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Feb 16, 2012

Santorum releases federal tax returns showing sharp rise in personal wealth: The Washington Post | Politics Afternoo Edition

The Washington Post

Politics Afternoon Edition


  1. Santorum releases federal tax returns showing sharp rise in personal wealth

    GOP candidate stresses his coal-mining background, but personal finances tell another story.
    » Read full article
  2. Romney and Obama vie for title of most charitable; Santorum gave least to charity

    The most charitable presidential candidate in the 2012 election is ... a tie!
    » Read full article
  3. Mitt Romney reframes himself as a ‘severely conservative’ governor

    In Massachusetts, Mitt Romney worked to cut spending, to stop same-sex marriage, and to bring back the death penalty. But he also frequently sought compromises with Democrats. And when he couldn’t win, he often gave up.
    » Read full article
  4. Romney’s work on Olympics, Mass. projects reveals a complex history with earmarks

    Opposition to federal bailout of auto industry contrasts with earlier efforts seeking government aid.
    » Read full article
  5. Mitt Romney to skip last pre-Super Tuesday debate

    Mitt Romney will not take part in March 1 debate in Georgia, the final debate before Super Tuesday on March 6, his campaign said Thursday.
    » Read full article

CMI | Articles of interest: A Warning Sign For The World

CMI Gold & Silver

Bill Haynes
CMI Gold & Silver President, Bill Haynes, is featured on the Weekly Metals Wrap Up online radio program with King World News. Tune in each week for insight and commentary on the metals market.

A Warning Sign For The World

February 15, 2012

Any financial system that is based on debt is doomed to fail. Today, we are living in the greatest debt bubble that the world has ever seen, and if all of a sudden people could not use credit to buy things our economy would immediately ground to a halt. Unfortunately, no debt bubble can last forever. When this current debt bubble finally bursts, faith in the financial system is going to disappear, credit is going to freeze up and there is going to be a massive wave of bank failures. Right now, Greece is a warning sign for the world. Nobody wants to lend money to Greece, the Greek banking system is dying, one out of every four businesses has already shut down, unemployment is soaring and the Greek economy has now been in recession for five years in a row. Sadly, the economic implosion in Greece is rapidly accelerating. The Greek economy shrunk at a 7 percent annual rate during the 4th quarter of 2011. That wasn't supposed to happen. Things were supposed to be getting better in Greece by now. But instead the Greek depression is getting even worse, and very soon the rest of the world is going to be going through what Greece is currently experiencing.
Unfortunately, most in the mainstream media are treating what is happening in Greece as an "isolated incident" rather than as a very serious warning sign for the world.
Thankfully, there are at least a few reporters out there that are realizing the gravity of the situation. The following is how one reporter from the New York Times recently described what life is like in Greece now....
By many indicators, Greece is devolving into something unprecedented in modern Western experience. A quarter of all Greek companies have gone out of business since 2009, and half of all small businesses in the country say they are unable to meet payroll. The suicide rate increased by 40 percent in the first half of 2011. A barter economy has sprung up, as people try to work around a broken financial system. Nearly half the population under 25 is unemployed. Last September, organizers of a government-sponsored seminar on emigrating to Australia, an event that drew 42 people a year earlier, were overwhelmed when 12,000 people signed up. Greek bankers told me that people had taken about one-third of their money out of their accounts; many, it seems, were keeping what savings they had under their beds or buried in their backyards. One banker, part of whose job these days is persuading people to keep their money in the bank, said to me, “Who would trust a Greek bank?"

Can you imagine?
Greece is experiencing a full-blown economic collapse and nobody can see a light at the end of the tunnel at this point.
As I have written about previously, the overall rate of unemployment in Greece has now risen above 20 percent and the youth unemployment rate in Greece has soared to an astounding 48 percent.
Deleveraging can be an extremely painful process. Greece has been forced to try to reduce the size of its budget deficit, but every time it cuts government spending that causes economic activity (and thus government revenues) to slow down as well.
Now the EU and the IMF are demanding that even more very painful austerity measures be implemented in Greece even though Greece is already experiencing a full-blown depression.
The EU and the IMF are demanding that Greece fire 15,000 more government workers immediately and a total of 150,000 government workers by 2015.
The EU and the IMF are demanding that wages for government workers be cut by another 20 percent.
The EU and the IMF are demanding that the minimum wage be slashed by more than 20 percent.
The EU and the IMF are also demanding significant reductions in unemployment benefits and pension benefits.
Of course all of those cuts are going to make the short-term economic conditions in Greece even worse.
The rioting, looting and burning of buildings that we are witnessing right now in Greece is likely to continue for quite some time as exasperated citizens attempt to express their frustrations to politicians that simply do not seem to care.
According to the National Confederation of Greek Commerce, recent rioting resulted in damage to 153 businesses in Athens. 45 of those businesses were totally destroyed.
You can view some stunning footage of the current rioting in Greece right here. [a must view, informative, to the point]
Despite all of the austerity measures that have already been implemented, the truth is that Greece is very likely to default soon anyway.
There is a very good chance that the new austerity agreement that the Greek parliament just approved will never be implemented. There are new elections scheduled for April and the current party in power is polling in the single digits.
The new Greek government is likely to look much different from the current one, and nobody knows for sure if the new government will follow through on any of the promises being made by the current government.
In addition, the German parliament must approve this new deal with Greece, and the German parliament is not scheduled to vote on it until February 27th. Considering the mood in Germany right now, approval is not guaranteed.
So there are all kinds of things that could go wrong with the "deals" that are currently being discussed. The truth is that a Greek default in the coming months seems to become more likely by the day.
Some in the financial world almost seem eager for a Greek default. The following is what Jon Moulton, the chairman of Better Capital, recently told CNBC....
"If I was Greek, I wouldn't be going for these measures, I'd be going for default and getting it over with. Would you like two to three years of pain or 20?"
But a disorderly Greek default would not be a pleasant thing for the global economy at all. A recent article in the Guardian detailed what some of the consequences of a Greek default and exit from the eurozone might be....
But default and "re-drachmatisation" would be a costly and chaotic process. In the long term the euro might be strengthened if some of its weaker members headed for the door. But in the short term banks across the eurozone might have to be closed to prevent a run on the single currency as investors speculated about which country might be next. A new wave of bank nationalisations would be likely to follow as lenders counted their losses on now worthless Greek debt.
Capital controls would have to be imposed and borders shut to stop money flooding out of Greece. Portugal, Italy and Spain would come under intense pressure from investors wary about the risk of another victim. Banks everywhere, already reluctant to lend, would cut back hard, nervous about their exposure to the bonds of all Europe's crisis-hit states.
And the financial crisis in Europe is going to continue to spread well beyond Greece. Moody's Investors Service just downgraded the credit ratings of six European nations. The following is how Bloomberg described the downgrades....
Spain was downgraded to A3 from A1 with a negative outlook, Italy was downgraded to A3 from A2 with a negative outlook and Portugal was downgraded to Ba3 from Ba2 with a negative outlook, Moody's said. It also reduced the ratings of Slovakia, Slovenia and Malta. Countries such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Hungary are heading down the exact same road that Greece has gone. Greece was the first one to experience a full-blown depression, but soon Greece will have a lot of company.

Greece is most definitely a warning sign for the world. If you keep recklessly piling up debt, eventually a day of reckoning comes. It is inevitable.

But Barack Obama does not seem to understand this. He continues to pile another 150 million dollars on to our national debt every single hour. He knows that cutting spending significantly right now would hurt the economy and that would significantly hurt his chances for another term.
Needless to say, Barack Obama is not likely to do anything that is going to significantly hurt his chances for another four years in the White House.

So we continue to roll on toward disaster.
The U.S. financial system is like a car with no brakes that is heading straight toward a 5,000 foot drop at 100 miles an hour.

It is all going to seem like fun and games to some people until we hit the canyon floor.
Once that happens, nobody will be laughing.

BIV Business Today News: B.C. budget: Mining industry calls for support on growth

Business in Vancouver Today

B.C. budget: Mining industry calls for support on growth

Thursday, 16 February 2012 10:54
BC Budget 2012 logoAs B.C.’s government prepares to release the budget February 21, the province’s mining industry is calling for key action to support the industry’s growth.

Vancouver clean-tech firm tops TSX Venture 50 list

Thursday, 16 February 2012 10:43
TMX Exchange boardAgriMarine Holdings Inc. (FSH), a Vancouver company that makes closed containment pens for fish farms, tops this year’s list of clean-tech companies on the 2011 TSX Venture 50. B.C. companies also dominated the list’s technology and life sciences category.

B.C. economy to cool further in 2012: BMO

Thursday, 16 February 2012 10:38
BMO Capital Markets logoB.C.’s economy has cooled and will likely cool further this year, according to a report released this morning by BMO Capital Markets Economics and BMO Commercial Banking.

Pawpaw grower gets $200k to create viable variety

Thursday, 16 February 2012 10:35
Pawpaw fruitLangley greenhouse operator Bevo Agro Inc. (TSX-V:BVO) is getting $200,000 in federal funding to turn the pawpaw into a commercially viable fruit.

B.C. posts record exports to the Pacific Rim

Thursday, 16 February 2012 10:32
Vancouver portB.C.’s exports to China and South Korea hit record levels in 2011, with exports to the Pacific Rim for the first time outstripping those to the U.S.

Home sales up outside Lower Mainland

Thursday, 16 February 2012 10:29
Real estate for sale signsB.C. home sales rose to 1,620 units outside the Lower Mainland, a 7% increase on January 2011, but dropped 10% in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA).

CMI | New York Spot Prices at Close.

CMI Gold & Silver

Spot Prices as of the close of trading in New York
As of: Thursday February 16, 2012

  Today Change Week Ago Month Ago Year Ago
Gold $1,726.50 +$0.80 $1,739.20 $1,631.20 $1,374.80
Silver $33.46 +$0.01 $34.00 $29.57 $30.70
Platinum $1,628.50 -$12.40 $1,669.30 $1,490.40 $1,836.00
Palladium $699.90 +$13.00 $714.00 $635.80 $840.50

U.S. Department of the Treasury Statements: Statement by Under Secretary David Cohen on New Financial Action Task Force Recommendations.

WASHINGTON – Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen issued the following statement today:
“The United States welcomes the successful completion of the work of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to revise and strengthen its recommendations to combat the global threat of money laundering, terrorist financing, and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The FATF is the global standard-setting body for measures to combat these threats and today’s recommendations will be applied by more than 180 countries, through a global network of FATF-style regional bodies, as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
“The FATF recommendations have been revised to provide governments with stronger tools to take action against financial crime and protect the integrity of the international financial system. At the same time, these new standards address new priority areas such as proliferation finance, corruption, and tax crimes. The revisions reflect a risk-based approach, strengthening safeguards in areas that pose higher risks, and providing more flexibility to simplify measures in areas that pose a low risk for abuse. Key new measures include the following:
  • Proliferation Finance: FATF has adopted a new standard to assess jurisdictional compliance with the targeted financial sanctions requirements of UN Security Council resolutions that focus on the financing of proliferation activity. This standard will assist countries to address proliferation threats emanating from jurisdictions such as Iran and North Korea.
  • Corruption: To combat the significant problem posed by corruption across the globe, FATF has expanded the scope of its standard requiring financial institutions to apply enhanced due diligence (EDD) against all foreign politically exposed persons (PEPs) to now include a risk-based requirement for applying EDD against domestic PEPs. FATF has also strengthened and clarified its standards addressing the transparency of corporate vehicles and trusts, particularly with respect to beneficial ownership requirements. Such enhancements will assist financial institutions and anti-money laundering authorities to identify and investigate suspect accounts, including those used to launder proceeds of corruption.
  • Tax Crimes: FATF has also expanded the scope of predicate offenses to money laundering by including serious tax crimes. This expansion will promote the use of anti-money laundering authorities to assist in the identification, confiscation, and recovery of lost tax revenue.
“The FATF’s issuance of these revised global standards is an important development in the international community’s efforts to protect the international financial system, combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and the financing of proliferation. The United States looks forward to joining countries throughout the world in implementing these new standards.”

Companies' Announcements: Far East Company Announces Update Conference Call

Far East Energy Announces Update Conference Call

Houston, Texas – February 16, 2012 - Far East Energy Corporation (OTCBB:FEEC) today announced that it will host a conference call to update shareholders and other interested parties on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. Central Time – 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. 

Conference Call Details

To participate in the conference call, participants have the option to listen only to the call or to listen and submit questions for the Q&A segment of the call by accessing a link which will be posted on the Company’s website. Please note: questions can only be submitted via the conference link posted on the Company’s website at

Date:                           Thursday, February 23, 2012
Time:                          9:00 a.m. CT – 10:00 a.m. ET
Dial in access:            1-800-860-2442 (U.S. participants) or
                                    1-412-858-4600 (International participants)
                                    1-866-605-3852 (Canada participants)
Request connect:       Far East Energy Conference Call
            Call and Q&A:
Far East Energy Corporation
Based in Houston, Texas, with offices in Beijing, Kunming, and Taiyuan City, China, Far East Energy Corporation is focused on coalbed methane exploration and development in China.
Statements contained in this press release that state the intentions, hopes, estimates, beliefs, anticipations, expectations or predictions of the future of Far East Energy Corporation and its management are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.  It is important to note that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve a number of risks and uncertainties.  Actual results could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements.  Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements include: the preliminary nature of well data, including permeability and gas content; there can be no assurance as to the volume of gas that is ultimately produced or sold from our wells; the fracture stimulation program may not be successful in increasing gas volumes; due to limitations under Chinese law, we may have only limited rights to enforce the gas sales agreement between Shanxi Province Guoxin Energy Development Group Limited and China United Coalbed Methane Corporation (“CUCBM”), to which we are an express beneficiary; additional wells may not be drilled, or if drilled may not be timely; additional pipelines and gathering systems needed to transport our gas may not be constructed, or if constructed may not be timely, or their routes may differ from those anticipated; the pipeline and local distribution/compressed natural gas companies may decline to purchase or take our gas, or we may not be able to enforce our rights under definitive agreements with pipelines; conflicts with coal mining operations or coordination of our exploration and production activities with mining activities could adversely impact or add significant costs to our operations; the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (“MofCom”) may not approve the Modification Agreement to the Shouyang PSC (the “Modification Agreement”) on a timely basis or at all, or, if so, on commercially advantageous terms; our Chinese partner companies or MofCom may require certain changes to the terms and conditions of the Modification Agreement or our PSCs in conjunction with their approval, including reductions in acreage or a reduction in the term of the extension for the exploration period; our lack of operating history; limited and potentially inadequate management of our cash resources; risk and uncertainties associated with exploration, development and production of coalbed methane; proved reserves may not be reported in a timely manner or at all and, if reported, may be smaller than anticipated; our inability to extract or sell all or a substantial portion of our estimated Contingent Resources; we may not satisfy requirements for listing our securities on a securities exchange; expropriation and other risks associated with foreign operations; disruptions in capital markets affecting fundraising; matters affecting the energy industry generally; lack of availability of oil and gas field goods and services; environmental risks; drilling and production risks; changes in laws or regulations affecting our operations, as well as other risks described in our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Investor Relations – 281-606-1600
Far East Energy Corporation

Bruce Huff – 832-598-0470                                       Catherine Gay – 832-598-0470
Far East Energy Corporation                                      Far East Energy Corporation                                

U.S. Seeks oversight of debt collectors, credit bureau: The Washington Post | Economy

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday sought to bring debt collectors and credit bureaus under its purview, marking the first time the often controversial industries would be subject to federal supervision.

Under its proposed rule, the CFPB would oversee the nation’s largest debt collectors and consumer reporting agencies such as Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. It is the first attempt by the watchdog agency to define which businesses in the vast swath of nontraditional financial institutions will be subject to the same examination process as banks.

U.S. seeks oversight of debt collectors, credit bureaus

Read more at:

Smart Investing: Gold: A Billionaire's Viewpoint

Smart Investing Daily - a Service of Insiders Strategy Group

Gold: A Billionaire's Viewpoint
By Andrew Snyder, Editorial Director, Insiders Strategy Group
Dear Reader,
Oil is up. The euro is down. Stocks are mixed. And gold is bouncing all over the place.
It's the result of a world in flux.
In preparation for our big (maybe even huge?) natural resources conference in late April, Sara and I sat down with some of the brightest minds in the business.
On Monday, we talked with Ian Gordon, the famed economist behind the Long Wave Cycle. He tells us to prepare for even stronger gains in gold. As the world's debt bubble deflates, he says, gold will be the safe haven of choice.
It is all part of what Gordon calls the economic seasons.
Right now, we are in winter. But this isn't the kind of season that lasts a mere three months. We've been in this cold spell for several years -- ever since the beautiful leaves of economic autumn fell to the ground in 2008.
In winter, we're forced to live off what we've stashed away.
How to Buy U.S. Gov't-Created Silver for $3.00

The U.S. Gov't has created a little-known way to own silver for just $3.00.

It has nothing to do with stocks... options... collectible coins... or anything you've likely heard of before.

But this silver investment could be one of the cheapest ways to protect your money from the decline of the U.S. dollar.

Click here for details.

For most folks and most governments, though, the pantry is empty. There's nothing but an IOU left over from better days.
And that's what Gordon is focused on. He knows the only way out of this cycle of debt is to paper it over with more debt and more funny money.
In other words... inflation.
That's why Gordon agrees with us and recommends alternative assets. It's also why he likes gold.
But even though he expects gold to flat-out soar as winter becomes spring (I've heard him mention the $4,000-an-ounce figure), I don't think he's as bullish as the man who called me on Tuesday morning.
Eric Sprott is a billionaire gold investor. He's got over 80% of his portfolio in precious metals.
And he says you should, too.
One of the first things this famed investor mentioned during our call was how the rules have suddenly changed.
We've got huge reform efforts out of Washington. But the problem is our leaders tell us one thing and do another. The fact that we still don't have a final version of the Volcker rule -- more than two years after the president first endorsed it -- is perfect proof.
What's worse, Sprott says, is the constant manipulation.
If the Fed isn't printing money... it's "twisting" interest rates.
And if it's not the Fed, it's the suckers in Europe that are forced to prop up a country drunk on public spending.
Gordon and Sprott both said something that needs repeating.
Physical possession is key.
Again... physical possession is key.
GOLD RUSH: Why Metals "Mania" Is Just Ahead!

While gold has soared in 2011, the public is still not in the trade. That's why the clock is ticking on a gold (and silver!) mania that will send prices into a blistering spike.

Major bull markets don't end with a whimper... they end with a bang!

Discover why the biggest gold rush in history is just ahead... and how it could make YOU rich!

In the off chance gold becomes the currency substitute so many investors want it to be, a few shares of an ETF will be next to worthless. If the system melts down, it will start with an implosion of counterparty risk.
In other words, when the banks fail, why would we be so ignorant to think the bank that sold you a gold derivative (little more than a piece of paper and a promise -- just like the dollar) would survive?
The chances are quite good, in fact, that it will be those same derivatives that take down the banks.
You do remember 2008, right?
If/when failure happens, it will be a great day for the folks with a chunk of gold in their home vault. But then again... it will also be a great day to buy a gun.
Most of today's gold investors, though, are speculators. They don't care about protection from a full-on meltdown. They just want to get rich between now and fiscal Armageddon.
And remember, the market will go wherever the money pushes it.
Right now, the money is pushing gold higher.
From the Inside,
P.S. I have no doubt gold will be a hot topic at our natural resources conference. But it won't be the only moneymaker we cover. We'll hear from speakers on just about every angle of the resource sector. If you want to get the straight scoop from the world's top investors... this is your opportunity.

The Stories YOU Need to Read:

The Economist | Politics this week: Highlights of news coverage from February 11th - 17 2012

 The EconomistPolitics this week

» The latest brinkmanship between Greece and other members of the euro zone was the most quarrelsome yet. Amid violent scenes on the streets of Athens, the Greek parliament passed a new austerity package in the hope of securing a second bail-out worth €130 billion ($170 billion). But German officials said more cuts were needed and demanded written assurances from Greek politicians that they would stick to the deal after elections, due in April. See article»
» In an early test of its commitment to reform, the new Spanish government approved a set of changes to labour laws designed to allow companies both to employ workers more easily, but also to sack them. The country's biggest trade unions said they would march in protest. Spain's unemployment rate of 23% is the highest in the European Union.
» Gazprom Media dissolved the board of Ekho Moskvy, a radio station in which the Russian gas giant holds a two-thirds stake. Despite its owners' links to the Kremlin the broadcaster has often provided an outlet to opposition voices. Last month Vladimir Putin, the prime minister and president-to-be, said the station often "poured diarrhoea" over him. See article»
» Ten central and eastern European countries urged the Dutch parliament to take down a controversial website set up by Geert Wilders's far-right Freedom Party that encourages Dutch citizens to complain about immigrants from the region. Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, who relies on Mr Wilders for support in parliament, has refused to condemn the website.

Re-election priorities
» The White House released its budget request for next year, forecasting a deficit of $901 billion for 2013 and a cumulative deficit of $6.7 trillion for 2013-22. Barack Obama used the occasion to call once again for increased spending on infrastructure and higher taxes on the rich to pay for it all. See article»
» Democrats and Republicans reached a compromise on extending a cut in payroll taxes until the end of this year, after Republicans said they would not push for conditional spending cuts. The issue led to a stand-off with the White House in December, until an irate public forced the Republicans to back down.
» Mitt Romney was declared the winner of the Republican caucuses in Maine (even though a few precincts have yet to vote). But he had to crank up his campaign in Michigan, his home state, which votes in a primary on February 28th, after Rick Santorum surged to take a big lead in polls there. See article»

» Xi Jinping, China's vice-president and leader-in-waiting, arrived in Washington, DC, for talks with Barack Obama. Mr Xi's itinerary in America includes a visit to Iowa, where he had spent time studying farming in 1985. China's current leader, Hu Jintao, made a similar trip to the United States in 2002 shortly before he ascended to the presidency. See article»
» Washington became the seventh American state to legalise gay marriage (which is also permitted in Washington, DC). Legislators in New Jersey and Maryland who support same-sex marriage tried to get similar bills passed in their states this week.

Trapped in an inferno

» A fire at a jail in Honduras killed over 350 people. The list of possible causes includes an inmate's protest, a fight and an electrical fault. Rescue crews said they could not save many prisoners because they did not have the keys to the jail cells. See article»
» Henrique Capriles won the presidential primary of Venezuela's opposition coalition. Mr Capriles, the governor of Miranda state, will face Hugo Chávez, the incumbent, in an election in October. See article»
» Peruvian security forces captured Florindo Flores Hala, the leader of the rump of the Shining Path guerrillas. Ollanta Humala, the president, has vowed to eliminate the remnants of the group by the end of his term in 2016. See article»

Murkier and murkier
Click Here! » A bomb hit an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in Delhi, injuring four people. A similar device attached to an Israeli embassy car in Georgia was defused. In Bangkok a bomb accidentally went off in a house rented by three Iranian men. Israel accused Iran of being behind the mischief, which it denied.
» Meanwhile, Iranian state TV reported that Iran had stopped exporting oil to six European countries, a retaliation for EU proposals to block Iranian oil imports. Officials refused to verify the report. Meanwhile, and to great fanfare, Iran also announced advances in its nuclear programme.
» A nationwide five-day strike in Israel led by trade unions ended with a 20% pay increase for low-level public sector workers.
» After months of tense negotiations Sudan and South Sudan signed a non-aggression pact, but a final deal on splitting the two countries has not been reached.

Religious intolerance
» Malaysia deported Hamza Kashgari, a 23-year-old journalist, back to Saudi Arabia. Mr Kashgari was detained in Kuala Lumpur for posting a tweet containing what was perceived to be an insult to Muhammad. He is expected to be charged with blasphemy, which carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.
» Umar Patek, who is accused of being a high-ranking member of the group responsible for the 2002 bombings in Bali that killed 202 people, went on trial in Jakarta. He was arrested early last year in Abbottabad, the Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden was found.
» Chinese television viewers will no longer be able to watch foreign shows during prime time, according to new government regulations. The rules also restrict imported programming to no more than 25% per channel per day. Last year China's TV regulator took a popular talent show off the air and announced that channels must broadcast more cultural programmes.
» China decided that a group of North Korean defectors it found living in the city of Shenyang, which is not far from the border with North Korea, should be forcibly sent back. Human-rights groups pleaded with China not to carry out the deportations.
» Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov was re-elected for a second term as president of Turkmenistan. There were seven other candidates, all from his own (and the only) party. He picked up only 97% of the vote. 

The Economist | Business This Week: Highlights of news coverage from February 11th - 17th 2012

The EconomistBusiness this week

» As the process of finalising a second bail-out for Greece continued to grind on, official data recorded a contraction in the euro zone's economy for the first time since mid-2009. Belgium, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal are now all in recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. See article»

Moody's blues
» Moody's cut the credit ratings of Italy, Portugal and Spain, and also put Austria, Britain and France on negative outlook, a warning that their triple-A ratings could be downgraded by the agency. Moody's said that although Britain was not in the euro zone the crisis was "exerting negative pressure" on its economy, and that the government may thus find it a "challenge" to reduce Britain's heavy public debt. See article»
» In an unexpected move the Bank of Japan increased its bond-buying programme by ¥10 trillion ($130 billion) in an effort to boost Japan's struggling economy. After years of deflation the central bank also refined its policy on prices, saying it hoped the annual inflation rate would increase to hit a "goal" of 1% "for the time being". Japan's GDP shrank by 2.3% in the fourth quarter. See article»
» American regulators were bombarded with complaints from banks about forthcoming restrictions on proprietary trading (in which they use their own money to take risky bets), ahead of a deadline for public comment. The banks worry that without revisions the "Volcker rule", which is included in the Dodd-Frank reforms and is due to come into force in July, will restrict other kinds of trading and hurt the wider financial system. But in a rebuttal to those arguments Paul Volcker, who proposed the rule, said less speculative trading would mean more security for investors. See article»
» A six-month ban expired on the short-selling of shares in France's biggest banks. The ban was put in place last August, when financial markets were plunging in a particularly acute bout of anxiety over the euro-zone crisis. BNP Paribas and Société Générale reported a sharp fall in profits this week, as they took more write-downs on their holdings of Greek sovereign debt.
» Barclays also reported a poor set of earnings, as revenue from its investment-banking business plunged. The unit's annual pre-tax profit was down by 32%; Barclays reduced the bonus pool for bankers by a similar amount.
» Robert Zoellick confirmed that he would step down as president of the World Bank when his five-year term ends in June. One question regarding a successor is how much America wants to hang on to the job, given its oft-repeated call for candidates from emerging markets to be considered to run the World Bank and the IMF. The Europeans clung on to the IMF's top job last year, with the appointment of Christine Lagarde from France as managing director.
See article»

A Manhattan property
» The family holding company that owns the Empire State Building outlined its plan to launch an IPO as a real-estate investment trust on the New York Stock Exchange, in which it hopes to raise $1 billion. Malkin Holdings bought control of the iconic skyscraper in 2002 from Donald Trump.
» The first arrests were made in relation to an accounting scandal at Olympus that has rocked Japan's corporate world. The company's former chairman, his deputy and the corporate auditor, who all left last year after the company admitted to wrongdoing, were among those arrested. See article»
» Apple's stock rose to over $500 a share for the first time. Its share price has jumped by 25% since the start of the year. But Apple, already under attack for the working conditions at factories that assemble the iPad in China, suffered a new setback there when Proview Technology, a local firm that claims it has the Chinese trademark for "iPad", persuaded some cities to remove the devices from shop shelves. Its lawyers have requested customs officials to halt exports; if they agree, the financial blow to Apple would be severe.
See article»
» Kellogg's offered to buy Pringles for $2.7 billion. The popular potato-snack business is owned by Procter & Gamble, which had planned to sell it to Diamond Foods, until the deal was blown off course by an accounting scandal involving payments to Californian walnut farmers. The scandal caused Diamond to restate its earnings for two years.

Headline news
» The improper practices at a British newspaper owned by News Corporation returned to the front pages, after five journalists were arrested at the Sun in connection with an investigation into alleged payments to police and defence officials. The Sun is Rupert Murdoch's biggest-selling daily. Last year the media mogul shut down its sister paper, the News of the World, amid a furore in Britain over phone hacking.

Money Show Traders Daily Alert: Volume Indicator Stands Test of Time

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Stocks and Markets in the News | European Markets: Europe hit by Greece but U.S. data curb losses


Europe Daily
FEBRUARY 16, 2012

Europe hit by Greece but U.S. data curb losses
2/16/2012 9:46 AM ET
European stocks fall Thursday as fresh worries over Greece's second bailout take a toll and Moody's Investors Service threatens to downgrade over 100 financial institutions.
U.S. data curb losses for U.K.'s FTSE 100
2/16/2012 12:54 PM ET
London shares pare losses to finish Thursday's session modestly lower, perking up as better-than-expected U.S. jobless-claims data help counter worries over Greece.
Amazon sinks as Morgan Stanley cites Apple threat
2/16/2012 12:12 PM ET
Shares of Amazon fall after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock citing near-term challenges, including competitive threats from Apple Inc.
Greece will take years to repair: U.S. official
2/16/2012 12:04 PM ET
Greece faces a daunting task in making lasting reforms intended to restore its economic growth and sustainability, says the Treasury undersecretary for international affairs.
Treasurys turn down after U.S. data
2/16/2012 11:36 AM ET
Treasury prices turn lower as better-than-forecast data give investors reason to move away from the safe haven of U.S. debt.
GM racks up record 2011 profit
2/16/2012 11:34 AM ET
Weaker fourth-quarter results reflect challenges overseas, but investors bid GM's shares higher.
U.S. wine exports jump 22% to $1.4B in 2011
2/16/2012 11:27 AM ET
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- U.S. wine exports climbed 22% to $1.4 billion in 2011, the Wine Institute said Thursday, as costly trade barriers were reduced in certain markets. By value, the European Union was the largest market for U.S. wine, growing 10% to $478 million last year, followed by Canada, up 23% to $379 million and Hong Kong, up 39% to $163 million. The California wine industry has been making a harder push into China and this showed. Exports rose 42% to $62 million, making China the No. 5 export market by value for U.S. wines. Japan, the Wine Institute said, is acquiring bigger thirst for expensive California wine sold in high-end restaurants there. Exports to Japan jumped 39% to $105 million.
Europe stocks trim losses after U.S. econ data
2/16/2012 10:57 AM ET
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- European stock markets pared losses Thursday after encouraging data from the U.S. showed signs of economic recovery in the world's largest economy. Weekly jobless claims fell to the lowest level since March 2008 and the Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index reached the highest level since October, both sets of data beating analysts expectations. The Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.1% at 263.98, after trading as low as 261.35 earlier in the session. The French CAC 40 index performed the best of the major country-specific indexes and was trading marginally lower at 3,390.12. Supporting the index, Gapgemini and Renault SA rose 6.6% and 5.2% respectively after reporting earnings. The British FTSE 100 index lost 0.2% to 5,879.22 and the DAX 30 index was 0.3% lower at 6,739.40 in Germany.
French vote may correct balance in euro debate
2/16/2012 10:44 AM ET
The election of Socialist Francois Hollande in France could upset the euro zone's applecart, but that might not be a bad thing, says Darrell Delamaide.
Another arrest made in U.K. insider-trading probe
2/16/2012 10:20 AM ET
FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- Britain's Financial Services Authority on Thursday said a 44-year-old man was arrested as part of a probe into insider trading being conducted by the regulator and the Serious Organized Crime Agency. The FSA said searches were conducted Thursday at one London business address and two domestic premises in London and Kent. The man was interviewed by police and released on bail, the FSA said. The arrest was part of an ongoing probe that saw several businesses and homes searched in March 2010, resulting in several arrests.
Greece needs years of reforms: Treasury official
2/16/2012 10:05 AM ET
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Greece will need to make reforms "for many years" to restore economic growth and sustainability, U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs Lael Brainard told a Senate committee on Thursday. In testimony prepared for a Senate Banking Committee hearing about the European debt crisis, Brainard told lawmakers that Greece must sustain a "challenging path" of reforms to deal with its debt and "significant lack of competitiveness." Brainard said European leaders are making progress on ensuring that banks are adequately capitalized, among other issues, and underscored that Europe has the "will and the capacity" to manage its own challenges.
Euro recovers from below $1.30 after U.S. data
2/16/2012 10:02 AM ET
The dollar rises versus Europe's shared currency amid mounting concerns surrounding the fate of a Greek bailout package.
Moody's puts big banks on review for downgrade
2/16/2012 9:23 AM ET
Moody's places over 100 financial firms across the world on ratings review due to the euro-zone crisis and other issues.
U.S. stock futures trim drop after claims
2/16/2012 9:07 AM ET
U.S. stock futures ease decline after data on the U.S. labor market brings welcome news to investors, helping offset a Moody's warning of potential downgrades of global banks and uncertainty over Greece.
Treasurys, dollar pare gains after U.S. data
2/16/2012 8:35 AM ET
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The dollar and Treasury prices pared gains on Thursday after a report showed U.S. initial jobless claims fell to 348,000 in the latest week. Separately, data showed producer prices rose 0.1% and housing starts rose at a faster pace than expected in January. The dollar index , which tracks the U.S. unit against six currencies, pared gains to 80.018 from 79.641 late Wednesday in North American trading. The euro traded at $1.3004, from $1.2985 prior to the data and from $1.3067. Yields on 10-year notes , which move inversely to prices, erased a decline to trade at 1.93%. The dollar and U.S. bonds were supported before the reports by increasing uncertainty over whether Greece will receive bailout funds in time to prevent a default.
Tensions rise as Greek bailout drama continues
2/16/2012 7:36 AM ET
The fate of a second Greek bailout remains unclear against a backdrop of rising tensions between Athens and its European partners.
Sweden's Riksbank cuts key rate by quarter point
2/16/2012 5:13 AM ET
FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- Sweden's Riksbank on Thursday cut its repo rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 1.5%, citing slow growth and little inflation pressure, and said it is likely to remain at that level until "some time" in 2013. "It has been clear for some time that there would be a slowdown, but the slowdown has been more severe than expected," the central bank said in a statement post on its website. "In order to stabilize inflation around 2% and resource utilization in the economy around a normal level, the Executive Board of the Riksbank has therefore decided to cut the repo rate," the bank said. The Swedish krona weakened slightly to trade at 8.7938 per euro , a loss of 0.2%.
Spanish stocks drop after short-selling ban lifted
2/16/2012 4:12 AM ET
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Spanish stocks dropped Thursday after the Spanish stock market regulator the previous night lifted a ban on short selling of financial stocks that had been in effect since August. The IBEX 35 index fell 2.4% to 8,533.30, weighed down by the country's banks. Bankia SA sank 8.5%, Banco Popular Espanol SA dropped 6.9%, Banco de Sabadell SA took off 6.5%, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA declined 4.9% and Banco Santander SA pulled back 4%.
Greek president takes offense to Schaeuble comment
2/16/2012 3:53 AM ET
MADRID (MarketWatch) -- Relations between Greece and Germany appeared to take a turn for the worse after Greek President Karolos Papoulias launched a verbal attack against German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. In a speech at Greece's Defense Ministry on Wednesday, Papoulias reportedly said: "I don't accept insults to my country by Mr. Schaeuble. I don't accept it as a Greek. Who is Mr. Schaeuble to ridicule Greece? Who are the Dutch? Who are the Finns? We always had the pride to defend not just our own freedom, not just our own country, but the freedom of all of Europe." The comments were triggered by a radio interview also on Wednesday, according to Dow Jones Newswires, in which Schaeuble said: "We are very well aware of our responsibility for Greece and the Greek people. As I have always said, we can help, but we can't put [money] into a bottomless pit." Papoulias reportedly fought in the Greek resistance against the Nazi occupation of the country during World War 2.
Asia stocks fall as Greece worries weigh
2/16/2012 3:33 AM ET
Asian shares fall, with investors fretting about the possibility of a messy Greek default, although Japanese shares received some support a relatively weak yen.