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WOOLWORTHS TO SHUT DOWN 200 STORES – THE END FOR WOOLWORTHS, A CENTURY-OLD BRITISH RETAIL INSTITUTION, WILL MOVE A STEP CLOSER WITH THE SHUTTING DOWN OF A QUARTER OF ITS STORES (UK)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 28, 2008

Vol XXXI – NO. 283 – Sunday – 28th DECEMBER 2008

Gulf Daily News – the voice of Bahrain

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GULF DAILY NEWS’ (Bahrain)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GULF DAILY NEWS’ (Bahrain)

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Posted in COMMERCE, DEPRESSION, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, POUND (Britain), RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

IRANIAN PRESIDENT TAKES A SHOT AT THE WEST IN A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE – MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IN A VIDEO FOR CHANNEL 4’S ‘ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS MESSAGE,’ OFFERS WARM GREETINGS BUT SAYS THE WEST’S BULLYING LEADERS AND THEIR POLICIES WOULD BE SHUNNED BY JESUS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 25, 2008

December 25, 2008

by Borzou Daragahi

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE L.A. TIMES’ (USA)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE L.A. TIMES’ (USA)

Posted in AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, ENGLAND, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, FRANCE, GERMANY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, ISRAEL, ITALY, NORWAY, PETROL, RECESSION, SAUDI ARABIA, SPAIN, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE MEDIA (US AND FOREIGN), USA | Leave a Comment »

BATTLE TO RESTORE LOANS TO BUSINESS (UK)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 16, 2008

16 December 2008, 8:02am

Sam Fleming, Daily Mail

PUBLISHED BY ‘THIS IS MONEY’ (UK)

Britain and Ireland yesterday stepped up their efforts to shore up their decaying banking systems as the credit drought worsens.

The UK Treasury announced a significant U-turn by hacking back the fee it charges to guarantee £250bn of loans that banks make to one another.

And across the Irish Sea, Dublin announced a recapitalisation plan that mirrors the £37bn scheme introduced by the UK in October. The steps came amid further evidence that banks are hoarding liquidity rather than extending loans to cash-starved firms and households.

Yesterday the Bank of England warned that European companies are facing ‘significant near-term funding pressures’ as they prepare to roll over £538bn of debts next year. Of the total, just over £4bn is owned by banks and other financial groups.

Under its new plan, the Treasury will reduce the fee it charges for its guarantee scheme and lengthen its duration from three to five years.

The scheme was originally attacked by City experts as imposing ‘penal conditions’ that are much tougher than those imposed by the US.

The Conservatives said the UK must go further. A spokesman for Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said: ‘This is an admission-that the government got the details of their financial rescue package wrong. Whilst they are now following the Conservatives’ advice, the changes announced are still nowhere near enough to get lending flowing to business.’

Meanwhile, Dublin pledged to pump up to £9bn into its own beleaguered banking system. The government is trying to enlist private equity firms and big institutional investors to support an equity-raising scheme.

If they fail to take the bait, Irish taxpayers will end up as the biggest investors in Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland and Anglo-Irish Bank.

But experts warned that £9bn may not be enough to revive Irish banks, which are facing massive losses from the meltdown in the property market.

Here, Financial Services Authority chief Hector Sants acknowledged Britain’s £37bn injection of cash in Royal Bank of Scotland Lloyds TSB and HBOS may not be sufficient.

He told the Treasury Committee that calculations about how much capital the banks needed were based on ‘a set of forecasts about the future’. He added: ‘The out-turns may not always follow the forecasts.’

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THIS IS MONEY’ (UK)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, IRELAND, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

ZIM PASSES LAW; MDC SAYS NO (Zimbabwe)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 15, 2008

14/12/2008 17:11 – (SA)

Reuters

PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWS24.COM’ (South Africa)

Harare – Zimbabwe has published a draft constitutional law to create a unity government, but the opposition MDC on Sunday vowed to block the proposed changes until its demands for equitable power-sharing are met.

President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai agreed to form a unity government in September, but the deal has stalled over disagreements on the control of key ministries.

The state-run Sunday Mail reported that the constitutional amendment bill – creating the office of prime minister for Tsvangirai – had been published on Saturday. The MDC immediately rejected the move, saying it had not been consulted.

“This was done unilaterally by (the ruling party) ZANU-PF,” MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Reuters.

“The gazetting was supposed to have been done after consultations.”

He said the MDC had not seen the published Bill to establish whether it conforms with the draft agreed by the two parties during talks held in South Africa last month.

Concerns must be addressed first.

Chamisa said the MDC wanted its concerns on the allocation of ministerial posts and provincial governorships addressed before the constitutional amendments could be dealt with.

“What we are saying is that these political issues will stand in the way of the legal process. We need to clear the political issues first before moving on to the constitution,” Chamisa said.

On Saturday, state media quoted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa as saying Mugabe could call fresh elections if the opposition-dominated parliament fails to pass constitutional changes for the unity government.

Tsvangirai’s MDC won 100 seats in the 210-member lower house of parliament in a March poll as ZANU-PF lost its majority for the first time since 1980, garnering 99 seats. The balance is held by a smaller faction of the MDC, led by Arthur Mutambara.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in a presidential poll held concurrently, but fell short of the necessary votes to avoid a run-off poll which the 84-year-old veteran leader won after Tsvangirai pulled out of the race citing violence.

The second vote was widely condemned and Mugabe has come under renewed Western pressure to step down in the face of a cholera outbreak that has killed nearly 800 people, worsening the plight of Zimbabweans grappling with an economic meltdown blamed on government mismanagement.

Mugabe’s government says the cholera outbreak is a calculated attack by former colonial ruler Britain and the United States which have used “biological warfare” to create an excuse to mobilise military action against Zimbabwe.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWS24.COM’ (South Africa)

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ENGLAND, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RECESSION, USA, ZIMBABWE | Leave a Comment »

COLD WAR TAKES GLOSS OFF NICOLAS SARKOZY’S PRESIDENCY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 13, 2008

December 12, 2008

Charles Bremner in Paris – The Times

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES’ (UK)

The Germans see him as an excitable clown and he raises hackles in the East, but Nicolas Sarkozy wants to extend SARKOZY, ACCORDING TO MERKELhis reign as Europe’s de facto leader after his last summit in the EU chair, which opened yesterday.

The hyperactive French President is convinced that he has galvanised Europe with deft handling of the credit crunch and other crises during his six-month EU presidency.

The satisfaction in Paris is barely dimmed by the most glaring failure of France’s presidency: Mr Sarkozy’s cold war with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor.

The subdued Ms Merkel, who loathes Mr Sarkozy’s bravura, has been watching videos of the late Louis de Funès, a manic comic actor and Gallic institution, for clues to understanding the ever-agitated President.

Der Spiegel says that the Chancellor sees Mr Sarkozy as an “unfeasibly vain jack-in-the-box”: “She has nothing to counter him apart from her eternal impassiveness. Her fist may be clenched but she keeps it in her pocket.”

“Super Sarko”, who does not claim modesty among his qualities, is telling colleagues that he has triumphed by steering Europe through the financial crunch – with Gordon Brown’s help – and creating a new political purpose in the moribund Union.

Jean-David Levitte, the veteran diplomat who manages foreign policy from the Élysée Palace, said that Mr Sarkozy had swung the balance of power in Europe by winning over second-rank members such as Greece.

As the Czech Republic prepares to take over the presidency next month, Mr Sarkozy’s team has been setting out his plans for maintaining French direction. Last month Ms Merkel scuppered Mr Sarkozy’s attempt to appoint himself chairman of the eurozone for next year during the EU presidencies of two non-euro states. But France has another 18 months as co-chair of an EU-Mediterranean Union that Mr Sarkozy launched last July.

His next plan, not yet announced, is a new “economic and security space” with Russia, Mr Levitte disclosed. Given anger in the West towards Russia’s occupation of northern Georgia, European leaders will be surprised to learn that Mr Sarkozy aims to offer a new security pact to Russia and hopes to bring in Ukraine and Turkey.

Another item to emerge from Mr Sarkozy’s team this week has been the President’s belief that Mr Brown will swap the pound for the single currency, thereby boosting the power of the eurozone. “Do you think that they enjoy seeing sterling in such a state?” asked a senior Sarkozy adviser.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES’ (UK)

Posted in COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, FRANCE, GEORGIA, GERMANY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RECESSION, RUSSIA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, TURKEY, UKRAINE | Leave a Comment »

DE MENEZES JURY RECORD OPEN VERDICT AND REJECTS POLICE VERSION OF SHOOTING (UK)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 12, 2008

December 12, 2008

by Sean O’Neill – Crime & Security Editor – Times Online

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES’ (UK)

JUSTICE FOR JEAN

The inquest jury examining the death of Jean-Charles de Menezes has returned an open verdict – refusing to accept the idea that he was lawfully killed in a fast-moving anti-terrorist operation.

The jurors also answered a series of questions about the circumstances of Mr de Menezes’s death on board a Tube train at Stockwell, South London, in a way which rejected much of the account of the shooting given by police firearms officers.

Asked if they believed that the policemen had shouted a warning of armed police, the jury answered no. They also answered no when asked if Mr de Menezes had moved towards the officers before he was shot.

The jury had been banned by Sir Michael Wright, QC, the coroner, from considering a verdict of unlawful killing. His ruling led the de Menezes family to withdraw from the proceedings and brand the inquest “a complete whitewash”.

But the outcome of the inquest is a damaging result for the Metropolitan Police and could lead to a legal challenge to the verdict in the High Court.

The coroner said he would be preparing a report on what practices of the Metropolitan Police required changing. It will be sent to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the police authority and the Home Secretary and should be made public.

Sir Michael expressed his “sincere condolences” to the de Menezes family.

He said: “In any view this was a tragic and terrible event, the killing of an entirely innocent young man.”

The majority verdict of 8-2 came at the end of seven days of deliberations by the jurors, whose number was reduced from 11 to 10 earlier this week.

The inquest, held at the Oval Cricket Ground, south London, has lasted for 12 weeks and is estimated to have cost around £6million in court costs and legal fees. It heard evidence for the first time from the two armed officers who shot Mr de Menezes, 27, a Brazilian electrician.

They fired nine shots, hitting Mr de Menezes in the head seven times, after mistaking him for a suicide bomber on July 22 2005 – the day after four terrorists failed to set off suicide bombs in London then went on the run.

The officers, identified only as Charlie 12 and Charlie 2, said they had shouted “armed police” as the ran onto the Northern Line train at Stockwell, south London, and that Mr de Menezes had stood up and moved towards them aggressively. They claimed his reaction led them to shoot him because they feared he was about to detonate a bomb.

But passengers on the train said they did not hear warning shouts and did not see Mr de Menezes leave his seat. One woman claimed that the policemen appeared to be “out of control”.

During the evidence, the court heard that surveillance officers deployed to search for Hussain Osman, one of the fugitive bombers, did not have a picture of the man they were looking for. Mr de Menezes was thought to be a likeness for Osman but never positively identified as the terrorist before he was shot.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick, who was Gold Command officer in charge of the operation, told the hearing that she did not believe any officer had done anything wrong or unreasonable. She also said she feared that a similar incident could happen again.

Last year, an Old Bailey jury found the Metropolitan Police guilty of breaching health and safety law in the operation which led to Mr de Menezes’s death. The force was fined £175,000.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES’ (UK)

Posted in A QUESTÃO ÉTNICA, BRASIL, CIDADANIA, DIREITOS HUMANOS - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ENGLAND, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, HATE MONGERING AND BIGOTRY, HISTORY, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, RECESSION, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

FRENCH ECONOMY SURPASSING U.K., REPORT FINDS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 11, 2008

December 8, 2008

Bloomberg News

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (USA)

PARIS: The financial crisis is recasting the league table of economies, with Britain sliding behind its European neighbors and China gaining on its richer rivals, the Center for Economics and Business Research said in a study released Monday.

A recession and a decline in the pound’s value pushed Britain’s gross domestic product below France’s this year and it will be passed by Italy in 2009, the CEBR said in the report. China has overtaken Germany and will top Japan in 2010 to become the world’s second-largest economy behind the United States, it said.

“The recession associated with the credit crunch will change the position of many countries in the world’s GDP league table,” the London-based CEBR said in the report.

The study shows how countries that ran up debts during expansion, like Britain, will now suffer, while emerging-market economies will wield increasingly more power in the global economy as they develop. Governments from the Group of 7 nations are under pressure to broaden their membership to reflect the changing shape of the world economy.

Brazil will rise to eighth-biggest economy from 10th by 2010 and India to 10th from 12th, the CEBR said. Canada will drop to 13th from ninth in the same period as its currency falls, it said.

The CEBR also said the British and Italian economies would suffer the deepest downturns with 18 quarters of GDP below its previous peaks. Spain’s slump will last 16 quarters and Japan’s 11 quarters. The United States will rebound after nine quarters. China will not suffer a single quarter of contracting growth, the report said.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, BRASIL, CANADA, CHINA, COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENGLAND, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GERMANY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, ITALY, JAPAN, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, SPAIN, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, UNITED KINGDOM, USA | Leave a Comment »

WHERE HAVE ALL YOUR SAVINGS GONE? – INVESTORS MAY DRAW THE WRONG LESSON FROM HISTORY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 11, 2008

Dec 4th 2008

From The Economist print edition

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIST’

For American and European savers it has been a lost decade. After two booms and two busts, stockmarkets have earned them nothing, or less, in the past ten years. Low interest rates have made bonds and bank deposits unrewarding too. Were it not for the tax relief they receive, contributors to personal pension plans would have been better off keeping their money under their mattresses. It will be little consolation to Westerners that savers in Japan have known this empty feeling for far longer.

This year’s figures are enough to put anybody off saving. American mutual-fund assets have declined by $2.4 trillion—a fifth of their value—since the start of 2008; in Britain, the drop is more than a quarter, or almost £130 billion ($195 billion). The value of global stockmarkets has shrunk by maybe $30 trillion, or roughly half. These figures put the losses on credit-related securities—where the financial crisis began—into the shade.

Nor has the bad news been confined to equities. This year the value of all manner of risky investments, from corporate bonds to commodities to hedge funds, has been clobbered. The belief that diversification into “alternative assets” could prevent investors losing money in bear markets has proved false. And of course housing, which many people counted on for their retirement nest-eggs, has lost value too (see article).

As a result, saving seems like pouring money into a black hole (see article). Any American who has diligently put $100 a month into a domestic equity mutual fund for the past ten years will find his pot worth less than he put into it; a European who did the same has lost a quarter of his money.

Save your cake and eat it

It may seem an odd time to worry about savings. This week the National Bureau of Economic Research declared that the world’s largest economy, America, had been in recession since December last year. The economies of Japan and much of western Europe have been shrinking. A rapid, global, private-sector shift to thrift is exactly what the world economy does not need. That’s why governments around the world have been passing hurried measures to try to encourage people to spend more of their incomes.

In some countries, they should. Asians (and Germans too — see article), have been squirrelling their money away with excessive enthusiasm. But other countries’ citizens have been putting too little aside for their old age. In America, the household savings ratio (the proportion of disposable income not used for consumption) has been below 2.5% since 1999; in Britain, it has been below 3% in each of the past two years. The Asians’ parsimony made the Anglo-Saxons’ profligacy possible. Through their increasingly sophisticated financial systems, the Americans and British were able to borrow from the thrifty Asians to finance their spending spree. And, because their house prices were rising so fast, they had the collateral and the confidence to do so.

In other words, Anglo-Saxons were able to save their cake and eat it. They did not have to sacrifice consumption in order to build up assets for the future, because lax monetary policies encouraged borrowing that pushed up the prices of housing and other assets, which gave them the illusion of having saved enough. But now this debt burden is being unwound, asset prices are collapsing and savings rates are rising because consumers are unwilling, or unable, to borrow.

Though this is bad news for the American and British economies in the short term, it ought to be good news in the long term. How good, though, depends as much on where people put their savings as on how much they put aside.

Careless caution

If savers treated financial assets as they do other goods, they would sell them when they are expensive and buy them when they are cheap. Actually, they do the opposite. They piled into the market in 1999-2000, at the peak, and are piling out of it now. They should, of course, have got out in 2000, when the global price-earnings ratio was 35; shares look relatively much more attractive now, since the ratio is down to ten. A recent analysis shows that, when American price-earnings ratios are low, returns on equities over the next decade average 8%; when they are high, returns average 3%.

But people’s recent losses have made them cautious. They are putting their money into cash or money-market funds, rather than equities or corporate bonds. The returns they are getting on their savings look increasingly pitiful. Interest rates are falling sharply, with more central banks announcing cuts this week. Savers may initially be shielded from the full impact of those reductions, because commercial banks are competing for retail deposits. But rates in many big economies are heading for, or have already reached, 1-2%.

Caution is understandable, after the trauma of this year. Equity and corporate bond markets could yet fall further, especially as the news on the economy seems to get worse every week. But it is still perverse that investors were happy to buy shares nine years ago, when the ratio of share prices to profits was three times what it is today, and are now determined to keep their money in cash and bonds.

That approach will be hopelessly inadequate for those who want to build a decent pension, especially in defined-contribution, or money-purchase, schemes, where the employee bears all the investment risk. The average American scheme member contributes just 7.8% of salary to his pension scheme. His employer, on average, contributes only 4.4%. He has a pot worth only $68,000. A rule of thumb is that total contributions need to be around 20% of wages to match a traditional final-salary scheme.

Inadequate savings, badly invested, are a problem for individuals and the economy. Cautious savers are putting their money in banks; banks are reluctant to lend; companies therefore find it hard both to borrow money and to raise equity capital. This timidity hurts companies and, in the long term, savers. Implausible as it may sound, right now equities and corporate bonds are a better long-term bet than cash.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIST’ (Spain)

Posted in ASIA, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENGLAND, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SCAMS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, FOREIGN POLICIES, FRAUD, GERMANY, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, NORTH AMERICA, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, UNITED KINGDOM, USA | Leave a Comment »

ROMANIAN-ENGLISH FERTILIZER PRODUCERS SACKS 5 500 WORKERS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 11, 2008

10 December 2008, Wednesday

PUBLISHED BY ‘BULGARIAN BUSINESS – NOVINITE.COM’

The Romanian-English fertilizer company InterAgro is going to lay off about 5 500 workers, or about 90% of its employees, the Romanian newspaper Adevarul reported.

The company is going to close down all of its six chemical plants, which produce fertilizers. The only way to save the factories would be if the Romanian state supported the company, the InterAgro President Ioan Niculae is quoted as saying.

Such a step, however, would be a breach of EU competition rules, and is therefore unlikely.

Niculae also said the closure of the company factories would incur losses of USD 100 M. InterAgro exports its fertilizer production, and the declining demand on the international market due to the global financial crisis has affected the company.

Bulgaria’s fertilizer producer Agropolychim has also been troubled by the effects of the global financial crisis, and has had to shut down temporarily its production lines.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘BULGARIAN BUSINESS – NOVINITE.COM’ (Spain)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, BULGARIA, CHEMICALS (processed components), COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, FERTILIZERS, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, ROMANIA, STOCK MARKETS, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

BRITISH HOUSE PRICES PLUNGE AT RECORD ANNUAL PACE: SURVEY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 6, 2008

4 Dec 2008, 1723 hrs IST

AGENCIES

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

LONDON: British house prices slumped by a record 14.9 percent in the three months to November compared to a year earlier, the country’s biggest provider of home loans said Thursday in the latest sign of a growing recession.

Prices also fell 2.6 percent on a monthly basis from October to November, cutting the average price of a house to 163,605 pounds ($237,650, 188,760 euros), said the Halifax, which is part of British bank HBOS.

The annual figure was the largest drop since the series was launched in 1983, while the monthly decline was the biggest since September 1992.

“The combination of high house prices in relation to earnings, constraints on householders’ incomes and spending power and the decline in the availability of mortgage finance since the summer of 2007 has curbed housing demand,” said Halifax chief economist Martin Ellis.

“These factors are major contributors to lower house prices and activity.”

Lower house prices, however, mean that a key housing affordability measure, the ratio of house prices to earnings, was at its most favourable for more than five years, the Halifax said.

Despite recent sharp house-price falls, the average home costs 124 percent more than ten years ago, when it was worth just 73,129 pounds, the bank added.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

STORIA DELLE RIVOLUZIONI DEL XX SECOLO – LA RIVOLTA DEI MAU-MAU (Kenya)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 1, 2008

Romano Ledda – A cura di Roberto Bonchio

(1628, 1629)

Mentre l’Africa nera Nairobi. Ottobre 1952. Mau-mau arrestati dalla polizia inglese. I Mau-mau erano una setta segreta a sfondo nazionalistico-religioso costituitasi nel Kenya tra le populazioni Kikuyu, attorno al 1948; un campo di concentramento; un villagio, presunta centrale dei Mau-mau, dato alle fiamme dalle trupe inglesioccidentale ed equatoriale raggiunse l’indipendenza entro l’anno 1960, quella orientale, per lo piú a dominazione inglese, dovette attendere piú a lungo. Qui infatti ai consueti meccanismi di sfruttamento coloniale, si aggiungeva in generale la presenza di massicce immigrazioni bianche, che costituirono (e costituiscono ancora oggi nella Rhodesia dei sud e, sia puré con caratteristiche storiche diverse, nel Sud África) un forte ostacolo alia stessa política neocoloniale del’Inghilterra. Fu questa presenza di bianchi, che si era-no impadroniti delle terre migliori, ricacciando gli africani su quelle sterili, a provocare quella che forse è l’unica grande rivolta contadina del’Africa nera: la guerra che i Mau-mau condussero per tre anni contro il coloni bianchi dei Kenya.

La rivolta dei Mau-mau esplose con primitiva violenza nel 1952. Da trent’anni gli africani chiedevano terre migliori, la fine della discriminazione razziale, e il superamento di condizioni di vita che avevano dei bestiale. Come risposta ebbero un rigurgito di violenza e di crudeltà razziali. La rivolta partita dal gruppo étnico Kikuyu fu la legittima reazione al regime instaurato dai coloni. Essa colpi con durezza lê ricche fattorie degli « altipiani bianchi », rispose a colpo su colpo, porto dovunque il terrore, anche per quel suo carattere primitivo che circondava ogni azione di rappresaglia o di attacco contro i « signori bianchi », dei rituali magici delia tradizione tribale. Ma che non si trattasse di semplici bande criminali, come è stato troppo spesso detto, bensì di un movimento con profonde radici tra i contadini poveri dei Kenya, è dimostrato dal fatto che ci vollero ben tre anni per reprimere la rivolta. Fu una delle repressioni più brutali della storia coloniale. Si ripeterono qui le violenze, gli arbitri, le crudeltà dei francesi in Algeria. Jomo Kenyatta, presunto capo delia rivolta, venne arrestato confinato a tempo indefinito. Migliaia di kikuyu vennero massacrati, i villaggi incendiati, intere tribù ricacciate nelle foreste. Ma quando la rivolta fu alfine domata, il volto dei Kenya era ormai cambiato, e iniziò un processo « costituzionale » verso l’indipenza, ottenuta il 12 dicembre 1963. II partito di Kenyatta, il Kenya African National Union (KA-NU) assunse la direzione dei paese.

Prima dei Kenya, era divenuto indipendente, il 9 dicembre 1961, il Tanganika. E qui maturò uno dei regimi più avanzati dell’África nera, che ebbe ai suo centro il Tankanika African National Union (TANU), fondato nel 1954 da Julius Nyerere, attualmente presidente della Tanzania. Anche nel Tanganika il carattere nazionale, non tribale, dei partito fu determinante nell’orientare il paese verso programmi sociali ed economici, ispirati ad un nazionalismo progressista con elementi di socialismo. Un secondo elemento influi, però, in modo rilevante nella radicalizzazione degli orientamenti del TANU. Il 12 gennaio 1964 scoppiò una rivoluzione popolare nella vicina isola di Zanzibar. L’isola, che aveva ottenuto l’indipendenza nel dicembre 1963, era dominata dal sultano Ben Abdullah, sostenuto dagli inglesi, e rappresentante la minoranza araba delia popolazione. Il partito Umma, diretto da Mohammed Babu, a base prevalentemente contadina, si impadroni dei potere con una insurrezione armata, e il 18 gennaio proclamo la repubblica popolare di Zanzibar. Nell’aprile dello stesso anno, iniziarono le trattative tra il governo di Nyerere e quello di Zanzibar per la costituzione di un único Stato. In breve l’accordo fu raggiunto e il 25 aprile 1964 sorse la repubblica di Tanzania, con un orientamento político generale che si richiama esplicitamente al socialismo. L’accesso all’indipendenza dei possedimenti inglesi deli’África orientale si compì con una certa rapidità: il 9 ottobre 1962 divenne indipendente l’Uganda, il 6 luglio 1964 il Nyassaland, col nome di Malawi, il 24 ottobre 1964 la Rhodesia dei Nord, col nome di Zâmbia.

Posted in AFRICA, ENGLAND, FOREIGN POLICIES, FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND CONSCIENCE, HISTORY, HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, KENYA, UNITED KINGDOM, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

CHAGOS ISLANDS – STEALING A NATION – THE CORRUPTION THAT MAKES UNPEOPLE OF AN ENTIRE NATION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 28, 2008

28/11/2008

CHAGOS ISLANDS – STEALING A NATION – by John Pilger

CLICK HERE FOR A HIGH DEFINITION VERSION OF THE ENTIRE VIDEO

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The native islanders of the Chagos archipelago were forcibly removed from the CHAGOS' FLAGislands by the British Government at that time to make way for an American military airbase during the Cold War. They were forgotten about and left to wither in poverty in the slums of Mauritius. They have been fighting to be allowed to return home ever since, and despite the British courts ruling in favour of this the Government has managed to block that decision, and the Chagossians remain in their enforced purgatory to this day.

STEALING A NATION (John Pilger, 2004) is an extraordinary film about the plight of people of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean – secretly and brutally expelled from their homeland by British governments in the late 1960s CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGOand early 1970s, to make way for an American military base. The base, on the main island of Diego Garcia, was a launch pad for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Stealing a Nation has won both the Royal Television Society’s top award as Britain’s best documentary in 2004-5, and a ‘Chris Award’ at the Columbus International Film and Video Festival. A brochure of the film is available at http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/guides/stealguide.pdf. On April 8, 2008, the Chagos Islanders have launched a national Campaign for Resettlement of their islands – go to www.letthemreturn.com. For more information and updates on the plight of the Chagossians, visit the website of the UK Chagos Support Association at www.chagossupport.org.uk.

Other references and articles on the story are as listed below: CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO

http://www.chagos.org/home.htm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politic…

Islanders who wait in vain for justice and a paradise lost
Evicted from their tropical idyll in a military deal, victorious in three legal hearings, they now face another battle to be allowed home – From The Times – November 9, 2007

THE CORRUPTION THAT MAKES UNPEOPLE OF AN ENTIRE NATION

27 Nov 2008

In his column for the New Statesman, John Pilger describes the latest chapter in theCHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO extraordinary story of the ‘mass kidnapping’ of the people of the Chagos islands in the Indian Ocean, British citizens expelled from their homeland to make way for an American military base. On 22 October, Britain’s highest court of appeal, the Law Lords, demonstrated how British power words at its apex by handing down a transparently political judgement that dismissed the Magna Carta and banned an entire nation from ever going home.

I went to the Houses of Parliament on 22 October to join a disconsolate group of shivering people who had arrived from a faraway tropical place and were being prevented from entering the Public Gallery to hear their fate. This was not headline news; the BBC reporter seemed almost CHAGOS REFUGEES PROTESTING IN LONDONembarrassed. Crimes of such magnitude are not news when they are ours, and neither is injustice or corruption at the apex of British power.

Lizette Talatte was there, her tiny frail self swallowed by the cavernous stone grey of Westminster Hall. I first saw her in a Colonial Office film from the 1950s which described her homeland, the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, as a paradise long settled by people “born and brought up in conditions most tranquil and benign”. Lizette was then 14 years old. She remembers the producer saying to her and her friends, “Keep smiling, girls!”. When we met in Mauritius, four years ago, she said: “We didn’t need to be told to smile. I was a happy child, because my roots were deep in Diego Garcia. My great-grandmother was born there, and I made six children there. Maybe only the English can make a film that showed we were an established community, then deny their own evidence and invent the lie that we were transient workers.”CHAGOS REFUGEES PROTESTING - STANDING IN FRONT OF THE ROYAL COURT OF JUSTICE IN LONDON

During the 1960s and 1970s British governments, Labour and Tory, tricked and expelled the entire population of the Chagos Archipelago, more than 2,000 British citizens, so that Diego Garcia could be given to the United States as the site for a military base. It was an act of mass kidnapping carried out in high secrecy. As unclassified official files now show, Foreign Office officials conspired to lie, coaching each other to “maintain” and “argue” the “fiction” that the Chagossians existed only as a “floating population”. On 28 July 1965, a senior Foreign Office official, T C D Jerrom, wrote to the British representative at the United Nations, instructing him to lie to the General Assembly that the Chagos Archipelago was “uninhabited when the United Kingdom government first acquired it”. Nine years later, the Ministry of Defence went further, lying CHAGOS REFUGEES PROTESTING - Louis Olivier Bancoult, (2nd L) Chairman of the Chagos Refugees Group, holds his grandson Julien aloft outside The High Court in central London, 23 May 2007. Families expelled from the Chagos Islands by the British Government to make way for the Diego Garcia US airbase won their legal battle to return home Wednesday. The decision upholds two previous rulings in favour of the islanders, granting them rights of abodethat “there is nothing in our files about inhabitants [of the Chagos] or about an evacuation”.

“To get us out of our homes,” Lizette told me, “they spread rumours we would be bombed, then they turned on our dogs. The American soldiers who had arrived to build the base backed several of their big vehicles against a brick shed, and hundreds of dogs were rounded up and imprisoned there, and they gassed them through a tube from the trucks’ exhaust. You could hear them crying. Then they burned them on a pyre, many still alive.”

Lizette and her family were finally forced on to a rusting freighter and made to lie on a cargo of bird fertiliser during a voyage, through stormy seas, to the slums of Port Louis, Mauritius. Within A demonstrator demanding her return to the Chagos Islands in the Diego Garcia archipelago shouts during a protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London October 22, 2008. Britain's highest court ruled in favour of the British government on Wednesday, blocking the return of hundreds of Chagos Island people to their homes in the south Indian Ocean after nearly 40 years of exile. The decision by the House of Lords ends a years-long battle to secure the Chagos Islanders the right to return to their archipelago, from where they were forcibly removed in the 1960s and '70s to make way for an American airbase on Diego Garcia.months, she had lost Jollice, aged eight, and Regis, aged ten months. “They died of sadness,” she said. “The eight-year-old had seen the horror of what had happened to the dogs. The doctor said he could not treat sadness.”

Since 2000, no fewer than nine high court judgments have described these British government actions as “illegal”, “outrageous” and “repugnant”. One ruling cited Magna Carta, which says no free man can be sent into exile. In desperation, the Blair government used the royal prerogative – the divine right of kings – to circumvent the courts and parliament and to ban the islanders from even visiting the Chagos. When this, too, was overturned by the high court, the government was rescued by the law lords, of whom a majority of one (three to two) found for the government in a scandalously inept, political manner. In the weasel, almost flippant words of LordChagos Islanders look on while Louis Olivier Bancoult (R), Chairman of the Chagos Refugees Group, addresses the media outside The High Court in central London, 23 May 2007. Families expelled from the Chagos Islands by the British Government to make way for the Diego Garcia US airbase won their legal battle to return home Wednesday. The decision upholds two previous rulings in favour of the islanders, granting them rights of abode Hoffmann, “the rightof abode is a creature of the law. The law gives it and the law takes it away.” Forget Magna Carta. Human rights are in the gift of three stooges doing the dirty work of a government, itself lawless.

As the official files show, the Chagos conspiracy and cover-up involved three prime ministers and 13 cabinet ministers, including those who approved “the plan”. But elite corruption is unspeakable in Britain. I know of no work of serious scholarship on this crime against humanity. The honourable exception is the work of the historian Mark Curtis, who describes the Chagossians as “unpeople”.

The reason for this silence is ideological. Courtier commentators and media historians obstruct our CHAGOS ISLANDERS IN FORCED EXILE - Dervillie Permal and his wifeview of the recent past, ensuring, as Harold Pinter pointed out in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, that while the “systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought” in Stalinist Russia were well known in the west, the great state crimes of western governments “have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented”.

Typically, the pop historian Tristram Hunt writes in the Observer (23 November): “Nestling in the slipstream of American hegemony served us well in the 20th century. The bonds of culture, religion, language and ideology ensured Britain a postwarLouis Olivier Bancoult, Chairman of the Chagos Refugees Group, celebrates outside The High Court in central London, 23 May 2007. The High Court on Wednesday upheld a ruling letting families return to their Indian Ocean island homes, from where they were forced out 30 years ago to make way for a US military base. The Court of Appeal backed a High Court ruling in May last year that allowed the families to return to the Chagos Islands, except for Diego Garcia, a launchpad for US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Britain expelled some 2,000 people from the Chagos Islands, 500 kilometres (310 miles) south of the Maldives, to Mauritius and the Seychelles in the 1960s and 1970s, allowing it to lease Diego Garcia to Washington for 50 years economic bailout, a nuclear deterrent and the continuing ability to ‘punch above our weight’ on the world stage. Thanks to US patronage, our story of decolonisation was for us a relatively painless affair…”

Not a word of this drivel hints at the transatlantic elite’s Cold War paranoia, which put us all in mortal danger, or the rapacious Anglo-American wars that continue to claim untold lives. As part of the “bonds” that allow us to “punch above our weight”, the US gave Britain a derisory $14m discount off the price of Polaris nuclear missiles in exchange for the Chagos Islands, whose “painless decolonisation” was etched on Lizette Talatte’s face the other day. Never forget, Lord Hoffmann, that she, too, will die of sadness.

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Posted in CORRUPTION, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, ENGLAND, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, HISTORY, HUMAN RIGHTS, INDIAN OCEAN ISLANDS, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRELAND, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, MILITARY CONTRACTS, NATIVE PEOPLES, SCOTLAND, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE MEDIA (US AND FOREIGN), THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE UNITED NATIONS, UNITED KINGDOM, USA, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

SHOOTING AN ELEPHANT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 27, 2008

1920 – 1940

THE COLLECTED ESSAYS, JOURNALISM AND LETTERS OF GEORGE ORWELL – Vol. 1

AN AGE LIKE THIS

Pages 265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272

88. Shooting an Elephant

GEORGE ORWELL In Moulmein, in Lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people – the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me. I was sub-divisional police officer of the town, and in an aimless, petty kind of way anti- European feeling was very bitter. No one had the guts to raise a riot, but if a European woman went through the bazaars alone somebody would probably spit betel juice over her dress. As a police officer I was an obvious target and was baited whenever it seemed safe to do so. When a nimble Burman tripped me up on the football field and the referee (another Burman) looked the other way, the crowd yelled with hideous laughter. This happened more than once. In the end the sneering yellow faces of young men that met me everywhere, the insults hooted after me when I was at a safe distance, got badly on my nerves. The young Buddhist priests were the worst of all. There were several thousands of them in the town and none of them seemed to have anything to do except stand on street corners and jeer at Europeans.

All this was perplexing and upsetting. For at that time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better. Theoretically – and secretly, of course – I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British. As for the job I was doing, I hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear. In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters. The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been flogged with bamboos – all these oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt. But I could get nothing into perspective. I was young and ill educated and I had had to think out my problems in the utter silence that is imposed on every Englishman in the East. I did not even know that the British Empire is dying, still less did I know that it is a great deal better than the younger empires that are going to supplant it. All I knew was that I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible. With one part of my mind I thought of the British Raj as an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down, in saecula saeculorum, upon the will of prostrate peoples; with another part I thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest’s guts. Feelings like these are the normal by-products of imperialism; ask any Anglo- Indian official, if you can catch him off duty.

One day something happened which in a roundabout way was enlightening, [t was a tiny incident in itself, but it gave me a better glimpse than t had had before of the real nature of imperialism – the real motives for which despotic governments act. Early one morning the sub-inspector at a police station the other end of the town rang me up on the phone and said that an elephant was ravaging the bazaar. Would I please come and do something about it? I did not know what I could do, but I wanted to see what was happening and I got on to a pony and started out. I took my rifle, an old .44 Winchester and much too small to kill an elephant, but I thought the noise might be useful in terrorem. Various Burmans stopped me on the way and told me about the elephant’s doings. It was not, of course, a wild elephant, but a tame one which had gone ‘must’. It had been chained up as tame elephants always are when their attack of ‘must’ is due, but on the previous night it had broken its chain and escaped. Its mahout, the only person who could manage it when it was in that state, had set out in pursuit, but he had taken the wrong direction and was now twelve hours’ journey away, and in the morning the elephant had suddenly reappeared in the town. The Burmese population had no weapons and were quite helpless against it. It had already destroyed somebody’s bamboo hut, killed a cow and raided some fruit-stalls and devoured the stock; also it had met the municipal rubbish van, and, when the driver jumped out and took to his heels, had turned the van over and inflicted violence upon it.

The Burmese sub-inspector and some Indian constables were waiting for me in the quarter where the elephant had been seen. It was a very poor quarter, a labyrinth of squalid bamboo huts, thatched with palm-leaf, winding all over a steep hillside. I remember that it was a cloudy stuffy morning at the beginning of the rains. We began questioning the people as to where the elephant had gone, and, as usual, failed to get any definite information. That is invariably the case in the East; a story always sounds clear enough at a distance, but the nearer you get to the scene of events the vaguer it becomes. Some of the people said that the elephant had gone in one direction, some said that he had gone in another, some professed not even to have heard of any elephant. I had almost made up my mind that the whole story was a pack of lies, when we heard yells a little distance away. There was a loud, scandalized cry of ‘Go away, child! Go away this instant!’ and an old woman with a switch in her hand came round the corner of a hut, violently shooing away a crowd of naked children. Some more women followed, clicking their tongues and exclaiming; evidently there was something there that the children ought not to have seen. I rounded the hut and saw a man’s dead body sprawling in the mud. He was an Indian, a black Dravidian coolie, almost naked, and he could not have been dead many minutes. The people said that the elephant had come suddenly upon him round the corner of the hut, caught him with its trunk, put its foot on his back and ground him into the earth. This was the rainy season and the ground was soft, and his face had scored a trench a foot deep and a couple of yards long. He was lying on his belly with arms crucified and head sharply twisted to one side. His face was coated with mud, the eyes wide open, the teeth bared and grinning with an expression of unendurable agony. (Never tell me, by the way, that the dead look peaceful. Most of the corpses I have seen looked devilish.) The friction of the great beast’s foot had stripped the skin from his back as neatly as one skins a rabbit. As soon as I saw the dead man I sent an orderly to a friend’s house near by to borrow an elephant rifle. I had already sent back the pony, not wanting it to go mad with fright and throw me if it smelled the elephant.

The orderly came back in a few minutes with a rifle and five cartridges, and meanwhile some Burmans had arrived and told us that the elephant was in the paddy fields below, only a few hundred yards away. As I started forward practically the whole population of the quarter flocked out of their houses and followed me. They had seen the rifle and were all shouting excitedly that I was going to shoot the elephant. They had not shown much interest in the elephant when he was merely ravaging their homes, but it was different now that he was going to be shot. It was bit of fun to them, as it would be to an English crowd; besides, they wanted the meat. It made me vaguely uneasy. I had no intention of shooting the elephant – I had merely sent for the rifle to defend myself if necessary – and it is always unnerving to have a crowd following you. I marched down the hill, looking and feeling a fool, with the rifle over my shoulder and an ever-growing army of people jostling at my heels. At the bottom when you got away from the huts there was a metalled road and beyond that a miry waste of paddy fields a thousand yards across, not yet ploughed but soggy from the first rains and dotted with coarse grass. The elephant was standing eighty yards from the road, his left side towards us. He took not the slightest notice of the crowd’s approach. He was tearing up bunches of grass, beating them against his knees to clean them and stuffing them into his mouth.

I had halted on the road. As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him. It is a serious matter to shoot a working elephant – it is comparable to destroying a huge and costly piece of machinery – and obviously one ought not to do it if it can possibly be avoided. And at that distance, peacefully eating, the elephant looked no more dangerous than a cow. I thought then and I think now that his attack of ‘must’ was already passing off; in which case he would merely wander harmlessly about until the mahout came back and caught him. Moreover, I did not in the least want to shoot him. I decided that I would watch him for a little while to make sure that he did not turn savage again, and then go home.

But at that moment I glanced round at the crowd that had followed me. It was an immense crowd, two thousand at the least and growing every minute. It blocked the road for a long distance on either side. I looked at the sea of yellow faces above the garish clothes – faces all happy and excited over this bit of fun, all certain that the elephant was going to be shot. They were watching me as they would watch a conjurer about to perform a trick. They did not like me, but with the magical rifle in my hands I was momentarily worth watching. And suddenly I realized that I should have to shoot the elephant after all. The people expected it of me and I had got to do it; I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly. And it was at this moment, as I stood there with the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man’s dominion in the East. Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd – seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib. For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his \ life in trying to impress the ‘natives’ and so in every crisis he has got to do what the ‘natives’ expect of him. He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it. I had got to shoot the elephant. I had committed myself to doing it when I sent for the rifle. A sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mind and do definite things. To come all that way, rifle in hand, with two thousand people marching at my heels, and then to trail feebly away, having done nothing – no, that was impossible. The crowd would laugh at me. And my whole life, every white man’s life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at.

But I did not want to shoot the elephant. I watched him beating his bunch of grass against his knees, with that preoccupied grandmotherly air that elephants have. It seemed to me that it would be murder to shoot him. At that age I was not squeamish about killing animals, but I had never shot an elephant and never wanted to. (Somehow it always seems worse to kill a lar^e animal.) Besides, there was the beast’s owner to be considered. Alive, the elephant was worth at least a hundred pounds; dead, he would only be worth the value of his tusks – five pounds, possibly. But I had got to act quickly. I turned to some experienced-looking Burmans who had been there when we arrived, and asked them how the elephant had been behaving. They all said the same thing: he took no notice of you if you left him alone, but he might charge if you went too close to him.

It was perfectly clear to me what I ought to do. I ought to walk up to within, say, twenty-five yards of the elephant and test his behaviour. If he charged I could shoot, if he took no notice of me it would be safe to leave him until the mahout came back. But also I knew that I was going to do no such thing. I was a poor shot with a rifle and the ground was soft mud into which one would sink at every step. If the elephant charged and I missed him, I should have about as much chance as a toad under a steam-roller. But even then I was not thinking particularly of my own skin, only the watchful yellow faces behind. For at that moment, with the crowd watching me, I was not afraid in the ordinary sense, as I would have been if I had been alone. A white man mustn’t be frightened in front of ‘natives’; and so, in general, he isn’t frightened. The sole thought in my mind was that if anything went wrong those two thousand Burmans would see me pursued, caught, trampled on and reduced to a grinning corpse like that Indian up the hill. And if that happened it was quite probable that some of them would laugh. That would never do. There was only one alternative. I shoved the cartridges into the magazine and lay down on the road to get a better aim.

The crowd grew very still, and a deep, low, happy sigh, as of people who see the theatre curtain go up at last, breathed from innumerable throats. They were going to have their bit of fun after all. The rifle was a beautiful German thing with cross- hair sights. I did not then know that in shooting an elephant one should shoot to cut an imaginary bar running from ear-hole to ear-hole. I ought therefore, as the elephant was sideways on, to have aimed straight at his ear-hole; actually I aimed several inches in front of this, thinking the brain would be further forward.

When I pulled the trigger I did not hear the bang or feel the kick – one never does when a shot goes home – but I heard the devilish roar of glee that went up from the crowd. In that instant, in too short a time, one would have thought, even for the bullet to get there, a mysterious, terrible change had come over the elephant. He neither stirred nor fell, but every line of his body had altered. He looked suddenly stricken, shrunken, immensely old, as though the frightful impact of the bullet had paralysed him without knocking him down. At last, after what seemed a long time – it might have been five seconds, I dare say – he sagged flabbily to his knees. His mouth slobbered. An enormous senility seemed to have settled upon him. One could have imagined him thousands of years old. I fired again into the same spot. At the second shot he did not collapse but climbed with desperate slowness to his feet and stood weakly upright, with legs sagging and head drooping. I fired a third time. That was the shot that did for him. You could see the agony of it jolt his whole body and knock the last remnant of strength from his legs. But in falling he seemed for a moment to rise, for as his hind legs collapsed beneath him he seemed to tower upwards like a huge rock toppling, his trunk reaching skyward like a tree. He trumpeted, for the first and only time. And then down he came, his belly towards me, with a crash that seemed to shake the ground even where I lay.

I got up. The Burmans were already racing past me across the mud. It was obvious that the elephant would never rise again, but he was not dead. He was breathing very rhythmically with long rattling gasps, his great mound of a side painfully rising and falling. His mouth was wide open – I could see far down into caverns of pale pink throat. I waited a long time for him to die, but his breathing did not weaken. Finally I fired my two remaining shots into the spot where I thought his heart must be. The thick blood welled out of him like red velvet, but still he did not die. His body did not even jerk when the shots hit him, the tortured breathing continued without a pause. He was dying, very slowly and in great agony, but in some world remote from me where not even a bullet could damage him further. I felt that 1 had got to put an end to that dreadful noise. It seemed dreadful to see the great beast lying there, powerless to move and yet powerless to die. and not even to be able to finish him. [ sent back for my small rifle and poured shot after shot into his heart and down his throat. They seemed to make no impression. The tortured gasps continued as steadily as the ticking of a clock.

In the end I could not stand it any longer and went away. [ heard later that it took him half an hour to die. Burmans were arriving with dahs and baskets even before I left, and I was told they had stripped his body almost to the bones by the afternoon.

Afterwards, of course, there were endless discussions about the shooting of the elephant. The owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing. Besides, legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if its owner fails to control it. Among the Europeans opinion was divided. The older men said I was right, the younger men said it was a damn shame to shoot an elephant for killing a coolie, because an elephant was worth more than any damn Coringhee coolie. And afterwards I was very glad that the coolie had been killed; it put me legally in the right and it gave me a sufficient pretext for shooting the elephant. I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool.

New Writing, No. 2, Autumn 1936; Penguin New Writing, No. 1, [November] 1940; broadcast in the B.B.C. Home Service, 12 October 1948; .S.E.; O.R.; C.E.

Posted in ASIA, ENGLAND, ENVIRONMENT, FOREIGN POLICIES, HISTORY, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LITERATURE, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

TIME AND MONEY ARE RUNNING OUT AT WOOLWORTHS (England)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 24, 2008

24-11-2008

If things at troubled Woolworths Group don’t shape up quickly the British high street retailer will be put into administration soon. As soon as this week, experts tell Financial Times.

Discussions continued yesterday, with the Woolworths board and Hilco UK, the retail restructuring specialist, attempting to find a debt formula that would be palatable to lenders, which are led by Burdale and GMAC. Woolworths has advocated an emergency demerger of the group, which includes EUK, a wholesale distribution division, and 2entertain, a DVD publishing joint venture with the BBC, as well as the 800-store retail chain.

Under the plan, Hilco would take the stores for a nominal fee and assume about £300m of the £385m debt burden. The rest of the debt would be left with the residual businesses, which are profitable.

With Woolworths running out of cash, it is in urgent need for lenders to approve a deal along those lines. Otherwise, the entire group is likely to be placed into administration next week, with Deloitte, adviser to the banks, likely to take control and liquidate assets.

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Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, STOCK MARKETS | Leave a Comment »

STERLING SUFFERS, BUT UK INTERVENTION UNLIKELY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 23, 2008

November 21, 2008 – Reuters

By some measures, sterling’s recent slide is even greater than the fall in late 1992 when it was ejected from a group of European currencies, but the chances of a repeat rescue attempt from the Bank of England are minimal.

The doomed attempt 16 years ago to take on currency traders, most notably George Soros, to keep sterling in the Exchange Rate Mechanism cost around two-thirds of UK foreign exchange reserves and scarred the collective conscience at the BoE and Treasury.

But unless sterling’s fall becomes disorderly in the eyes of UK officials and threatens the stability of financial markets and business and trade with the rest of the world, analysts say the BoE and UK Treasury will be loath to try anything similar.

Indeed, as BoE officials have indicated, an export-boosting, weak currency may be one of the few bright spots on the horizon for the UK economy otherwise ravaged by the tumbling housing market and collapse of credit.

“The key issue for UK financial officials is to get the economy moving, to try to prevent a slowdown next year from being more pronounced,” said Trevor Williams, head of group economic research at Lloyds TSB in London.

“To some extent a weaker currency helps in that effort … so it’s the lesser of two evils.”

Sterling has tumbled 16 percent against the dollar so far this quarter, compared with more than 15.3 percent in September-December 1992. Implied volatility on one-month sterling/dollar currency options shot up to nearly 30 percent earlier this month, eclipsing a jump to 22 percent in October 1992.

During that period, UK authorities burned through as much as an estimated $30 billion by many accounts in an unsuccessful bid to stem the pound’s drop before permanently withdrawing from the ERM.

According to Willem Buiter, professor at the London School of Economics and former BoE policymaker, the depreciation of sterling’s effective exchange rate in the past year is larger than that in the year following the UK’s exit from ERM.

“There can be little doubt, however, that there is a point at which the weakness of sterling ceases to be the correction of an anomaly and becomes an anomaly and a problem. I believe we are close to that point,” Buiter said this week on his blog http://blogs.ft.com/maverecon/.

But he ruled out the likelihood of the BoE wading back into FX markets to support the pound this time around, even though “a triple crisis” of sterling, UK sovereign debt and banking is a real threat.

“There is zero chance of the BoE intervening either on its own behalf or as agent of the government, unless the sterling forex market were to seize up or become illiquid and disorderly. There is no sign of that,” he said.

Sterling traded around $1.49 against the dollar on Friday, and analysts say authorities are willing to see sterling weaken towards a fair value range of $1.40-1.50 and a fall significantly under $1.40 would be needed for the prospect of intervention to even reach the table.

DEBT DEMAND

Sterling has fallen 25 percent against the dollar this year, hitting a 6-1/2-year low around $1.45 last week, when it also hit a record low against the euro of 86.62 pence and a 13-year trough on a trade-weighted basis at 80.5.

After the pound tumbled following the BoE’s 150 basis point cut in interest rates earlier this month, BoE Governor Mervyn King said that its fall over the past year was not surprising and was an inevitable part of rebalancing the UK economy.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has also weighed in, blasting a suggestion from the opposition Conservative party that plans for the government to use borrowed money to spend its way out of the recession could trigger a run on the pound.

The pound’s slide so far has not fanned inflation risks and by common consent, having long been overvalued, analysts say authorities are happy to have it weaken.

Nor has it scared investors away from UK government bonds, which really would be a concern for policymakers. Demand for safe-haven bonds has helped to push the two-year gilt yield below 2 percent this week for the first time ever and 10-year yields below 4 percent.

“At the moment, we’re not seeing sterling weakness adversely affecting either the gilt market or bond yields or any government auction,” said Mansoor Mohi-uddin, chief currency strategist at UBS in Zurich.

He added that at the moment, a drop in demand for UK debt would likely be one of the few situations in which UK authorities would consider shoring up the currency, particularly given government plans to borrow its way out of the recession.

But analysts at Bank of New York Mellon say this may be happening already. They recently pointed out that outflows from UK fixed income instruments since September have offset around 75 percent of all the inflows seen since 2004.

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Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, CURRENCIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, POUND (Britain), RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

WALL STREET CAST ITS VOTE FOR NEW YORK FEDERAL RESERVE PRESIDENT TIMOTHY GEITHNER FOR TREASURY SECRETARY, RALLYING IN HIS FAVOUR

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 22, 2008

November 22, 2008

LATEST: Rob Curran

Article from: Dow Jones Newswires

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged nearly 500 points in the last hour of trading after reports Reutersthat president-elect Barrack Obama would name Mr Geithner to the top Treasury post.

Buyers became energised after a report by NBC News that Mr Obama will personally unveil Mr Geithner as the incoming Treasury boss at a news conference on Monday, along with other members of his economic team.

The report by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, who is married to former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, cheered depressed investors, even though there was no immediate confirmation.

“The market is running up on the news that Timothy Geithner will be the next treasury secretary,” said Peter Cardillo of Avalon Partners.

“Maybe it can bring confidence back.”

Yet the Dow still lost more than 5 per cent on the week, as Citigroup plunged to levels not seen in 15 years and traders worried about the survival of General Motors and Ford.

Mr Geithner, 47, is intimately familiar with Wall Street and worked on recent rescue efforts for the financial system. Those rescue efforts are a work in progress, however.

Citigroup fell US94 cents, or 20 per cent, to $US3.77, taking its losses to 60 per cent for the week and 72 per cent for November as the bank scrambles to review strategic options.

Selling of Citi’s shares grew heavier after chief executive Vikram Pandit said he had no desire to sell the Smith Barney brokerage unit. The stock’s close was the lowest for Citi since the last day of 1992; it has lost more than $US53.8 billion ($67.7 billion) in market value in November.

“It’s mind-boggling,” said Bud Haslett, chief executive of Miller Tabak Capital Management.

Traders say the Treasury Department’s decision last week not to buy distressed assets abruptly changed the outlook for banks.

“The change in the direction of the Troubled Asset Relief Program was the major thing” weighing on financials, said Peter McCorry, senior equity trader at Keefe Bruyette & Woods. “Changing the rules of the TARP is an indication that the rules can and will change mid-game.”

The Dow rose 494.13 points, or 6.54 per cent, to 8046.42, its biggest gain in more than a week.

The broad S&P 500 index rose 47.59 points, or 6.32 per cent, to 800.03, a day after closing at its lowest mark since 1997. The tech-oriented Nasdaq Composite added 68.23 points, or 5.18 per cent, to 1384.35. For the week, the Dow lost 5.3 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 8.4 per cent and the Nasdaq was down 8.7 per cent – and all three had their biggest drops in four weeks.

In response to Wall Street, the Sydney Futures Exchange’s December share price index futures contract jumped 68 points to 3500, representing an 83.5-point premium to the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index and suggesting a solid start to the Australian market on Monday.

The Australian dollar settled offshore trading at just above US63 cents.

In the most volatile Wall Street market since the 1930s, traders say it takes little to push the market in one direction or another.

“We’re dealing with a lot of redemptions,” said one manager at a fund of funds, indicating that forced selling due to clients’ requests for cash is ongoing.

Goldman Sachs Group rose $US1.31, or 2.5 per cent, to $US53.31, finishing the week with a loss of 20 per cent. Morgan Stanley rose US85c, or 9.2 per cent, to $US10.05, but declined 16 per cent on the week.

The model of Wall Street banks is under strain as investments across all asset classes turn sour, and trading with leverage goes out of style.

KeyCorp fell US64c, or 9.3 per cent, to $US6.27 after the regional bank slashed its dividend.

Dell shed US51c, or 5.2 per cent, to 9.30. Third-quarter profit exceeded the Wall Street estimate, helped by cost cuts, but revenue fell to $US15.16 billion from $US15.65 billion a year earlier.

The shopping season begins in force next week, and traders will see if consumer-spending fears are justified. The Consumer Select Discretionary SPDR, a basket of retailers and other consumer stocks, rose $US1.12, or 6.9 per cent, to $US17.45, but fell 9 per cent this week, just one of many wild swings.

Gold mining companies surged as a wave of “deflation” fears receded for now.

Gold is used as a safe haven, but also a hedge against inflation, a market worry that was replaced by deflation lately. Newmont Mining added $US5.79, or 25 per cent, to $US28.79, but has fallen by almost half since its peak.

In Europe, the London FTSE 100 index fell 2.43 per cent to 3780.96 points — its lowest closing level since April 3, 2003, capping an overall fall of 10.68 per cent for the week.

In Paris, the CAC 40 plunged 3.33 per cent and in Frankfurt the DAX shed 2.20 per cent, with banks Allianz and Deutsche Bank among the heavy losers.

“Although this morning saw a slight rally for the UK market, the afternoon has seen these gains eroded with the market nose diving,” said David Jones, a strategist at IG Index in London.

“Sentiment this week has turned even gloomier than we have been used to of late.”

Additional reporting by AFP and staff writers

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DISINVESTMENT FROM WEST BANK SETTLEMENTS GAINS MOMENTUM (Israel)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 18, 2008

Published: November 18, 2008

by Cherrie Heywood (Middle East Times)

JERUSALEM – In an endeavor to breathe some life back into the ILLEGAL ISRAELI SETTLEMENTSmoribund Israeli-Palestinian conflict the British government is taking steps to encourage disinvestment from illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank by labeling all produce manufactured and produced by settlers.

Previously all items imported into the United Kingdom simply stated that they were made in Israel, making it impossible for those who support a boycott of settler produce from being able to distinguish between Israeli produce from within Israel’s internationally recognized and legal borders of 1967 and goods produced in the settlements.

This step by the British follows in the wake of Barkan Wineries, a Dutch company’s decision to relocate from the industrial zone in the Barkan settlement in the northern West Bank to Kibbutz Hulda within the green line.

Barkan had been under pressure from both the Dutch government, which condemns Israel’s settlement policy on Palestinian land, and the Israeli peace movement Gush Shalom which initiated a boycott against Barkan wines.

However, British Secretary of State David Miliband attempted to downplay the re-labeling move when he visited Israel last week during a two-day visit and met with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Livni told Miliband that the United Kingdom was taking “an exaggerated stance in its initiative to label produce imported from the West Bank.”

Miliband denied that the labeling of settlement produce amounted to a boycott and explained it was “merely an attempt to enforce previous trade agreements between the two countries.”

However, Miliband was under a certain amount of pressure during his visit to express strong opposition to settlement in the West Bank and to press European partners for tighter control of imports to the European Union from the settlements.

Some of these imports are admitted at European ports as the produce of Israel and therefore enjoy tariff benefits under an Israel-EU treaty, British officials said.

Anonymous European diplomats added that a fresh economic offensive on the West Bank settlements had not yet been officially approved.

But they qualified that Miliband had been trying to engage support from Brussels for a tougher approach as they believe the settlements are the core issue in regard to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Proser also held a meeting with Miliband and rejected the latter’s argument.

Proser added that the idea to label the products was part of Downing Street’s effort to influence Israeli policy toward the settlements and any other explanation was just an excuse.

The angry Israelis further asserted that London is interested in increasing its involvement in Middle East talks.

This is based on the belief that once U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is sworn into office they will be able to nudge forward a new peace initiative in conjunction with the White House.

Apart from the political considerations of Israeli settlements hindering a successful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, human rights organizations have also expressed concern over the ill-treatment of Palestinian workers on the settlements.

In August, the Business and Human Rights Resource Center, the international watchdog organization, asked three Israeli companies to respond to a report by an Israeli non-governmental organization that protested the treatment of Palestinian workers at West Bank settlement industrial parks.

Kav LaOved, which is concerned with the rights of migrant and Palestinian workers employed in Israel and the settlements, reported on the rising number of claims by Palestinian workers employed in West Bank settlements following an October 2007 Israeli high court ruling that the country’s labor laws applied in the settlements.

According to Kav LaOved’s report, Palestinian workers who come from all over the West Bank have to work under poor health and safety conditions.

To evade liability, work permits are issued under the name of a different employer, and workers employed through a Palestinian contractor are paid less.

During Miliband’s talks, which were described as tough by Israeli officials, the two countries also expressed differences on talks with Syria.

But of prime importance to Tel Aviv was the fear that Israeli defense officials could face indictment for war crimes if they visit Britain.

To this end British Ambassador Tom Phillips was summoned by the Israeli Foreign Ministry last Thursday where he was informed of Israel’s “disappointment” over the British government’s failure to change legislation regarding the apprehension of war criminals.

This legislation enables Britain to arrest alleged war criminals for crimes committed overseas.

Several former Israeli Defense Forces generals, including former Chief of Staff and current Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, have deliberately avoided traveling to the United Kingdom out of fear of being arrested on arrival.

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OPINION: KEEPING GOOD COMPANY (Libya)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 17, 2008

15/11/2008 14:37:00

by Zainab Al-Arabi

The bad news is that although certain events in a country might make people depressed because they KEEP GOOD COMPANYhave no control over them in the Third World, of which we are a part, the good news is that this doesn’t just occur in Third World countries who are always lectured at by First World countries about their economy, society, health, food, religion, etc. If anything the past couple of years have shown us that we are in good company.

Thanks to the oh-so-free press in the West – which is increasingly becoming more of a voice for certain corporations- we learnt belatedly of secret prisons in Europe, Pakistan, and Afghanistan where innocent Muslims were kept and tortured. We were informed –better late than never- of the complicity of human-rights-respecting Western governments in these dastardly events.

In Third World countries these wouldn’t have been so secret; everyone would know because of the idle time citizens have on their hands spent in fruitless conversation. And having relatives and neighbours in secret security services (again in Third World countries) helps to keep information flowing – who needs newspapers? A proud mother will tell her entire neighbourhood that her son is in ‘security’, and he can be observed sometimes showing his ‘secret’ I.D. at the bank to people so he can jump the queue.

Mismanagement of government files and losing classified information? Yes that too is presented as evidence of Third World incompetence, but should we complain about this accusation when a leading First World country has shown us that this is an everyday occurrence? I mean if British ministers and state officials leave classified information on bus seats and in car parks, then where is the problem?

Worse than that, they have also lost 20,000 cows. Present on computers, but nowhere to be found in real life, a BBC report states that the persons in charge are completely baffled by this problem. Well at least we know what happens to our cows: they die of neglect.

Over 200 head of cattle died in the Taourgha Project this year in between a change of management phase, according to television reports.

To be fair to the British, they’re seriously thinking of changing the government. In Third World countries, people aren’t so cruel. Give the poor guys another chance, we say. We still believe in that age old slogan of one for all and all for one.

Economic progress and free markets have forever been touted as signs and signals that the First World is truly a democratic dream that the Third World is unable to conceive. But the present global financial nightmare that has left many Americans homeless and/or bankrupt is also a by-product of the Bush freedom-loving-era.

Allowing giant banks and giant companies to accept ‘bail-outs’ in hundreds, I mean “hundreds”, of billions of dollars without any legal repercussions or punishment, and without allowing citizens to seek legal redress, sounds, not just like the Third World to me, but worse.

Where else is thievery and crime rewarded by governments? Everywhere in the world it now seems. We shouldn’t feel too bad about ourselves, being Third World citizens. We have plenty of company.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TRIPOLI POST’ (Libya)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, CATTLE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LYBIA, USA | Leave a Comment »

DESEMPREGO NO REINO UNIDO ATINGE MAIOR TAXA DESDE 1997

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 12, 2008

12/11/2008 10:56

Valor Online

SÃO PAULO – A crise financeira global já está deixando marcas na economia real européia. A taxa de desemprego no Reino Unido subiu para 5,8% da população economicamente ativa no trimestre encerrado em setembro, quando 1,82 milhão de pessoas estavam sem trabalho. Trata-se do nível mais elevado desde o último trimestre de 1997, quando o desemprego atingia 1,87 milhão de britânicos.

Pelos dados do ONS, órgão oficial de estatísticas, a taxa está 0,5 ponto acima da verificada no terceiro trimestre de 2007. Entre julho e setembro, o contingente de pessoas sem trabalho aumentou em 140 mil.

Também houve forte alta no número de trabalhadores que solicitaram o seguro-desemprego. Foram 980,9 mil em outubro, maior quantidade desde março de 2001 (990,9 mil). Esse número está 36,5 mil acima do registro de setembro e 154,8 mil além do mesmo mês de 2007.

A taxa anual de crescimento da renda média, sem contar bônus, ficou em 3,6% no terceiro trimestre, inalterada em comparação aos três meses encerrados em agosto. Nesse confronto, ao se incluir os bônus na conta, a taxa de aumento da renda média caiu 0,1 ponto, para 3,3%.

(Valor Online)

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Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INTERNATIONAL, IRELAND, SCOTLAND, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

BARCLAYS BUYS ITALIAN MORTGAGE BUSINESS, INCREASING ITS MORTGAGE BOOK BY $1.4 BILLION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 11, 2008

Last update: November 6, 2008 – 5:17 AM

Associated Press

LONDON – Britain’s Barclays bank said Thursday it has bought the Italian residential mortgage business BARCLAYS GOES SHOPPING IN ITALYof Australia’s Macquarie bank.

Barclays PLC, which raised 7.3 billion pounds ($11.8 billion) from Middle Eastern investors last month, is not disclosing the amount it paid Macquarie Group Limited for the business.

The purchase increases the value of Barclays mortgage book by 1.1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) — or nearly 10 percent. Before this deal, Barclays mortgage book was worth roughly 12 billion euros ($15 billion).

“Our existing Italian mortgage business has grown through the combination of a prudent lending policy and careful management of customer relationships,” said Frits Seegers, chief executive of Barclays retail and commercial banking arm. “This acquisition augments that business.”

Barclays shares fell 4 percent to 187 pence ($2.98).

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Posted in AUSTRALIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, ITALY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

IMF LOAN AVERTED POSSIBLE BANKRUPTCY AND SOCIAL CRISIS – PM (Hungary)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

Budapest, November 1, 2008 – (MTI)

Without the IMF standby loan granted earlier this week, the financial crisis in Hungary could have led to bankruptcy and social crisis, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany told the Sunday newspaper Vasarnapi Hirek, which made the interview available to MTI on Saturday evening.

The PM was disputing a statement by opposition Fidesz party chief that accessing the line of credit from the International Monetary Fund was “shameful”.

In a worst-case scenario, the forint, Hungary’s currency could have continued sinking to 350/400 to the euro, triggering 20 to 30 percent inflation, he said.

It had dropped from 238/240 to the euro to 280/285 at the time the loan was announced, and firmed to 255/260 in the aftermath.

The other part of the problem, he said, was that Hungary was already having a hard time finding buyers for government securities. If it failed to sell them, all its foreign loans would have had to be paid off within three to six months, leaving the country without the money to pay government employees such as teachers and doctors, or to pay pensions, the PM continued.

“That would have been shameful,” Gyurcsany said.

What we were facing could have evolved into bankruptcy, said the PM, adding that two-thirds of the problem was caused by the international crisis and one-third by domestic shortcomings. As far as the domestic portion is concerned, the government is partly, but not wholly responsible. One concern is that residents have not saved any money since 2000/2001, leading to excessive spending and borrowing. Residents and businesses have done the lion’s share of their borrowing in foreign currencies, he added, which means an enormous foreign debt. In addition, there has been such – opposition initiated – resistance to reforms in the past two years that Hungary was extremely vulnerable, the PM suggested.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy had all played key roles in securing the IMF loan for Hungary, Gyurcsany told Vasarnapi Hirek.

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Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FRANCE, GERMANY, HUNGARY, IMF, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS | Leave a Comment »

JAPANESE GOV’T READIES MONEY FOR NEW IMF BAILOUT FACILITY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

TOKYO (AP) – Japan is ready to provide some of its ample cash for any International Monetary Fund bailouts for struggling nations to help stabilize the growing global financial crisis, the finance minister said.

Japan will make that offer along with proposals about accounting standards and other regulatory adjustments needed to fix the growing economic woes at a world summit in Washington Nov. 15, Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa told reporters.

Nakagawa did not say the acceptance of its proposals would be needed to get any of the money but he said Japan expects to play a greater international leadership role on the international stage.

He said the IMF has about $ 210-billion funds but that may not be enough.

“Japan is ready if that prove insufficient,” he said, adding that Japan has $ 1 trillion in possible funding from its foreign currency reserves. “We see lending to the IMF basically as risk-free.”

He did not give specifics of what Japan’s proposals may be, stressing that Prime Minister Taro Aso was still hammering out details.

Britain and Germany support the creation of an International Monetary Fund facility to help smaller economies withstand the global financial crisis, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Thursday.

“We discussed how we must prevent contagion over the next few days to middle-income countries including in eastern Europe,” Brown told reporters after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“It’s vital that the International Monetary Fund plays a central role in supporting these economies. We both agreed to support a new facility for the IMF which would draw on additional resources of countries with substantial reserves.”

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn told French daily Le Monde he would propose a new regulatory strategy at a meeting next month of the Group of 20 nations.

He said he would suggest a new type of loan to relieve short-term liquidity problems in some economies, and an increase in IMF resources which he said were insufficient to meet requirements over the medium

Nakagawa reiterated his earlier remarks and the views of other Japanese politicians that Japan wishes to exercise political leadership in offering its money and experience in wresting itself out of its bad debt woes of the 1990s.

He said Europe and the U.S. have historical experience with the Great Depression, but Japan has more recent experience and is in a better position to share its expertise.

“We were able to get ourselves out of our problems without help from any other nation,” he said at the Japan Press Center.

Earlier this week British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the International Monetary Fund needs more money to bail out struggling countries.

Brown has called on countries such as China and the oil-rich Persian Gulf states to fund the bulk of an increase in the International Monetary Fund’s bailout pot. The IMF is giving Hungary, Iceland and Ukraine loans and is in discussions with Belarus.

The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday it is creating a new program to get money quickly to developing countries with strong economies that are facing cash crunches in the global financial crisis.

Nakagawa said countries need to respond quickly and work together to get out of the financial problems that started with the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis and is now spreading around the world.

“Japan is taking leadership,” he said.

He said Japan was also doing its part domestically with stimulus spending packages and regulatory changes to prevent a further plunge on the Tokyo stock market.

Merkel said joint action was needed to tackle the crisis.

“I believe the cooperation of the recent weeks has shown we are on the right path,” she said. “We must make risks (in financial markets) manageable.”

Brown said this week that the IMF needed more money to deal with the fallout from the global financial crisis and called on China and the Gulf states to play their part.

Asked about Brown’s call, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman responded vaguely on Thursday but kept the door open to a bigger Chinese role in international rescue efforts.

Brown’s spokesman said he welcomed the positive responses from Germany and China to the proposal “and the indication that they (China) have given that they would be prepared to consider contributing to any such fund”.

Brown has said the issue of giving the IMF more resources will be on the agenda when he visits the Gulf this weekend.

Brown said he and Merkel were “in total agreement” about what needed to be done at a Nov. 15 global summit in Washington to discuss how to reform the global financial system.

“We need to have a transparency that has not existed in every area of the banking system,” he said.

Brown voiced confidence that the leaders would agree in Washington on the need for reforms to global supervision and cross-border cooperation as well as on the need to reopen talks on a new global trade agreement.

Merkel made no mention of a German economic stimulus programme widely trailed in national media, which a senior legislator in her ruling coalition said would be worth 20-25 billion euros ($ 26 billion-$ 32 billion).

Brown defended the decision he made back in 1997 to make the Bank of England independent.

“It’s absolutely the right idea. It’s stability and an anchor for our financial and economic system,” he said.

“The Bank of England has brought down interest rates twice recently. They continue to look at what they can do for the future, but I think we’ve got to understand that the way to deal with this global problem … is by a comprehensive set of measures,” he said, referring to interest rate cuts, tax cuts and British efforts to help homeowners and small businesses.

“I think you’ll see us, in the next few days, in a position to do more to help people face what is a global problem,” he said.

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RATE CUT FROM JAPAN, BARCLAYS SEEKS FUNDING

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on October 31, 2008

October 31, 2008 – Reuters

Japan cut interest rates for the first time in seven years on Friday, expecting severe stress in the global economy to persist, while UK banking giant Barclays said it was raising $12 billion in capital.

Interbank lending rates fell sharply, suggesting that the moves taken by central banks and others to remove blockages in the credit system were working to some extent.

The Bank of Japan’s move followed a rate cut from the U.S. Federal Reserve earlier in the week and likely presaged the same from the European Central Bank and Bank of England next week.

Inflation in the euro zone fell to 3.2 percent year-on-year in October, the European Union’s statistics office said, data likely to ease any concerns at the ECB about rising prices.

Policymakers have been struggling to find the right response to a rapid global slowdown that has hammered corporate profits and sparked a record freefall in stock markets in October.

Fallout from the crunch continued to spread on Friday with Barclays Plc saying it planned to raise 7.3 billion pounds ($12.06 billion) in additional capital from outside investors including Gulf states Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

Earlier this month, Barclays said it wanted to raise capital but would raise it privately rather than take UK government cash, as rivals Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and HBOS are.

“There has been a significant shift in the availability of capital and economic power in the world over the last five years and we’re ensuring we’re aligned with those changes,” said John Varley, Barclays’ chief executive.

Mizuho Financial Group became the second major Japanese bank this week to cut its full-year net profit forecast by more than half because of bad loans and losses in its equity portfolio.

The global downturn has come hard on the heels of the credit crunch, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, with investors facing what Japanese Prime Minister Tara Aso called “a harsh storm seen only once in 100 years”.

There were mixed signs about the credit crunch. Interbank rates — the cost banks charge to lend to each other — fell.

But at the ECB, overnight deposits from banks soared to a new record, suggesting banks still preferred to deposit money with the central bank than lend to each other.

Equity markets fell again, with Japan’s Nikkei closing down 5 percent on disappointment at the size of the interest rate cut.

European shares were off 0.9 percent and Wall Street looked set for a similarly weak start.

RATE CUTS

The Bank of Japan cut its benchmark overnight call rate to 0.30 percent from 0.50 percent, a slightly smaller reduction that the quarter point many had expected.

A 4-4 vote on the policy board meant the central bank governor had to cast the deciding vote.

“At a time of extreme financial uncertainty and volatility, to have a policy board so evenly split is hardly reassuring,” said Glenn Maguire, Asia Pacific chief economist with Societe Generale in Hong Kong. “Whatever the desired outcome, the fact that the board was so evenly split jeopardises that outcome.”

The rate reduction was the latest in a series globally as central banks move rapidly to try to cushion growth now that interbank lending rates have started falling.

The average benchmark interest rate in the Group of Seven countries has dropped to 2.36 percent, the lowest since April 2005, from 4 percent in August 2007 when credit markets began imploding because of mounting subprime mortgage defaults.

Economists widely expected Australia, Britain and the euro zone to cut rates next week.

CONTRACTION

The economies of Britain, Europe, Japan and the United States are contracting. The latest growth data showed the U.S. economy shrank in the third quarter, three months that included the dismantling of the Wall Street investment bank model.

After Thursday’s data showed the U.S. economy shrank at a 0.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter, investors will look to consumption and inflation data later for more evidence of decline.

Companies are also being to feel the pain.

A deal to merge General Motors Corp and Chrysler LLC has hit an impasse after the Bush administration ruled out funding for it, according to Reuters sources.

The car giants are seeking to merge as they struggle with the economic slump.

In Japan, Nissan Motor and Suzuki Motor issued profit warnings.

Along with central banks, governments around the world were waging an all-out battle to contain the fallout from the financial crisis, including by cutting taxes, taking equity stakes in banks and backing bank deposits.

The South Korean government is considering $7.3 billion in additional spending to support domestic demand, according to a local business paper, as the worst fears appeared to have dissipated about a meltdown in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

On Thursday, Japan also unveiled a $50 billion economic stimulus package and German cabinet minister Michael Glos said Europe’s largest economy planned to introduce a range of steps worth up to $39 billion.

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Posted in ASIA, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, EUROPE, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, JAPAN, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA | Leave a Comment »

HEDGE FUND MARKET ABUSE CONTROLS RAISE CONCERN-FSA (UK)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on October 31, 2008

October 31, 2008 – Reuters

Hedge funds are relying too heavily on their open-plan office arrangements to overhear and prevent illegal trading activities, Britain’s financial watchdog has warned.

Following its latest programme of visits to assess UK-based hedge funds’ controls for monitoring staff trading activity and preventing market abuse, the Financial Services Authority said there is “scope for improvement”.

In its Market Watch newsletter for October, the regulator said: “Of particular concern was an over reliance on an open-plan office setting for overhearing suspicious activity and a reliance on counterparties or other staff to detect irregular trading behaviour.”

“There was little monitoring of potential manipulation around valuation dates, and insufficient review of ‘day trades’ around announcements, with management concentrating on monitoring end of day positions,” it added.

Hedge funds are regarded with suspicion in some quarters due to the opacity of their trading strategies. Some have blamed the industry for exacerbating the market volatility during the credit crisis as hedge funds sought to make a profit while stocks fell.

SHORTING BAN

In March this year they were accused of spreading rumours about HBOS in order to profit from short-selling shares in the mortgage lender. As similar rumours surfaced again last month, the FSA led a global move to ban short-selling on financial companies.

In its newsletter, published late Thursday, the regulator also raised concern that the use of long-term remuneration structures has led to an “overly sanguine” attitude towards market abuse risk among hedge funds.

Firms believe that by rewarding managers for long-term performance they remove the incentive to engage in market abuse in order to pursue short-term gains.

However, the regulator said that although this can mitigate the risk, managers concerned about losing their job due to underperformance would still have an incentive to focus on short-term returns.

The regulator said the use of “reason for trading” records was a good initiative especially as the size of many hedge funds argues against sophisticated detection systems and places greater reliance on management information and compliance overview.

The FSA said its observations will inform future risk assessments as it continues to monitor the issue.

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Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »