Archive for February 1, 2011

Australia Cyclone Yasi upgraded to Category 5

February 1, 2011 Comments off

Ian Hitchcock  /  Getty Images

Store windows throughout Townsville, located on Australia’s Queensland coast, were boarded up ahead of Cyclone Yasi.

CAIRNS, Australia — A powerful cyclone bearing down on Australia was upgraded to a maximum-strength Category 5 storm, with the likelihood of serious damage and risk to life.

“This is the most severe, most catastrophic storm that has ever hit our coast,” Anna Bligh, premier of Queensland State, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “We’ve seen a number of worst case scenarios come together.”

“This impact is likely to be more life threatening than any experienced during recent generations,” Queensland disaster officials added in an updated warning.

Yasi is expected to make landfall overnight on the Queensland coast between Cairns and Innisfail. Read more…

TSA limits private screeners to 16 U.S. airports

February 1, 2011 Comments off
Vittorio Hernandez – AHN News

Transportation Security Administration Chief John Pistole said over the weekend that the agency will limit private screeners to just 16 U.S. airports.

D.C., Washington, United States (AHN) – Transportation Security Administration Chief John Pistole said over the weekend that the agency will limit private screeners to just 16 U.S. airports.

Pistole explained the policy that the agency does not see any advantage to the use of private screeners.

The Screening Partnership Program permitted gateways to replace government screeners with private contractors who are attired in similar uniforms as those worn by TSA personnel, follow TSA standards and are supervised by the agency.

The TSA previously adopted a neutral standard toward private screeners, but changed its stand after more airports opted out of tapping private groups because of the public furor created by the TSA’s enhanced pat downs, criticized by many air travelers as intrusive. Read more…

When and How Gold Will Begin its Bubble

February 1, 2011 Comments off

The bull market in Gold is in its 12th year (globally it began in 1999) but has yet to exhibit any “bubble-like” conditions. In fact, we still see many people referring to this bull market as “the Gold trade,” as if its an aberration that needs to be reversed or corrected. That aside, we know that Gold is under-owned as an asset class. The very well respected BCA Research estimates that globally only 1% is allocated to Gold and that fits with some of the charts that I’ve shown in the past.

Institutional accumulation began in 2009 (e.g. Paulson, Einhorn) and we know that phase lasts at least a few years before a bull market gives birth to a bubble.

Part of the problem for Gold has been the solid performance of other asset classes through most of the Gold bull market. Stocks performed very well from 2003 to 2007 and from 2009-2010. Commodities performed well from 2001-2002 and in the first half of 2008. If stocks are doing well or if commodities such as oil and agriculture are performing well, it detracts from Gold. Gold performs its absolute best when the other asset classes underperform or don’t perform too well.

Let me explain the conditions and setup that will facilitate the birth of a bubble and Gold going mainstream. Read more…

Could China Be Forced To Bring A New Global Recession by 2015?

February 1, 2011 Comments off

By Dian L. Chu, EconForecast

Bloomberg on Sunday, Jan. 30 cited a 28-page report–The Financial Crisis of 2015: An Avoidable History (pdf file below)–by Barrie Wilkinson, a London-based partner at consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

The report describes a scenario–spanned 2013 to 2015–when Western QE-induced inflation brings down China, creating a debt crisis in the commodity sector–inclusive of resource-dependent countries as well as commodity producers–which eventually plunge the world into another recession, and a new world order by 2015.

“…the dramatic rises in commodities prices resulting from loose Western monetary policies eventually caused rampant inflation in China. China was forced to raise interest rates and appreciate its currency to bring inflation under control.”

Well, I think we are pretty much there already.

“Once the Chinese economy began to slow, investors quickly realized Read more…

Huge protest to kick off in Egypt

February 1, 2011 Comments off
The army has said it is aware of the “legitimate demands” of the people, and has promised not to use force [Reuters]

Protesters in the Egyptian capital have begun gathering for a planned “march of a million”, calling for Hosni Mubarak, the embattled Egyptian president, to step down.

Thousands of demonstrators began gathering from early on Tuesday morning in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, which has been the focal point of protests in the capital and served as the meeting area for the march to begin on the eighth day of an uprising that has so far claimed more than 125 lives.

Another million-strong march is planned in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, as national train services were canceled in an apparent bid to stymie protests. Protest organizers have also called for the march to coincide with the beginning of an indefinite strike.

Reporting from Cairo, an Al Jazeera correspondent reported that the number of people gathered in Tahrir Square on Tuesday morning, was Read more…

40,000 FBI Intelligence Violations from 2001 – 2008

February 1, 2011 Comments off

Executive Summary

In a review of nearly 2,500 pages of documents released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a result of litigation under the Freedom of Information Act, EFF uncovered alarming trends in the Bureau’s intelligence investigation practices. The documents consist of reports made by the FBI to the Intelligence Oversight Board of violations committed during intelligence investigations from 2001 to 2008. The documents suggest that FBI intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed. In particular, EFF’s analysis provides new insight into:

Number of Violations Committed by the FBI

  • From 2001 to 2008, the FBI reported to the IOB approximately 800 violations of laws, Executive Orders, or other regulations governing intelligence investigations, although this number likely significantly under-represents the number of violations that actually occurred.
  • From 2001 to 2008, the FBI investigated, at minimum, 7000 potential violations of laws, Executive Orders, or other regulations governing intelligence investigations.
  • Based on the proportion of violations reported to the IOB and the FBI’s own statements regarding the number of NSL violations that occurred, the actual number of violations that may have occurred from 2001 to 2008 could approach 40,000 possible violations of law, Executive Order, or other regulations governing intelligence investigations.1

Substantial Delays in the Intelligence Oversight Process Read more…

Prince warns Saudi Arabia of Apocalypse

February 1, 2011 2 comments


Saudi Prince Turki bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud has warned the country’s royal family to step down and flee before a military coup or a popular uprising overthrows the kingdom.

In a letter published by Wagze news agency on Tuesday, the Cairo-based prince warned Saudi Arabia’s ruling family of a fate similar to that of Iraq’s executed dictator Saddam Hussein and the ousted Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, calling on them to escape before people “cut off our heads in streets.”

He warned that the Saudi royal family is no longer able to “impose” itself on people, arguing that deviations in carrying out the religious concepts that make up the basis of the Saudi government “have gotten out of our hands,” so that the opposition views our acts as “interfering in people’s private life and restricting their liberties.”

“If we are wise, we must Read more…

Analysis: Why Pakistan wants to expand its nuclear arsenal

February 1, 2011 1 comment

Rob Crilly, The Daily Telegraph

Pakistan is desperate to increase the size of its nuclear arsenal as it eyes India’s rapidly growing economy and population.

Although the numbers of weapons held by either country are small in comparison, the result of the nuclear competition between the two countries is reminiscent of the Cold War arms race between the U.S. and USSR.

In India’s case, the perceived threat is China. For Pakistan, the presumed enemy is India. Paranoia is driving the acceleration of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Read more…

Sudanese Student dies in Sudan clash

February 1, 2011 Comments off
Sudanese riot police patrol the streets of Khartoum [AFP]

A student who was beaten by police during violent anti-government demonstrations in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, has died of his wounds in Omdurman hospital, protesters have said.

“Mohammed Abdulrahman, from Ahlia University, died last night in Omdurman hospital as a result of his … wounds after he was beaten by police,” said an activist who took part in Sunday’s protests.

“This morning (Monday) both Ahlia University and the Islamic University of Omdurman have been closed by a government decision,” said the activist, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Two other students said Abdulrahman had fallen during the clashes and was taken to the hospital, where medics informed them that he had died early on Monday.

“Medical sources confirmed to us that the student died yesterday from his injuries inflicted by security forces,” said Yasir Arman, the top official in the north of south Sudan’s main party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

Arman condemned the use of force and said the students were trying to hold peaceful demonstrations.

The Omdurman hospital morgue declined to Read more…

Scientists warn of new Chilean quake

February 1, 2011 Comments off

Rescue workers search for victims and survivors after an apartment complex collapsed during an 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Concepcion on February 27, 2010. Scientists say there is a high risk of a new earthquake in an area of Chile's Pacific coast which was hit by a massive quake and tsunamis last year.

Nearly 500 people were killed when an 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of central Chile triggering a local tsunami in February 2010.

According to the report published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the previous quake had only partly broken stresses, deep in the Earth’s crust in the Chilean city of Concepcion, that have been building up since an 1835 quake witnessed by British naturalist Charles Darwin.

Darwin documented the 1835 earthquake during a five-year voyage.

“We conclude that increased stress on the unbroken patch may in turn have increased the probability of another major to great earthquake there in the near future,” the report read.

Chile’s February quake was the most powerful since the one in 2004 which caused a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

“It’s impossible to predict exactly when a new quake might happen,” Stefano Lorito of Italy’s Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia told Reuters.

Scientists examined data from tsunamis, satellites and other sources to calculate the Read more…