Monthly Archives

$6.3tn wiped off markets in 2011

Financial Times – Almost $6.3tn was erased from global stock markets this year as the eurozone financial crisis reverberated across the world in the latter half of 2011, calling into question the future of the world’s largest currency bloc. Global stock market capitalisation dropped 12.1 per cent to $45.7tn according to Bloomberg data, while the euro ended the year as the worst performing major currency after finally starting to succumb to the continent’s financial and economic woes in December. The euro had proved resilient for much of the year – burning hedge funds that bet on a steeper decline – but on Friday touched a 10-year low against the Japanese yen, and is near lows against the dollar last touched a year ago. Read Article

Chilean protesters face water cannons


Reuters – Police in Santiago fire water cannons and tear gas at students protesting against a pro-Pinochet mayor. Read article

Soldiers gone, but contractors remain in Iraq

Houston Chronicle – The final convoy of U.S. troops in Iraq — soldiers from Fort Hood — drove over the border to Kuwait last week, whooping and cheering, as the United States declared an end to the war. But remaining behind are thousands of civilian contractors — about half of them armed. State Department officials have said they expect that 5,000 security contractors will be needed in Iraq next year to protect U.S. diplomats. A “life support” team of an additional 4,500 contractors will cook, clean and provide transportation and other services. Read Article

The EU And IMF Watch In Horror As Everything Goes To Hell In Hungary

Business Insider – Hungary just approved a new central bank law, to the dismay of the International Monetary Fund and European Union. It’s the same law that caused the two international organizations to withdraw their support for Hungary’s bailout earlier this month. The law changes the way Hungary’s central bank is managed, in a way the EU and IMF have argued will to compromise its independence from politics. Hungary has been at the center of quiet economic angst in Eastern Europe, largely overshadowed by the sovereign debt crisis in southern Europe. Standard & Poor’s downgraded Hungarian government debt to junk last week and the government staged the latest in a series of failed bond auctions yesterday. Read Article

Boeing wins $3.48 billion U.S. missile defense contract

Reuters – Boeing Co beat out Lockheed Martin to retain its position as the prime contractor for the U.S. long-range missile shield, the Pentagon said on Friday. The U.S. Defense Department said it was awarding Boeing a $3.48 billion, seven-year contract to develop, test, engineer and manufacture missile defense systems. A team led by Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Co had vied with Boeing to expand and maintain the Ground-based Midcourse Defense, or GMD, hub of layered antimissile protection. Boeing partnered with Northrop Grumman Corp to retain the work. Read Article

Massive solar storm ‘could knock out radio signals’ over next three days, warn scientists

Daily Mail – Skywatchers will be hoping for clear skies from today because particles from a recent solar storm will slam into Earth and produce amazing Northern Lights, or auroras. On the downside, experts expect radio blackouts for a few days, caused by the radiation from the flare – or coronal mass ejection (CME) – causing magnetic storms.
The flare is part of a larger increase in activity in the Sun, which runs in 11-year cycles. It is expected to peak around 2013. Read article/view video

Boston D.A. Subpoenas Twitter Over Occupy Boston, Anonymous

On December 14, Twitter received a bizarre subpoena from the District Attorney of Suffolk County, which includes Boston. It requested “All available subscriber information, for the account or accounts associated with the following information, including IP address logs for account creation and for the period December 8, 2011 to December 13, 2011.” That subpoena, as written, ostensibly asks for whatever identifying information Twitter has on anyone who used the hashtags #bostonpd and #d0xcak3 from 12/8/2011 to 12/14/2011, which could number in the thousands. Read Article

Egypt Raids Offices of Nonprofits, 3 Backed by U.S.

NYTimes – Security forces shut down three American-financed democracy-building groups and as many as six other nonprofit organizations on Thursday, in a crackdown that signaled a new low in relations between Washington and Egypt’s military rulers. Read article

Seventeen dead as Syrians stage mass protests

Reuters – Syrian security forces, undaunted by the presence of Arab League observers, have killed at least 12 protesters as hundreds of thousands demonstrated against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, opposition activists said. Five members of the security forces were also killed in a shooting in the city of Homs, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday. Assad, 46, has signed up to an Arab League plan for a verifiable withdrawal of his troops and heavy weaponry from towns and cities, where they have been trying to crush protests that have raged since March. Read Article

With $30 Billion Arms Deal, U.S. Bolsters Saudi Ties

NY Times – Fortifying one of its key allies in the Persian Gulf, the Obama administration announced a weapons deal with Saudi Arabia on Thursday, saying it had agreed to sell F-15 fighter jets valued at nearly $30 billion to the Royal Saudi Air Force. The agreement, and the administration’s parallel plans to press ahead with a nearly $11 billion arms deal for Iraq, despite rising political tensions there, is dramatic evidence of its determination to project American military influence in an oil-rich region shadowed by a threat from Iran. Read Article

NEW FEATURE PAGE – US Military Interventions 1890-2011

CLICK HERE TO READ

Editorial – The Illusion And The Apparatus To Deal With The Coming Collapse

With all the hallmarks of a banana republic, from rampant money printing and a massive wealth gap, to secret prison systems and wars of aggression for resources, the USA in 2012 is potentially on the cusp of a major epoch defining collapse. In our editorial analysis we look behind the media illusion to the reality of the situation, and examine what steps the ruling elite have taken to protect their interests when the crunch happens. CLICK HERE TO READ

Daily News Archive In Focus – Alcohol and Drugs (334 articles)

You might not think it, but the conclusion of a study in the British medical journal Lancet described alcohol as more dangerous than many illegal drugs (including heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy). Nevertheless in both alcohol and drug use, the economic and health costs are considerable. So why are certain toxins such as cigarettes and alcohol accepted and others demonized? Find out more by reading our news archive of 334 articles on Alcohol and Drugs for a comprehensive view. CLICK HERE

Climate Fact Of The Day – Solar-Terrestrial Power. Relationship between Earth’s zonal winds & solar cycle

Source: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/25/solar-terrestrial-power-update/

The amplitude of Earth’s zonal winds is modulated by the solar cycle. Here’s a concise visual update based on the latest data:

LOD’ = rate of change of length of day

Wall Street Ends Back Where It Started

New York Times – Like a roller coaster returning to the platform, the stock market in the United States ended the last day of trading in 2011 just about where it started the year. But what a wild ride it was in between. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, the main gauge of broad market performance, closed on Friday at 1,257.60, finishing the year nearly dead even with its 2010 close of 1,257.64, which is technically down 0.003 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average of 30 blue-chip American stocks fared better, closing the year with a 5.5 percent gain at 12,217.56. Read Article

U.S. jobless claims rise

MarketWatch — The number of people who filed requests for jobless benefits rose last week for the first time in a month but remained at a level indicating modest improvement in the U.S. labor market. First-time applications for unemployment compensation climbed 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 381,000 in the week ended Dec. 24, the Labor Department reported. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 366,000 from 364,000. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had projected claims for the latest week would rise to 374,000. Read Article

Republicans attack rival Ron Paul in Iowa

BBC – The Texas congressman was pilloried for his view that the US should not act against Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons programme. A new poll put Mr Paul in the lead in the Hawkeye state among Republicans. Next week, Iowa holds the first in a series of votes, known as primaries and caucuses, to pick a Republican nominee. Read article

Russia submerges nuclear submarine to douse blaze

Reuters – Russia said it had won the battle with a raging blaze aboard a nuclear submarine on Friday by submerging the stricken vessel at a navy shipyard after hours of dousing the flames with water from helicopters and tug boats. There was no radiation leak, authorities said. Television pictures showed a giant plume of smoke above the yard in the Murmansk region of northern Russia as over 100 firemen struggled to douse flames which witnesses said rose 10 metres (30 feet) above the Yekaterinburg submarine. Read Article

Beware corporate psychopaths – they are still occupying positions of power

The Independent – Over the years I’ve met my fair share of monsters – rogue individuals, for the most part. But as regulation in the UK and the US has loosened its restraints, the monsters have proliferated. In a paper recently published in the Journal of Business Ethics entitled “The Corporate Psychopaths: Theory of the Global Financial Crisis”, Clive R Boddy identifies these people as psychopaths. “They are,” he says, “simply the 1 per cent of people who have no conscience or empathy.” And he argues: “Psychopaths, rising to key senior positions within modern financial corporations, where they are able to influence the moral climate of the whole organisation and yield considerable power, have largely caused the [banking] crisis’. And Mr Boddy is not alone. In Jon Ronson’s widely acclaimed book The Psychopath Test, Professor Robert Hare told the author: “I should have spent some time inside the Stock Exchange as well. Serial killer psychopaths ruin families. Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies.” Read Article

Childhood Hypersensitivity Linked to OCD

PhysOrg – Adult onset could be connected to oral and tactile sensitivities in childhood, TAU research finds. In childhood, rituals like regular schedules for meal, bath, and bed times are a healthy part of behavioral development. But combined with oral and tactile sensitivities, such as discomfort at the dentist or irritation caused by specific fabrics, these rituals could be an early warning sign of adult Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Read article

US warns Iran over threat to block oil route

BBC – Reacting to Iran’s warning, a US Fifth Fleet spokeswoman said it was “always ready to counter malevolent actions”. Read article

Turkish air strikes kill dozens of villagers near Iraq border

Guardian – Turkey’s government forced to admit victims of bombing were not Kurdish separatist fighters. The donkeys had been sent across Turkey’s south-eastern border with Iraq to ferry vats of smuggled diesel and cigarettes. On Thursday when they came back it was with bodies wrapped in carpets lashed to their sides: the victims of a Turkish air raid that killed up to 35 villagers from this remote region. Read Article

China Is Steadily Buying Up The US Auto Industry

Business Insider – Though practically every car sold in the U.S. today contains Chinese-made components, the announcement that a few Chinese-made cars would arrive in Canada raised a lot of eyebrows. It would be a Honda Fit assembled in the same plant where the European version, the Jazz, has been built for years. But Chinese-designed and branded vehicles have not made it yet. Chinese automakers, of which there are a whole slew, are scrambling to improve their technologies from nice-looking but shoddy copy-and-paste models to reliable products that would be competitive in developed markets. It’s a government priority. And they’re getting there through the back door. Read Article

Radiation fears spread to forest industry

Mainichi Daily News — Radiation fears stemming from the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant and radiation monitoring activities are raising concern among people handling trees to grow mushrooms and make charcoal. Read article

The billion-dollar pest: U.S. beetle is developing resistance to one of the most widely used genetically modified crops, say scientists

Daily Mail – Crop pests appear to have developed resistance to an insect toxin inserted into GM corn plants. As a result, these ‘superbugs’ are surviving efforts by farmers to kill them and so are damaging food crops on farms in the U.S. The revelation is a blow to supporters of the technology and raises questions over whether the regime that approves and polices genetically modified crops is sufficiently rigorous. Read article