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Saturday, 1 March 2014

Feb 28, 2014: News Updates

China Currency Plunges Most In Over 5 Years, Biggest Weekly Loss Ever: Yuan Carry Traders Crushed

And just like that the Chinese yuan devaluation has shifted away from the merely "orderly."
In the past few hours of trading, China, which as we reported two days ago has started intervening aggressively in the Yuan market (for the reasons why, read this), has seen its currency crash by nearly 0.9%, which may not seem like much, but is in fact the largest drop since December of 2008, and at last check was trading at around 6.18, even as the PBOC fixed the CNY reference rate 0.02% higher from the last official close to 6.1214, erasing pivot support point at 6.1346 and 6.1408.  Naturally this means that the obverse, the CNYUSD, has crashed to as low as 0.1620. Should this move sustain without reverting, this will be the biggest weekly loss ever!

China's central bank opens liquidity front in hot money war

SHANGHAI Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:27am EST
(Reuters) - China's central bank delivered two major surprises to investors this week: it engineered a sharp decline in the yuan against the dollar and at the same time relaxed its tight grip on money markets that had kept interest rates firm.
In effect, the central bank was playing bad cop with speculators in the foreign exchange market to try to shake out one-way appreciation bets, while making nice with money market traders.

Russian troops seize military airport in Crimea

Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:6AM GMT
Russian troops have taken control of a military airport in Ukraine's autonomous Crimea territory.
The troops have surrounded a military airport near the port of Sevastopol, where the Russian Black Sea fleet has a base. According to reports, the Russian troops have not entered the military base so far but are backed by armored personnel carriers.

Gold Price "Manipulated For A Decade", Repeatedly Slammed Lower, Bloomberg Reports

While the FT promptly retracted an article on precisely the topic of gold manipulation from earlier this week (recorded for posterity here), Bloomberg appears to not have had the same "editorial" concerns and pressures, and today released an article once again slamming the final conspiracy theory that while every other asset class is manipulated, gold is in a pristine class of its own, untouched by close-banging, price fixing traders or central bankers, and reports that "the London gold fix, the benchmark used by miners, jewelers and central banks to value the metal, may have been manipulated for a decade by the banks setting it, researchers say."

Ex-Murdoch British CEO Brooks paid official for Saddam anthrax story

LONDON Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:33pm GMT
(Reuters) - Rebekah Brooks, the ex-chief executive of News Corp.'s British newspaper arm, told a London court on Friday she had paid a public official for a story about former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein planning to attack Britain with the poison anthrax.
Brooks, who is on trial on charges of sanctioning such illegal payments, said she agreed to pay for the 1998 report when she was deputy editor of Rupert Murdoch's Sun tabloid because there was an "overwhelming public interest" to do so.

Bank of Ukraine imposes limits on foreign currency deposit withdrawal

February 28, 16:47 UTC+4
"For hryvnia deposits you may take as much as a million or two. Banks have liquidity," National Bank Chief Stepan Kubiv said
KIEV, February 28. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine's national bank has imposed temporary limits to withdraw money from foreign currency deposits to sums equivalent to no more than 15,000 hryvnias (about $1,500) a day, without any limits for hryvnia deposits, National Bank Chief Stepan Kubiv told a press conference.

China hits back at US on drone strikes, espionage in human rights report

Published: February 28, 2014
BEIJING: China on Friday issued a report on human rights in the US, denouncing it for foreign drone strikes, state-sponsored spying and “rampant” gun crime after Washington criticised its rights record.
Beijing said the US “concealed and avoided mentioning its own human rights problems”, such as a government-run intelligence programme known as PRISM which it said “seriously infringes on human rights”.
“The US is always making irresponsible remarks on the affairs of other countries but keeps silent on its own affairs,” he told reporters at a regular briefing. “This is a typical double standard.”

 Feb. 28, 2014, 1:00 p.m. EST

Judge OKs J.P. Morgan $300M insurance settlement

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- A Miami judge has granted final approval to a $300 million settlement between J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. JPM +1.24% and homeowners who said they were ripped off by the bank when it bought property insurance policies for them. Judge Federico Moreno on Friday approved the settlement, in which the bank and the insurance company Assurant Inc. AIZ +1.37% could pay a combined $300 million out to about 760,000 homeowners. The homeowners can receive refunds for 12.5% of the premiums they paid on policies that J.P. Morgan "force-placed" on them. Some homeowners had protested the settlement, saying the sum isn't high enough. Similar cases against Bank of America Corp. BAC +0.79% and Wells Fargo & Co. WFC +1.26% are also pending in Miami. Earlier this month, Citigroup Inc. C +0.74% and Assurant agreed to pay a combined $110 million to homeowners in a case over force-placed insurance, though that settlement still needs a judge's approval.

Greece's Eurobank Posts $1.25 Billion Loss

Feb. 28, 2014 12:19 p.m. ET
ATHENS—Greece's Eurobank Ergasias SA, EUROB.AT -22.72% the country's fourth largest lender, reported a €913 million ($1.25 billion) loss in the last quarter as it implemented a government-backed restructuring scheme.
In a statement, the bank said it had taken €660 million in provisions for bad loans in the final three months of 2013, and wrote off another €563 million in restructuring and other charges.

"RWE, Germany’s second biggest utility, is expected to declare a net loss of about €3bn for 2013, in the latest sign of the crisis gripping European power producers."

Turkey 'frees key suspects in corruption probe'

53 minutes ago
Istanbul (AFP) - A Turkish court on Friday released five people, including the sons of two ministers, who were detained on corruption allegations in mid-December in a high-profile probe that has rocked the government, local media said.
The private NTV channel said that Baris Guler, the son of the former interior minister, as well as Kaan Caglayan, the son of the ex-economy minister, and Azerbaijani businessman Reza Zarrab, were among those freed.

Mt. Gox files for bankruptcy, blames hackers for losses

TOKYO Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:10am EST
(Reuters) - Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan on Friday, saying it may have lost nearly half a billion dollars worth of the virtual coins due to hacking into its faulty computer system.

How the Government Manipulates Your Thoughts Online

Published on Feb 26, 2014
Abby Martin talks about journalist Glenn Greenwald's report regarding the intelligence community's use of subversive and manipulative online tactics to destroy the reputations of businesses and individuals.

Crackdown on shares fraud yields 110 arrests in Europe, U.S

LONDON Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:33pm GMT
(Reuters) - Anti-fraud police have arrested 110 people in Europe and the United States in an international crackdown on gangs selling bogus shares that cost some investors their life savings, British authorities said on Friday.
City of London Police, responsible for law enforcement in the British capital's financial district, said the arrests, made in a series of raids this week, arose out of a two-year investigation into "boiler room" operations believed responsible for millions of pounds of investment fraud.

RBS seeks to regain trust after post-crisis losses hit 46 billion pounds

By Matt Scuffham and Steve Slater

LONDON Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:04pm GMT
The bank, which is 81-percent owned by the government, on Thursday posted an 8.2 billion pound pre-tax loss for 2013 due to restructuring costs and misconduct charges.
That brings the total RBS has lost since it was bailed out in 2008 to 46 billion pounds - just above the amount taxpayers paid for its rescue during the financial crisis.

 Venezuela protests continue despite holiday

Cities in South America's largest oil exporting nation witness more anti-government protests amid carnival celebrations.
Last updated: 28 Feb 2014 08:00

 Indian billionaire Subrata Roy arrested

Chief of Sahara group is taken into custody after surrendering in case relating to non-refund of investors' money.
Last updated: 28 Feb 2014 09:01
Subrata Roy, the chairman of India's Sahara group, has been arrested after a top court issued an arrest warrant against him for failing to appear in court, local media reports.
Roy surrendered to the police before being taken into custody on Friday, saying he was "not absconding" and pleading to be allowed to remain under house arrest until he is next due to appear in court in March 4.

Updated: First Nations cancel meeting with health officials

Feb 26/14
EDMONTON - The Mikisew Cree and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations have cancelled a meeting in Fort Chipewyan on Thursday with officials from Alberta Health Services who planned to release new cancer statistics in the northern community.

 Alberta doctor tells U.S.: Canada is ‘lying’ about tar sands’ health effects

American Senators told that oil sands are linked to a huge spike in cancer, despite Canadian government claims
Posted: Feb 26th, 2014
A northern Alberta doctor warned U.S. Senators on what he says have been the devastating health impacts of the tar sands on families – effects, he says, that have been willfully “ignored” by the Canadian and Alberta governments.

“I appeal to you to keep up the pressure – this is an ongoing tragedy.  A total disgrace,” said Dr. John O’Connor, Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Hundreds of babies rescued as Chinese police smash four child-trafficking rings

Feb 28/2014
Chinese police have detained 1,094 people and rescued 382 infants in a nationwide crackdown on four online baby-trafficking rings.

No one is tracking unregulated daycare deaths in Ontario

Four baby deaths in unlicensed daycare in seven months seems high, but no one at Queen’s Park knows for sure because daycare deaths aren't tracked.

Everything Petroleum Does, Hemp Does Better

bodymindsoulspirit | February 25, 2014 | 0Extracting fossil fuels are harmful to the environment and to human health. Petroleum extracting and processing is a chemical-intensive, expensive process. Hemp oil for fuel is simply a matter of growing, harvesting, and processing.

Petroleum-based plastics are not biodegradable. Hemp-based plastics are recyclable and biodegradable.

Fuel for transportation can be replaced with hemp-based biofuels. Hemp fuel is clean, efficient, and…if it spills it does not harm the environment, it is more like a fertilizer.

Everything, EVERYTHING, that petroleum does, hemp does. So, why are we feeling this pain from fossil fuels?

 Azodicarbonamide yoga mat chemical confirmed in 500+ everyday foods and grocery items

Thousands  of people in Paris and around France protest- Feb 27, 2014