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Aug 22, 2012

Public pension funds lead 'London whale' class action against JPMorgan: GATA | The GATA DISPATCH:

Public pension funds lead 'London whale' class action against JPMorgan

By Patricia Hurtado
Bloomberg News
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

NEW YORK -- Public pension funds from Arkansas, Ohio, Oregon, and Sweden will be lead plaintiffs in a group lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase & Co. over trades made by Bruno Iksil, known as the "London Whale."

U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan ruled today that lawsuits against the New York-based bank should be consolidated into a class action. The pension funds allege they lost as much as $52 million because of fraudulent activities by JPMorgan's London chief investment office.

The lead plaintiffs named by Daniels are the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, Ohio Public Employee Retirement System, School Employees Retirement System of Ohio, State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, Oregon Public Employee Retirement Fund, and the Swedish pension fund Sjunde AP-Fonden.

"The public pension funds, a group that includes some of the largest public pension funds in the world, have far and away the 'largest financial interest' in the relief sought by the class in these cases," Gerald Silk, a lawyer with Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, said Aug. 9 in court papers.

JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said in July the firm's chief investment office had $5.8 billion in losses on the trades so far, and the figure may climb by $1.7 billion in a worst-case scenario. Iksil amassed positions in credit derivatives so big and market-moving he became known as the London Whale.

The pension funds allege they sustained losses after being given false information that hid the nature of the bank's trades.

Joe Evangelisti, a JPMorgan spokesman, declined to comment on the judge's ruling.
Class-action status allows plaintiffs more leverage in negotiations with defendant banks. Lead plaintiffs direct the litigation on behalf of the class, determining strategy while usually reaping the largest share of any verdict or settlement.

The case is In Re: JPMorgan Chase & Co. Securities Litigation, 12-cv-3852, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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Greece bailout: Merkel and Hollande in extension talks: BBC NEWS

The leaders of Germany and France are set to hold talks in Berlin on whether to give Greece more time to make the cuts required by its debt bailout.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will also meet Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras later this week.

Meeting Mr Samaras yesterday, eurozone chief Jean-Claude Juncker kept the door open for a change to the bailout terms.

Heavily-indebted Greece is in its fifth year of recession and austerity.
Greece is currently trying to finalise a package of 11.5bn euros (£9.1bn: $14.4bn) of spending cuts over the next two years.
It is also being asked to put in place economic and structural reforms, including changes to the labour market and a renewed privatisation drive.
The measures are needed to qualify for the next 33.5bn-euro instalment of its second 130bn-euro bailout.
The "troika" of donor bodies monitoring the bailout - the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission - are due in Athens next month to report on whether Greece has made enough progress.
Greece needs the funds to make repayments on its debt burden. A default could result in the country leaving the euro.
'Tremendous efforts' Mr Samaras is seeking an extension of up to two years for the painful steps, in order to provide Greece with the growth needed to improve its public finances.
In an interview published on Wednesday, he told Germany's biggest daily, Bild, that his country needed "a little breathing space" in order to kick-start growth and reduce its deficit.

Greece discussions timetable

  • 22 August: Greek PM Antonis Samaras meets Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker
  • 23 August: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande meet
  • 24 August: Chancellor Merkel and PM Samaras meet
  • 25 August: President Hollande and PM Samaras meet
  • Early September: Troika staff go back to Greece
  • 14-15 September: Gathering of European finance ministers in Cyprus
  • Troika's review of progress to be published by the end of September
  • 8-9 October: Finance ministers attend two days of meetings in Luxembourg
After meeting Mr Samaras on Wednesday, Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker said a decision on an extension would depend on the troika's report. 

"We have to discuss the length of the period and other dimensions," Mr Juncker told a news conference, while sitting alongside Mr Samaras.

He said Greece was facing its "last chance" to make the necessary changes, but praised the "tremendous efforts" it has made so far to cut its deficit. He also stressed he was "totally opposed" to Greece leaving the euro.
Mr Samaras called the discussions "fruitful".
At least publicly, many EU leaders remain resolutely opposed to any moves to change the terms of Greece's bailout.

But Mr Juncker's remarks suggest there is room for manoeuvre and that an extension has not been ruled out, says the BBC's Stephen Evans in Berlin.

Mrs Merkel has said that she and Mr Samaras will not make any decisions on the issue in their talks on Friday. Mr Samaras goes on to meet Mr Hollande on Saturday.
On Wednesday, Mr Hollande also discussed Greece with British Prime Minister David Cameron in a telephone call.

"Both welcomed the recent actions of the ECB and agreed that this did not negate the need for Greece to stabilise their own economy and prevent any further detrimental effects to the wider eurozone," Mr Cameron's office said in a statement, without specifying which ECB actions they were referring to.
The talks come amid reports that due to the worsening state of the economy, which affects tax receipts and welfare spending levels, Greece may now need to find savings of up to 13.5bn euros - 2bn more than thought.

More on This Story

Eurozone crisis

Financial and Forex Info | The Australian Capital Circle: Mining boom over: Labor

Mining boom over: Labor
RESOURCES Minister Martin Ferguson has declared the mining boom over as BHP Billiton shelves its $US30 billion Olympic Dam project.

Mr Ferguson this morning issued a dire prediction for the mining sector, telling ABC radio the move by BHP signalled the end of boom times (Oz)."You've got to understand, the resources boom is over," Mr Ferguson said. "We've done well."

BHP yesterday announced the move to shelve the Olympic Dam project after a 35 per cent drop in its full-year profits. Its decision comes just weeks after Shell announced it would delay some of its $17bn investment in Australia and doubts over Woodside's $14.9bn Pluto liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia (Oz), ( SMH), (Fin Review), (Daily Tele), (WSJ).

More details have emerged in the Julia Gillard, Slater & Gordon saga. The Australian reports today that the Prime Minister moved to set up a work safety entity that was acutally a re-election "slush fund" for Australian Workers' Union officials, including her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson (Oz). Communications Minister Stephen Conroy this morning vehemently defended the Prime Minister, saying she had no way of knowing that AWU officials were allegedly siphoning money from union member funds to contribute to their re-election. "Setting up a re-election fund for officials is common practice," Senator Conroy told the Nine Network. "T
Peter Brent
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Rebels Say Syria Using Fear Tactics in Damascus: NYT Global Update for August 12, 2012

The New York Times International Herald Tribune
August 22, 2012

Global Update


Rebels Say Syria Using Fear Tactics in Damascus

Syrian activists reported a widening campaign by military forces to sow fear in neighborhoods where rebels are strong, and which the government is too weak to fully control.

Conciliatory Notes in Germany on Easing Greece's Burden

As Greece's prime minister met with euro zone officials, chances seemed to improve that he would win more time for a bailout.

Father's Age Is Linked to Risk of Autism and Schizophrenia

Random genetic mutations in children that become more numerous with advancing paternal age may account for as many as 30 percent of autism cases, researchers reported.

Video: Saving India's Tigers

India's Supreme Court issued an interim ban on tourism inside the country's game parks on June 24, and the government has been relocating hundreds of villagers to save the endangered wild tigers.

Op-Ed Contributor

A Verdict Against Russia

The Pussy Riot sentence reflects a crisis of Russian rule and religion.

Cholera Epidemic Envelops Coastal Slums in West Africa

An exceptional rainy season that flooded sprawling shantytowns has made it one of the worst regional outbreaks of the disease in years.

U.N. Leader Will Attend Iran Summit Over American and Israeli Objections

Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general, plans to attend the annual meeting of the 120 countries that are in the nonaligned movement, despite American-led efforts to marginalize Iran.

Dozens Dead in Kenya Clashes

About 50 people in a coastal area, most of them women and children, were killed in ethnic clashes that residents said stemmed from a confrontation over land and resources.

Many at Fed Ready to Act if Growth Doesn't Pick Up

Minutes of the most recent policy meeting are likely to solidify expectations that the central bank will introduce new measures this fall.

Report Sees Risk of Recession if Budget Stalemate Persists

The Congressional Budget Office forecast that the economic recovery would continue - unless Congress takes no action to stave off tax increases and automatic budget cuts due.

In Google's Inner Circle, a Falling Number of Women

The search giant's efforts to recruit and promote more women have resulted in more hires, but not in the executive offices.

Weak Sales Hurt H.P. in Quarter

Revenue was down in all major units, but when a write-down is excluded, earnings slightly exceeded analysts' expectations.

The New High-Tech Dating Technology? Meet in a Bar

Data exchanged over the Internet can go only so far, so online dating services are hosting offline events to bring people together more quickly.

The New Rise of a Summer Hit: Tweet It Maybe

This summer's pop hit, Carly Rae Jepsen's cheerfully flirty "Call Me Maybe," shows how much the hitmaking machine, and the music industry, has been upended by social media.

India's Golden Generation of Cricket Stars Is Down to One

With V.V.S. Laxman's retirement, only Sachin Tendulkar remains among the powerful batsmen who made India a team to be feared.

Villa's Sentimental Statement Lands Him a Yellow Card

It has been a long road back for David Villa, who received a yellow card for thanking his family for helping him recover from a broken leg suffered last December.

Phil Moriarty, Coach of Swimmers and Divers at Yale and Olympics, Dies at 98

Moriarty succeeded a legend, Bob Kiphuth, at Yale and then built his own legend, training gold medal swimmers like Don Schollander and coaching the United States divers in the 1960 Olympics.

In Toll of 2,000, New Portrait of Afghan War

As the war in Afghanistan wears on, an analysis of troop casualties reflects the effect of the 2010 troop surge and points to the growing danger from an ostensible ally.

Limited Convention Coverage Will Leave Ann Romney Off Air

Believing that viewers are tired of politics, the networks will broadcast three hours of convention coverage, less than they showed in 2008.

West Nile Outbreak Shaping Up as Worst Ever in U.S., Authorities Say

The C.D.C. says that with 41 deaths and more than 1,100 reported cases, this year's West Nile outbreak will be the worst since the virus was discovered here in 1999.
Op-Ed Contributors

Meles Zenawi and Ethiopia's Grand Experiment

Meles saw himself as a builder of institutions. He wanted his legacy to be stability and the conquest of poverty.

Death of a Strongman

Ethiopians may be mourning the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, but they should worry about the legacy of his personality-centric development agenda.

NYT Politics for August 22, 2012: Limited Convention Coverage Will Leave Ann Romney Off Air

The New York Times

August 22, 2012


Limited Convention Coverage Will Leave Ann Romney Off Air

Believing that viewers are tired of politics, the networks will broadcast three hours of convention coverage, less than they showed in 2008.
The Caucus

Akin Remarks Push Gender Issues to Center Stage

Todd Akin's refusal to step aside in the Missouri Senate race has forced gender issues back into the political conversation, just as Mitt Romney was hoping to refocus it on his personal story and the nation's struggling economy.

More Politics

Senator Scott P. Brown met with constituents during a campaign event in Fairhaven, Mass.

Former G.O.P. Hero Plays Down Label

Senator Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts, who is locked in a dead heat in the nation's most expensive Senate race, is distancing himself from the Republican ticket.
News Analysis

Risks of Syrian Intervention Limit Options for U.S.

The options for military action remain limited by what administration officials have described as a simple calculus: it would make the conflict worse.
President Obama made an unannounced stop on Tuesday at Sloopy's, a diner at Ohio State University, and chatted with students.

On Trail, Obama Attacks Romney on Student Aid

On a swing through Nevada and Ohio, President Obama assailed Mitt Romney for advising college hopefuls to "borrow more money from your parents."
Mitt Romney discussing Medicare last week. The $716 billion that he promises to restore to the program would be for higher payments to care providers, not for recipients' benefits.

Patients Would Pay More if Romney Restores Medicare Savings, Analysts Say

The $716 billion that Mitt Romney has promised to restore to hospitals and insurers would hasten the program's insolvency, some experts say.

The Caucus

Obama Promotes His Education Credentials, Putting Down Romney's

At a rally at a Las Vegas high school, President Obama said: "I've got a question for Governor Romney: How many teachers' jobs are worth another tax cut for millionaires and billionaires?"

Missouri Republicans Weigh In on Akin

Missouri residents active in the Republican Party were divided over Representative Todd Akin's decision to continue his campaign for the United States Senate, even as a chorus of party leaders urged him to throw in the towel.

Ryan Pressed to Explain Position on Rape and Abortion

The vice presidential candidate suggests that the policy of Mitt Romney is the policy of the ticket.

A Virginia Baker Is in the Spotlight at a Ryan Rally

The Republican ticket has embraced a new small-business hero. On Wednesday, the owner of a bakery who last week turned away Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. introduced Representative Paul D. Ryan at a rally.

Romney Returns to His Mainstay: The Economy

During a campaign stop in Iowa on Wednesday, Mitt Romney said President Obama had failed to deal with deficits and unemployment.

DealBook | DealB%K Afternoon Edition: The Trade: A Quick End to TARP Means a Smaller Payoff for Taxpayers

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
A Quick End to TARP Means a Smaller Payoff for Taxpayers
The Trade: A Quick End to TARP Means a Smaller Payoff for Taxpayers Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica says that the government is trying to sell its preferred stock holdings of the smaller banks, but the potential losses from the auctions could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
    In Debt: The Dance Between Belize and Its Bondholders Stephen J. Lubben says that the bondholders have no direct way of making Belize pay up, but the country probably has to worry more about long-term access to the financial markets than a country like Argentina or even Greece.
    Citic Capital Sells Stake to Qatar Fund A unit of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund is taking a 22 percent stake in the Chinese asset management firm Citic Capital Holdings, which manages more than $4.4 billion.
    News Analysis: The New Citigroup Isn't Your Father's Citicorp Vikram S. Pandit, Citigroup's chief executive, has entered the debate over splitting up big banks. But did he overstate one of his key points?
    Health Care REIT to Buy Sunrise Senior Living Health Care REIT agreed to pay $14.50 a share for Sunrise Senior Living, a nursing home operator, in the latest deal aimed at taking advantage of an aging populace.
    Former Officer at Buffett Foundation Guilty of Theft Dhaval S. Patel, a former international monitor for Warren E. Buffett's charitable foundation, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to stealing $46,000 from the organization by doctoring expense receipts, The Omaha World-Herald reports. He faces up to five years of probation or 20 years in prison, according to the newspaper.
    Economic Reports The data released on Thursday will include new home sales for July and weekly jobless claims.
    Corporate Earnings Companies reporting results on Thursday will include and Diageo.
    Overseas Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany meets President François Hollande of France in Berlin on Thursday to discuss the sovereign debt crisis.

Report: Recession looming if Congress doesn't act: CBS NEWS | Political Hotsheet Top Stories

The CBS News Political Hotsheet newsletter


If Washington doesn't reverse looming fiscal policy changes, CBO predicts 9 percent unemployment by mid-2013
Read full story
Report: Recession looming if Congress doesn't act

Dems add 10 women to convention lineup On heels of controversy surrounding Akin abortion comments, Dems add 10 women to list of convention speakers

Ryan grilled on abortion and 'forcible rape' The vice presidential candidate sidesteps when asked to define 'forcible rape' and says Romney's views will prevail

Akin chides Embattled Republican candidate says "party bosses" shouldn't get to decide the fate of Missouri Senate race

New Obama, Romney ads: Education and welfare The Romney camp continues its attacks on the president's welfare waiver while the Obama camp finds a vulnerable component in education

8 strategies to protect your investments: MarketWatch | Personal Finance Daily for Wednesday, August 22, 2012

By MarketWatch
Don’t miss these top stories:
Robert Powell writes in his Your Portfolio column today that investors might want to consider some strategies to protect their portfolio and gains from the downside risks. Seeking good return of capital and not being fully invested all the time are two options. Read his column today for more, including stop-loss strategies and diversification.
Also on MarketWatch today, Kristen Gerencher writes about how the quantity and quality of online health information has grown. She also shares tips on finding the best sources of information and how to use it.

You’re invited: A MarketWatch Retirement Adviser event

Planning to be in the New York area next month? You’re invited to a MarketWatch Retirement Adviser special event, “From Retirement Savings to Income,” in New York on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Join us for a free breakfast and live panel discussion on the best way to convert your retirement assets into income. MarketWatch senior columnist Robert Powell will moderate the panel of some of the nation’s leading retirement experts on which strategy—4% withdrawal, product-allocation with annuities, or time-segmentation—is best for retirement savers and the financial advisers who serve them.
Our guest panelists are John Olsen, principal of Olsen Financial Group; David Blanchett, head of retirement research for Morningstar Investment Management; and Farrell Dolan, principal at Farrell Dolan Associates. For details and to make a reservation for this free event, email us at .
Anne Stanley , Managing Editor, Personal Finance

8 strategies to protect your investments

As the S&P 500 trades close to a four-year high, investors might want to consider these eight strategies to protect their portfolio from the downside risks.
8 strategies to protect your investments

Why your airline miles are easy theft targets

Cyber crooks take airline miles and redeem them on hotels, cars and merchandise; they also want to send you to phony sites.
Why your airline miles are easy theft targets

Will short sales hit home prices?

Could it be that a new federal program, intended to help distressed homeowners, wipes out recent gains in home prices?
Will short sales hit home prices? 

How to find the best health info online

From finding reliable sources to finding health buddies, here are six rules to follow to get the best health information online.
How to find the best health info online


Fed minutes show active discussion of QE3

Members of the Federal Reserve got closer to pushing the button for a new round of bond purchases even as a less aggressive step of altering language on a low-rate pledge seems to be in the works, according to minutes from the last meeting released Wednesday.
Fed minutes show active discussion of QE3

Sales of existing homes rise 2.3% in July

Sales of existing homes in the U.S. rose 2.3% in July, as low mortgage rates, rising rent and some job creation led to a modest rebound, a trade group said Wednesday.
Sales of existing homes rise 2.3% in July

CBO issues fresh ‘fiscal cliff’ warning

The U.S. economy will contract instead of expanding in 2013 if scheduled tax hikes and spending cuts go into effect in January, the Congressional Budget Office warned on Wednesday.
CBO issues fresh ‘fiscal cliff’ warning

Spain vs. ECB: Who will blink first?

Investors are salivating over the prospect of bond buys by the European Central Bank to save the euro, but ignore a tense standoff between the ECB and the Spanish government at their peril.
Spain vs. ECB: Who will blink first?

Can China’s stimulus plans really help?

Plans by local Chinese governments to spend trillions of yuan on new stimulus projects has ignited debate among economists over whether the schemes will really help the economy.
Can China’s stimulus plans really help?

No pain, no gain: The economic silver lining

The best news is hidden in the bad news about Europe, China and the United States, writes Michael Casey. These are all necessary, if painful, elements in a much-needed global rebalancing.
No pain, no gain: The economic silver lining


PayPal, Discover in mobile payment venture

PayPal is teaming with credit-card company Discover Financial Services to expand use of the eBay Inc. subsidiary’s nascent mobile-payments service from a few thousand merchant locations to potentially seven million by the middle of next year.
PayPal, Discover in mobile payment venture

May-June correction was a failure

For a number of weeks now, contrarian analysis has suggested that the current stock rally is living on borrowed time, and Mark Hulbert reports that recent developments have only reinforced this concern.
May-June correction was a failure

Fortunes to be made off euro crisis, just not yet

Hedge-fund manager Louis Bacon is wrong: There will be fortunes made off the euro crisis, but it won’t happen for a couple of years, writes Matthew Lynn.
Fortunes to be made off euro crisis, just not yet