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Monthly Archives: December 2012

$TM Expects 8.7 Units Output in 2013


“TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp expects its global production under the Toyota and Lexusbrands to hit 8.7 million vehicles in 2013, nearly the same as the 8.74 million vehicles it expects to have produced in 2012, the Japanese automaker said on Wednesday.

Global sales of Toyota and Lexus brands are expected to be at 8.9 million vehicles in 2013, up 2.5 percent from the sales expected this year.

Group-wide, Toyota expects to produce 9.94 million vehicles and sell 9.91 million vehicles in 2013. The group-wide forecasts include figures at Daihatsu Motor Co and Hino Motors Ltd .

For 2012, Toyota expects its group-wide production to be 9.92 million vehicles globally, up 26 percent from a year ago, as it recovers from a huge earthquake in Japan and Thai floods that took place in 2011.

It sees its group-wide global sales for 2012 to be 9.7 million vehicles, up 22 percent.

(Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Matt Driskill)”

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Spreads Between U.S. Treasuries and Bunds Widen the Most This Year

“The extra yield 10-year Treasuries offer over same-maturity German bunds approached the most in eight months on speculation the U.S. economy will grow faster than Europe’s in 2013.

The difference between the two rates was 39 basis points. The spread widened to 41 basis points on Dec. 18, which was the most since April. U.S. house prices in 20 cities probably rose 4 percent in the 12 months ended Oct. 31, the best performance since June 2010, based on a Bloomberg News survey of economists before the S&P/Case-Shiller report at 9 a.m. in New York today.

“U.S. economic growth is much faster than European growth,” said Kazuaki Oh’e, a debt salesman in Tokyo at CIBC World Markets Japan Inc., a unit of Canada’s fifth-largest lender. “The U.S. 10-year yield may go a bit higher. The rise in German yields will lag behind the U.S.”

Benchmark U.S. 10-year yields were little changed at 1.77 percent as of the 3 p.m. close inTokyo, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader prices. The price of the 1.625 percent security due in November 2022 was 98 22/32. The rate has climbed from the record low of 1.38 percent set in July. It compares with the average of 3.66 percent for the past decade.

Trading in Treasuries closed in Japan and will stay shut in the U.K. for Boxing Day, according to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. It will open as usual in New York today after being shut yesterday around the world for Christmas, according to the website.

Germany’s 10-year note yielded 1.38 percent as of the end of last week before trading stopped for the Christmas holidays…”

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Oil Rises As Obama Cuts Vacation Short for Budget Talks

“Oil rose in New York for the first time in three days as President Barack Obama will cut short his vacation for talks to avert spending cuts and tax increases that threaten the economy of the world’s biggest crude consumer.

West Texas Intermediate gained as much as 0.7 percent before Democrats and Republicans convene tomorrow for talks aimed at avoiding more than $600 billion in automatic measures known as the fiscal cliff, which are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. Crude stockpiles in the U.S. probably fell last week to the lowest in 10 weeks as imports decreased, a Bloomberg News survey showed. The volume for all WTI contracts was down 85 percent on the 100-day average.

“It is good news that President Obama is cutting his holidays to negotiate a solution to the fiscal cliff,” Ehsan Ul-Haq, a senior market consultant at KBC Energy Economics in Walton-on-Thames, England, said by e-mail. “Thin volumes don’t represent the overall market sentiment.”

WTI for February delivery climbed as much as 60 cents to $89.21 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $89.13 at 11:53 a.m. in London. Futures slid 5 cents to $88.61 on Dec. 24. There was no floor or electronic trading yesterday because of the Christmas holiday. Prices have lost 9.8 percent this year.

Brent for February settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange gained 81 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $109.61 a barrel. The number of contracts trading was 81 percent lower than the 100-day average. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $20.48 to WTI after closing at $20.29 on Dec. 24. Brent is up 2.1 percent this year…”

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Gold Expected to Climb, Silver Gains on Chinese and Indian Consumption


“Gold may advance in New York on demand for the metal in China to India. Silver gained.

The price of gold traded in yen jumped 0.7 percent as the Japanese currency weakened against the dollar to the lowest since April 2011 on speculation of government easing. Futures in New York are up 5.9 percent this year and the Dollar Index, a measure against six major trading partners, is down 0.7 percent.

“The dollar is weakening and also we are seeing good physical demand from China as well as India,” said Afshin Nabavi, a senior vice president at bullion refiner MKS Finance in Geneva, by e-mail today. “We may have seen the lows for gold this year.”

Gold futures for February delivery were little changed at $1,658.50 an ounce at 6:06 a.m. on the Comex in New York. Silver for March delivery was up 0.2 percent at $29.945 an ounce. Platinum for April delivery gained 0.8 percent to $1,551 an ounce and palladium for March delivery advanced 0.4 percent to $687.30 an ounce.”

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$BHP Workers Reject Wage Proposal in Chile, Copper Climbs

“Copper rose in New York after workers at BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP)’s Escondida mine in Chilerejected a wage proposal.

Plant and mine-shift workers at Escondida “unanimously” rejected the proposal on Dec. 22, according to their union. The contract expires in July. Copper rose 3.9 percent this year.

“The workers at BHP’s Escondida, the largest copper mine, rejected the wage proposal for the coming year and this is likely to limit much downside due to fear of future supply disruptions,” Hyderabad, India-based Karvy Comtrade Ltd. wrote in a metals-market comment today.

Copper for delivery in March climbed 0.7 percent to $3.5705 a pound at 5:55 a.m. on the Comex in New York.”

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The Yen Continues to Weaken as Dovish Easing Party Moves Into Government

“The Japanese yen weakened to the lowest since April 2011 amid expectations Japan’s new government will push for more cash infusions to bolster the economy. Oil and U.S. stock-index futures advanced.

The yen retreated 0.7 percent to 85.37 per dollar as of 7:20 a.m. in New York and has fallen against all but nine currencies this year. Crude climbed 0.6 percent and copper added 0.6 percent. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures rose 0.2 percent and U.S. Treasuries were little changed. Japanese stocks advanced to nine-month highs and bonds declined with the parliamentary approval of Shinzo Abe as the country’s premier…”

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Australian Retailers Enjoy Strong Consumer Spending as Record Low Interest Rates Boost Economy

Australia’s A$249 billion ($258 billion) retail industry will see its best-ever month of sales in December as the cutting of interest rates to record lows revives flagging consumer sentiment, an industry group said.

Sales on Boxing Day, a public holiday that’s traditionally one of the busiest in the country’s retail calendar, will rise 2.5 percent from a year earlier to A$1.8 billion, according to a forecast from the Australian National Retailers’ Association, or ANRA. Sales during December, the busiest shopping month of the year, may total A$28.4 billion, the group said in an e-mail on Dec. 21…”

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Aluminium Stockpiles Expected to Subdue Prices for Quite Some Time

“The record glut in aluminum will be no bar to rising prices because of delays in getting metal from warehouses, even as Barclays Plc advises investors to sell and Morgan Stanley says it has the worst outlook of any commodity.

Stockpiles will expand for at least the next four quarters, reaching a record 8.67 million metric tons by the end of 2013, or enough to make about 62 million cars, Barclays estimates. Production will exceed demand by the most since 2009 as output expands from China to Saudi Arabia, the bank says. Futures will rise as much as 16 percent to $2,400 a ton next year, the median of 29 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg…”

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Former O’s Player Ryan Freel Found Dead In Fla. Home, Suicide Likely Cause

“MIAMI (AP) — Ryan Freel, a former Major League Baseball player known for his fearless play but whose career was cut short after eight seasons by a series of head and other injuries, was found dead Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Freel, who was 36, died of what appeared to be a self-inflicted shotgun wound, sheriff’s office spokesman Shannon Hartley wrote in an email Sunday. The medical examiner will make the final determination of the cause of death.

“RIP Ryan Freel!! Great teammate, great guy, n loved his family!” former Cincinnati Reds teammate Sean Casey tweeted. “Such a sad day today with his passing!Awful news!Prayers are with his family!”

The speedy Freel spent six of his eight big league seasons with the Reds and finished his career in 2009 with a .268 average and 143 steals.”

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“Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has confirmed that the department is looking into allegations that NBC’s David Gregory violated D.C.’s gun banning laws during a recent taping of Meet the Press.

In a discussion about gun control, host David Gregory brandished a 30-round magazine purportedly for an AR-15 or similar “assault rifle.”  The discussion took place on December 23, during the broadcast of NBC’s Sunday morning political talk show.

Washington D.C.’s gun laws, however, state that even possessing such a device is a violation. Meet the Press is filmed at NBC’s D.C. studios.

The law in question is titled: DC High Capacity Ammunition Magazines – D.C. Official Code 7-2506.01, and reads (my bold):”

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“LOS ANGELES (AP) — For many, Jack Klugman will always be the messy one.

His portrayal of sloppy sportswriter Oscar Madison on TV’s “The Odd Couple” left viewers laughing but it also gave Klugman the leverage to create a more serious character, the gruff medical examiner in “Quincy M.E.” His everyman ethos and comic timing endeared him to audiences and led to a prolific, six-decade acting career that spanned stage, screen and television.

Klugman died Monday at age 90 in suburban Northridge with his wife at his side. His sons called on his fans to embrace their father’s tenacious and positive spirit.

“He had a great life and he enjoyed every moment of it, and he would encourage others to do the same,” son Adam Klugman said.”

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‘Worst Tornado Outbreak On Christmas Day In History’

“HOUSTON (CBS Houston/AP) — A strong storm system that moved across Texas on Christmas Day spawned at least three tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and brisk winds that knocked down trees, killing one person near Houston.

More than 60,000 customers in the Houston area were without power — down from a previous estimate of more than 70,000 — as the National Weather Service’s tornado and thunderstorm warnings continued through Tuesday the storms moved west to east, gaining strength as they approached Louisiana.

Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Gilliland said a 25-year-old man died after winds knocked a tree onto his Ford F-150 pickup truck around 9:40 a.m. The incident occurred in northwest Harris County, he said.

At least two tornadoes touched down in East Texas in Trinity and Houston counties, said Greg Carbin, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center. Initial reports said no one had been injured, but at least one building in Crockett had been damaged.

“They don’t look like they were all that significant, but there’s already some reports of tornado activity,” Carbin said.”


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Live updates 

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A gunman who shot four volunteer firefighters and killed two of them at the scene of an upstate New York house fire early Monday was found dead of a gunshot wound — a horrific attack that may have been a “trap,” officials said.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said the Christmas Eve blaze in Webster appeared to be a setup to go after first responders who were arriving to the fire just after 5:30 a.m.
Among the fallen is Michael Chiapperini, a lieutenant with the Webster Police Department. He died at the scene.
“It’s a very dificult situation,” said Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering, as he fought back tears during an emotional news conference.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office evacuated the Lake Road neighborhood after the shooter exchanged gunfire with an officer who first responded to the sleepy neighborhood near the Lake Ontario shore east of Rochester. The blaze burned three homes and a car as firefighters fought flames alongside cops searching for the shooting suspect or suspects.
Ultimately, four homes were destroyed and four others were damaged.
Police couldn’t say if the gunman’s injury was self-inflicted. His body was located near the home where the fire began.

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$HLF Hires Bankers, Delays Ackman Showdown

The embattled health-supplements seller, which has received Ackman’s scrutiny for its multi-level marketing sales arrangement, also said in a Monday press release that it has yet to use $950 million of a $1 billion share-repurchase program authorized by its board because of “trading blackout period restrictions.”

The statement may address analyst questions on why Herbalife had been hesitant to launch a large buyback to flush out Ackman’s short trade. Herbalife now says it expects to exceed its previously announced quarterly guidance of $50 million in share buybacks in coming quarters.

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Michelle Obama’s letter to Newtown

December 20, 2012

Over the past week, we as Americans have been united in our grief as Newtown has laid to rest so many beautiful, innocent children, along with the heroic educators who worked every day to help them achieve their dreams.

As a mother of two young daughters, my heart aches for you and your families. Like so many Americans, I wish there were something – anything – I could do or say to ease your anguish.

But I know that I cannot begin to imagine the depths of your grief. I know that for many of you, the pain you are enduring right now seems unbearable; and many of you may be asking yourselves, how can we go on – as families and as a community?

Over the past week, I have been awed and inspired by Newtown’s heroes: the first responders who risked their lives at a moment’s notice; the educators whose devotion to their students shone brightest in one of our nation’s darkest hours; the children who comforted each other despite their fear; the families coming together to support each other as they grieve.

And I am so proud of the outpouring of love and support that has come from every corner of America: from first responders from neighboring cities rushing to help however they could; from people in Cleveland and Charlotte and Juneau and so many other communities joining together to honor Newtown with their thoughts and prayers; and in living rooms and houses of worship and the halls of our government, where we are beginning to have those difficult conversations about how we can build a safer, more peaceful tomorrow for all our children.

And I want you to know that this is just the beginning. As my husband has said, in the coming weeks, he will use all the powers of his office to engage citizens from across this country to find ways to prevent tragedies like this one. And please know that every minute of every day, we are thinking of you, and praying for you, and holding you and your families in our hearts as you begin the slow and wrenching work of healing and moving forward.

In the months and years ahead, may the memories of those beautiful children and those heroic adults be a blessing for their families, for your community, and for our country, and may God bless you all.

First Lady Michelle Obama, Washington DC


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MIT Discovers A New State Of Matter, A New Kind Of Magnetism

“Researchers at MIT have discovered a new state of matter with a new kind of magnetism. This new state, called a quantum spin liquid (QSL), could lead to significant advances in data storage. QSLs also exhibit a quantum phenomenon called long-range entanglement, which could lead to new types of communications systems, and more….”

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CNN’s Don Lemon On Gun Control: Should We Start Profiling White Men?

Source and video

“CNN’s Don Lemon discusses the possibility of profiling white men in an attempt to prevent gun violence and decrease the amount of mass shootings. Lemon argues that white males between the ages of 18 and 25 were behind nearly all recent mass killings.

On the panel: David Sirota, radio talk show host; Richard Moran, criminologist; Lou Palumbo, retired police detective and private security provider; and Tom Deets, gun store owner.”

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Indian Government Bans Gatherings of Five or More

“(Reuters) – The Indian government moved on Sunday to stamp out protests that have swelled in New Delhi since the gang-rape of a young woman, banning gatherings of more than five people, but still thousands poured into the heart of the capital to vent their anger.

Police used tear gas and batons to hold crowds back from marching on the president’s palace, just as they did the day before. About 30 to 35 people, including a few policemen, were being treated at a nearby hospital for injuries, two doctors said.

The 23-year-old victim of the December 16 attack, who was beaten, raped for almost an hour and thrown out of a moving bus in New Delhi, was still in a critical condition on respiratory support but responding to treatment, doctors said….”

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