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Monday, 17 February 2014

Feb 17, 2014: News Updates

*Possible radiation leak at New Mexico military nuclear waste site

Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:34am EST
(Reuters) - Unusually high levels of radioactive particles were found at an underground nuclear waste site in New Mexico on Saturday in what a spokesman said looked like the first real alarm since the plant opened in 1999.

Further info:

 Georgia jails former PM for corruption

Vano Merabishvili sentenced to five and half years in prison in a verdict that opposition dubs as government witch-hunt.
Last updated: 17 Feb 2014 14:22

A Georgian court has sentenced a former prime minister to five and a half years in prison for corruption in a verdict that opposition politicians branded as part of a government witch-hunt against its foes.

Vano Merabishvili was convicted on Monday of abuse of power and other crimes at the trial in the western city of Kutaisi, according to the Reuters news agency.

"Off The Charts" How China Fooled The World

China is now the second largest economy in the world and for the last 30 years China's economy has been growing at an astonishing rate, wowing the world, as spending and investment has been undertaken on a scale never seen before in human history - 30 new airports, 26,000 miles of motorways and a new skyscraper every five days have been built in China in the last five years. But as we (and Michael Pettis, George Soros, and Jim Chanos - among many others) have warned, it is all eerily reminiscent of what happened in the West... the vast majority of it has been built on credit. This has now left the Chinese economy with huge debts and questions over whether much of the money can ever be paid back (spoiler alert: it can't and it won't).

The BBC's Robert Peston travels to China to investigate how this mighty economic giant could actually be in serious trouble.

Ex-Barclays bankers charged with Libor rigging

By Mark Thompson  @MarkThompsonCNN February 17, 2014:
Prosecutors have charged three former Barclays bankers in connection with the rigging of global interest rates.

The U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office, which prosecutes complex cases of fraud, said Monday that it's started criminal proceedings against Peter Charles Johnson, Jonathan James Mathew and Stylianos Contogoulas in connection with manipulating the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.

NATO seeks to capitalize power vacuum in CAR: Analyst

Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:40PM GMT
A political analyst says a huge power vacuum in the mineral rich Central African Republic is the root cause of many problems, warning that NATO seeks to capitalize mineral riches in the crisis-hit country.
“The country has uranium; they have gold; they have diamonds and they have other strategic minerals that are indispensable to the overall world economic system. And the US of course with their allies in NATO wants to control those resources in alliance with their partners on the African continent,” Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan African News Wire, Detroit,

Feb. 16, 2014, 9:45 p.m. EST

Australian bourse set to offer yuan payments

MELBOURNE, Australia--Australia's securities exchange will offer a service settling trade in yuan as part of a venture with Bank of China Ltd., a further push by financial companies Down Under to tap rising capital flows between Australia and its biggest trading partner.
The settlement service will allow Australian companies to take or make payments with Chinese investment and trading partners through ASX Ltd.'s (ASX.AU) Austraclear market infrastructure.

"Money Launderer Until Proven Innocent" - Italy Imposes 20% Tax Withholding On All Inbound Money Transfers

While the propaganda surrounding Europe's "recovery" has reached deafening levels, what is going on behind the scenes is quite the opposite, and in the latest example that Europe is increasingly formalizing a regime of implicit capital controls, we learn that Italy has just ordered banks to withhold a 20% tax on all inbound wire transfers: a decree which on to of everything will apply retroactively to February 1. As Il Sole reports, "the deductions will be automatic (unless prior request for exclusion), and then it will be up to the taxpayer to prove that the money is not in the nature of compensation "income." In other words, as of this moment, but really starting two weeks ago, all Italians are money launderers unless proven innocent.

 Feb. 17, 2014, 12:55 a.m. EST

China's Goldleaf eyes Texas energy company

SHANGHAI--A Chinese gold retailer said it plans to acquire a Texas-based oil and gas operator for at least $665 million, part of a strategy to diversify into overseas energy markets.

Venezuela’s Maduro expels 3 US consular officials, alleging conspiracy

Published time: February 17, 2014 10:59
After days of protests led by students and opposition forces, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the expulsion of three US consular officials whom he accused of conspiracy and meeting students involved in anti-government protests.

Venezuela opposition leader on run amid rallies

Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:20AM GMT
Venezuelan opposition leader wanted for vandalism has been on the run as pro and anti-government rallies continue in the South American country.
Addressing thousands of supporters during a demonstration in the capital Caracas on Saturday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said a police operation is underway to arrest opposition leader Leopaldo Lopez.

 17 February 2014 Last updated at 18:35

Scottish independence: Currency union block could hurt firms, says Alex Salmond

Blocking an independent Scotland's ability to share the pound could damage business in the rest of the UK, First Minister Alex Salmond has said.

Mr Salmond said the UK Treasury could impose "hundreds of millions of pounds" in costs on firms if plans for a post-Yes currency union were rejected.

Matteo Renzi asked to form new government by Italian president

If mayor of Florence creates coalition that wins parliament's backing, he will become Italy's youngest prime minister
 Monday 17 February 2014 12.45 GMT

The Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, asked the mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, to form a new government on Monday – the economically troubled country's third in two years.

If he can pull together a coalition that wins the backing of parliament, Renzi, 39, will become Italy's youngest ever prime minister.

Harper drags Ottawa into political mud: Analyst

Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:42PM GMT
In an article published by Press TV on Monday, Eric Walberg criticized the Harper administration for granting a new identity and passport to an agent of the Israeli spying agency Mossad who had been involved in an assassination plot in 2010.
According to the analyst, “Issuing a fugitive Mossad assassin a new identity on a shiny new Canadian passport” is the latest “in a string of humiliating, criminal coincidences” happening in Canada during Haper’s term in office.

Mt. Gox set to restart bitcoin withdrawals as price tumbles

February 17, 2014, 8:13 AM
Withdrawals from Mt. Gox should restart soon, the troubled bitcoin exchange said Monday, as the price of the virtual currency tumbled to fresh lows on the exchange.

That follows an announcement from Slovenia-based bitcoin exchange Bitstamp, which over the weekend said it had restored automatic withdrawals. It suspended moves last Tuesday due to a transaction malleability bug, which allowed hackers to create false transaction data.

The same flaw led to a halt of withdrawals at Mt. Gox site a week ago, kicking off a wave of fresh jitters over the virtual currency. Silk Road 2 was also hit by the bug, which cleaned out the Dark Internet site’s entire store of bitcoin, valued at $2.7 million.

Published time: February 17, 2014 12:18

Thai demonstrators cement gates of Government House

More than 10,000 opposition demonstrators encircled Government House on Monday to prevent the Thai prime minister from resuming her work. They cemented concrete blocks in front of one gate and blockaded the other with cemented sandbags, having heard that Prime Minster Yingluck Shinawatra intended to move back to the building. She has been forced to use a temporary office on the outskirts of Bangkok since anti-government protesters began an attempt to oust her late last year.

Published time: February 16, 2014 15:58

Hundreds of Mexican women dance to protest violence

Hundreds of women danced in Mexico City's central square Saturday as part of the global "One Billion Rising for Justice" campaign, which aims to end violence against women. In Mexico, four in five women have experienced domestic violence, according to Andres Naime, who is coordinating the Mexico One Billion Rising for Justice campaign. According to its website, people from more than 200 countries have taken part in the campaign.

 14 February 2014 Last updated at 17:07

A Point of View: Why every household should have its own currency

India To "Look Into" Easing Gold Price Controls


Two weeks ago, gold jumped to a then-2014 high, following reports out of India that the head of India's Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi was pushing the government to cut its duty on gold and other restrictions. Today, now that the upward move in gold has finally resumed, it appears that the nation with the world's most draconian gold capital controls, is finally starting to crack under pressure from the people, as well as a surge in gold smuggling via illegal channels to unprecedented levels. Reuters reports that India "will look into relaxing gold imports curbs, but won't let its current account deficit (CAD) balloon, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Monday."

Merkel's mirage: ‘This new old idea of a Schengen net is basically a step back’

Published time: February 17, 2014 14:50
The idea of the internet with borders means that national states will be able to put much more mass surveillance on their own people, Bruno Kramm from the Pirate Party told RT.
RT: What kind of future do you see for this proposal of Angela Merkel to create a pan-European communications network that would prevent private data from leaking across the Atlantic?

Free Syrian Army fires military chief Selim Idriss as influence wanes

Western-backed forces blame Idriss for logistical failings as opposition rapidly loses ground to rival Islamist groups- Monday 17 February 2014 02.00 GMT 
The rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) said on Sunday it had fired Selim Idriss as its military chief, citing the “difficulties faced by the Syrian revolution” in its battle with the regime.

In a video broadcast on the internet, the rebel coalition said its military council had decided to replace Idriss with Brigadier General Abdel al-Ilah al-Bachir.

"Soros Put" Hits Record As Billionaire's Downside Hedge Rises By 154% in Q4 To $1.3 Billion

A curious finding emerged in the latest 13F by Soros Fund Management, the family office investment vehicle managing the personal wealth of George Soros.

Actually, two curious findings: the first was that the disclosed Assets Under Management as of December 31, 2013 rose to a record $11.8 billion (this excludes netting and margin, and whatever one-time positions Soros may have gotten an SEC exemption to not disclose: for a recent instance of this, see Greenlight Capital's Micron fiasco, and the subsequent lawsuit of Seeking Alpha which led to the breach of David Einhorn's holdings confidentiality).

91 million Americans aren't looking for jobs

By Annalyn Kurtz    February 10, 2014: 2:20 PM ET
The unemployment rate isn't always the best measure of the job market, because it only includes people who have actively searched for work within the last four weeks. Many Americans just aren't looking for jobs.
In fact, about 91 million adult Americans don't work, and aren't looking for jobs. They make up 37% of the population -- the highest level on record since 1978.

"Germany: About 15 million unemployed!

First, there are those who are in their first year of unemployment and therefore entitled to unemployment compensation: These are about 850 000 people. Approximately 4.4 million receive Hartz IV and about 1.7 million Social money. These are together almost exactly 7 million beneficiaries.

As the institution from this number the fabrications makes 2.8 million, that is - well, let's say, a bit strange.

But the other 7 million beneficiaries are still not nearly all the unemployed.
If we move further to the truth. Since there are still namely those related housing allowance, child allowance, basic security in old age and / or social assistance. The numbers are the institution not known, but it must also talk about millions be. If we count once for simplicity 1 million in that category, then so are the 8 million beneficiaries.
But that's not the whole truth. 3.8 million are "under-employed", according to information provided by the institution and because there are a different number of those who remained outside of the count: magnitude Moderately 800 thousand are housed in "action," so they do not pollute the unemployment figures.
So this brings us to a total of 12.6 million, which is wholly or substantially unemployed and receive benefits.
But there are also another category that can only be estimated, These are, as mentioned above, those who apply out of fear or shame, no benefits. The are (IAB) estimated to be about another 3.1 to 4.9 million people, according to the Institute for Labour Market and Occupational Research.
Thus we have a total number of unemployed in Germany from 15.7 to 17.5 million people speaking.
...If we count the total number of people in Germany with 80 million, so we have 19.6 to 21.9% unemployment. Actually, you should only count the working age population, which are only about 60 million, it is the percentage of unemployed in Germany 26 to 29%!

Qatar World Cup toll: ‘Hundreds’ of Indian migrant workers dead in two years

Published time: February 17, 2014 16:18

More than 450 Indian migrant workers in Qatar have died in the last two years, media revealed on Monday. Another upcoming report will show that 400 Nepalese have lost their lives scrambling to get the Gulf state ready for the 2022 World cup.

Innu elder on last trek denied access to traditional lands

Respected activist Elizabeth Penashue not allowed to enter Muskrat Falls due to Nalcor work
CBC News Posted: Feb 17, 2014 2:34 PM ET Last Updated: Feb 17, 2014 2:34 PM ET