Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
Why Gold Prices Should Thrive
BY FRANK HOLMES - MoneyMorning.com
Last week was a challenging one for gold investors. Gold prices have been on the downside.
Although the yellow metal has been on a spectacular 11-year bull run, recent strength in the economy has some thinking gold's heyday is over.
As I often say, investing, like life, is about managing expectations-even throughout gold's decade-long rise, price action over the short term can go both ways.
It helps to look at what happens after short-term drops.
For example, looking at the past decade of one-day 5% declines in gold, you can see that this event is pretty rare.
In 2006, gold dropped more than 5% in a day only two times. In 2008, there were three such events.
US Mint Gold and Silver coins sales bounces back in March
NEW YORK (Commodity Online): United States Mint reported that the sales of gold and silver coins bounced back in March this year from February but remained well below January's levels. The US Mint has sold 10,459,000 ounces of silver and 214,500 ounces of gold till March.
The Sales of gold American Eagle coins at the U.S. Mint nearly tripled to 62,500 troy ounces in March, from 21,000 troy ounces in February. Sales of silver Eagle coins rose 70% to 2,542,000 troy ounces in March, from 1,490,000 in February.
Weak Dollar, Strong Dollar The U.S. strong dollar policy is not strong enough.
By EMIL W. HENRY, JR. - The American Spectator.org
The Obama administration says it supports a strong dollar, but its major fiscal initiatives suggest otherwise. As our currency erodes, the U.S. strong dollar policy needs to be enhanced so those who claim its mantle are held accountable to achieve it.
The current strong dollar policy originated with Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin in 1995. There was logic for the policy at that time amidst a declining U.S. currency. Afterward, in the latter 1990s, a strengthening dollar coincided with a period of growth and prosperity.
As U.S. Debt Soars, Dollar May Lose Reserve Status
By SCOTT S. POWELL - Investors.com
European debt problems have received a lot of media attention, but it is the debt problem in the U.S. that is far more likely to precipitate a global crisis.
Former U.S. Treasury official Lawrence Goodman sounded the alarm recently when he noted that investors are shunning low-yielding U.S. Treasuries, forcing the Fed to buy "a stunning ... 61% of the total net issuance of U.S. government debt."
His view that ballooning deficits and excessive debt put the U.S. economy and markets at risk for a sharp correction also explains why recovery is so weak and why trillions of dollars remain sidelined.
The other dimension to the story that may trigger the next financial crisis is the loss of the reserve currency status of the U.S. dollar.
Prosperity That Feels Like Austerity
By Steven Malanga - RealClearMarkets.com
The city of San Jose is faring much better these days than it has in recent years. Gallup's latest Job Creation Index, which measures residents' reports of hiring in the 50 largest metro areas, found people in San Jose describing among the most bullish employment scenarios in the nation. No aging industrial city, San Jose already boasts a median annual household income at nearly $77,000 that is well above the national average, and the city is positioned in Silicon Valley to be a part of any robust new economy that emerges.
Fed's Yellen makes case for keeping rates low More asset purchases only if economy worsens, official says
By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The Federal Reserve's number-two ranking official on Wednesday made the case for keeping interest rates low for some time, arguing the economy will continue to grow only gradually and that the unemployment rate will remain high for years.
Janet Yellen, the Fed's vice chair, didn't argue for a new round of asset purchases. A current program of shifting $400 billion of short-term securities into longer-dated ones is due to end in June, and the Fed's balance sheet has swelled to nearly $3 trillion.
Europe's banks beached as ECB stimulus runs dry The European Central Bank's €1 trillion (£824bn) lending spree over the winter has stored up a host of fresh problems, leaving parts of the banking system more vulnerable than before as the short-term "sugar rush" nears exhaustion.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
Credit experts say the Spanish and Italian banks are trapped with large losses on sovereign bonds bought with ECB funds under the three-year lending programme, or Long-Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO).
Andrew Roberts, credit chief at RBS, said Spanish banks used ECB funds to purchase five-year Spanish bonds at yields near 3.5pc in February and 4.5pc in December. The same bonds were trading at 4.77pc on Wednesday, implying a large loss on the capital value of the bonds.
The Last Bubble
By Robert Morley - TheTrumpet.com
....The Fed is worried that if it stops printing money, the treasury market will melt down. If America can't find enough lenders, interest rates will skyrocket. And the economy will seize up. If rates just return to the 5 percent range (as they were in 2007), almost half of all the money the government collects in taxes would go to paying just interest on the debt. Nobody even contemplates what will happen if rates return to the levels seen during the 1980s—because total financial meltdown would occur before they even got there. But interest rates have been there before—so what is stopping them from returning again?
This is what Schiff and Faber are worried about: The explosion of the biggest bubble in the history of the world—the U.S. government debt bubble.
And the resulting end of the financial system as we know it.
The Obama Rule He says taxation is about fairness, not growth or revenue.
Opinion - WSJ.com
Forget Warren Buffett, or whatever other political prop the White House wants to use for its tax agenda. This week the Administration officially endorsed what in essence is the Obama Rule: Taxes must be high simply to spread the wealth, never mind the impact on the economy or government revenue. It's all about "fairness," baby.
This was long apparent to those fated to closely watch the 2008 campaign, but some voters might have missed the point amid the gauzy rhetoric about hope and change. Now we know without any doubt. White House aides made it official Tuesday in their on-the-record briefing on the new federal minimum tax that travels under the political alias known as the "Buffett rule."
What Is ObamaCare?
By: Paul Craig Roberts
Growing up in the post-war era (after the Second World War), I never expected to live in the strange Kafkaesque world that exists today. The US government can assassinate any US citizen that the executive branch thinks could possibly be a "threat" to the US government, or throw the hapless citizen into a dungeon for the rest of his or her life without presenting any evidence to a court or obtaining a conviction of any crime, or send the "threat" to a puppet foreign state to be tortured until the "threat" confesses to a crime that never occurred or dies at the hands of "freedom and democracy" while professing innocence.
It has never been revealed how a single citizen, or any number thereof, could possibly comprise a threat to a government that has a trillion plus dollars to spend each year on security and weapons, the world's largest navy and air force, 700 plus military bases across the world, large numbers of nuclear weapons, 16 intelligence agencies plus the intelligence agencies of its NATO puppet states and the intelligence service of Israel.
Americans not feeling so good over Obamacare
By ANDREW MALCOLM - Investors.com
When Obamacare passed through Congress by the hair on its chinny-chin-chin, the optimistic Pelosi prognosis was: Be patient and call back in two years. The people will love it the more they learn about it.
Well, it's been two years. They've learned more about it, including its dishonest cost estimates and politically-tinged bureaucratic exceptions.
And as the Supreme Court decides about euthanizing the entire legislation on obvious constitutional grounds, Americans have already decided: They don't like it.
Best and Worst Jobs of 2012
CareerCast.com ranked 200 jobs from best to worst based on five criteria: physical demands, work environment, income, stress and hiring outlook. To compile its list, the firm primarily used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government agencies. From a software engineer to a lumberjack, see the complete list, and search for your job.
Mid-income earners suffer the most Mid-Incomers Suffer in Polarized U.S. Job Market: Economy
By Alex Kowalski - Bloomberg.com
Americans at the top and bottom of the income scale are benefiting most from the jobs recovery while those in the middle are getting left behind.
Employees making above-average wages, like doctors and energy-industry workers, and those at the other extreme, including home-health aides and restaurant staff, have seen outsized gains in hiring since the jobs recovery began in February 2010, say economists at Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Professions in the middle, such as financial services and specialty construction, aren't faring as well.
Chinese Applicants Flood U.S. Graduate Schools
By MELISSA KORN - WSJ.com
More than ever, Chinese students have their sights set on U.S. graduate schools.
Application volume from that country rose 18% for U.S. master's and doctoral programs starting this fall, according to a new report from the Council of Graduate Schools that provides a preliminary measure of application trends. Specific programs of interest include engineering, business and earth sciences.
That is on top of a 21% jump last year and a 20% rise in 2010—and is the seventh consecutive year of double-digit gains from China, according to the graduate-school industry group. Applications from China now comprise nearly half of all international applications to U.S. graduate programs.
The Hard Working American vs. The Government Parasite
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
Which lifestyle choice produces better results - being a hard working American or being a government parasite? Actually, when you look at the cold, hard numbers they may just surprise you. In America today, we deeply penalize hard work and we greatly reward government dependence. If you live in a very liberal area of the country and you know how to game the system, it is entirely possible to live a comfortable existence without ever working too much at all. In fact, there are some Americans that have been living off of "government benefits" for decades. Many of these people actually plan their lives around doing exactly what they need to do to qualify for as many benefits as possible. America is rapidly turning into a European-style socialist welfare state and it is destroying our nation socially and financially. Ever since the "war on poverty" began our debt has absolutely exploded and yet now there are more poor people in this country than ever before. Obviously something is not working.
Recovery for the 1% An economic recovery that leaves workers further behind
By Harold Meyerson - WashingtonPost.com
Why is this recovery different from all other recoveries?
Many of the reasons are widely known: Rebounding from a financial crisis takes an excruciatingly long time; the huge decline in housing values has reduced Americans' purchasing power; large corporations are making do with fewer employees — at least, in this country.
But what really sets the current recovery apart from all its predecessors is this: Almost three years after economic growth resumed, the real value of Americans' paychecks is stubbornly still shrinking. According to Friday's Bloomberg Economics Brief, "the pace of income gains is well below that of the past two jobless recoveries and real average hourly earnings continue to decline."
IMF warns of £750bn pensions time bomb Britain's ageing population is threatening a pensions time bomb that could cost as much as £750billion, the International Monetary Fund has warned.
By Philip Aldrick, and James Kirkup - Telegraph.co.uk
The IMF said yesterday that even a slightly faster than expected increase in life expectancy could impose a huge new financial burden on Western economies such as Britain. "The time to act is now," it said.
Governments and the financial sector have consistently underestimated how quickly average lifespans will rise, IMF researchers found.
They believe it has been routinely understated by about three years, which could render public finances unsustainable, they warned.
Corporate Tax Kickbacks: Busting Our Budgets, State By State
By Jeremy Bowman, The Motley Fool - DailyFinance.com
Alabama and Louisiana, two of the poorest states in the nation, recently battled to host a new ThyssenKrupp steel mill. Alabama "won," but getting the mill cost the state $734 million in tax breaks -- or $272,000 for each of the 2,700 jobs the steelmaker will create.
Federal tax giveaways to industries ranging from energy to agriculture have received much criticism, but the relocation incentives offered by states for corporations to move their facilities from one to another may be the most counterproductive of all corporate subsidies.
19 Things That The Talking Heads On Television
Are Being Strangely Silent About
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
If the talking heads on television don't tell us about something that happens, does it make that event any less real? Of course the answer to that question is quite obvious, but unfortunately way too many Americans allow their realities to be defined by what they hear from the mainstream media. Way too many people use phrases such as "if that was true I would have heard about it on television" to deflect conversations that are starting to become uncomfortable. Critical thinking is a skill that is in short supply in America today, and most Americans seem content to let their televisions do their thinking for them. Sadly, the pretty people on television do not spend a lot of time talking about the things that are truly important. Instead, they love to talk about the latest celebrity scandal and they love to divide people into groups and get them fighting with one another. In this day and age, it is absolutely critical that we all learn to think for ourselves. The talking heads on television are concerned with keeping their bosses happy and with keeping the ratings up. Most of them are not really concerned about what happens to you. They just want you to keep watching them so that they can continue to earn their inflated salaries.
Lew Rockwell: "Ron Paul already won the election"
This year is an election year and an important topic to many Americans is the economy. On Tuesday, Maryland, Washington DC and Wisconsin will hold their primaries where voters will head to the polls to cast ballots for their GOP nominee. Although a Ron Paul nomination is unlikely, the Texas congressman still hasn't bowed out of the race. Young voters continue to show support for the candidate despite the odds and Lew Rockwell, chairman for the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, joins us to discuss what's next for Paul's campaign.
CISPA: New Internet Bill
Could Practically Shred the First Amendment
By Brent Daggett - TheIntelHub.com
If ACTA, SOPA and PIPA were not enough to squelch Internet freedom, a new cyber bill could basically delete any remains of our first amendment.On November 30, 2011 representatives Michael "Mike" Rogers (R-MI) and C.A. Ruppersberger (D-MD) introduced H.R. 3523: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011, which has 106 co-sponsors.
[Editor's note: for other cybersecurity proposals, see McCain's legislation which would give even more control to the military and National Security Agency, as well as the alternative proposal which would hand overbroad control to the Department of Homeland Security.
Also consider the scheme to be voluntarily implemented by Internet Service Providers wherein they will conduct massive surveillance on all Americans in the name of stopping piracy.]
SOPA changes name to CISPA
The latest attempt by Congress to try to regulate and control the Internet is no longer known as SOPA but CISPA: the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. The SOPA-like bill would give companies the power to collect information on their subscribers and hand it over to the government and all they have to do is request it. Kendall Burman, senior national security fellow for the Center for Democracy and Technology, joins Liz Wahl to talk about what this means for online freedoms.
The Keystone Pipeline Fallout:
Canada Makes Over a Billion New Friends
By James Baldwin, Contributing Writer, Money Morning
"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading." Lao Tzu
You can forget about energy independence for now.
Without Canadian oil it is nothing but the latest American pipe dream.
In the wake of the Keystone Pipeline decision, Canada has decided to play ball with China instead.
According to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the U.S. reluctance to build the Keystone Pipeline has caused his nation to increase the flow of oil headed west.
Instead of flowing south into the U.S., the same oil is now going to be headed to China.
New Credit Rules Delayed for FHA Mortgages
While FHA mortgages are popular for being consumer friendly while offering flexible credit guidelines, the recently changed collections anddefault rules that were effective April 1st were a step backwards for the Federal Housing Administration. After one week in place, the new credit rules for FHA mortgages have been delayed until July, 2012. In the meantime, FHAhas stepped back and will be accepting outside feedback on these new rules.
Homes for Rent, $208 a Month:
A Plan to Save Fannie Big Money
By Rich Smith, The Motley Fool - DailyFinance.com
A recent Federal Housing Finance Agency report on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac confirms that the two government-sponsored enterprises now own some 200,000 single-family homes.
Originally designed to be facilitators of the national mortgage market, these companies came by their massive real estate portfolio by foreclosing on properties whose owners had fallen behind on their mortgages.
But they're not thrilled about it, and you shouldn't be, either.
PRINCIPAL REDUCTIONS AND LOAN MODIFICATION
WITHOUT HARDSHIP REQUIREMENTS
By Michael Nazarinia - ML-Explode.com
Mr. DeMarco, who is the head of the FHFA and is a Republican, sees such a large moral danger in people cheating by going late on their mortgage to get a principal reduction and applying for a loan mod while lying about their hardship to get a principal reduction that he does not favor principal reductions, even though nearly a million homeowners with Fannie or Freddie as the investor, with current real hardshipswill be helped by it.
The NPV is higher on each and every loan disposition analysis we see at the REST Report Matters by doing this under the HAMP PRA Home Affordable Modification Program Principal Reduction Alternative – a program that Fannie and Freddie are not participating in but they should – despite the higher NPVs for these types of mods.
South Greensburg Puts Limits On Yard Sales
SOUTH GREENSBURG (KDKA) — The blooming of spring will soon give way to the sprouting of summer garage sales.
The yards and driveways of South Greensburg will play their part in America's weekend tradition.
But when the friendly weekend garage sale threatens to become an everyday business, that's when neighbors are likely to say "There ought to be a law!"
That wish may soon come true.
American Decline: Debated, Contested, Obvious
By William Pfaff - Truthdig.com
Is the United States in decline? You would certainly think so from the publishers' lists, although some of the new books, written by determined neoconservatives resisting indictment for complicity in causing the decline, such as Robert Kagan, are arguing that it's only a very little decline, and temporary, and will end in November when the teapot boils. Certainly President Barack Obama forswears declinism. Anyone who says that America is in decline, "or that our influence has waned, doesn't know what they are talking about," he said in his State of the Union address.
Well, actually, the only people who can really say that are those who haven't been to Europe or the major Asian states recently, where everything works beautifully, even if Europe's debts are not paid off. The 200 mph trains that crisscross Europe not only run on time but give you money back if they are late. The hotels in Singapore, Tokyo and the Arabian Gulf surpass all rivals. Their national airlines provide unparalleled service, and even room enough to sit comfortably in economy.
Leaked Video Shows US Contractors
Randomly Killing Civilians
Employees of the US military contracting group Academi (formerly Xe, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide) are seen in new leaked video shooting their machine guns at random while driving through the streets of Baghdad, crashing into other cars and even running over a pedestrian without hesitation. Academi received a $250 million contract by the Obama administration to provide military services in Afghanistan.
America 2012: The Supreme Court
Has Made It Legal For The Police
To Strip Search You Any Time They Want
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
Last week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police in the United States can strip search anyone that they arrest. It doesn't matter how minor the crime is and it doesn't matter if they suspect that you have contraband on you or not. The Supreme Court even said that you can be strip searched if you have been arrested for a traffic violation. Any type of arrest will do. Once you are arrested, if the police want to strip off your clothes and see you naked there is not a thing you can do about it. You can read the entire Supreme Court decisionright here. Considering the fact that 13 million Americans are put in jail at some point each year, this is a very frightening thing. The notion that we are all "innocent until proven guilty" is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Thanks to the Supreme Court, it is now legal for the police to strip search you any time they want. All they have to do is find some excuse to arrest you. And considering the fact that almost everything is illegal in America, that is not hard to do. America continues to become a very dark place in 2012, and very few people are speaking up in defense of liberty and freedom.
Defense Department to Further Militarize
U.S. Law Enforcement With Hundreds of Military Robots
By Madison Ruppert - TheIntelHub.com
Last year I reported on the Pentagon's 1033 Program, wherein local law enforcement agencies can obtain surplus military hardware through a website, only having to pay to pick up the equipment.
Now, according to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), law enforcement will be even further militarized through the use of hundreds of military robots acquired by the Department of Defense over the past decade.
According to the head of the eastern team of DLA's disposition services office, Dan Arnold, the older and more heavily used items will likely be robots for explosive ordnance disposal and surveillance, although some of the hardware is nearly brand new and never been deployed overseas.
Rense & David Paulides -
100s Of Missing People In US National Parks Eastern US
David Paulides has just released his new book Missing-411;
Missing-411 is the first comprehensive book about people who have disappeared in the wilds of North America. It's understood that people routinely get lost, some want to disappear but this story is about the unusual. Nobody has ever studied the archives for similarities, traits and geographical clusters of missing people, until now.
Nazi Engineers, Secret U.S. Military Bases,
and Elevators To The Subterranean
and Submarine Depths (Part 1)
By Dr. Richard Sauder - TheIntelHub.com
With Commentary By Shepard Ambellas & Alex Thomas
In the preliminary stages of my research in the early 1990s, I had no informed idea of how deep below the surface underground bases could reach. By chance I had gone to hear a public talk by a man I did not know, on a topic that had nothing whatsoever to do with underground bases.
However, during the talk he unexpectedly made an offhand comment that caused me to think that he knew something about secret underground facilities. A few days later, I telephoned him and asked if I could come by his office to speak with him.
He consented to give me a little of his time, so I went by and asked him some questions, including about a specific location where I believed there was a secret underground base. He verified that there was a base there and told me that it was one mile deep.
The Underground -
A Hidden Reality and The True Story of Phil Schneider
Phil Schneider died in 1996. Previous to his death he had been on tour across the United States speaking out about various subjects including his involvement with building a secret underground base in Dulce, New Mexico for the military. During this time, he said to have had an encounter with a violent E.T race in the late 1970's which would change his whole world reality immediately after. This documentary explores some of the information Phil Schneider spoke about to the public in the 1990's by examining each claim in detail with expert opinions from Richard Dolan, Richard Sauder, Neil Gould and Cynthia Drayer (Phil's Ex-Wife).
Apple to Build Giant Hydrogen Fuel Cell
to Provide Electricity for the Grid
By James Burgess - OilPrice.com
Hydrogen fuel cells offer a scalable, clean, renewable energy source. They are currently used in some automobiles, but due to the ease of scalability can be used to create large power plants to supply the grid.
However, according to a recent report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), hydrogen fuel cells are one of the most expensive forms of producing electricity in the world; around $6.7 million per megawatt.
Keystone XL Takes Center Stage in Maine(?)
By Daniel J. Graeber - OilPrice.com
Maine lawmakers last month quietly passed a non-binding resolution backing the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. The pipeline has become political fodder during the U.S. presidential campaign season and the Maine Senate, along partisan lines, said it was time to lend its voice to the contentious debate. Left out of the Senate debate, however, were controversial plans for a similar pipeline planned to deliver oil to ports in their very own state. And it's an election year.
For critics of U.S. President Barack Obama, the Keystone XL has come to represent the panacea for perceived problems with domestic energy policy. The current political debate over the project, proposed in 2008, has taken on mythological proportions with backers claiming it would resolve many of the economic and foreign policy problems in the United States. Behind the political furor, the company behind the pipeline, TransCanada, said it was moving forward with the domestic leg of the project, which would ease the bottleneck at the Cushing, Okla., storage hub, the main point for U.S. crude oil traded on the futures market.
Crazy Like a Fox The North Korean leadership
knows exactly what it's doing -- who it's doing it to.
By GEORGE H. WITTMAN - The American Spectator.org
There has been a tendency to view North Korea's leadership as bordering on irrationality, if not outright psychosis. There has evolved the alternate view, however, that Pyongyang's ruling clique of the Kim family and its coterie of elderly generals use seeming instability as a tool of their negotiating technique.
There can be no question that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has played upon the theme of its starving population to generate sympathy in Washington administrations of both parties that produce agreements to ship food, fuel and other basic commodities. Threats by the United States periodically to cease such humanitarian actions do not produce the expected cooperative result, yet eventually Washington succumbs and resumes shipments. This is not exactly an effective "carrot and stick" leverage.
Philippine warship in tense standoff with Chinese vessels
By Jason Gutierrez, Agence France-Presse - VancouverSun.com
MANILA - The Philippines' biggest warship was locked in a standoff on Wednesday with two Chinese vessels in the South China Sea, reigniting tensions in a decades-long dispute over the resource-rich waters.
The Philippine government said the Chinese ships were blocking efforts by its navy flagship vessel to arrest Chinese fishermen that were found on the weekend to have illegally entered its territory.
In a dramatic day of diplomacy, the Philippines summoned the Chinese ambassador in Manila and lodged a formal protest, but China insisted it had sovereign rights over the area and ordered the Philippine warship to leave.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino said he was looking to end the standoff through diplomatic means.
"No one will benefit if we have violence," he told reporters.
North Korea seen playing up a crisis Analyst sees nation using rocket launch
to wring more concessions
By Shaun Waterman - The Washington Times
North Korea appears determined to launch a rocket this week, despite the prospect of losing nearly 250,000 tons of U.S. food aid, receiving new U.N. sanctions and embarrassing its only major ally, China.
With so much at stake, the secretive communist nation's actions beg the question: What do North Korean leaders hope to gain by going through with the launch?
"They decided to drive tensions higher and manufacture a crisis," says Andrei Lankov, aNorth Korea scholar at Kookmin University in Seoul.
Clinton Says Asia Needs U.S. Leadership
By Nicole Gaouette - Bloomberg.com
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there is no alternative to U.S. leadership in the Asia- Pacific region, recognizing concerns that the U.S. is moving to deny rising Asian nations "their fair share of influence."
"When it comes to ensuring stability and security in the Asia-Pacific and beyond, there simply is no substitute for American power," Clinton, the top U.S. diplomat, said in a speech last night at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
What's goin' on at the Turkish-Syrian border?
By Pepe Escobar - ATimes.com
There is a video  that could be loosely translated as "Terrorist Turkish border opening fire on the Syrian side" that pretty accurately sums up what's going on at the ultra-volatile geopolitical hotspot of the moment.
The voice over says, "This is the Syria-Turkey border, and this is an operation of the Free Syrian Army [FSA] ... The Gate [that would be the Syrian side of the border, housing the Gate checkpoint] is going to be seized."
Israel's Egypt Conundrum Does the 1979 peace treaty still have a future?
By P. DAVID HORNIK - The American Spectator.org
It's now Passover week in Israel, and it's natural for Egypt to be in the air. The holiday celebrates the Israelites' liberation from serfdom to Pharaoh over three thousand years ago, which launched the trouble-fraught but ultimately successful forty-year trek to freedom in the Promised Land.
But Egypt keeps being intertwined with Israel's current affairs, too; and, just like back then, in ways that are generally difficult. As in the rocket fired last Thursday morning from Egyptian Sinai at Eilat, Israel's port and tourist center on the Red Sea. As in the explosionthat hit Egypt's gas pipeline to Israel and Jordan on Monday -- the fourteenth to do so, all of them sabotage, in about a year. The pipeline, too, is in Sinai, and has been closed since a previous explosion on February 5.
Iran-fueled oil price spike biggest threat to economy
By Steve Hargreaves @CNNMoney
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- An oil price spike caused by a confrontation with Iran is now seen as the biggest threat to the U.S. economy.
That's according to nine out of 18 economists surveyed recently by CNNMoney. They say rising oil prices now outweigh the risks posed by the European debt crisis, ongoing gridlock over the budget in Washington and fears of a slowdown in China.
"An Iranian disruption of oil supplies could send oil prices to $200 a barrel," said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute.
Surrender now or we'll bomb you later
By Pepe Escobar - ATimes.com
Former United States president George W Bush issued an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein before bombing and invading Iraq.
Nine years later, US President Barack Obama has issued an ultimatum to the leadership in Tehran before ... setting optimal conditions for an "all options on the table" exercise.
Obama has made an offer to Tehran to "negotiate" its nuclear program - ahead of long-delayed talks between the "Iran Six" (P5+1 - the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and France - plus Germany) and Iran scheduled for Istanbul on Saturday.
USS Enterprise heads to Persian Gulf
The carrier group is heading to the Gulf and our CNN national security experts note that this is a typical Navy maneuver that happens as carrier groups rotate to new positions around the globe.
This is the final deployment for the Enterprise, which will be inactivated and eventually decommissioned, according to a Navy press release.
This does come at a time that relations with Iran are fraying. We called the Navy today to ask if there is any connection. They did not get back to us right away. If they do, we will update this.
Iran Escalates Again, Cuts Oil to Spain
Iran's dispute with Europe appears to be escalating. Iran's semi-official Mehrs news agency reports that Tehran has cut oil deliveries to Spain.
The move seems designed to inflict maximum damage on Europe at a time when many European economies are struggling under the weight of recession and debt repayment. Press tv reports: "Tehran has cut oil supply to Spain after stopping crude export to Greece as part of its countersanctions, unnamed sources confirmed on Tuesday. Tehran also mulls cutting oil supply to Germany and Italy."
Magnitude 5.9 quake hits off coast of Oregon: USGS
WASHINGTON | Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:14pm EDT
(Reuters) - A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Oregon on Wednesday and was followed a minute later by a smaller quake off the coast of central California, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Strong quake shakes Mexico, no major damage
By Cyntia Barrera
MEXICO CITY | Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:39pm EDT
(Reuters) - A strong earthquake hit western Mexico on Wednesday, shaking buildings as far away as the capital and sending people rushing out of offices onto the streets, though there were no reports of major damage.
Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said on his Twitter account there were no initial signs of serious damage and that key services in the capital, including its subway system and the international airport, were operating normally.