TEPCO discovers 100-tonne radioactive water leak at Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan/Maduro Kicks CNN Out of Venezuela and Says C.I.A Behind Attacks!/15 Sinkholes Open Up In Past 24 Hours! /Ukrainian Opposition Capture the Rovno Nuclear Power Plant!/Ukraine President Announces “Concessions” Peace and more signs of JESUS’ soon return


Toxic waste dumped into quarry by Monsanto continues to poison British village

For a long time, the village of Groesfaen in the south of Wales, UK, was a desirable place to live. Quiet and untouched, yet located within short traveling distance of Wales’ bustling capital city, Cardiff, Groesfaen had, by the turn of the twenty-first century, transformed from a nondescript hamlet into a small but prosperous hub of commuters – and with more housing estates being developed every year, its future seemed positive. In 2003, however, the residents of Groesfaen began to complain about vile smells emanating from the Brofiscin quarry, a 36-meter deep quarry located at the edge of the village. More alarming still, the waters of the stream that flowed around the quarry began to turn vivid orange. Understandably concerned, the residents – including the quarry’s owner, Barton Williams – urged the local Rhondda Cynon Taff council to investigate what was happening. More

The office of the New York Attorney General and the American units of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. have come to terms on a settlement involving claims that an agreement between the two Big Pharma companies restricted competition unlawfully. Both companies agreed to pay a small fine (by comparison) of $150,000 to New York State and to cease making similar agreements in the future as part of the settlement, Reuters reported. Neither company admitted or denied the allegations, but the settlement absolves them of having to do so. By settling, the companies have ended an investigation that was being conducted by the state into an agreement that was signed by both in 2010 to sell a generic version of Pfizer, Inc.’s cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor in the U.S., while not horning in on the exclusivity rights of other generic drugs sold by the pharmaceutical companies. Per Reuters: More

Obamacare’s Tax Credits ‘Will Help More and More People Over Time,’ Says Obama’s Economic Adviser

In the next ten years, as many as half of all Americans will have used Obamacare subsidies, says Gene Sperling, the director of the National Economic Council. Speaking at a gathering in Washington on Thursday, Sperling said, “The tax credits will help more and more  people over time.” He pointed to a study he co-authored showing “that over a decade, probably half of Americans would have, at some point, used the tax credit. So, you know, one thing about it in our country is, there are certain things that people may initially think are for other people, but they find over time, they can be very helpful for them and their family as well.” Sperling also predicted that Republicans calls to repeal the Affordable Care Act will end shortly: ”I believe, by the time we come to 2015, serious — the era of threatening to repeal — completely repeal — the Affordable Care Act will be over for serious people. And the reason why is that, at a certain point, you can’t beat something with nothing.” More

Judge Napolitano: Government Monitoring Newsrooms “Radical New Era of Tyranny”

Judge Andrew Napolitano warns that the Obama’s administration’s plan to have FCC bureaucrats monitor newsrooms represents a “radical new era of tyranny” and would squash press freedoms.  As we reported earlier this week, a shocking White House proposal entitled ‘Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs’ would dispatch researchers from the federal agency “to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run,” according to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai. “What will they think of next?” exclaimed Napolitano during an appearance on Fox & Friends, adding that the proposed measure would chill freedom of the press to an extent where editors and broadcasters would worry about covering certain issues due to fear of government retribution. More


More Black Babies Killed in New York by Abortion Than Born

In 2012, there were more black babies killed by abortion (31,328) in New York City than were born there (24,758), and the black children killed comprised 42.4% of the total number of abortions in the Big Apple, according to a report by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The report is entitled, Summary of Vital Statistics 2012 The City of New York, Pregnancy Outcomes, and was prepared by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Vital Statistics. (See Pregnancy Outcomes NYC Health 2012.pdf) Table 1 of the report presents the total number of live births, spontaneous terminations (miscarriages), and induced terminations (abortions) for women in different age brackets between 15 and 49 years of age. The table also breaks that data down by race – Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander, Non-Hispanic White, Non-Hispanic Black – and also by borough of residence: Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island. More

Homeless Camp springs up in Baltimore

A sheet of plastic laid over a clothesline. A mini-fortress of milk crates stacked under a tree. A thin mattress on a flimsy crate lying in a dark tunnel. On the edge of Baltimore’s woodlands, dozens of the city’s transients live in makeshift homes which they consider safer than homeless shelters.  Photographer Ben Marcin has captured some of the shanties in his thought-provoking photo essay, ‘The Camps’, documenting the struggle, loneliness and ingenuity of Maryland’s people of the woods.  Similar to his Last House Standing series which captured lonely rowhouses around the Mid-Atlantic, Marcin shot the shanties around Baltimore without their inhabitants to add to the ‘mystery’. Marcin said he first stumbled upon the homeless dwellings as he hiked through the woods bordering the city during hunting season. More

Gays in committed relationships have a “partner.” Polyamorous people like Diana Adams, who runs a Brooklyn-based legal firm that fights to offer traditional marriage rights to untraditional lovers, have a “primary partner.” Primary partners because, well, polyamorists subscribe to the philosophy of being head over heels in love—or at least romantically involved—with more than one person at the same time. The Polyamory Society defines the practice as “the nonpossessive, honest, responsible and ethical philosophy and practice of loving multiple people simultaneously.” “I remember from a very young age realizing that I was bisexual and that I tended to be attracted to many different people at the same time,” Adams told Roc Morin in a recent article in The Atlantic entitled “Up for Polyamory? Creating Alternatives to Marriage.” “I really think that polyamory for me is an orientation, like being heterosexual or homosexual,” Adams said. “Humans in general have a hard time with monogamy. That’s always been the case. We used to have a sense that it was acceptable for husbands to go out and have other lovers, but with the shift to egalitarianism, rather than to say that woman could do that too, we’ve gone in the other direction.” More

Kerry’s efforts on Israeli-Palestinian peace framework hit snag

After meetings between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and US Secretary of State John Kerry this week in Paris, a Palestinian official said that acceptance of Kerry’s principles for continuing the talks was not forthcoming. The official said that the ideas Kerry presented to Abbas could “not serve as the basis for a framework accord between the Palestinians and Israel as they do not take into account the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people,” AFP reported.  ”The Palestinian position explained to Mr Kerry is that the proposed ideas, particularly the insistence on recognition of the state of Israel as the Jewish nation-state, are unacceptable,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity. The official also labelled “vague” Kerry’s proposals for the future of east Jerusalem.  According to the official, Abbas “restated the Palestinian position and his vision of a solution based on United Nations resolutions and the positions of the Palestinian leadership and the Arab League.”  Earlier in the week, Palestinian officials expressed similar doubts regarding Palestinian acceptance of Kerry’s ideas that would form the basis of future negotiations with Israel. More

DISTRESS OF NATIONS – Dear International Editor: Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden. What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood. Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting. People continue to be arrested merely for protesting, and a long established local Human Rights NGO makes an urgent plea for an investigation into widespread reports of torture of detainees. There are now dozens of serious human right abuses: National Guardsmen shooting tear gas canisters directly into residential buildings. We have videos of soldiers shooting civilians on the street. More

DAYS OF LOT – Oregon Won’t Defend State’s Gay Marriage Ban

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s attorney general will not defend the state’s ban on gay marriage, arguing it cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge. Ellen Rosenblum joins fellow Democratic attorneys general in at least five other states who have pledged not to defend state bans on gay marriage. Her decision comes less than a month after a federal judge decided to consolidate two lawsuits alleging Oregon’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution. Portland attorneys filed the first lawsuit in October, on behalf of two women who have been in a relationship for more than 30 years. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit two months later on behalf of two same-sex couples. Last year, Rosenblum signed on to U.S. Supreme Court briefs arguing it was unconstitutional to deny gays the right to marry.More

DAYS OF LOT- Alabama High School Un-Bans Same-Sex Prom Couples After Outcry

An Alabama high school that previously banned same-sex couples from attending prom has reversed its policy after an outcry from students. Earlier this week, it came to light that Greenville High School had said it would allow only “traditional couples” –- meaning a male and a female –- to attend prom, according to local outlet WSFA-TV. Interim Superintendent Amy Bryan abolished the anti-gay policy soon after she learned of its existence. ”An administrator issued a list of prom rules that included a discriminatory statement,” she said, per WSFA. “No one lost their right to go anywhere. It’s unfortunate it was in our rules, and all children will be welcome to the Junior-Senior Prom.” Gay student Sarah Smith spoke to WAKA-TV about the issuing of the rule. “There was actually a straight girl sitting beside me, and she was getting more mad than I was about it. So that made me feel pretty good to know that somebody was on our side,” Smith said. More

These Charts Show Just How Bad America’s Heroin Problem Has Become

Heroin use is on the rise in the United States. The number of Americans using the drug has increased by about 50 percent in the past decade, according to a 2013 report by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Heroin users seldom start out seeking the drug. Data shows that 80 percent of heroin users started with prescription painkillers. These charts show just how big the problem has become. Overall drug overdose death rates have increased roughly fivefold since 1990, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drug overdose deaths were second only to car crash deaths among unintentional injury deaths in 2007. More

Missouri Republican: Common Core skeptics are paranoid lunatics, should wear tin foil hats

Skeptical that the national Common Core standards will improve the quality of education in local schools? Then you must be a lunatic conspiracy theorist — at least according to Missouri State Rep. Mike Lair, a Republican, who set aside $8 — yes, $8 — in a recent appropriations bill to buy tin foil hats for opponents of the Common Core. The hats will protect them from the aliens that Lair assumes they must believe in. It may sound unbelievable, but it’s right there in the appropriations bill, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune. The $8 will be used to buy ”two rolls of high density aluminum to create headgear designed to deflect drone and/or black helicopter mind reading and control technology.” A summary sheet given to lawmakers in the Missouri state House of Representatives describes the $8 fund as a provision for “tin foil hats.” More

First ‘smart’ pistol hits shelves in California

The first so-called “smart gun” has hit the shelves at U.S. retail outlets, including one of the biggest firearms stores in California, according to the Washington Post The Smart System iP1, a .22-caliber pistol made by the German gun-maker Armatix GmbH, can only function with an accompanying wristwatch, which is sold separately. When the RFID-equipped watch is activated by a PIN number and placed near the gun — like when a shooter grips the handle — it sends a signal to unlock the gun and a light on the back of the weapon turns green, according to the report. Otherwise, the firearm stays locked and the light on the back remains red, it stated. The pistol sells for $1,399 and the watch retails for another $399 — more than double the cost of .40-caliber Glock handgun, according to the article. More

Many U.S. adults are skipping recommended vaccinations that could protect them from serious or life-threatening diseases, according to figures released by federal health officials Thursday. Modest increases were seen for Tdap vaccinations, which prevent whooping cough, from 2011 to 2012, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More seniors also got vaccinated against shingles, while HPV vaccinations picked up slightly among young women hoping to avoid cervical cancer. However, Americans aren’t taking full advantage of other routinely recommended vaccines, including those for pneumonia and hepatitis, the CDC said in its Feb. 7 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. INFO WARS

Friends of the JP Morgan banker who leapt to his death from a high rise building in Hong Kong this week, becoming the 7th financial worker to die under strange circumstances in recent weeks, suggest that he planning to return to Canada, adding to the mystery of the suicide. 33-year-old Dennis Li Junjie plunged to his death on Tuesday after jumping from the roof of Chater House, which serves as JP Morgan’s Asia headquarters. Junjie worked for JP Morgan as a back up services associate. His suicide was blamed on ”the stressful environment of investment banking,” although its timing, just three weeks after JP Morgan senior manager Gabriel Magee jumped 500ft from the top of the bank’s headquarters in central London, and amidst a number of other strange banker deaths, has prompted speculation that something more insidious may be afoot. Just two days before his suicide, Junjie told a friend that he planned to return to Toronto, where he had worked as an analyst at the Royal Bank of Canada. “RIP … What happened to all the promises and plans you made? What happened to your return to Toronto? I didn’t know you were that upset! I will miss you always,” remarked the friend. More

Fresh violence reported in Ukraine as president announces key concessions

022014_ssr_yaroshevsky_640Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Friday announced early presidential elections and promised to bring opposition members into the government in a bid to defuse the country’s political crisis, even as police and anti-government protesters exchanged gunfire near Kiev’s Independence Square. Yanukovych, who was in talks with opposition leaders and foreign officials until early Friday, gave no time frame and it’s unclear whether his belated concessions will be enough to hold off protesters who have occupied a piece of Kiev and government buildings around the country in a nationwide battle over the identity of their country. There was no immediate comment from opposition leaders, who were meeting among themselves after a marathon night of meetings with European diplomats. More

DISTRESS OF NATIONS: Panic-stricken Ukrainians storm shops, banks and gas stations

Bloodshed on Independence Square (Maidan) and rumors of worst yet to come have prompted panic among Ukrainians, with many fleeing the country and those who stay emptying shop shelves, queuing for gasoline and making big cash withdrawals from banks. The mood is a pre-war one in most Ukrainian cities, where people, afraid of the country falling deeper into economic paralysis, are trying to buy up as many essential foods and goods as they can. Fearing stampedes, some Kiev shops have started limiting the amount of shoppers at any one time. Some shop-owners confess they are running out of stocks to refill the fast-emptying shelves, and new deliveries are not expected anytime soon amid the current turmoil. Social media is swarming with pictures of over-crowded stores and scarce supplies. More

Woman Interrupts News Report to Confess to Stabbing Mother, Blames ‘Satanic Cult’

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Police did not have to look long for a suspect wanted in a stabbing case earlier this week when a woman walked directly up to a news camera and confessed to stabbing her mother, claiming that her mother was a powerful leader in a Satanic cult and had to be stopped. Katie Nichols told WVLT-TV that she stabbed her 61-year-old mother, Lauri Nichols, multiple times early Tuesday morning. “The satanic cult in this city has been casting satanic spells on me for three, four days. I’m exhausted. I came home and found out my mom was the ringleader and was trying to kill my daughter,” Nichols told the news crew. “I had to kill her. She was going to kill both of us. She was so powerful, I had no idea, I had no idea that my mother was that powerful,” Nichols said. More

Alien-seeking space observatory to hover between Earth and sun

The search for alien worlds has received an unprecedented burst of energy, with the European Space Agency’s (ESA) vote this week to fund a 34-telescope observatory that will scan the sky for habitable planets, from a fixed spot between Earth and the sun. The new PLATO mission (Planetary Transits and Oscillations of Stars) projects a 2024 launch of the observatory, which will seek out the Earth-like planets believed to orbit neighboring stars, as part of ESA’s Cosmic Vision program. “PLATO will begin a completely new chapter in the exploration of extrasolar planets” said Heike Rauer, an astrophysicist with the German Aerospace Center, who leads the PLATO mission. “We will find planets that orbit their star in the life-sustaining ‘habitable’ zone: planets where liquid water is expected, and where life as we know it can be maintained.” In the past 20 years, search missions run by both ESA and NASA have located over 1,000 exoplanets orbiting alien suns. But of those, very few dwell at habitable distances from their suns, and those that do are unlivable for other reasons. None of the identified exoplanets has yet yielded precise determinations of its mass, radius, or age. More

A new technique of treating leukemia using a patient’s own immune system which is being called a ‘living drug’ has worked in 88 percent of adults a team of researchers in the US has found. Scientists in New York published a report in Science Magazine in December 2013, hailing the treatment as a breakthrough in the field of cancer immunotherapy, AFP reports. The latest trial, which was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, involved 16 people with adult B acute Lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In the trials 14 of the 16 patients achieved complete remission after their T cells – which play a crucial role in the body’s immune system – were genetically engineered so they could focus on beating back the cancer. The longest remission among the 14 patients is so far about two years according to the lead author of the report, Renier Brentjens, director of cellular therapeutics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The process involves removing some of a patient’s T-cells and altering them with a gene to make them recognize a protein on the cancer cells called CD19, so that they can attack them but not other cells. Without this genetic alteration T-cells will attack other harmful invaders in the body, but will allow cancer cells to grow. More

Tech investor’s plan to split California into six states closer to getting on ballot for vote

The Golden State could soon be Golden States if a high-powered venture capitalist has his way. Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper’s proposal to split California into six distinct states is gaining some traction. Secretary of State Debra Bowen gave the go-ahead for Draper to begin collecting signatures for a petition that would put the measure on the ballot when Californians vote in November 2016. “We’re simply too big and bloated,” Draper, 55, said at a press conference in December, when he announced his plan, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Bowen’s green-light, given Tuesday, means Draper has until July 18 to collect “signatures of 807,615 registered voters (8% of the total votes cast for governor in the 2010 gubernatorial election) in order to qualify it for the ballot.” Draper, a tech investor known for good bets in backing Skype and Hotmail en route to billionaire status, seems confident in his proposal, promising a grassroots effort to get the necessary signatures in the diverse state of more than 38 million people. “It is more and more difficult for Sacramento to keep up with the social issues from the various regions of California,” Draper told ABC News. “With six Californias, people will be closer to their state governments, and states can get a refresh.” More

Mass Surveillance of All Car Trips Is Nearly Upon Us

The automobile has afforded greater freedom to so many different kinds of Americans: the mad dreamers portrayed in On the Road; the post-World War II families who suddenly had the means to pack their kids in the backseat and vacation a thousand miles from home; the Jim Crow-era blacks for whom cars were an alternative to racist public-transportation systems; the generations of American teenagers who cruised the local strip in their own versions of American Graffiti. This heritage is dear to many, and helps explain popular opposition to policies as diverse as toll roads, speed cameras, and permitting the Transportation Security Administration to expand its operations on the nation’s highways. All challenge a romantic preference for an America where anyone can climb into a car, fill up, and drive wherever they damn well please unimpeded. Sympathetic as I am to that broad vision, its adherents sometimes resist sound reforms. The nation would be better off with better public-transportation infrastructure, more bike lanes, and lower carbon emissions. All of this can be accomplished without coercing anyone out of their cars. Meanwhile, a far more profound threat to the significant freedoms automobiles afford has garnered very little attention, and hardly any backlash, in part because it’s been implemented so quietly: The U.S. government is pushing for infrastructure that could track every car trip we take. More

RBS to cut 30,000 jobs by slashing its investment banking division

Royal Bank of Scotland is gearing up for further job cuts as it prepares to focus on the high street and withdraw from riskier investment banking activities. The bank, which is 81 per cent owned by the taxpayer, has already slashed 40,000 jobs since it was rescued by the government in 2008. It now aims to cut up to 30,000 more posts by offloading parts of its international business and slashing its investment banking division. The bank, which also owns NatWest and Ulster Bank, will make heavy cuts to its 11,000 investment bank staff as it retreats from US and Asian markets. The bank will also sell its American retail bank Citizens, shedding a further 18,000 jobs – the vast majority of which will be in the US. More

Arizona’s legislature approved a bill Thursday that allows business owners asserting their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays and others. Democrats called the proposal “state-sanctioned discrimination” and an embarrassment. The 33-27 vote by the House sends the bill to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. The legislation prompted a heated debate on the floor of the Republican-dominated House, touching on issues such as religious freedom, constitutional protections and civil rights. It comes as an increasing number of conservative U.S. states grapple with ways to counter the increasing legality of gay marriage. Seventeen states, plus the Washington capital district, allow gay marriage, most of them in the Northeast. The movement toward legalizing gay marriage especially gained momentum after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year to strike down part of a federal law that prevented the government from recognizing same-sex marriages. On Thursday, Oregon’s attorney general announced she will not defend that state’s ban on gay marriage, joining the top lawyers in at least five other U.S. states who have made similar decisions. More

Russia to Strengthen Mediterranean Force With ‘Stealth’ Subs

The combat capability of Russia’s naval task force in the Mediterranean will increase significantly following the first deliveries of Varshavyanka-class submarines to the Black Sea Fleet in 2015, Navy Commander Adm. Viktor Chirkov said Thursday. Russia formed a permanent naval task force in the Mediterranean last year to defend its interests in the region. The move was widely seen, however, as a response to calls for international intervention in the worsening civil war in Syria, Russia’s longtime ally. The task force currently consists of 12 warships and auxiliary vessels, including the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky and aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. According to Chirkov, the Russian warships are taking part in an international operation to remove chemical weapons stockpiles from Syria. “In general, the tasks assigned to the Mediterranean group are absolutely clear: to thwart any threat to Russia’s borders and security,” the admiral said, adding that it is normal practice for any country to keep naval assets in vital regions around the globe. More

Does Iran Have the Bomb?

For several years now, myself and others have been warning that Iran probably already has the bomb. Contrary to Obama Administration promises that they will know when Iran crosses “the red line” to build the bomb, we have warned that such claims are false. U.S. intelligence is not good enough to so precisely and with such high confidence monitor and verify the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. For several years now, myself and others have been warning that Iran probably already has the bomb. Contrary to Obama Administration promises that they will know when Iran crosses “the red line” to build the bomb, we have warned that such claims are false. U.S. intelligence is not good enough to so precisely and with such high confidence monitor and verify the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.More

Financial Experts Warn “Stocks Will Collapse by 50%”

It is only a matter of time before the stock market plunges by 50% or more, according to several reputable experts. “We have no right to be surprised by a severe and imminent stock market crash,” explains Mark Spitznagel, a hedge fund manager who is notorious for his hugely profitable billion-dollar bet on the 2008 crisis. “In fact, we must absolutely expect it.” Unfortunately Spitznagel isn’t alone. “We are in a gigantic financial asset bubble,” warns Swiss adviser and fund manager Marc Faber. “It could burst any day.” Faber doesn’t hesitate to put the blame squarely on President Obama’s big government policies and the Federal Reserve’s risky low-rate policies, which, he says, “penalize the income earners, the savers who save, your parents — why should your parents be forced to speculate in stocks and in real estate and everything under the sun?” Billion-dollar investor Warren Buffett is rumored to be preparing for a crash as well. The “Warren Buffett Indicator,” also known as the “Total-Market-Cap to GDP Ratio,” is breaching sell-alert status and a collapse may happen at any moment. So with an inevitable crash looming, what are Main Street investors to do? One option is to sell all your stocks and stuff your money under the mattress, and another option is to risk everything and ride out the storm. More

TEPCO discovers 100-tonne radioactive water leak at Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan

A new leak of 100 tonnes of highly radioactive water has been discovered at Fukushima, the plant’s operator said after it revealed only one of nine thermometers in a crippled reactor was still working. The tank, one of hundreds at the site that are used to store water contaminated during the process of cooling broken reactors, sits about 700 metres from the shore. A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power says the toxic water is no longer escaping from a storage tank and is likely contained, but the news is a further blow to the company’s already-battered reputation for safety. “As there is no drainage way near the leak, which is in any case far from the ocean, it is unlikely that the water has made its way into the sea,” he said. “However, the water was highly radioactive, with a beta radiation reading at 230 million becquerel per litre.” The contamination level compares with government limits of 100 becquerels per kilogram in food and 10 becquerels per litre in drinking water. More

The second most senior Goldman Sachs executive has warned the world risks sowing the seeds of the next financial crisis through regulation aimed at making banks safer. Gary Cohn, the global chief operating officer of the Wall St bank, today highlighted the risks of rules forcing banks to hold larger capital buffers so they can absorb bigger losses. Speaking in Sydney, Mr Cohn said that in forcing banks to hold more capital, regulators risked encouraging the unregulated “shadow” banking sector, so it became the next problem. Tougher capital rules were also holding back jobs growth by choking off lending, and restricting banks’ ability to trade in financial markets, he said. “If we continue to live in a world where safety and soundness and inflappability of banks trumps everything else, trumps economic growth, and trumps liquidity you are going to continue to see shadow banks grow bigger and bigger until of course maybe shadow banks become the next problem or until liquidity becomes the next crisis,” Mr Cohn said. “We’re almost, in essence, foreshadowing the next crisis. The next crisis is likely to be one of three things that we’re foreshadowing by what we are doing to banks. More

Polar Vortex set to return next week – plunging temperatures in Midwest and Northeast to 35 degrees below normal

Just when you thought you were safe – the Polar Vortex is back. The Midwest and North East are thawing out after being covered with more than a foot of snow over the past week, but forecasters have warned it won’t be for long as another cold front is on its way. The wintry storm is expected to slam the Midwest this weekend, bringing ferocious winds and freezing temperatures as low as 35 degrees below normal. After rattling the Midwest, it will stretch into the South and East at the start of next week, according to Weather Underground. A six-to-ten-day forecast from NOAA also reveals a terrifying swathe of cold temperatures starting in the Midwest on Tuesday and stretching south and to the coast – where the mercury is expected to plummet to temperatures below average, while a higher than average amount of rain is also due. ‘Temperatures 20°F below normal will likely invade the Upper Midwest on Sunday, and gradually spread southeastwards during the week,’ Dr Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground said. More

Black violence strikes from Baton Rouge to Brooklyn

It just won’t stop, this black on white crime. Not even during Black History Month. This time in Baton Rouge: Another old white dude is dead. His name is John Bannon. The 53-year sports fan moved to Baton Rouge from his native Indiana so he could be close to his beloved LSU Tigers football team. And his Harley too: He kept it in his living room because he did not have a garage. Can’t do much Harley-riding in Indiana in the winter. It was 9:30 on a Friday night in early February. Bannon was a few blocks from his home when witnesses say he encountered 19-year-old Windall Lavel Herring and a 15-year-old accomplice. They punched him in the face. His head hit the ground. He lingered for a few weeks, then died. The Advocate in Baton Rouge says the two teens attacked Bannon in an attempted robbery, or to see who could hit harder or possibly for another reason, police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.More

In order for our current level of debt-fueled prosperity to continue, the rest of the world must continue to use our dollars to trade with one another and must continue to buy our debt at ridiculously low interest rates.  Of course the number one foreign nation that we depend on to participate in our system is China.  China accounts for more global trade than anyone else on the planet(including the United States), and most of that trade is conducted in U.S. dollars.  This keeps demand for our dollars very high, and it ensures that we can import massive quantities of goods from overseas at very low cost.  As a major exporting nation, China ends up with gigantic piles of our dollars.  They lend many of those dollars back to us at ridiculously low interest rates.  At this point, China owns more of our national debt than any other country does.  But if China was to decide to quit playing our game and started moving away from U.S. dollars and U.S. debt, our economic prosperity could disappear very rapidly.  Demand for the U.S. dollar would fall and prices would go up.  And interest rates on our debt and everything else in our financial system would go up to crippling levels.  So it is absolutely critical to our financial future that China continues to play our game. More

Fears grow over threat of Ukraine military intervention…

As Ukraine slid deeper into violence on Thursday fears grew that the army could soon be called into the fray in a development that observers warned could have devastating repercussions for the nation. People close to Ukraine’s opposition leaders expressed concern that president Viktor Yanukovich, his options dwindling, was preparing to unleash the army to crush the protests against him – possibly within hours. They also accused Ukrainian authorities of provoking Thursday’s violence, with snipers firing at protesters on Kiev’s central square, as a pretext for a decisive clampdown. Mr Yanukovich’s website pointed the blame at protesters. “If there is a decision to use force to clear the protesters, it can be done but will start a civil war,” said Ihor Smeshko, former head of Ukraine’s SBU security services. “The army is so far neutral, but if it is pulled into this conflict it will be a point of no return. Army personnel are themselves split 50/50 in their views of Ukraine.” More

Israeli demand sparks ‘Jewish state’ debate

Is Israel “the Jewish state”? The answer may seem as obvious as the Star of David on the Israeli flag. Yet the question is starting to complicate the ambitious U.S. effort to ram through a peace deal between the Palestinians and Israel. A broad-based group of Israelis plans to lobby the Knesset to declare the country, for the first time, a Jewish state by law. And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s Jewish status explicitly as part of any agreement. ”This is the Jewish land. This is the Jewish state,” he said in a speech this week to assembled U.S. Jewish leaders. “When we make an agreement it is an agreement between the nation state of the Jewish people and a nation state of the Palestinian people.” Leading Palestinians made their opposition clear this week, insisting that by introducing the Jewish factor, Israel is drawing a red line that could doom negotiations. More

PAul Begley




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China Demands Obama To Cancel Meeting With Dalai Lama.



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