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May 24, 2011

Financial & Forex Info | The Australian Capital Circle: Greens Flag carbon Compromise As Labor Backs

Capital Circle Newsletter
Greens flag carbon compromise as Labor backs coal
As carbon tax negotiations continue the Greens signal they will compromise on the detail.

The PM's Diary: Julia Gillard is in Canberra and will attend parliament. The PM will meet with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today but will not hold a press conference. Since arriving in Australia, Ms Pillay has met with Labor ministers Kevin Rudd and Chris Bowen, declared mandatory detention of asylum seekers "extremely distressing'' and that the so-called Malaysian solution "violates refugee law'' (report).
Tony Abbott is in Canberra and will attend parliament today.
Top of the papers ... The Australian leads with a report that Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has slapped down a demand by the Greens for a ban on new coalmines, declaring the coal industry has a bright future as a driver of economic prosperity, despite moves to tackle climate change.
The Financial Review leads with word the Greens will compromise on the carbon tax, reporting: Greens deputy leader Christine Milne says the party is prepared to take a flexible approach to negotiations on Labor's proposed emissions scheme, including the carbon price. Greens Deputy Christine Milne told the Financial Review the Greens would support a scheme that was initially less ambitious as long as it provided a platform for "greater levels of ambition''.
Greens leader Bob Brown told reporters on the doors this morning the carbon tax was not a Greens package and that it would be a negotiated outcome.
Tipgate: Regular readers will recall Capital Circle's report that Julia Gillard tipped the West Coast Eagles instead of her beloved Bulldogs last weekend. The report prompted Liberal Julia Bishop to tell the Coalition party room yesterday that "loyalty to your

Financial & Forex Info | The Australian Business Briefing: Europe Faces Hostile Market Over Debts

 Australian Business update for Wed May 25 08:16:27 EST 2011
Nervous investors drive Wall St lower
Wall St Steven Russolillo US stocks closed lower today on a mixed round of housing and manufacturing data and worries about Europe's debt-laden countries.
Coates leaps as Glencore comes calling
Peter Coates EXCLUSIVE Matt Chambers FOR Peter Coates, an offer to join the board of Swiss trader Glencore was one he couldn't refuse.
Europe faces hostile market over debts
euro Geoffrey T. Smith and William Horobin THE European debt crisis loomed larger again today as officials worried that financial markets could thwart efforts to help countries.
GE Capital to offload mortgage portfolio
GE Capital Richard Gluyas GE Capital is believed to be close to selling its remaining $5 billion portfolio of mortgages.
Door open for King's return
door open Damon Kitney LEIGHTON Holdings chief executive David Stewart has paved the way for a potential return of former long-serving chief Wal King to the company's board.
Beyond the BRIC
China Dried Fish Gillian Bullock FOCUSING only on the emerging BRIC markets means you are missing out on opportunities occurring in other economies.
Tabcorp prepares to spin off casinos
Tabcorp Michael Bennet PREDATORS could pay up to $4.5 billion for Tabcorp's casino business, Echo Entertainment, but might struggle to make the deal stack up, analysts say.
Lend Lease rushes Prussia sale
Lend Lease Bridget Carter LEND Lease has agreed to sell its stake in one of the largest shopping centres in the US to the Morgan Stanley Prime Property Fund.
Financial Markets
Europe faces hostile market over debts
euro Geoffrey T. Smith and William Horobin THE European debt crisis loomed larger again today as officials worried that financial markets could thwart efforts to help countries.
Nervous investors drive Wall St lower
Silver benefits from Goldman's upgrade
Financial Markets Coverage
Mining & Energy
Silver benefits from Goldman's upgrade
silver Matt Day SILVER futures rose sharply today, outpacing gold's advance as gains by many commodities helped the metal rebound after its recent sell-off.
Copper gains on upbeat Goldman outlook
Oil climbs on bullish price forecasts
More Mining & Energy Coverage

CBS NEWS Coverage of Breaking Space News 06:00 PM EDT, 05/24/11 Update: NASA picks Orion-type capsule for deep space missions

CBS News

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL--A version of the Bush administration's Orion moon capsule, canceled by the Obama administration and then resurrected as a space station lifeboat, will be developed instead for use in future manned flights to deep space targets beyond Earth orbit, the agency announced Tuesday.

Douglas Cooke, associate administrator of NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, told reporters the Orion concept, described by former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin as "Apollo on steroids," is the most capable spacecraft currently on the drawing board for meeting the Obama administration's "flexible path" approach to deep space exploration.

"This is the Orion-based concept that was designed for deep space missions and had the appropriate accommodations and design requirements for that type of mission," he said. "We did look at alternatives in some of the systems designs we're seeing in the various concepts that are being proposed, for instance, for commercial (vehicles). ... And after studying those, we found the design approach we've got is really the best for this type of mission beyond low-Earth orbit."

Developed by Lockheed Martin, the solar-powered Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, or MPCV, would carry four astronauts on missions lasting up to three weeks, much longer when attached to a larger interplanetary habitation module of some sort. The capsule would have a pressurized volume of 690 cubic feet, weigh approximately 23 tons at launch and end its missions with splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

Using an advanced abort system and a high-performance heat shield, the MPCV is expected to be 10 times safer than the space shuttle.

But Cooke said he does not yet know what it will cost to develop the MPCV, when the first manned or unmanned test fight might launch, how much individual vehicles will cost, what rocket will be used to launch them or where they might end up going. To date, he said, NASA has spent more than $5 billion on the Orion concept.

"When? Basically, we are still working on our integrated architecture, that includes the space launch system, along with ground systems an other supporting projects in order to put together integrated cost and schedule," he said. "So at this point, we don't have a specific date, although we are working diligently to understand earliest possible test dates within the approach that we are working to lay out."

In 2004, the Bush administration ordered NASA to complete the International Space Station and retire the space shuttle by the end of fiscal 2010, and to channel the savings into development of new rockets and spacecraft designed to support long-duration outposts on the moon by the early 2020s. Since then, the final shuttle flight has slipped to this July.

During Griffin's tenure, NASA came up with the Constellation program to implement the president's directive. The Orion capsule was intended to carry astronauts to and from the moon and to service the International Space Station as required. Two rockets were envisioned, the Ares I to launch Orion capsules into Earth orbit, and a huge heavy-life Ares V to boost lunar landers and attached Orion spacecraft to the moon.

The Obama administration canceled the Constellation program and ordered NASA to adopt a two-pronged approach to space flight that depends on the destination. For flights to and from the space station in low-Earth orbit, NASA will rely on private industry to develop the necessary rockets and spacecraft. The administration told NASA to concentrate on developing new technology and systems that could eventually be used for deep space exploration. No firm timetables or specific targets were set.

Faced with widespread criticism, the president later said he would support continued development of Orion as a life boat for the International Space Station to help end NASA's post-shuttle reliance on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft. And the president said NASA should start working on a new heavy lift rocket to launch deep space missions in the 2015 timeframe.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, and other key lawmakers successfully lobbied for appropriations language calling for immediate work on the new rocket, with initial test flights starting in the 2016 timeframe. With the decision to proceed with development of an Orion derivative, NASA is expected to announce what sort of rocket will be built to launch it later this summer.

The decision to proceed with development of the MPCV "is a good thing," Nelson said in a statement. "It shows real progress towards the goal of exploring deep space and eventually getting to Mars. And it's good for Florida, too, because hundreds of Kennedy Space Center employees will have jobs assembling the new crew capsule at the center's Operations and Checkout building."

In a statement, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said the agency is "committed to human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and look forward to developing the next generation of systems to take us there. ... As we aggressively continue our work on a heavy lift launch vehicle, we are moving forward with an existing contract to keep development of our new crew vehicle on track."

As currently envisioned, the MPCV would support four astronauts on short-duration flights of less than 21 days. For longer missions to asteroids or even Mars, the capsules would dock with a larger spacecraft of some sort that would provide more room for the crew while in transit.

"The approach on this vehicle is primarily for launch and entry with in-space capabilities for certain periods of time," Cooke said. "Generally, for long-term missions that are much longer than 21 days, we would assume we have in-space habitation in a larger module just because the crew needs more space for a longer period of time.

"So basically, the vehicle during these missions, whether it be to lunar orbit or the near-Earth asteroids or to Mars or the moons of Mars, this vehicle would be maintained in a dormant mode while a crew would be in another volume, which would have longer term consumables and capabilities to support them. But basically this vehicle is the one we would use for any of those missions, including Mars."

As for serving as a lifeboat on the International Space Station, an idea that never gained traction in the space community, Cooke said the MPCV "will not function in that mode except as a backup." In the future, he said, "we will be adding to that capability with commercial crew spacecraft."


CBS News Space Updates:

NASA Shuttle Web:

NASA Station Web:

Spaceflight Now:


MarketWatch | Market Pulse: AIG stock offering prices at $29

By Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- American International Group Inc.'s /quotes/comstock/13*!aig/quotes/nls/aig AIG -0.88% big offering of common stock priced late Tuesday at $29 each. AIG sold 100 million shares and the Treasury Department sold 200 million shares, for a total of 300 million. That means the offering raised $8.7 billion. That excludes the so-called greenshoe of 45 million shares.


FDIC: Quarterly Banker Profile - First Quarter 2011

The first quarter 2011 FDIC Quarterly Banking Profile (QBP) is now available on line. FDIC-insured institutions reported an aggregate profit of $29 billion in the first quarter of 2011, an $11.6 billion improvement (66.5 percent) from the $17.4 billion in net income the industry reported in the first quarter of 2010. This is the seventh consecutive quarter that earnings registered a year-over-year increase. For the sixth consecutive quarter, reduced provisions for loan losses drove the improvement in earnings.
The QBP provides the earliest comprehensive summary of financial results for all FDIC-insured institutions. This report card on industry status and performance includes written analyses, graphs and statistical tables. In addition to the QBP, you may be interested in these other related products that have been updated to reflect this quarter’s data:

Call and Thrift Financial Reports
Complete bank Call Reports and savings institution Thrift Financial Reports, including detailed balance sheets and income statements.

Institution Directory
Comprehensive financial and demographic data for individual FDIC-insured institutions.

Statistics on Depository Institutions
Financial analysis tool that provides custom peer group analysis and data download capability.

Financial & Forex Info | Reuters - Technology Report: Exclusive: SEC wasted $1 million on data storage, watchdog says

NewsMicrosoft announced an update of its Windows phone software, code-named Mango, hoping a host of new features will help it close the gap on smartphone leaders Google and Apple. The update involves 500 new features, including IE 9 as the mobile browser, integrated Twitter and LinkedIn feeds, automated Facebook check-ins, and access to more than 17,000 downloadable applications.

The updated software will appear on new Windows phones beginning this fall, and be available for existing Windows phone users before that, although Microsoft has not set a timetable for making the update available.

Nokia said in statement that their first Windows Phone devices will be powered by the Mango OS.

Barnes & Noble unveiled a new e-reader that features a touchscreen, weighs less than a paperback book and has a battery life of two months. The latest Nook will sell for $139, the same price as Amazon's e-reader, the Kindle, and will start shipping on June 10. The touchscreen device weighs 7.5 ounces, has a 6-inch display, and allows a user to look up words, highlight passages and adjust the font size.

While the black and white Nook introduced on Tuesday is more than $100 cheaper than its color counterpart, the price would likely drop by the holiday season, Forrester research analyst James McQuivey said. He added the new Nook should put some distance between it and Amazon, which doesn't have color or touchscreen features in its e-reader.

Sony's shares bounced back from two-month lows after the electronics giant said this year's operating profit would match last year's, easing worries about the impact of the March earthquake. Separately, Sony said websites in four countries were hacked in the latest of a series of security breaches.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy softened his usually tough stance on Internet regulation at a forum that brought together tech leaders in Paris, but stark divisions remained on everything from privacy to copyright. A draft communique reviewed by Reuters, which is being finalized for release at the conclusion of the forum Wednesday, suggested that the gathering will paper over the deepest divisions and shy away from making concrete policy proposals.

Exclusive: SEC wasted $1 million on data storage, watchdog says
May 24, 2011 04:42 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Securities and Exchange Commission wasted $1 million on virtual data storage it bought in 2008, the agency's internal watchdog said, part of a series of investigations into the agency's procurement practices. | Full Article
Search engine Yandex's shares rise 50 percent on debut
May 24, 2011 03:38 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares of newly public Russian Internet search company Yandex NV rose 50 percent on Tuesday, evidence of the same ardent investor interest that doubled LinkedIn Corp's share price after its initial public offering last week. | Full Article
Yandex says "better than Google"
May 24, 2011 11:58 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Internet search firm Yandex declared itself "better than Google" as it debuted on the Nasdaq on Tuesday, and signaled it has ambitions to expand beyond its Russian heartland. | Full Article
Videoconference firms eye Iceland ash cloud boost
May 24, 2011 02:20 PM ET
HELSINKI (Reuters) - Video communications companies expect air travel bans stemming from a volcano eruption in Iceland to boost demand in a similar way, or even more, than last year. | Full Article
Microsoft appeals against EU antitrust fine
May 24, 2011 10:47 AM ET
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - An 899 million euro ($1.3 billion) EU antitrust fine was excessive and undeserved, Microsoft Corp told an EU court on Tuesday in a case which could draw a line under a decade of legal battles. | Full Article

CBS POLITICAL HOTSHEET TOP STORIES: House Schedules Vote On Raising The Debt Limit

The CBS News Political Hotsheet newsletter

Republican leaders in the House schedule vote, expecting bill to fail and prove that conditions for deficit reduction are necessary
Read full story
House schedules vote on raising the debt limit

Obama flubs in guest book, dates visit President Obama may have been reminiscing about a good year when visiting Westminster Abbey in London today

Netanyahu aims to prevent UN vote on Palestine Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu echoes many of Obama's ideas in a speech before Congress; Fears of a U.N. vote on Palestine loom

Stimulus tax cheats? Sharyl Attkisson: Taxpayers are getting ripped off to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars by companies that received stimulus funds

Heckler interrupts Netanyahu speech to Congress Woman screams "equal rights for Palestinians!" before being escorted out of gallery amid boos from members of Congress

Financial & Forex Infp | Kitco New York Market Close Report

New York Market Close May 24/11 05:21 PM EDT

Financial & Forex Info | Reuters - Daily Investor Update: Wall Street Slips on Worry About Growth Outlook

Wall Street slips on worry about growth outlook
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks dipped in light volume on Tuesday as oil shares' gains failed to offset lingering concerns about slow growth. | Full Article

Stimulus money recipients owe billions in taxes: government
May 24, 2011 04:36 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Contractors and businesses that received money through the 2009 federal economic stimulus plan owe billions in unpaid taxes to the U.S. government, a federal auditor said on Tuesday. | Full Article
Pentagon buoyed by Wall Street view of defense stocks
May 24, 2011 04:22 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon is very encouraged by Wall Street's response to aerospace companies and arms makers, even as U.S. defense spending flattens, the top U.S. weapons buyer said on Tuesday. | Full Article
New home sales rise, but signal no recovery yet
May 24, 2011 01:30 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sales of newly built single-family homes rose for a second straight month in April and supply was the lowest in a year, but an overhang of previously owned houses on the market could hobble recovery. | Full Article
EU policy options narrow to avert Greek default
May 24, 2011 03:33 PM ET
ATHENS/PARIS (Reuters) - Europe's policy options to avert a Greek default are narrowing fast after the ECB and ratings agencies warned against even voluntary debt rescheduling and Athens highlighted its urgent need for more EU cash. | Full Article
France's Lagarde to launch IMF bid on Wed: source
May 24, 2011 03:51 PM ET
PARIS (Reuters) - French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is planning to announce her candidacy on Wednesday to be the new head of the IMF after the European Union reached a consensus on backing her, diplomatic sources told Reuters. | Full Article
Netanyahu says will give up some land for peace
May 24, 2011 04:29 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israel is prepared to make "painful compromises" for peace with the Palestinians, including the handover of land they seek for a state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Congress on Tuesday. | Full Article
U.S. debt talks resume with focus on healthcare
May 24, 2011 04:09 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and senior lawmakers met on Tuesday to take a hard look at healthcare costs, one of the biggest stumbling blocks in their effort to forge a deal to tame America's national debt. | Full Article
Chrysler repays $7.6 billion U.S., Canada loans
May 24, 2011 01:53 PM ET
DETROIT (Reuters) - Chrysler Group LLC on Tuesday paid back $7.6 billion in U.S. and Canadian government loans from its 2009 bailout, a move that allows the U.S. automaker to distance itself from an unpopular bailout and deepen its ties with Italian automaker Fiat SpA. | Full Article
Searchers and dogs scour Missouri tornado wreckage
May 24, 2011 03:31 PM ET
JOPLIN, Missouri (Reuters) - First they found his dark blue teddy bear. Then frantic relatives searching for toddler Skyular Logsdon spotted his red T-shirt and pants, torn, rain-soaked and wrapped around a telephone pole. | Full Article
WHO defers fixing date on destroying live smallpox
Poorer African states put children first: study
Vertex hepatitis C drug OK'd, promising more cures
Asthma often elicits unneeded antibiotics for kids
Probiotic yogurt no help for kids' constipation

CFTC | Enforcement Actions: CFTC Charges Parnon Energy Inc., Arcadia Petroleum Ltd. and Arcadia Energy (Suisse) SA with Price Manipulation in the Crude Oil Market

  • May 24, 2011

    CFTC Charges Parnon Energy Inc., Arcadia Petroleum Ltd. and Arcadia Energy (Suisse) SA with Price Manipulation in the Crude Oil Market

    Complaint alleges cross-market trading scheme in 2008 involving accumulation and sell-off of a substantial position in physical crude oil to manipulate futures prices, yielding in excess of $50 million in unlawful profits for defendants.

    James Dyer and Nick Wildgoose, who directed the manipulative trading scheme alleged in the complaint, are also charged.

    Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today filed a civil enforcement action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against Parnon Energy Inc. (Parnon) of California, Arcadia Petroleum Ltd. (Arcadia Petroleum) of the United Kingdom, Arcadia Energy (Suisse) SA (Arcadia Suisse) of Switzerland, James T. Dyer of Australia and Nicholas J. Wildgoose of California, charging them with unlawfully manipulating and attempting to manipulate New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) crude oil futures prices from January 2008 to April 2008.
    As alleged in the CFTC complaint, during the relevant period defendants traded futures and other contracts that were priced off of the price of West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude oil (WTI). WTI is delivered to commercial users at Cushing, Okla., a major crude oil delivery point. The price of WTI is a benchmark for crude oil prices around the world, and the supply of WTI at Cushing is an important driver of WTI price.
    According to the allegations, defendants conducted a manipulative cycle, driving the price of WTI to artificial highs and then back down, to make unlawful profits. First, they purchased large quantities of physical WTI crude oil during the relevant period, even though they did not have a commercial need for crude oil. They purchased the oil pursuant to their scheme to dominate and control the already tight supply at Cushing to manipulate the price of WTI upward and to profit from the corresponding increase in value of their WTI futures and options contracts (WTI Derivatives) on NYMEX and IntercontinentalExchange (ICE). Next, once WTI reached artificially high prices and they had taken profits from their long WTI Derivative position, defendants allegedly engaged in additional trading activity – selling more WTI Derivatives short at the artificially high prices. Finally, defendants allegedly strategically sold off their physical holdings of WTI, mostly all on one day, to drive the WTI price back down and to profit from their short WTI Derivatives position. Pursuant to this manipulative cycle, driving the WTI price up and then back down, which they conducted in January and March 2008, and attempted in April 2008, defendants realized profits from their WTI Derivatives trading that exceeded $50 million, according to the complaint.
    The complaint alleges that by engaging in such conduct, Dyer and Wildgoose violated Sections 6(c), 6(d) and 9(a)(2) of the Commodity Exchange Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 6(c), 6(d), 13(a)(2). Accordingly, the liability of corporate defendants Parnon, Arcadia Petroleum and Arcadia Suisse is based upon the alleged violations of their agents and/or employees, including Dyer and Wildgoose, pursuant to Section 2(a)(1)(B) of the Act, 7 U.S.C. § 2(a)(1)(B).
    In its ongoing litigation, the CFTC seeks permanent injunctive relief, disgorgement, restitution, trading and registration bans, imposition of civil monetary penalties and all other appropriate remedial relief.
    The Commission appreciates the assistance of the Financial Services Authority of the United Kingdom and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission in this matter.
    The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are primarily responsible for this case: Melanie Devoe, Jennifer Diamantis, Saadeh Al-Jurf, Dmitriy Vilenskiy, Greg Scopino, George Malas, Eugene Smith, Russ Battaglia, Jeremy Cusimano, Joan Manley, Paul Hayeck and Christine Ryall.
    Last Updated: May 24, 2011

    Media Contacts

    Office of Public Affairs

NYT: Sfternoon Business News: Chrysler Pays Back Loans From the U.S. and Canada


Chrysler Pays Back Loans From the U.S. and Canada

The carmaker said it made payments of $5.9 billion to the United States Treasury and $1.7 billion to Export Development Canada in a series of transactions completed Tuesday morning.

U.S. Commodity Regulator Sues Oil Traders

The agency accuses three companies and two individuals of manipulating oil markets when crude prices reached $100 a barrel in 2008.

U.K. Budget Gap Widens

Britain's austerity plan hit a snag in April when the budget shortfall widened more than expected as tax revenue fell, according to official data.

As Bank Woes Ease, F.D.I.C. Fund Nears Positive Territory

Only four lenders were added to the government list of so-called problem banks in the first quarter, bringing the total to 888 from 884, the smallest increase since the financial crisis began.

Greek Government Struggles to Win Support for More Austerity

Despite pressure from lenders, Prime Minister George Papandreou had little apparent success Tuesday in persuading his political rivals to back additional tax increases and spending cuts.