Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
Gold Getting That Old Shiny Look Again
By DoctoRx - DailyCapitalist.com
Nothing really has gone wrong with the fundamental gold story since it reached its current price in the summer of 2011. This period was, as we remember, one of feigned panic amongst the media that the United States would actually default on its Treasury obligations. The more fundamental story was that a few domestic and international rating agencies had taken one of the 'A's from the U.S.'s credit rating. In any case, gold had been rising fairly steadily and kept on doing so, accelerating to slightly about $1900/ounce a few weeks after those news items hit. Then the Fed fooled the markets and did not institute a formal QE 3. Instead, it opted for Operation Twist. Very shortly after gold peaked, when bullish sentiment was so rampant that JPM's analyst was predicting $2500/ounce by yearend, I wrote a post titled Gold on Hold; The New Play May Be in Munis.
Is The Gold Price Dependent On China?
by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
China now buys more gold than the Western world:
Does that mean, as some commentators are suggesting, that future price growth for the gold price depends on China? That if the Chinese economy weakens and has a hard landing or a recession that gold will fall steeply?
There's no doubt that the run-up that gold has experienced in recent years is associated with the rise in demand for gold from emerging markets and their central banks. And indeed, the BRIC central banks have been quite transparent about their gold acquisition and the reasons for it.
Zhang Jianhua of the People's Bank of China said:
No asset is safe now. The only choice to hedge risks is to hold hard currency — gold.
Mind-Bending Idiocy Is The Reason
We Don't Have A Gold Standard Today
By Nathan Lewis - Forbes.com
One of the strangest things about "Triffin's Dilemma" is not that Robert Triffin said something in the mid-1960s, but rather that people still take this stuff seriously a half-century later. It's basically nonsense. But, it seems that, in fifty years, nobody has appeared to call a spade a spade. It just shows the very low level of understanding that has characterized these issues for over half a century.
For the last hundred and fifty years, some countries have operated gold standard systems using a "reserve currency" as a reserve asset. In practice, they don't actually hold the currency – base money – but rather government bonds denominated in that currency. Before 1914, this was mostly British government bonds, and after 1944 it was U.S. Treasury bonds.
Keiser Report: Welcome Home German Gold (E395)
In this episode, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the currency war masquerading as a 'storage plan,' the Bond Kings threatening the gold repatriating Germany with having a Libya done to them and the Mexican taco stand in Florida advising customers to invest in silver. In the second half of the show, Max Keiser talks to Doug Casey of CaseyResearch.com about German gold, Glenn's Gulch and future war.
German Gold Grab Could Call into Question
the "Full Faith and Credit" of the U.S.
By Jeff Uscher - MoneyMorning.com
The recently publicized move by the German central bank to bring its gold home is sending a major message about trust in the United States.
The bank holds 45% of its 3,396 tons of gold in the vaults of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, and wants to reduce those holdings to 37%. It also plans to take back all of its 11% of holdings currently stored at the Banque de France in Paris.
Doug Casey: "We Are Living In The Middle
Of The Biggest Bubble In History."
By Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
The recovery since the 2008 financial crisis is just an illusion created by the papering-over of our insolvency by central-bank printing. Doug Caseyadds that the current state is akin to being "in the eye of the hurricane thanks to this 'cover'" and believes the printing which will ultimately lead to very high inflation once bank lending starts to pick up again. This excellent interview moves from Casey's view of a looming loss of confidence in the dollar (and the impact of mass repatriation) to what must the Keynesians be thinking as the "apparency of prosperity" remains all that we have to lift animal spirits. With an eye to gold (and non-western central banks behavior towards it as they realize "the USD is just an unsecured liability of a bankrupt government"), he evaluates the likelihood of a western economic collapse in 2013 and what that would imply for an implicit gold standard in the world. From Austrian economist Hans Herman-Hoppe's view of a post-Keynesian-crash era to his potential triggers for this collapse (such as gold-energy barter and non-dollar blocs), Casey succinctly reminds us that there is not just one asset-class bubble but that "we are living in the middle of the biggest bubble in history."
Previous Corporate Hoarding of Cash
May Soon Become a Big Positive Corporate cash will offset Fed removing punch-bowl
BY SY HARDING - FinancialSense.com
For a number of years politicians and analysts have bemoaned the fact that U.S. corporations were hoarding cash to an unprecedented degree, refusing to invest it for future growth that might have helped the economy recover from the back-to-back recessions of 2001 and 2008. Lagging business investment has continuously been tagged as one of the major factors stifling the economy.
Depending on whose numbers you believe, corporations are sitting on a record $2 trillion to $4 trillion in idle cash, earning only today's minimal interest.
The World Is In Trouble... The United States is in Trouble
by Mark J. Grant, - ZeroHedge.com
We make more than we've ever made, we owe more than we've ever owed, and we have less than we've had in decades which is distributed to those that did not earn the money. This is a working definition of Trouble. The stock market is at an all-time high while the financial condition of the country has seriously deteriorated. We are printing $90 billion a month of little green pieces of paper while the Democrats yell at the Republicans to up the debt ceiling as they want to spend even more money to promote social welfare programs. We cannot afford the bills that we have now and we are being asked to add more to them. This is a recipe for disaster and I am reminded of those months right before the financial crisis of 2008/2009 where no documentation loans for Real Estate flourished and easy money was the normal course of things.
Federal Reserve was blind to crisis in 2007
By Annalyn Kurtz - CNN.com
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
Federal Reserve officials were largely unaware of the financial crisis brewing in 2007, until they found themselves in the middle of it, transcripts released Friday show.
The more than 1,300 pages offer the most comprehensive look at the Federal Reserve's deliberations, leading up to the start of the Great Recession in December 2007. It's the central bank's policy to release full transcripts with a five year lag.
Did the Fed Just Admit QE3 Has Been a Major Failure?
By DAVID ZEILER - MoneyMorning.com
After four years of quantitative easing programs, including QE3 just last fall, U.S. Federal Reserve officials have started voicing doubts about its effectiveness and concerns that it is distorting the markets.
And it's not just the Fed's hawks, such as Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher and Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser, speaking out against the bond-buying extravaganza.
Doves like Atlanta's Dennis Lockhart and moderates like Kansas City's Esther George have expressed concerns about QE3 as well.
Without Deep Spending Cuts,
Republicans Lose the House in 2014
By Lawrence Kudlow - PatriotPost.us
OK, it's official. According to the Treasury Department, the U.S. debt jumped to $16.1 trillion in 2012 from $14.8 trillion in 2011. That's a $1.3 trillion deficit for the last year. Remarkable. During President Obama's first term, the federal debt rose by roughly $6 trillion.
Now, if they are bold, House Republicans will take advantage of these dismal numbers. Bold means bold spending cuts, as in cut spending like there's no tomorrow. Bold means implementing the $1.2 trillion spending sequester. Bold means an absolute rock-solid commitment to spending cuts.
The Trillion Dollar Trick
By PETER D. SCHIFF - MoneyMorning.com
The birth, and the apparent death, of the trillion dollar platinum coin idea may one day be recalled as a mere footnote in the current debt crisis drama.
The ultimate rejection of the idea - which was to use a loophole in commemorative coinage law to mint a platinum coin of any denomination - by both the President and the Federal Reserve seems to offer some relief that our economic policy is not being run by out-of-touch academics and irresponsible congressmen.
Politicians Already Committed to Inflation
-Catherine Austin Fitts
Catherine Austin Fitts of Solari.com says the real fight over the fiscal cliff is how we are going to pay for the mess. Fitts thinks, "Politicians have already committed to inflation." Fitts predicts, "The chances of another financial collapse are very small because every time we come up to a moment where a financial collapse starts to be a real risk, what happens? We get war."
Will Europe's Fiscal Compact Work?
By Jeffrey Frankel - Project-Syndicate.org
CAMBRIDGE – At the start of 2013, the eurozone's "fiscal compact" entered into force, owing to its ratification on December 21 by a 12th country, Finland, a year after German Chancellor Angela Merkel prodded eurozone leaders into agreement. The compact – technically called the Treaty on Stability, Coordination, and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union – requires member countries to introduce laws limiting their structural government budget deficits to less than 0.5 % of GDP (or less than 1% of GDP if their debt/GDP ratio is "significantly below 60%"). So, will this new approach work?
Spain Recession Scars Exposed
as Jobless Seen Reaching 6 Million
By Angeline Benoit - Bloomberg.com
Spain's scars from the slump that overshadowed Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's first year in office will emerge this week as data shows the toll on economic output that may have kept as many as 6 million people out of work.
Spanish trade figures due today will be followed by house- price data tomorrow showing if theproperty market endured a fourth year of declines. The Bank of Spain may also release its estimate for fourth-quarter gross domestic product, and the data will culminate in jobs figures on Jan. 24, forecast by economists to show a record 26 percent of Spaniards unemployed.
China's risky new money supply New tool-kit needed for China's funding surge
By Craig Stephen
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Investors have always needed a different tool-kit when it comes to deciphering China's monetary policy. Now it needs another update as new funding sources explode.
Traditionally in China's state-driven economy, monetary policy has been about the quantity of money rather than interest rates. Whereas in the U.S. all eyes are on the Fed's rate policy, in China, it's typically loan quotas that make the headlines.
Health Care Act's Death Star?
By George Will - PatriotPost.us
WASHINGTON -- A willow, not an oak. So said conservatives of Chief Justice John Roberts when he rescued the Affordable Care Act -- aka Obamacare -- from being found unconstitutional. But the manner in which he did this may have made the ACA unworkable, thereby putting it on a path to ultimate extinction.
This plausible judgment comes from professor Thomas A. Lambert of the University of Missouri Law School, writing in Regulation quarterly, a publication of the libertarian Cato Institute. The crucial decision, he says, was four liberal justices joining Roberts' opinion declaring that the ACA's penalty for not complying with the mandate to purchase health insurance is actually a tax on not purchasing it. With this reasoning, the court severely limited the ability of the new health care regime to cope with its own predictable consequences.
Obama's Health Care Problem
By John C. Goodman - PatriotPost.us
President Obama made a remarkable statement to John Boehner in the middle of their negotiations leading up to the fiscal cliff. "We don't have a spending problem," the president said. We have "a health care problem."
To put this in perspective, almost every economist familiar with the federal government finances views our national health care problem as a spending problem. In fact, it is THE spending problem. If the federal government were not buying health care, we wouldn't have a long term deficit.
Facebook Graph Search Is A Disruptive Minefield
Of Unintended Consequences
By Anthony Wing Kosner - Forbes.com
I was not at the Facebook announcement in Menlo Park on Tuesday, so I neither drank the KoolAid nor felt compelled to respond immediately. I'm glad I waited. Facebook's new Graph Search feature is both a bigger and a smaller story than what most observers were expecting. On the one hand, this will now be an integral part of the product, a third pillar, as Zuckerberg described it, along with the newsfeed and timeline. On the other hand, for consumers, this is somewhat of a product in search of a use-case. I don't think that users have been clamoring for this—but marketers have.
Caterpillar Punked By Chinese Fraud,
To Write Off Half Of Q4 Earnings
by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
Fraudulent Chinese corporations are nothing new - we have been warning about them since late 2010, spurring the creation of a cottage industry focused exclusively on unmasking such public reverse merger companies (and generating trading profits along the way). One company, however, which apparently was completely unaware of the now pervasive and proven for the past two years Chinese corporate fraud, is US industrial titan Caterpillar. This was made clear when, after hours on Friday night naturally, the company revealed that it had been misled by "deliberate, multi-year, coordinated accounting misconduct" at a subsidiary of a Chinese company it acquired last summer, leading it to write off most of the value of the deal. In the process it would also take a $580 million, or $0.87 cent charge to earnings, which would wipe out more than half its expected earnings of $1.70 for the fourth quarter of 2012. One wonders, however, is there more to this story than just a case of a gentle, naive board duped by fraudulent, evil, cunning "Chinamen" which may have watched one too many episodes of Autonomy does Hewlett Packard?
Malicious Software Threatens U.S. Power Plants
By John Daly - OilPrice.com
In America's energy industry, batted by last year's Hurricane Sandy, can be added a new threat – computer malware, an ominous portent for the U.S. power grid.
Apparently, in October 2012 a computer malware virus invaded a turbine control system at a U.S. power plant, when a technician "unknowingly" inserted an infected USB computer drive into the network, keeping a plant off line for three weeks according to a Voice of America report.
Energy exports: The untapped U.S. option
By REP. MIKE POMPEO | Politico.com
Historically, we have lived in a nation of energy dependence. Dependence on others for our heating and electricity, and for our fuel for transportation. Yet today, for the first time in generations, we no longer need to view ourselves as living in a country of energy scarcity. The U.S. will soon overtake Saudi Arabia in hydrocarbon production. According to the Energy Information Administration, our nation is scheduled to have an energy surplus by 2030. We will create millions of jobs this decade right here in the United States simply by allowing that to happen. The only thing that can truly derail this staggeringly enormous opportunity for wealth creation: politicians and bureaucrats in Washington.
Do You Want To Scare A Baby Boomer?
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
If you want to frighten Baby Boomers, just show them the list of statistics in this article. The United States is headed for a retirement crisis of unprecedented magnitude, and we are woefully unprepared for it. At this point, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching the age of 65 every single day, and this will continue to happen for almost the next 20 years. The number of senior citizens in America is projected to more than double during the first half of this century, and some absolutely enormous financial promises have been made to them. So will we be able to keep those promises to the hordes of American workers that are rapidly approaching retirement? Of course not. State and local governments are facing trillions in unfunded pension liabilities. Medicare is facing a 38 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years. The Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years. Meanwhile, nearly half of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. The truth is that I was being incredibly kind when I said earlier that we are "woefully unprepared" for what is coming. The biggest retirement crisis in history is rapidly approaching, and a lot of the promises that were made to the Baby Boomers are going to get broken.
CEOs' proposal: Raise retirement age to 70
By Matthew Heimer - MarketWatch.com
In the endless-loop battle over the federal deficit, whether and how to reduce spending on Social Security and Medicare remains one of the most combustible topics. The Business Roundtable, a group of more than 170 of the nation's chief executives, has now spelled out its own stance on entitlement reform, and its headline proposal is: Americans need to wait longer for retirement benefits. Most notably, the group advocates raising the Medicare and Social Security eligibility ages to 70, up from the current 65 for Medicare and 66 or 67 for full benefits for Social Security.
CFPB's Mortgage Crackdown It's great that the bureau is making it harder to buy a house.
By Matthew Yglesias - Slate.com
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was one of the most-hyped elements of the major financial regulation overhaul Congress enacted in 2010. Most of the regulation was too technical for the public to comprehend, but the CFPB had a media-savvy celebrity spokesperson in Elizabeth Warren, who turned it into a focal point for progressive activists. Yet since its creation, the CFPB has been relatively quiet.
But new rules on "qualified mortgages" issues last week, plus stricter regulation to protect against abuses by mortgage services announced today, change all that. Housing and housing finance are a major economic sector, and new proposals to crack down on abusive practices will have real benefits to consumers. At the same time, industry advocates are correct when they say the CFPB's plans will make it harder for some people to get home loans. That's a price worth paying if it produces a more honest, more stable mortgage market.
American Airlines Repainting Deck Chairs on the Titanic
By Matthew Yglesias - Slate.com
The travails of American Airlines have been covered fairly extensively on this blog, and I'm happy to report that for now the situation with the pilots is under control. That said, it continues to be the case that the bankrupt airline's management is showing an irrational level of resistence to the sensible option of merging with US Airways. I'm not certain that would be a sensible business move for US Airways, but it's something US Airways wants to do, it's something American's unions want to do, and it would certainly put American in a stronger financial position.
Is Bank of America
Driving Legitimate Gun Dealers Out of Business? MFI-Miami Is Getting Reports Of BofA
Seizing The Bank Accounts Of Firearms Dealers
Steve Dibert, MFI-Miami.com
A new and interesting twist has risen from the heated debate about guns in America since the Sandy Hook massacre. The largest bank in the U.S. has apparently been freezing the bank accounts of legitimate firearms dealers across the U.S. According to an email I received from Joe Sirochman, the owner of American Spirit Arms in Scottsdale, Arizona, the reason was pretty clear and blunt. After countless hours of trying to talk to someone at Bank of America, he was told by a customer service manager, that his accounts were frozen because, " We believe you should not be selling guns and parts on the Internet."
Do You Support "Individual Freedoms"?...
Dan Norcini - SilverBearCafe.com
Then guess what - according to a study done by a West Point "Think Tank" funded by none else than your own taxpayer money, America needs to be warned against you and those like you! Think I am making this idiocy up? This is an excerpt from the article:
A West Point think tank has issued a paper warning America about "far right" groups such as the "anti-federalist" movement, which supports "civil activism, individual freedoms and self-government."
The report issued this week by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., is titled "Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America's Violent Far-Right."
BILL CLINTON: GUN CONTROL PUSH
BRINGING BACK THE TEA PARTY
by AWR HAWKINS - Breitbart.com
When Republicans won historic landslide victories in 1994, it was due in large part to the fact that a relatively moderate Democrat Party had promoted and passed an "Assault Weapons Ban" (AWB) which cut across the grain of gun owners of all parties and all walks of life.
Fast forward to 2013, gun owners of all walks of life exist in even greater numbers, and the Democrat Party is showing them even greater disrespect.
AMERICANS RALLY NATIONWIDE AGAINST STRICTER GUN CONTROL MEASURES — HERE ARE THE PICTURES
(TheBlaze/AP) — Concerned citizens gathered in state capitals nationwide Saturday to rally against stricter gun control measures, days after President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping package of federal gun control proposals.
Roughly 800 people turned out in Austin, Texas, many carrying signs with messages like "An Armed Society is a Polite Society" and "The Second Amendment Comes from God." Police in Connecticut said about 1,000 people showed up on the capitol grounds in Hartford, about 50 miles from the site of last month's mass shooting at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School. Roughly 2,000 turned out in New York.
RELOAD: SECOND AMENDMENT RALLIES HIGHLIGHT CONSERVATIVE POTENTIAL IN OBAMA'S SECOND TERM
by JOEL B. POLLAK - Breitbart.com
Thousands rallied across the nation yesterday in support of Second Amendment rights, and conservatives were reminded that Barack Obama's second term presents a unique opportunity to rebuild. Our principles of individual liberty and constitutional government may be a minority creed, but they are still the best principles to have. Even liberals find them compelling--when they are not hypnotized by the Obama cult of personality.
The conservative movement should aim high. Its long-term political goal should be to achieve what Republicans never have done, and Democrats have enjoyed several times: a filibuster-proof majority. The only way to restore the nation's original constitutional vision, and to renew its rapid economic growth and global leadership, is to push those changes through. The left is not shy about coveting such power; neither should we be.
Barrasso: Senate vote
on Obama gun-control proposals unlikely
By Kevin Bogardus - TheHill.com
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said Sunday that he does not believe President Obama's gun-control proposals will be brought to the Senate floor for a vote.
Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," Barrasso said election worries among Democrats will sideline legislation that could restrict gun ownership.
Obama has called on Congress to institute universal background checks for all gun sales as well as bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, among other items.
Obama gun order triples Cabinet agencies required to track guns
By Paul Bedard - WashingtonExaminer.com
President Obama is tripling the number of Cabinet agencies with gun control law enforcement responsibilities in his new bid to track guns, adding six agencies to the three typically included--Justice, Homeland Security and Defense.
Section 1.e of his executive order released Wednesday adds State, Treasury, Interior, Agriculture, Energy, and Veterans Affairs. It reads: "For purposes of this memorandum, 'Federal law enforcement agencies' means the Departments of State, the Treasury, Defense, Justice, the Interior, Agriculture, Energy, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security, and such other agencies and offices that regularly recover firearms in the course of their criminal investigations as the President may designate."
Obama Picks Ultimatums Over Optimism to Start Second Term
By Julianna Goldman - Bloomberg.com
When Barack Obama held his first prime-time news conference as president, the financial crisis was at its peak and not a single Republican had voted for his economic stimulus bill. So he pleaded for their partnership.
"I am the eternal optimist," he said Feb. 9, 2009 in the East Room of the White House, wearing a red tie. "I think that, over time, people respond to civility and -- and rational argument."
Obama sworn in for second term during White House ceremony
By Kevin Bogardus - TheHill.com
President Obama was sworn in for his second term on Sunday, accompanied by his family in a short ceremony in the White House.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to Obama in the Blue Room, as the swearing-in was watched by a press pool and broadcast by cable networks.
Obama followed presidential precedent in choosing Roberts as chief justice to administer the oath of office to him.
Obama Says Inauguration
Is a Symbol of How Democracy Works
By Hans Nichols & Jamie Coughlin - Bloomberg.com
President Barack Obama said his inauguration is a symbol of democracy and a reminder that "we're all in this together," as he began a weekend of festivities by helping renovate aWashington elementary school.
"This is really what America's about, this is what we celebrate," Obama said to other volunteers, after helping paint a bookshelf at the school today in Northeast Washington.
The inauguration is "a symbol of how our democracy works and how we peacefully transfer power," he said. "But it should also be an affirmation that we're all in this together."
Out-of-town cops sworn in for inauguration
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 2,000 police officers from across the country have been sworn in ahead of Monday's presidential inauguration.
The officers were sworn in as deputy U.S. marshals during a training session Sunday at American University. The oath, administered by the U.S. marshal for the District of Columbia, authorizes them to work security for the event. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier attended the ceremony.
Rand Paul: GOP must 'evolve and adapt'
By MACKENZIE WEINGER | Politico.com
Sen. Rand Paul said on Sunday that he will make a decision on a 2016 presidential run within two years and plans to be a force in the refashioning the Republican party regardless of whether he seeks the Oval Office.
"We will continue to pursue and, you know, try to make that decision over the next two years or so," the Kentucky Republican told WABC Radio's Aaron Klein when asked about a potential White House bid.
In the meantime, Paul said, he will "try to be part of the national debate" and added that he hopes to play a major role in directing the future of the Republican Party.
Madeleine Albright: Hillary Clinton to decide on her own
By KEVIN CIRILLI | Politico.com
Madeleine Albright said Sunday that after serving as secretary of state, she hit the spa to relax but added Hillary Clinton will have to make up her own mind about what's best.
"What I did — it was interesting — I read the newspapers and was very happy that I didn't have to make the decisions," Albright told POLITICO at The Daily Beast's Bipartisan Brunch in Washington.
"And then I went to a spa," quipped Albright, who served in Bill Clinton's administration.
Eric Schmidt's daughter details North Korea visit
By Emily Jane Fox - CNN.com
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
More details about Google chairman Eric Schmidt's surreptitious trip to North Korea emerged this weekend in a blog post by Schmidt's daughter and traveling companion, Sophie.
She posted her impressions on a Google Sites page, sharing details of what the nine-person delegation, led by and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, saw on theircontroversial visit. Eric Schmidt confirmed the page's authenticity to news site Quartz. A Google representative did not return a call seeking comment.
The younger Schmidt described a "very, very cold" and "very, very strange" journey overseen by a pair of official minders -- two, she wrote, "so one can mind the other."
Algeria Gas Plant Seizure Ends as Militants, Hostages Die
By Salah Slimani & Salma El Wardany - Bloomberg.com
The Algerian government warned that the death toll could rise after reporting that 23 hostages and 32 terrorists died in the four-day standoff that ended Jan. 19 at a natural-gas plant.
The dead may have included as many as six Britons and five Norwegians. One American, Frederick Buttaccio of Katy, Texas, was killed. Citizens of Colombia, France, Japan and Malaysia were also either reported dead or missing. With no authoritative word on the total number of hostages or attackers killed, another 25 unidentified burned bodies were found, Ennahar television said yesterday on its website.
Bloody Algeria hostage crisis ends
after 'final' assault, officials say
By Laura Smith-Spark and Joe Sterling, CNN.com
(CNN) -- Algerian troops ended a hostage crisis at a remote gas facility Saturday with one last, bloody assault, Algerian and Western officials said, after three days of chaos and confusion left dozens dead and fanned fears of a new terror front in Africa.
At least 23 hostages and 32 "terrorists" were killed around the sprawling facility in eastern Algeria's desert, the Algerian interior ministry said Saturday. Some 685 Algerian workers and 107 foreigners have been freed, it said.
The Limits of China's Consumer Revolution
By Zhang Monan - Project-Syndicate.org
SHANGHAI – China's economy is at a crossroads. As 2013 begins, foreign and domestic observers alike are asking which path the country's economic development should take in the next decade. How can China ensure stable and sustainable growth in the face of significant internal and external challenges, including slowing medium- and long-term growth, rising labor costs, and growing inflationary pressure?
Japan Warns It May Fire On Chinese Aircraft Over Disputed Islands; China Retorts: "There Will Be No Second Shot"
by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
A week ago we reported that following what China said was a response to counter "Japanese military aircraft disrupting the routine patrols of Chinese administrative aircraft" over the East China Sea, the world's most populous country (and one which has the largest, 2.25 million strong, standing army) scrambled several jets and put its military on high alert. Now, it is the turn of Japan, and its brand new militant and nationalistic government, to "retaliate" and escalate tensions by one more notch, in the process crashing any hope that Chinese imports of Japanese goods may resume, and obviating the ongoing temporary plunge in the yen (which while doing nothing to boost exports to this 20% trading partner, has made imports so expensive, inflation in the past two months has already soared well above the 2% target for various key goods as previously reported).