Bulgaria’s fourth largest bank set to collapse: customers line-up to pull deposits

July 2014 ECONOMICS - Bulgaria is to allow its fourth-biggest lender to collapse but could spend up to 2 billion levs ($1.39 billion) making sure customers do not lose out, as the Balkan country battles to clean up its worst financial scandal since the 1990s. The central bank said it was removing Corporate Commercial Bank’s (Corpbank) banking licence and would hive off its healthy activities into a separate bank, marking the first banking collapse since a 1996-1997 domestic financial crisis. The Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) is also alerting prosecutors to the possibility that the bank’s main shareholder stole almost 206 million levs just before the central bank took over its operations on June 20 after depositors withdrew about 1 billion levs. The bank run was prompted by media reports accusing top shareholder Tsvetan Vassilev of shady business deals. It spread quickly to another lender, forcing Sofia to set up a protective $2.3 billion credit line for its banks – a reminder that parts of Europe’s financial system are still far from secure despite progress from the worst days of the financial crisis. Vassilev has denied the allegations against him. “For several months now a massive, targeted and extremely manipulative campaign has started against me, which spilled over on everything associated with my name,” he told Bulgarian news agency BGNES, echoing comments he made previously to Reuters. But the results of an audit into Corpbank, showed “actions incompatible with the law and good banking practices,” BNB said. Auditors were unable to value about 65 per cent of Corpbank’s 5.4-billion-lev loan portfolio because crucial documentation was missing – “most likely destroyed in the days before the central bank sent administrators there,” the BNB added.
The results of the audit scotched earlier hopes of recapitalizing Corpbank with funds from existing shareholders. All of Corpbank’s good assets, and deposits not linked to Vassilev, will be moved to a unit of the bank called Credit Agricole – acquired by Corpbank from the French bank bearing the same name a week before the central bank took action – and Bulgaria plans to have this unit nationalized and re-opened on July 21. “We cannot continue to fill a barrel without a bottom, as the wise Bulgarian people say, and we cannot nationalize Corporate Commercial Bank in its current state,” the BNB said. Though the main bank will collapse, Finance Minister Petar Chobanov said the rescue could still cost between 1.5-2 billion levs, potentially swelling the country’s fiscal deficit this year to more than 3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) against a planned target of 1.8 per cent. The cost is so high because the authorities have vowed to repay all of the bank’s depositors except those linked to Vassilev. Corpbank’s financial statements show that depositors were owed almost 6 billion levs on March 31 – and since the bank may not get repayment on much of its loan books it has a substantial gap to fill. The BNB has not provided any figures more recent than that financial statement, nor said what proportion of the deposits were linked to Vassilev. It has said that prosecutors will have to determine whether his withdrawal of 206 million levs via a third party amounted to theft. Orlin Rusev, chairperson of the bank’s management board, was detained in the Black Sea resort of Sozopol on Friday in relation to Vassilev’s withdrawal of funds, prosecutors said. A second executive at the bank’s treasury department, Margarita Petrova, was charged with embezzlement in relation to the same withdrawals on Thursday. –Economic Times
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Utopia the collapse: a new book by Alvin Conway

Storm

        Utopia the collapse: an ‘unprecedented crisis’ in human history is upon us

Posted in Age of Decadence, Apathy, Anger, Mistrust, Disillusionment, Arms Race, Austerity, Bank Run, Banking Crisis, Bankruptcy, Boom and Bust Cycles, Civil Unrest, Conflict Among Nations, Currency - Economic warfare, Depression and Anxiety, Economic Collapse, Ethnic tensions, Fiat Money Printing Fiasco, Financial market turmoil, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Greed and Corruption, Hierarchal Control, Immigration surge, Infrastructure collapse, New World Order, Political Corruption, Political turmoil, Preparation for War, Protests, Resource War, Social Meltdown, Squandered Resources, Surveillance - Police State, Terrorism threat, The Pyramid Model, Troubled Banks, Widening gap between rich and poor | Leave a comment

Sunni insurgents take over nuclear materials in northern Iraq

July 2014 IRAQ Iraq has notified the United Nations that Sunni militants seized nuclear material from a university in the northern city of Mosul last month as they advanced toward Baghdad, the nuclear regulatory body of the United Nations said Thursday. Gill Tudor, a spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is based in Vienna, said in a statement that the organization’s experts believed that the material — thought to be uranium — was “low grade and would not present a significant safety, security or nuclear proliferation risk.” Word of the seizure first emerged in a letter to the United Nations dated Tuesday and seen by reporters from Reuters, which quoted it as saying that “terrorists” from the insurgent Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had taken control of the materials. The letter said that almost 90 pounds of uranium compounds had been kept at the university and that the materials “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction,” Reuters said. But the theft has not caused alarm in the safeguards division of the I.A.E.A. in Vienna, said a diplomat there who spoke on the condition of anonymity to provide information considered sensitive. “This seems to be a reagent used in teaching,” the diplomat said, adding that it was a relatively small amount of material that could “fit in a bucket.”
The mention of such weapons resonates in Iraq, where the American-led invasion of 2003 was justified in Washington and London by assertions that Saddam Hussein, the leader at the time, had acquired weapons of mass destruction. None were ever found by the invading forces. In her statement on Thursday, Ms. Tudor said that the atomic energy agency “is aware of the notification from Iraq and is in contact to seek further details.” She said experts did not believe that the material could be fashioned into a weapon. “Nevertheless,” the statement said, “any loss of regulatory control over nuclear and other radioactive materials is a cause for concern.” The statement was issued three days after the Iraqi government acceded to the I.A.E.A.’s Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. The convention initially entered into force in 1987 and was strengthened in 2005 to require its 150 signatories to “protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport,” a statement from the agency said.
“It also provides for expanded cooperation between and among states regarding rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and prevent any combat-related offenses,” the statement added. Officials at the regulatory body did not say how it was possible to redeem such promises in a land like Iraq, where large areas are beyond government control and in the hands of insurgents. In a letter to the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, on Tuesday, Reuters reported, Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations wrote, “Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state” when the militants captured Mosul. By Iraq’s account, the uranium had been used for scientific research. By calling it “low grade,” the I.A.E.A. seemed to rule out any suggestion that the material was of the highly enriched kind needed to create a nuclear weapon. The uranium is unsuitable for use in a so-called dirty bomb, which uses conventional explosives to spread radiation, Olli Heinonen, a former chief inspector for the agency, told Reuters. –NY Times 
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Casualties mount as Israel ramps up airstrikes on Gaza – Middle East a tinderbox awaiting a spark

July 2014 - JERUSALEM —The civilian death toll in the Gaza Strip continued to climb Thursday as Israel pressed its aerial campaign there against Islamist militants, targeting the homes of suspected operatives in intensifying bombardments across the coastal territory. The Gaza Health Ministry said 89 people had been killed, many of them civilians, and more than 600 had been injured since the start Tuesday of the Israeli offensive against the Islamist militant group Hamas and allied factions. At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Thursday that it was more urgent than ever to avoid another Israeli-Palestinian war that could engulf the entire region and he called on both sides to agree to a ceasefire, The Associated Press reports. “It is unacceptable for citizens on both sides to permanently live in fear of the next aerial attack,” Ban said. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States was willing to negotiate a ceasefire, according to the AP. In a conversation with Netanyahu on Thursday, Obama condemned the rocket attacks and said Israel had the right to self-defense. But he also urged both sides not to escalate the crisis and to restore calm. The Israeli army said it had hit more than 900 targets from the air, sea and land, and dropped more than 360 tons of explosives. An airstrike on a car killed three Islamic Jihad militants who were involved in the manufacture of rockets, and a Hamas militant involved in firing rockets was killed in a separate strike, the army said. But reports of civilian casualties mounted. Seven members of a single family, including children, were reported killed in a bombardment of their house in the city of Khan Younis. An Israeli missile hit a coffee shop on the Khan Younis beach late Wednesday, killing nine people watching a World Cup game, and a 5-year-old boy was killed in another strike Thursday in Beit Lahiya, according to local reports. An Israeli army spokesperson said she had no information on the reported incidents.
When houses are used for military purposes, they may become legitimate military targets under international law,” the army said in a statement Thursday, adding it “makes great efforts to minimize potential harm to the surrounding civilian population.” That assertion was disputed by human rights advocates. These houses are not legitimate military targets, and attacking them is a grave violation of international humanitarian law,” said the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. “The gravity of the violation is compounded when uninvolved civilians are injured.” According to army figures, Gaza militants have launched more than 500 rockets and mortar rounds at Israel since the start of the offensive, which followed a flare-up of hostilities after the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank last month. Longer-range rockets have reached Tel Aviv, near Jerusalem and south of the northern port city of Haifa, setting off air-raid sirens in major population centers. Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has picked off more than 80 incoming rockets, and residents have taken shelter in safe rooms, preventing casualties. But in Gaza there are no shelters or early warning systems, and the Israeli bombing campaign, which has struck dozens of homes of suspected militant leaders, also has claimed the lives of their relatives and neighbors. Netanyahu has put the blame for the casualties squarely on Hamas, which he accused of “maliciously hiding behind Palestinian civilians.” Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesperson, said that five weapons manufacturing facilities targeted during the offensive were hidden in mosques. “Hamas’s modus operandi of operating within the civilian population and employing civilians as human shields may bear tragic consequences,” he said. –The Star
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America’s borders implode: Texas immigrant flood will worsen, officials warn – ‘you haven’t seen anything yet’

July 2014ECONOMICS - It’s only going to get worse unless you give us more money, administration officials warned Thursday about the flood of Central American children illegally entering the United States from Mexico. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the Senate Appropriations Committee that $3.7 billion in emergency funding requested by President Barack Obama anticipated up to 90,000 of the unaccompanied minors this fiscal year, which ends September 30, and another 145,000 in fiscal year 2015. So far, the 57,000 who crossed the Texas border in the past nine months have overwhelmed the immigration system, causing overcrowded holding facilities and a huge backlog of cases awaiting hearings that can take years to schedule. “Doing nothing is not an option,” Johnson said, noting the increased demand for his department’s services would cause U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to run out of money next month while Customs and Border Protection would burn through its annual funding by mid-September. The emergency money sought by the President would hire more border patrol officers, judges and others to deal with the unprecedented influx from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador while providing more detention facilities and other resources — all designed to speed up the processing of the child immigrants. However, the deep partisan divide over the immigration issue set up a certain congressional battle over the funding.
Earlier Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner erupted in anger over what he called Obama’s lack of leadership on the issue, telling reporters that “this is a problem of the President’s own making. He’s been President for five and a half years,” the Ohio Republican thundered. “When is he going to take responsibility for something?” On Wednesday night, Obama told reporters in Dallas that Republicans put party gain over progress in resolving what the White House calls an urgent humanitarian situation — tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors overwhelming the immigration system after illegally entering the United States in recent months. “The problem here is not a major disagreement around the actions that could be helpful in dealing with the problem,” he said, but whether Congress would “put the resources in place to get this done,” adding: “Are folks more interested in politics, or are they more interested in solving the problem?” Texas Gov. Rick Perry and other Republicans lashed out at Obama, particularly his decision not to tour overcrowded border facilities while in Texas to see for himself the human side of the situation. “The American people expect to see their President when there is a disaster,” Perry told CNN’s Kate Bolduan in an interview that aired Thursday, citing Obama’s trip to the East Coast to tour damage caused by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. “He showed up at Sandy. Why not Texas?”
Even some Democrats were critical of the decision. Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar told CNN’s “New Day” that it’s important for Obama to see what the children are going through. “I’m interested in him looking at the kids. The kids that I’ve talked to, little innocent little boys and girls that have come across and have traveled over 1,000 miles, that a third of the girls have been abused and raped on the way up here,” he said. “The last young kid was an 11-year-old little boy from Guatemala that died of dehydration. That is the face that I want him to see. Don’t take any cameras, Mr. President, but go down there and see what we’re facing.” Obama said Wednesday that visiting facilities where the children are processed and detained would be little more than a photo opportunity. There’s nothing that is taking place down there that I am not intimately aware of and briefed on. This isn’t theater. This is a problem,” he said. Other Democrats from states bordering Mexico questioned Obama’s handling of the problem, indicating major challenges for the emergency funding sought by the President. Obama administration officials blame the influx on dire conditions in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the three countries of origin for most of the new child immigrants. They note that people from other countries don’t join the influx, saying that showed it involves those fleeing bad conditions in the three Central American nations. To Boehner, Perry and other Republicans, the administration invited the problem. “The children are a symptom of policies that have enticed them to come,” he said. “The first thing you have to do is stop the flow, because if we don’t, then the problem’s not going to be the size we have today.” -CNN

 

Posted in Age of Decadence, Apathy, Anger, Mistrust, Disillusionment, Austerity, Bank Run, Banking Crisis, Bankruptcy, Boom and Bust Cycles, Civil Unrest, Conflict Among Nations, Depression and Anxiety, Economic Collapse, Economic Hardship or Loss, Education Failures, Ethnic tensions, Fiat Money Printing Fiasco, Financial market turmoil, Hierarchal Control, Immigration surge, Infrastructure collapse, Political turmoil, Protests, Social Meltdown, Squandered Resources, Struggle for Survival, The Pyramid Model, Unemployment rising, Unsustainable Debt Burden, Widening gap between rich and poor | 1 Comment

Billionaire Donald Trump tells Americans to prepare for ‘financial ruin’

July 2014 ECONOMICS - The United States could soon become a large-scale Spain or Greece, teetering on the edge of financial ruin. That’s according to Donald Trump, who painted a very ugly picture of where this country is headed. Trump made the comments during a recent appearance on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.” According to Trump, the United States is no longer a rich country. “When you’re not rich, you have to go out and borrow money. We’re borrowing from the Chinese and others. We’re up to $16 trillion in debt.” He goes on to point out that the downgrade of U.S. debt is inevitable. “We are going up to $16 trillion [in debt] very soon, and it’s going to be a lot higher than that before he gets finished. When you have [debt] in the $21-$22 trillion, you are talking about a downgrade no matter how you cut it.” Ballooning debt and a credit downgrade aren’t Trump’s only worries for this country. He says that the official unemployment rate of 8.2 percent “isn’t a real number” and that the real figure is closer to 15 percent to 16 percent. He even mentioned that some believe the unemployment rate to be as high as 21 percent. “Right now, frankly, the country isn’t doing well,” Trump added, “Recession may be a nice word.” While 15 percent to 16 percent unemployment, a looming credit downgrade, and ballooning debt are a bleak outlook for the United States, they are hardly as alarming as the scenario laid out by another economist. Without earning celebrity status or having his own television show, Robert Wiedemer did something else that grabbed headlines across the country: He accurately predicted the economic collapse that almost sank the United States.
 In 2006, Wiedemer and a team of economists foresaw the coming collapse of the U.S. housing market, equity markets, private debt, and consumer spending, and published their findings in the book America’s Bubble Economy.  But Wiedemer’s outlook for the U.S. economy today makes Trump’s observations seem almost optimistic. Where Trump sees ballooning debt and a credit downgrade, Wiedemer sees much more widespread economic destruction. In a recent interview for his newest book Aftershock, Wiedemer says, “The data is clear, 50% unemployment, a 90% stock market drop, and 100% annual inflation . . . starting in 2012.” When the host questioned such wild claims, Wiedemer unapologetically displayed shocking charts backing up his allegations, and then ended his argument with, “You see, the medicine will become the poison.” The interview has become a wake-up call for those unprepared (or unwilling) to acknowledge an ugly truth: The country’s financial “rescue” devised in Washington has failed miserably. The blame lies squarely on those whose job it was to avoid the exact situation we find ourselves in, including current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and former Chairman Alan Greenspan, tasked with preventing financial meltdowns and keeping the nation’s economy strong through monetary and credit policies. At one point, Wiedemer even calls out Bernanke, saying that his “money from heaven will be the path to hell.” But it’s not just the grim predictions that are causing the sensation; rather, it’s the comprehensive blueprint for economic survival that’s really commanding global attention. The interview offers realistic, step-by-step solutions that the average hard-working American can easily follow.
 The overwhelming amount of feedback to publicize the interview, initially screened for a private audience, came with consequences as various online networks repeatedly shut it down and affiliates refused to house the content. Bernanke and Greenspan were not about to support Wiedemer publicly, nor were the mainstream media. “People were sitting up and taking notice, and they begged us to make the interview public so they could easily share it,” said Newsmax Financial Publisher Aaron DeHoog, “but unfortunately, it kept getting pulled.” “Our real concern,” DeHoog added, “is what if only half of Wiedemer’s predictions come true? “That’s a scary thought for sure. But we want the average American to be prepared, and that is why we will continue to push this video to as many outlets as we can. We want the word to spread.” –Money News
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Fifteenth financial services executive commits suicide this year: another omen?

July 2014FINANCEWith Russia and China having briefly taken over the hub of global executive suicides, the sad trend has returned back to America. In what appears to the 15th financial services executive suicide this year, yet another JPMorgan Director took his own life. As IBTimes reports, Jefferson Township (New Jersey) police report that the Global Network Operations Center Executive Director, “Julian Knott, age 45, shot his wife Alita Knott, age 47, multiple times and then took his own life with the same weapon.” They are survived by 3 teenage children… As IB Times reports, JP Morgan executive director Julian Knott blasted his wife Alita to death with a shotgun before turning the gun on himself. The 45-year-old, who worked for the investment bank in London until July 2010, shot his 47-year-old wife multiple times before committing suicide with the same weapon. Julian moved to the United States from London in 2010 and was working at JP Morgan’s Global Network Operations Center in Whippany, New Jersey, at the time of the tragedy. Jefferson Township police, in New Jersey, confirmed on Sunday they had found two unconscious bodies at the Knotts’ large suburban home at 1.12am. A statement released on Tuesday added: “Through an extensive investigation conducted by the Jefferson Township Police Department, the Morris County Prosecutors Office and the Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office the preliminary investigation has revealed that the two adults died as a result of gunshot wounds and the incident has been determined to be a murder/suicide. This preliminary investigation revealed that Julian Knott, age 45, shot his wife Alita Knott, age 47, multiple times and then took his own life with the same weapon.” –Zero Hedge
 This is the 15th financial services exective death in recent months…
 1 – William Broeksmit, 58-year-old former senior executive at Deutsche Bank AG, was found dead in his home after an apparent suicide in South Kensington in central London, on January 26th.
 2 – Karl Slym, 51 year old Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym, was found dead on the fourth floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok on January 27th.
 3 – Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old JP Morgan employee, died after falling from the roof of the JP Morgan European headquarters in London on January 27th.
 4 – Mike Dueker, 50-year-old chief economist of a US investment bank was found dead close to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State.
 5 – Richard Talley, the 57 year old founder of American Title Services in Centennial, Colorado, was found dead earlier this month after apparently shooting himself with a nail gun.
 6 – Tim Dickenson, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG, also died last month, however the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown.
 7 – Ryan Henry Crane, a 37 year old executive at JP Morgan died in an alleged suicide just a few weeks ago.  No details have been released about his death aside from this small obituary announcement at the Stamford Daily Voice.
 8 – Li Junjie, 33-year-old banker in Hong Kong jumped from the JP Morgan HQ in Hong Kong this week.
 9 – James Stuart Jr, Former National Bank of Commerce CEO, found dead in Scottsdale, Ariz., the morning of Feb. 19. A family spokesman did not say whatcaused the death
 10 – Edmund (Eddie) Reilly, 47, a trader at Midtown’s Vertical Group, commited suicide by jumping in front of LIRR train
 11 – Kenneth Bellando, 28, a trader at Levy Capital, formerly investment banking analyst at JPMorgan, jumped to his death from his 6th floor East Side apartment.
 12 – Jan Peter Schmittmann, 57, the former CEO of Dutch bank ABN Amro found dead at home near Amsterdam with wife and daughter.
 13 – Li Jianhua, 49, the director of China’s Banking Regulatory Commission died of a sudden heart attack
 14 – Lydia _____, 52 – jumped to her suicide from the 14th floor of Bred-Banque Populaire in Paris
 15 – Julian Knott, 45 – killed wife and self with a shotgun in Jefferson Township, New Jersey
Posted in Age of Decadence, Apathy, Anger, Mistrust, Disillusionment, Austerity, Bank Run, Banking Crisis, Bankruptcy, Boom and Bust Cycles, Civil Unrest, Currency - Economic warfare, Depression and Anxiety, Economic Collapse, Economic Hardship or Loss, Fiat Money Printing Fiasco, Financial market turmoil, Greed and Corruption, Hierarchal Control, New World Order, Political turmoil, Resource War, Social Meltdown, Squandered Resources, The Pyramid Model, Troubled Banks, Unsustainable Debt Burden, Widening gap between rich and poor | 1 Comment

Banco Espirito Santo renews European bank debt fears of another financial collapse

July 2014ECONOMICS - European markets were rattled Thursday after accounting irregularities at one of Portugal’s largest banks reignited fears of bank failures across the continent. Shares in Banco Espirito Santo were halted on the Euronext stock exchange on Thursday after losing more than 16 per cent the previous trading day. In the past month, shares in BES have lost 54 per cent of their value. There are “rising concerns over the banking sector, with particularly fears over Banco Espirito Santo after a missed coupon payment,” Scotiabank said in a note. “Markets are pricing in a building concern. Today’s news did reignite some of those contagion fears,” said Ryan Larson, head of equity trading for RBC Global Asset Management. The Stoxx 50 index of leading European shares was down 1.4 per cent. In Europe, Germany’s DAX closed down 1.5 per cent at 9,659.13 while the CAC-40 in France fell 1.3 per cent to 4,301.26. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares ended 0.7 per cent lower at 6,672.37. North American markets including the TSX were also lower, but there the catalyst was slumping oil prices. The North American oil benchmark, known as WTI, has declined for the ninth day in a row — the longest slump since 2009.
In May, Portugal’s central bank audited the company and found “serious” accounting irregularities at Luxembourg-based Espirito Santo International, an unlisted holding company with ties to the bank. (Technically ESI owns almost 50 per cent of a company called Espirito Santo Financial Group, which in turn owns about a quarter of Banco Espirito Santo, among other holdings.) The parent company is “in a race against time to prevent collapse, since the discovery of … serious accounting irregularities,” Japanese investment bank Nomura said in a note to clients Thursday. Last week, ESI raised concerns by delaying payments on some of its short-term debt. That sparked fears about bad assets hidden in the murky company’s other holdings. The bank itself is part of a Portuguese banking dynasty dating back to the 19th century, and ESI is the bank’s largest shareholder with around 25 per cent. Other major shareholders include France’s Crédit Agricole, Brazil’s Banco Bradesco and Portugal Telecom. Investors fear the holding company’s financial problems could contaminate other parts of the Espirito Santo group by exposing hidden loans between various arms including the bank itself, as well as Rioforte, the group’s non-financial holding company, which manages assets in tourism and private health care, among other interests. The banking arm doesn’t have branches in Canada, but it does have “representative offices” where customers can do certain banking transactions. A request for comment from one of those representative offices for whether Canadian operations are affected was not immediately returned. Portugal needed a bailout worth 80 billion euros ($116 billion Canadian) from the IMF and EU in 2011, loans it only recently paid off.  -CBC
Posted in Age of Decadence, Austerity, Bank Run, Banking Crisis, Bankruptcy, Boom and Bust Cycles, Civil Unrest, Currency - Economic warfare, Economic Collapse, Economic Hardship or Loss, Fiat Money Printing Fiasco, Financial market turmoil, Greed and Corruption, Hierarchal Control, Hoarding Resources, New World Order, Protests, Resource War, Social Meltdown, Squandered Resources, Struggle for Survival, The Pyramid Model, Troubled Banks, Unsustainable Debt Burden, Widening gap between rich and poor | Leave a comment

Pope Francis initiates Vatican push for global work-free Sunday

July 2014RELIGION - If your job has you working on Sunday, the world leader of the Roman Catholic Church says maybe that’s not a good thing. “A work-free Sunday — with the exception of necessary services — says that our priority is not to economics, but the human being, gratuity, non-commercial relations, rather family and friends, for believers it means a relationship with God and with the community,” Pope Francis told a massive crowd in Molise, Italy, on July 5, according to Vatican Radio. “Perhaps it is time to ask whether it is a true freedom to work on Sundays.” The address was the pontiff’s first public appearance in the southern Italian city and focused on the world of work and the needs of families. Francis initially met with a university official, a Fiat factory worker, and a young mother who is pregnant with her second child, he said. The Molise region is suffering from high unemployment, reports indicate, and Sunday work is often cited as a way to grow the local economy. “Another challenge was voiced by this good working mother, who also spoke on behalf of her family: her husband, her young child and the baby in her womb. Her’s is a plea for work and at the same time for the family. Thank you for this testimony! In fact, it is a case of trying to reconcile work with family life,” the pope stated, referencing the woman’s concern about having Sunday as a time to play with her children. Francis continued, “This also raises the issue of working Sundays, which affects not only believers, but it affects everyone, as an ethical choice. We are losing this free space!
The question is what do we want to prioritize?” The quest for “free space” once a week is not a new theme for a pope or for the Catholic Church. In 1998, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter, Dies Domini, or “The Lord’s Day,” in which the former archbishop of Krackow pleaded for a more spiritual emphasis. “(W)hen Sunday loses its fundamental meaning and becomes merely part of a ‘weekend,’ it can happen that people stay locked within a horizon so limited that they can no longer see ‘the heavens,’” John Paul wrote. “Hence, though ready to celebrate, they are really incapable of doing so. The disciples of Christ, however, are asked to avoid any confusion between the celebration of Sunday, which should truly be a way of keeping the Lord’s Day holy, and the ‘weekend,’ understood as a time of simple rest and relaxation.” Francis’ remarks did not go as far as those of his predecessor, but media reporting interpreted his words as calling for a return to a simpler age: “Pope Francis has lamented the abandoning of the traditionally Christian practice of not working on Sundays, saying it has a negative impact on families and friendships,” the Associated Press reported. The call for a work-free Sunday has expanded — in Europe, at least — beyond the confines of the Roman Catholic Church. A European Sunday Alliance exists to lobby for legal recognition of workers’ rights to a day off, as embodied in various European Union charters. Such calls have engendered concerns over the rights of individuals who do not observe Sunday as a holy day, however: “Economic arguments aside, religious minorities in Europe — among them Muslims, Jews and Seventh-day Adventists — worry the proposal could infringe on free expression of religious beliefs, despite its seemingly well-intentioned goals of reducing stress and overwork,” the Adventist News Network reported in February 2014. Taking a day off each week has clear benefits for individuals and their families, as a Deseret News report in April outlined. –Central Talky News/
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Iraqi insurgents threaten nuclear attack on Israel

June 23, 2014JERUSALEM – The well-organized army of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, claims it has access to nuclear weapons and a will to use them to “liberate” Palestine from Israel as part of its “Islamic Spring,” according to a WND source in the region. Franklin Lamb, an international lawyer based in Beirut and Damascus, said the move is part of the ISIS aim of creating a caliphate under strict Islamic law, stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to Iraq. Lamb, who has access to ISIS fighters and sympathizers, said ISIS has been working with a “new specialized” unit organized at the beginning of 2013 to focus “exclusively on destroying the Zionist regime occupying Palestine.” Lamb added that the ISIS “Al-Quds Unit” is working to broaden its influence in more than 60 Palestinian camps and gatherings from Gaza, across “Occupied Palestine,” or Israel, to Jordan and from Lebanon up to the north of Syria “seeking to enlist support as it prepares to liberate Palestine.” ISIS is also know as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. “Sham,” or “Greater Syria,” refers to Cyprus, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and southern Turkey. ISIS also is known as DAASH, the Arabic acronym for al-Dawlah al-Islamiyah fi al-Iraq wa-al Sham. The Sunni militant group, which has taken over much of the Sunni region of Iraq, could leave the Shia-dominated region of the country and head toward Jordan and Turkey. Lamb said that in Iraq alone, some 6 million Iraqi Sunnis recently have become supportive of the ISIS lightning strikes in the Sunni portion of the country. Some of the Sunni supporters are secular, such as the Naqshbandia Army of former top officials of executed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. As WND reported, the Sunni group may have given ISIS access to its ongoing sarin production facility in northwestern Iraq. WND also reported ISIS already has captured towns bordering Iraq and Turkey.
The militant group also has steamrolled through the Iraqi desert in the west and taken over the major al-Walid crossing with Syria and the Turaibil crossing into Jordan. Lamb said ISIS has established a capital for its caliphate in the Syrian city of Raqqa. “The Islamist organization believes it currently has massive regional support for its rapidly expanding ‘revolution of the oppressed,’” Lamb said. ISIS estimates it will take 72 months to “liberate” “Occupied Palestine,” or Israel, according to Lamb. Lamb quoted an ISIS member as saying: “Zionists call us masked, sociopathic murderers, but we are much more complicated and representative of those seeking justice than they portray us. “Are we more barbaric than the Zionist terrorists who massacred at Dier Yassin, Shatila, twice at Qana, and committed dozens of other massacres? History will judge us after we free Palestine.” Lamb said ISIS can do what no other Arab, Muslim or Western backers of resistance have been able to accomplish. He quoted the ISIS member as saying: “All countries in this region are playing the sectarian card just as they have long played the Palestinian card, but the difference with ISIS is that we are serious about Palestine and they are not.
 Tel Aviv will fall as fast as Mosul when the time is right.” The WND source said ISIS appears “eager” to fight Israeli armed forces “in the near future despite expectation that the regime will use nuclear weapons.” “Do you think that we do not have access to nuclear devices?” Lamb quoted the ISIS member as saying. “The Zionists know that we do, and if we ever believe they are about to use theirs, we will not hesitate. After the Zionists are gone, Palestine will have to be decontaminated and rebuilt just like areas where there has been radiation released.” ISIS access to nuclear weapons could come from Sunni Pakistan, which is home to more than 30 terrorist groups. Pakistan possibly has transferred nuclear weapons to the chief bankroller of its nuclear development program, Sunni Saudi Arabia, as WND previously has reported. The Saudis, who also have provided billions of dollars to ISIS, have threatened to acquire nuclear weapons if Iran were to develop its own. -WND
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