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Mar 27, 2013

The Economist | Editor's picks 27 March 2013.: From the desk of John Micklethwait, Editor.

The EconomistEditors picks

This week's highlights
Cyprus
A dangerous deal
read more »
Global warming
Slowing down
read more »
Sex in the Middle East
A new book reveals all
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This week in...
Politics Giulio Terzi, Italy's foreign minister, resigned over the decision to send two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen back to Delhi for trial. The marines say they mistook the fishermen for pirates.
read more »

Business Michael Dell's attempt to buy out the computer company he founded got a little complicated, as two rival bids emerged. Blackstone, a private-equity group, made an informal approach worth $14.25 a share for Dell, while Carl Icahn, an activist investor, said he might be interested in buying 58% of the company for $15 a share.
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NFA Comment Letter 27 March 2013.: Public Comment on the Recommendations Regarding the Protection of Client Assets Consultation Report


Comment Letter
March 27, 2013
NFA has issued the following comment letter:

Cyprus Sets Up Tight Controls as Banks Prepare to Reopen: NYT | Global Update 27 March 2013.:

The New York Times International Herald Tribune
March 27, 2013
Compiled 20:45 GMT

Global Update

TOP NEWS

Cyprus Sets Up Tight Controls as Banks Prepare to Reopen

By LIZ ALDERMAN
Cyprus announced severe restrictions on access to bank accounts Wednesday, hoping to curb what is likely to be a rush to withdraw money.

Justices Seem Set to End U.S. Ban on Benefits to Gay Spouses

By ADAM LIPTAK and PETER BAKER
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's questions in a hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act suggested he was prepared to side with the Supreme Court's four liberal members to strike down a central provision.

A Look at the Issues in the Defense of Marriage Act Case

By ADAM LIPTAK
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear almost two hours of arguments on Wednesday morning about the constitutionality of a part of the 1996 law.
WORLD

Burmese Opposition Leader Attends Military Parade

By THOMAS FULLER
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace laureate whose presence among generals would have been unthinkable years ago, watched Myanmar's military assert its role in Burmese politics on Wednesday.

Europeans Planted Seeds of Crisis in Cyprus

By ANDREW HIGGINS and LIZ ALDERMAN
The path that led to Cyprus's crisis leads back to a decision in late October 2011 to help rescue Greece at its hour of financial need.

Group of Emerging Nations Plans to Form Development Bank

By LYDIA POLGREEN
A big goal is set by the so-called BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - which seem to have little in common.
BUSINESS

Entreaty to Cooper Suggests Shake-Up at 'Today'

By BRIAN STELTER
An NBC executive is said to have asked Anderson Cooper if he would consider taking Matt Lauer's job as co-host on the "Today" show, which has slumped in the ratings.
DealBook

Regulators Find British Banks Must Raise $38 Billion

By MARK SCOTT
The Bank of England said the new reserves were needed to protect against losses connected to risky loan portfolios, future regulatory fines and the rejiggering of banks' bloated balance sheets.
Economix Blog

Investors vs. Occupants in the Housing Recovery

By CATHERINE RAMPELL
One big question about the sustainability of the housing recovery is whether it's being driven by owner-occupants - the people who live in the houses they buy - or speculators.
TECHNOLOGY

Firm Is Accused of Sending Spam, and Fight Jams Internet

By JOHN MARKOFF and NICOLE PERLROTH
A squabble between a group battling spam and a Web hosting company said to be sending it has escalated into an attack clogging up infrastructure worldwide.

T-Mobile Shakes Up Its Service

By BRIAN X. CHEN
The American mobile carrier, which has struggled against rivals like AT&T and Verizon, will offer the iPhone 5 and other top smartphones without locking in customers for two years.
Advertising

A Top Agency Expands Its Social Footprint

By STUART ELLIOTT
A division of McCann Erickson New York that specializes in social media will grow to 30 employees, and will stress interactions with consumers.
SPORTS
Spain 1, France 0

Spain Bounces Back and Dispels Doubts

By ROB HUGHES
By dominating almost 75 percent of its World Cup qualifier against France, Spain reminded us that possession is nine-tenths of the law on the soccer field.

Querrey's Loss Completes a U.S. Shutout

By ANDY KENT
Sam Querrey's loss to Tomas Berdych meant it would be the first time since the Sony Open began in 1985 that no American man would reach the quarterfinals.
United States 0, Mexico 0

For U.S., Tie in Mexico Feels a Lot Like Victory

By JERÉ LONGMAN
The United States earned a vital, and somewhat surprising, point in World Cup qualifying by playing a scoreless draw with Mexico at the Azteca on Tuesday night.
U.S. NEWS

Oral Arguments Echo in Gatherings Across Nation

By KIM SEVERSON and JEREMY W. PETERS
As the Supreme Court weighed a challenge to California's ban on same-sex marriage, the weight of the decision that the justices will make was felt in thousands of communities.

Good Friends, Same Party but Legal Opponents

By SCOTT SHANE
Two conservative Republican lawyers, Theodore B. Olson and Charles J. Cooper, argued opposite sides of a historic Supreme Court case.

Proponents of Gay Marriage Credit a Maine Lawyer

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
Mary Bonauto, of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, has only a sideline seat this week, but she spent a decade plotting a careful strategy.
OPINION
Op-Ed Contributor

Mr. Xi Goes to Moscow

By STEPHEN KOTKIN
Behind the show of friendship lies an old strategic competition.
Op-Ed Columnist

Caution, Curves Ahead

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
There is a strong argument for everyone doing more to end the Syrian civil war, but satisfactory answers are needed first to some crucial questions.
Op-Ed Contributors

Justice Flunks Math

By LEILA SCHNEPS and CORALIE COLMEZ
In the Amanda Knox case, ignorance of math may be a detriment in the courtroom.

DealBook P.M. Edition 27 March 2013. : Banks Seek to Overturn Judge's Ruling in Critical Mortgage Case


NYTimes.com Home |Business Day| Video The New York Times


Wednesday, March 27, 2013
TOP STORY
Banks Seek to Overturn Judge's Ruling in Critical Mortgage Case The nation's largest banks, facing a torrent of lawsuits over shoddy mortgage securities, are pushing to overturn a series of tough rulings in a high-stakes case filed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency in 2011.
For the latest updates, go to dealbook.nytimes.com »
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DEALBOOK HIGHLIGHTS
I.R.S. Videos Come Under Fire Videos based on "Gilligan's Island" and "Star Trek" have emerged on YouTube and have drawn criticism from a senator.
Slide Show: Hair on the Street One of the biggest growth areas on Wall Street? It may just be on the faces of some executives. Carl Icahn has now joined Lloyd Blankfein as one of the bearded elite of finance.
Nomura Hires Former Bank of America Merrill Lynch Banker Nomura has hired Yasuhiro Fujiwara, a former high-ranking investment banker at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, to serve as the bank's new head of equities for Asia excluding Japan.
British Regulator Fines Prudential Over Lack of Deal Disclosure Prudential's cautiousness, when it was planning a $35.5 billion bid for one of Asia's biggest life insurers three years ago, cost it $45 million.
Regulators Find British Banks Must Raise $38 Billion The Bank of England said the new reserves were needed to protect against losses connected to risky loan portfolios, future regulatory fines and the rejiggering of banks' bloated balance sheets.
Breakingviews: A Potential Potemkin Fight Over Dell Jeffrey Goldfarb says that Blackstone, or even Carl C. Icahn, may succeed with their bids, but it's just as likely that all the maneuvering won't bring a better deal for Dell investors.
Buzz Tracker
Bank of America Forever It has not been the easiest of jobs, but Brian T. Moynihan, told Charlie Rose that he would like to be chief executive of Bank of America for the rest of his life, Bloomberg News reports. He said on the television program: "While there have been times when you sit there and say, 'Jeez, this is a lot of pounding,' you always keep your eye on the purpose you're here. And that's to help people with their financial lives - if you really keep focused on that, I could do this the rest of my life."
H.J. Heinz Sets Shareholder Date for Deal H.J. Heinz on Wednesday set April 30 as the date for a shareholder vote on the proposed $23 billion takeover of the company. The acquisition, by Warren E. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and the Brazilian-led 3G Capital, is expected to close late in the second quarter or in the third quarter this year, the company said.
Credit Suisse to Buy Morgan Stanley's European Private Bank Credit Suisse agreed on Wednesday to buy Morgan Stanley's wealth management division in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, excluding Switzerland, for an undisclosed figure. The business has $13 billion of assets under management, and the deal is expected to close later this year.
LOOKING AHEAD
Economic Reports Economic data to be released on Thursday include pending home sales for February, weekly jobless claims, fourth-quarter gross domestic product (revised) and the Chicago P.M.I. for March.
In the United States On Thursday, bond markets close early, at 2 p.m.

Quotation of the Day
"Years ago, I was in a Wal-Mart, and the lady took my check and zipped it through this machine and handed it back, and I stood there kind of amazed."
An unidentified I.R.S. employee playing Mary Ann from "Gilligan's Island" in a 2011 training video.


Wall Street at Close Report; March 27, 2013.: Stocks end mostly lower; S&P record elusive

By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch 
 
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) U.S. stocks finished with limited losses on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 index stalled just points from its record close, as worries over Europe’s debt troubles abated. 

“The situation in Cyprus was relatively unique; I don’t think they’ll try to replicate that again,” Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners, said of a controversial tax on bank deposits that’s part of Cyprus’s bailout agreement with international lenders.

Beating the market, lowering fees
Brendan Conway and Jack Otter discuss a Vanguard fund that's beating the S&P over the long term, despite a hefty bond allocation. Plus: How to protect yourself against a stock pullback. 


“Europe has its problems, but most of it has been factored” into the U.S. stock market, he added.
A day after closing at a record high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -0.23%  fell 33.49 points, or 0.2%, to 14,526.16. 

Twenty of the Dow’s 30 components ended in the red, led by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. JPM +0.14% , off 1.8%. 

Another Dow component, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT +0.01% , finished marginally higher, a day after the discount retailer said in a securities filing it would likely take a loss from foreign bribery probes being done internally as well as by government agencies. 

The S&P 500 index SPX -0.06% shed 0.92 point, or less than 0.1%, to end at 1,562.85, leaving if 2.3 points from its all-time closing high. 

Leading decliners, Cliff Natural Resources Inc. CLF +0.38% dropped almost 14% after its shares were downgraded by Morgan Stanley. 

The S&P 500 on Tuesday finished less than 2 points from its all-time close, set in October 2007.
“It would be nice to break it, and we will break it, but it doesn’t mean anything really,” other than the level represents a resistance level, said Pavlik of the S&P 500’s record level. 

Bucking the negative trend, the Nasdaq Composite COMP +0.12%  rose 4.04 points, or 0.1%, to 3,256.52. 

“Any dip triggered by European issues is met with buyers in the U.S.,” said Elliot Spar, market strategist at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. 

Powered by easy monetary policy from the Federal Reserve and other global central banks, the U.S. equities market is into the fifth year of its current bull run, with benchmark indexes up between nearly 8% and 11% for the year, leading many strategist to say a move down is in order. 

“People are still trying to determine if this market is going to experience a pullback. I’m leaning to the belief we’ll probably see some kind of pullback, or correction develop in the next week or so,” said Pavlik. 

For every seven stocks rising eight fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where 596 million shares traded. Composite volume approached 2.9 billion.

Polyester gets a high-end makeover
Man-made fibers—including, yes, polyester—are an increasingly important component of high fashion. Photo: Getty Images 


Stocks fell to their lows of the day shortly after the open, then recovered the bulk of their losses, with little impact from a housing report from a trade group. The National Association of Realtors said its index of pending-home sales declined 0.4% in February to 104.8 following a revised 3.8% hike the previous month.

Italy’s ‘mess’ sinks euro

European stocks tumbled and the euro EURUSD +0.01%  fell to a four-month low as the euro zone’s outlook faltered on two fronts. 

In Cyprus, the government is restricting money transfers as it readies for Thursday’s planned reopening of its banks, which have been closed for nearly two weeks as the island nation struggled to reach a deal to avert a meltdown of its financial system. 

“The official response to the Cyprus crisis has undermined confidence,” noted Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman. 

Other developments in Europe had Italian politician Pier Luigi Bersani, the head of a center-left alliance, ruling out the formation of a coalition government. He reportedly said that only an “insane person” would want to govern Italy and that the country is a “mess.” Italy has struggled to put together a government since inconclusive elections in late February. Bersani’s remarks raise the prospects of another election in the near term. 

Strategists said trading conditions could be thin ahead of a three-day Easter weekend. U.S. markets will be closed Friday for Good Friday.

Fed speakers

Some of the Federal Reserve’s leading policy doves — Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto, Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans — spoke on Wednesday. 


Getty Images Enlarge Image
The leader of the Italian center-left Democratic Party Pier Luigi Bersani
In his prepared remarks, Kocherlakota reiterated his proposal for the central bank to pledge to keep rates low so long as the unemployment rates remains above 5.5%, rather than the 6.5% target currently in use. 

In a speech to business leaders in Manchester, N.H., Rosengren said the Fed’s $85-billion-a-month asset purchase program is having the desired impact of speeding up the pace the recovery and should be continued through the end of the year. 

Echoing the theme, Evans also called the Fed’s bond-buying program a success, telling reporters at a news conference that he doesn't want the Fed scaling back the purchases soon. 

Pianalto, however, said economic conditions could emerge “before long” that would let the Fed slow the pace of its asset purchases. 

Rosengren and Evans are voting members of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee in 2013. Evans has emerged as an important Fed figure after successfully pushing the central bank to adopt economic thresholds for the first rate hike in order to ensure that investors don’t fear a quick tightening of monetary policy once the economy improves. 

Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

The Conscience of a Liberal Poland Is Not Yet Lost; by Paul Krugman.: NYT | Opinion Today 27 March 2013.

The New York Times

March 27, 2013

Opinion Today

Marriage Security and Insecurities
The Conversation

Marriage Security and Insecurities

Brooks and Collins on same-sex marriage, teen mothers and single parenthood.
Slow Food Quickens the Pace
Opinionator

Slow Food Quickens the Pace

By MARK BITTMAN
A gastronomic movement's founder reflects and finds reasons for optimism.
The Destructive Influence of Imaginary Peers
Opinionator | Fixes

The Destructive Influence of Imaginary Peers

By TINA ROSENBERG
How conveying that good behavior is the social norm can change how people drink, recycle and even pay their taxes.
Op-Docs

'In Japan, a Portrait of Mistrust'

By ITAI KESHET
Two years after a tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, a documentary explores the public fear, mistrust and suspicion about the safety of food.
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Op-Ed Contributor

The Talmud and Other Diet Books

By JONATHAN K. CRANE
When Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-obesity programs fail, look to God and the ancient Greeks.
Op-Ed Contributors

Justice Flunks Math

By LEILA SCHNEPS and CORALIE COLMEZ
In the Amanda Knox case, ignorance of math may be a detriment in the courtroom.
Impressed in the South
Opinionator | Disunion

Impressed in the South

By RICK BEARD
The Confederacy was designed to maximize white freedom, but by 1963 its impressment policies had grown unbearable for many.
Anthony Lewis in the West Bank
Latitude

Anthony Lewis in the West Bank

By RAJA SHEHADEH
How one journalist wielded a pen to poignant effect, especially in the service of justice in Palestine.
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Editorial

The California Marriage Case

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
On the merits, the Supreme Court should endorse basic rights for same-sex couples.
Editorial

Down to the Wire

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
It is past time for the United Nations to approve a tough international treaty intended to keep conventional weapons out of the wrong hands.
Editorial

Gen. Musharraf Returns

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
General Musharraf, who has shown his preference for autocracy over democracy, is not the man to "save" his country.
Editorial

Sales Tax Fairness

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Congress may finally pass a bill allowing states to require sales taxes from online retailers. Now is the time to be fair to both Internet and bricks-and-mortar businesses.

The Opinion Pages

Read the full opinion report, including editorials, columns, op-eds and Opinionator. Go to the Section »
Is Abortion Heading Back to the Supreme Court?
Taking Note

Is Abortion Heading Back to the Supreme Court?

By ANDREW ROSENTHAL
Arkansas and North Dakota are testing the boundaries of Roe v. Wade.
It's Personal
Bill Keller's Blog

It's Personal

A personal defense of abortion rights.
What Was the Family's
Evaluations

What Was the Family's "Least Bad Decade"?

By ROSS DOUTHAT
Comparing family stability in the 1990s and the 2000s.
Poland Is Not Yet Lost
The Conscience of a Liberal

Poland Is Not Yet Lost

By PAUL KRUGMAN
But it can still be arranged.
The Gun Report: March 27, 2013
Joe Nocera's Blog

The Gun Report: March 27, 2013

A day in the life of armed America.
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