Saturday, 30 April 2011

America's reckless money-printing could put the world back into crisis

"America's base money supply – the bedrock of the world's reserve currency – has doubled in little more than two years. Despite consternation among many US voters, and dismay – rapidly turning to anger – across the world, most of America's political elite refuse even to debate QE. Such is the state of democracy in the "land of the free and the home of the brave". And America is not alone. "

'I don't think you should bow quite yet': Lip-reader reveals just what WAS said at the royal wedding

Daily Mail
"As all of us were trying to work out what Kate and William were discussing at various points throughout their wedding day, a lip-reader can reveal what was really said.And what is clear to see is that the relaxed words the couple exchanged throughout the day of celebration shows just how comfortable they are with each other."

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Berlusconi and Sarkozy resolve row over unwanted North African refugees - as 1,000 of them camp outside Eurostar in bid to get to Britain

Daily Mail
*Immigrants who have fled Tunisia say Britain is their 'only hope'
*Franco-Italian immigration problems comes amid international business tensions and discord over Libya
*Agreement reached to revise Treaty to account for 'exceptional' circumstances

London mosques train terrorists

The Australian
"BRITAIN'S mosques became a crucible of terrorism, with at least 35 Guantanamo Bay prisoners being trained by radical preachers before being sent to fight against the West, WikiLeaks documents have revealed.

The files show that a prisoner who promised US officials he would return to Yemen and work in his family's furniture business if released, is now the second-in-command of the most dangerous terrorist group in the world."

A taxpayer-funded haven for terrorists

Andrew Bolt,Herald Sun (Australia)
"How could Britain have been so lethally stupid:

According to files obtained by Britain’s Daily Telegraph, a mosque in north London served as a “haven” for Islamic extremists as the capital became a hub in the worldwide movement of militants.

The files called the Finsbury Park mosque “an attack planning and propaganda production base”.

Abu Qatada and Abu Hamza, two preachers at the mosque who lived off state benefits after claiming asylum, sent dozens of extremists to train and fight in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

At least 35 detainees at Guantanamo were captured while fighting against allied forces in Afghanistan having arrived there via British mosques.

Of these, 17 were British nationals or citizens who had been given residence after claiming asylum with the rest coming from abroad."

Setting the agenda

Dr Richard North
"Now that we are seeing the photographs of the tunnel (above), supposedly used to afford the escape of nearly 500 Taliban prisoners, it is getting a little bit difficult to believe in the story we are being told. The sheer practicalities of passing that many people through in the time claimed stretches belief to its limits and beyond.

One suspects now that the tunnel could have been for show, and the bulk of the escapees walked out of the front door. But, by whatever route they secured their freedom, the Christian Science Monitor puts its finger on it. It cites Ahmad Shah Khan Achakzai, a former member of parliament in Kandahar, who says: "It is impossible for the Taliban to get 500 men out of prison without anyone's help. I believe there are some people from the prison or the government who gave the Taliban support … It's now clear to everyone how corrupt the government is".

Monday, 25 April 2011

It's time Tesco haters stocked up on facts

"But the facts are irrelevant to UK Uncut, an anti-capitalist protest group that has sprung up over the past year and which is heavily involved in protests against Tesco (along, in the Bristol protests, with the gloriously named but astonishingly silly Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft).

UK Uncut claims to be peaceful, involved only with sit-ins and orderly demonstrations at businesses it targets such as TopShop, Boots and Vodafone. But many of its activists seem, by a remarkable coincidence, to have been at the scene of a number of the riots and public order disturbances in recent months. Its beef is tax avoidance, arguing that the businesses it targets are culpable because they structure their affairs to minimise tax liabilities. In other words, they structure their affairs entirely legally, in accordance with tax rules, and avoid paying what would in effect be additional voluntary tax. "

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Family of 12 Ethiopian asylum seekers who have just landed in Britain get £1,460-a-week for vast London home

Daily Mail
"An Ethiopian family of 12 are being put up in a vast house costing the taxpayer almost £1,500-a-week just two months after arriving in Britain.The couple and their 10 children are receiving a staggering £1,460-a-week housing benefit from the cash-strapped Tower Hamlets council in London - Britain's poorest borough.The jobless family - who will also be receiving other handouts such as unemployment and child benefits - only arrived in London from Africa in the past few weeks.It is yet another example of taxpayers having to pick up the bill for families to stay in vast houses in the capital."

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

British taxpayers face £600m bill as EU defies Cameron's calls for austerity

"Brussels has demanded that British taxpayers stump up more than £682million in extra contributions to the European Union next year to meet a proposed £5.5billion increase in spending that has defied David Cameron’s repeated calls for austerity."
The proposed EU budget hike will wipe out all Britain's spending cuts
"To grasp the extent of the EU’s disconnection from reality, ponder the two tables at the foot of this post. Almost every country in Europe is trying to hold expenditure down, and many are making more significant cuts than the United Kingdom. From Ireland to Greece, from Portugal to Latvia, public sector employees face redundancies and pay cuts. And where are all the savings going? To public sector employees at EU level.

Today, the Commission demanded a 4.9 per cent increase in the EU budget – on top of last year’s increase, which saw Britain’s net contribution rise by an almost unbelievable 74 per cent. What does it need the extra money for? Five words: more staff on higher salaries.

Monday, 18 April 2011

US and EU political resolve cracks in the face of fiscal ruin

"Credit rating agencies should never be taken too seriously, but for Standard & Poor's to put the United States on "negative outlook" is none the less something of event. ...If nothing else, S&P's bombshell highlights the hopeless mess the world's largest economy has managed to get itself into.

Coming on top of renewed escalation in the eurozone crisis, it feeds into a sea of worry about the sustainability of the economic recovery and the increasingly parlous fiscal position of many advanced economies.

Experience in Japan over several decades shows that it is perfectly possible to have apparent fiscal catastrophe as well as repeated credit agency downgrades, and still be able to borrow from the markets at absurdly low interest rates. As if to confirm the point, Monday's "negative outlook" was only mildly negative for US Treasuries.

Yet unlike Japan, which raises virtually all its debt from domestic investors, has mountainous foreign exchange reserves, and maintains of relatively low levels of private debt, the US is highly reliant on overseas capital to fund its spending, is as badly indebted privately as it is publicly, and runs a still massive current account deficit.

America cannot for ever rely on Chinese reserve accumulation to finance the deficit on affordable terms. The dollar's status as international reserve currency of choice is also quite plainly on the wane. "

Drivers who don't renew their insurance in time face having their car clamped on their drive

Daily Mail
"Motorists whose insurance runs out and isn’t renewed on time face having their car clamped in their driveway, seized and destroyed under tough new rules laid before Parliament today. The new clamp-and-scrap powers are being given to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) by ministers and are a new weapon in the Government’s armoury against uninsured drivers. The new system, called continuous insurance enforcement, goes fully live in June and means cars must be insured at all times - and no long have to be spotted on the road to be clamped and seized. ....AA Insurance said their own survey had shown that 6 out of 10 motorists were completely unaware of the changes that could see their car clamped and impounded from their driveway.

An AA/Populus study of nearly 13,000 AA members, an ‘extraordinary’ 59 per cent had not heard about the new law and of the balance who were aware of it, with four out of ten (38 per cent) saying they ‘don’t know what it means’.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Britain 'will not join eurozone bail-out fund'

"Britain will not be part of any future eurozone bail-out fund, officials from the UK have told their European counterparts in the face of pressure to back a new safety net for troubled countries from 2013. ...George Osborne, the Chancellor, has already stressed that Britain is not in the business of bailing out eurozone nations, but must honour its existing agreements."

Thursday, 14 April 2011

David Cameron: migration threatens our way of life

"David Cameron will claim today that uncontrolled immigration has undermined some British communities. In his most forthright speech on the issue since he became Prime Minister, he will say that mass immigration has led to "discomfort and disjointedness" in neighbourhoods because some migrants have been unwilling to integrate or learn English.Pledging to cut the numbers entering Britain to tens of thousands, rather than hundreds of thousands, Mr Cameron will say that "for too long, immigration has been too high".

Seattle school renames Easter eggs 'Spring Spheres'
"A sophomore at a local private high school thinks an effort to make Easter politically correct is ridiculous. ....."I went to the teacher to get her approval and she wanted to ask the administration to see if it was okay," Jessica explained. "She said that I could do it as long as I called this treat 'spring spheres.' I couldn't call them Easter eggs." Rather than question the decision, Jessica opted to "roll with it." But the third graders had other ideas.

"When I took them out of the bag, the teacher said, 'Oh look, spring spheres' and all the kids were like 'Wow, Easter eggs.' So they knew," Jessica said.

The Seattle elementary school isn't the only government organization using spring over Easter. The city's parks department has removed Easter from all of its advertised egg hunts."

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Gordon Brown: I made a big mistake on banks

"In his first clear admission of some responsibility for the financial crisis, the former prime minister claimed he had not understood how “entangled” the world’s financial institutions had become. ....Mr Brown, who has been criticised for no longer attending the Commons to take part in economic debates, made his remarks while addressing a conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, at the weekend. It was the first time he had commented explicitly on the system of regulation that he masterminded during Labour’s first term in power. "

ED: wow, no surprise here.... he can't attend the Commons, but can make a trip to the USA.

HMS Nursemaid: Shame as Navy seizes 17 armed Somalis, gives them halal meat and nicotine patches... then sets them free!

Daily Mail
"When a Royal Navy warship captured a crew of Somali pirates, it seemed like a rare chance to strike back at the ruthless sea gangsters.The 17 outlaws were armed with an arsenal of AK 47s and rocket-propelled grenades, and had forced hostages on a hijacked fishing vessel to work as slaves for three months.But instead of bringing them to justice, the British servicemen were ordered to provide the pirates halal meals, medical checks, cigarettes – and in one case even a nicotine patch – before releasing them in their own boats."

Monday, 11 April 2011

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse... 'mortgages to soar and interest rates to quadruple in a year’

Daily Mail
"Interest rates are set to quadruple within a year, adding more than £100 a month to a typical mortgage, a senior Bank of England adviser has warned.

Families should brace themselves for a rate rise as officials try to get to grips with soaring inflation, said Andrew Sentance, of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee.Mr Sentance added that the ‘balance of opinion’ on the MPC, which sets interest rates, was shifting in favour of an increase – the first since March 2009.Homeowners should look at City forecasts for interest rates when planning their budgets for the coming months, he said.Forecasts suggested rates would be ‘getting up to somewhere around about 2 per cent next year’ – four times the current 0.5 per cent rate.His warning came as a study revealed families were facing the biggest squeeze in household incomes since 1921."

New gasoline engine design has 4x efficiency of pistons

"This looks promising. It is basically a continuous combustion wave turbine. While not super powerful in this early design and not intended to replace a V-8 it can be brought to market for a hybrid vehicle application soon, according to the researcher. See the video below. While they’ve got a focus on CO2 for the usual reasons, I’ll take increased efficiency any day. .....Researchers from Michigan State University have been awarded $2.5 million from the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program to complete its prototype development of a new gasoline-fueled wave disc engine and electricity generator that promises to be five times more efficient than traditional auto engines in electricity production, 20% lighter, and 30% cheaper to manufacture.

The wave disc engine, a new implementation of wave rotor technology, was earlier developed by the Michigan State group in collaboration with researchers from the Warsaw Institute of Technology. About the size of a large cooking pot, the novel, hyper-efficient engine could replace current engine/generator technologies for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles."

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Eurozone ship is on the course that was set for it: heading for the rocks

"Two events last week saw the crisis in the eurozone deepen - the Portuguese bail-out and the ECB's interest rate increase. But much more is brewing. .....What the eurozone needs now is sustained, strong economic growth. Yet this is a realistic prospect only for Germany and its immediate satellites. By contrast, the peripheral countries face years of depression.

Predictably, the remedy offered by the politicians is an alphabet soup of support mechanisms, all beginning with the magical letter E, and more of the balm that supposedly overcomes all ills, namely political will.

In other words: don't panic; it will be all right on the night.

It won't. The eurozone is heading for the rocks. "

Where the Uranium Is

"This map is a general radioactivity map. It was made by flying over the country and measuring the radiation at the aircraft. As breakdown of the U eventually leads to Radon, it’s a rough guide to the total Radon risk of an area. Over 20,000 deaths / year are attributed to Radon in the USA."

Labour in 2011 - profligacy and hypocrisy rule the day

"Fast forward to the present day, and the Labour blogosphere is making noise about Greg Barker, Tory minister of state for energy & climate change, who is on a visit to the US. Barker apparently told an audience at the University of South Carolina that "We are making cuts that Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s could only have dreamt of". Not the wisest or most sensitive choice of words, but he's basically echoing what chancellor Darling said last year. The truth is that any government in power today would have no choice but to cut public spending, in order to restore confidence in the nation's finances.

If Ed Miliband was the one invited to become Prime Minister last May, where would the wider Labour Party stand on the cuts that he and his chancellor would be carrying out right now? Would we be accusing the Labour government of outright Tory-ism and a heartless attack on the poorest? No. Of course, Labour's austerity programme would have been enacted slightly slower than the coalition's current plans, but have no doubt, there would have been deeply unpopular service reductions and cuts under a Labour government."

Friday, 8 April 2011

Britain's £6bn bill to bail out Portugal... and will Spain be next?

Daily Mail
"Treasury sources confirmed that Britain could be required to give a multi-billion pound guarantee to pay off Portugal’s loans under the terms of a deal signed by Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling in the days after his party lost the General Election, but before the Coalition was formed last May."

It's even worse than we feared: Cost of national debt to each family is a staggering £138,360

Daily Mail
"Britain's debt mountain is the equivalent of £138,360 for each household in the country, research reveals today.The national debt is even larger than initially feared, according to a think-tank.Official figures, from the Office for National Statistics, show the total public sector debt is estimated to be £876billion, equal to £33,100 per household. If the debt from the banks rescued by the State is included, the figure balloons to £2,252billion, according to the ONS.The banks are Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley, which have all been rescued since February 2008.But the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank says in a report that the real figure is £3,617billion, which is four times larger than the original ‘bank-free’ figure.Brooks Newmark, Tory MP and co-author of the report, The Hidden Debt Bombshell, said: ‘The size of the country’s debt is bad, but actually it is even worse than people think.'We have to be honest with taxpayers about the true extent of the liabilities. Otherwise, it is Enron accounting.’This is a reference to the American energy giant which collapsed into bankruptcy a decade ago after a web of false accounting was uncovered.Experts said the figures highlight the urgent need to sort out Britain’s debts or risk a financial crisis like the one unfolding in Portugal. The CPS report says Britain’s debts are larger because three vital factors are excluded from the Government’s accounts."

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Cut, cut, cut: Alistair Darling versus Greg Barker

New Statesman
"The inconvenient truth is that Labour, thanks to the so-called Darling plan for deficit reduction, had also planned to go beyond Thatcher too - and were equally keen to "let the cat out of the bag".

Here's the relevant quote from the then Chancellor, Alistair Darling, in an interview with the BBC's Nick Robinson in March 2010:

Robinson: "The Treasury's own figures suggest deeper, tougher than Thatcher's - do you accept that?"

Darling: "They will be deeper and tougher - where we make the precise comparison I think is secondary to an acknowledgement that these reductions will be tough."

Monday, 4 April 2011

Migrant crime wave revealed: Foreign arrests have almost doubled in just THREE years

Daily Mail
*91,234 arrests by half of UK forces last year, compared with 51,899 in 2008
*Total number of non-British suspects quizzed over period may be 750,000
*Rural police see biggest increase in foreigner arrests

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Cuts? What cuts? Spending is rising

Government spending will actually increase over the next few years, despite the BBC's claims, says Christopher Booker.(Telegraph)
"From the way the BBC, Channel 4 News et al bang on about those dreadful “cuts”, you would never guess that not only is our public spending continuing to spiral upwards, but that it is still outrunning government income by nearly £3 billion a week. According to the body given the Orwellian title of the Office for Budget Responsibility, total managed expenditure for the financial year ending this week has been £694 billion. “Current receipts” are just £548 billion. This leaves a gap of £148 billion, or almost £3 billion a week.

Next year, the OBR projects that spending will rise to £710 billion while receipts will be £588 billion. The fact that Mr Osborne predicts that annual spending is due to rise over the next four years by £50 billion and our national debt by another £300 billion seems to be one of the best-kept secrets in British politics. "

Friday, 1 April 2011

Potato Earth: Gravity satellite reveals what our planet REALLY looks like

Daily Mail (April Fools day)
"At first glance it looks like a potato-shaped asteroid flying through space.But this multi-coloured image is actually the Earth - and shows how gravity varies on different parts of the globe.The images were unveiled today by the team behind the GOCE satellite at a conference in Munich and are the most accurate ever released." LOL-ED