30 April 2006

Every Breath You Take - Classy Parody..

Every Breath You Take - Columbia Business School: "Every Breath You Take
Dean Glenn Hubbard
Parody: Follies Student Comedy Revue "

Save the Internet

Save the Internet: "Columbia Professor Timothy Wu gives an historical perspective by comparing AT&T’s net control scheme to the AP’s 19th century news monopoly, calling it “a threat not only to American business and competition but a threat to American democracy.”
The loss of network neutrality will smother the innovative nature of the Internet, which has made it such a powerful economic and social engine. Warns Professor Wu:
“It’s no longer survival of the fittest. It’s no longer who has the best technology. It’s a question of who goes golfing with the CEO of AT&T. And I think that’s not the American way.”
Indeed, which helps explain the left-right cyberstorm over this issue. Listen in. "

29 April 2006

Metal prices to be on a high in 2007, says UBS

Printer Friendly Version: "Metal prices to be on a high in 2007, says UBS

April 28 Metal prices will mostly peak next year as bigger-than-expected investments from funds buoy prices, and investors should buy gold, zinc, uranium, platinum and aluminium, UBS AG said in a report on Friday.
The bank raised its forecasts for this year and next for aluminium, alumina, copper, nickel, zinc, gold, silver, platinum, palladium, rhodium and uranium. The 2006 and 2007 forecasts for thermal coal, which is burned in power plants, and benchmark European hot-rolled (HR) coil steel were also increased.
UBS AG raised its price forecasts for this year and next for gold, platinum, zinc and aluminium. Gold will average $750 an ounce in 2007, from a previous forecast of $600, the bank said in a report on Friday. The 2006 estimate was increased to $630 an ounce, from $560. Platinum will average $1,100 an ounce this year, from an earlier forecast of $1,020, and $1,200 in 2007, from $965.
The forecast for this year’s average zinc price increased 65% to $3,638 per metric tonne. The estimate for 2007 increased 95% to $4,079. The aluminium estimate for this year was raised by 15% and for next year by 34%. Forecasts for palladium and silver were also increased.
“Fund flows into commodities as an asset class has been more vigorous than anticipated,” the bank said in the report. “Clearly fund flows have the potential to lift price levels beyond that simply justified by supply, demand fundamentals.”

Putting the US Debt into Perspective

Kitco Commentaries - By Paul Van Eeden: "The current debt to GDP ratio is almost twice as high as the debt to GDP ratio during the final stages of the Vietnam War and compared to Vietnam the US’ current military adventures are skirmishes. If we combine increasing military spending with an increase in domestic deficit spending, higher interest rates and lower government tax receipts, then the debt to GDP ratio could rapidly approach World War II levels.
Anyone who is not alarmed by the increase in US government debt is living with his head in the sand. "

SLV: Summary for ISHARES SILVER TRUST - Yahoo! Finance

The Silver ETF is trading..

SLV: Summary for ISHARES SILVER TRUST - Yahoo! Finance: "ISHARES SILVER TRUST (AMEX:SLV) Delayed quote data"

28 April 2006

The Predator State

The Predator State: "In the mixed-economy America I grew up in, there existed a post-capitalist, post-Marxian vision of middle-class identity. It consisted of shared assets and entitlements, of which the bedrock was public education, access to college, good housing, full employment at living wages, Medicare, and Social Security. These programs, publicly provided, financed, or guaranteed, had softened the rough edges of Great Depression capitalism, rewarding the sacrifices that won the Second World War. They also showcased America, demonstrating to those behind the Iron Curtain that regulated capitalism could yield prosperity far beyond the capacities of state planning. (This, and not the arms race, ultimately brought down the Soviet empire.) These middle-class institutions survive in America today, but they are frayed and tattered from constant attack. And the division between those included and those excluded is large and obvious to all.
Today, the signature of modern American capitalism is neither benign competition, nor class struggle, nor an inclusive middle-class utopia. Instead, predation has become the dominant feature—a system wherein the rich have come to feast on decaying systems built for the middle class. The predatory class is not the whole of the wealthy; it may be opposed by many others of similar wealth. But it is the defining feature, the leading force. And its agents are in full control of the government under which we live.
Our rulers deliver favors to their clients. These range from Native American casino operators, to Appalachian coal companies, to Saipan sweatshop operators, to the would-be oil field operators of Iraq. They include the misanthropes who led the campaign to abolish the estate tax; Charles Schwab, who suggested the dividend tax cut of 2003; the “Benedict"

In Fed We Trust - Stock Market Blog on TheDOCument.com

In Fed We Trust - Stock Market Blog on TheDOCument.com: "The Fed continued its semantics game with Chairman Bernanke testifying on Capitol Hill this morning. Bernanke uttered a blatantly non-committal statement, and his lap dogs on Wall Street responded in true Pavlovian fashion. The statement that got everyone drooling is quoted as follows: "

Gold and Oil Stocks: Central Asia Gold Limited

Gold and Oil Stocks: Central Asia Gold Limited: "Central Asia Gold Limited

I Look forward to seeing you in Atlanta!

Excerpts from a recent subscriber letter...

The problem with LATE stage rallies is the lack of good quality Value plays.
My stock filters are not finding much in the way of Good Story Stocks with fair liquidity.
My favorites at current prices are Northern Continental Resources (NCR.V) and dual listed Central Asia Gold (Australia CGX.AX or Canada CGA.TO).

Stock Profile:

Central Asia Gold Limited
(Australia: CGX or Canada CGA)


Central Asia Gold Limited is a gold producer focused in Central Asia. It is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (since April 1991), and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange on 21 February 2005. The Company has interests in both the Kyrgyz Republic and Mongolia.
CGX’s interests in the Kyrgyz Republic include three exploration projects and Taldy Bulak, which is the subject of a Bankable Feasibility Study and a planned development project. All project areas are known mineral occurrences that have been explored historically.

Since November 2002, CGX has continued to progress the exploration of its exploration projects (Altyn-Jilga, Akjilga and Turuk) and is currently finalising a bankable feasibility study on Taldy Bulak, a new gold development project.

During 2003/4, CGX acquired a strategic interest in AGR Limited ('AGR') which was sold on 30 June 2004 at a significant profit, providing the comp" (More at Greg's site, I'm warming to his analysis)

Paul Craig Roberts: the World is Uniting Against the Bush Imperium

Paul Craig Roberts: the World is Uniting Against the Bush Imperium: "Is the United States a superpower? I think not. Consider these facts:
The financial position of the US has declined dramatically. The US is heavily indebted, both government and consumers. The US trade deficit both in absolute size and as a percentage of GDP is unprecedented, reaching more than $800 billion in 2005 and accumulating to $4.5 trillion since 1990. With US job growth falling behind population growth and with no growth in consumer real incomes, the US economy is driven by expanding consumer debt. Saving rates are low or negative.
The federal budget is deep in the red, adding to America's dependency on debt. The US cannot even go to war unless foreigners are willing to finance it.
Our biggest bankers are China and Japan, both of whom could cause the US serious financial problems if they wished. A country whose financial affairs are in the hands of foreigners is not a superpower.
The US is heavily dependent on imports for manufactured goods, including advanced technology products. In 2005 US dependency (in dollar amounts) on imported manufactured goods was twice as large as US dependency on imported oil. In the 21st century the US has experienced a rapid increase in dependency on imports of advanced technology products. A country dependent on foreigners for manufactures and advanced technology products is not a superpower.
Because of jobs offshoring and illegal immigration, US consumers create jobs for foreigners, not for Americans. Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs reports document the loss of manufacturing jobs and the inability of the US economy to create jobs in categories other than domestic 'hands on' services. According to a March 2006 report from the Center for Immigration Studies, most of these jobs are going to immigrants: 'Between March 2000 and March 2005 "

Short Squeeze

Kitco Commentaries - Dr. Richard S. Appel: "April 23, 2006 – A series of disparate events have coalesced that have set the stage for generational price spikes in not one, not two, but in three major metals. For those who have steadfastly held their gold and silver positions through the difficult, trying and heart-wrenching past five plus years, it appears that our foresight and suffering will soon be rewarded. Similarly, for those who early recognized the explosive potential of the copper market, they too are participants in what I believe will be viewed as an historic short squeeze.
For new investors to the stock and commodity markets, a speculator who believes that an item will go down in price has the ability to sell it without owning it. This is called shorting a market. If he is correct he will profit by the difference between where he initiated his “short”, and the price when he “covered” or closed out his position. A short squeeze begins when a number of individuals or entities have “shorted” a market in a substantial fashion, and find themselves on the wrong side of the trade. In their haste to purchase the item and exit their trades, they literally fall over one another and markedly drive higher its price.
A good example occurred in the silver market between late1979 and early 1980. Prior to the summer of 1979, Bunker and Herbert Hunt of the Hunt oil family, accumulated an enormous silver position. As I recall, it was largely completed by the summer of 1979, when silver was under about $8 an ounce. Prior to and during this period many commercial interests, traders, and speculators shorted a huge number of silver future contracts as it rose in price. They believed there was sufficient readily available physical silver to offset their positions. If they were correct they would pocket the difference w"

How Central Bankers Fritter Away Their Time

Brainstorms: "Gold has topped $600/oz. for the first time in 25 years. Unfortunately, for real contrarians, it is making front page news. However, financial media commentary remains fairly ignorant on the subject. The preferred explanations for gold’s rise are mostly benign: it’s the Chinese and the Indians (ooh, they just love bangles, it’s part of their culture); it’s the allocation to commodities that has grown so popular (tangible assets are the rage with all the savviest hedge funds-the Chinese need so much more stuff); it’s the difficulty of bringing new mines into production (you know, the tree huggers hate mining so much); it’s the central banks who have decided that selling gold was not such a great idea in the first place and have now shied away from dumping their reserves (just a bunch of stupid bureaucrats, anyway). These “explanations” all have an element of truth. Any reader of our past website articles would have seen it coming.
However, the Wall Street Journal, CNBC and the equivalent will not tell you that gold is rising because there is a surfeit of paper assets. They will not tell you that a rise in the gold price has historically been a harbinger of bear markets in bonds and stocks and hard times for the financial business. The Pavlovian response of the financial media to the crossing of the $600 threshold was as predictable as their inability to comprehend or to portray the significance.
In truth, the price of gold at $600 is no big deal. In 1980 dollars, it is only $300. If prior highs mean anything, a target of $1700 in today’s dollars is what investors should be thinking about. In our view, gold remains cheap, another sign that the financial markets continue to under-price risk. Investors should worry less about whether t"

27 April 2006

The Dialetic of Venezuela

VHeadline.com - Goebbels propaganda campaign is the prelude to imminent brutal invasion...: "University of Los Andes (ULA) professor Franz J. T. Lee writes: After having looked at seven fascist diatribal video tapes of the CIA and of the 'opposition' launched internationally against the Bolivarian Revolution and President Chavez, that were reproduced in the evening program of Mario Silva, 'La Hojilla' yesterday, to warn everybody about a possible, imminent, United States military invasion of Venezuela, this time my weekly commentary will really be piquant and bitter.
As a result of colonialism and imperialism what has happened to us over the last five centuries, and in globalization what is really on the order of the day in Latin America, in Venezuela, Percy B. Shelley has described eloquently as follows:
'Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number -
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.'
Charles Dickens, the famous British author, in his 'Tale of Two Cities' ... portraying Paris, the French Revolution, and describing London, the Industrial Revolution ... teaches us what really is happening in turbulent times, during an epoch of intra-systemic social revolutions. "


FSU Editorial: "Confessions of a Transitory Gold Bug" by George Karahalios 04/26/2006: "You must understand that this circumstance doesn’t present itself often; it is a peculiar environment characterized by large amounts of debt, ample liquidity, and grossly overvalued asset classes. It is most easily treated with a tonic of even more liquidity. I have only seen it twice in my lifetime – once in the early 1970’s, when I was too young to appreciate it, and again today. It seems to occur only at times when things are somehow 'wrong' in the world. But I’ll leave that assessment for the economists.
In my heart I know that the wise-guys, and all of their anti-gold rhetoric, will eventually be proven right. I can’t wait for that day to come so that I can rid myself of this useless relic of a metal. It’s living hell being a transitory gold bug"


Financial Sense Online Market WrapUp with Mike Hartman 04/26/2006: "The agreements won't put an end to the rampant theft of software and other intellectual property in China. But they should help narrow a telling gap: China is the world's second-largest buyer of personal computers but only the 25th-largest buyer of software."

26 April 2006

M3b, repos & Fed watching

M3b, repos & Fed watching: "The formula used has over five nines (.9999946 – 1.0 being perfect) correlation to the original data back going back to 1980, and is taken directly from the Federal Reserve’s definition of M3.
There is only one missing element that is apparently no longer available (Eurodollars) and I've applied an adjustment to generate it. Its only about 3% of total M3 so should not have a material effect on the total
The data sources are M2, Institutional Money Market and two weekly reports from the Fed – H.8 and H.4.1.
Not surprisingly, the growth rate has continued up since the last official report in early March
I’ll leave it up to the reader on why M3 was discontinued but wish to point out this quote: 'The last duty of a central banker is to tell the public the truth.' -- Alan Blinder, Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, on PBS’s Nightly Business Report in 1994 "

25 April 2006

Gold May Rise 10-Fold

Bloomberg.com: Australia & New Zealand: "April 25 (Bloomberg) -- Marc Faber, who told investors to bail out of U.S. stocks a week before the 1987 Black Monday crash and began recommending commodities at the end of 2001, said gold may rise 10-fold in the next 10 years.
``If the Dow Jones goes up three times in the next 10 years, I think gold prices will go up by a minimum 10 times to something like $6,000 an ounce,'' said Faber, 60, who founded Hong Kong-based Marc Faber Ltd. and manages about $200 million.
Faber, author of a newsletter called The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, said gold wasn't expensive when ``you compare its price to the quantity of money that has been printed in the last 10 to 15 years in the U.S. and the world in general.''
Gold for immediate delivery rose to $645.85 an ounce on April 20, its highest in the more than 25 years, as hedge funds and other speculators bought commodities to seek greater returns than from stocks and bonds. Former George Soros partner Jim Rogers forecast April 17 that gold would reach $1,000 an ounce.
The outlook for the precious metal depends on how much money Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke ``will print,'' Faber said in an interview yesterday in Tokyo.
``As you know he has pronounced speeches about asset deflation,'' said Faber, referring to Bernanke. ``He's concerned about real estate and stocks going down, so in the long run for sure he'll print money.''
Pension Funds
Pension and mutual funds are pumping record amounts of cash into commodities as China's booming economy stokes demand for oil and other raw materials, leading to a three-year boom in prices. The amount of money invested in index-linked commodity funds rose last year by as much as $30 billion to $80 billion, according to "

How Big Is Bush's Big Government? - Mises Institute

How Big Is Bush's Big Government? - Mises Institute: "We, in the United States, live under the rule of the largest civil government, measured in budgetary terms, in history. Federal spending alone in fiscal year 2006 is expected to be over $2.7 trillion, which means the federal government spends $7.4 billion a day or $5.1 million in every minute of the year. This is 815 times the level of federal spending in 1930.
Things have been getting worse recently. In the first five years of the Bush regime, federal spending increased 45%. Readers of Mises.org may remember that they were warned about Bush's fiscal irresponsibility before he took office. For comparison's sake, during the eight Clinton years nominal federal spending increased 32%, and under Bush I federal spending increased 23% in four years. In the 2000 election, Bush II promised to shovel money into all sorts of programs — and he's kept that promise.
Since 1930, in addition to the spending increases, the feds also drove prices up more than 1,100%, according to the Consumer Price Index. Also, we should suspect that these inflation numbers are low since government officials have an incentive to underestimate inflation.
If we adjust the spending numbers to account for this inflation, real federal spending is 65 times larger than it was in 1930. The US population has more than doubled since 1930 and if we take the population changes into account, real per capita spending is 27 times higher than in 1930.
In estimating real federal spending I'm not dismissing the effects of inflation, nor am I absolving the state of its complicity in driving prices up. These calculations are simply an attempt to give us some idea of the growth in government and the attendant loss of our liberties over the last several decades.
This $2.7 trillion in federal spending breaks down to $9,000 per c"

Global warming behind record 2005 storms: experts - Yahoo! News

Global warming behind record 2005 storms: experts - Yahoo! News: "'The hurricanes we are seeing are indeed a direct result of climate change and it's no longer something we'll see in the future, it's happening now,' said Greg Holland, a division director at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.
Holland told a packed hall at the American Meteorological Society's 27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology that the wind and warmer water conditions that fuel storms that form in the Caribbean are 'increasingly due to greenhouse gases. There seems to be no other conclusion you can logically draw.'
His conclusion will be debated throughout the week-long conference, as other researchers present opposing papers that say changing wind and temperature conditions in the tropics are due to natural events, not the accumulation of carbon dioxide emissions clouding the Earth.
Many of the experts gathered in the coastal city of Monterey, California, are federal employees. The Bush administration contends global warming is an unproven theory.
While many of the conference's 500 scientists seem to agree that a warming trend in the tropics is causing more and stronger hurricanes than usual, not all agree that global warming is to blame.
Some, like William Gray, a veteran hurricane researcher at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, attributed the warming to natural cycles. Gray said he believes salinity buildups and movements with ocean currents cause warming and cooling cycles. He predicted the Caribbean water will continue to warm for another five to 10 years, then start cooling.
Whatever the cause, computer projections indicate the warming to date -- about one degree Fahrenheit (half a degree Celsius) in tropical water -- is 'the "

America's borrower-industrial complex - MarketWatch

America's borrower-industrial complex - MarketWatch: "NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- A fast-rising new book by a provocative conservative shows how the debt explosion is hurting our country
Almost overnight, it has hurtled to the top of the best seller lists. Its title is 'American Theocracy,' its author is Kevin Phillips, a former top Republican strategist and leading conservative intellectual, about whom Time magazine once wrote, 'in the shoot-from-the-hip world of Washington prognostication, Kevin Phillips stands out like Nostradamus.'
Now his controversial argument, which clearly has struck a chord, is that America is deeply endangered by a combination of three forces:
One: The nation's global overreach, demonstrated by the so-far-unsuccessful invasion of Iraq.
Two: The surge of militant, fundamentalist, evangelical, right-wing religion in the U.S.
Three: America's ballooning debt, which has mortgaged the country's economic health to financial speculation.
The first two points are fascinating enough, but our column focuses on the economy, so what concerns us most is point three: those expanding debts. They may be worse than we imagine, much worse.
To make that point, Phillips unfurls a mind-boggling quantity of statistics.
Phillips argues that the U.S. economy is being kept afloat by a splurge in consumption that is being financed by awesome debt. Americans carry an average of eight credit cards per household and pay interest charges of 19% to 25% on their balances. Between 1990 and 2003 the number of people holding credit cards jumped by 75% -- from 82 million to 144 million -- but the amount actually charged exploded by 350%, up from $338 billion to $1.5 trillion.
Yes, it is really true that Americans spend more than th"

"Comex Silver: the Irreversible Damage Last Week" by Paul Skarp 04/24/2006

Financial Sense "Comex Silver: the Irreversible Damage Last Week" by Paul Skarp 04/24/2006: "I’m going to go out on a limb here, I’m looking for silver prices to hit the uppermost Fibonacci target during the next period of bullish seasonals. This period starts in September and runs through early-middle February. Personally, I’m looking for silver prices to be between $25-$27 an ounce during February of 2007. Considering that summer is just around the corner this forecast also adheres to the old Comex wisdom of exit around Memorial Day come back after Labor Day."

Hostile Trends

Hussman Funds - Weekly Market Comment: April 24, 2006 - Hostile Trends: "Historically, the worst outcomes for stocks have typically emerged when valuations were rich and there were well-defined upward pressures on interest rates and other yields. The tendency for bad outcomes to be born of such conditions is so established that our investment discipline virtually demands that we hedge when they are present.
At the same time, the elements just mentioned virtually assure that a defensive position will look ridiculous for some amount of time. Specifically, rich valuations imply that the market will typically have done well in recent months or years, and that it will probably still be establishing marginal new highs (until, of course, it doesn't). Likewise, upward pressures on interest rates and other yields typically imply concurrent economic strength and strong consumer confidence. So at the most compelling times to hedge risk, the market will be achieving fresh highs and the economy will appear strong. Hedging under those conditions is often accompanied by foregone short-term gains that are made irrelevant by subsequent market weakness.
Conversely, the best outcomes for stocks have typically been born of depressed valuations and well-defined downward pressures on interest rates and other yields. This combination typically emerges after stocks have done terribly in recent months or years, and are still probably establishing fresh lows, while the economy appears unusually weak and consumer confidence is plunging. Aggressive investment under those conditions is often accompanied by disappointing short-term losses that are made irrelevant by subsequent market strength.
The upshot is that the points where defensive or aggressive investment positions are most effective are also typically the points where one will, at least briefly, look like an idiot for taking t"

My Virtual Life

My Virtual Life: "TALENT BANK
After all my travels around Second Life, it's becoming apparent that virtual worlds, most of all this one, tap into something very powerful: the talent and hard work of everyone inside. Residents spend a quarter of the time they're logged in, a total of nearly 23,000 hours a day, creating things that become part of the world, available to everyone else. It would take a paid 4,100-person software team to do all that, says Linden Lab. Assuming those programmers make about $100,000 a year, that would be $410 million worth of free work over a year. Think of it: The company charges customers anywhere from $6 to thousands of dollars a month for the privilege of doing most of the work. And make no mistake, this would be real work were it not so fun. In Star Wars Galaxies, some players take on the role of running a pharmaceutical business in which they manage factory schedules, devise ad campaigns, and hire other players to find raw materials -- all imaginary, of course.

All this has some companies mulling a wild idea: Why not use gaming's psychology, incentive systems, and social appeal to get real jobs done better and faster? 'People are willing to do tedious, complex tasks within games,' notes Nick Yee, a Stanford University graduate student in communications who has extensively studied online games. 'What if we could tap into that brainpower?'

In other words, your next cubicle could well be inside a virtual world. That's the mission of a secretive Palo Alto (Calif.) startup, Seriosity, backed by venture firm Alloy Ventures Inc. Seriosity is exploring whether routine real-world responsibilities might be assigned to a custom online game. Workers having fun, after all, likely will be more productive. 'We want to use the pow"

This Is 1969, Not 1979

Kitco - Commentaries Dave Skarica: "You think you see the bubble? Heck, the last silver bubble was in 1980, when she whacked $48.88. Those were 1980 Fednote dollars, worth double what 2006 Fednote dollars are. So you ain’t seen no stinking $48.88 bubble in silver until she hits $97. We are a long, long way from there. Try to plot a straight line between $1.29 and $48 silver; it cannot be done, except over the long haul between 1966 and 1980. Ditto gold; $35 to $800-something. Took twenty years, plenty of turbulence intervening.
Sure there is froth at these stopping points. You get about 6 hours’ notice to reload. That will be it. If Morgan is right and we’re in for a summer-long doldrums, so much the better. Time to see the lawyers and accountants and get out of the Delphi pension plan and in to something real. Be fearless. The right mining juniors will do you well. But be afraid as well. Those paper dollars you hold won’t even get the kindling in the woodstove alight.
This is not the “bubble” of 1980. The by-w6rd here is “fungible.” Metals and commodities are fungible. Silver is silver is silver, the world over, no matter where it’s made. Dollars are not fungible, especially if they say, “Made In USA.”. What you are hearing is the deafening racket of copper, zinc, lead, uranium, concrete, rebar and oil, clamouring for a free-market price so they can catch up with the price of a loaf of bread, or even the cost of real estate in Wallace. The market cries out for Justice. And, replies Silver, Justice will be ours. Selah."

24 April 2006

The housing bubble has popped

MSN Money - The housing bubble has popped: "Concerned about his real-estate investment apparently going sour, he can't afford to reduce the price to what homes now sell for in his neighborhood -- which is about $100,000 less than he's asking. Says the salesman: 'If I got in a jam, I would have to drop the price, but I am not at that point.' His game plan: Rent the house, so as not to 'lose my shirt.'

That's the mentality often seen in manic markets -- the belief that you can't possibly lose, and, when the price goes against you, you don't have to deal with it, because it will come back. This fellow (and millions more like him) is going to find out that his belief is a mistaken one, in the same way that folks did when the stock bubble burst. Start investing with $100.
Explore our
new ETF center.

Dwelling takes a little shelling
The story went on to note that many formerly hot markets in California, Arizona, Washington, D.C., and Florida are now 'languishing without buyers or even prospects. Many once-booming markets are seeing double-digit declines in sales.' The magnitude of the drop in Florida home prices (once the frothiest market in the country) is striking. Single-family home sales declined 20% in February, year-over-year. Similarly, California sales dropped 15%. Some of the hottest towns in those states were off twice as much. "

Oil fight in Nigeria reaches turning point -- Newsday.com

Oil fight in Nigeria reaches turning point -- Newsday.com: "LAGOS, Nigeria - A militant group that has been attacking Nigeria's oil pipelines and helping to drive up world oil prices added a new tactic last week by detonating a car bomb in a major oil city to publicize its standing threat to shut down the country's entire crude output.

The bomb, which exploded in a Mercedes-Benz parked at a military facility in Port Harcourt, killed two civilians and injured six, said Army spokesman Maj. Sagir Musa. It was the first such attack in an urban area and the first in the eastern Delta section of the country in five months. "

The April 2006 Hindenburg Omen Has Now Been Confirmed

Safe Haven | The April 2006 Hindenburg Omen Has Now Been Confirmed: "Further, there was not one major decline (over 10 percent) that did not first have a Hindenburg Omen present to give an early warning. We were warned every time there was a crash, or multi-month plunge, of the higher-than-normal probability of one coming, through the presence of a Hindenburg Omen.
Well, once again we have one on the clock, right now, April 2005. Since April 7th, when we observed the first one, there have been three official confirming Omens, so we now sit with four. There actually have been two more that met the old definition that many analysts followed, but just missed under our stricter requirements that we established to improve the correlation with declines (see issue 305 in our archives for that definition). Of the five criteria, these last two missed only because New Highs were more than twice New Lows. Sometimes that situation leads to false positives, so we eliminate them. But, we still have four, so this Hindenburg Omen is now confirmed."

Zinc to stay up: Zinifex

Zinc to stay up: Zinifex | Business | The Australian: "ZINC prices are to stay at record highs, with any response to the shortage in supply likely to be slow, Zinifex chief executive Greig Gailey says.
He said yesterday that the solution for zinc prices was more raw material but it took between three and five years to develop a new zinc mine.
'We have a very large deposit in Queensland called Dugald River, which is about 50 million tonnes,' he told the ABC's Inside Business.
'We're currently in the phase of doing a pre-feasibility study but even if we fast-track that project through ... it would not be in the market before 2010 or 2011. There will certainly be a response to price but we believe it will be somewhat slow in coming.'
The acute shortage in zinc was sourced in the early 2000s, Mr Gailey said.
'Nobody made any money, companies like Pasminco failed and as a result of that, nobody did any exploration, nobody was interested in developing zinc mines and what we're seeing today is the fruits of that.'
Mr Gailey said Zinifex had cash in the bank but had not yet decided whether it would return the capital to shareholders or use it for investment.
Acquisitions were of interest but resources companies were 'pretty well priced'.
Zinc closed $US250 ($336) higher at $US3325 on Friday. "

Bin Laden says West waging war on Islam

Top News Article | Reuters.co.uk: "DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden said the West's shunning of the Hamas-led Palestinian government showed it was waging a 'Crusader-Zionist war' on Muslims, according to an audiotape attributed to him and aired on Sunday.
People in the West share responsibility for their countries' 'war against Islam', said the speaker, who sounded like bin Laden, on the tape broadcast on Al Jazeera television.
The Saudi-born militant said the Darfur crisis in western Sudan and Western efforts to isolate the Palestinian government since Hamas won January elections were part of this campaign.
'Their rejection of Hamas affirms that it is a Crusader-Zionist war against Muslims,' bin Laden said.
In the brief excerpts of the tape that Al Jazeera aired, he did not repeat his assertion in an audiotape issued in January that al Qaeda was preparing attacks in the United States but was open to a conditional truce with Americans.
But his remarks about the complicity of Westerners in the policies of their governments appeared to be an argument that they were fair game for revenge attacks by militants.
'The war is a responsibility shared between the people and the governments. The war goes on and the people are renewing their allegiance to its rulers and masters,' bin Laden said.
'They send their sons to armies to fight us and they continue their financial and moral support while our countries are burnt and our houses are bombed and our people are killed.'
The Qaeda leader, on the run since the U.S. campaign to oust Afghanistan's Taliban government in 2001 after the September 11 attacks, said Western leaders had ignored his truce offers.
'They do not want a truce unless it is from our side only ."

23 April 2006

Doors Close for Real Estate Speculators

Doors Close for Real Estate Speculators: "Investors who sought quick profits buying and selling real estate in the Washington region are in full retreat, dampening demand for homes, most notably for condos.
What is becoming apparent, market watchers say, is how big a part speculators played in the region's real estate boom of the past few years. Not just condominiums, but also townhouses and single-family houses, were snapped up by investors using no-money-down financing and non-traditional loans. They helped send prices soaring at unprecedented rates. And now many are trying to sell, or rent at a loss. Some may eventually dump properties at low prices to get rid of them. That could weigh down values for everyone.
Buy This Photo

Lockboxes cover a bench outside the Halstead condo complex in Fairfax County. The boxes hold keys to units for agents to show prospective buyers or renters. There recently were 49 lockboxes for the 200-unit building. (By Preston Keres -- The Washington Post)

Who's Blogging?
Read what bloggers are saying about this article.
Quick money from internet sales
Ipso Facto

Full List of Blogs (16 links) »

Most Blogged About Articles
On washingtonpost.com | On the web

Save & Share
Tag This Article

Saving options
1. Save to description:
Headline (required)

2. Save to notes (255 character max):
Subheadline Blurb None
3. Tag This Article

Sales of new condos fell 43 percent in the first quarter of the year, compared with the first quarter of 2005, according to one report, and there are almost four times as many existing condos for sale than last year.
'We think the s"

Real estate boom or doom?

PrudentBear.com - The One-Stop Shop for the Bear Case: "Excerpted from September 2005 Elliott Wave Financial Forecast

Back in March 2000, EWFF noted that the “fate of the world” hinged on the manic rise in 50 U.S. stocks, many of which were unprofitable. Five years and one recession later, the global economy is hanging by a similarly thin thread. The difference now is that the weight of the world is being held up by the public’s affection for real estate and the debt needed to acquire it. According to Irwin Stelzer of The Weekly Standard, data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics “shows that housing and related industries now account for 4.8 million jobs, some 60% more than the once-mighty auto industry.” While the U.S. auto industry lost 60,000 jobs in the past 4 years, the housing industry created almost 600,000 jobs in construction and financial services. Newspapers are a good example of how whole industries are clinging to real estate’s coat tails. As anticipated in past issues, the newspaper industry is slowly falling prey to the Internet and gathering deflationary forces, but its saving grace is a flood of real estate ads that have poured in over the last year. The Wall Street Journal reports that real estate ad revenue increases of 16% to 45% are “masking what has been a years-long decline in classified-ad revenue at newspapers.”
But the home-buying binge comes at a steep cost to U.S. households. The household surplus/deficit chart from Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust Co. shows the financial impact to homeowners. From the 1950s to 1999, one year before the start of the bear market, households maintained a surplus, whereby disposable personal income exceeded total expenditures on consumer goods an"

Oil closes above $75 a barrel

Inside Business - 23/04/2006: Oil closes above $75 a barrel: "JAYNE EDWARDS: It was a week of contrasts on global markets, as climbing oil prices helped to temper optimism about an end to interest rate rises. Oil closed the week in New York above $75 a barrel, with global political tensions and worries of a looming petrol supply crunch fuelling the market. But share markets rallied on the release of minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting, showing an end to interest rate rises may be in sight. In company results, Google jumped on another great earnings report, while ebay, Dell and Intel lost ground. And it was a rare good week for General Motors, which leapt by 10 per cent after reporting reduced losses, while over at Ford the company posted a blowout in its losses and its shares slumped by 8 per cent. On Friday, Wall Street was mixed. The Dow inched up to a 6-year high. The broader S&P500 was steady, and the Nasdaq slid by 20. Over the week, the US gained 1.7 per cent. London's FTSE rose by exactly the same margin, Frankfurt's DAX jumped by 3 per cent, Tokyo's Nikkei added 1 per cent and our local market also rallied. For more, here's Marcus Padley from Tolhurst.
MARCUS PADLEY, TOLHURST: We're in the middle of three short trading weeks on the trot at the moment. With the holidays, you would think things would quieten down, but they haven't. The stock market's had a good week, the resources sector's had a great week. The stock market's now up 22 per cent this financial year and a quarter of that performance has been due to one stock on its own, the biggest stock in the market, BHP, which is now up 65 per cent this financial year. Back to this week, all the metal prices were up. The gold price hit a 25-year high and the oil price hit an all-time high. And the resources sector got a boost from the Chin"

Special Report: Australia soars on uranium bonanza

Kontent Review: "But investors are eyeing pure uranium stocks. They include smaller miners and explorers such as Marathon Resources, Summit Resources, Toro Energy, Paladin Resources and Alliance Resources, whose share prices have sizzled in recent weeks. Toro, which listed on March 23, has risen 504% to about $1.30. Paladin has soared 509% over the past year to about $5.40.
Pure miners have tended to outdo explorers, because the real money is in extracting and selling the ore. But that hasn’t stopped dozens of minnows lining up to entice investors: Giralia is floating two in coming months: U308 and Gladiator Resources. Investors are queuing up; anything with uranium attached to it tends to be heavily oversubscribed.
Uranium’s return to global favour has vindicated a few doughty Australian pioneers, mostly hard-bitten geologists, who for decades have stayed the course, dismissed the militant green hysteria about global irradiation, and are now set to become very rich indeed.
Johnson is one of the hardiest of Australia’s uranium barons. The son of an iron-foundry worker, he is a tough, 58-year-old with degrees in geology and computer science. He invented the Maptek three-dimensional mine-planning software used by mining companies around the world. He is a founding director of Curnamona Energy, which has exploration rights over 4,300 square kilometres of the best uranium “paleo-valley sands” of South Australia. "

Bourne Research : Insight : April 18, 2006

Bourne Research : Insight : April 18, 2006: "SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., April 18, 2006 – Silver nanoparticles are emerging as one of the fastest growing product categories in the Nanotechnology industry, according to Bourne Research (http://www.bourneresearch.com). The market research firm reports that the ability to produce particles of silver at the nanoscale is allowing companies to leverage its known antimicrobial properties in ways never before imagined as an effective means of infection control.
“Silver nanoparticles may very well become the next “it” product, much like antibacterial soaps took the consumer sector by storm a decade ago,” says Marlene Bourne, Principal Analyst with Bourne Research. “Of course, some are concerned that being too clean is perpetuating the rise of allergies and autoimmune diseases, but there are many applications where its use makes perfect sense.”
Bourne Research reports that the medical sector was one of the first on board where end-uses have already migrated from burn dressings to surgical instruments and hand sanitizers. In addition, a recent study by a leading supplier of textiles to hospitals showed a dramatic reduction of infectious microbes in curtains embedded with silver nanoparticles. Sportswear manufacturers are also embracing its use to prevent odor in clothing. In the home, consumers can already find washing machines, refrigerators, HVAC filters, brooms and even food containers that employ silver nanoparticles to kill bacteria and limit mold growth – and this is just the beginning.
More details about the growing use of silver nanoparticles can be found in The Bourne Report, a unique series of market research reports from Bourne Research. The Bourne Report offers the most insightful market analysis available on emerging technologies, with a fo"

The Great Silver Heist

The Great Silver Heist: "Silver is as important a strategic commodity as oil. The need for a supply of silver in times of war is so essential, that a shortage of the metal could pose dire and direct consequences to the continued well being of our country. With the evolution of technology, silver has become so intrinsically important, that a lack of it will adversely affect America's national security. Meanwhile, as a result of the collusion between industrial users, central bankers, the Commodity Futures Trade Commission, (CFTC), the Chicago Board of Trade, (CBOT), and government regulators, spanning the past fifty years, inventories have all but disappeared.
How and why have our silver reserves been so radically depleted? The major causal factor for the growing scarcity of silver in the United States is an organization called the Silver Users Association, (SUA). This group was founded in 1947 for the sole purpose of controlling the price of silver, and has since manned a small army of lobbyists. These lobbyists represent some of the biggest corporations in the country. As the industrial uses for silver are quite diverse, so are the types of companies that engage the services of the SUA. It is their job to lobby politicians and persuade them to suppress, depress, repress, oppress, or do what ever it takes to maintain a grip on the price of silver. The SUA co-ordinates campaign contributions between association members and complicit politicians in return for quasi-legal legislation designed to keep the price down. It does not matter to them whether the means of suppression are legal or illegal, so long as the price does not rise.
The chief purpose of the Silver Users Association, when it was formed 54 years ago, was to lobby and convince the US Government to dispose of its immense stockpile of silver, as much as 4 billion ounces o"

Lawyer: Rice Allegedly Leaked Defense Info

Lawyer: Rice Allegedly Leaked Defense Info: "ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaked national defense information to a pro-Israel lobbyist in the same manner that landed a lower-level Pentagon official a 12-year prison sentence, the lobbyist's lawyer said Friday.
Prosecutors disputed the claim.
The allegations against Rice came as a federal judge granted a defense request to issue subpoenas sought by the defense for Rice and three other government officials in the trial of Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. The two are former lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who are charged with receiving and disclosing national defense information.
Defense lawyers are asking a judge to dismiss the charges because, among other things, they believe it seeks to criminalize the type of backchannel exchanges between government officials, lobbyists and the press that are part and parcel of how Washington works.
During Friday's hearing, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said he is considering dismissing the government's entire case because the law used to prosecute Rosen and Weissman may be unconstitutionally vague and broad and infringe on freedom of speech.
Rosen's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said the testimony of Rice and others is needed to show that some of the top officials in U.S. government approved of disclosing sensitive information to the defendants and that the leaks may have been authorized.
Prosecutors opposed the effort to depose Rice and the other officials. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin DiGregory also disputed Lowell's claim, saying, 'She never gave national defense information to Mr. Rosen.'
The issuance of subpoenas does not automatically require Rice or anybody else to testify or give a deposition. A recipient can seek to quash the subpoena.

22 April 2006

Oxiana Says Gold May Beat Record

=DJ UPDATE: Australia's Oxiana Says Gold May Beat Record: "MELBOURNE (Dow Jones)--Gold may burst through its all-time high of US$850 an ounce as investors look for a safe haven from inflation and geopolitical tension, Australian gold and copper miner Oxiana Ltd. (OXR.AU) said Wednesday.

Copper and zinc prices, both hitting records this week, are still relatively cheap and will also likely continue to surge skyward, Oxiana Managing Director Owen Hegarty told reporters on a conference call.

The comments came as Oxiana shares surged 7.7% to close at a record A$3.07, spurred by all-time high copper and zinc prices and gold, which hit a new 25-year high of US$624.80 an ounce in Asia earlier Wednesday.

'I don't think there's any doubt gold will keep moving in that very strong, buoyant direction,' Hegarty said. 'The reason people buy it, for an inflation hedge, for a political hedge, or (a hedge against falls in) the U.S. currency,' are all occurring, Hegarty said. 'I wouldn't be surprised if it smashed through its previous record of early US$800s,' an ounce, he said.

Hegarty said copper and zinc prices, already at records, aren't as expensive as they have been when inflation is taken into account.

'There's no reason why it (copper) can't keep going upwards and the same with zinc,' Hegarty said. 'Given the supply and demand fundamentals at the moment, when you think of the amount of work that actually goes into producing a pound of zinc and a pound of copper, they're probably still fairly cheap.'

Oxiana's share gains came even though it will likely produce less gold from its Sepon mine in Laos than previously expected.

The mine is now forecast to produce 170,000 ounces thi"

Bush: government research developed iPod - Engadget

Bush: government research developed iPod - Engadget: "Apple has long boasted of its culture of innovation, and how this led to such products as the original Mac and the iPod. However, it turns out that, at least in the case of the iPod, Apple had a hidden ally: the US government. During a speech at Tuskegee University, President (and iPod user) George W. Bush told his audience, 'the government funded research in microdrive storage, electrochemistry and signal compression. They did so for one reason: It turned out that those were the key ingredients for the development of the iPod.' While we have to gratefully acknowledge the efforts of government agencies such as DARPA in some of the fields mentioned by the President, we also feel obligated to point out the accomplishments of private companies in the US and abroad, including IBM, Hitachi and Toshiba -- not to mention the Fraunhofer Institute, which developed the original MP3 codec, and codeveloped (with Sony, AT&T and others) the AAC format used by Apple in the iPod. Still, we have to bow down before his Steveness; we knew he was well-connected, but until now we had no idea of his level of influence in the area of government research. Hey, Steve, while you're at it, why not get the government to resolve the display problems plaguing the next-gen video iPod? We're sure they'll get their best minds on it and fix it in no time."

Australia's Oxiana gold output reaches record levels, copper output strong - Forbes.com

Australia's Oxiana gold output reaches record levels, copper output strong - Forbes.com: "SYDNEY (AFX) - Oxiana Ltd said its output of gold reached record levels in the March quarter, helped again by record production at the Golden Grove mine in Western Australia.

The miner said production at its Sepon project in Laos slipped due to lower throughput and grades arising from development work in order to access new ore.

Total gold output for the quarter reached 62,683 ounces from the 59,406 ounces produced during the December quarter.

Gold produced at Sepon totalled 42,091 ounces while gold produced from Golden Grove was 20,592 ounces.

Total copper output for the March quarter slipped to 17,008 metric tons from 17,859 tons in the previous quarter.

Silver output reached 973,665 ounces in the quarter with the majority of 929,018 ounces produced at Golden Grove.

Oxiana said it remains on track to produce 60,000 tons of copper in 2006 from Sepon.

Sepon's 2006 gold production is expected to be around 170,000 ounces, with slightly higher output expected in the June and December quarters but lower production is expected in the September quarter from wet season impacts.

Meanwhile, the Golden Grove operations reached record throughput in the March quarter due to improvements in grinding reducing other bottlenecks.

Oxiana's Golden Grove produced a record 39,455 tons of zinc during the quarter while copper output was 2,952 tons. "

More muscle, with eye on China - Nation/Politics - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

More muscle, with eye on China - Nation/Politics - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper: "The Pentagon is engaged in an extensive buildup of military forces in Asia as part of a covert strategy to strengthen and position U.S. and allied forces to deter -- or defeat -- China.
The buildup includes changes in deployments of aircraft-carrier battle groups, the conversion of nuclear-missile submarines and the regular dispatch of bombers to areas close to targets in China, according to senior Bush administration officials and a three-month investigation by The Washington Times.
Other less-visible activities that are part of what is being called a 'hedge' strategy include large-scale military maneuvers, increased military alliances and training with Asian allies, the transfer of special-operations commando forces to Asia and new requirements for military personnel to learn Chinese.
President Bush approved elements of the first phase of the strategy within the past several months. The key architect is Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The State Department's point man on the strategy is Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, who has led three rounds of strategic talks with China in the past several months.
Mr. Bush will express U.S. concerns about China's hidden military buildup during his meeting today with Chinese President Hu Jintao, but will not discuss the hedge strategy, administration officials said.
Officials said the objective of the Asian buildup is to dissuade China from becoming a hostile power and to have the military capability to swiftly defeat the communist nation in a conflict using military forces that are forward-deployed in Asia or are available to be moved on short notice from Alaska, Hawaii, California and elsewhere.
Bush administration national sec"

A Crisis Almost Without Equal

A Crisis Almost Without Equal: "Friedman, who still supports the Iraq war, opens by declaring that given a choice between a nuclear Iran and an attack on that country engineered by the White House, he would choose the former. That’s how little he trusts the diplomatic and military chops of Bush, Rumsfeld, Condi and Co. He cites “the level of incompetence that the Bush team has displayed in Iraq, and its refusal to acknowledge any mistakes or remove those who made them.”

But then he goes on: “I look at the Bush national security officials much the way I look at drunken drivers. I just want to take away their foreign policy driver's licenses for the next three years. Sorry, boys and girls, you have to stay home now -- or take a taxi. ... You will not be driving alone. Not with my car.”

The problem -- the crisis -- is that Bush and Co. likely WILL be driving the “car” for 33 more months.

Friedman knows this: “If ours were a parliamentary democracy, the entire Bush team would be out of office by now, and deservedly so. ... But ours is not a parliamentary system, and while some may feel as if this administration's over, it isn't. So what to do? We can't just take a foreign policy timeout.”"

London copper up 5 pct, equivalent to $3/lb

Business | Reuters.co.za: "LONDON (Reuters) - Copper futures rose 5 percent to a record $6,625 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange (LME) on Friday, equivalent to over $3/lb as funds resumed their buying spree, dealers said.
By 1148 GMT, the benchmark three-month futures contract was quoted at $6,620/6,640, bouncing back from $6,296 on Thursday.
'We are still telling people to buy the dips -- it's the only the strategy that works in this environment,' a dealer said.LONDON (Reuters) - Copper futures rose 5 percent to a record $6,625 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange (LME) on Friday, equivalent to over $3/lb as funds resumed their buying spree, dealers said.
By 1148 GMT, the benchmark three-month futures contract was quoted at $6,620/6,640, bouncing back from $6,296 on Thursday.
'We are still telling people to buy the dips -- it's the only the strategy that works in this environment,' a dealer said."

RGJ.com: USA Capital bankruptcy filing leaves investors stunned

RGJ.com: USA Capital bankruptcy filing leaves investors stunned: "LAS VEGAS -- Investors say they are stunned, angry and frustrated at Las Vegas-based USA Capital, a short-term mortgage lender that filed for bankruptcy protection last week.
The lender, with $950 million in assets, filed for bankruptcy court protection on April 13.
The company, with an office in Reno and Incline Village, raised investment funds to make short-term mortgage loans secured by real estate development and commercial properties. Investors were attracted by interest rates of 12 percent to 14 percent on their investments and by the relative security of having real estate for collateral.
It's the latest in a series of private lenders who have failed in Las Vegas, including Harley Harmon Mortgage, Interstate Mortgage Group and Global Express Capital.
'Unbelievable,' investor Rich Maiorana, 55, who invested $50,000 in a USA Capital fund.
The bankruptcy filing 'just makes them look to be terribly dishonest,' Maiorana said.
Phyllis Resler, a widow and great-grandmother, works part time for a church to supplement her Social Security benefits. She has $56,000 invested with USA Capital.
'Help,' she said, laughing nervously. 'I can't earn and replace what I have at age 69. That will take a lifetime.'
Robert Ulm, a retired airline pilot living in Georgia, said he invested $200,000 with USA Capital and feels betrayed.
'It's illegal. It's a fraud. It's a cheat. It's a scam. That's what I think,' Ulm said.
Ulm invested money in six loans, called trust deeds, secured by warehouses in Albuquerque, N.M., and other types of property in Sacramento and Reno.
Ulm was surprised, because the company seemed to have a good reputation when Ulm learned about it"

21 April 2006

ANALYSIS: Rumsfeld ideas slammed

ANALYSIS: Rumsfeld ideas slammed: "WASHINGTON -- The unprecedented criticism of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his management of the Iraq War by retired generals who have served there goes deeper than the conflict itself.
Criticism of the planning and execution of the war points to Rumsfeld's broader -- and controversial -- transformation of the military into a lighter, faster, smaller force theoretically more adept to fight modern wars.
Critics say Rumsfeld's vision, which relies on expensive weapons, is out of step with the kind of insurgency warfare U.S. forces face in Iraq and are likely to encounter again in the ongoing war against terrorists."

IMF chief warns high oil prices set to stay - Forbes.com

IMF chief warns high oil prices set to stay - Forbes.com: "WASHINGTON (AFX) - IMF chief Rodrigo Rato warned that record oil prices are here to stay and appealed for collective action to rectify widening imbalances in the world economy.

The International Monetary Fund managing director said weekend meetings of global financial leaders here must also address the reform of the IMF to make the Western-dominated organization more representative of emerging economies, especially in Asia.

'The impact of higher oil (prices) on the global economy has so far been moderate, but it remains a serious risk,' Rato told a news conference a day before a Group of Seven meeting, ahead of the weekend gathering of the IMF and the World Bank.

'It is likely that higher prices are going to last and that, among other things, (this) has to show all of us that we have to adjust to a situation that is going to last,' the IMF leader said.

Crude oil futures hit new peaks Thursday, above 74 usd a barrel in London and 72 usd in New York, owing to concerns about a gasoline supply crunch in the US and tensions over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

According to the latest IMF forecasts released this week, the world economy is on course to expand by a robust 4.9 pct this year.

But Rato warned of 'important risks' to that outlook arising from the record-high oil prices, global economic imbalances, rising interest rates and a potential bird flu pandemic.

He said that, for now, there were 'clear signs of a welcome rebalancing of world growth' as sluggish economies in Europe and Japan pick up their pace to leave less of a burden on the fast-expanding US.

But ahead of the weekend meetings, the IMF has stepped up warnings that the world economy is dangerously out of kilter as "

Japan's appetite for uranium is growing

Asia Times Online :: Japan News and Japanese Business and Economy: "Japan's appetite for uranium is growing
By Hisane Masaki

TOKYO - Energy-hungry Japan is revving up its drive to secure uranium abroad as global demand for nuclear power rises amid stubbornly high oil and gas prices and growing environmental concerns.

Major Japanese trading and energy firms are looking at multibillion yen investments in uranium mine projects, with electronics conglomerate Toshiba in February purchasing Westinghouse, the US power plant arm of British Nuclear Fuels, for about US$5.4 billion.

Meanwhile, the government, which attaches great importance to nuclear power as a key to ensuring national energy security, is

also considering assistance to help domestic firms in the increasingly intensifying global competition for fuel at nuclear power plants. Among those measures are financial aid and more investment-insurance coverage by government-affiliated organizations. Japan is already the world's third-largest nuclear power nation in terms of the number of civilian nuclear plants in operation.

Uranium prices are climbing as energy-hungry China and India are stepping up construction of nuclear power plants to fuel their high-flying economies, while some industrialized countries, including the US and Britain, are moving to build new nuclear power plants after many years of suspension following nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island in the US in 1979 and Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986.

Nuclear power generation has begun to come under the spotlight again due to growing environmental concerns as well as the high prices for oil and gas. Nuclear power plants generate much less carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas widely blamed for global warming, than coal-fired facilities. Renewable energy sources such as wind and "

20 April 2006

"A Lot More Inflation Coming Down The Pipe" by Ceri Sherpherd 04/19/2006

FSU Contributor:  "A Lot More Inflation Coming Down The Pipe" by Ceri Sherpherd 04/19/2006: "Go back 2 years and the GAAP PE ratio on the S&P 500 was close to 40 now today it is 18.85 this is the only PE ratio that matters the Pro Forma numbers are simply fantasy and are totally irrelevant. In this short time period the market has moved from suicidal overvaluation to simply historically expensive. The major part of the increased S&P 500 earnings has been nothing more than inflation and accounting gimmicks; real sustainable growth has only played a minor part. Very soon the Stock market will have historical PE ratios that will make it a good long term buy, not quite yet, but at the rate of Dollar destruction we are witnessing at present this time will be far closer than most people expect!
If you believe that they are going for Option 3 above then you must also be a raging commodities bull, this is because commodities are priced in Dollars. If the unit of measure is constantly devalued more units of the devalued currency are demanded by the market for real tangible physical commodities. The supply of nearly all commodities is somewhat inelastic. The supply of printed and electronic Dollars is unlimited and virtually instantaneous.
It is fashionable for the last 10 years or so for the media to talk about the great NASDAQ bull or the Housing Boom or even Peak Oil apparently showing itself by $70+ Crude. The real cause of these booms is the Federal Reserve Bank. Too much cheap money chasing too few stocks houses and now Oil.
They asked J P Morgan in 1913 at a Senate Select Committee Hearing what is Gold. He replied that “Gold is money, and nothing else is”. In real money terms in true GOLD STANDARD terms we have at present a severe Bear market in Stocks just look at the graph above and Real Estate and a weak Bull market"

What we are saying vs. What we are doing

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: "What we are saying vs. What we are doing

Here is a recap of what Greenspan said:

Perhaps the clearest evidence of the perceived benefits that derivatives have provided is their continued spectacular growth.
The use of a growing array of derivatives and the related application of more-sophisticated approaches to measuring and managing risk are key factors underpinning the greater resilience of our largest financial institutions.
The development of credit derivatives has contributed to the stability of the banking system by allowing banks, especially the largest, systemically important banks, to measure and manage their credit risks more effectively.
Here is what we are doing:

Creating a ‘NewBank’ to provide liquidity in emergencies.
Simulating financial meltdowns caused by an explosion in hedge funds and credit derivatives.
I have three questions:

If the explosion in credit derivatives is making us safer why do we need to create a new bank to deal with liquidity issues?
If the explosion in credit derivatives is making us safer why are we simulating financial meltdowns based on those very same derivatives blowing up?
How long will it take before Greenspan is proven spectacularly wrong once again? "

Financial War Games

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: "Before getting to 'War Games' let's recap some past wisdom from the man formerly behind the curtain.

1996 - Greenspan warns about irrational exuberance in the stock market
2000 - Greenspan embraces the 'productivity miracle' and says there is no stock market bubble.
2001 - Greenspan said bubbles can only be detected in hindsight
2004 - Greenspan says there is no housing bubble
2005 - Greenspan says there is no national housing bubble even though he admits we have 'froth'

It's Different This Time

Here are some select comments from just released FOMC minutes from May 16, 2000 meeting shortly after the Nasdaq blowoff top:

Chairman Greenspan:
My own judgment, and what I plan to recommend to the Committee, is that we have an opportunity now to move the funds rate up 50 basis points, remain asymmetric, and effectively adjust our longer-term posture to a better position than the one we are in at the moment. The reason I am not concerned about moving the rate up quickly at this stage is that I think the evidence indicates that productivity, indeed perhaps underlying GDP, is still accelerating. I recognize that the staff’s estimate of productivity growth for the first [quarter] is 1-½ percent. I don’t believe that estimate for a fraction of a second. Indeed, using the available data on income and profits, which essentially reflect the unit cost structure of nonfinancial corporations, the productivity growth number that falls out of that system according to staff estimates is a 6 percent annual rate.

I think we are in a quite different environment than we have seen in the past. In such an environment real long-term interest rates have to rise, and indeed they have risen very significantly in the last several weeks. Real long-term BBB rat"

Sell US Stocks

Kontent Review: "What do I think of yesterday's stock-market bacchanalia? I think it was and is an absolutely wonderful gift for people who have been dragging their feet in raising cash! It's amazing, if not frightening, that any action of the nation's bumbling central bank can evoke such enthusiasm.
On March 20th, I issued an unequivocal sell recommendation on stocks. If you wish, you may categorize the missive at hand as an unequivocal reaffirmation of the March 20th recommendation.
After the close yesterday, I posted the following on the GRA website:
'Can +195 points on the DJIA be a bearish development? I think it can, and I will do my best overnight to explain why. I was hoping to use the time to catch up on some other research material, but something like today, occurring when it did and for the stated reasons, simply cannot pass without comment. The piece will be short, and I will try to have it out before the open tomorrow.' Here goes."

on Greeting Hu

TomDispatch - Tomgram: Michael Klare on Greeting Hu with a 21-Gun "Salute": "On Tuesday April 18, Chinese President Hu Jintao landed in the United States and, after a tour of a Boeing plant, made his official way, with all due pomp and ceremony, to the expectable 'state banquet' in Washington… no, not at the White House but at the Washington State home of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. In fact, the Chinese leader came to Seattle, Washington, ready to toss money at Microsoft goodies and Boeing jets in an atmosphere as celebratory as money can make things.
Thursday, Hu will arrive in the 'other' Washington in a less celebratory mood -- at a time when Chinese relations with the Bush administration are in a state of heightening tension and likely to get worse. He will arrive for a… Well, what is it?
The Chinese insist that Hu is coming on an official 'state visit' and point to the traditional presidential greeting on the White House lawn and the 21-gun salute for a state leader as evidence of that. The White House, which is offering neither a state dinner, nor a cabinet meeting for the Chinese president to attend but a simple working lunch, begs to differ. What's happening is only a visit-type visit, nothing more. (''It's an official visit, it's a visit, is the way I would describe it,' said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. We have ‘one visit, different interpretations.'') At the micro-level of protocol, this catches much about our East Asian moment. "

19 April 2006

U.S. Government Won't Reveal About

Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg Columnists: "April 17 See even Bloomberg acknowledges that the US CPI figures are worthless(Bloomberg) -- There's a great scene in the movie ``A Few Good Men'' in which a Navy lawyer is grilling a U.S. Marine officer played by Jack Nicholson.
``I want the truth,'' the lawyer insists. ``You can't handle the truth!'' Nicholson's character barks. I hear this dialogue in my head whenever there's a question on whether the government's Consumer Price Index, or CPI, is an honest gauge of living costs.
I'm convinced there's a much more insidious story that needs to be told as the bond and precious-metals markets gyrate daily over perceived inflation threats.
If the full impact of consumer-price increases were accounted for, investors would have a lot more to worry about, and you should prepare for a threat that's much greater than Labor Department reports indicate.
The government has a vested interest in keeping official inflation measures low. Everything from Social Security cost-of- living increases to marginal tax rates is adjusted annually to this all-important gauge.
The total cost of what we are paying for big-ticket items is much higher than what's reflected in the CPI.
Take housing costs, for example. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, the U.S. Labor Department's agency that calculates the price index, estimates housing costs by figuring ``owners' equivalent rent,'' or a proxy of what homeowners would pay in average rent increases.
The CPI Lie
As the largest component of the CPI at 23 percent, housing represents a huge portion of the overall cost of living. Yet the Labor Department's indirect measure vastly underestimates actual housing costs since it doesn't reflect home-purchase prices, financing, maintenance or property taxes. Done any roofing, remode"

Snowy Hydro - Corporate - Initial Public Offer Information

Snowy Hydro - Corporate - Initial Public Offer Information: "Each of the three shareholders of Snowy Hydro Limited - the Commonwealth of Australia and the States of New South Wales and Victoria - have now announced that they will seek to have Snowy Hydro Limited listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and they will then sell their shareholding in Snowy Hydro Limited by an Initial Public Offer. It is expected that the Prospectus relating to the sale of shares in Snowy Hydro Limited will be issued in May 2006. "

| Dimming the Sun | The Producer's Story | PBS

NOVA | Dimming the Sun | The Producer's Story | PBS: "Like most films that we at DOX Productions make for NOVA, 'Dimming the Sun' is a coproduction between a U.K. broadcaster and WGBH, Boston. So we are well used to creating two slightly different versions, one for the British audience and one for the American. Often the difference is simply one of language, those little Britishisms and Americanisms that cause so much innocent amusement (you say 'tomato', we say 'genetically modified organism'). But 'Dimming the Sun' posed an interesting and unusual challenge: how to deal with the fact that British and American viewers are, so to speak, in a different place when it comes to global warming."

Let's bomb Iran - Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran

Bore Me - Let's bomb Iran - Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran: "Let's bomb Iran
Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran "

recession has always followed a peak in US

Best of Lance L. Lewis: "But at some point, as the dollar continues to weaken and the bond market continues to come under pressure, there’s going to be an inflection point, where people suddenly realize that it’s not 1995. At that point, it should begin to dawn on people that the market is the one pushing up long-term interest rates, not the Fed. As Fed tries to pause, and the dollar weakens even more. Foreigners will continue to back away from US bonds. Rising long-term interest rates will put even more pressure on the US housing bubble-driven economy, which is going to put even more pressure on the dollar. Put a summation sign under all that, and you get a nasty recession and much lower stock prices. Recall (as we’ve noted before) that a recession has always followed a peak in US residential real estate investment since WWII. "

U.S. knew Shiite militias were a threat

KR Washington Bureau | 04/17/2006 | U.S. knew Shiite militias were a threat but took no action largely because they were focused on Sunni insurgency: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. officials were warned for more than two years that Shiite Muslim militias were infiltrating Iraq's security forces and taking control of neighborhoods, but they failed to take action to counteract it, Iraqi and American officials said.
Now American officials call the militias the primary security concern in Iraq, blaming them for more civilian deaths than the Sunni Muslim-based insurgency and demanding that the Iraqi government move quickly to stem their influence.
U.S. officials concede that they didn't act, in part because they were focused on fighting the Sunni-dominated insurgency and on recruiting and training Iraqi security forces. "

Oxiana expects more gold from Sepon - Breaking News - Business - Breaking News

Oxiana expects more gold from Sepon - Breaking News - Business - Breaking News: "Miner Oxiana Ltd says it expects production from its Sepon Gold mine for the year to be about 170,000 ounces.
Releasing its March quarter production report, Oxiana said it had produced 42,091 ounces of gold from Sepon in the first quarter but it expected mixed results over the rest of the year.
'Gold production is expected to remain slightly above this level for quarters two and four with slightly lower production in quarter three due to potential wet season impacts, bringing expected production for the year to around 170,000 ounces,' the company said"

Dahr Jamail | The Ongoing War on Truth in Iraq

Dahr Jamail | The Ongoing War on Truth in Iraq: "The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiqués are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows ... We are today not far from a disaster.
-- T.E. Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia), The Sunday Times, August 1920
On Monday, April 17, my sources in Baghdad reported fierce fighting in the al-Adhamiya neighborhood of the capital city, as well as fighting in the al-Dora neighborhood. One source, who lives in the predominantly Sunni area of Adhamiya, had been telling me the situation was disintegrating for days leading up to this. There had been clashes every day for four days leading up to yesterday's huge clash there, with sporadic fighting between Sunni resistance fighters and members of the two largest Shia militias. The armed wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Badr Organization, and Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army have been launching ongoing attacks against fighters in the neighborhood. There is a shorter version of this description.
Civil war.
Yet we don't hear it described as such in the corporate media, nor from the Cheney administration. Their propaganda insists that Iraq is not yet in a civil war.
But in Adhamiya, every night now for several weeks roads have been closed with tires, trunks of date palm trees and other objects to prevent 'kidnappers and Shia death squads' from entering the area, according to one source, whom I'm keeping anonymous for security reasons.
His description of the fierce fighting in his neighborhood is quite different from"

Global: Oil and Bonds Roach

Morgan Stanley: "In the macro realm, bad things usually come in pairs. The confluence of yet another surge in oil prices and a long-overdue back-up in bond yields has piqued my interest in that regard. Crude oil prices are back near $70 and bond yields are at important thresholds -- closing in on 2% in Japan, 4% in Europe, and slicing through 5% in the US. My concerns stem less from a partial analysis of each development and more from the potential interplay between them. The combined impacts of these two factors raise the odds that a tipping point for an unbalanced global economy could well be close at hand.
I continue to believe that the American consumer is the weak link in the global daisy chain. The combination of rising long-term interest rates and higher oil prices puts an unmistakable squeeze on discretionary income -- the last thing overly-indebted, saving-short US consumers need. The higher gasoline prices arising from the recent back-up in crude oil markets unleashes a classic negative income effect on the consumer that, by Dick Berner’s reckoning, could knock about $60 billion, or 0.6%, off disposable personal income this summer (see his dispatch in today’s Forum, “Risks for the Consumer”). At the same time, higher US bond yields could unleash a negative wealth effect -- taking a toll on a housing market that is already moving lower and also acting to constrain mortgage refinancing activity and household sector equity extraction. For a US consumer who remains chronically short of labor income but who drew support from more than $600 billion of annualized equity extraction in late 2005, that could be an especially tough blow.
In this increasingly interconnected global economy, America’s problems quickly become the world’s problems. Other consumers will also feel these imp"

Exchange to Change Margins for Silver and Copper Futures Contracts - SilverSeek.com

Exchange to Change Margins for Silver and Copper Futures Contracts - SilverSeek.com: "NEW YORK, N.Y., April 18, 2006 — The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. today announced margin changes for its silver and copper futures contracts, beginning at the close of business on Wednesday.

Margins for the silver futures contract will increase to $3,750 from $3,250 for clearing and non-clearing members and to $5,063 from $4,388 for customers.

Margins for the copper futures contract will increase to $3,750 from $3,500 for clearing and non-clearing members and to $5,063 from $4,725 for customers. "

18 April 2006

Dubai and its wild, gold trading history

An underworld paved with gold
By Bertil Lintner

It seemed like a routine announcement. Last August 30, the London Bullion Market Association issued a statement revoking the status of an associate member, ARY of Dubai, one of the wealthiest of the United Arab Emirates.

But in fact, it was the first overt outcome of a long investigation into money-laundering, drug-trafficking and possible terrorism-financing. Since the August announcement, ARY has had several of its British bank accounts closed and the revenue authorities are investigating its finances. This could be the end of the road for one of the hitherto best-respected - and most well-connected - jewelers and gold dealers in the Persian Gulf region, Abdul Razzak Yacoub Ghandi, whose initials form the name of the group of companies he owns.

Apart from controlling a large share of Dubai's lucrative gold wholesale business, he runs a satellite TV company, ARY Digital, which he claims transmits into 107 countries, manages a gold refinery called ARY Aurum Plus, and has interests in local real-estate development. He also used to manage the ill-gotten gains of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the 'father' of Pakistan's nuclear-weapons program.

When Khan fell from grace in February 2004, he and his relatives tried to recover the funds they had deposited with ARY. But it was all in vain. The millions of dollars that Khan had made from selling nuclear-bomb designs to countries such as North Korea and Libya had already been transferred to secret bank accounts, to which only ARY has access, investigators assert.

So far, however, the only conviction in the region against him or any of his associates occurred whe"

Told You So - by Charley Reese

Told You So - by Charley Reese: "If you want to go back even further, to 2001, you'll find that in August 2001, I warned that Americans could expect a terrorist attack inside the United States. Again, no official sources. I just used the one commodity most missing in Washington, D.C. – common sense.
You don't inject yourself into somebody else's war without getting shot at sooner or later. As it happened, we got shot sooner, just a few weeks after I wrote that August column.
Nor do you need a degree from an Ivy League university to understand that people don't like to be occupied by a foreign army. All foreign armies that have occupied other people's countries have used the excuse that they came to liberate the people. Nobody believes that anymore.
Now President Bush has let the cat out of the bag. After all this jabber about listening to the officers on the ground, he said the other day at a press conference that 'future presidents' will likely make the decision to bring the troops home from Iraq. So he's talking at least four years, if not eight. If they're really going to stay until Iraq develops into a Western-style democracy, try 30 years.
But they won't stay anywhere near that long. The American people's patience with foreign wars – provided the casualties aren't too heavy and there is no cost to those at home – is about five years. The president has about two years left before he will have to brand whatever corrupt authoritarian regime that emerges in Iraq as 'a great victory.' A man who lies us into war will not hesitate to lie us out of one."

San Francisco Home Listings Preliminary

Links of Random Interest: San Francisco Home Listings Preliminary: "San Francisco Home Listings Preliminary
I’ve just compiled a rough draft data set of all Bay Area home listings. The data set isn’t refined enough to release quite yet, but I thought I’d share some images taken from Google Earth after I imported it.

As of April 13, 2006, there were over 27,000 homes listed for sale in the Bay Area, with 20,106 listed as 'Active Listings' and 7,529 as 'Pending Sales'. In the following images, the pending sales are the red dots, and the active listings are white. Each dot represents one property (house, condo, land) offered for sale in the Bay Area.

The first image illustrates the impact Bay Area investors have had on the regional market. Notice the tendrils of speculation that spread out along the highways into the Central Valley, up to Sacramento, down to Monterey, and up into the foothills of the Sierras. "

Future of Computing: Web focus : Nature

Future of Computing: Web focus : Nature: "NEWS FEATURE
2020 computing: Champing at the bits Free access
Philip Ball
Nature 440, 398–401 (23 February 2006) doi:10.1038/440398a
Full Text | PDF

2020 computing: Milestones in scientific computing Free access
Jacqueline Ruttimann
Nature 440, 399–405 (23 February 2006) doi:10.1038/440399a
Full Text | PDF

2020 computing: Everything, everywhere Free access
Declan Butler
Nature 440, 402–405 (23 February 2006) doi:10.1038/440402a
Full Text | PDF

2020 computing: Exceeding human limits Free access
Stephen H. Muggleton
Nature 440, 409–410 (23 February 2006) doi:10.1038/440409a
Full Text | PDF

2020 computing: The creativity machine Free access
Vernor Vinge
Nature 440, 411–412 (23 February 2006) doi:10.1038/440411a
Full Text | PDF

2020 computing: Science in an exponential world Free access
Alexander Szalay and Jim Gray
Nature 440, 413–414 (23 February 2006) doi:10.1038/440413a
Full Text | PDF

2020 computing: Can computers help explain biology? Free access
Roger Brent and Jehoshua Bruck
Nature 440, 416–417 (23 February 2006) doi:10.1038/440416a
Full Text | PDF

2020 computing: A two-way street to science's future Free access
Ian Foster
Nature 440, 419 (23 February 2006) doi:10.1038/440419a"


Gold and Oil Stocks: SILVER VS GOLD STOCKS AND LONG TERM TARGETS: "Silver had a low of $1.50 in 1973 and a high of $40 in 1980. Projecting forwards, Silver has a price target of $675 (40+(40*((40-1.5)/1.5)*0.618)+1). YIKES BATMAN! That’s a 6,600% increase from current prices.

Gold had a low of $35 (1971) and a high of $850 (1980). Projecting forward, Gold has a price target of $13,000 (850+(850*((850-35)/35)*0.618)+1). That’s a 1,400% increase from current prices."

Future of Computing: Web focus : Nature

Future of Computing: Web focus : Nature: "In the last two decades advances in computing technology, from processing speed to network capacity and the internet, have revolutionized the way scientists work. From sequencing genomes to monitoring the Earth's climate, many recent scientific advances would not have been possible without a parallel increase in computing power - and with revolutionary technologies such as the quantum computer edging towards reality, what will the relationship between computing and science bring us over the next 15 years? "

Short-Term Headwinds For Global Equities

BCA Research - Independent Investment Research Since 1949: "Global stock markets have advanced this year on the back of growing optimism about the economic outlook. However, the flip-side of the improving growth outlook is rising bond yields and a re-kindling of the energy bull market, which historically have been headwinds for equities. This year, ten-year bond yields are up more than 50 bps for the G7 countries and are at their highest level in nearly two years, although, encouragingly, inflation expectations remain in check. Meanwhile, crude oil prices are flirting with record highs, in part reflecting investor concerns about U.S.-Iranian tensions and a possible disruption to global oil supplies. While we remain upbeat about stocks on a 6 to 9 month basis, some near-term turbulence is likely if interest rates and oil prices keep climbing. "

17 April 2006

Copper Futures Rise to Record in Shanghai

Bloomberg.com: Commodities: "April 17 (Bloomberg) -- Copper futures in Shanghai rose to a record for a third session after China's President Hu Jintao said the nation's economic growth accelerated to 10.2 percent in the first quarter, boosting prospects for metals consumption.
The figure, given by Hu in Beijing yesterday, is higher than every forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 25 economists and compares with 9.9 percent growth in the fourth quarter. The Bloomberg survey had a median estimate of 9.6 percent.
``Hu's comments that China's economy accelerated is a surprise and very encouraging,'' said Shen Haihua, vice president with Maike Futures Co. ``Strong cash prices indicate tight supply. I don't see any slowdown in copper consumption.''
Copper prices in Shanghai have increased 82 percent in the past year on demand for the metal in homes, cars and appliances. Metal for delivery in July rose as 1,820 yuan, or 3.2 percent, to settle at 58,740 yuan ($7,326) on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. The contract earlier rose by the daily fluctuation limit 4 percent to a record 59,190 yuan a ton.
Copper for cash delivery in Changjiang, the biggest spot market in Shanghai, rose as much as 1,850 yuan, or 3.2 percent, to a record 58,850 yuan a ton. Chinese users have to pay a 17 percent value-added tax, 2 percent import tax, premiums and freight charges for imported copper.
Demand for cables and wires in China, the biggest consumer of copper, will rise to 3.35 million tons by 2010 from an expected 2.45 million tons in 2006, He Shisi, an official at the China Electrical Equipment Industry Association, said on April 14. Installation of power grids in the rural areas and power construction will boost demand for copper, He said. April 17 (Bloomberg) -- Copper futures in Shanghai rose to a r"

Free speech on life support by George Will - Apr 16, 2006

Townhall.com :: Columns :: Free speech on life support by George Will - Apr 16, 2006: "The ``problem'' Republicans addressed is that in 2004 Democrats were more successful than Republicans in using 527 organizations -- advocacy groups named after the tax code provision governing them. In 2002, McCain-Feingold banned large ``soft money'' contributions for parties -- money for issue-advocacy and organizational activities, not for candidates. In 2004, to the surprise of no sensible person and most McCain-Feingold supporters, much of the money -- especially huge contributions from rich liberals -- was diverted to 527s. So on April 5, House Republicans, easily shedding what little remains of their ballast of belief in freedom and limited government, voted to severely limit the amounts that can be given to 527s.
David Dreier, R-Calif., explained, sort of. He said he voted against McCain-Feingold because ``dictating who could give how much to whom'' violated the First Amendment, but now he favors dictating to 527 contributors because McCain-Feingold is not violating the First Amendment enough: It is not ``working as it was intended.'' That is, it is not sufficiently restricting the money financing political advocacy"

Townhall.com :: Columns :: The generals' revolt by Pat Buchanan - Apr 14, 2006

Townhall.com :: Columns :: The generals' revolt by Pat Buchanan - Apr 14, 2006: "'Rumsfeld should resign because the administration is losing the war on the home front. As bad as things are in Baghdad, America won't be defeated there militarily. But it may be forced into a hasty and chaotic retreat by mounting domestic opposition to its policy. Much of the American public has simply stopped believing the administration's arguments about Iraq, and Rumsfeld is a symbol of that credibility gap. He is a spent force ...'
With the exception of Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, the former head of Central Command who opposed the Bush-Rumsfeld rush to war, the other generals did not publicly protest until secure in retirement. Nevertheless, they bring imposing credentials to their charges against the defense secretary.
Major Gen. Paul Eaton, first of the five rebels to speak out, was in charge of training Iraqi forces until 2004. He blames Rumsfeld for complicating the U.S. mission by alienating our NATO allies.
Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs up to the eve of war, charges Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith with a 'casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions -- or bury the results.'
Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the Army's 1st Division in Iraq, charges that Rumsfeld does not seek nor does he accept the counsel of field commanders. Maj. Gen. John Riggs echoes Batiste. This directly contradicts what President Bush has told the nation.
Maj. Gen. Charles J. Swannack, former field commander of the 82nd Airborne, believes we can create a stable government in Iraq, but says Rumsfeld has mismanaged the war.
As of Good Friday, the Generals' Revolt has created a crisis for P"

16 April 2006

Oil prices likely to surge to new record highs

Oil prices likely to surge to new record highs | Reuters.com: "LONDON (Reuters) - An influx of fresh fund buying and geopolitical worries will most likely push oil prices to new record highs soon, analysts said on Tuesday, while the most bullish predicted prices to eventually climb to $100 a barrel.
Supply concerns in Nigeria, Iran and other key oil-producing countries have ignited U.S. crude prices, up 13 percent this year and within $2 of the all-time record high of $70.85, reached in late August 2005 in the wake of hurricane damage in the United States.
Analysts predicted the market to rally even further as high oil prices have failed to reduce global demand.
'It is pretty clear that we can break $70 without too much problem,' said Deborah White, an analyst at SG CIB Commodities in Paris.
'We have been getting a massive injection (of investment fund money) in the commodity markets. It is very clear from the price action that they haven't stopped.'
Analysts said prices could peak at around $80 a barrel, a level that matches inflation-adjusted prices set after the 1979 Iranian revolution.
Twenty-seven years later, the market is again focused on the Middle East country as Tehran battles with the West over its nuclear program.
'Even without a possible Iranian oil disruption, we could go to $75 to $80 a barrel,' said Olivier Jakob of Swiss-based Petromatrix, an oil analysis "