HEADLINE Economic, Financial & Global News...
every weekday, to keep you better informed.
Waukegan Savings Bank is 40th bank failure of year
By Anthony Lazarus
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) - Waukegan Savings Bank of Waukegan, Ill., was closed by regulators on Friday and is the 40th U.S. bank failure of the year, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said. First Midwest Bank of Itasca, Ill., will assume the $77.5 million in deposits of Waukegan Savings Bank, and also purchase its roughly $89 million in assets. The cost of the failure of the two-bank branch to the FDIC's deposit-insurance fund will be $19.8 million.
Shilling: New recession has begun
Don't get excited about the recent 'green shoots'
By Howard Gold
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — After a rocky spring, we've had two consecutive months of gains in the Standard & Poor's 500 index.
And some pros are looking for a strong fall and are hoping the Federal Reserve rides to the rescue with more "quantitative easing" at its September meeting.
But just when you thought it was safe to get back into the market, here comes Gary Shilling to throw ice water on your hopes and dreams.
Shilling, a perennial contrarian, said that when economists sift through all the data, they will say the next U.S. recession began in the second quarter of 2012.
Why the U.S. Economy Is Much Stronger Than You Think
Quite like an Olympic sport, hand-wringing about "America's decline" is popular, practiced all around the world, and often dominated by Americans, themselves. Unlike an Olympic event, it's wasted energy.
By Ruchir Sharma - TheAtlantic.com
Usain Bolt is the most dominant sprinter the world has seen in a century, perhaps more, so when he runs at the London games, anything less than victory by a blistering margin will be greeted as a disappointment. Results are always relative to expectations, and this as true for global economic competition as for the 100-meter dash. These days, the United States is an underestimated underdog, while China is still widely seen as something more like Bolt. The expectations gap is crucial to parsing the confused public discussion of the American recovery, and what it means for America's future.
Where's the gold? NY Fed undergoes first-ever audit
A massive trove of gold kept under lock and key five stories below Manhattan at the New York Federal Reserve has been undergoing its first audit in history. It could put conspiracy theories - for example, that the gold is a sham - to sleep for good.
According to the official record, the US government keeps billions of dollars in gold stored beneath the New York Fed's Italian Renaissance fortress around the block from Wall Street.
But conspiracy theorists claim that the gold stock may have been stolen years back in a dramatic caper, that it's been used for backdoor deals with foreign governments, or even that it's been removed and replaced with gold-painted metal bars.
Cash-for-gold shops boom as Italians sell off their bling
Italy's traditional goldsmiths are up in arms over a boom in the poorly regulated cash-for-gold sector that is making billions for the mafia as hard-up Italians rush to sell off their bling.
Cash-for-gold shops have filled Italy's streets in recent months, with blanket television adverts urging Italians to sell off their medallions and jewels for quick cash, AFP reports.
Much of the gold eventually makes its way across the Alps to Switzerland - whether legally or smuggled across the border - making gold Italy's fastest growing export and Switzerland an increasingly prominent market for Italy.
Libor May Be Manipulated, But Silver Is Not, CFTC To Conclude
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
In what may be the most amusing news of the day, according to the FT the CFTC will shortly drop its 4 year old investigation into silver manipulation, "after US regulators failed to find enough evidence to support a legal case, according to three people familiar with the situation." How about evidence to support an "illegal" case? Of course, that this is happening after the recent discovery that the world's most pervasive fixed income benchmark was manipulated for years, if not decades, can only be reason for laughter and wonder if the CFTC used the same assiduous diligence methods in pursuing the alleged perpetrators of precious metal manipulation as it did in letting the fraud at PFG slip through its fingers for two decades. We will probably never know, or at least not until an email mentioning bottles of Bollinger and silver price "fixing", (or "banging the close" for that matter) in the same sentence inexplicably turns up and makes a complete mockery of the CFTC yet again.
'Scrap banks or they'll bring chaos' - Nobel Economist
Nobel Economics Laureate Edward Prescott explains what he thinks has gone so wrong in the region, and what needs to be done to put it right.
Venetian cunning of Draghi-Monti masterplan
may save euro for now
So we enter the treacherous market month of August with Europe in limbo. The actors wait upon each other. World finance held hostage to a fiendishly complicated game of diplomatic chess.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
The European Central bank will not move until Spain requests a full sovereign rescue from the EU bail-out fund (EFSF), and cedes yet more ground to EU commissars.
Spain in turn will not move until the ECB lays out the exact terms of any deal, and until the Teutonic bloc signals whether it intends to crush Spain into abject humiliation - a la Grecque - or seek a fraternal outcome.
Euro elites should say if they could ever view
single currency as a failure
What conditions could convince the euro elites that the euro was a failure and if they can imagine such conditions, then what stops them from concluding that they exist now?
By Roger Bootle - Telegraph.co.uk
In this last column before my summer break, I cannot resist returning to this year's leitmotif, the euro. Greece is due to run out of money on August 20 and the potential official providers of funds are dragging their feet. Quite understandably. Although the new Greek government agreed to the current bail-out package, it has failed to stick to the conditions. Surprise, surprise.
I suspect that the euro-establishment is ready to cut Greece adrift, perhaps in the next few weeks. Historically, September has been the month for crises. Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008; the Northern Rock crisis hit us in September 2007; the ERM crisis happened in September 1992; and the UK left the Gold Standard in September 1931.
Spain And Italy Are Toast Unless Germany
Allows The ECB To Print Trillions Of Euros
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
The financial chess game in Europe is still being played out, but in the end it is going to boil down to one very fundamental decision. Is Germany going to allow the ECB to print up trillions of euros and use those euros to buy up the sovereign debt of troubled eurozone members such as Spain and Italy or not? Nothing short of this is going to solve the problems in Europe. You can forget the ESM and the EFSF. Anyone that thinks they are going to solve the problems in Europe is someone that would also take a water pistol to fight a raging wildfire. No, the only thing that is going to keep Spain and Italy from collapsing under the weight of a mountain of debt is a financial nuke. The ECB needs to have the power to print up trillions of euros and use that money to buy up massive amounts of sovereign debt in order to guarantee that Spain and Italy will be able to borrow lots more money at very low interest rates. In fact, this is probably what European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has in mind when he says that he is going to "do whatever it takes to preserve the euro". However, there is one giant problem. The ECB is not going to be able to do this unless Germany allows them to. And after enduring the horror of hyperinflation under the Weimar Republic, Germany is not too keen on introducing trillions upon trillions of new euros into the European economy. If Germany allows the ECB to go down this path, Germany will end up experiencing tremendous inflation and the only benefit for Germany will be that the eurozone was kept together. That doesn't sound like a very good deal for Germany.
In Order To Be Saved, Spain And Italy
Must First Be Destroyed
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
There has been much confusion over last week's remarks by Mario Draghi, with the prevailing narrative being that the market first got what Draghi meant wrong (when it plunged), then right (when it soared). The confusion is further granulated by attempts to explain what was merely a desperate attempt at delaying a decision for action, which was inevitable considering the now open opposition by Buba's Weidmann, into a formal and planned plotline: "Inverse Twist" or other such technical jargon is what we have seen floating around. The reality is that, just like all other central bankers, Draghi did what he does best: use big words and threats of action in hope it will buy him a few extra days of time. The reality is also that, just like when the LTRO was announced, the market did get it right initially, when peripheral bonds plunged, and got it wrong over the subsequent 3 months when bond prices rose, only to collapse to new lows (and in the case of Spain - record high yields as of two weeks ago). Back then, the ECB merely bought a few months time with its transitory intervention. This time it has at best bought a few days with the lack of any actual action. And yet, Draghi did leave a way out, for at least another brief respite (where unless Europe expands the available bailout machinery yet again, the respite will have an even briefer half life than that from the LTROs). The way out is simple, and in order to avoid any confusion, we will use an allegory from the movie Batman: Spain and Italy can be saved. But first they must be destroyed.
The myth of a free Hong Kong economy - Part [1 of 3]
By Eddie Leung and Pepe Escobar - ATimes.com
HONG KONG - Open any standard economic textbook and look for the definition of a free economy; its key characteristic is the lack of government intervention. Less state intervention means a freer market.
On this standard, Hong Kong has been hailed as the world's freest economy for more than two decades. But is this the whole truth? What if the main sectors of the whole economy are dominated by a few oligopolies or even a virtual monopoly?
The rulers of the Hong Kong game - Part [2 of 3]
By Eddie Leung and Pepe Escobar - ATimes.com
HONG KONG - Life is indeed sweet if you're a Hong Kong property tycoon. In what is routinely considered the "freest" economy in the world, an oligarchy of property developers sets supply and pricing (see part 1 of this report). This applies not only to residential apartments but also to shopping malls, hotels, luxury serviced apartments and industrial and office space.
Top financial muscle rules. It gobbles up Hong Kong's best locations - near mass transit systems or by the spectacular waterfront. Behind the façade of all those glitzy malls though, life is very hard. Retail tenants pay not only a base rent but also a surplus rent when business turnover reaches a certain level. You can't go wrong - if you're the owner, not the tenant.
China addicted to Hong Kong's 'opium' - Part [3 of 3]
By Wu Zhong - ATimes.com
HONG KONG - In an analogy, Hong Kong can be likened to a small cat and mainland China to a giant tiger, when compared by their geographical size and economic strength. Interestingly, the analogy may remind one of a popular Chinese fable. It goes like this:
The first part of this fable may be said to vividly describe the relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China. It is a fact that in the past three decades mainland China has learned all the techniques from Hong Kong for building a capitalist-style free-wheeling market economy. Given its size and with its success, the mainland has inevitably become stronger and more powerful - to the point where it is now the world's second-largest economy.
Central Banks Revealed They Are Now Impotent
BY SY HARDING - FinancialSense.com
If you go into the woods with a gun and meet an angry bear, and you make a great noise firing off your ammunition but miss the bear, the noise only scaring it off for a while before it comes back at you again, and you keep firing the gun and making a great noise, but continue to miss, the bear catches on, and so do you. You realize you're almost out of rounds, that firing more will probably be unproductive since you really aren't a shooter and the rounds don't go where you aim them. But since just making a noise had been effective in at least scaring the bear away for a while, maybe you can save yourself by just waving the gun and making a lot of noise. You know it's an act of desperation not likely to succeed - but it might. So it's worth a try, and what else can you do anyway.
Keiser Report: Superstition Trading (E323)
In this episode, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss artificial superstition, increasing the inflation target to 100% and suicide watch for the too big to fail banks. They also discuss HSBC's misselling of interest rate swaps and drug cartel money laundering. In the second half, Max interviews author and blogger, James Howard Kunstler of Kunstler.com, about walking on coal and waiting for Santa Claus with Paul Krugman's magical thinking.
Repeal of Glass-Steagall: Not a cause, but a multiplier
By Barry Ritholtz - WashingtonPost.com
....The repeal of Glass-Steagall may not have caused the crisis — but its repeal was a factor that made it much worse. And it was a continuum of the radical deregulation movement. This philosophy incorrectly held that banks could regulate themselves, that government had no place in overseeing finance and that the free market works best when left alone. This belief system manifested itself in damaging ways, including eliminating regulation and oversight on derivatives, allowing exemptions for excess leverage rules for a handful of players and creating dangerous legislation.
As the events of 2007 to 2009 have revealed, this erroneous belief system was a major factor leading to the credit boom and bust, as well as the financial collapse.
'Corporate Welfare' Costs Taxpayers
Almost $100 Billion in FY 2012, Cato Report Finds
By Sabrina Gladstone - CNSNews.com
(CNSNews.com) – Subsidies to businesses in the federal budget in Fiscal Year 2012 cost taxpayers almost $100 billion, according to a new report from the Cato Institute.
"That includes direct and indirect subsidies to small businesses, large corporations, and industry organizations," the libertarian think-tank said in its latest policy analysis.
The subsidies are handed out from programs in many federal departments, including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development, the report noted.
Hard Times Generation: Families living in cars
Scott Pelley brings "60 Minutes" cameras back to central Florida to document another form of family homelessness: kids and their parents forced to live in cars.
The less productive U.S. economy
By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — After a brief pick-up due to "overfiring," the trend in productivity is heading in one direction: down.
And from a job's perspective, thank goodness for that.
"The only reason 1.7% GDP growth can go with 1% jobs growth, is because productivity growth is less than 1%," said Northwestern University economics professor Robert Gordon, who is one of the world's foremost experts in the field.
175,000 Fewer Women Held Jobs in July;
94,000 Dropped Out of Labor Force
By Terence P. Jeffrey - CNSNews.com
(CNSNews.com) - 175,000 fewer American women held jobs in July than in June, according to employment data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
By contrast, the number of men who held jobs declined by only 20,000 from June to July, according to BLS.
The Employment Rate In The United States
Is Lower Than It Was During The Last Recession
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
Did you know that a smaller percentage of Americans are working today than when the last recession supposedly ended? But you won't hear about this on the mainstream news. Instead, the mainstream media obsesses over the highly politicized and highly manipulated "unemployment rate". The media is buzzing about how "163,000 new jobs" were added in July but the unemployment rate went up to "8.254%". Sadly, those numbers are quite misleading. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in June142,415,000 people had jobs in the United States. In July, that number declined to 142,220,000. That means that 195,000 fewer Americans were working in July than in June. But somehow that works out to "163,000 new jobs" in July. I am not exactly sure how they get that math to add up. Perhaps someone out there can explain it to me. Personally, I find that the "employment rate" gives a much clearer picture of what is actually going on in the economy. The employment to population ratio is a measure of the percentage of working age Americans that actually have jobs. When it goes up that is good. When it goes down, that is bad. In July, the employment to population ratio dropped from 58.6 percent to 58.4 percent. Overall, the percentage of working age Americans that have jobs has now been under 59 percent for 35 months in a row.
Say Goodbye to Social Security
by ROB URIE - CounterPunch.org
In a New York Times editorial (link) written in 1993 the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith made a point that seems to have been lost on subsequent generations—many in the economic elite benefit from the destitution of others. Even more to the point, activist government could put the unemployed back to work tomorrow, but at a cost to the elite. By tying economic policies long known to work to competing economic interests, Dr. Galbraith explained the current conundrum. Economies in the West aren't working because a small economic elite benefits from this state of affairs.
Caterpillar to unions: Drop dead
By Steven Pearlstein - WashingtonPost.com
For decades, executives at unionized companies have harbored the fantasy that they could dictate the wages, benefits and working conditions of their employees, just like non-union firms. What stood in their way was the unions' ability to mount a strike that would prove more costly than paying above-market compensation. In the language of economics, the strike gave workers market power.
Now, at a hydraulics plant in Joliet, Ill., this corporate fantasy is about to become economic reality. Thanks to globalization, declining union density and years of chipping away at labor laws, Caterpillar is set to prove that even unionized companies can operate as if they have no union at all.
Uncertainty over Post Office finances delaying reforms
By Bernie Becker - TheHill.com
The House has left Washington without passing a fix to the Postal Service, and Republicans now say they are not likely to bring the issue to the floor until after November's elections.
House Republicans acknowledge that postal reform could be a tough vote for some of their members, with the issue not breaking down as cleanly along ideological lines as subjects such as the Bush-era tax rates the House voted on just before leaving for recess.
$465 FOR AMNESTY:
OBAMA TO MAKE ILLEGALS LEGAL BEFORE ELECTION DAY
by JOHN NOLTE - Breitbart.com
There's no question America's immigration policy, especially with respect to Mexico, is a mess and in need of reform. The lines are too long and the process is something Kafka might have designed. And as someone who would definitely sneak across any border if it meant a better life for myself and my wife in America, I have no desire to deport the illegals currently among us who have stayed out of trouble and truly embraced the American dream. There's a way to make this work (but only after we forever seal the border).
But as someone married to a woman born in Mexico, who as a young woman waited in line and followed the law to earn a citizenship she cherishes more than almost anything -- the thought of allowing line-jumpers is maddening enough. But for Obama to do this for divisive, cynical, political reasons -- that he is CHOOSING to ignore the law of the land he swore an oath to uphold -- is perfectly outrageous.
Another "stroke of the pen... law of the land" - NOT "kinda cool".
After defeat of Senate cybersecurity bill,
Obama weighs executive-order option
By Brendan Sasso - TheHill.com
Senate Republicans recently blocked cybersecurity legislation, but the issue might not be dead after all.
The White House hasn't ruled out issuing an executive order to strengthen the nation's defenses against cyber attacks if Congress refuses to act.
"In the wake of Congressional inaction and Republican stall tactics, unfortunately, we will continue to be hamstrung by outdated and inadequate statutory authorities that the legislation would have fixed," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in an emailed response to whether the president is considering a cybersecurity order.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL MAKES THE OBAMA/
OCCUPY WALL STREET CONNECTION
by LEE STRANAHAN - Breitbart.com
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal delivered a blistering attack on President Obama, saying that he believed the President showed the same thinking as the Occupy Wall Street movement. Jindal delivered the remarks to a receptive crowd at RedState Gathering 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday.
In a statement to Breitbart News, Gov. Jindal echoed his remarks in the speech, saying:
I think this election is about two different views of America's future and the President's view--where he talks about class warfare and dividing us--to me, sounds a lot like Occupy Wall Street, where people believe they are entitled to each other's property. I think the American Dream is different from that. I think in America, you're not entitled to equal outcomes. You are entitled to equal opportunity. And that is what I think this election is really about, to preserve that American Dream for our children, and the way to do that is not through more government spending, more taxes, more borrowing. Instead, it's about going back to a limited federal government that lives within its means.
Obama Handed the Ball to China
When he Rejected Keystone XL
By Joao Peixe - OilPrice.com
US dreams of energy security involve the easy access to abundant oil and gas sources both domestically, and also from its neighbours.
With its huge oil reserves, Canada is the most important of those neighbours. So did President Obama drop a ball when rejecting plans for the Keystone XL Pipeline?
Well, he didn't so much as drop the ball as hand it straight to China.
If China manage to get a decent foothold in Canada's oil sands it could prove very worrying to the US and their energy dreams. Yet we can't blame Canada, they only want to sell their oil, and they did come to the US first.
Sugar: The Bitter Truth
NEW series with Dr. Lustig "The Skinny on Obesity.
Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin. Series: UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public [7/2009] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 16717]
Curiosity rover to touch down on Mars
Car-sized probe targets red planet surface in $2.5 billion mission
By Steve Gelsi, MarketWatch.com
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects its car-sized Curiosity rover to touch down on the surface of Mars early Monday Eastern in a milestone for NASA.
The $2.5 billion mission was being hailed as possibly the biggest, boldest extraterrestrial landing for NASA since Apollo 11 touched down on the moon in 1969, CNet reported Sunday.
NASA officials refer to the "seven minutes of terror" of landing the craft.
Acorn Insider Becomes Whistleblower
On Obama Campaign Fraud
by Alan Bates, MD.
The following two links feature a speech by Anita Moncrief at CPAC. She was a devout liberal Democrat who worked inside ACORN during the Obama campaign until she discovered the fraudulent criminal actions of the Left's campaign carried out through Project Vote, the voter registration arm of ACORN, along with the collusion of ABC, CNN and the New York Times in shielding Americans from the truth provided to them by Ms. Moncrief. Project Vote continues to operate in America today as it prepares to defraud American voters of the upcoming election, while the same socialist media organizations still collude to protect the ideological objectives of the radical anti-American Left. You will find this speech most informative. Please pass on to your contacts.
Anita Moncrief at C-PAC Part 1
Anita Moncrief at C-PAC Part 2
Kochs Take Tip From Soros Investing In Voter Registration
By Julie Bykowicz - Bloomberg.com
The door-knockers wearing matching T- shirts and carrying electronic tablets loaded with maps and survey scripts fanned out on a recent evening across Hillsborough County, a Floridaenclave that has backed the winning presidential candidate in each of the last three elections.
Their mission: Find residents who share the small- government philosophy of Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit group founded by billionaire industrialists and Republican donors Charles and David Koch.
7 killed, including gunman,
in shooting at Wisconsin Sikh temple
By Jerry Markon - WashingtonPost.com
A gunman shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee on Sunday morning before being gunned down by police outside the building, authorities said.
The suspect, who has not been identified, killed four people inside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek and two more outside, Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt told reporters at a briefing. He was then shot by an officer and is presumed dead, Wentlandt said.
Sikh temple shooting: at least six worshippers killed in Wisconsin
Suspected gunman shot dead by police officer who was critically wounded amid initial fears of a second gunman
By Matt Williams in New York - Guardian.co.uk
At least six people were killed and more wounded when a gunman opened fire on worshippers at a Sikh temple in the US.
The shooting took place shortly before 10.30am local time at a place of worship in Oak Creek, south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Police said the gunman was shot by an officer who enagaged him in fire immediately after arriving on the scene. The officer was hit several times, but was able to return fire. The suspect is believed to have died, and the officer was taken to hospital, where he is critically ill.
Sunni Muslim 'Extremists'
Committed 70% of Terrorist Murders in 2011
By Edwin Mora - CNSNews.com
(CNSNews.com) - Sunni Muslim terrorists committed "about 70 percent" of the 12,533 terrorist murders in the world last year, according to a report by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).
The information comes from the 2011NCTC Report on Terrorism, which is based on information available as of March 12, 2012.
"Sunni extremists accounted for the greatest number of terrorist attacks and fatalities for the third consecutive year," the report says. "More than 5,700 incidents were attributed to Sunni extremists, accounting for nearly 56 percent of all attacks and about 70 percent of all fatalities."
Completely Surrounded By Psychopaths And Sociopaths
As We Approach The Edge Of Societal Collapse
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
Do you remember when America was a place where you could attend a public gathering without having to worry if a sociopath was going to set off a bomb or start wildly shooting people? Do you remember when America was a place where you could walk down the street without having to worry that a vicious pack of teens might attack you for no reason whatsoever? Do you remember when America was a place where you could leave your car unlocked, your house unlocked and your garage open without having to worry about thieves? Well, only old timers are likely to remember a time when you could leave your front door unlocked, but it was once like that in America. Over the past 50 years America has fundamentally changed. Once upon a time you could trust just about everybody, but these days it is difficult to find anyone that you can truly trust. We are literally surrounded by psychopaths and sociopaths as we approach the edge of societal collapse. The truly frightening thing is that we are watching society break down rapidly even though economic conditions are still relatively good. If this is how bad things are right now, what are they going to look like after the economy collapses and people become really desperate?
Radioactive cesium found in Japan's fish, seawater
Harmless traces of radioactive cesium have been discovered in fish and seawater in several areas of Japan, as the country continues to debate whether their fish is safe to consume and anti-nuke protests grow in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) stated that radioactive cesium, presumably from the crippled Fukushima I nuclear plant, was found in seawater and fish in several regions of the country, Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported from Tokyo.
The aquatic radiation was detected in central Japan (Shizuoka Prefecture), the western part of central Honshu (Niigata) and the country's northeast (Iwate).
Huge Finds in the Mediterranean
Mean Israel is Overflowing in Natural Gas
By Joao Peixe - OilPrice.com
Ever since its foundation as an autonomous state in 1948, Israel has relied on imported energy to meet its domestic power demands. However offshore exploration operations have now found giant natural gas fields able to supply the country with more gas than it can use.
Noble Energy Inc, Delek Group Ltd, and a few other companies have announced finds in the Mediterranean Sea that hold enough natural gas to supply Israel's energy needs for 150 years.
Iran warns against foreign intervention in Syria
Reuters - The DailyStar.com.lb [Lebanon]
DUBAI: Iran warned against foreign intervention in Syria on Sunday and said the conflict there could engulf Israel, Iranian media said.
Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani accused the United States and regional countries he did not name of providing military support to rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Iran.
Syria has accused Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia of backing rebels in Syria and fuelling violence there. Iran has supported Assad's efforts to crush the 17-month revolt and has accused Western countries and Israel of interfering in the crisis.
Pilgrims or mercenaries? Iran asks Turkey,
Qatar for help freeing captured nationals in Syria
Tehran has asked Turkey and Qatar to help secure the release of Iranian nationals kidnapped in the Syrian capital Damascus on Saturday. The Free Syrian Army claimed the Iranians were members of the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
The pilgrims were traveling from Damascus to the Sayeda Zeinab mosque, a holy shrine for Shia Muslims located in a southern suburb, Iran's state-owned al-Alam TV station said.
"Terrorists affiliated to the so-called Free Army are in charge of the abduction of the Iranian pilgrims," a Syrian government official told Fars.
Iran says the Free Syrian Army is responsible for the kidnapping.
Iran warns Syria conflict could engulf Israel
Iran parliament speaker Larijani warns against foreign intervention in Syria, accuses US of providing military support to rebels.
By REUTERS - JPost.com
DUBAI - Iran said Sunday that the conflict in Syria could engulf Israel, as it warned against foreign intervention there, Iranian media reported.
"The fire that has been ignited in Syria will take the fearful (Israelis) with it," Iran Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said on Sunday, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
Syria's agony prolonged while
Russia and America pursue regional agendas
Superpowers line up with different Middle East neighbours to jostle for influence as Syrian bloodshed continues
By Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor - Guardian.co.uk
Kofi Annan, who has resigned as the United Nations and Arab League special envoy on Syria, has had a bad press in certain quarters of late. Whether the plan that bears his name – to bring a halt to the killing and a political transition – was ever realistic in the first place, Annan, at least, was honest in his efforts to bring an end to the violence without widening the conflict.
Annan has been criticised for his past history, largely by those whose default is to prefer intervention over talking. He has been criticised, too, for the style of his meetings with President Bashar al-Assad, ignoring the fact that his role was a diplomatic one, not to deliver a non-existent ultimatum. That Assad, with the support of Russia and China, has resisted Annan's overtures can hardly be laid at his door.
Saudi invites Iran for extraordinary Muslim summit
AFP - The DailyStar.com.lb [Lebanon]
RIYADH: Saudi King Abdullah invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for an extraordinary summit of Muslim leaders to be held this month in the holy city of Mecca, state news agency SPA reported Sunday.
The Saudi monarch "sent a written letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inviting him to attend the extraordinary Islamic solidarity meeting which will be held in Mecca" in mid-August, SPA reported.
Early Muslim Extremists In American History
Collapse or decentralization for Syria?
By Rami G. Khouri - The DailyStar.com.lb [Lebanon]
Amid the many scenarios for Syria are two widely discussed possibilities: that President Bashar Assad will respond to his imminent collapse by retreating with his Alawite compatriots to an Alawite mini-state in the northwestern coastal area of Syria; and that Syria will fragment into a series of smaller entities based on ethnicity and religion – Kurdish, Druze, Alawite, Sunni, Christian and so on.
I suspect that both of these dire expectations are wrong, though each carries within it a hint of what is possible, not only for Syria but also for much of the Arab world. In between the centralized police and welfare state and a collapse into fragmented ethnic statelets may be a more feasible and appropriate third way, one that is based on strong decentralization of regional power and identity within a looser national superstructure.
War for Aleppo:
battle rages in city that will determine fate of Syria
Skirmishes have broken out in Aleppo as rebels pour in to confront regime loyalists in what will be a decisive clash
By Martin Chulov in Aleppo - Guardian.co.uk
The pitched battle for Syria's oldest city was edging ever closer to its ancient heart on Saturday, with skirmishes flaring near world-renowned landmarks and once impregnable pillars of state control.
Monuments and security buildings stand cheek-by-jowl in Aleppo, a city of huge importance to the Syrian uprising, where a grand, 1,000-year-old citadel stands not far from a much-feared interrogation dungeon. Yesterday jets were bombing the centre of the city, barely a mile away from the citadel.
Aleppo rebels wait anxiously
for Bashar al-Assad's elite to attack
Coming days likely to be decisive as Syria army reinforcements rumoured to be making their way towards city
By Martin Chulov in Aleppo - Guardian.co.uk
From where he sits behind the headmaster's desk in an old school house, the battle for northern Aleppo is going better than expected. But as artillery shells and heavy rounds from a circling helicopter thundered ever closer into nearby buildings on Sunday, Abu Suleiman, the commander of rebel operations in the north of the city, seemed to waver. "I expected that we'd get to this point in close to two weeks," he said. "But the coming days will be the most important of the revolution."
Aleppo is now undeniably a city at war. Crippling petrol shortages have reduced traffic by around 90%; festering garbage bags are now piled so high that they resemble road blocks; and the few people who brave the city's foreboding streets do so with one eye to the ground and the other tilted towards the ever-present circling attack helicopters.
Assad's artillery, planes pound Syria's Aleppo
Syria forces attack rebel frontline in Salaheddine district; jets bombard Damascus as onslaught continues, resident says.
By REUTERS - JPost.com
ALEPPO - Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces used artillery, planes and a helicopter gunship to pound rebel positions in Syria's biggest city, witnesses said, in a battle that could determine the outcome of the 17-month uprising.
After UN Security Council paralysis on Syria forced peace envoy Kofi Annan to resign last week, and with his ceasefire plan a distant memory, rebels were battered on Saturday by the onslaught they had expected in Aleppo and the capital Damascus.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Archived Page Link
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -