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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 19 April

by Fran Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 03:54:02 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1892 – Germaine Tailleferre, a French composer and the only female member of the famous composers' group Les Six, was born. (d. 1983)

More here and video

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The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 11:38:06 AM EST
Germany reopens several airports for some flights | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 18.04.2010
Germany's aviation authorities have temporarily opened several airports for some flights. Most of Europe's airspace however, remains shut down throughout Sunday.  

Stranded travellers around the world faced a fourth day of chaos Sunday as Europe's volcanic ash continued to ground flights. German airspace was set to remain closed until 8 p.m. local time (1800 UTC).

However, over the course of the afternoon, eastbound flights from Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover, Erfurt and Leipzig were permitted to temporarily operate. Frankfurt airport has also been opened for some northbound flight.

European aviation agency Eurocontrol said civilian flights across the bulk of northern and central Europe were prevented from landing or taking off on Saturday and most of Sunday. More than three in four flights across the continent were halted as drifting volcanic ash continued to be spewed from its source in Iceland.

But Dutch and German test flights carried out on Saturday without apparent damage seemed to offer hope that Europe's travel lockdown may ease in the coming days.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 11:41:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UK airspace shut by Iceland volcano ash cloud could reopen tomorrow | World news | guardian.co.uk

UK airspace may reopen at 7am tomorrow morning, air traffic controllers said this afternoon amid rising hopes that some commercial flights could resume earlier than expected.

There had been fears that no-fly zones could remain in place across parts of Europe for much of the week because of the ash plume caused by the volcanic explosion in Iceland on Wednesday.

Over 20 countries have airspace restrictions, many banning all non-emergency flights but commercial operators, including British Airways, KLM and Air France, have carried out or plan test flights without passengers.

European transport ministers are planning a video conference tomorrow to discuss the results. Gordon Brown is to chair an emergency meeting of ministers at 5pm tonight to discuss the crisis.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 11:56:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huffpo has a good animation of the spread of the ash on the front page.

Sorry, don't know how to link to the animation directly.

Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post

See Incredible Photos, Satellite Images Of Volcanic Cloud...
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 02:20:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm beginning to get annoyed that it's impossible to figure out (because they don't tell you, and if they do it's in obscure terms) whether the animation is a simulation or based on satellite data.

I suspect most of these are just showcasing various pieces of weather simulation software.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:49:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Crucial presidential vote gets underway in North Cyprus | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 18.04.2010
Turkish Cypriots are heading to the polls in a presidential election on Sunday that could have a major impact on reuniting the island and Turkey's bid to join the European Union.  

The presidential vote pits Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu against incumbent leftist Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat. 

Eroglu, leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), has said he favors a two-state confederation. However, he has also said he would not abandon the reunification talks being conducted by incumbent President Mehmet Ali Talat.

"I hope the process that follows this election brings an honourable solution that allows Turkish Cypriots to live in peace and security under Turkish guarantees," Eroglu said.

 

Some 164,000 people are eligibile to vote.

 

Peace talks on hold

 

Talat, leader of the left-leaning Republican Turkish Party (CTP), supports reunification of the island, which has been divided into the Greek-speaking south and ethnically Turkish north since 1974.

 

Opinion polls have tipped Eroglu to win.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 11:42:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Poland bids farewell to Maria and Lech Kaczynski | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 18.04.2010
Thousands of people have gathered in Krakow for the state funeral of President Lech Kaczynski. Many world leaders were unable to attend because of flights grounded by Iceland's volcano. 

Thousands of mourners gathered for the funeral Mass and burial of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria on Sunday in Krakow.

  

Tens of thousands of people lined the streets with outstretched hands, some holding flowers and national flags, and many wiping tears from their eyes. Hundreds of thousands were watching the events broadcast live in Poland and around the world.

 

"The death of these outstanding representatives of our people is a great loss for us. People from all stations of life and various political views are lost," said acting president Bronislaw Komorowski, in eulogizing not just the Kacynzskis, but all those killed in the crash.

During the funeral mass, the couple's only child, Marta, sat with her uncle, head of the opposition Law and Justice Party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, in the first row. Jaroslaw and Lech Kaczynski were twin brothers. Some 700 Polish officials, foreign dignitaries and others sat behind them.

 



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 11:51:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Polish-Russian Reconciliation Highlights President's Funeral - Bloomberg.com

April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Poland bid farewell to President Lech Kaczynski and his wife in the country's ancient capital of Krakow as the leaders of the country's two historic enemies, Germany and Russia, prayed amid calls for reconciliation.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev lit a candle at the service for presidential couple, who died on April 10 when their plane crashed in Smolensk, Russia, on the way to a ceremony in Katyn forest honoring 22,000 Polish officers and officials killed in 1940 by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's secret police.

Medvedev and German President Horst Koehler were among 700 foreign guests, Polish government officials and family members gathered at the 14th-century St. Mary's Basilica on the medieval Market Square, where a Mass led by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow and the former secretary to Pope John Paul II, opened to the strains of Mozart's Requiem.

"Seventy years ago Katyn divided two nations," Dziwisz said at the beginning of the Mass, addressing his words directly to the Russian president. "The tragedy eight days ago has released stores of good will in individuals and nations, and the sympathy and support we have received from our Russian brothers revives hope for reconciliation."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 12:12:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / UK / Politics & policy - UK major parties attack Liberal Democrats

Gordon Brown said on Sunday the Liberal Democrat policies needed to be "exposed," after opinion polls showed a surge in support for the third party following last week's historic prime ministerial debate.

Polls in Sunday's newspaper suggested a move from the postwar Labour-Tory dominance of British politics to a three party system, should the Lib Dems be able to sustain the significance rise in their support.

A BPIX poll for the Mail on Sunday put the Lib Dems in front, on a 32 per cent share of the vote, ahead of the Conservatives on 31 per cent and Labour on 28 per cent. A ComRes survey for the Independent on Sunday put the Tories on 31 per cent, only two points ahead of the Lib Dems on 29 per cent and Labour on 17 per cent. A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times put the Lib Dems in third place but still significantly up, on 29 per cent, compared to Labour on 30 and the Tories on 33.

[...]

Mr Brown asserted that the Lib Dems "have got to be exposed ... I think they have made a mistake in their economic policy. Why do they want to cut child tax credits? I think that is unfair. Why do they want to cut child trust funds?"

The Conservatives attacked the Lib Dems over their pro-European stance. William Hague, shadow foreign secretary, claimed that Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, was prepared to "sign up for anything that has ever been on offer or proposed from the European Union."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 11:54:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nick Clegg defends Liberal Democrat stance on Europe - Telegraph
Nick Clegg has defended his party's pro-European stance after being accused of trying to take Britain into a "super-state".

The Liberal Democrat leader admitted the European Union was "flawed", claiming it spent 15 years drawing up a directive on the definition of chocolate.

He insisted Britain was stronger working with the 27-member bloc rather than "raising the drawbridge" and standing outside it.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 02:14:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Warning As Lib Dems Lead Poll Race|The Sun| 2010-04-10

A YouGov opinion poll for The Sun put support for Nick Clegg's party at a staggering 33 per cent.

It is the first time the former Liberals have been in the lead in a general election race for 104 years.

The Conservatives lag one point behind at 32 per cent, while Labour have tanked on just 26 per cent.

But in the same opinion poll, barely half those asked said they knew what Mr Clegg stood for.

And quizzed on the top ten plans put forward by his party, six of them were given a resounding thumbs down.

hey were Mr Clegg's proposals on an illegal immigrant amnesty, community service instead of jail for criminals, upping taxes to scrap tuition fees, giving more powers to Brussels, joining the Euro and halting nuclear power stations.

One of the plans - dumping the UK's Trident nuclear missiles - split the public down the middle. And only three got support - scrapping income tax on earnings of less than £10,000 a year, changing the voting system and limiting public sector pay rises. But those policies are also the Lib Dems' most controversial.

Clearly the orders from Murdoch central have gone out. The article is pretty much run of the mill party bashing but I am intrigued by the use of the word "controversial" at the end of the seventh paragraph. It seems a calculated way to end a paragraph listing the lib dem's popular policies.

Since reading this article I have been wondering if the  meaning of "controversial" has been shifted in the English language. Is the word "Controversial" now a euphanism for "something we do not like".

Money is a sign of Poverty - Culture Saying

by RogueTrooper on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 06:25:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Is the word "Controversial" now a euphemism for "something we do not like".

That's exactly it.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 08:28:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
where we is a group largely identified with Rupert Murdoch and ... well just Rupert basically.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 12:59:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nick Clegg's rise could lock Murdoch and the media elite out of UK politics|The Guardian|
David Yelland|2010-04-19


I doubt if Rupert Murdoch watched the election debate last week. His focus is very firmly on the United States, especially his resurgent Wall Street Journal. But if he did, there would have been one man totally unknown to him. One man utterly beyond the tentacles of any of his family, his editors or his advisers. That man is Nick Clegg.

Make no mistake, if the Liberal Democrats actually won the election - or held the balance of power - it would be the first time in decades that Murdoch was locked out of British politics. In so many ways, a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote against Murdoch and the media elite.

I can say this with some authority because in my five years editing the Sun I did not once meet a Lib Dem leader, even though I met Tony Blair, William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith on countless occasions. (Full disclosure: I have since met Nick Clegg.)

I remember in my first year asking if we staffed the Liberal Democrat conference. I was interested because as a student I'd been a founder member of the SDP. I was told we did not. We did not send a single reporter for fear of encouraging them.

So while we sent a team of five, plus assorted senior staff, to both the Tory and Labour conferences, we sent nobody to the Lib Dems. And while successive News International chiefs have held parties at both those conferences, they have never to my knowledge even attended a Lib Dem conference.



Money is a sign of Poverty - Culture Saying
by RogueTrooper on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 07:52:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Europe - Pope meets Maltese 'abuse victims'

Pope Benedict XVI has met alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests in Malta, as the Roman Catholic church moves to address a series of scandals that have emerged in recent months.

The pope promised the church would do "all in its power" to bring the guilty to justice and protect the young during the private meeting with eight Maltese in the Vatican's embassy on the Mediterranean island.

Benedict also "expressed his shame and sorrow over what victims and their families have suffered", a Vatican statement said.

Three priests have been accused of sexually abusing orphans on Malta in the 1980s and 1990s.

Lawrence Grech, an alleged abuse victim, spoke of the historic importance of his meeting with the Pope.

"I felt great and honoured, not even the president of Malta had the chance to meet privately with the pontiff," he told Al Jazeera.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 12:06:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't say sorry like the empty confessional they are; change the system and mean it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 01:00:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Four Soldiers Killed in Taliban Attack: Germany's Dangerous Afghanistan Strategy - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The Bundeswehr's new strategy in Afghanistan involves training Afghan soldiers, something that many assumed would be low risk. But Thursday's Taliban attack, which killed four Germans involved in a training operation, shows that the mission is still highly dangerous.

The bad news reached German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg just after he landed at a German supply base in Termez, Uzbekistan on Thursday. Four German soldiers had been killed and five others injured, two seriously. The attack on the German Bundeswehr soldiers had taken place almost simultaneously with Guttenberg's departure from Afghanistan, where he had made a surprise visit to German troops. Less than two weeks after three Germany soldiers were killed in an ambush on April 2, Germany is once again mourning its fallen.

Thursday's attack was the most serious to date for the German armed forces in northern Afghanistan. At around 2:30 p.m. local time, militants struck in the region of Baghlan, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the German base in Kunduz.

The Germans were traveling together with Swedish and Belgian soldiers as part of an Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT). Around 150 trainers and other soldiers were escorting about 1,000 Afghan soldiers from the Afghan National Army. They had been mentoring the local security forces in battle tactics during an ongoing operation against the Taliban code-named "Taohid II." The large-scale operation had been resumed Wednesday after a break of several days.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 01:20:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Afghan interpreters 'abandoned' by MoD after being wounded | Daily Telegraph
Afghan interpreters serving on the frontline with British troops have accused the Ministry of Defence of abandoning them when they are badly wounded and denying them the care they were promised.

One interpreter maimed in a bomb blast said he was denied essential plastic surgery because he was not British. Another said he was abandoned in a coma in an Afghan hospital, then left with medical bills.

Both said the MoD had promised them desk jobs when they recovered, but they remained unemployed.

Ten of their fellow interpreters in Helmand province resigned in protest at their treatment, they said.

The Ministry of Defence in London disputed their claims, but they were backed by two other interpreters interviewed by the Daily Telegraph.

Nato-led forces are reliant on civilian interpreters to translate conversations into Dari and Pashtu when they interact with local people or Afghan forces.

The Ministry of Defence employs 450 Afghans as interpreters. Fourteen have been killed and 27 wounded in the past four years.


by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 03:43:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Insurance ranking of European volcanos.
A major eruption of Italy's Mount Vesuvius could result in 8,000 fatalities, 13,000 serious injuries and total economic losses of more than $24 billion, according to a new study supported by the Willis Research Network (WRN) that puts Vesuvius at the top of the list of Europe's 10 most dangerous volcanoes.

The WRN, funded by Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker, is an industry-leading public-private partnership between Willis and many of the top scientific research institutions in the world.

The WRN volcano risk ranking, which examines European volcanoes with potentially affected populations of greater than 10,000, was developed by researchers from the University of Cambridge, the University of Naples Federico II and Willis Re, Willis' reinsurance broking arm.

This study was released on April 15, which is a bit embarassing since
The Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland that erupted yesterday was not on the list, but the Hekla volcano, Iceland's most active, was ranked as the ninth most dangerous volcano in Europe.
I guess they didn't consider the effect on air travel.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 06:57:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well, they probably look first at casualties and then damage to real estate.
Full closure of the European airspace is rather unprecedented...

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 08:29:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actuarial analysis is onle as good as your historical data. Last time Katla erupted the only aircraft in Europe were doing WWI dogfights.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 08:40:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the last time Vesuvius erupted seriously (as opposed to local erruptions up to 1944) was? The number of casulaties surely depends above all on the ability to predict it reliably shortly before it happens, and on the ability of the government to evacuate people.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 08:46:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The salient point is, casualty is certain. Proximity to the site determines number of fatalities and casualties, regardless of eruption type. Consider this: Pyroclastic surges can reach speeds of 1050 km/h.

There isn't a plan devised by man to evacuate every persons within that perimeter to safety.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 11:25:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, but I still have no idea how they came up with a figure of 8.000 deaths. An eruption on the scale of 2.000 BC might kill millions. And the ranking seems to take into account only the damag caused, and not the probability  of it happening - the latter is just as hard to estimate, but surely just as important for an insurance company.

The Italian papers have all been covering this report, perhaps with a feeling of being number 1 (not to mention 3 and 4 as well).

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:27:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough.

You want the formula. If I can find the formula of levelized cost of energy, you too can find the formula  for mortality "attributed to catastrophic event x" somewhere in the innerboobz.

Via con dios.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Apr 21st, 2010 at 01:45:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
as the case may be.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Apr 21st, 2010 at 01:48:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 11:38:29 AM EST
Message to Wall St. in Goldman case: SEC 'back on the job' | McClatchy

WASHINGTON -- The Securities and Exchange Commission's civil fraud suit against Goldman Sachs that shook Wall Street stands in sharp contrast to the agency's many blunders in failing to stop the $50 billion Ponzi scheme of Bernard Madoff.

The complaint filed against Goldman Friday contained a meticulous narrative of a highly complex deal, but also included the crowing emails of a young Goldman executive who allegedly allowed a hedge fund client to stack the package with risky home mortgages. The hedge fund, Paulson & Co., secretly reaped a $1 billion profit by betting against the deal at the expense of other investors, the suit said.

Even the agency's news release announcing the Goldman suit was infused with "a condemnatory tone that we have not seen coming out of the SEC for almost a decade," since the end of the Clinton administration, said James Cox, a Duke University law professor who specializes in securities.

"The release is very judgmental about the conduct, almost scolding ... and those releases get done at the highest level," he said.

The message: The SEC is back on the job.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 11:45:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reputation of SEC's Khuzami is on the line vs. Goldman | McClatchy

WASHINGTON -- In the painful months following Wall Street's flirt with financial ruin, no big player has yet been punished. Robert Khuzami's reputation now rests on Goldman Sachs becoming the first.

The enforcement chief at the Securities and Exchange Commission has spent his first year remaking his office, which was chock full of top managers, but light on investigators.

When Khuzami arrived last year, he inherited a demoralized agency, widely ridiculed as the most ineffectual of federal regulators. Faced with salary restrictions, the agency had promoted top-level people to administrative positions at a pace that left the agency top heavy and without enough cops on the beat.

Khuzami set out to change that, leaving top salaries in place but forcing those administrators out of desk jobs and back into investigations.

His office has prosecuted private equity firms for alleged pay-to-play activity in the state of New York, and late last year brought a high-profile insider trading case against Galleon Management, a large hedge fund that invests on behalf of the ultra wealthy.

But that pales next to what is ahead for the SEC in taking on Wall Street's most influential and politically connected player.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 11:46:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - Angry Goldman lambasts fraud charges
Documents obtained by the Financial Times throw new light on the rocky relationship between Goldman Sachs and the US Securities and Exchange Commission during the 20-month probe that led to last week's fraud charges against the Wall Street bank.

The frayed mood between the bank and the regulators might explain the SEC's decision to file civil charges against Goldman on Friday without warning the bank, as well as the two sides' lack of settlement talks before last week's move.

In a 40-page document written in September last year in response to the SEC's initial accusations, Goldman and Sullivan & Cromwell, its lawyers, say the authorities' case is riddled with "fatal deficiencies" and criticises the regulators for laying blame with the benefit of "perfect hindsight".
...
"There is no basis in the law, the record or common sense for such charges," it says.

In a separate document, sent to the SEC a few days later, Goldman refers to "open and robust" discussions with staff of the commission - a glimpse of the tough behind-the-scene talks that went on from July last year when the regulators formally informed the bank they wanted to press charges.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 09:07:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
City trader linked to Goldman Sachs case as regulators track sub-prime deals | Business | The Observer

The Financial Services Authority is closely monitoring developments at Goldman Sachs after one of its London-based traders was implicated by US authorities in a $1bn fraud case that hit Royal Bank of Scotland.

The link gives a domestic dimension to the lawsuit filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission against Goldman Sachs. The case is the biggest sign yet that regulators on both sides of the Atlantic intend to pursue the architects of the exotic financial instruments that helped to cause the credit crunch. It is alleged that the American bank defrauded investors by encouraging firms to take bets on sub-prime mortgages it knew would turn sour.

The Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, Lord Oakeshott, said if the claims proved true it would demonstrate "the extent greedy bankers would go to, to pull the wool over the eyes of their customers and the regulator".

The accusations are levelled at Goldman Sachs, as well as French employee Fabrice Tourre, 31, who is now an executive director in its London office.

The US financial watchdog obtained emails sent to a friend in which Tourre jokes: "The whole building is about to collapse... only potential survivor, the fabulous Fab [Fabrice Tourre]... standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications of those monstrosities!!!"



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 11:55:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This RBS?

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) was forced to reveal yesterday that it has lent $3.47bn (£2.34bn) to Lyondell Chemical, the bankrupt US chemicals company. Analysts warned that RBS, the biggest lender to Lyondell, was at risk of losing a sizeable proportion of the money.

RBS inherited the loans from its ill-fated acquisition in 2007 of ABN Amro's investment bank. The loans are thought to include $1.6bn worth of lower-ranked credit that could lose all of its value. ABN Amro is listed as Lyondell's biggest secured creditor in documents filed in the US bankruptcy court in New York.

The potential loss is the latest banana skin for RBS linked to the £10bn ABN Amro deal. RBS's pursuit of the Dutch bank during the financial meltdown helped to seal the fate of Sir Fred Goodwin, who quit as chief executive late last year. Last month, RBS revealed it could lose £400m from Bernard Madoff's alleged $50bn fraud in the US because of deals done by ABN.

Read more...

GS victim. Really?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 10:39:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Must be the other RBS.

"Of course I feel let down by RBS," Mr Hamilton said, before adding: "Is there a person in the whole of Scotland who doesn't feel let down by RBS? We have trusted them for generations. I've been a customer, I'm sure, for 60 years."

There was at least one call on Mr Hamilton's website yesterday for a "class action" against RBS with other aggrieved customers joining him in a major action against the bank. Politicians admitted Mr Hamilton's claim could have "enormous implications", and may pave the way for "a speedy nationalisation".

SNP MSP Alex Neil said: "I think the bank will be nationalised anyway, but Ian is making a substantial and justified point that there are responsibilities the banks have to accept in terms of their actions and in terms of their customers."

Read more...



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 10:44:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Victim, the press reports, victim really?

"Cherie Blair, the wife of former British Prime Minsiter Tony Blair, has been hired to sue the Royal Bank of Scotland. Two UK pension funds have asked the US courts to compensate them for the losses they incurred when the bank 'falsely reassured' investors the bank was in good health when it was 'effectively insolvent'." scrapbook

"Neil Moorhouse, a spokesman for RBS, said he was "unaware of the case" and couldn't provide further comment. "Bloomberg


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 11:04:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't really say I feel bad for the shareholders, especially not big ones like these pension funds. Big owners usually have their own people as members of the board to keep an eye on things, and even if they don't someone should have told them that share ownership carries with it the risk of losses. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. If you buy shares in a company run by crooks, well, tough luck. Take a closer look at management next time.

Ergo, they just seem like sore losers.

If anyone should be going to court, it's the management for RBS for providing false information to the markets. Long jail terms for them is fine by me, but stupid shareholders should not be compensated. If they don't like risk they should put their money in German sovereign debt.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 11:48:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are stupid shareholders and there are stupid shareholders. Over the past 2 years I've read of some pretty awful crimes perpetrated by fiduciaries e.g. real estate agents, and other money managers, engaged by clubs, pension funds, municipalities. Some have been convicted --mostly the ponzis-- but I guess, stupid shareholders are given to understand the test of harms through civil litigation is more easily satisfied than those proscribed by criminal prosecution.

Which is a pity. Civil penalty cannot stop such people. Limited liability such as it is, the entity that harbors the gumbas may bankrupt. But they prevail, hang a new, teflon shingle burnished with self-evident chutzpah, and draw the other "outguessing" shareholders that got away.

I'm not convinced as yet any prime dealer employee will ever face prison, although in the US, states' attorneys general may arrest and charge individuals at any time. DoJ doesn't require SEC permission to prosecute.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 04:12:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SEC Faces Challenges With Goldman Case - WSJ.com

The SEC's suit against Goldman is the agency's biggest assault on a Wall Street firm in a matter stemming from the credit crisis. A successful outcome for the SEC could go a long way in repairing its reputation, which was damaged by its failure to discover Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme and other shortcomings that emerged during the crisis.

The SEC's case against Goldman and a vice president at the firm, Fabrice Tourre, hangs on a single critical contention. The SEC says Goldman sold investors a product linked to the performance of certain mortgages without telling them that a hedge fund betting on the mortgages' demise helped design the product.

Several lawyers not involved in the case said the evidence, as laid out in the SEC's complaint, is deep enough to support the civil fraud charges. "From the complaint, it looks pretty strong," said Jill Fisch, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. "It's a test case in terms of the SEC going forward both for whether they're successful and, if they settle, will it be a meaningful penalty," she said.

The SEC has the tricky job of showing that Goldman was reckless in deceiving investors about the hedge fund's role, said Peter Huang, a securities law professor at Temple University. "If you were buying something, you should care about the fact that the person who was picking the things you were buying was actually betting against them," he said. "That's the part that wasn't disclosed.

[Murdoch Alert]

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 01:42:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The SEC has the tricky job of showing that Goldman was reckless in deceiving investors about the hedge fund's role

No.

The SEC has the tricky job of showing that Goldman deliberately deceived investors about (i) the risk of CDO default; and possibly (ii) GS and Paulson & Co. conspiracy to assemble a crappy CDO for sale. The latter facts "go to" proving through SEC discovery process that GS "CDO managers" (S&P "CDO Manager Focus, pdf) possessed undisclosed, material information about asset performance that benefited GS and Paulson trading positions but harmed CDO buyers.

"If you were buying something, you should care about the fact that the person who was picking the things you were buying was actually betting against them"

No. If you have hired an broker, you should care to whom that agent's fiduciary duty is legally tied. It may not be you, actually, ignorant buyer. It may be the seller.

Huang is an assclown. He and Krugman should get a clown room where they can laugh and laugh and laugh about the "games" quants play all night long after chasing ambulances.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 10:20:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
was reckless in deceiving investors

So GS's job was to deceive, but safely?

Goof catch, Cat.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 20th, 2010 at 01:38:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / US / Economy & Fed - US Treasury chief hardens stance on derivatives
Tim Geithner, US Treasury secretary, stiffened his call for derivatives reform on Sunday as lawmakers and officials used allegations that Goldman Sachs committed fraud in marketing complicated financial instruments to push for more transparency.
...
Separately, in a letter to Jean-Claude-Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, Mr Geithner called for co-operation between the US and Europe in deciding which contracts should be forced through central clearing houses and on to electronic exchanges.

The letter, seen by the Financial Times, was sent on Friday and describes a regulatory reform tougher than some Democratic and Republican proposals: "All standard derivative contracts must be traded transparently" on exchanges or other platforms, Mr Geithner wrote, "lowering costs for users of derivatives, such as industrial or agriculture companies".



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:55:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Melanchthon:
Tim Geithner, US Treasury secretary, stiffened his call for derivatives reform on Sunday as lawmakers and officials used allegations that Goldman Sachs committed fraud in marketing complicated financial instruments to push for more transparency.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 03:49:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh man, that made me chuckle.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 01:06:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merrill Used Same Alleged Fraud as Goldman, Bank Says (Update1) - Bloomberg.com

April 17 (Bloomberg) -- Merrill Lynch & Co. engaged in the same investor fraud that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Goldman Sachs Group Inc. of committing, according to a bank that sued the firm in New York last year.

Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank BA, known as Rabobank, claims Merrill, now a unit of Bank of America Corp., failed to tell it a key fact in advising on a synthetic collateralized debt obligation. Omitted was Merrill's relationship with another client betting against the investment, which resulted in a loss of $45 million, Rabobank claims.

Merrill's handling of the CDO, a security tied to the performance of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities, mirrors Goldman Sachs conduct that the SEC details in the civil complaint the agency filed yesterday. It claimed Goldman omitted the same key fact about a financial product tied to subprime mortgages as the U.S. housing market was starting to falter.

"This is the tip of the iceberg in regard to Goldman Sachs and certain other banks who were stacking the deck against CDO investors," said Jon Pickhardt, an attorney with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, who is representing Netherlands-based Rabobank.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 12:08:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SEC Is Looking at Other Mortgage Deals - WSJ.com
The Securities and Exchange Commission, after having hit Goldman Sachs Group Inc. with a civil fraud charge, is investigating whether other mortgage deals arranged by some of Wall Street's biggest firms may have crossed the line into misleading investors.

The SEC's case against Goldman Friday has exposed an open secret on Wall Street: As the housing market began to wobble a few years back, some big financial firms designed products aimed at allowing key clients, such as hedge funds, to bet on a sharp housing downturn.

Among the firms that created mortgage deals that soon went sour were Deutsche Bank AG, UBS AG and Merrill Lynch & Co., now owned by Bank of America Corp. It isn't known what deals the SEC is investigating.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 04:29:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Other Major Banks Did Deals Similar to Goldman's - ProPublica
Here is a list of the banks that were involved [9] in Magnetar deals, along with links to many of the prospectuses on the deals, which skip over Magnetar's role. In all, investment banks created at least 30 CDOs with Magnetar, worth roughly $40 billion overall. Goldman's 25 Abacus CDOs--one of which is the basis of the SEC's lawsuit--amounted to $10.9 billion [10].


"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 04:53:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Clinton Says He Had Bad Advice on Derivatives (Update1) - Bloomberg.com

April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Former President Bill Clinton said he should have pushed for regulation of financial derivatives when he was president, rejecting the advice of top economic advisers Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.

The argument was that derivatives didn't need transparency because they were "expensive and sophisticated and only a handful of people would buy them," Clinton said on ABC's "This Week" program. "The flaw in this argument was that first of all, sometimes people with a lot of money make stupid decisions and make it without transparency."

"Even if less than 1 percent of the total investment community is involved in derivative exchanges, so much money was involved that if they went bad, they could affect 100 percent of the investments," Clinton said. The show was taped yesterday for broadcast today.

Tighter regulation of derivatives trading is part of a package of financial reforms being pushed by the Obama administration against Republican opposition. The Senate is debating a bill introduced by Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd that would also give the federal government the authority to unravel institutions whose failure threatens the financial system.

Bush Blamed

Clinton also said the Bush administration contributed to the financial crisis with lax regulation.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 12:10:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clinton, "There was already a total merger practically of commercial and investment banking, and really the main thing that the Glass-Steagall Act did was to give us some power to regulate it - the repeal."

ooootay

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 06:35:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and what does,

... only about a third of all the money loaned today is loaned through traditional banking channels and that was well underway before that legislation was signed

mean?

The point is not to be right, but to get to right.

by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:03:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
have on Clinton that would make him have to kiss their ass like that retroactively (even if he does imply it was Greenspan who gave him the bad derivatives advice, not Rubin and Summers)?

Clinton: I Was Wrong to Listen to Wrong Advice Against Regulating Derivatives* - Political Punch

*UPDATE: After the show Sunday, Clinton Counselor Doug Band wrote me to say that "during the interview, reflecting on a derivatives debate that occurred twelve years ago, President Clinton inadvertently conflated an analysis he received on a specific derivatives proposal with then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's arguments against any regulation of derivatives."

Band wrote that President Clinton "still wishes, as he has said several times, that he had pursued legislation to provide additional regulatory authority in this area, even though the Republican majority in Congress would have blocked such an effort. And he remains convinced that he received excellent advice on the economy and the financial system from his economic team, led by treasury Secretaries Bentsen, Rubin and Summers; that Chairman Greenspan served the nation well during those 8 years; and that SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, and others in regulatory positions fulfilled their responsibilities in a manner that supported remarkable growth without improvident risk."



The point is not to be right, but to get to right.
by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:07:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So sad, kinda sorta, to watch him in the twilight of My Life, being hustled off to Uncle Fester's garret.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 11:39:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it's a case of blackmail. truman used to have a sign on his desk, "The Buck stops here". Clinton signed off on the legislation and the lack of regulation.

So now it's all blown up, he's kinda doing a Bart Simpson, as if to say "I didn't understand what I was doing, it was those guys over there".

No Bill. It was the guy holding the pen in the Oval office. Nobody expects you to understand this stuff, but you are expected to have better advice by hiring more widely. If all the guys in the room agree with each other, your hiring policy was wrong. That's your fault Bill.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 01:12:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's instructive is that he is forced to acknowledge that failure to regulate was a MISTAKE.  This is of course a sea change from only two years ago.  Taking actual responsibility? hah, yeah right!  The best we could hope for was to have them back pedal as we are now seeing.
by paving on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 03:48:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: Head Of Allegedly Swindled Goldman Buyer ACA Is Married To Goldman's Deputy General Counsel    Clusterstock

Vanity Fair's Vicky Ward jumps on another new fun fact around the alleged Goldman fraud...

The former head of the ill-fated portfolio selection agent (and CDO buyer) ACA is married to (or at least co-habitating with) Goldman's Deputy General Counsel: Alan S. Rosenman took over ACA Capital as president and CEO in 2004 - because -- wait for it -- his predecessor Michael Satz had "personal income tax issues" -- (how murky is this story going to get you must be asking?)

According to a Business Week article dated April 3 by David Henry and Matthew Goldstein, Rosenman "immediately began to push ACA into CDO insurance, an area his predecessor, Satz, had only begun to explore." Rosenman's wife, or at least partner -- they are listed as sharing a house together for which they paid $6.1 million in 2005 in New York -- is Frances "Fran" R. Bermazohn, who is managing director and deputy general counsel at ... Goldman Sachs.

Hmmmn.

I called Mr. Rosenman who gave me the illuminating statement: "I am not offering any comment at this time."

Important?  Who knows.  Vicky thinks this makes ACA's claim that it didn't know that Paulson & Co. planned to bet against the securities in the Abacus CDO less plausible (because Rosenmann and Bermanzohn would have been whispering all the sweet nothings to each other).



As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 10:53:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FX Concepts' John Taylor Is The New Dr. Doom: "2011 Will Be Worse Than 2008"  Zero Hedge

As the market players, whether in corporate or individual form, are among the blessed, they can and are rebuilding their leverage and playing the game. It's like 2008 never happened, just a one in a thousand perfect wave, and the market participants have forgotten, just like they did in 1998 and 2003. As there is incredible liquidity available, those who can get their hands on it will use it. The authorities who saved the economy from destruction in 2008 are either busy patting themselves on the back or fighting for their own national interest. The Eurozone countries are blaming the `Anglo-Saxon' hedge funds and free market philosophy, while, in many cases, the US authorities are in the forefront of the `perfect storm' crowd - just a nip or a tuck here or there and everything will be fine. China has its own view of things and the other Asians are acting as though they were on a different planet - "what happens in Europe and North America stays there and has no impact on us." This serious reluctance to replace parochial issues with a genuine desire to restructure world finance assures us that the next crisis will be far worse than the one in 2008. Although it seemed that the world was terrified by that collapse, it is now clear that the authorities and the players were not so bothered that they changed their stripes. The cycles and very simple fundamentals are enough to predict that 2011 will be worse than 2008. The medium-term cycles tell us that there is a very high probability of a serious bout of risk aversion beginning in the next five trading days and continuing into the week of May 3. This is likely to be most apparent in Europe, but it should also impact the equity and commodity markets around the world. The stream of strong economic and corporate news, plus continued benign inflation outside of Asia should assure us of a further risk rally, starting in May and running through July and possibly into early August. This decline after the August peak should be far more serious and we believe it will be the start of a major market rout continuing into the middle of 2011, at a minimum. The deflationary recession that will accompany this market collapse, at least in the developed world, will put extreme pressure on the Eurozone and the EMU structure. The second half of this decade will witness a very different world.


As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 01:08:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece's bail-out only delays the inevitable | FT.com / Columnists / Wolfgang Munchau

The European Union finally agrees a bail-out, and the much-predicted rally of Greek bonds turns into a rout. A week later, spreads on Greek bonds had reached their highest levels since the outbreak of the crisis. The financial markets have recognised that, bail-out or no bail-out, Greece is in effect broke.

The bail-out prevents a default this year, but makes no difference whatsoever to the likelihood of a subsequent default. Just do the maths: Greece has a debt-to-gross domestic product ratio of 125 per cent. Greece needs to raise around €50bn ($68bn, £44bn) in finance for each of the next five years to roll over existing debt and pay interest. That adds up to approximately €250bn, or about 100 per cent of Greek annual GDP.

<...>

On my calculations, we have already gone beyond the point of no return, and should no longer focus on whether we can avoid default but on how best to manage it. Will it be an orderly process, or are we looking at default of the messy Argentinian kind? ...



The point is not to be right, but to get to right.
by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:01:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece needs to raise around €50bn ($68bn, £44bn) in finance for each of the next five years to roll over existing debt and pay interest. That adds up to approximately €250bn, or about 100 per cent of Greek annual GDP.

That means Greece has to raise 20% of GDP.

Hey, if you add up enough years every country owes 1000% of GDP.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:04:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does every country need to raise 19% in finance for each of the next five years to roll over existing debt and pay interest?  What is the situation for the UK, and for the US?

The point is not to be right, but to get to right.
by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:24:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That should have been:

Does every country need to raise 19% of GDP in finance for each of the next five years to roll over existing debt and pay interest?

The point is not to be right, but to get to right.

by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:36:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently the accepted way to run the public finances is to continuously roll over debt. This is what Minsky called speculative finance (borrowing to pay principal, paying interest out of revenue).

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:39:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru: Apparently the accepted way to run the public finances is to continuously roll over debt. This is what Minsky called speculative finance (borrowing to pay principal, paying interest out of revenue).

As you pointed out here, too.

Re: Upstate NY's response to your comment --

     Why not just extend the repayment terms?

     Surely, for the creditors, that's a better outcome than restructuring.

Münchau writes:

But even if the Greek government were to present a credible long-term stability plan, the risk of default would remain high. This means that some form of debt restructuring is unavoidable. Restructuring is a form of default, except that it is by agreement. It could imply a haircut - an agreed reduction in the value of the outstanding cashflows for bond holders. The Brady bonds of the late 1980s, named after Nicholas Brady, a former US Treasury secretary, worked on a similar principle. An alternative to restructuring would be a debt rescheduling, whereby short and medium-term debt is converted into long-term debt. This would push the significant debt rollover costs to well beyond the adjustment period.

One way to force the debate would be to attach super-senior status to the EU loan to Greece. I understand this is still an unresolved issue. Super-senior means this loan would be repaid before existing debt. Should Greece ever get into a liquidity squeeze, bondholders would be put in a back seat. In such a situation, they might prefer rescheduling.




The point is not to be right, but to get to right.
by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:58:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My mistake in conflating these two:

marco:

Migeru: Apparently the accepted way to run the public finances is to continuously roll over debt. This is what Minsky called speculative finance (borrowing to pay principal, paying interest out of revenue).

As you pointed out here, too.

These are not the same.

As explained in Wikipedia.

The point is not to be right, but to get to right.

by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 03:04:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which one applies to the current Greek situation?

  • for hedge finance, income flows are expected to meet financial obligations in every period, including both the principal and the interest on loans.
  • for speculative finance, a firm must roll over debt because income flows are expected to only cover interest costs. None of the principal is paid off.
  • for Ponzi finance, expected income flows will not even cover interest cost, so the firm must borrow more or sell off assets simply to service its debt. The hope is that either the market value of assets or income will rise enough to pay off interest and principal.

Financial crisis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



The point is not to be right, but to get to right.
by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 03:07:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Take Greece's 125% Debt-to-GDP. At 5% annual interest, that's under 7% of GDP in interest payments. That can be paid out of government revenue so we can assume Greece is not engaging in Ponzi finance. Not all of Greece's debt pays that interest since some of it was issued before 2007 when the yield the market demanded for its bonds was lower.

As for paying the principal, we get Munchau's 20% of GDP for debt service is we assume about 10% of Greece's bonds mature each year (13% GDP for principal plus 7% GDP for interest).

"Rolling your debt" means issuing a new batch of bonds to pay the principal on maturing bonds. That's speculative finance. It means Greece would issue maybe 15% of GDP each year in order to pay the bonds maturing that year.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 04:40:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Debt which cannot be paid will not be paid. You can call it default, you can call it restructuring, you can call it rescheduling. In the end what it means is creditors get a smaller cash flow out of the debtor, possibly for a longer time, possibly preserving the "net present value" of the cash flows.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 04:50:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you compare 20% to Greece's 125% debt-to-GDP ratio, you get an average duration of roughly (very roughly) 6 years.

So take other countries' Debt-to-GDP ratio and multiply by 15% (or divide by 6).

For instance (2008 figures):

EU average: 62% => 10% a year in debt service
Eurozone average: 69% => 11% a year in debt service
Italy: 105% => 18% a year in debt service
Belgium: 90% => 15% a year in debt service

And this is 2 years ago.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:36:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where does Münchau get the €50bn ($68bn, £44bn) figure from?  Can we look up the corresponding figure for other countries?

The point is not to be right, but to get to right.
by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:50:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com: Investors flock to Greek bond issue (January 25 2010)
Investors placed about €20bn ($28bn, £17bn) in orders for the five-year, fixed-rate bond, four times more than the government had reckoned on. However, in a sign that Greece is being made to pay for years of fiscal profligacy, the bond carried a record high interest rate spread relative to the rate for German bonds, the eurozone's benchmark.

Greece is under heavy pressure from its 15 eurozone partners to restore discipline to its public finances after it disclosed last year that it had massively understated its budget deficits, partly because of political interference with the national statistical service.

Greece needs about €53bn to fund its debt requirements this year, a task that may prove harder than raising last year's sum of more than €60bn if, as some investors suspect, global financing conditions tighten in the course of 2010.

These figures are in each country's national budgets - they should be no secret though I am not sure where we could readily find the numbers...

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 04:47:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, Munchau makes it sound like Greece is doing Ponzi finance:
Greece needs to raise around €50bn ($68bn, £44bn) in finance for each of the next five years to roll over existing debt and pay interest.
since the implication is that Greece is paying its interest out of issuing debt...

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 05:00:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru: By the way, Munchau makes it sound like Greece is doing Ponzi finance...

Well, so do Peter Boone and Simon Johnson, right?

The point is not to be right, but to get to right.

by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 05:48:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, any crisis has the potential to push a speculatively-financing unit into nonfraudulent Ponzi finance, or a Ponzi-financing unit into default.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 20th, 2010 at 01:43:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek Problems Will Drive Integration - WSJ.com
... whatever happens the process is built on an important new principle that will define the euro zone: each nation is indeed its brothers' fiscal keeper.

No matter that troubled Ireland, Portugal and Spain are expected to contribute to the bail out, or that Angela Merkel has yet to explain to her disapproving electorate why every German should cough up €100 each to enable Greeks to retire earlier than any German can hope to. A long step has been taken to move the integration project forward.

No taxation without representation is another American notion that will now come into play. European citizens will now be in effect taxed to support the Greek government, which they did not elect and in which they are not represented. <...>

Olli Rehn, EU commissioner for economic and monetary affairs will begin using his long-dormant monitoring powers, supplementing IMF oversight, and allowing Mr. Sarkozy to claim Europe is following Voltaire's advice and cultivating its own garden. We are about to learn just how much additional sovereignty each euro-zone nation is willing to surrender as Europe takes another step--a giant step--down the road to more complete economic integration.



The point is not to be right, but to get to right.
by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 03:46:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
These people are seriously obessed with taxes.

They'd rather "freely" pay larger amounts to lawyers, private insurance companies, oil companies or mercenaries than to the government... it's sick.

Of course, what's really at stake is not so much the taxes but the fact that if all basic services were provided by the private sector, plenty would be excluded and the rich would feel even more exclusive and special...

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 08:37:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the rich would be more stressed and less healthy. Isn't the world just great?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 08:45:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah - I keep on saying that we have a simple argument: "how do you know that you pay the bodyguards of your kids enough money that they won't kidnap them?"

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 10:19:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris: They'd rather "freely" pay larger amounts to lawyers, private insurance companies, oil companies or mercenaries than to the government.

No.  In this specific case, they simply would rather not pay extra taxes in order to save another country from the incompetence and/or corruption of its own government.  Has nothing to do with lawyers, private insurance companies, oil companies or mercenaries.

The point is not to be right, but to get to right.

by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 11:37:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the Germans didn't mind the Greek debt when they sold them several state-of-the art submarines...

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 12:41:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're talking 3 year loans in this case, with a yield of 5.33%.

Munchau says this is a net transfer of wealth from Athens to Germany, a kind of loan payout dynamic that is quite familiar historically.

by Upstate NY on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 12:50:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's ridiculous. Germany could extract 4% in seigniorage out of Greece. If the German government is unable to fund that without raising taxes...

Not to speak of the fact that they probably think they cannot do it without raising taxes partly because they wrote into the ECB regulations that the German government cannot borrow from the ECB. But of course, if Greece could borrow from the ECB we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Ultimately, this is all the fault of the Bundesbank's ideologues.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 20th, 2010 at 01:41:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like this one.

Bundesbank attacks Greek rescue as a threat to stability - Telegraph

The Bundesbank, headed by ultra-hawk Axel Weber, said the decision to bring in the IMF makes matters worse, arguing that the EU would impose tougher budgetary discipline.

The report mocked the IMF as the "Inflation Maximising Fund", saying the body had gone soft under Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a French socialist and Keynesian. It has shifted focus from fiscal cleansing to "growth-oriented" financial policies. "Currency reserves from the Bundesbank cannot plausibly be made available for such purposes," it said.



Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Tue Apr 20th, 2010 at 06:59:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alex Weber is the front-runner to replace Trichet next year.

Or was. I cannot imagine that the rest of the Eurozone will take kindly to him spouting this kind of nonsense.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 20th, 2010 at 07:06:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's unfortunately hard to see Germany accepting anyone else...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 20th, 2010 at 07:30:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then there will be an impasse.

As with other high-profile European appointments, if there is disagreement an outsider gets the job.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 20th, 2010 at 07:34:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is the only way out.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 20th, 2010 at 07:37:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Axel Weber has a reputation as an inflation fighter. If Germany can't collectively muster enough neurons to realise Europe's problem right now is deflation...

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 20th, 2010 at 07:44:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, not Alex but Axel.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 20th, 2010 at 08:10:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sorry, I was writing about the WSJ writer who spouted that article and wrote about "no taxation without representation" and other similar inanities.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 20th, 2010 at 11:29:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct me if I'm wrong, but...

...Germany's 67 retirement age is unmatched in any other country. Germany is also the biggest net contributor to EU funds. In other words, Germans already work longer than other Europeans AND they contribute more to EU funds.

Greece raised its retirement age to 65 (although women, for some reason,--bizarrely--can retire earlier--don't ask me), and that number seems largely in keeping with other European countries, no?

by Upstate NY on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 12:48:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the actual retirement age in Germany is 61.5 (official: 67)
the  actual retirement age in France is 61.5 (official: 60)

So, again: bah.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 20th, 2010 at 11:30:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek Yield Spread Widens to Record as Talks With ECB, IMF Delayed by Ash  - Bloomberg.com
The yield on the Greek two-year note climbed 59 basis points to 7.49 percent at 10:57 a.m. in London. The 4.3 percent security due March 2012 slid 0.97, or 9.75 euros per 1,000 euros face amount, to 94.50. The 10-year bond rose 29 basis points to 7.74 percent, driving the difference in yield, or spread, between the security and bunds 30 basis points wider to 460 basis points, the most since October 1998. The Portuguese-German yield spread jumped 8 basis points to 147 basis points and the Irish-German spread rose 6 basis points to 153 basis points.

Credit-default swaps tied to Greece's government bonds rose 17 basis points to a record 455, according to CMA DataVision prices.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 08:52:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Goldman May Face U.K., German Inquiries After Suit - Bloomberg.com
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. faces a regulatory probe in Britain and scrutiny from the German government after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued the firm for fraud tied to collateralized debt obligations.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown called yesterday for the Financial Services Authority to start an inquiry, saying he was "shocked" at the "moral bankruptcy" indicated in the suit. Germany's financial regulator, Bafin, asked the SEC for details on the suit, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

... The European Union is also probing Goldman's role in arranging swaps for Greece that may have masked the country's budget deficit.
...
Kim Soo Mi, a spokeswoman for South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service, said the regulator "is monitoring market developments overseas as well as in South Korea, and we plan to review the status of South Korean financial institutions' exposure to that CDO product of Goldman Sachs."



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:41:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Companies / Banks - Brown in attack on Goldman Sachs
British premier Gordon Brown attacked the "moral bankruptcy" of Goldman Sachs on Sunday after the US Securities and Exchange Commission accused the world's most famous bank of fraud.

His comments came as it emerged that Goldman and the SEC had not discussed a settlement prior to the announcement of charges last week, and as documents emerged revealing the strained relationship between the bank and the regulator during the 20-month probe.

In a submission to the SEC in September 2009, Goldman said the regulator's case had "fatal deficiencies" and no basis "in law ... or common sense".

The SEC declined to comment.

Mr Brown, who is campaigning for re-election, demanded that the UK's Financial Services Authority launch its own investigation. "The banks are still an issue. They are a risk to the economy," he said.
...
In February, the Financial Times revealed that the SEC last year sent subpoenas to banks including Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman, Morgan Stanley and UBS, seeking information about the marketing of CDOs.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:50:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Europe - Calls for action in Germany and Britain
Royal Bank of Scotland, the British bank 70 per cent owned by the state, paid $841m for assets affected by the Goldman allegations when it bought ABN Amro. The government does not exert direct managerial control at RBS but Mr Brown said: "The banks themselves will be considering legal action."

Berlin said it would consider legal steps following the US action. IKB, a German bank that was one of the first casualties of the global crisis in the summer of 2007, invested about $150m in the collateralised debt obligation product at the centre of the case. IKB was later bailed out.
...
In Britain, the Liberal Democrats led calls for a standalone UK inquiry. "So many of the alleged victims will be British institutions and pension funds, the FSA must take it as seriously as the SEC," Lord Oakeshott, the Lib Dem Treasury spokesman, said. The Conservatives backed calls for the FSA to investigate, while accusing Mr Brown of being slow to act on bank regulation. "These are very serious allegations [against Goldman] that should be thoroughly investigated," Mark Hoban, shadow financial secretary, said.
...



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 03:00:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT:
Royal Bank of Scotland, the British bank 70 per cent owned by the state, paid $841m for assets affected by the Goldman allegations when it bought ABN Amro.

hmm. That sentence implies RBS has still invested $841M in the Abacus CDO; RBS (or the UK government) retains a (arms length) beneficial interest in SEC litigation.

Bloomberg:

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc paid $841 million to Goldman Sachs to unwind its position [cost of GS repurchase --leaving one to wonder how much ABN paid] in Abacus, which it inherited when it bought parts of ABN Amro in 2007, according to the SEC.

This report of RBS exposure [none] makes sense, since auditors at RBS will have recognized --after the ABN merger-- a lot of the CDO's toxic "collateral" originated by RBS's craptastic, transnational, subprime mortgage bonanza over the previous five years. While ABN wankers would have not.

also Lone Star Funds purchased IKB Sep 2008. Perhaps Kwf intends to file a claim on SEC recovered amounts, through its FRB schmuck policy.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 12:19:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / US & Canada - Regulator's move risks opening lawsuit floodgates
The Securities and Exchange Commission's charges of fraud against Goldman Sachs could prompt a fresh wave of lawsuits by banks, insurance companies and investors that lost hundreds of billions of dollars on risky debts backed by subprime mortgages.

Numerous cases have already been filed related to losses on collateralised debt obligations - the debt instruments at the centre of the SEC's case against Goldman Sachs - as well as other investments related to risky US subprime mortgages.

The detailed allegations outlined by the SEC are likely to spur more lawsuits, and could also give existing cases a boost.
...
However, shares in some sectors rose, such as those insurance companies that have come close to collapse because they insured losses on such CDOs.

Bond insurers Ambac and MBIA and insurer AIG were the biggest providers of such insurance, offered in the form of credit default swaps - derivatives that pay out on default - on the CDOs. AIG's exposure to such losses required the US government to bail out the insurer and both Ambac and MBIA have filed ­lawsuits relating to losses on mortgage-backed securities.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 03:07:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"My administration," the president added, "is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."

Read more...

"My administration," the president added, "is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."

Read more...

"My administration," the president added, "is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."

Read more...

"My administration," the president added, "is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."

Read more...

"My administration," the president added, "is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."

Read more...



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 12:36:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He evidently failed. Time to sharpen pitchforks nad light torches. Where's Twank ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 01:15:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has he failed? oh I don't know. It's only April, time still to declare taxpayer "profits" from penalties forthcoming of civil litigation and Restoration of toothsome taxpayer protections by passage of the finance reform bill. Those outcomes portend, to some, an midterm Democratic Party win-win by November.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 01:43:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looters in Loafers - Paul Krugman - NYTimes.com
Last October, I saw a cartoon by Mike Peters in which a teacher asks a student to create a sentence that uses the verb "sacks," as in looting and pillaging. The student replies, "Goldman Sachs."
...
For the fact is that much of the financial industry has become a racket -- a game in which a handful of people are lavishly paid to mislead and exploit consumers and investors. And if we don't lower the boom on these practices, the racket will just go on.


"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 04:26:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Top Goldman Leaders Said to Have Overseen Mortgage Unit - NYTimes.com
According to these people, executives up to and including Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chairman and chief executive, took an active role in overseeing the mortgage unit as the tremors in the housing market began to reverberate through the nation's economy. It was Goldman's top leadership, these people say, that finally ended the dispute on the mortgage desk by siding with those who, like Mr. Tourre and Mr. Egol, believed home prices would decline.
...
By early 2007, Goldman's mortgage unit had become a hive of intense activity. By then, the business had captured the attention of senior management. In addition to Mr. Blankfein, Gary D. Cohn, Goldman's president, and David A. Viniar, the chief financial officer, visited the mortgage unit frequently, often for hours at a time.
...
Goldman's top ranks changed its stance on housing in December 2006. In a meeting in a windowless conference room on the executive floor, Mr. Viniar, the chief financial officer, and Mr. Cohn, the president, gathered about 10 executives for a briefing. Mr. Sparks, the head of the mortgage unit, walked them through the numbers. The group was unanimous: Goldman had to reduce its exposure to the increasingly troubled mortgage market.

A few months later, in February 2007, senior executives began turning up on the trading floor. The message, one former employee said, was clear: management was watching. "They basically said, `What does this department do? Tell us everything about mortgages,' " this person said.

The executives told Mr. Sparks to tell his traders to sell Goldman's positive bets on housing. The traders' short positions -- that is, negative bets, mostly used to hedge other investments -- were placed in a central trading account.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 05:45:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Goldman Sachs Stock, Board Under Pressure Amid Probe (Update1) - Bloomberg.com
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s stock may drop and the board could come under pressure to change managers after European politicians followed a U.S. fraud suit with their own plans to scrutinize the firm, investors said.
...
The SEC case against Goldman Sachs was assigned to U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones in New York who presided over the case of former WorldCom Inc. CEO Bernard Ebbers. Ebbers, who was convicted in 2005 of overseeing one of the biggest frauds in U.S. history, is serving a 25-year prison term.


"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 06:59:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / In depth - London drives rise in pay inequality
Bankers' bonuses and pay at the top end of the financial services industry have driven Britain's rising inequ ality over the past decade, new research from the London School of Economics shows.

City bankers have experienced near-unprecedented income growth over the past decade, with the highest-paid workers taking home nearly a third of the UK's total wage bill, according to the analysis from the Centre for Economic Performance at the LSE.

The study reveals that the self-styled "masters of the universe" were the big winners in the pay stakes under Labour, with the top 10 per cent of workers seeing their share of wages rise from 27 per cent to 30 per cent between 1998 and 2008.

Big bonuses paid to bankers and traders accounted for most of those gains, with financial services professionals taking home an extra £12bn per year by the end of the decade, according to the study.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 03:50:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]

with the top 10 per cent of workers seeing their share of wages rise from 27 per cent to 30 per cent between 1998 and 2008.

That's surprisingly small rise. These numbers have got to be wrong.

In France, which has less finance than the City, the top 1% saw its share increase from 5.5% to 6.8% over almost the same period:


le 99e centile de la distribution des salaires des temps complets du secteur privé a crû nettement plus rapidement que le salaire médian au cours de la décennie passée (+ 1,35 % par an de 1996 à 2007 contre + 0,6 %), évolution qui s'est aussi traduite par une croissance de la part de la masse salariale qui leur est dévolue et qui est passée de 5,5 % à 6,8 %.
(INSEE)


Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 08:41:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / UK / Politics & policy - Investors fear effects of hung UK parliament

A clear election victory by either Labour or the Conservatives is needed to sustain the appetite for gilts among the world's biggest investors, according to a Financial Times survey that highlights market concerns about the increasingly tight opinion polls.

Ten leading investment funds, with in total more than $7,000bn (£4,570bn) of assets under management, all told the FT that a hung Parliament, potentially delaying action to tackle the UK's £167bn deficit, was the biggest threat to the market.

Nine out of the 10 funds surveyed said they were equally happy to see a new Labour or Conservative government, provided it had a clear majority. This appears to contradict claims by George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, that the markets want a Tory victory and international investors "would rush for the exits" if Gordon Brown was re-elected.



Vencit omnia veritas.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 05:45:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 11:38:47 AM EST
Fleeing Drug Violence, Mexicans Pour Into U.S. - NYTimes.com

FORT HANCOCK, Tex. -- The giant rusty fence of metal bars along the border here, built in recent years to keep illegal immigrants from crossing into the United States, has a new nickname among local residents: Jurassic Park Gate, a nod to the barrier in a 1993 movie that kept dangerous dinosaurs at bay in a theme park.

On the other side, a brutal war between drug gangs has forced dozens of fearful families from the Mexican town of El Porvenir to come to the border seeking political asylum, and scores of other Mexicans have used special visas known as border-crossing cards to flee into the United States. They say drug gangs have laid waste to their town, burning down houses and killing people in the street.

Americans are taking in their Mexican relatives, and the local schools have swelled with traumatized children, many of whom have witnessed gangland violence, school officials say.

"It's very hard over there," said Vicente Burciaga, 23, who fled El Porvenir a month ago with his wife, Mayra, and their infant son after gang members burned down five homes in their neighborhood and killed a neighbor. "They are killing people over there who have nothing to do with drug trafficking," he said. "They kill you just for having seen what they are doing."

The story of Fort Hancock, 57 miles southeast of El Paso on the Rio Grande, is echoed along the Texas border with Mexico, from Brownsville to El Paso. As the violence among drug gangs continues to spiral out of control in Mexico, more Mexican citizens are seeking refuge in the United States.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 12:27:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Reuters) - Caribbean leaders told U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Friday that Mexico's U.S.-backed crackdown on drugs was pushing cartels to step up smuggling through their island nations.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 08:31:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gates Says U.S. Lacks a Policy to Thwart Iran - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has warned in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran's steady progress toward nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document.

Several officials said the highly classified analysis, written in January to President Obama's national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, came in the midst of an intensifying effort inside the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence agencies to develop new options for Mr. Obama. They include a set of military alternatives, still under development, to be considered should diplomacy and sanctions fail to force Iran to change course.

Officials familiar with the memo's contents would describe only portions dealing with strategy and policy, and not sections that apparently dealt with secret operations against Iran, or how to deal with Persian Gulf allies.

One senior official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the memo, described the document as "a wake-up call." But White House officials dispute that view, insisting that for 15 months they had been conducting detailed planning for many possible outcomes regarding Iran's nuclear program.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 01:13:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Informed Comment | Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion

David Sanger of the New York Times gets the scoop- that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates sent the White House a memo last January observing that the US has no real developed policy for dealing with Iran should Tehran achieve `nuclear latency' (where a country has the ability to construct a nuclear weapon but stops short of doing so, in order to avoid international sanctions and disapproval.

Ironically, the take-away from this article is that Gates concurs with those analysts (such as Juan Cole) that Iran does not intend actually to build a bomb, but wants the technical know-how to do so as a way of deterring foreign invasions and attacks.

Gates also worries about how we would know it if Iran suddenly decided to move from latency to actually constructing a warhead. Actually, I think that is not so hard to know. They can't make a weapon at Natanz or Fardo as long as they are being inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency. So one sign would be (as with North Korea) that they kick out the inspectors and decline further international scrutiny. If they tried to develop a weapons program elsewhere, it would need a lot of water and electricity and materiel, which should show up on satellite or other surveillance instruments. Moreover, the US program to entice defectors from among Iran's nuclear scientists appears to be having some success, and these insiders should be able to clarify things.

Anyway, short of a land invasion and forcible regime change, I doubt there is anything practical the US can do about Iran's nuclear enrichment program. Economic sanctions will not stop it, and even a bombing raid would only set it back. As long as Tehran does not in fact go for broke in trying to get a bomb, moreover, it is mysterious to me why Washington is consumed with this issue.

Meanwhile, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, gave a speech on Saturday in which he lambasted the United States for having been the only nation to deploy a nuclear weapon, and that against hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, something he said Islamic law would have forbidden. [The full text in USG translation is below- scroll down). He also challenged the US credentials to serve as a policeman against proliferation, given US complicity in or complaisance toward the Israeli development of a nuclear arsenal.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 01:14:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
David Sanger
As long as Tehran does not in fact go for broke in trying to get a bomb, moreover, it is mysterious to me why Washington is consumed with this issue.

I am sure he is most concerned about how mysteriously his paycheck might stop were he to understand why Washington is consumed by this issue.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 10:14:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran was a jewel of the empire that threw us off with impunity and had the audacity to invent a new kind of government.  Our job is to keep them down.

I honestly believe that what is really feared is a fully energy-independent Iran.  Iran isn't building nuclear reactors for just its own sake, after all.  The US is simply fighting one of the few levers of control they have.

I, for one, enjoy the spectacle.  The best approach against nuclear weapons, as the Ayatollah even agrees, is to stop the hypocrisy.  The Russia/US agreement is the kind of thing that will actually discourage nuclear weapons from spreading.  Nobody wants to waste a billion dollars building useless weapons, they do so because they fear they have to.  

by paving on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 04:00:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who's behind the Gates memo leak?

To say that the US lacks a strategy here, is itself a statement so vague as to be meaningless. (...) There is no indication in this account that the New York Times reporters saw the memo (...), so as is so often the case, it's likely that the most significant detail in this story is the one that will not be revealed: the identity of the senior official who is the primary source of the narrative.  Was it Dennis Ross? He'd certainly fit the profile of someone in the administration who probably feels like it's time to change the subject and shift attention away from Israel and back to Iran.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 08:54:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
3 Italian aid workers freed in Afghanistan | AP via Yahoo

KABUL - Afghan authorities released on Sunday three Italian medical workers who had been detained for a week, clearing them of allegations they were part of a Taliban plot to kill a provincial governor, Italian and Afghan officials said.

The Afghan intelligence service said the three Italian as well as five Afghan employees of the Italian aid group Emergency were freed because they were no longer believed to be part of the plot. A sixth Afghan employee remained in custody.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 03:37:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: Thai army moves into Bangkok business district
The Thai army has moved hundreds of soldiers into the business district of Bangkok to prevent anti-government protesters entering the area.

The protest by the "red-shirts", now in their fifth week, are currently focused in a shopping district nearby.

They are trying to force Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to step down and call an election.

The red-shirts had said they might move to Bangkok's financial district but later said they would not do so.

Government figures said the intent was not to attack the protesters, but simply to block any attempt they might make to enter the business district.

by IdiotSavant on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 12:17:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The source actually uses the word "non-employment", perhaps to suggest that some is voluntary, or perhaps because of translation problems.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:22:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
from reading around I'd got the impression that the UOs were increasingly opting out; indulging in "religious" studies and militia work.

they are exempt from military service and I guess they've just gone the whole 9 yards of opting out entirely whilst still expecting the rest of the population to support their barbarity militarily.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 03:00:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 11:39:10 AM EST
Dry regions becoming drier: Ocean salinities show an intensified water cycle

ScienceDaily (Apr. 18, 2010) -- The stronger water cycle means arid regions have become drier and high rainfall regions wetter as atmospheric temperature increases.

The study, co-authored by CSIRO scientists Paul Durack and Dr Susan Wijffels, shows the surface ocean beneath rainfall-dominated regions has freshened, whereas ocean regions dominated by evaporation are saltier. The paper also confirms that surface warming of the world's oceans over the past 50 years has penetrated into the oceans' interior changing deep-ocean salinity patterns.

"This is further confirmation from the global ocean that the Earth's water cycle has accelerated," says Mr Durack -- a PhD student at the joint CSIRO/University of Tasmania, Quantitative Marine Science program.

[...]

The study finds a clear link between salinity changes at the surface driven by ocean warming and changes in the ocean subsurface which follow the trajectories along which surface water travels into the ocean interior.

The ocean's average surface temperature has risen around 0.4ºC since 1950. As the near surface atmosphere warms it can evaporate more water from the surface ocean and move it to new regions to release it as rain and snow. Salinity patterns reflect the contrasts between ocean regions where the oceans lose water to the atmosphere and the others where it is re-deposited on the surface as salt-free rainwater.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 12:24:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Warnings about Lejeune's tainted water unheeded for years | McClatchy

WASHINGTON -- For 30 years, thousands of Marines and their family members at Camp Lejeune, N.C., drank, cooked with and bathed in water that was laced with dangerous chemicals, but when outside contractors began raising questions about the toxic water, documents show, base officials rebuffed them and ignored the warnings or ordered more tests.

The worst-offending wells finally were shut down in November 1984, more than four years after the first warnings. In that time, more than 2,500 babies may have been carried in utero on the base or born at Camp Lejeune hospital, according to estimates by federal scientists.

Strung together, thousands of pages of documents tell the story of how the contamination was allowed to continue. They show that Camp Lejeune officials had been told consistently that something very foul flowed through the base's pipes.

The Marines say they closed the wells within days of learning details about the contamination.

"The kind part of me wants to say (the Marines) took a while to figure it out," Mike Hargett, an outside contractor who raised questions about the toxic water in 1982 and 1983, said in an interview with McClatchy. "The unkind part says somebody was sloppy and negligent," said Hargett, who now lives in Rutherfordton, N.C., about an hour west of Charlotte.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 12:33:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just like the UK armed forces, they're about sending people into places where they might die or be horribly mutilated. A bit of added debilitation that only shows up after they've been demobilised isn't their concern.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 01:20:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How Senator Vitter Battled the EPA Over Formaldehyde's Link to Cancer: Scientific American
When Sen. David Vitter persuaded the EPA to agree to yet another review of its long-delayed assessment of the health risks of formaldehyde, he was praised by companies that use or manufacture a chemical found in everything from plywood to carpet.

As long as the studies continue, the EPA will still list formaldehyde as a "probable" rather than a "known" carcinogen, even though three major scientific reviews now link it to leukemia and have strengthened its ties to other forms of cancer. The chemical industry is fighting to avoid that designation, because it could lead to tighter regulations and require costly pollution controls.

"Delay means money. The longer they can delay labeling something a known carcinogen, the more money they can make," said James Huff, associate director for chemical carcinogenesis at the National Institute for Environmental Health in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The EPA's chemical risk assessments are crucial to protecting the public's health because they are the government's most comprehensive analysis of the dangers the chemicals present and are used as the scientific foundation for state and federal regulations. But it usually takes years or even decades to get an assessment done, or to revise one that is outdated. Often the industry spends millions on lobbying and on scientific studies that counter the government's conclusions.

The EPA has been trying since 1998 to update the formaldehyde assessment, which was first written in 1989. But the agency's efforts have repeatedly been stalled by the industry and Congress.


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 12:57:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Buying Back their Infrastructure: Small Towns Take On the Energy Giants - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

After selling off their electricity and gas networks to large energy corporations in the early 1990s, small towns in Germany are now banding together to buy back their energy infrastructure. Their bid to get into the energy market may provide opportunities to make money, but it also involves taking on the energy giants at their own game.

The small German towns of Olfen, Ascheberg, Havixbeck, Billerbeck, Nordkirchen, Senden, Rosendahl and Lüdinghausen rarely make it into the headlines. That will soon change, however. The eight towns, located close to the city of Münster in western Germany, want to wrest away control of the electricity power supply in their region from German energy giant RWE.

Last summer, the towns set up a joint publicly owned electric utility company. In 2013, the group, together with a partner, wants to take over the local power grid from RWE. It is a struggle that pits the municipalities, with their combined population of 115,000, against the mighty RWE, which employs 65,000 people.

That local example reflects a nationwide trend. Ever since a group of public utility companies purchased the private utility Thüga from the Düsseldorf-based energy giant E.on for €2.9 billion ($4 billion) last fall, municipalities all over Germany have wanted to get into the energy business. "Every local authority which wants to act responsibly is looking into this issue at the moment," says Christian Marthol, a lawyer and energy expert with the Nuremberg-based law firm Rödl & Partner.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 01:17:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Star is hot property with a cool £2m deal that opens up a world of opportunities - Herald Scotland | Business | Corporate & SME

Star Refrigeration, the Glasgow-based specialist supplier of cooling and heating systems, has completed a £2 million deal to supply a cutting-edge heating system to a ­Norwegian town - which promises to save 15% of the hourly cost of energy bills.

The project will extract heat from the harbour at Drammen in ­southern Norway before boosting it via a giant pump and ­sending it around the town of 62,000 inhabitants, to heat houses and public amenities.

The system - developed in partnership with Norwegian pumps ­specialist Norsk Kulde, US giant ­Emerson Climate Technologies and a local company called Drammen ­Fjernvarme - is the first major international order for Star, the bulk of whose business is in cooling systems for food production and distribution in the UK.

According to Star's innovation ­director, David Pearson, it marks the start of a major export drive, which aims to double the firm's turnover within five years.

Installing pumps to extract heat from water or air is increasingly ­popular on the Continent, largely because the heat delivered far exceeds the energy consumed, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and the need for additional renewable energy sources. The ­European Commission has designated such pumps a renewable technology for heating and cooling.



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 04:10:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What, you mean this hasn't been done ?? It's just like ground source heating, I wondered about using Gulf stream water last year, I want royalties dammit.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 01:21:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you're the one responsible for diverting the Gulf stream and causing the worst winter eva!  All to heat your lair on a volcano off greenland...
by njh on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 08:13:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Global Economy - Global warming graph attacked by study

... Prof Hand said his criticisms should not be seen as invalidating climate science. He pointed out that although the hockey stick graph - which dates from a study led by US climate scientist Michael Mann in 1998 - exaggerates some effects, the underlying data show a clear warming signal.

He accused sceptics of "identifying a few particular issues and blowing them up" to distort the true picture. The handful of errors found so far, including the exaggerated hockey stick graph and a mistaken claim by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035, were "isolated incidents", he said. "If you look at any area of science, you would be able to find odd examples like this. It doesn't detract from the vast bulk of the conclusions," he said. ...



The point is not to be right, but to get to right.
by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 02:12:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 11:39:35 AM EST
Konnopke's World: Berlin's Most Famous Sausage Stand Fights Changing Times and Tastes - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood has radically changed since the Wall came down. One thing that hasn't changed, though, is Konnopke's. Having survived a world war and a dictatorship, the 80-year-old sausage stand now has new challenges to face.

Waltraud Ziervogel sits next to the cash register at Konnopke's snack bar on an aluminum chair she has made more comfortable with faded cushions. "As far as I'm concerned," she says, "they can handcuff me and carry away, but I'm not leaving this spot."

Cars drive by on the two-lane street in front of the sausage stand and drive a little faster on the other side, where there are three lanes. The subway rattles loudly by on green tracks towering over the stand.

"That's normal," says Ziervogel, the daughter of Max Konnopke, who started selling sausages there 80 years ago.

But what isn't normal is that there are two backhoes digging into the pavement 10 meters (33 feet) from her stand. The backhoes hiss and roar as they work on part of an €8.5 million ($11.4 million) project to renovate a busy intersection on Schönhauser Allee. The intersection lies in the city's trendy and rapidly gentrifying Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood, in what was once East Berlin.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 01:18:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Quiet Death of a Nazi: Martin Sandberger's Last, and Only, Interview - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International


04/15/2010   The Quiet Death of a Nazi Martin Sandberger's Last, and Only, Interview

By Walter Mayr
Photo Gallery: 5 Photos

He was a Nazi officer on the front lines of the Holocaust, sentenced to death at Nuremberg -- yet with the help of powerful friends, he walked free. For decades, Martin Sandberger lived in Germany undisturbed. Shortly before his death, SPIEGEL found him in a retirement home. A final meeting with a criminal.

He must have been convinced that no wanted to find him anymore. His name, Dr. Martin Sandberger, was printed for all to see on the mailbox next to the gray door of his apartment in a Stuttgart retirement home, until he died on March 30, 2010.

For years, amateur historians on the Web noted that a man named Martin Sandberg, born August 17, 1911, was the "highest ranking member of the SS known to be alive." But Sandberger's whereabouts were unknown to the public, until SPIEGEL tracked him down just before his death.

This is the chronology of a search in the winter of 2009/2010, and of an encounter with the last major war criminal to have worked in the SS's murdering machinery.

Hiding in Plain Sight

In May 1945, when the Third Reich was in ruins, Sandberger was arrested. He was a colonel and model pupil of SS leader Heinrich Himmler; a US military court subsequently convicted him of mass murder and sentenced him to death by hanging. In 1951, his sentence was reduced to life in prison, but he was released seven years later. After that, he disappeared.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 01:22:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Quiet Death of a Nazi: Martin Sandberger's Last, and Only, Interview - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

"What, he's still alive?" says a stunned prosecutor in Stuttgart, after typing the search term "Sandberger" into her computer and coming up with an impressive list of reference numbers for closed investigations and witness summons in murder cases. Sandberger's address was always known to the authorities. It's just that no one had looked for him in almost 40 years.

And when new evidence came available after the fall of the Iron Curtain, no one tried to reopen any case against Sandberger.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 01:22:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Daily Kos: My 21-Year-Old Daughter Counter-Protests a Tea Party Rally (with UPDATE)
I crashed the Tea Party rally an hour late because I was feeling sick. Fortunately, Annie came to pick me up while I was making signs. Mine said, "Tea Party? More like WHITE WHINE!", and hers said, "You'll thank me for healthcare later!" She also wore a shirt that said, "Two moms are better than none!"

heh

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 10:32:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 11:39:52 AM EST
From Dung to Coffee Brew With No Aftertaste - NYTimes.com

SAGADA, the Philippines -- Goad Sibayan went prospecting recently in the remote Philippine highlands here known as the Cordillera. He clambered up and then down a narrow, rocky footpath that snaked around some hills, paying no heed to coffins that, in keeping with a local funeral tradition, hung very conspicuously from the surrounding sheer cliffs. The New York Times

More than 30 families are involved in the civet coffee business in Liwa.

Reaching a valley where coffee trees were growing abundantly, he scanned the undergrowth where he knew the animals would relax after picking the most delicious coffee cherries with their claws and feasting on them with their fangs. His eyes settled on a light, brownish clump atop a rock. He held it in his right palm and, gently slipping it into a little black pouch, whispered:

"Gold!"

Not quite. But Mr. Sibayan's prize was the equivalent in the world of rarefied coffees: dung containing the world's most expensive coffee beans.

Costing hundreds of dollars a pound, these beans are found in the droppings of the civet, a nocturnal, furry, long-tailed catlike animal that prowls Southeast Asia's coffee-growing lands for the tastiest, ripest coffee cherries. The civet eventually excretes the hard, indigestible innards of the fruit -- essentially, incipient coffee beans -- though only after they have been fermented in the animal's stomach acids and enzymes to produce a brew described as smooth, chocolaty and devoid of any bitter aftertaste.

As connoisseurs in the United States, Europe and East Asia have discovered civet coffee in recent years, growing demand is fueling a gold rush in the Philippines and Indonesia, the countries with the largest civet populations. Harvesters are scouring forest floors in the Philippines, where civet coffee has emerged as a new business. In Indonesia, where the coffee has a long history, enterprising individuals are capturing civets and setting up minifarms, often in their backyards.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 12:28:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, just domesticate them (not hard apparently) and feed them the beans. then you don't have to go looking.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 01:24:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany vs. Ghana: The Boateng Brothers' World Cup Duel - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Half-brothers Jerome and Kevin-Prince Boateng grew up in Berlin as the sons of an African immigrant. They could end up playing on opposite sides at the World Cup in a few weeks, with one playing for Germany and the other for Ghana.

Jerome Boateng has four tattoos. One of them, on his right forearm, consists of the word "Agyenim" and runs all the way from just above his wrist to his elbow. It is his middle name and means "the Great One" in Ashanti-Twi, the language of his father, who comes from Ghana. The 21-year old, whose mother is from Berlin, is a defender for the German national soccer team.

Jerome has never been to Ghana, and yet he somehow feels connected to the African country, though he can't quite explain why. He likes to listen to music from Ghana, because it sounds cheerful, and he has a few Ghanaian friends. "But it was clear to me early on that I only wanted to play for Germany."

Kevin-Prince Boateng has 13 tattoos. One of them, on his right upper arm, depicts a skull and four aces, with the words "The World Is Yours" in English.

Kevin-Prince is Jerome's half-brother. They have the same father. He too is a professional football player, but he prefers music by German rapper Bushido, whose songs are about whores and anal sex. His mother's name is Christine, and through her he is related to legendary football player Helmut Rahn. Known as "The Boss," Kevin-Prince's great-uncle scored the winning goal for Germany in the final of the 1954 World Cup.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 01:19:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Saviour of Santo Stefano': One man's crusade to save southern Italy's ancient villages - Europe, World - The Independent
Meet Daniele Kihlgren, maverick millionaire. He's an unlikely folk hero, but his scheme to restore and preserve southern Italy's ancient villages has seen him hailed as 'the saviour of Santo Stefano'. And he won't let even an earthquake get in the way of his vision...

Daniele Kihlgren came around the Gran Sasso mountain on his motorbike one day 11 years ago and saw Santo Stefano di Sessanio shining in the distance, and it was, he says, "una folgorazione" - "an electric shock". High stone walls shoot up from the mountain's flank, as a crenellated tower floats above the terracotta roofs. Inside, narrow lanes corkscrew towards the summit, here and there giving on to small piazzas and sunlit courtyards. It is a city in miniature: anyone who has seen the Tuscan or Umbrian hill towns knows the form. But in the case of Santo Stefano, it sat in perfect harmony with the woods and rolling foothills of Gran Sasso. Italy's rampant cement industry had got nowhere near: the place was pristine - and practically abandoned, with a population of about 100.

Kihlgren, who is a wealthy man, fell in love with Santo Stefano and bought his first house there and then. Soon, he owned eight more, and a quarter of the town, the owners long since lost to New Jersey or Toronto, was in his pocket.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 02:13:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Energy Bankers à Paris mandated as financial advisor for offshore project "Gode Wind II"

19 April 2010 - PNE WIND AG has taken a further step in the financing of their offshore wind farm project "Gode Wind II" by mandating Energy Bankers à Paris (EBAP) as financial advisor. The EBAP team, led by Jérôme Guillet, will assist PNE WING AG to procure non recourse debt financing for the project from commercial banks and public financial institutions.

The offshore wind farm "Gode Wind II" was approved by the Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH, Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency) in 2009. Situated in the North Sea at about 33 kilometers off Norderney island, this project will allow for the construction of up to 80 offshore wind turbines. PNE WIND AG is working together with wind turbine manufacturer Vestas for the technical development of "Gode Wind II". The beginning of realization of the offshore wind farm "Gode Wind II" is planned for 2011/2012. "Gode Wind II" is directly adjacent to the offshore wind farm project "Gode Wind I," which has also already received its BSH approval and is also fully owned by PNE WIND AG. In both projects together, 160 offshore wind turbines can be installed with a rated power of up to 800 MW.

Company profiles

Energy Bankers à Paris was founded in early 2010 by Jérôme Guillet and three other former project finance bankers with experience in structuring and arranging large scale non recourse financings for the renewable energy sector. Its principals were direct participants, as lead arrangers, in all the offshore wind farm projects to have been financed on a non-recourse basis to this date, and have been involved with several offshore wind projects in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and Belgium on a advisory basis. Together, they have been directly and personally instrumental to the successful financing of more than 3,000 MW of renewable energy projects. EBAP is currently advising several European offshore wind projects on their debt-financing plans.

PNE WIND AG, with its headquarters in Cuxhaven, develops and implements wind farm projects on land (onshore) and at high sea (offshore). Its core competence is the development, planning, implementation and financing of wind farms and their operation or sale including subsequent service. So far, the company has successfully completed 93 wind farms with 536 wind energy systems and a total nominal output of 772 MW.

Alongside its business activities in the established German home market, PNE WIND AG is also increasingly investing in dynamic growth markets and has subsidiaries and representations via joint ventures in Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, the UK, Ireland, Romania, USA and Canada. Wind farm projects with a nominal output of up to 1,400 MW are currently being processed in these countries and are to be implemented in the medium term. In Germany (onshore), wind farm projects with a nominal output of more than 300 MW are currently being processed.

Furthermore, PNE WIND AG develops offshore wind farm projects, three of which have already been approved in German waters. Entering promising foreign markets is also being examined for the offshore area.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 08:43:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bravo !

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 08:57:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nice one.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 01:26:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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