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Fitch Downgrades Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Cyprus and Slovenia

Fitch downgrades Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Cyprus and Slovenia
Fitch Ratings has today concluded its review of the six eurozone sovereigns it placed on Rating Watch Negative (RWN) on 16 December 2011. The rating actions on the long-term (LT) and short-term (ST) Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) are as follows: -Belgium LT IDR downgraded to ‘AA’ from ‘AA+’; Negative Outlook; ST IDR affirmed at ‘F1+’ -Cyprus LT IDR downgraded to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BBB’; Negative Outlook; ST IDR affirmed at ‘F3’ -Ireland LT IDR affirmed at ‘BBB+’; Negative Outlook; ST IDR affirmed at ‘F2’ -Italy LT IDR downgraded to ‘A-‘ from ‘A+’; Negative Outlook; ST IDR downgraded to ‘F2’ from ‘F1’ -Slovenia LT IDR downgraded to ‘A’ from ‘AA-‘; Negative Outlook; ST IDR downgraded to ‘F1’ from ‘F1+’ – Spain LT IDR downgraded ‘A’ from ‘AA-‘; Negative Outlook; ST IDR downgraded to ‘F1’ from ‘F1+’

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Documentary: Speaking Freely With Chalmers Johnson

A wonderful mind opens up to give you a warning message. While highly political, this body of truth and knowledge bears directly upon the markets.

Cheers on your pleb weekend activities.

[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfJNFSYFmZs 450 300] [youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa8ImA_wSKI 450 300]

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Gates Injects $750M in Troubled Global Fund

By JOHN HEILPRIN | Associated Press – 12 hrs ago

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Bill Gates pledged $750 million on Thursday to fight three killer diseases and rescue a beleaguered health fund whose financial losses have cost it donor support.

The Microsoft founder said he is lending his “credibility” to the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by making the donation through a promissory note so the fund “can immediately use the money and save lives.”

Gates’ announcement at the World Economic Forum — a magnet for the world’s business and political elites who pushed for the fund’s creation — was part of an orchestrated attempt by the fund to galvanize donors on its 10th anniversary.

“These are tough economic times, but that is no excuse for cutting aid to the world’s poorest,” Gates told reporters.

Read the rest here.

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China’s Very Mysterious Data

By Economics Last updated: January 26th, 2012

A quick observation.

I could not help noticing that China’s imports from Japan fell 16.2pc in December. Imports from Taiwan fell 6.2pc.

The Shanghai Container Freight Index fell 1.4pc to a record low of 919.44 in November, after sliding relentlessly for several months. It has picked up slightly since.

Read the rest here.

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Palestinians protest tax increase

TULKAREM, West Bank (AP) — Some 300 Palestinians have protested against price hikes and a recent income tax increase imposed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Fayyad says he needs to raise revenues to slash a debilitating budget deficit that has led to several cash crises in recent months. Fayyad says the tax hikes target only the rich, and the measures are needed to wean the Palestinians off foreign aid.

The tax hike comes at a time of a steep increases in the prices of some basic goods and has sparked protests in the West Bank. On Thursday, about 300 supporters of a small PLO faction, the People’s Party, staged a march in the northern West Bank town of Tulkarem.

Business leaders and the West Bank’s dominant Fatah Party also oppose the tax increase.

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Iran: No we ban you, Europe

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s parliament will begin debating a draft bill requiring the government to immediately halt oil exports to Europe, a prominent lawmaker said Wednesday, as Tehran weighs its options following the European Union’s decision to stop importing oil from the country.

The EU embargo, announced on Monday, was the latest attempt to try to pressure Iran over a nuclear program the United States and its allies argue is aimed at developing nuclear weapons but which Iran says is for purely peaceful purposes. It came just weeks after the U.S. approved, but has yet to enact, new sanctions targeting Iran’s Central Bank and, by extension, its ability to sell its oil.

Many Iranian lawmakers and officials have called for an immediate ban on oil exports to the European bloc before its ban fully goes into effect in July, arguing that the 27 EU nations account for only about 18 percent of Iran’s overall oil sales and would be hurt more by the decision than Iran. China, a key buyer of Iranian crude, has blasted the embargo.

“The bill requires the government to stop selling oil to Europe before the start of European Union oil embargo against Iran,” lawmaker Hasan Ghafourifard told the parliament’s website, icana.ir. Debate on the bill is to begin on Sunday, he said.

The U.S. sanctions had outraged Iranian officials, prompting repeated threats from various officials that the country could shutter the vital Strait of Hormuz if measures are enacted that affect its oil exports. Roughly a fifth of the world oil passes through the narrow waterway, and the U.S. and others have warned Iran they will not allow it to impede the free flow of traffic in the area.

Iran is OPEC’s fourth largest producer and most of its crude goes to Europe and Asia.

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