Social Democrats because her junior coalition partner, the pro-business Free Democratic Party, saw its support slump so dramatically that it may not make the five percent threshold needed for parliamentary representation.

"We will do everything to ensure that the next four years will be successful ones for Germany," a beaming Merkel told cheering supporters. "We will now wait for the election outcome, it's too early to say how we will proceed. We will discuss all this tomorrow in our leadership meetings. But we can already celebrate today because we did great."
Her SPD rival, Peer Steinbr├╝ck, told supporters: "The ball is in Frau Merkel's court, she has to find herself a majority."
An alliance with SPD, a so-called "grand coalition" of the two biggest parties, would be a repeat of the right-left alliance with which she governed in her first term from 2005 until 2009.
Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union party and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, were at 42.1 percent, up sharply from 33.8 percent in 2009, an ARD network TV projection based on actual results showed after polling stations closed at 6 p.m. CET.
A TV projection by ZDF showed a similar result with the conservatives at 42.3 percent.
"This is the FDP's bitterest defeat in decades," said Christian Lindner, a senior member of the party leadership.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tullow Oil, one of the Britain's most successful exploration groups, has made its first discovery in the Arctic in a move which will encourage more drilling and anger green groups campaigning against fossil fuel extraction in the region.
Shares in Tullow climbed more than 3% as well operator OMV said it had struck a reservoir in the Barents Sea off the far north of Norway which could contain up to 160m barrels of oil and 40bn cubic feet of recoverable gas.
"This is a major frontier light oil discovery for Norway, Tullow Oil and our co-venturers. We look forward to pursuing the exciting exploration and appraisal follow up arising from this breakthrough discovery," said Angus McCoss, exploration director at Tullow, which holds a 20% stake in the prospect.
"The well results are a breakthrough for the regional exploration activities as the presence of good quality oil shows the possible large potential of an area, which will see more exploration drilling in the near future," said OMV in a statement.
The Austrian company said the production licence 537 in which the well was drilled could hold as much as 500m barrels of oil equivalent based on similar geological evidence nearby.
Tullow has become a stock market favourite on the back of major discoveries in Uganda and Ghana that helped establish those African nations as new oil producers.
The company, led by Irishman Aidan Heavey, has also become the targets of various campaign groups who have accused it of political lobbying, tax avoidance and even bribery, allegations it has steadfastly denied.
But the oil strike in the far north is a significant step for Tullow, which last autumn bought a 40% stake in exploration acreage of Greenland just weeks after the boss of French oil group, Total, said drilling in the Arctic should be abandoned because of the potential reputational and environmental damage if there was an oil spill.
In March this year a new government in Greenland put a moratorium on the granting of fresh oil and gas licences in its Arctic waters but existing licences are still valid. British oil company Cairn Energy, which pioneered a new bout of exploration off Greenland two years ago, said it would resume its controversial exploration in that area in 2014.
Greenpeace has made protection of the far north one of its key campaigns and last month its Arctic Sunrise vessel was chased out of Arctic waters by Russian coast guards after it approached a drill rig working for Moscow-based oil company, Rosneft.
Russia and Norway signed an historic agreement to carve up the Barents Sea between them in 2010, a move which was expected to herald much more drilling in the region.
The Oslo government unveiled 20 new exploration licences in the Barents during the summer and Statoil has already made big finds in the more southerly part of the Barents
Andrew Whittock, an oil analyst with Liberum Capital in London, said the Tullow find was significant although these were early days to try to assess the reservoir's ultimate potential. "This proves a new shallow play in the region. Good news but (it) needs more appraisal."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A point of view...

Since restrictions on the free flow of capital are forbidden by the EU Charter of fundamental rights, Cyprus is no longer in the same Europe with the same currency as the rest of the Euro Area members, its position in the Eurosystem is different, unequal. This also means that the single currency has already broken up, albeit on a small scale and in a way that has received little fanfare in the press. On the other hand this is probably the start of something bigger and not the end of the crisis. The break up of the eurozone could be 'sneaky' in just this way, the slow failure of 'peripheral' states and the implementation of capital controls, without changing the name of the individual currencies. This would still leave the larger (population size) nations in the main position of power.
Short of revolution, the contradictions in treating a small country the same as a large one in terms of economic policy seems like it can never be overcome in Europe, or will take forever, because essentially it would mean the end of the national borders and the re-shaping of regions of more-or-less similar size, so that they become like, say, the 'counties' of the UK. Member states of a union can be different sizes, as in the USA, but measures are taken federally to relativize the effect of this. While the smaller countries are by necessity already more open in this respect to outside influences, the larger nations with the clout are more likely to resist, even though they are understood as the main motors of integration. The brings up the question exactly what kind of integration is being sought here? A democratic, relatively equalized regional unity? Or, one that has the largest economies with the biggest populations in the same positions of economic and thus financial power?...For example: the Greek GDP is roughly the same as that of the German state of Lower Saxony. Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) is the second largest in area in the country with 47,624 square kilometers, and is fourth in population size with 8 million people, while Greece has about 11 million citizens, so it is comparable, but eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains and it has the eleventh longest coastline in the world. When we compare these two, Greece no longer seems so bad in terms of productivity, yet the rhetoric of power is that Greece is the basket case of Europe because of its history of entitlement and state interference in the 'free economy'. In other words 'socialism' is blamed and more raw capitalist free enterprise is seen as the answer. Why is Greece focused on? Because in other nations suffering the crisis it was, in a big way, the major private 'free' financial institutions that blew up needing, you guessed it, public sector welfare, or in other words 'socialism for the rich'.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

In functional terms, a food blogger who writes about the opening of a new restaurant is a journalist because he or she is communicating information of interest to the section of the public that likes to eat out. Whether the blogger is formally paid by an accredited "news" organization or does it for love, the communication process is identical. All this talk of accreditation or seeking particular qualifications for the status of journalist is a way for commercial organizations to protect their market or other interested parties to seek control over the news dissemination process..."shield law" that will give reporters some protection when government and its agencies seek to bug, arrest or demand to know sources. Its embryo bill says that a journalist is someone "who has a primary interest to investigate events and procure material", informing the public through interviews and observation. He or she sets out to report the news; he or she must intend to publish that news.   But, asks one senator, is that protection for WikiLeakers? Surely we only want to help "real reporters", who draw salaries for their work, says another. The congressional equivalent of our own dear Westminster lobby system insists that the correspondents it grants passes to are full-time on some corporate payroll.  Best of luck with that, and enjoy it while it lasts....The term citizen journalism has been in the news recently because of a recent ruling against Apple Computer by an appeals court in the USA. Apple tried to get bloggers who had revealed trade secrets to hand over their sources, but the court said that bloggers were covered by the same shield law as journalists and by the First Amendment protections of the press. “We can think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish ‘legitimate’ from ‘illegitimate’ news,” the opinion said.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Spanish GDP falls by 0.1% - Spain's economy has now been shrinking for two full years.
Data just released by the Spanish National Statistics Institute showed that Spanish GDP fell by 0.1% between April and June. That's the eighth quarterly contraction in a row.
Encouragingly, though, the pace of decline has slowed -- following the 0.5% contraction suffered in the first three months of 2013.
And on a year-on-year basis, the Spanish economy has shrunk by 1.7%... well this is slightly better than the 1.8% economists had expected. I don't think we can call it a green shoot of recovery – but perhaps the bitter frost is easing?
In a statement on its website, Bitcoin said it had given a presentation to the Bank of Thailand about how the currency works in a bid to operate in the country. However, at the end of the meeting, "senior members of the Foreign Exchange Administration and Policy Department advised that due to lack of existing applicable laws, capital controls and the fact that Bitcoin straddles multiple financial facets... Bitcoin activities are illegal in Thailand".  The ruling means it is illegal to buy and sell bitcoins, buy or sell any goods or services in exchange for bitcoins, send any bitcoins to anyone outside of Thailand, or receive bitcoins from anyone outside the country. Bitcoin said it "has no choice but to suspend operations until such as time that the laws in Thailand are updated to account for the existance [sic] of Bitcoin", adding that "the Bank of Thailand has said they will further consider the issue, but did not give any specific timeline".  Launched in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis, bitcoins are "mined" using complex computer source code. The virtual currency started as a relatively niche method of payment, devised by an anonymous programmer, but can now be used for anything from online gambling to pizza delivery.