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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Feb 27,2014: News Updates


Financial fairy dust: G20 detached from real world

Published time: February 27, 2014 08:41
For those who consider economics a cheap conjuring trick, the latest G20 finance Ministers’ meeting seems to have delivered concrete proof.
Several hundred million dollars have apparently disappeared in a meltdown at what was once ‘Magical: The Gathering Online Exchange’.
...Communiques usually alleviate insomnia but the February 22-23 G20 message demonstrates how the political/central banker class has achieved a remarkable elevated state entirely devoid of attachment to the real world.
... Hence, we ended up with the fairy dust sprinkle approach: the entire G20 communique boils down to “we have a magic wand and we’re going to wave it to save the world.”
The likelihood of anybody living economically happily ever after is currently a dim prospect.

‘Treasury empty', Ukraine’s economy in free fall

Published time: February 27, 2014 15:35
​Ukraine’s new Prime Minister, opposition leader Arseny Yatsenyuk, has promised the government would do its best to avoid a default, a difficult task as the country’s treasury is empty and the economy is in disarray.
Yatsenyuk says he expects an EU/IMF economic stabilization package soon, but didn’t give any specifics on timing.

RBS Posts Biggest Loss Since 2008 as McEwan Details Overhaul

By Gavin Finch and Howard Mustoe Feb 27, 2014 9:08 AM GMT+0100
Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc posted its biggest full-year loss since receiving a government bailout in 2008 as Chief Executive Officer Ross McEwan outlined plans to shrink its investment banking and overseas operations.

 China to Compile List of Solar Projects Qualifying for Financing

By Bloomberg News Feb 27, 2014 6:38 AM GMT+0100
China, the world’s biggest solar market, plans to compile a list of solar projects that will get financing from China Development Bank Corp.
Recommendations from provincial authorities are due by April 2. Projects to be considered include research and development, technology upgrades, mergers and acquisitions, and overseas development, according to a statement posted on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology yesterday.

China's yuan dislodges Swiss franc as 7th most-used currency: SWIFT

HONG KONG Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:21am EST
(Reuters) - China's yuan surpassed the Swiss franc to become the seventh most-used world payments currency in January, global transaction services organization SWIFT said on Thursday.
With a market share of 1.39 percent, the yuan remained one of the top 10 most-used currencies for payments worldwide for the third consecutive month. It ranked eighth in December.

China paper slams West's 'Cold War mentality' over Ukraine

BEIJING Thu Feb 27, 2014 3:15am GMT
(Reuters) - China's top newspaper criticised the West on Thursday for remaining locked in a "Cold War mentality" against Russia in the contest for influence over Ukraine, calling for the shackles of such outmoded thinking to be cast off to deal with the crisis.
The commentary published in the People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the ruling Communist Party, was the strongest reaction yet in Beijing to the rift between the West and Russia that has been growing since the ouster of Moscow's ally Viktor Yanukovich as president following weeks of protests.

 Ukraine on alert after gunmen seize buildings

Tension escalates between Moscow and Kiev after armed takeover, with Ukraine leader warning against Russian aggression.
Last updated: 27 Feb 2014 09:26
Ukrainian troops and police officers are on high alert, after armed men seized government buildings in the Crimea region of the country and raised a Russian flag over a barricade.

GCHQ intercepts Yahoo webcam images of Internet users

Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:41PM GMT
Britain’s domestic spying apparatus, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), has been mired in a fresh scandal over its harvesting of webcam images.
The scandal exposed in formerly secret documents published by the Guardian on Thursday, involves a scheme, in which the GCHQ has intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of Internet users with the help of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Morgan Stanley Warns Of "Real Pain" If Chinese Currency Keeps Devaluing

The seemingly incessant strengthening trend of the Chinese Yuan (much as with the seemingly inexorable rise of US equities or home prices) has encouraged huge amounts of structured products to be created over the past few years enabling traders to position for more of the same in increasingly levered ways. That was all going great until the last few weeks which has seen China enter the currency wars (as we explained here). The problem, among many facing China, is that these structured products will face major losses and as Morgan Stanley warns "real pain will come if CNY stays above these levels," leading to further capital withdrawal, illiquidity, and a potential vicious circle as it appears the PBOC is trying to break the virtuous carry trade that has fueled so much of its bubble economy.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder hospitalized

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP - Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the annual Attorneys General Winter Meeting in Washington on Tuesday.
 February 27, 6:45 PM
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center on Thursday morning after experiencing faintness and shortness of breath.
Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said Holder, 63, had complained of the symptoms during his regular morning meeting with senior staff.

Credit Suisse CEO says a few bankers are to blame for $10bn in tax evasion

Edited time: February 27, 2014 06:43
US regulators are after Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-largest bank for helping Americans conceal as much as $10bn from US tax authorities. The bank's CEO maintains only a few officials are to blame for helping Americans dodge taxes.
Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan told a Senate committee on Wednesday that only a few Swiss-based bankers are to blame, not the bank as a whole.

IMF says taxing super rich can boost economic growth

Published time: February 27, 2014 10:40
A new International Monetary Fund study has found that taxing the super wealthy doesn’t stunt the economic growth of a country, and that redistribution can actually spur gross domestic product.
The paper argues inequality is harmful to a country’s growth, and that redistributing wealth using taxes can reduce inequality and boost growth and the length of growth cycles.

Rome Is On The Verge Of Detroit-Style Bankruptcy

With European peripheral bond yields collapsing every single day to new all time lows (primarily driven by Europe's near-certainty that a US-style QE is imminent as we first showed here in November, despite Mario Draghi's own words from November 2011 that a QE intervention is virtually impossible), increasingly more of Europe is trading just as safe, if not more, as the United States. And in keeping with the analogies, considering a major US metropolitan center, Detroit, recently went bankrupt, it is only fair that Europe should sacrifice one of its own historic cities to the gods of negative cash flows. The city in question, Rome, which as the WSJ reports, is "teetering on the brink of a Detroit-style bankruptcy."

 RSA’s Hester Taps Buffett, Unveils Share Sale to Rebuild

By Sarah Jones Feb 27, 2014 5:51 PM GMT+0100
After less than a month on the job, RSA Insurance Group Plc (RSA) Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester announced a stock sale and tapped Warren Buffett for reinsurance to help strengthen the insurer after its scandal in Ireland.

A Visual History Of Gold: The Most Sought After Metal On Earth

This infographic introduces the yellow metal and tells the story of how it became the most sought after metal on earth. Gold was one of the first metals discovered by ancient peoples and eventually gold grew to symbolize both wealth, royalty, and immortality. Gold began to be used as money by many cultures, but the Romans were the first to use it widespread.

The rarity, malleability, durability, ease to identify, and intrinsic value of gold made it perfect for money. While many civilizations throughout the world used gold for money, eventually its role would change with the coming of the gold standard system.

SNC-Lavalin paid Gadhafi son's wife as Libya fell: Ex-VP

Former construction executive jailed in Switzerland claims company had long history of funding Gadhafis
 CBC News Posted: Feb 27, 2014 5:00 AM

Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin is facing fresh allegations about the company’s close ties to Libya’s former Moammar Gadhafi regime, including the claim in court documents that SNC put the wife of a Gadhafi son on its payroll during Libya’s 2011 civil war, despite UN economic sanctions and Western military intervention.

 ECB sees yuan challenging greenback

The yuan might one day challenge the role of the US dollar as the world's leading reserve currency, European Central Bank executive board member Yves Mersch said.

The Future Of America: “It’s Coming… Ukraine is a Warning”

Thursday, February 27, 2014
We’re beginning to see more and more discussions about how the laws, policies and regulations of our federal, state and local governments are working to impoverish the people of this country and restrict their liberties. So much so that even the taboo topic of a potential Ukraine-style collapse right here in America is now being openly discussed in mainstream circles.
In a recent panel discussion on Fox News the question of whether or not Ukraine rioting is the future of America came to the forefront and long-time political operative and former Presidential adviser Pat Caddell weighed in

 Central Banker Appointed as Prime Minister of Ukraine

February 27, 2014

A reshuffled Ukrainian Parliament installed following a coup last week has voted to appoint Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the new prime minister of the country. Yats, as Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. State Department, called him, is a natural choice. He is a millionaire former banker who served as economy minister, foreign minister and parliamentary speaker before Yanukovych took office in 2010.

Ukraine Central Bank Promises Liquidity To Local Banks, With One Condition

While the "developed" world scrambles to find a way to provide Ukraine with a bailout in such a way that Russia doesn't turn off the gas, Ukraine is doing some scrambling of its own to assure the local banks, which have been plagued by both bank runs and a collapse in the currency to record lows over the past few days, that it will be there to provide funding on a business as usual basis. Itar-Tass reports that "Ukrainian banks will be provided with necessary liquid assets, including cash." But there is a condition: the funding will only come "if they will remain under open control of the National Bank of Ukraine,

Supreme Court Rules Police May Search A Home Without Obtaining A Warrant

If the most disturbing, if underreported, news from yesterday, was Obama's "modification" of NSA capabilities, which contrary to his earlier promises, was just granted even greater powers as phone recording will now be stored for even longer than previously, then this latest development from the Supreme Court - one which some could argue just voided the Fourth amendment - is even more shocking. RT reports that the US Supreme Court has ruled that police may search a home without obtaining a warrant despite the objection of one occupant if that occupant has been removed from the premises.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

National Response Center Website Down - 6 Days and Counting?

Savvy SkyTruth Alerts users may have noticed that we haven't published any new oil or hazmat spill reports from the Coast Guard-operated National Response Center (NRC) since February 20.  If you go directly to the NRC website, you see a "down for maintenance" message.  Polluters and concerned citizens can still submit reports to the NRC by phone, at 1-800-424-8802.  But without the website, we can't search for or download pollution reports.  And that leaves a big hole in our SkyTruth Alerts map, and in the daily updates we email to Alerts subscribers.

DR Congo must arrest Sudan president: ICC

Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:18PM GMT
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has called on the Democratic Republic of the Congo to detain visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for the charge of genocide in Darfur.
On Wednesday, the Hague-based tribunal urged the Congolese government to “respect its obligations” to arrest Bashir and hand him over to ICC.

13 workers test positive for radiation at New Mexico nuclear waste site

Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:24AM GMT
Thirteen workers at an underground nuclear waste site in the US state of New Mexico were exposed to nuclear radiation during a leak earlier this month, test results show.
The US Department of Energy said on Wednesday that no workers were underground at the Waste Isolation Pilot Project in southeastern New Mexico on February 14 when the nuclear leak occurred.

 Obama warns Karzai of full troop withdrawal

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama told his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai on Tuesday he is now planning a full US troop withdrawal, but did not rule out agreeing a post-2014 mission with the next Kabul government.
The US threat was the latest twist in a long political tug-of-war with Karzai, who has infuriated Washington with his refusal to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) governing a post-2014 mission in the dying months of his mandate.

Morocco suspends all judicial ties with France

Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:35AM GMT
Morocco has halted all judicial ties with France after lawsuits were filed in Paris against the kingdom's intelligence chief over his alleged “complicity in torture.”
The Moroccan Justice Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that it made the decision “to eliminate the distortions that have affected them."
It also recalled the judge responsible for liaising with France on the agreements.

Medical marijuana workers start unionizing with government help

Published time: February 27, 2014 19:01
Marijuana may still be illegal at the federal level, but the US labor board believes pot workers still have the same rights as any other American employee.
According to the Huffington Post, attempts to unionize by medical marijuana workers in Maine have attracted what some may think to be an unlikely government ally: the National Labor Relations Board.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Feb 26, 2014: News Updates

Confidential papers raise fears over conflict gold

Papers show firm accepted gold from customers walking in off the street with no paperwork
    The Guardian, Wednesday 26 February 2014
Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of suspect gold has poured into the global markets as major breaches occurred in new international rules designed to tackle an underground trade linked to African warlords and human rights abuses.
Confidential papers shown to the Guardian by a whistleblower detail how, in 2012, one of the world's biggest gold refineries ignored guidelines designed to stop the trade in so-called conflict gold.

UN experts track Dubai gold trading activity in conflict-torn DRC

UN experts are convinced Dubai is most frequent destination for gold leaving hands of armed groups in DRC   
    The Guardian, Tuesday 25 February 2014 21.54 GMT

Here Is The FT's Gold Price Manipulation Article That Was Removed

Two days ago the FT released a clear, informative and fact-based article, titled simply enough "Gold price rigging fears put investors on alert" in which author Madison Marriage, citing a report by the Fideres consultancy, revealed that global gold prices may have been manipulated on 50 per cent of occasions between January 2010 and December 2013.

To those who hve been following the price action of gold in the past four years, gold manipulation is not only not surprising, but accepted and widely appreciated (because like the Chinese those who buy gold would rather do so at artificially low rather than artificially high fiat prices) and at this point, after every other product has been exposed to be blatantly and maliciously manipulated by the banking estate, it is taken for granted that the central banks' primary fiat alternative, and biggest threat to the monetary status quo, has not avoided a comparable fate.

 Switzerland Sent 80% of Bullion Exports to Asia in January

By Nicholas Larkin Feb 20, 2014 8:13 AM GMT+0100
Switzerland sent more than 80 percent of its gold and silver bullion and coin exports to Asia last month, the Swiss Federal Customs Administration said today in an e-mailed report. It imported most from the U.K.

Credit Suisse CEO fights back on tax evasion claims

ZURICH Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:24am EST
(Reuters) - Credit Suisse's chief executive will hit back at allegations the Swiss bank was a willing accomplice in U.S. tax evasion on Wednesday, blaming instead a small group of its private bankers for helping Americans conceal their wealth.

 Reddit Censors Big Story About Government Manipulation and Disruption of the Internet

The moderators at the giant r/news reddit (with over 2 million readers) repeatedly killed the Greenwald/Snowden story on government manipulation and disruption of the Internet … widely acknowledged to be one of the most important stories ever leaked by Snowden.

Similarly, the moderators at the even bigger r/worldnews reddit (over 5 million readers) repeatedly deleted the story, so that each new post had to start over at zero.

 Banks Averting Bond Losses With Accounting Twist: Credit Markets

By Jody Shenn Feb 26, 2014 4:20 PM GMT+0100
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) are leading a shift in how banks account for their bond investments after a $44 billion plunge in value exposed a potential drain on capital under new rules.

The largest U.S. lenders are moving assets into the “held-to-maturity” column of their books instead of designating them as “available for sale,” an accounting method that under post-crisis banking regulations allows paper losses to erode measures of their health. The change pushed the share of securities that the five biggest banks keep in the held-to-maturity category to 8.4 percent, the highest in almost two decades, according to Credit Suisse Group AG analysts.

New deal for Warren Buffett and Bank of America

February 26, 2014, 12:07 PM
Warren Buffett and Bank of America Corp. have renegotiated a deal between them.
The lender and the billionaire have changed the terms of their preferred stock agreement negotiated in 2011, according to a filing by the bank with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Buffett injected $5 billion in capital into the bank as its stock floundered under the pressure of the financial crisis.  As part of the preferred stock deal at the time, the Oracle of Omaha would receive a 6% annual dividend and received warrants to buy 700 shares of Bank of America BAC -0.06% stock for $7.14 a share.

10 Signs That Reveal Mounting Panic In The Banking System

Gold Silver Worlds | February 25, 2014 | Category: Economy
We don’t want to cause you unnecessary stress or worry, but it might be prudent to pay attention to a series of unusual news reports recently emanating from the banking world.  Viewed independently, each event might be rather insignificant.
However, when examined collectively, these events paint a very dire warning for the safety of bank deposits everywhere.  Naturally, most all of these have received little to no coverage by the mainstream media.  That is to be expected.
The mainstream media’s job one is to always obfuscate any potentially dangerous news that has a chance of frightening investors or depositors.  After all, the goal of the world banking cartel/equities Ponzi scheme is to keep depositors and investors relaxed and passive in their comfort zones until the complete collapse of their positions is unavoidable.

 Kerry Says U.S. Plans $1 Billion Ukraine Loan Guarantee

By Nicole Gaouette Feb 26, 2014 9:53 PM GMT+0100
Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. is formulating a $1 billion loan guarantee for Ukraine and is working with the International Monetary Fund and other international organizations that would provide the money.

Market Continues To Purchase “All” Allocated Silver Eagles From U.S. Mint

February 25, 2014 By The Doc 5 Comments
U.S. Mint Silver Gold RatioAs sales of Gold Eagles remain subdued, the market continues to purchase every available Silver Eagle from the U.S. Mint.  Since the beginning of the year, the U.S. Mint has sold its Silver Eagles on a weekly allocated basis.
 in the past several weeks, 80-90% of the total allocated weekly Silver Eagle amount was sold on the first day of the week!
The U.S. Mint just updated its sales figures Monday, with an astonishing 744,500 Silver Eagles sold in one day:

Jordan lawmakers vote to expel Israel envoy

Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:35PM GMT
The majority of lawmakers in the Jordanian parliament have voted for the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador to their country over a discussion on the sovereignty of the holy al-Aqsa Mosque.

Economics Has a Surprising Mental Disorder

Are economists rational scientists? Or grown men who can’t let go of their mamas?
February 24, 2014 
The typical mainstream economist is about as good at making predictions as a monkey reading tea leaves. Exhibit A: The financial crisis, which only a few economists outside the mainstream saw coming, despite oceans of papers, prognostications and plumb academic assignments.

Ocwen, Dubbed "Next Generation Subprime Lender" By Moodys, Is Focus Of NY State Regulator

Ocwen Financial, dubbed by Moody's as poised to become the "next generation" of subprime lenders, has come under considerably pressure this morning amid news that NY State regulators are investigating the firm for "conflicts of interest"...


It is the Mortgage Servicing Rights (MSRs) that has Moody's the most-concerned as the volumes required may force Ocwen (and others) to shift their business model to ever lower quality loans.

Pro-Assad forces kill 175 rebels in ambush: Syrian state media

By Stephen Kalin

BEIRUT Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:22pm EST

A Free Syrian Army fighter carries his weapon on one of the battlefronts in Jobar, a suburb of Damascus February 22, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

A Free Syrian Army fighter carries his weapon on one of the battlefronts in Jobar, a suburb of Damascus February 22, 2014.
(Reuters) - Forces loyal to Syria's president killed at least 175 Islamist rebel fighters, most of them foreigners, in an ambush in insurgent-held eastern outskirts of Damascus, state media said on Wednesday.

Turkish Lira Blows Out As Graft Scandal Comes Back With A Vengeance


As we reported previously, on Monday new revelations in the graft scandal surrounding Turkish PM Erdogan in the form of a leaked phone conversation between him and his son, Bilal, detailing plans how to hide huge sums of cash, by some estimates up to $1 billion, brought back the political crisis that has gripped the nation front and center, and led to renewed demands by the opposition party that the PM resign. It also sent the USDTRY surging to levels not seen in weeks. We said: "Somehow we doubt that Erdogan will resign, however, this latest confirmation that the graft scandal that is and will continue to dodge the Turkish Prime Minister is not going away, may just be the catalyst that pushes the TRY, and with it some of the other recently pacified EMs, back into volatile mode." Today the crisis is fully back and so is the predicted volatility, with the Lira blowing out by another 400 pip to a level of 2.240, not seen since the first week of February when the Turkish central bank was scrambling to restore confidence in the imploding currency.

Uganda central bank tries to halt shilling slide over aid cuts

KAMPALA Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:22pm GMT
(Reuters) - The Ugandan central bank sold dollars to support the shilling on Wednesday after the currency weakened more than 1.8 percent during the session on fears of more aid cuts by Western donors over a law that toughened punishments for gays.

Scandal of Europe's 11m empty homes

Housing campaigners denounce 'shocking waste' of homes lying empty while millions cry out for shelter
    The Guardian, Sunday 23 February 2014 21.09 GMT

More than 11m homes lie empty across Europe – enough to house all of the continent's homeless twice over – according to figures collated by the Guardian from across the EU.

In Spain more than 3.4m homes lie vacant, in excess of 2m homes are empty in each of France and Italy, 1.8m in Germany and more than 700,000 in the UK.


New Fed Chairman Angrily Rejects Central Bank Audit

February 24, 2014   AFP
When Janet Yellen appeared before the House Financial Services Committee February 11, she gave relaxed answers to most questions. But two members of Congress that day touched a nerve when they each grilled the newly confirmed chairman of the privately owned and controlled Federal Reserve on the merits of former Texas maverick Representative Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Fed.

How Morgan Stanley Has Raked in Billions by Manipulating the Prices of Everyday Commodities

An excerpt from Morey's new book, "The Great American Disconnect: Seven Fundamental Threats To Our Democracy."

Major Washington watchdog increasing security after break-in

Published time: February 26, 2014 18:08
Security is being stepped-up at the Washington, DC offices of an independent federal watchdog group following a mysterious break-in earlier this month.

Police say the Project on Government Oversight’s DC headquarters was ransacked on the night of February 11, but whoever entered didn’t do too much damage. According to the official report, the main door and a file cabinet were jimmied open, but dozens of computers and other valuable office equipment disregarded.

35 million gallons of coal ash spilled into Dan River

Published time: February 26, 2014 18:31
As much as 35 million gallons of coal ash and arsenic-contaminated water spilled into North Carolina’s Dan River due to a ruptured pipe at the Duke Energy power plant, a team of researchers said Tuesday.

Third of California town's cops tied to auto theft scheme

Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:16PM GM
Several police officers in a small Central California town have been arrested for a theft scheme of taking away poor Hispanics’ cars, authorities say.
In the scheme, more than 200 cars belonging to poor Hispanic people were impounded, towed and later sold when the car owners couldn't pay the fees, Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo said.

Bhutan To Be First Country to Go 100% Organic

If there was ever a nation that could see the purpose behind organic, sustainable farming, it would be a nation that is composed mostly of farmers. Such a place does exist, and it soon may be the first nation to go 100% organic, paving the way for others to do the same on a global scale.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Feb 25, 2014: News Updates

James Stuart Jr., prominent Lincoln banker, found dead

February 23, 2014 6:30 pm  •  By CHRIS HEADY / Lincoln Journal Star
A successful Lincoln businessman and member of a prominent local family died last week. Former National Bank of Commerce CEO James Stuart Jr. was found dead in Scottsdale, Ariz., the morning of Feb. 19.
A family spokesman did not say what caused the death. A Scottsdale, Ariz., police spokesperson could not be reached over the weekend.

Western spy agencies build ‘cyber magicians’ to manipulate online discourse

Published time: February 25, 2014 03:40
Secret units within the 'Five Eyes" global spying network engage in covert online operations that aim to invade, deceive, and control online communities and individuals through the spread of false information and use of ingenious social-science tactics.
Such teams of highly trained professionals have several main objectives, such as “to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet” and “to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable,” The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald reported based on intelligence documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Bank Run Full Frontal: Ukrainians Withdrew 7% Of All Deposits In Two Days

Well that escalated quickly. It seems the ouster of Yanukovych, heralded by so many in the West as a positive, has done nothing to quell the fear of further economic collapse in Ukraine:
This is around a 30 billion Hyrvnia loss in just 2 days for the banks and the new central bank chief is considering "stabilizing loans" to help banks deal with the liquidity crisis (though Ukraine's reserves stand at a mere $15 billion).

Welcome To The Currency Wars, China Yuan Devalues Most In 20 Years!

February 25th, 2014
The last 7 days have seen the unstoppable ‘sure-thing’ one-way bet of the decade appreciation trend of the Chinese Yuan reverse. In fact, the 0.95% sell-off is the largest since 1994 (bigger than the post-Lehman move) suggesting there is clear evidence that the PBOC is intervening.

Ukraine Currency Crashes To Record Low

Russia's earlier "default" warning (or threat) has not just impacted Ukrainian bonds but the currency is crashing. The Hyrvnia is down a stunning 6.8% today - the biggest drop since Feb 2009 - to a record low 9.8 to the US Dollar.

Updated: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 12:14:05 

JPMorgan to cut 8,000 jobs this year

JPMorgan Chase plans to eliminate a total of 8,000 jobs this year as its mortgage business shrinks and as the giant bank aims to control costs at its branches.
About half of those job cuts had already been announced. JPMorgan Chase now plans to cut more jobs as it tries to reduce $2 billion in consumer banking expenses by the end of 2016.

Former Defense Minister Serdyukov seeks amnesty - report

Published time: February 25, 2014 09:51
Anatoly Serdyukov, currently on trial over suspected criminal negligence that allegedly enabled multi-million-dollar embezzlement schemes in the Defense Ministry, is reportedly seeking amnesty from law enforcers.

U.S. expels Venezuelan diplomats in tit-for-tat move over unrest

CARACAS Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:40pm EST
(Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday ordered three Venezuelan diplomats to leave in reprisal for President Nicolas Maduro's expulsion of three American embassy staff accused of fomenting unrest that has killed at least 13 people.

'Pony' botnet steals bitcoins, digital currencies: Trustwave

BOSTON Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:23pm EST
(Reuters) - Cyber criminals have infected hundreds of thousands of computers with a virus called "Pony" to steal bitcoins and other digital currencies, in the most ambitious cyber attack on virtual money uncovered so far, according to security firm Trustwave.
Trustwave said on Monday that it has found evidence that the operators of a cybercrime ring known as the Pony botnet have stolen some 85 virtual "wallets" that contained bitcoins and other types of digital currencies. The firm said it did not know how much digital currency was contained in the wallets.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Yuan drops most in 3 years, Wall Street near all-time high

LONDON Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:53pm GMT
(Reuters) - The repatriation of investors' cash into developed markets was underscored on Tuesday as Wall Street opened at an all-time high after China's yuan suffered its worst day in over three years.

Germany against giving Greece autonomy on reform moves

BERLIN Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:09pm GMT
(Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives are opposed to any relaxation of the reform conditions for Greece if it needs a third bailout package, a conservative leader in parliament said on Tuesday.

Riot Police Get On Their Knees To Beg For Forgiveness For Taking Part In Ukraine Crackdown

Feb. 25, 2014, 5:37 AM    48,777 3
During a rally in central Lviv on Feb.24, local riot police knelt as they apologized to residents for taking part in the crackdown on protesters in Kiev's Independence Square, aka Maidan (though they insisted that they did not beat protesters).

Russian Ships Carrying Soldiers Said To Be En Route To Sevastopol

Thailand army chief says military will not step into political crisis

February 25, 2014 -- Updated 0720 GMT (1520 HKT)
Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- Thailand's army chief said the military -- one of Thailand's most powerful institutions -- would not step into the current political crisis, saying that the country's laws were enough to confront deadly protests that have punctuated a three-month power struggle.
In a televised address, Gen. Prayuth Chanocha said the military did not want to exacerbate an already volatile situation.

Turkey opposition calls on government to resign

Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:8PM GMT
Turkey's main opposition party has demanded the government to quickly step down in the wake of a wiretap leak incriminating Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of corruption.
“It is unacceptable that someone who is in the middle of these dirty relations leads Turkey from now on. This government has lost all legitimacy after this hour,” the Republican People's Party (CHP) spokesman Haluk Koc said on Tuesday.

Ukraine Calls Russia's Bluff, Slashes Nat Gas Imports By 80%

Twice in recent years, Russia has suspended gas supplies, or notably raised prices, as the somewhat well-known "trump card" of Russia's oil and gas supply to Ukraine (and Europe for that matter) remains Putin's easiest option for clenching his iron-first against the divided nation. Following a pre-emptive move in November by Ukraine to diversify its energy supply,  Russia had reduced the price of gas for the highly indebted Ukraine in December (to entice Ukraine under Russia's wing); but, after recent events, Dmitry Medvedev signaled on Monday that the price could be raised again. However, today we find that Ukraine's state oil and gas company, Naftogaz, has slashed gas imports from Russia's Gazprom by  stunning 80% in February as Ukraine tries to show Russia it can't be pushed around... of course, with limited (and more expensive) alternative supplies, we fear this could well shoot them in the foot.

Spanish court demands answers from Hu Jintao on Tibetan genocide allegations

US, KSA, Jordan helping rebels plan Syria attack

Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:53PM GMT
The US, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are reportedly helping foreign-backed militants operating inside Syria to prepare for an attack starting in southern Syria and spreading to Damascus.
According to a report recently published by The Washington Post, a military headquarters for coordinating actions in Syria has been established in Jordan, and between 200 and 250 terrorists receive exercises at the training base near the western Jordanian city of Salt.

‘Westminster’s threats and speculation over Scottish independence are unfounded’

Published time: February 25, 2014 00:15

RT: David Cameron promises to boost Scotland's oil and gas industry with projects worth up to 200 billion pounds, but only if the union stays together. Can Scotland afford to turn this down?

Pat Kane: I think what Scotland can’t afford to do is not to look at the example of Norway which is just over the water from Aberdeen, where both the cabinets were today. That’s an example of a nation that discovered oil at the same time as Scotland and is the same size as Scotland, and in the last 40 years has built up a sovereign wealth fund of about 450 billion pounds. In the same period, Westminster has run up a debt of 1.2 trillion pounds, so I think the example for Scotland to follow is not any advice that comes from the Cameron cabinet [but] the example of Norway as how to become a prosperous and sophisticated small nation with the full benefits of oil and gas.

Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits

Washington. In case readers missed it with all the coverage of the Trayvon Martin murder trial and the Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage and the Voting Rights Act, the US Supreme Court also made a ruling on lawsuits against drug companies for fraud, mislabeling, side effects and accidental death. From now on, 80 percent of all drugs are exempt from legal liability.

In a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court struck down a lower court’s ruling and award for the victim of a pharmaceutical drug’s adverse reaction. According to the victim and the state courts, the drug caused a flesh-eating side effect that left the patient permanently disfigured over most of her body. The adverse reaction was hidden by the drug maker and later forced to be included on all warning labels. But the highest court in the land ruled that the victim had no legal grounds to sue the corporation because its drugs are exempt from lawsuits.
Posted on Feb 24, 2014 at 14:30

More retired NY firefighters, cops arrested in pension fraud probe

By Victoria Cavaliere 2 hours ago
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A second wave of retired New York firefighters and police was arrested on Tuesday on disability fraud charges tied to a September 11 pension fraud, said a source involved in the investigation.
A massive ongoing investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance's office had, in January, led to disability fraud charges against 106 suspects - 80 of them retired New York cops and firefighters - with some accused of falsely claiming to have been traumatized by the September 11, 2001 attacks on the city.;_ylt=AwrTWf1RyAxTxVwAJuvQtDMD

Israel Apartheid Week to be observed across globe

Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:2PM GMT
The 10th annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) has kicked off in the United States and Britain with similar events expected to be held in other parts of the world in March.
....Israeli Apartheid Week is being held in the United States and UK between February 24 and March 2. It is expected to be also observed in over 200 cities around the world.

The Queen and Prince Charles cash in on tens of thousands of pounds' worth of benefits every year

    Feb 24, 2014 22:40
Hard-up families struggling to cope with crippling rises in living costs are already angry that private ­landlords rake in thousand of pounds from housing benefits.
Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall Estate, which has an array of properties across the South West, raked in at least £111,000. from a string of councils providing cash to households.
And the Crown Estate, which gives the Queen 15% of its revenue, received at least £38,539 in housing benefit payments from just one town hall last year.

Autopsy: Men on Maersk had respiratory failure, suspected heart attack

February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
(CNN) -- Autopsy results indicate two American security officers found dead on the container ship Maersk Alabama last week died of respiratory failure, coupled with a suspected heart attack, police in the Seychelles said Tuesday.
Further forensic analysis will be carried out to establish if the two men, Jeffrey Reynolds and Mark Kennedy, had consumed a substance that may have brought on these events, a police statement said.

Pentagon plans to shrink US Army to pre-WWII level

By Dan De Luce 17 hours ago

Washington (AFP) - The Pentagon plans to scale back the US Army by more than an eighth to its lowest level since before World War II, signaling a shift after more than a decade of ground wars.
Saying it was time to "reset" for a new era, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recommended shrinking American forces from 520,000 active duty troops to between 440,000 and 450,000.;_ylt=AwrTWf1X8gtTyCsAGVTQtDMD

Tylenol During Pregnancy Linked to Higher Risk of ADHD
By Alice Park 19 hours ago
Pregnancy is already a fraught time for expectant moms, as more research shows how quickly the foods that women eat, the air they breathe and the compounds to which they are exposed can traverse the placenta and affect their growing child. Now there’s another thing to add to the growing list of agents — including tobacco from cigarettes, mercury from fish, and alcohol — that may affect their babies’ development.

GMO crops may cause major environmental risks, USDA admits

Published time: February 24, 2014 21:26
A new report published by the United States Department of Agriculture demonstrates that the vast majority of corn and soybean crops grown in America are genetically-engineered variants made to withstand certain conditions and chemicals.
But while GMO seeds have been sowed on US soil for 15 years now, the latest USDA report reveals that Americans still have concerns about consuming custom-made, laboratory-created products, albeit nowhere near as much as in Europe.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Feb 24, 2014: News Updates

 Egypt’s government resigns

24/02 11:22 CET 31 mins ago
Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said on Monday the government is to resign.

“Today the cabinet took a decision to offer its resignation to the president of the republic,” Beblawi said in a televised statement. He gave no clear reason for the decision.

Beblawi was appointed after the army toppled president Mohamed Mursi last July following mass protests against his rule.

Peru's PM resigns after spat with first lady, finance minister

Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:37pm EST
LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian Prime Minister Cesar Villanueva said on Monday that he was stepping down after just four months in office and a recent public spat with the finance minister and the first lady over his effort to raise the minimum wage.
The government did not immediately announce any other cabinet changes.
Villanueva said on local broadcaster RPP that President Ollanta Humala had accepted his resignation on Monday after he told a local newspaper that he was working on a new wage law with the finance ministry.

Ukraine's fugitive president wanted for mass murder

Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:28pm EST
KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's new authorities issued an arrest warrant on Monday for mass murder against ousted president Viktor Yanukovich, who is on the run after being toppled by bloody street protests in which police snipers killed demonstrators.
Russia, Yanukovich's main backer, said it would not deal with Ukrainians who seized power from their elected leader in an "armed mutiny". It declared that Russian citizens' lives were under threat there, and contacted NATO to express concern.

Deutsche Bank to cut US unit’s assets by quarter to meet Fed rules

Deutsche Bank has for the first time laid out plans to slash its US balance sheet as it seeks to allay concerns over how it would deal with tough new rules imposed by the Federal Reserve on foreign banks.

 24 February 2014 Last updated at 14:10

Vatican: Pope creates new department to oversee finances

Vatican bank The Vatican bank is one of the world's most secretive financial institutions
A new department at the Vatican has been created by Pope Francis to oversee its finances following scandals at the institution.
The new ministry would study the "organisational and economic problems of the Holy See", said the Vatican.
An auditor will also oversee the department's dealings, it said.
In January, Italian police reported a senior Italian cleric was charged with laundering millions through the Vatican bank.

Seen On An ATM In Western Australia

With iron-ore stockpiles at record highs in China amid the escalating cash-for-steel financing debacles, one can only imagine the squeeze that is about to occur on the banks of a nation that is almost entirely economically dependent on said iron-ore mining production... which made us think when we saw this sign "justifying" holding low cash amounts in an Aussie bank ATM...
So no need for a withdrawal halt per se when you simply make it impossible for customers to get their money out...

US Air Force reveals ‘neighborhood watch' satellite program

Published time: February 23, 2014 14:12
The United States plans to send into orbit a pair of satellites to monitor spacecraft from other countries, as well as to track space debris, the head of Air Force Space Command said.

'Parallel state' phone-tapped thousands in Turkey: officials

Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:38pm EST
ANKARA (Reuters) - The network of a U.S.-based cleric illegally tapped thousands of telephones in Turkey to blackmail and concoct criminal cases as part of a campaign of covert influence over government, a top adviser to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

Brazil presses EU for undersea cable to skirt U.S. links

BRUSSELS Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:49am GMT

(Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff pressed ahead on Monday with plans to lay an undersea communications cable directly to Europe to reduce Brazil's reliance on the United States following reports that Washington spied on Brasilia.

No spying on friends: NSA bugs Merkel aides instead of chancellor

Published time: February 24, 2014 07:30

In the wake of President Obama's promise to stop spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the US intelligence has switched its attention to her top government officials, a German newspaper reported.

 Ruble Cracks Seen Before Ukraine’s Deadly Descent: Russia Credit

By Vladimir Kuznetsov Feb 24, 2014 10:31 AM GMT+0100
The ruble slumped 8 percent against the dollar last year as emerging-market assets were... Read More
Foreign investor holdings of Russian ruble government bonds slid to the lowest level in 10 months in December as the ruble capped its worst year since 2008 and political tensions in neighboring Ukraine were growing.

US And Israel Quietly Provide Military Support And Parts To Iran, Which In Turn Is Arming Syria

Before the Ukraine, there was Syria. Before Syria, there was Iran. For over 30 years, Iran was the perpetual strawman of every attempt to escalate hostilities in the middle east. One only needs to recall that the original "red line" was not Obama's but that of Israel's PM Netanyahu referring to Iran's nuclear program (which most likely was under the control of Stuxnet, and thus the NSA, more than it was Iran's to begin with)....

....To summarize: in an act of complete disregard for the official diplomatic song and dance, both Israel and the US are now providing military support to Iran, which in turn is providing military support to Syria, which is also getting military support from Russia. And now, just to make things more interesting, the same labyrinth of "military support" is about to be unleashed in the Ukraine, whose western half is just as likely getting arms and military equipment (not to mention funding)from the West under the table, while Russia, whose main Black Sea port is in the Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, is arming the Eastern part of the Ukraine.

 Feb. 24, 2014, 4:00 a.m. EST

HSBC shares drop 5% as profit disappoints

MADRID (MarketWatch) -- Shares of HSBC Holdings fell over 5% on Monday after the banking group posted a profit that fell short of expectations.

 24 February 2014 Last updated at 12:40

HSBC profits tick higher in 2013 helped by cost cuts

HSBC has reported a 9% rise in profit for last year, boosted by cost cuts as it restructured the business.
Reported pre-tax profit was $22.6bn (£13.6bn), compared with $20.6bn in 2012, the bank said.
HSBC said it had also increased its bonus pool for staff by 6% to $3.9bn for last year.

Will Another Creditanstalt Be Revealed Once The Hypo Alpe Aldria "Black Box" Is Opened?


Presenting Hypo Alpe Aldria (or "HAA" although certainly not funny as in funny HAA HAA: more shortly), a bank which in reality has been in the news for years following its nationalization in 2009 by the Austrian government to prevent a bank collapse. In fact, just last week, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said the government is right to avert the collapse of Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International AG, as he cited the precedent of Creditanstalt, whose crash helped trigger the 1930s depression. “The crash of Creditanstalt in 1931 caused economic meltdown,” Faymann told parliament’s lower house in Vienna today. “There was a consensus in 2009 to act where necessary, to avoid the mistakes of the 1930s, to avoid a collapse by nationalizing and by installing protection measures at the European level.” ...
...The real surprise of the Hypo Alpe Adria (HAA) situation is not that bondholders may lose money, but the sight of the third richest country in Europe by per capita income apparently looking for ways out of paying what are clearly guaranteed debts of a 100% nationalized bank, for HAA debt is guaranteed by the Austrian State of Carinthia under a deficiency guarante

G20 pledges to add $2 trillion to global economy

By Sophia Yan  @sophia_yan February 23, 2014: 11:23 PM ET

The largest global economies have pledged to install policies that will add $2 trillion to the world economy over the next five years.
The G20 -- the world's 19 richest nations and the European Union -- said the reforms aim to lift collective GDP by more than 2%.
"Precisely how G20 leaders plan to deliver on the Sydney promise to lift global GDP at least 2% by 2018 remains sketchy at best," said Societe Generale's Michala Marcussen.

Death finance: Bankers have never been so insecure

 February 24, 2014 09:15

Conspiracy theories suggest a massive banking cover up leading to widespread murder in financial markets. Whatever is afoot, several high profile banker deaths raise questions about the sustainability of the system.
...Ultimately, the financial system is in a parlous position and recent government changes have done little to ameliorate the situation. We can blame cowardice, incompetence, lack of vision, and plutocratic self-preservation amongst the banker-government-multinational socialist-corporatist nexus for many failings here. However, with the euro crisis festering, emerging markets in chaos and no clear understanding of western economic resilience to thing ought to be clear: Bankers have never been more insecure.

Greece to resume bailout talks with troika of lenders

Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:17AM
Greece is set to resume negotiations with its three international lenders over the cash-strapped European country’s austerity plans.
The talks are to begin in the Greek capital of Athens later on Monday between Greek officials and representatives from the troika - the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Russia police detain hundreds protesting against jailing of activists- Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:12pm

(Reuters) - Russian riot police detained hundreds of Kremlin opponents on Monday, moving swiftly to curb protests over the jailing of activists convicted of attacking police at a rally against President Vladimir Putin.
With the turmoil in Ukraine adding to tension between the Kremlin and its opponents, Putin foes including Alexei Navalny and members of protest band Pussy Riot were hauled away twice by police, first outside a courthouse and later near the Kremlin.

Street clashes in Brazil as 1000 march against World Cup spending

23 February, 2014 09:02 AM

Policemen arrest a demonstrator during a protest in Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil. Demonstrators were rallying against government expenditure for the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Saturday.

Israel in contact with terrorists in Syria: Israeli cmdr.

Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:9AM GMT
An Israeli commander has admitted that the Israeli military is in contact with the foreign-backed militant and terrorist groups inside Syria.
The Israeli commander said that the militants provide Israeli intelligence officials with information on the identity and medical condition of the wounded militants.
Some reports say hundreds of al-Qaeda-linked terrorists have received treatment in Israeli hospitals. Most of them have returned to Syria, where they fight government forces.

Bitcoin Prices Slide After Mt.Gox CEO Resigns From Foundation Board

In what appears yet another straw on the camel's back of Mt.Gox (following the re-freeze of account withdrawals), the Bitcoin Foundation this evening reported that:

    "effective immediately, Mt. Gox has submitted their resignation from the board of directors."

Bitcoin prices on the dying exchange tumbled on the announcement after quite an extreme volatility day - which saw prices swing from $151 to $239 and then down to $190 on the news.

Colorado stash: $184M in marijuana taxes

By Aaron Smith  @AaronSmithCNN February 20, 2014: 2:25 PM ET
 The committee projects revenue of about $610 million from retail and medical marijuana from Jan. 1 of this year to June 30, 2015, the end of the next fiscal year.

The state has an aggressive taxation policy, taxing marijuana three times during the process -- when it is produced, sold and bought.

 China goes on orange alert after smog runs out of control

24/02 10:10 CET
With some 15% of the country currently blanketed by choking smog, China has announced an orange alert and is sending teams of investigators out to major polluters in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei province.

 Joint US – South Korea annual military drills begin

24/02 06:43 CET
The US and South Korea have begun their annual joint military drills near the Korean peninsula.
Exercise Key Resolve practises command and control procedures, while Foal Eagle focuses on field combat.
Pyongyang often claims the drills are a means of launching an invasion, often reacting aggressively.

Mysterious polio-like illness...Polio in a New Dress

We have been conditioned by our own conditioned parents, family, friends, society in general and through one of the most successful media campaigns in the history of the world, that to even Question the validity of the Polio Vaccine victory in "eradicating Polio from the face of the earth" is almost on the same level as treason.    We have a medical society so steeped in misdirection and lies that most of their own doctors have bought the polio story hook, line and sinker.  To be truthful, it isn't all their fault.  When Pharmaceutical companies are allowed to "fund" medical schools and write medical journal articles based on their own products, you cannot possibly expect unbiased opinions.  This would be like allowing a tobacco lobbyist to write research papers on lung cancer.

I am going to show you where Polio has disappeared to and I am going to start by giving you information about some very well known diseases.  Please read them carefully.

CNN to end 'Piers Morgan Live'

By Charles Riley  @CRrileyCNN February 23, 2014: 10:17 PM ET
CNN is pulling the plug on "Piers Morgan Live" after just three years in a key primetime slot.
The program, hosted by former newspaper editor Piers Morgan, had struggled to gain traction at the 9 p.m. hour, and was routinely beaten in the ratings by cable competitors. ...
... Morgan has also been under pressure as a result of an inquiry into phone hacking by U.K. papers.
The former Daily Mirror editor was interviewed late last year while in Britain by officers involved in the investigation into claims that journalists illegally hacked people's voice mail to get stories.

‘Six Californias’ plan to split up most populous US state gets green light

Edited time: February 23, 2014 04:22
​A wealthy US investor got the go-ahead for his campaign to carve up California into six separate states, according to the Secretary of State's Office. Critics call the plan just another scheme for the wealthy to hoard tax dollars.

Not all patent trolls are demons

By Timothy Holbrook

(CNN) -- Thursday, the White House revealed its efforts to reform the patent system, following up on President Obama's call in the State of the Union address.

The White House called on Congress to pass legislation to combat patent trolls, known less pejoratively as "patent assertion entities." PAE's are firms that don't manufacture anything. They buy patents and threaten to sue people to extract licensing fees, like the mythical troll charging a fee to cross a bridge. Apple, Google and AT&T have each faced more than 100 such suits since 2009.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Feb 22, 2014: News Updates

 22 February 2014 Last updated at 04:53

G20 summit to focus on emerging market turmoil

Stock market and currency turbulence in emerging markets like Brazil and Indonesia are expected to feature at this weekend's G20 finance ministers' meeting in Sydney.
The official theme of the meeting is restoring global growth.
But the main issue for participants, which also include Argentina, could be the dramatic revaluation of their currencies and share markets.

Ukraine President Flees Kiev After "Coup D'Etat" As Protesters Storm Presidential Palace, Plunder Gold; Army On Hold

It has been a busy night in the Ukraine
First, the newly-installed interior minister declared that the police were now behind the protesters they had fought for days, giving central Kiev the look of a war zone with 77 people killed, while central authority crumbled in western Ukraine. Then despite yesterday's latest anti-crisis "agreement" which we said would last at best hours, the protesters continued their pressure against embattled president Yanukovich, demanding his outright and unconditional resignation, leading to his fleeing Kiev by airplane overnight to the far more pro-Russian city of Kharkiv located in the Eastern Ukraine, even as his arch rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, who is held in prison in the same city, was rumored to have been released on her way to the far more anti-Russian city of Kiev - it turns out those rumors have so far been incorrect.
Then there was a plethora of rumors that he has or is about to either escape the country and/or resign, sparking celebrations in Kiev, only for him to appear on TV subsequently and not only deny a resignation is coming, but that he accused the current leaders in Kiev of staging a coup d'etat and that all parliamentary decisions today have been illegitimate, saying "I did all I could to avoid bloodshed" while comparing recent events in the Ukraine to the "Fascist Revolution" in Germany. This was promptly rebutted by the Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski who tweeted there is no coup in Kiev and President Viktor Yanukovych has 24 hours to sign re-adopted 2004 constitution into law.

Ukraine parliament removes Yanukovich, who flees Kiev in "coup"

KIEV Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:42pm GMT 3 mins ago
(Reuters) - Ukraine's parliament voted on Saturday to remove President Viktor Yanukovich from office, hours after he abandoned his Kiev office to protesters and denounced what he described as a coup.
The apparent toppling of the pro-Russian leader looks likely to dramatically alter the future of the former Soviet republic of 46 million people, pulling it closer to Europe and away from Moscow's orbit.

11 killed as Libyan military plane crashes in Tunisia

February 21, 2014 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
(CNN) -- A Libyan military plane crashed in Tunisia's Nabeul province Friday, killing all 11 people on board, the Libyan government said.
The plane was carrying five crew members, a doctor, three patients and two others who were accompanying them on the flight, Libyan officials said.
Among those killed was Sheikh Muftah Mabrook al Dwadi, a senior Islamist figure and deputy minister of Libya's Ministry of Martyrs' Affairs, the Libyan air force said.
Col. Ali Sheikhi, a Libyan military spokesman, said the plane crashed amid "mysterious circumstances."

 HSBC to announce bonuses totalling £2.4 billion - report

LONDON Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:45pm GMT
(Reuters) - HSBC will announce staff bonuses totalling just under 2.4 billion pounds globally for 2013 and is expected to report a significant rise in pretax profit, Sky News reported on its website on Saturday without citing its sources.
Europe's biggest bank is expected on Monday to announce the size of its bonus pool, a sensitive issue as many Britons still blame banks for the 2008 financial crisis after which the state was forced to bail out RBS and Lloyds.
Earlier this month Barclays prompted an angry reaction from politicians and labour unions after it increased its bonuses by 13 percent to 2.4 billion pounds even as it announced plans to axe 12,000 jobs.

 European Banks Are Cooking Up a Nice Regulatory Arbitrage

By Matt Levine Feb 21, 2014 9:41 PM GMT+0100
I don't have much to add to this International Financing Review article titled "Banks target DTAs to boost capital," but it brought tears of joy to my eye, and I'll pass it along because at least some of my readers share at least some of my aesthetic sensibilities. That's probably a minority, even of my readers. Honestly this is some kinky stuff. But if you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you'll like.

 Feb. 21, 2014, 5:00 a.m. EST

Obama plan: Cut tax breaks for richest retirement savers

Plan designed to spur saving by low-, middle-income earners
President Barack Obama plans to ask Congress in early March, as part of his fiscal 2015 budget, to reduce some of the tax advantages for employer-sponsored retirement plans for higher-income earners, according to published reports.

 Fannie Mae Payments to U.S. Will Exceed Bailout

By Clea Benson Feb 21, 2014 4:37 PM GMT+0100

...The mortgage-finance company, which is operating under federal conservatorship, had net income of $6.5 billion for the three months ended Dec. 31, Washington-based Fannie Mae (FNMA) said today in a regulatory filing. That brought earnings for 2013 to $84 billion, the highest ever for the 80-year-old firm. ...
...After its latest dividend payment, Fannie Mae will have sent the Treasury a total of $121.1 billion. The company also counts an additional $1 billion in senior preferred stock the Treasury obtained in 2008 as part of its aid package.
The payments to Treasury, which include all of the company’s quarterly profits, count as a return on the U.S. investment and not as a repayment of the taxpayer aid. Currently, there is no mechanism for Fannie Mae to exit government control.

Thai protesters turn in SIM cards seen linked to PM's family

BANGKOK Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:24am GMT
(Reuters) - Some Thai anti-government protesters followed the advice of their leader on Saturday, shunning products of firms linked to the family of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and handing back cellphone SIM cards.
The protesters have blocked main Bangkok intersections with tents, tyres and sandbags, seeking to unseat Yingluck and halt the influence of her billionaire brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, an ousted former premier regarded by many as the real power behind the government.

 China summons US official in Dalai Lama row

Beijing accuses US of interfering in internal affairs by hosting Tibetan spiritual leader in visit it warned against.

Last updated: 22 Feb 2014 09:34

China's foreign ministry has summoned a senior US embassy official in China after US President Barack Obama held low-key talks with the Dalai Lama at the White House despite warnings from Beijing the meeting would damage ties.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui summoned Daniel Kritenbrink, charge d'affaires of the US embassy, on Friday night, according to a statement posted on the Chinese foreign ministry's website, where he expressed his country's rejection of "US interference in China's internal issues."
"China expressed strong indignation and firm opposition" to the "erroneous acts" of the US in interfering in China's internal issues, Zhang said in the statement, the Reuters news agency reported.

 Venezuelan Government denounces attack on the country’s consular office in Aruba. Consular office in Curacao closed.

JauaWILLEMSTAD – The Venezuelan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Elias Jaua, reported that the consular office of Venezuela in Aruba suffered damages by a vehicle this Friday.

 Fracking Boom Leaves Texans Under a Toxic Cloud

By Lisa Song, Jim Morris and David Hasemyer Feb 20, 2014 7:53 PM
...Those three facilities also are allowed to release 142 tons of nitrogen oxides, 95 tons of carbon monoxide, 19 tons of sulfur dioxide, 8 tons of particulate matter and 0.31 tons of hydrogen sulfide per year. Sometimes the emissions soar high into the sky and are carried by the wind until they drop to the ground miles away. Sometimes they blow straight toward the Buehrings' or their neighbors' homes.
The regulation of oil and gas extraction falls primarily to the states, whose rules vary dramatically. States are also responsible for enforcing the federal Clean Air Act, an arrangement that is problematic in Texas, which has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 18 times in the last decade.

 21 February 2014 Last updated at 22:39

Detroit files multi-billion dollar bankruptcy plan

Detroit's emergency manager has filed a plan to restructure the city's debts in the wake of the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history.
The plan, awaiting approval from a bankruptcy judge, includes cuts to pensions and creditors to drive down the $18bn (£10.8bn) debt.

Exxon CEO: Don't frack in my backyard

Published time: February 22, 2014 02:36
The CEO of ExxonMobil – the top producer of natural gas in the US – has joined a lawsuit that challenges the construction of a water tower connected to hydraulic fracturing operations near his Texas home, given that it may reduce the property value.
CEO Rex Tillerson and other plaintiffs claim the hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – project will cause unwanted noise and traffic associated with trucking water from the 160-foot tower to the drilling site, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Ship loses more than 500 containers in heavy seas

By Tim Lister, CNN
February 22, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Their Danish-flagged ship was in the Bay of Biscay last week as hurricane-force winds battered the Atlantic coast of Europe. Amid waves of 30 feet and winds of 60 knots, the Svendborg began losing containers off northern France. After the ship arrived in the Spanish port of Malaga this week, Maersk discovered that about 520 containers were unaccounted for. Stacks of others had collapsed.
It's the biggest recorded loss of containers overboard in a single incident.
....The company told CNN that the extreme weather had an unexpectedly forceful impact on the ship's movements. It said 85% of the lost containers were empty and others included such dry goods as frozen meat. None contained dangerous goods. Maersk is now contacting customers to tell them that their shipments are at the bottom of the ocean.

Freedom to discriminate? Controversial Arizona bill takes step toward becoming law

Published time: February 21, 2014 22:51
The Arizona state Senate approved legislation Wednesday permitting businesses in the state to refuse service to potential customers based on an owner’s religious beliefs, infuriating equal rights advocates who claim the bill legalizes LGBT discrimination.
The bill, known officially as Senate Bill 1062, was approved by the Republican-controlled Senate, which voted along strict party lines. State Democrats proposed eight amendments to the bill in an attempt to stop what they decried as discrimination against the gay and lesbian community, but each of those efforts failed.