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Friday, February 11, 2011

Postal Service warns of default as losses mount

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The U.S. Postal Service warned Wednesday that it may default on some of its financial obligations later this year after reporting yet another quarterly loss.

The USPS, a self-supporting government agency that receives no tax dollars, said it suffered a loss of $329 million in the first quarter of federal fiscal year 2011. That compared with a loss of $297 million a year earlier.

The agency has been suffering from an ongoing decline in mail volume, which has undercut revenues, while retiree health care costs have been straining its reserves.
Excluding costs related to retiree benefits and adjustments to workers' compensation liability, the Postal Service said it had net income was $226 million in the first quarter, which ended Dec. 31.
Despite ongoing cost-cutting efforts, the USPS said it expects to have a cash shortfall this year and to hit its federally mandated borrowing limit by September, when the government's fiscal year ends.
The agency said it will be forced to default on some of its financial obligations this year unless Congress changes a 2006 law requiring it to pay between $5.4 and $5.8 billion into its prepaid retiree health benefits each year.
"The Postal Service continues to seek changes in the law to enable a more flexible and sustainable business model," Patrick Donahoe, the Postmaster General, said in a statement. "We are eager to work with Congress and the administration to resolve these issues prior to the end of the fiscal year."
The Postal Service has taken a number of steps to increase revenue, including marketing initiatives and price increases. The agency raised rates an average of 3.6% in January.


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These Are The Currencies That Will Surge Or Tank If Oil Goes Past $100


From the latest Morgan Stanley FX Pulse, this nice little infographic shows which currencies rise with oil (the ones at the top) and which ones dive with oil.
Not surprisingly, heavy oil importers like the Swiss Frank, the yen, and the dollar would slide if oil goes up

Meanwhile, this chart shows how you can synthetically match oil's movement going long a basket of currencies, while shorting the dollar


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European debt crisis threatens Portugal

BE (left wing party) presents a motion of non-confidence at Portuguese parliament

The European Central Bank (ECB) has stepped in to the financial markets to buy Portuguese bonds on Thursday amid growing fears that the eurozone's rolling crisis is about to claim its third victim.
Policymakers in Frankfurt intervened for the first time in three weeks as borrowing costs on Portugal's debt remained at a level that proved to be unsustainable for both Greece and Ireland.
Left Bloc, one of the smaller parties in Portugal's parliament, said on Thursday it would table a motion of no confidence in the minority socialist government of the prime minister, José Sócrates, over its painful austerity measures to cut the budget deficit. The political uncertainty further unnerved investors, who dumped Portuguese bonds this week, sending yields soaring.
The ECB's attempt to reduce the tension was prompted by a rise in the yield on 10-year Portuguese bonds to 7.63% – the highest level since the country became a founder member of the single currency at the end of the 1990s.
Although Lisbon insisted it would be able to continue financing itself in debt markets, pressure on Portugal has been mounting in recent days as dealers questioned the eurozone's ability to put together a package of financial support and economic measures to protect member states from further speculative attacks.
Traders are concerned about Portugal's ability to refinance almost €10bn (£8.5bn) of debt that matures this spring, with the lack of confidence underlined by the poor performance of a syndicated bond launched by the government this week.
Cabinet minister Pedro Silva Pereira said: "There are no reasons to think Portugal does not have conditions to keep tapping the markets. It's quite the opposite." He blamed speculative attacks for rising yields. "This has to do with sovereign debt markets and not only in relation to Portugal but rates at the European level – all subject to speculative moves attacking the euro," he said.
Silva Pereira said Portugal was getting to grips with its financial problems, saying there were "extremely positive" signs from tax revenues as the country sought to slash the budget deficit this year from about 7% of gross domestic product to 4.6% of GDP.
Dealers said, however, that Portugal appeared to be following the same pattern as Ireland late last year, when sky-high borrowing costs forced Dublin to seek help from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund despite repeated government claims that the country could cope.



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International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn calls for new world currency

International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn addresses the participants of the 2009 Annual Meeting of IMF and World Bank in Istanbul

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has called for a new world currency that would challenge the dominance of the dollar and protect against future financial instability.

“Global imbalances are back, with issues that worried us before the crisis - large and volatile capital flows, exchange rate pressures, rapidly growing excess reserves - on the front burner once again,” Strauss-Kahn said. “Left unresolved, these problems could even sow the seeds of the next crisis.”
“When we worry about the deficiencies of the international monetary system, we are mostly worrying about volatility,” he added. There is “a sense that money sometimes flows around the globe in too-volatile a fashion and that countries need a more stable, more predictable external environment in order to prosper”, he said.
He suggested adding emerging market countries' currencies, such as the yuan, to a basket of currencies that the IMF administers could add stability to the global system.
China, which holds much of its $2.85 trillion mountain of reserves in US Treasury bonds, has repeatedly expressed unease about the value of the dollar, while American politicians have complained that Beijing gains an unfair advantage by keeping its own currency cheap.
Strauss-Kahn saw a greater role for the IMF's Special Drawing Rights, which is currently composed of the dollar, sterling, euro and yen, over time but said it will take a great deal of international cooperation to make that work.
"Using the SDR to price global trade and denominate financial assets would provide a buffer from exchange rate volatility," Strauss-Kahn said, while "issuing SDR-denominated bonds could create a potentially new class of reserve assets".
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last month said the currencies of Brazil, Russia, India and China should be included in the SDR valuation basket. The same month, Sarkozy said that the yuan should be included, and US President Barack Obama’s administration said it supports such a transition “over time”.

The Telegraph

Rumor: Saudia Arabia's King Abdullah passed away

Saudia Arabia

Islam Times: Saudi Arabia's 86-year-old King Abdullah was discharged from a New York City hospital in good health after going through two back operations in December 2010. The king delegated the management of the affairs of the world’s largest oil supplier to his half-brother, Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, during his absence.

King Abdullah talked with Obama about the situation in Egypt over the phone yesterday. Obama and the King got into a  heated debate about their opinions of what Hosni Mubarak should do. After the phone call sources stated that King Abdullah was furious and then suffered a sudden heart attack. 

Doctors ran to his rescue  but were unable to save him.  He was pronounced  dead, but his death was  not reported due to the  sensative conditions that  exist in  the region. The Saudi Arabian government will reject this claim; but the ball is in their court to prove that he is alive.  

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Revolution in the Middle East and its connection to Revelation

In response to the recent wave of Arab revolts and current uprising in Egypt, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in his February 4 Friday Prayer sermon in Tehran welcomed the "revolution and awakening" and interpreted in detail his ideological analysis and aspirations with regard to the "explosion of sacred anger" in the Middle East.

Khamenei, identifying himself as a 'brother in religion' to the Arab people, concluded that the recent wave of unrest shaking the nations was an "earthquake" triggered by the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and condemned the Mubarak regime for siding with the West; choosing to support the 'Zionists' rather than the Palestinians, pointing out that since Camp David a great divide was created between the Egyptian people and the government.

During Friday prayers the Ayatollah addressed the Egyptian protestors saying "the uprising of the Muslim Egyptian nation is an Islamic and freedom-seeking movement. I, in the name of the people and government of Iran, send salutations to you and pray to God for your complete victory. Of you and your uprising I am filled with pride."

Egypt’s main opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, rejected this claim of an Islamic revolution by the Ayatollah just hours after Khamenei’s remarks on Friday. Editor in chief Khaled Hamza of Ikhwanweb, the Muslim Brotherhood’s official English website, stated that the current uprising in Egypt is 'a revolution of the Egyptian people and is by no means linked to any Islamic tendencies, despite allegations nor can it be described as Islamic.'  Such confusion!

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian Regime share a common goal despite their differences, uniting them together with many of the Muslims who are protesting, and that is the hatred for the nation of Israel and for those who support them.

This revolt and 'resistance' against the existence of Israel is at the spiritual heart of the Middle East conflict - not the economy, which no doubt plays a role, but suggests a man-made fix could end the disputes. Rather, an entire ideological shift would need to occur to change the spiritual condition and ambition of Israel's neighbors. Thus, it is essentially a 'spiritual battle,' and the current situation threatens to disrupt more than the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, given that the Islamic agenda (see Article 27: Hamas Covenant) proceeds and war threats in the region become more than rumors: There are several prophesied events concerning Israel and the nations aligned against Zion:  Zechariah 12:1-3, Psalm 83, Isaiah 17:1Ezekiel 38-39Joel 3:2

Joel C. Rosenberg explained in his February 4 blog post:
If Egypt falls into the hands of the Radicals, this will be a disaster of historic proportions. Egypt and Iran would be the Twin Towers of the epicenter, two nations that have collapsed at the hands of the jihadists who are determined to rebuild the Islamic caliphate and usher in the End of Days, even if many in our foreign policy establishment don’t recognize this.
In many ways, Egypt and Iran could not be more different. Egypt is ethnically Arab and spiritually Sunni. Iran is ethnically Persian and spiritually Shia. Traditionally, Arabs and Persians have hated each other. So have Sunnis and Shias. But now they are coming together for two common objectives:
To surround Israel, destroy the Jews, and capture Jerusalem for Islam.
To surround the Arabian peninsula, destroy the "apostate" House of Saud regime, and capture control of Mecca and Medina
This is why the Iranian regime is so excited by what is happening in Egypt, and determined to help where and how they can.
A MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) dispatch dated October 6, 2010, a translation from Arabic to English of a  weekly sermon by Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Badi', solidifies this common unifying factor between the Ayatollah's claim of Islamic Revolution and that of the Muslim Brotherhood and makes a bold statement of Islamic, anti-Zionist intentions outside of the mainstream media's attention:
"According to the Islamic shari'a that Allah [has bequeathed] to mankind, the status of the Muslims, compared to that of the infidel nations that arrogantly [disdain] his shari'a, is measured in a kind of scale, in which, when one side is in a state of superiority, the other is in a state of inferiority...

"Many Arab and Muslim regimes have not managed to build up their peoples, due to their weakness and their dependence [on the West], and in many cases they have begun to work against the interests of the [Muslim] nation... The lands of the Arabs and of Islam are now plagued with problems because [the Arabs] have lost their [strength of] will, leaving it to the Zionist enemies and their supporters. [The Arab and Muslim regimes] have forgotten, or are pretending to have forgotten, that the real enemy lying in wait for them is the Zionist entity. They are aiming their weapons against their own peoples, while avoiding any confrontation with these Zionists and achieving neither unity nor revival for their nations. Moreover, they are disregarding Allah's commandment to wage jihad for His sake with [their] money and [their] lives, so that Allah's word will reign supreme and the infidels' word will be inferior... "

It is important to note that many government officials in the allied international community act as though blinded by the Muslim Brotherhood's core intentions as though they can't read the writing on the wall, choosing to blur reality and portray the MB as a 'Moderate' regime. It reminds this writer how the International community stood by numbly while Hamas was voted in as a legitimate governing body - all the while Hamas boldly declaring in their charter their will to destroy Israel.
Here is the writing on the wall:
The Muslim Brotherhood’s stated mission is as follows:
Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.
Does the Islamic agenda, with its will to destroy Israel at its core and pursuit of a world under sharia law,  play a role in the end times?
Absolutely. When the nation of Israel - Jerusalem becomes the focus of the world's attention and is surrounded by threats of war - and false peace (plans) and world dominion is lusted for by such an organization, the book of Revelation is worth the time and study.

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Revolution in the Middle East and its connection to Revelation - Canada Canada Bible Prophecy | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/canada-bible-prophecy-in-canada/revolution-the-middle-east-and-its-connection-to-revelation#ixzz1DOxfla00

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