Sorry for Monday's delay in posting the news. Local ISP out due to 120+ tornados ripping through the midwest over the weekend. EF3 tornado (165mph winds moving NE at 74 mph) touched down (confirmed) at a major intersection, blocks away to my SW, but skipped over my place before ripping off roofs a block away to the NE - couldn't hear the tornado sirens for the loud wind and very heavy rain and hail. Approximately $280M in damage reported so far. 7,300 home still without electricity. I was very fortunate to only have tree and roof damage, thank God. Could have been a lot worse, but things are getting back to normal. ~WebBabe, from the land of OZ.
Gold price action suggests $1600/oz floor,
NEW YORK (Commodity Online): Gold ended last week under pressure amid profit-taking and dollar strength but prices had gained traction as jewellers on strike in India reopened stores after 20 days and the weaker-than-expected non-farm payrolls data raised the possibility of further quantitative easing.
Recent upticks in gold suggest that a base is in place above our support zone near $1600. A decisive break (couple of closes) above range highs at 1271 (for gold priced in EUR) and 1535 (for gold priced in CHF would provide further evidence that Gold is stabilising. In terms of the USD, breaking above $1700 would encourage a bullish view toward the $1717/$1727 area and, ultimately, the range highs near $1805 which is expected to find selling interest.
Does Gold Ever Pay?
Is it fair to characterize gold bullion as an investment...?
By: Adrian Ash - GoldSeek.com
WHY BOTHER investing? Five years into the financial crisis – and more than a decade after the US market hit its big top in real terms – you might well ask. Especially now that cash, bonds, Treasuries and stocks pay between zero and sweet nothing in yield, just like gold bullion.
The aim if not the outcome of investment is simple, however. "Investing [is] the transfer to others of purchasing power now with the reasoned expectation of receiving more purchasing power – after taxes have been paid on nominal gains – in the future," as Warren Buffett wrote earlier this year to his Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.
Gold pares loss as stocks rise,
dollar trims gains; Silver higher
NEW YORK (Commodity Online): Comex gold has pared its earlier losses as equities turn higher after strong U.S. retail sales data and the U.S. dollar gives up some of its gains, said Dave Meger, director of metals trading at Vision Financial Markets.
As of 9:52 a.m. EDT, the euro had climbed back to $1.3044 from an overnight low of $1.2995, although it remains below $1.3075 from late Friday. June gold was down $6.80 to $1,653.40 an ounce but up from the overnight low of $1,642.
Dollar gains pressure precious metals;
Gold/Platinum spread widens
NEW YORK (Commodity Online): Precious metals collectively are on the defensive as the dollar rises, with the spread favoring gold over platinum widening again, said Commerzbank in a commodity briefing.
According to the bank, some risk aversion in European trade earlier in the day, saying a stronger greenback is weighing on metals prices.
"Some of the other precious metals have fallen more sharply than gold, such as platinum, which has dropped to its lowest price since the end of January," Commerzbank added.
A Trillion Euros Didn't Buy Much Time
By: Rick Ackerman - GoldSeek.com
Europe's bankers will need to think really big the next time they try to construct a proper "mother of all firewalls." A nearly trillion-euro package that was on the table a few weeks ago would combine €440 billion of uncommitted funds from an existing credit "facility" with €500 billion pledged toward a new one. Those may sound like big numbers, but they evidently were not big enough to prevent market forces from roiling Europe's stage-managed bond markets last week. The result was a surge in yields on Spanish debt that spooked U.S. stocks, among others, into their worst weekly decline of 2012.
Time to put the doomed euro out of its misery
Europe can't accept that the economics of the single currency condemn it to failure.
By Jeremy Warner - Telegraph.co.uk
There is no mess quite so bad that official intervention won't make it even worse. Nowhere is this old saw more applicable than in the eurozone, where only a month or so back, leaders were warmly congratulating themselves on having seen off the worst of the debt crisis. As is apparent from the events of the past week, these hopes were not just premature, but naive. The crisis is once again intensifying, with the focus of attention switching from Greece to Spain.
Eurozone crisis roars back to savage Spain
'Today the problem is solved," declared French President Nicolas Sarkozy just five weeks ago. "How happy I am a solution to the Greek crisis, which has weighed on the economic and financial situation in Europe and the world for months, has been found."
By Liam Halligan - Telegraph.co.uk
Just when you hoped it really was "solved", the eurozone crisis has roared back on to the global agenda.
Like a lingering bad smell, the fundamental contradictions at the heart of monetary union can be blanked out for a while but refuse to go away. The busted banks, the grotesque indebtedness, the inherent contradictions – in recent days they've all burst back into view.
The War for Spain
By: John Mauldin - GoldSeek.com
I fully intended to ignore Spain this week. Really, truly I did. I had my letter all planned, but then a few notes drew my attention, and the more I reflected on them, the more I realized that the inflection point that I thought the ECB had pushed down the road for at least a year with their recent €1 trillion LTRO is now rushing toward us much faster than ECB President Draghi had in mind when he launched his massive funding operation.So, we simply must pay attention to what Spain has done this week – which, to my surprise, seems to have escaped the attention of the major media. What we will find may be considered a tipping point when the crisis is analyzed by some future historian. And then we'll get back to some additional details on the US employment situation, starting with a few rather shocking data points. What we'll see is that for most people in the US the employment level has not risen, even as overall employment is up by 2 million jobs since the end of the recession in 2009. And there are a few other interesting items. Are we really going to see 2 billion jobs disappear in the next 30 years?
"Euro Crisis Back" as Spanish Yields
Spark "Renewed Market Panic"
while "Less Gold Fever" Seen in China than Last Year
By: Ben Traynor - GoldSeek.com
WHOLESALE gold bullion prices traded just below $1650 an ounce for most of Monday morning's London session – well within the past month's range – as European stock markets edged higher while commodities fell.
The Euro meantime sank to a two-month low against the Dollar, as investors turned their attention to rising Spanish government borrowing costs.
On China's Shanghai Gold Exchange, contracts equivalent to around 7.3 tonnes of gold bullion changed hands in Monday's trading.
Why a visit to the eurozone doctor
won't relieve the pain in Spain
So much for the idea that the euro crisis is over! Last week it resurfaced again – with Spain now first in the firing line. How serious is the Spanish problem?
By Roger Bootle - Telegraph.co.uk
Although they share some things in common, each vulnerable euro member's plight is slightly different. The Spanish economy did not get where it is today through a great splurge in public spending and borrowing, as happened in Greece. Indeed, in 2007, the Spanish government's budget was in surplus.
Admittedly, last year it was in deficit to the tune of 8pc of GDP. But this was a response to the collapse of the economy, not the cause of it.
Nicolas Sarkozy lambasts ECB's rigid policies
French president Nicolas Sarkozy has lashed out at the hard money policies of the European Central Bank and launched a veiled attack on Germany's austerity drive, hoping to bolster his flagging re-election campaign.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
"On the question of the ECB's role in supporting growth, we French are going to open the debate," he told a mass gathering in Paris. "Europe must absolutely return to growth if it is not going to lose its footing in the world economy."
Mr Sarkozy criticised the "fixed rules in the Maastricht treaty", alluding to the ECB's price stability mandate. The US Federal Reserve has a dual mandate linked to both inflation and jobs.
Bank of New York Case
Tests IRS Power to Halt Foreign Tax Abuses
By Megan Murphy and Vanessa Houlder, Financial Times,
and Jeff Gerth - ProPublica.com
In November 2001, Bank of New York, a mid-tier U.S. bank, transferred nearly $8 billion of its own assets to a trust in the small, business-friendly state of Delaware through several layers of newly created companies.
A mixture of home mortgages, shares and other securities, the transferred assets made up almost 10 percent of the bank's total assets at the time. Yet, the transaction was not discussed with BNY's regulators; nor was it noted in the bank's financial statements or annual report. It had little practical effect on the lender's day-to-day operations—the assets continued to be managed and serviced by the same employees in New York.
Is Another Banking Crisis Staring America in the Face?
By John Grgurich, The Motley Fool - DailyFinance.com
Federal Reserve Gov. Daniel Tarullo said something earlier this week that should cause the ears of every adult in the country to prick up: While America's big banks are in better overall shape than they were just before the start of the 2008 financial crisis, there's still "room for improvement at virtually every firm."
Considering how quickly the big banks started to circle the drain after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, saying the banks are in better shape today than they were then isn't saying much at all.
Jim Yong Kim secures World Bank job
amid criticism of US domination of role
Seoul-born Kim beats Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who said the decision was not made on merit
By Dominic Rushe - Guardian.co.uk
The World Bank named Korean-born doctor Jim Yong Kim as its new president today amid criticism that the role had once more gone to a US-nominated candidate.
The 52-year-old president of Ivy League college Dartmouth beat Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to the post, the first time in the World Bank's history that the US candidate has faced a serious challenge.
Can the Innovator Class Save Healthcare?
TEDMED brought a relentless optimism about healthcare reform to a city of tired ideas. More is needed, however, to make a difference in Washington, DC.
By David Ewing Duncan - TheAtlantic.com
WASHINGTON, DC - Perched on the banks of the Potomac River, the TEDMED gathering weighed in last week on what it considered the greatest challenges facing healthcare.
A meeting closely associated with the high tech-optimism of Silicon Valley and other outposts of America's innovator class, TEDMED came east this year from it's previous home in San Diego. The idea was to bring the gathering's ethos and its troupe of entrepreneurs, thinkers, futurists, doers, and artists to our nation's political capital.
25 Signs That America
Is A Seething Cesspool Of Filth And Corruption
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
Do you believe that America is a seething cesspool of filth and corruption? If not, you might change your mind after reading this article. Sadly, the truth is that the United States is absolutely corrupt to the core. This is true from the very top of our society all the way to the very bottom. The current occupant of the White House will likely go down in history as the most corrupt president in history, and that is really saying something. Almost every single day he adds something new to his list of corrupt deeds. He is a con man that deserves to be impeached for a whole host of reasons, but that will never happen because we have a Congress that is also deeply corrupt. But it is not just our politicians that are corrupt. Even the men that are supposed to be in charge of protecting the president are corrupt. A whole bunch of them were recently discovered sleeping with prostitutes in Colombia. We also find very deep and very pervasive corruption in our financial institutions, in our judicial system, in our police departments and in our religious institutions. It is almost as if nearly the entire nation is saturated with filth and depravity. It is becoming harder and harder to find men and women of integrity, and our young people have very few positive role models to look up to. How long is our society going to be able to continue to function normally if all of this corruption gets even worse?
House members demand answers
over taxpayer-funded parties
By Paige Winfield Cunningham-The Washington Times
Extracting shaken apologies from officials involved in a recent scandal where federal workers partied in Las Vegas on taxpayer dollars, House lawmakers grilled them Monday on why they let the misspending go on for months while awarding a hefty bonus to the rendezvous' organizer.
"I personally apologize to the American people — as the head of the agency I am responsible," saidMartha Johnson, former head of the General Services Administration who resigned when the agency's spending spree surfaced nearly two weeks ago. "I will mourn for the rest of my life the loss of my appointment."
US and China engage in cyber war games
Exclusive: US and Chinese officials take part in war games in bid to prevent military escalation from cyber attacks
By Nick Hopkins - Guardian.co.uk
The US and China have been discreetly engaging in "war games" amid rising anger in Washington over the scale and audacity of Beijing-co-ordinated cyber attacks on western governments and big business, the Guardian has learned.
State department and Pentagon officials, along with their Chinese counterparts, were involved in two war games last year that were designed to help prevent a sudden military escalation between the sides if either felt they were being targeted. Another session is planned for May.
Beware the Closed Internet, Google Founder Says
In launching a seven-day special investigation into the battle among states, corporations and public advocates for control over the Internet, The Guardian interviewed Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who warned of the isolating effect of online "walled gardens" put up by companies such as Facebook and Apple. —ARK
He said he was most concerned by the efforts of countries such as China, Saudi Arabia and Iran to censor and restrict use of the internet, but warned that the rise of Facebook and Apple, which have their own proprietary platforms and control access to their users, risked stifling innovation and balkanising the web.
And You Thought It Was Just 'Pink' Slime
by Lena Groeger - ProPublica.com
"Lean finely textured beef," aka "pink slime," sparked an uproar when the USDA bought 7 million pounds of the stuff for school lunches. The agency maintains it's safe and healthy; critics say it's not fit to eat. But the burger filler isn't new, nor is it the only way that meat packers maximize production. Here's how it stacks up against two other mechanical processes.
Sixth person dies in Oklahoma town
after tornadoes tear through midwest
Authorities say warning sounds may in Woodward have been disabled in lightning strike, giving residents no notice of twister
Associated Press - Guardian.co.uk
A state emergency official says a sixth person has died after a tornado ripped through the northwest Oklahoma town of Woodward.
The Oklahoma department of emergency management spokeswoman Keli Cain could not provide details about the victim's gender or age Monday.
Two men and three children were also killed in the tornado that hit the town in the early hours of Sunday, part of a storm system that stretched from Texas to Minnesota and spawned more than 120 twisters.
First They Come for the Muslims
By Chris Hedges - Truthdig.com
Tarek Mehanna, a U.S. citizen, was sentenced Thursday in Worcester, Mass., to 17½ years in prison. It was another of the tawdry show trials held against Muslim activists since 9/11 as a result of the government's criminalization of what people say and believe. These trials, where secrecy rules permit federal lawyers to prosecute people on "evidence" the defendants are not allowed to examine, are the harbinger of a corporate totalitarian state in which any form of dissent can be declared illegal. What the government did to Mehanna, and what it has done to hundreds of other innocent Muslims in this country over the last decade, it will eventually do to the rest of us.
Why Washington's Iran Policy Could Lead to Global Disaster
By Juan Cole, TomDispatch - Truthdig.com
It's a policy fierce enough to cause great suffering among Iranians—and possibly in the long run among Americans, too. It might, in the end, even deeply harm the global economy and yet, history tells us, it will fail on its own. Economic war led by Washington (and encouraged by Israel) will not take down the Iranian government or bring it to the bargaining table on its knees ready to surrender its nuclear program. It might, however, lead to actual armed conflict with incalculable consequences.
Egyptians Rally Against Suleiman
Of all the people to step in and take the still-revolutionizing nation of Egypt to another level in its post-Arab Spring era, former President Hosni Mubarak's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman probably isn't the man for the job. And many Egyptians, thousands of whom gathered in Tahrir Square for a protest Friday, are registering their displeasure about Suleiman's bid to become Egypt's next president.
The protest in Tahrir Square, in central Cairo, was called by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups.
They want Egypt's military rulers to approve a law banning former top Mubarak-era officials from standing.
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