Earlier this week we had a banker commit suicide in China; now we have the first female banker taking her life in France….Comments »
Monthly Archives: April 2014
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“WASHINGTON — The principle that all Internet content should be treated equally as it flows through cables and pipes to consumers looks all but dead.
The Federal Communications Commission said on Wednesday that it would propose new rules that allow companies like Disney, Google or Netflix to pay Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon for special, faster lanes to send video and other content to their customers.
The proposed changes would affect what is known as net neutrality — the idea that no providers of legal Internet content should face discrimination in providing offerings to consumers, and that users should have equal access to see any legal content they choose.
The proposal comes three months after a federal appeals court struck down, for the second time, agency rules intended to guarantee a free and open Internet.
Tom Wheeler, the F.C.C. chairman, defended the agency’s plans late Wednesday, saying speculation that the F.C.C. was “gutting the open Internet rule” is “flat out wrong.” Rather, he said, the new rules will provide for net neutrality along the lines of the appeals court’s decision.
Still, the regulations could radically reshape how Internet content is delivered to consumers. For example, if a gaming company cannot afford the fast track to players, customers could lose interest and its product could fail.
The rules are also likely to eventually raise prices as the likes of Disney and Netflix pass on to customers whatever they pay for the speedier lanes, which are the digital equivalent of an uncongested car pool lane on a busy freeway.
Consumer groups immediately attacked the proposal, saying that not only would costs rise, but also that big, rich companies with the money to pay large fees to Internet service providers would be favored over small start-ups with innovative business models — stifling the birth of the next Facebook or Twitter.
“If it goes forward, this capitulation will represent Washington at its worst,” said Todd O’Boyle, program director of Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative. “Americans were promised, and deserve, an Internet that is free of toll roads, fast lanes and censorship — corporate or governmental.”
If the new rules deliver anything less, he added, “that would be a betrayal.”
Mr. Wheeler rebuffed such criticism. “There is no ‘turnaround in policy,’ ” he said in a statement. “The same rules will apply to all Internet content. As with the original open Internet rules, and consistent with the court’s decision, behavior that harms consumers or competition will not be permitted.”
Broadband companies have pushed for the right to build special lanes. Verizon said during appeals court arguments that if it could make those kinds of deals, it would…..”Comments »
“A private study by military and security professionals has concluded that the Americans killed at the Benghazi embassy annex on September 11, 2012 were killed by rebels who had been supplied with weapons by the U.S. government.
The Interim Report by the “Citizens Commission on Benghazi” concluded that “the U.S. was fully aware of and facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qa’eda-dominated rebel militias throughout the 2011 rebellion.” The group’s report stressed that “the key significance of this episode is the demonstration of a military chain-of-command relationship between the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood leadership of the TNC and the al-Qa’eda-affiliated militia (Ansar al-Shariah) that has been named responsible for the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.” U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in an attack on a consulate annex maintained by the CIA on September 12, 2012.
The “Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi” was formed by the conservative Accuracy in Media organization in Washington, and staffed by 18 former high-ranking military and intelligence specialists for the U.S. government — most of whom held the rank of Colonel, Admiral, or General, or served in Special Forces…..”Comments »
“Ukrainian troops are moving in on what Reuters describes as “pro-Russian armed men” in the east Ukraine city of Slaviansk (here’s video). Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said its forces had killed “up to five” militants in the “anti-terrorist operation.”
“During the armed clash up to five terrorists were eliminated,” it said, adding that one person has been wounded on the side of government forces.
Ukrainian security force officers walk past a checkpoint set on fire and left by pro-Russian separatists near Slaviansk April 24, 2014.
These are what some of the pro-Russian gunman look like in the city of 130,000….”
“Global machinery giant Caterpillar earned $1.61 per share on an adjusted basis, which was much stronger than the $1.23 expected by analysts.
Management also raised earnings guidance. It now expects to earn $6.10 per share for the year, up from previous guidance of $5.85.
The stock is up 3.5% in pre-market trading.
“Given the business and economic uncertainties around the world and continuing decline in our mining sales, I am pleased with our performance in the first quarter,” said CEO Doug Oberhelman. “We understand we don’t control the economy and have instead focused on what we can improve. We’re lowering costs, improving cash flow and driving value for our customers through the continued deployment of our lean manufacturing initiatives. We see the benefits of these actions in our first-quarter results and in improving market position for many of our products.”
Caterpillar sells mining and construction equipment around the world, making it one of the better bellwethers of the global economy.
Here are some comments Oberhelman made about the global landscape in the context of the company’s guidance….”Comments »
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“It took Joe Biden just a day after his arrival in Kiev to kill and bury the last remaining hope that last week’s latest attempt at diplomatic de-escalation in Geneva would actually be anything more than a joke. A few hours ago, in a statement posted on the parliament website, Ukraine acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said that pro-Russian separatists have “crossed line” adding that East Ukraine is currently controlled by “terrorists” supported by Russia.
In other words, the same old song and dance.
Which is why this time Russia made it quite clear to issue a warning that the next time there is a provocation against its soldiers or, more importantly, against its people, those in East Ukraine to be specific, it would retaliate. Once again, Obama’s “costs” message is lost on Putin…
RT reported moments ago that “Russia will retaliate if it is attacked and the interests of the Russian people are threatened” citing Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. He alleged the US has a hand in the current stand-off in Ukraine between the coup-appointed government and anti-Maidan activists….”Comments »
“Terrence Duffy, who as executive chairman of CME Group Inc. oversees the world’s largest futures exchange, has a solution for those seeking to fix the U.S. stock market: kill dark pools.
While all futures trades happen on exchanges such CME Group’s, only about 60 percent of American equity volume does. The rest takes place on venues including dark pools, where orders are hidden until transactions are completed. That hurts investors because it obscures the true price of stocks, Duffy said yesterday during an interview at Bloomberg News headquarters in New York.
“Fix the fragmentation issue, and you’ll fix the problem,” Duffy said. “We need to have 100 percent of that liquidity on exchanges.”
Duffy’s position aligns him with his biggest rival: Jeffrey Sprecher, the chief executive officer of IntercontinentalExchange Group Inc. Sprecher’s company, which like Chicago-based CME Group has its roots in futures, recently bought the New York Stock Exchange, giving it about 20 percent of the nation’s equities volume. NYSE and its rivals have lobbied the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to enact rules limiting the amount of trading on dark pools.
In Duffy’s idealized stock market, even though trades could still be distributed across multiple exchanges, dark pools and other off-exchange platforms would be eliminated. There are currently 13 stock exchanges, with ICE, Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and Bats Global Markets Inc. the biggest operators. Beyond that, there are about 45 alternative trading systems, including dark pools.
More Concentrated….”Comments »
“(Reuters) – China’s factory activity shrank for the fourth straight month in April, signaling economic weakness into the second quarter, a preliminary survey showed on Wednesday, although the pace of decline eased helped by policy steps to arrest the slowdown.
Analysts see initial signs of stabilization in the economy due to the government’s targeted measures to underpin growth, but believe more policy support may be needed as structural reforms put additional pressure on activity….”Comments »
“The Internal Revenue Service handed out $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with disciplinary issues—including more than $1 million to employees who didn’t pay their federal taxes, a watchdog report says.
The report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said 1,146 IRS employees received bonuses within a year of substantiated federal tax compliance problems.
And the bonuses weren’t just monetary. Employees with tax problems received a total of 10,582 hours of paid time off—valued at about $250,000—and 69 received permanent raises through a step increase, the report said. The report looked at bonuses in 2011 and 2012….”Comments »
This article was based on today’s exclusive interview with Kevin Annett of the International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State on this week’s litigation in the Brussels Common Law Court of Justice. Five judges and 27 jury members from six countries including the USA, considered evidence on over 50,000 missing Canadian, US, Argentine and European children who were suspected victims of an international child sacrificial cult referred to as the Ninth Circle.
Two adolescent women claimed that Pope Francis raped them while participating in child sacrifices. Eight eyewitnesses confirmed the allegations according to evidence presented this week at a Brussels Common Law Court of Justice. The Ninth Circle Satanic child sacrifice rituals were said to take place during the Springs of 2009 and 2010 in rural Holland and Belgium.
Pope Francis was also a perpetrator in satanic child sacrifice rites while acting as an Argentine priest and Bishop according to records obtained from the Vatican archives. A prominent Vatican official and former Vatican Curia employee obtained the sealed documents for use by the court. This was not the first time satanic activities were suspected to be at the Vatican according to this ABC news story.
Another witness was set to testify that they were present during Pope Francis’ meetings with the military Junta during Argentine’s 1970′s Dirty War. According to the witness, Pope Francis helped traffic children of missing political prisoners into an international child exploitation ring run by an office at the Vatican.
Evidence of a Catholic Jesuit Order document called the “Magisterial Privilege” was presented in court by the Chief Prosecutor. The record dated Dec. 25 1967 was said to show that every new Pope was required to participate in Ninth Circle Satanic ritual sacrifices of newborn children, including drinking their blood.
“Documents from Vatican secret archives presented to court clearly indicate that for centuries the Jesuits had a premeditated plan to ritually murder kidnapped newborn babies and then consume their blood,” the Chief Prosecutor told the five international judges and 27 jury members. “The plan was born of a twisted notion to derive spiritual power from the lifeblood of the innocent, thereby assuring political stability of the Papacy in Rome. These acts are not only genocidal but systemic and institutionalized in nature. Since at least 1773, they appear to have been performed by the Roman Catholic Church, Jesuits and every Pope.”
Two witnesses claimed that as children they were at child sacrifices with the former Pope Joseph Ratzinger. Since at least 1962 Ratzinger participated in child sacrifices as a member of the Knights of Darkness according to the Vatican records presented at court. Ratzinger was an S.S. Chaplain’s assistant at the German Ravensbruck Concentration Camp during World War II. The children to be killed were supplied from prisoners at the death camp. The Nazi Waffen S.S. Division Knights of Darkness was established by Hitler in 1933 and embraced ancient pagan occult beliefs in human sacrifice.
Dutch Therapist-ritual abuse survivor Toos Nijenhuis testified of her witness to child sacrifice in this video. “Survivors of these rituals describe newborn babies being chopped to pieces on stone altars and their remains consumed by participants” the Chief Prosecutor said.”During the 1960′s the survivor-witnesses were forced to rape and mutilate other children and then cut their throats with ceremonial daggers.”
According to witnesses Pope Francis, former Pope Joseph Ratzinger, Jesuit Superior General Adolfo Pachon and Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby were participants in the Ninth Circle Satanic child sacrifice cult rape and killing of children. Evidence also could link to cult ceremonies UK High Court Justice Judge Fulford, members of the British Royal Family including Prince Phillip, Dutch Cardinal Alfrink, Dutch Queen Wilhemina, her family and consort King Hendrick, Belgian Royals and Bilderberger founder Crown Prince Bernhard….”Comments »
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“The Federal Reserve has exposed itself to massive interest rate risk, warns Scott Hein, a former St. Louis Fed senior economist.
In fact, if it was a commercial bank, it would probably flunk its own stress tests, Hein writes in an article for the American Banker.
Its quantitative easing program (QE), which entails borrowing short term to purchase huge amounts of long-term bonds, has created that severe risk, explains Hein, now at Texas Tech University.
If a top-30 bank had that kind of risk on its balance sheet, it would be taken to task by examiners and shunned by investors,” he notes
Previously, the Fed would create reserves to finances its purchases. Banks would then use those reserves to support new deposits created when making new loans.
With QE, the Fed began paying banks a 0.25 percent rate on its reserves, essentially buying reserves to pay for its QE purchases, Hein explains. “As such, it is operating like any other bank today, buying funds from one part of the economy and lending them to another.”
It’s been hugely profitable for the Fed. It’s paying 0.25 percent on the reserves used to the buy the assets that are earning about 3 percent.
However, the scenario seems a lot like the savings and loans crisis in the 1980s, Hein cautions. The S&Ls used short-term loans to provide 30-year fixed-rate loans to homeowners.
“As with the Fed today, this strategy was initially profitable. However, when interest rates began to rise, the losses quickly piled up. The Fed today is exposing itself to similar financial losses should interest rates rise.”
The Fed has said short-term rates will remain low for an extended period, but it hasn’t done a good job forecasting the economy, Hein notes. For instance, short-term interest rates fell much more than expected after the financial crisis and stayed low much longer than expected…..”Comments »
“As markets head for summer doldrums, analysts are becoming more concerned that the long bull market in stocks is ripe for a correction.
“We’re in a period where equity markets generally want to go up, but they went up so much last year, that they’re having a bit of a holiday,” Richard Harris, CEO of Port Shelter Investment Management, told CNBC.
“This is a kind of a lull in an ongoing bull market and as a result there is some sensitivity to subtle bits of bad news,” he said. “While the markets are not quite too sure, not quite too confident in themselves, this is the time we might have a little (rapid correction).”
The S&P is now nearly 1 percent higher for the year, after rising around 30 percent last year, but it is still down over 1 percent from the all-time high it touched in early April.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is off around 1 percent this year, after climbing over 22 percent last year.
Harris expects the market could “take fright” from any number of factors, such as an escalation of tensions in Ukraine, deleveraging in China or even if the Federal Reserve’s moves to taper its asset purchases prove to be too fast….”Comments »
“(Reuters) – M&A talk in the pharmaceutical sector lifted European shares on Tuesday, but failed to support the euro, which dipped to a two-week low against the dollar as ECB policymakers renewed efforts to weaken it.
British newspaper the Sunday Times said U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer had approached British rival AstraZeneca to propose a 60 billion pound ($101 billion) takeover. Both companies declined comment to Reuters.
Eli Lilly and Co said on Tuesday it would buy Novartis AG’s animal health business for $5.4 billion in cash to strengthen and diversify its Elanco unit.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 1 percent at 1,342.38 points, building on last week’s gains on the back of largely better-than-expected results by U.S. companies. U.S. stock futures suggested a higher open in New York as well.
“There’s strong corporate activity which gives some energy to the market,” said Hans Peterson, global head of asset allocation at SEB Investment Management.
The stronger European stock market failed to lift the euro, which dipped to a two-week low of $1.3783, although it remained close to its strongest levels this year.
European Central Bank executive board member Benoit Coeure said on Tuesday that the strength of the euro could be keeping inflation too low and that there was further margin to reduce the main interest rate below 0.25 percent.
The comments were the latest in a series of efforts by ECB policymakers, including President Mario Draghi, to talk down the euro currency as they try to fight ultra-low inflation and keep the currency union’s economic recovery on track.
Euro zone inflation is running at 0.5 percent, far below the ECB’s target of just under 2 percent over the medium term, keeping speculation rife that the ECB may soon turn on the money printing presses and launch a program of asset purchases.
Business sentiment surveys such as the euro zone PMIs and the German Ifo could alter those expectations this week. Draghi is also due to give a keynote speech in Amsterdam on Thursday.
“Euro/dollar is likely to trade with a weaker bias this week given the German IFO and Draghi’s speech coming up,” said Yujiro Goto, currency analyst at Nomura.”
The ECB was not the only one hoping for a weaker currency.
China’s yuan fell to its softest against the dollar in 14 months, after the central bank set a lower official midpoint of its trading range, highlighting its desire for a weaker currency to manage an economic slowdown.
The ECB outlook is a key factor behind this year’s rally in lower-rated euro zone government bonds. Junk-rated Portugal will sell up to 750 million euros in 10-year bonds on Wednesday in its first bond auction since April 2011, pursuing a full return to market financing as the end of its EU/IMF bailout approaches…..”Comments »
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