tn moved

tn moved

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Feb 4, 2014: News Updates


Not Fit for the Next Crisis: Europe's Brittle Banking Union

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has negotiated a European banking union suited perfectly to his country's tastes. It looks like a victory, but it could prove to be very expensive if Europe or Germany face another financial crisis.

Feb. 4, 2014, 10:37 a.m. EST

Dun & Bradstreet falls 8% on impairment charges

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) - Shares of Dun & Bradstreet Corp. DNB -9.87% fell 7% Tuesday morning, more than any other stock on the S&P 500, after the company announced fourth-quarter results and shook up the ranks of top management. Revenue was up 3%, but net income fell 22% because the company had to take charges as it wrote off assets, part of a larger effort to cut costs. It has also been hurt by legal fees, after a Chinese court fined a D&B unit for illegally buying information on Chinese consumers.

FTSE falls amid global stocks sell-off

AFPBy AFP | AFP – 7 hours ago

London equities continued to fall at the open on Tuesday following heavy losses in Asia and on Wall Street as weak US data compounded worries about emerging markets.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index dropped 0.41 percent to 6,439.01 points in early deals compared with Monday's close.

Asian markets slumped on Tuesday -- led by a four-percent fall in Tokyo -- following a huge sell-off on Wall Street as disappointing Chinese and US manufacturing data rocked sentiment.

Morgan Stanley is stuck in the middle of Hank Greenberg’s lawsuit against the government

February 4, 2014, 9:41 AM

Morgan Stanley is being pulled into Hank Greenberg’s lawsuit against the U.S. government.
Here’s where Morgan Stanley MS +1.50%  comes in: The bank advised the government on the AIG bailout. So somewhat unsurprisingly, Starr International asked Morgan Stanley last year to turn over bailout-related documents and make bank executives available for deposition.  But that request was less-than-warmly received. Last week, Starr International asked a federal claims court in Washington, D.C. to force Morgan Stanley to turn over more documents.

Treasury's Lew warns that U.S. default could happen quickly

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration warned on Monday it could start defaulting on the government's obligations "very soon" after it runs out of room to borrow under a legal cap on public debt.

 Report: Corruption widespread in EU

Report highlights business-political nexus and corruption's $162.19bn annual cost to European economies.

..."Europe's problem is not so much with small bribes on the whole," Carl Dolan of Transparency International in Brussels, told Reuters. "It's with the ties between the political class and industry."

"There has been a failure to regulate politicians' conflicts of interest in dealing with business," he said.

 The Fed: New leader, old complaints

The US Fed has a new, progressive leader - but worries about its opacity and ties to big banks are likely to persist.

 02 Feb 2014 13:32

...Lee said that while the Fed bailed out the large banks, it didn't ensure that small businesses and individuals had access to the financial support they needed, pointing to a disappointing jobs report released in January. "The Fed's way of restoring the economy is extremely biased toward the banking industry. Their quantitative easing is a way for bankers to make free money," she said, referring to the central bank's bond-buying programme designed to stimulate the economy.

Another common complaint is that the Fed's leadership is too closely entwined with those of big banks. The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, William Dudley, was a former managing director at Goldman Sachs, and was the firm's chief economist. The head of the Philadelphia Fed has served as a consultant to JP Morgan Chase. Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart is an alumnus of both Citigroup and Heller Financial. Dallas President Richard Fisher ran a capital management firm. Stanley Fischer, who will serve as vice chair under Yellen, is a former vice chairman for Citibank, a former governor of the Bank of Israel, and, perhaps most notably, served as PhD adviser for outgoing Fed Chair Ben Bernanke at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

J.P. Morgan pays $1.45 million to settle sex-discrimination lawsuit

February 4, 2014, 11:43 AM

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. will pay $1.45 million to settle claims that female employees at an Ohio call center were discriminated against.

Spy agencies, prime minister's adviser defend Wi-Fi data collection

'It's data about data,' Stephen Harper's national security adviser says of metadata collection

By Laura Payton, CBC News Posted: Feb 03, 2014 11:59 AM ET

Forster said the agency used metadata to develop a model that showed they could track an internet user's network activity "around a public access mode," and that the tracking didn't happen in real time.

Metadata reveal a trove of information including, for example, the location and telephone numbers of all calls a person makes and receives...

China warns officials not to cover up corruption

Tue Feb 4, 2014 2:47am EST

BEIJING (Reuters) - Authorities in China have warned they will go after officials who cover up corruption, state media reported on Tuesday, in the government's latest effort to curb widespread graft.

The ruling Communist Party has shown no sign of wanting to set up an independent body to fight graft, however, and has arrested at least 20 activists who have pushed for officials to reveal their wealth, convicting two and sentencing a third activist to a jail term.

UBS profit beats forecasts after big tax benefit

Tue Feb 4, 2014 2:19am EST

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland's UBS (UBSN.VX: Quote) swung to a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday, bolstered by a big tax benefit and a nimbler investment bank.

UBS's net profit for the quarter stood at 917 million Swiss francs ($1.02 billion), including a 470 million franc benefit from deferring its taxes.

The Belarusian Connection

Obamacare network vulnerable to cyber attack- February 3, 2014 8:11 pm

U.S. intelligence agencies last week urged the Obama administration to check its new healthcare network for malicious software after learning that developers linked to the Belarus government helped produce the website, raising fresh concerns that private data posted by millions of Americans will be compromised.

Canadian citizenship bill to be tabled Thursday

New rules will allow government to strip dual nationals of citizenship in 'extreme' cases

 Feb 03, 2014 6:00 PM ET

As reported by CBC News last month, Alexander will introduce sweeping changes to Canada's citizenship rules in what the government is calling "the first comprehensive reform to the Citizenship Act in more than a generation​."

The more controversial changes include new rules that would allow the government to strip dual nationals of their citizenship in "extreme cases," such as in cases of "treason" or "acts of terrorism."

Financial crisis for many, bonanza for the few

Feb 4 2014

Despite what the UK's ruling politicians or statisticians from palm-greased think tanks may say, the UK’s economic “recovery” is visible nowhere on the country’s streets.

The opiate of Quantitative Easing (QE) or Printing Money, the £375 billion fraudulently spirited up so far, is making some of the figures look good, but it is killing the patient.

UK describes UN bedroom tax report as 'misleading'

Tue Feb 4, 2014 5:1PM GMT

The UK government has furiously reacted to a UN report in which the world body’s investigator Raquel Rolnik calls on British authorities to discard the so-called bedroom tax.

The report by the UN special rapporteur on housing, fully published on Monday, has been rejected by the coalition ministers as “partisan” and a “misleading Marxist diatribe.”

U.S. asks jurors to convict former SAC fund manager Martoma

NEW YORK Mon Feb 3, 2014 6:02pm EST

Cohen, 57, has not been charged and denies wrongdoing. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking to bar him from the financial services industry for failing to supervise Martoma and another employee.

SAC Capital agreed last year to pay $1.8 billion in criminal and civil settlements and plead guilty to fraud charges stemming from insider trading by its employees.

The US And China Are Right To Distrust Each Other

 02/03/2014 22:14 -0500

...Thus, at most states can trust other states to pursue their own interests (even this is not advisable since it assumes both sides are able to correctly identify that state’s interests). And this is preciously why the U.S. and China do not trust each other and aren’t likely to start anytime soon– namely because they largely have opposing interests in the Western Pacific. America’s interest is in preserving the current status-quo, which is a regional order built around the United States. China’s interest is in rebuilding the regional status-quo that existed before the arrival of the Europeans. That is, Beijing seeks a Sino-centric order.

China Boosting Military Spending in 2014

February 4, 2014 11:15 am

China will ramp up military spending this year as the United States and other countries take money away from defense budgets. China is bumping up its funding for China’s People’s Liberation Army by nearly $10 billion, according to the New York Times’ Sinosphere blog.

Treasury IG to Admin: Stop Changing Obamacare

‘Changes in ACA implementation will create challenges’

    February 4, 2014 12:32 pm

A new audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration warned that further changes to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act would create “challenges” for the IRS.

The Obama administration has repeatedly altered the law, delaying the employer mandate until 2015 and suspending numerous enrollment requirements due to the disastrous roll out of

Japanese Stocks In Freefall - TOPIX Plunges Almost 5% To 4-Month Lows; Nikkei Down 15% In 2014- 02/03/2014 23:46

UPDATE: USDJPY has re-tumbled back below 101.00, recoupling with S&P 500 futures from the tried-and-failed attempt to ramp stocks overnight. It seems the short-JPY-driven carry traders have backed away from risk for now, no matter how much the BoJ primes the pump.

 Arms Exports: Berlin Backs Large Defense Deal with Saudi Arabia

Berlin has often been criticized in recent years for selling weapons to questionable regimes. Now, the German government is backing a billion-euro deal for 100 patrol boats.

The German government has often drawn serious criticism for supporting defense deals with countries known to have democratic deficiencies. In the latest controversial move, SPIEGEL has learned that the new government in Berlin wants to secure a major defense deal with Saudi Arabia by offering Hermes export credit guarantees.

The plans are the first by the new government, comprised of Merkel's conservatives and the center-left Social Democratic Party, to export weapons to the Gulf region. In 2011, the German government was criticized for plans to sell battle-tanks to Saudi Arabia after it helped rulers in neighboring Bahrain to violently suppress protests there during the Arab Spring. Despite it's often pacifist positions on global security issues, Germany is also in the seemingly contradictory position of being one of the world's largest arms exporters.

 Billions from Beijing: Africans Divided over Chinese Presence

Chinese companies have pumped billions into Africa to secure access to natural resources, boosting countries' economies along the way. Ordinary citizens aren't reaping the benefits, though, and have become increasingly wary of the new investors.

...It wasn't easy to gain a foothold in Tanzania, he says, "but we Chinese are not afraid of taking risks. We see Africa with different eyes than the West, not as a rotten continent, but as an economic region with enormous potential."

...China, Asia's economic superpower, is hungry for natural resources, energy, food and markets for its products. Africa can offer all of these things: about 40 percent of global reserves of natural resources, 60 percent of uncultivated agricultural land, a billion people with rising purchasing power and a potential army of low-wage workers.

...There are now more than 2,000 Chinese companies and well over a million Chinese citizens in sub-Saharan Africa. They can be encountered in the major cities, in mining centers and oil fields, on plantations and even in the most remote jungle villages. They include managers and military advisers, doctors and agronomists, engineers and importers, itinerant traders, small business owners and contract workers employed on countless construction sites.

 JPMorgan’s $543 Million Madoff Trustee Settlement Approved

 Feb 4, 2014 5:58 PM GMT+0100

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)’s $543 million settlement with the trustee for Bernard Madoff’s defunct firm was approved by the judge overseeing its liquidation, ending a case in which thousands of investors accused the bank of turning a blind eye to the U.S.’s biggest Ponzi scheme.

...Picard said New York-based JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank, ignored signs of wrongdoing to benefit financially from the con man’s business.

 France to open Rwanda genocide trial

Former Rwandan intelligence chief to face charges of complicity in genocide before a court in Paris.   04 Feb 2014 01:56
A former Rwandan intelligence chief is about to go on trial in France for his role in the 1994 genocide that killed more than 500,000 people.

France is trying to catch up with a UN tribunal and other courts that have convicted dozens and shed light on the genocide nearly two decades ago. Activists hope the Paris trial will remind French leaders of their role and responsibility in Africa, and mark the end of an era in which France provided a haven for those who committed atrocities abroad. In 2004, the European Court for Human Rights based in the eastern city of Strasbourg condemned France for taking too long to consider one woman's legal effort over the Rwanda genocide.

83% feel corruption is 'widespread' - 29% say corruption affects their daily life

Some 83 per cent of the Maltese agree that corruption is widespread, according to an EU survey published today.

53% of Maltese citizens say corruption is particularly widespread among officials issuing building permits.

Approximately one in four Europeans and 29 percent of the Maltese consider that they are affected by corruption in their everyday lives.

Gov't seeks approval for dumping Fukushima plant groundwater into sea

TOKYO, Feb. 3, Kyodo

The government on Monday sought approval of a nationwide fisheries federation to dump groundwater at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex into the sea on condition that the water's contamination level is far below the legal limit.

Monday, February 03, 2014

It Doesn't Have to Be This Way

"Induce people all to want the same thing, hate the same things, feel the same threat, then their behavior is already captive--you have acquired your consumers or your cannon-fodder."

The potential for transformation can be expressed in one simple phrase: it doesn't have to be this way.

The structures that benefit from dominating the current system maintain their dominance by convincing us that "the way it is" is inevitable and impervious to systemic change. That is the primary mythology that generates and maintains their dominance.

Obamacare To Crush Workforce By 2.5 Million Workers In Next Decade, CBO Admits

02/04/2014 11:30 -0500

When the "impartial" Congressional Budget Office first attempted to predict the impact on the US labor force as a result of the administration healthcare ponzi scheme, also known affectionately as Obamacare and less affectionately by other names, it estimated that 800,000 Americans would drop out of the labor force by 2021. Moments ago it just revised that projection, admitting that it was off by the usual 100% or so: the hit to the US labor force due to Obamacare is now estimated to soar to 2.3 million through 2021, and furthermore the CBO just admitted that the enrollment rate will be dramatically below the White House's baseline estimates, with 2 million fewer people signing up this year than previously estimated.

The White House (And Its Faithful) Scramble To Refute CBO Report On Obamacare Job Losses

02/04/2014 15:01 -0500

Earlier we reported how, in the CBO's own words, Obamacare would result in (at least) 2.5 million (soon to be revised much higher) workers departing the labor force over the next decade, that would stay there were it not for the skewed incentives provided by this latest welfare Ponzi scheme. Sure enough, it took the White House mere moments to share its canned retort seeking to control the major fallout this report generated as it goes, once again, against all of Obama's promises. From Reuters: "The White House on Tuesday refuted arguments that Obamacare reforms will hurt jobs, and said a new report from the Congressional Budget Office finds the reforms will spur hiring during the 2014-2016 period. "Claims that the Affordable Care Act hurts jobs are simply belied by the facts in the CBO report," the White House said in a statement about the report, contradicting assessments that said the CBO showed reforms will result in a cut to hours." So job losses after 2016, but before then the surge in hiring - of part-time workers - offset by mass layoffs of full-time workers as employers seek to game Obamacare. Just say that then.

Of course, the White House scrambling to contain the damage is expected. However, nothing compares to the "explanation" provided by The Bezos Post's internal "fact checker."  The "explanation" there why "No, CBO did not say Obamacare will kill 2 million jobs" (which it did) is truly an example of a Goebbelsian work of art when it comes slaying any facts that do not fit the "glorious leader" narrative.

 4 February 2014 Last updated at 12:24

Queen to meet Pope Francis in Rome

The Queen The Queen will have lunch with Italy's president and an audience with Pope Francis

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are to visit Rome later this year for an audience with Pope Francis, Buckingham Palace has said.
The BBC's royal correspondent Peter Hunt said the Queen's "relaxed" meeting with the Pope will be at his residence.
He added that the Queen would not wear black or a veil, as she has done on three previous visits to the Vatican in deference to convention.

Bank of Canada names former BMO executive as special adviser

Canada senator, ex-senator charged with fraud on expenses

Hong Kong shares have worst day in 1-1/2 years, Lenovo crumbles

Feb 4 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares suffered their biggest daily tumble in nearly 1-1/2 years in strong volumes, with Chinese growth-sensitive sectors sliding as investors returned on Tuesday from the Lunar New Year holiday, catching up with losses elsewhere.

...Turnover faded after a robust morning session, with a good portion coming for Lenovo Group alone as its shares plunged 16.4 percent in its biggest one-day decline since January 2009.

 Federal government to set new regulations allowing banks to serve marijuana sellers

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Champions of states' rights may have even more to get excited about as the federal government announces plans to back off and allow cannabis businesses in Colorado and Washington to access and use banking institutions. reports that the Obama administration will soon unveil updated federal guidelines for how newly established recreational marijuana dispensaries can safely deposit cash and perform other banking transactions without violating federal money laundering laws.

You Can Buy A House For One Dollar Or Less In Economically Depressed Cities All Over America

By Michael Snyder, on February 2nd, 2014

And guess who is selling more "one dollar homes" than anyone else?
If you guessed "the federal government" you would be correct.
Right now, the federal government is selling foreclosed homes to low income families all over the country for just one dollar...
Before you get too excited, there are a whole bunch of reasons why you wouldn't want to actually buy any of these one dollar homes.
First of all, most of them have been totally trashed.  Just to get them up to livable condition would take thousands of dollars in most cases.  Many of them are full of asbestos, and severe wiring and plumbing issues are quite common.
....Fourthly, property taxes are very high in many of these cities.  Local governments are desperate to get people into these homes so that they can get the taxes flowing again.  In many cases, what you would pay in taxes for a year is more than the true value of the home itself.

Your house keys may be obsolete

You can now open your front door with a smartphone. But should you?