We will have a mirror site at http://nunezreport.wordpress.com in case we are censored, Please save the link

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

PM to meet Obama amid effort to avert UN ‘train wreck'

PM Netanyahu sitting with US President Obama

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu departed early Wednesday morning to do battle against recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN, with his first stop being a meeting in New York with US President Barack Obama just a few hours after arrival.

Before leaving, Netanyahu told Likud MKs and mayors meeting in the Knesset that “We don’t want peace just on paper, but a lasting peace. For that we need to stand up for our interests. It’s much easier to give in to pressure, not stand up, and get applauded by the world that doesn’t understand what we have been through. We are determined to protect our interests and stand up for our truth.”

The Netanyahu-Obama meeting, the eighth between the two leaders since they both took office in early 2009, takes place four months after a meeting in May at the White House during which administration officials reportedly fumed at Netanyahu for what they perceived as his lecturing of the president over Obama’s call for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to begin on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, with mutually-agreed land swaps.

Though Netanyahu came out strongly against that proposal at the time, in the intervening months he has rolled back his position and agreed in principle to accept – with reservations – the pre-1967 lines with mutual swaps as part of the formula for renewing talks. That agreement was based on the condition that the Palestinians agree that the parameters would also include recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.

This idea is still serving as the basis for attempts by the Quartet to find a formula to restart the negotiations and thereby take much of the “sting” out of any resolution on statehood that the PA brings to either the Security Council or the UN.

Quartet envoys were scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon in New York for the third consecutive day to discuss the matter. Among other ideas that are being bandied about to restart negotiations are for the Palestinians to delay a vote on the matter in the Security Council or General Assembly for six months, and for Israel to declare another settlement construction freeze.

Ironically, Netanyahu’s meeting with Obama comes as the US president is being pummeled by Republican presidential candidates over his treatment of Israel, a week after his Middle East positions had a part to play in the loss of a safe Democratic seat in a very Jewish district in New York, but as Netanyahu is saying that coordination with the administration is the best it has been since the beginning of the Obama term.

In a sign of the closeness of the cooperation, US Envoy to Israel Dan Shapiro flew on the prime minister’s plane to New York, something US ambassadors have not done since Martin Indyk used to fly on Ehud Barak’s plane when he was prime minister.

The Obama-Netanyahu meeting is expected to focus on the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN, with both the US and Israel having the shared interest of trying to keep the Palestinians from getting nine positive votes on the 15-member council, so the US would not have to use its veto to shoot down the measure.

That effort received a boost Tuesday when Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan told Defense Minister Ehud Barak during a meeting that his country would abstain if the measure came to a vote in the Security Council.

At this point Israel believes the other countries who may be convinced to either vote against or abstain on the measure in the Security Council are, in addition to the US, Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Colombia, and Gabon. The other countries on the council are India, Brazil, South Africa, Lebanon, China and Russia.

Netanyahu will meet with the heads of state of a number of these countries before Friday when Abbas is expected to formally request to UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon that the issue be taken up by the Security Council.

Netanyahu is expected to meet Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho on Wednesday, as well as French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Netanyahu is also expected to meet Ban on Wednesday.

The meeting between Barak and Jonathan was set up about a week ago, and – according to a statement put out by Barak’s office – was coordinated both with Netanyahu and the US.

In addition to discussing the Palestinian issue, the statement said the two also discussed the “challenges of international terrorism and ways the two countries can cooperate in this area.” Nigeria, one of Israel’s closest friends in Africa, has been plagued over the last number of years by radical Islamic terrorism.

Jerusalem Post
hostgator coupon 2011

US faces new shutdown threat as budget talks stall

US lawmakers said Tuesday a new budget stalemate over funding for disaster relief could lead to a government shutdown if an agreement is not reached by the end of the fiscal year September 30.

The latest bone of contention comes over aid for recovery for states hit by Hurricane Irene and subsequent flooding.

Republicans have said any new relief funds should be offset by cuts in other services, and also want some of the funds to be put into the 2012 fiscal year which begins October 1.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said he was not persuaded by comments from some Republicans that they would avert a shutdown, saying the Republican-led House of Representatives may take a hard line.

"I'm not that sure (that a shutdown will be averted), because the Tea Party-driven House of Representatives has been so unreasonable in the past, I don't know why they should suddenly be reasonable," Reid said.

The Senate has approved the release of $6.9 billion for disaster relief included in the budgets for fiscal 2011 and 2012.

But in the House, the Republican leadership is working toward approval of $1 billion for the current year and $2.6 billion for fiscal 2012.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the Senate leadership is the cause of the stalemate.

"There is nothing but politics involved if Harry Reid wants to go and play these games," Cantor said. "We are delivering the monies that are needed. We are twice what is requested from the emergency standpoint." He noted that President Barack Obama has requested $500 million in emergency funds.

Cantor said that if the government is forced to curtail services, "it will be on Leader Reid's shoulders, because he's the one playing politics with it. No one wants to stand in the way of disaster relief monies that are needed."

Reid said lawmakers should keep working to avert a shutdown despite a planned recess next week.

"We are not going to back down. Remember, the government doesn't shut down on Thursday or Friday," he said.

"If they want to stay into next week, that's fine. We can do that. Next week, we can work all next week. Government doesn't shut down until -- I think it's a week from Saturday."

The latest stalemate comes just weeks after a bruising political debate overbudget cuts and the raising of the US debt ceiling, with a shutdown narrowly averted after the White House and lawmakers agreed to create a "supercommittee" to examine deep cuts.


hostgator coupon 2011

Agreement with Russia, Turkey on power plant construction: Iran min

Tehran, Sept 21, IRNA – Energy Minister Madjid Namjou said Iran has reached an agreement with Russia and Turkey on making investments in construction of power plants in the country.

Namjou said the Russian and Turkish sides will also share technical experiences with the Islamic Republic of Iran to build those power plants.

hostgator coupon 2011

US: Magnetic pole shift means new Hillsboro runway name

The slowly drifting location of Earth's magnetic north pole means the Hillsboro Airport's main runway underwent a name change early this week - from 12/30 to 13/31.

The new numbers were painted at one end of the runway early this week as part of general maintenance, said a spokeswoman for the Port of Portland, which owns and operates the airport.

Pilots and clients of the airport were mailed notices to be on the lookout for the runway work, but the airport was never shut down, as was rumored, said spokeswoman Kama Simonds.

Runways are designated according to the points on a compass, and the changing location of true magnetic north meant the runway sometimes is renamed.

Experts say magnetic north is slipping slowly from above the Arctic Ocean in a north-northwestern direction toward Siberia, at about 34.2 miles per year. When the magnetic points were recalibrated, Hillsboro, like some other airports, had to renumber its main runway.

"Over time, every 20 years or so, the magnetic headings change, and the runways have to be renamed," Simonds said

Every five years, federal agencies tabulate magnetic variation, which varies by location. It correlates true direction to the magnetic compass readings needed for navigation.

While modern navigation is moving toward more satellite-based systems, most U.S. aviation still relies on ground radar - calibrated to the local magnetic variation used in navigational aids such as instrument landing systems and beacons, she said.

The adjustment is the result of a natural, ongoing process. The Earth has an iron core, and movement within its outer part is believed to be responsible for sustaining the magnetic field used to measure the Earth's surface.

This makes the Earth like a giant magnet, but with the location of its north and south poles always shifting around. As a result, true magnetic north, on which the workings of a compass needle are focused, doesn't always match up with the permanently drawn lines on the map. Thus, the location of the airport in relation to true north has to be adjusted.

Scientists believe the activity of the Earth's core could cause massive shifts in polarity, including the north and south poles reversing themselves.

It's believed this last happened 780,000 years ago, and took about 10,000 years to happen.

Pilots and clients at the airport were warned to be cautious Sunday and Monday as the new numbers were painted, in addition to the paving and milling and at the end of the landing strip.

But the timing, on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, was mere coincidence, Simonds said.

"It just so happened to be scheduled for the second week of September, and the weather was still nice," Simonds said.

Sott Net

hostgator coupon 2011

Gold to surpass $2,000 by next year, industry predicts

The gold market is revving up to reach new record highs in excess of $2,000 (U.S.) an ounce in the next year, according to the average forecast of bankers, traders and investors at the gold industry’s largest annual gathering.

The bullish prediction, if correct, suggests that the gold bull market remains intact, despite having already gained almost 30 per cent this year and 600 per cent over the past decade.

The widespread optimism at the London Bullion Market Association conference in Montreal, the largest gathering of the gold industry, comes as the gold market has been transformed from a backwater dominated by jewellery demand to one of the hottest investment assets.

The conference, which enjoyed a record attendance in excess of 500, predicted that gold would be trading at $2,019 an ounce at the time of next year’s meeting in November 2012. That would mark a fresh nominal record for gold, although it is still below the inflation-adjusted peak touched in 1980, which translates to more than $2,400 in today’s money.

The delegates at the LBMA conference have a strong record of predicting the trajectory of the gold price, although their forecasts have traditionally been overcautious. Last year, with gold trading at $1,298 an ounce, the conference predicted a price of $1,450. On Tuesday, bullion (GC-FT1,809.600.500.03%) was trading at $1,805.70, down from a record peak of $1,920 in early September.

The forecasts, if accurate, bode well for hedge fund managers such as John Paulson of Paulson & Co and David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital, who bought gold in the financial crisis as a means of betting that governments and central banks would fail to safeguard their economies from the market turmoil.

Many hedge fund investors believe a sharp appreciation in the gold price is likely as they expect the eurozone debt crisis to deepen.

Despite the optimistic price predictions, traders were wary of growing volatility in the gold market, which has experienced some of the sharpest swings on record in recent weeks. Asked whether the market was in a bubble, 39 per cent of the traditionally bullish audience replied that it was. A growing number expect the market to accelerate in the next year or two and peak above $2,500.

“We expect to see $2,500 some time in the next 12 months,” said Som Seif, chief executive of Claymore Investments, a Canadian asset manager.

The most bullish forecast came from Pierre Lassonde, chairman ofFranco-Nevada (FNV-T44.070.972.25%), who predicted that gold would reach parity with the Dow Jones industrial average index, at present trading at 11,400, within the next four to six years. “This bull market is far from over,” said Mr. Lassonde, whose predictions are optimistic even by the standards of market bulls.

A drop below $1,600 an ounce could mark the end of the rally for the next few months, traders believe – although many expect demand from Asian investors and central banks to prop up prices above that level.

Mr. Lassonde said: “I think there’s going to be a strong correction at some point and it’s going to set up the last phase that will take the market to numbers that few people can imagine.”

The bullish sentiment has been underpinned by the strength of demand for coins and small bars from retail investors from Germany to China.

Steven Nathan, marketing director at the Rand Refinery in South Africa, said that sales of the popular gold krugerrand coin were at a record level: “Demand is insatiable. It’s the strongest period ever right now.”

A comparable surge in demand was reported by other mints, refiners and coin dealers. “I just can’t see the price coming down,” said one senior precious metals banker. “Physical demand is incredibly strong.”
The Globe
hostgator coupon 2011

Peter Schiff on QE3

hostgator coupon 2011

Mysterious 'booming sounds' perplex scientists

Mysterious booming sounds are occasionally heard on the North Carolina coast, often powerful enough to rattle windows and doors. They cannot be explained by thunderstorms or any manmade sources — their source is a mystery.

Such dins are not unique to North Carolina or the modern age. People living near Seneca Lake in upstate New York have long known of similar booming sounds, which they called "Seneca guns." In coastal Belgium, they are known as "mistpouffers," or fog belches; in the Ganges delta and the Bay of Bengal, "Bansal guns;" in the Italian Apennines, "brontidi," or thunder-like; and by the Harami people of Shikoku, Japan, "yan."

"What's going on is an interesting challenge, whatever it might be," said seismologist David Hill, scientist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey office in Menlo Park, Calif.

Long list of explanations
A host of plausible explanations may now exist for these enigmas, including earthquakes, rock bursts, mud volcanoes, explosive venting of gas, storm-driven waves, tsunamis, meteors, distant thunder and so-called booming sands.

"It seems there is quite a range of processes in nature that might be responsible," Hill told OurAmazingPlanet.

"Earwitnesses" described sounds like booming cannons or falling stones accompanying small to moderate earthquakes in England from 1880 to 1916. In 1975, U.S. Geological Survey researchers managed to record both acoustic and seismic signals of an earthquake swarm in California, finding that three earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 2.0 to 2.8 produced sounds that began within 0.02 seconds of the arrival of seismic waves at the scientists' station. Similar results were seen with quakes in the French Pyrenees in 2004.

All in all, audible sounds from earthquakes might be perceived even when shaking is not, Hill suggested. For instance, while earthquakes are rare in coastal North Carolina, they are relatively common in the Charleston area of South Carolina, the site of the 1886 magnitude 7.6 Charleston quake, and the Catskill Mountains that Seneca Lake is located within do host low-level earthquake activity. Locals could be hearing an earthquake that is too small for them to feel.

Also, rock bursts, where long-buried rock can suddenly release stress, often because of mining removing confining material above it, can essentially be seen as a type of small, near-surface earthquake. Scientists have reported feeling perceptible jolts and hearing sharp booming sounds from such bursts, Hill said.

Giant waves might also be responsible for the mystery sounds, Hill suggested. Scientists have found that booming sounds are apparently familiar to big-wave surfers during extreme waves. In addition, after the catastrophic 2004 magnitude 9.1 Sumatra earthquake and tsunami, multiple witnesses said they heard loud, offshore booming sounds closely accompanying two or three of the largest waves that struck the coast at any given site.

"I was surprised to learn about the possibility that tsunamis produce these kinds of sounds," Hill said. "I don't think anyone understands that process."

Hill suggests the sounds heard off the coasts of North Carolina, Belgium and the Bay of Bengal might be large waves caused by distant storms that break well offshore, beyond outer banks or barrier beaches. Such waves might also disrupt offshore methane hydrate deposits, leading to explosive venting of high-pressure gas trapped deep within the Earth.

Booming sands and seismometers
Another possibility is meteors. Meteors can generate sonic booms and explode dramatically as they plummet from space. Given how long it can take a shockwave to reach the Earth's surface from the upper atmosphere, visible signs of the meteor can vanish before its sonic boom is heard, especially during the daytime, Hill noted.

Under the right circumstances, even sand dunes can generate a variety of sounds, including whispering, humming, whistling and squeaking. Booming sands, comparable to rumbling thunder, can be heard to distances of 6 miles and for as long as 15 minutes, are possible as well. They generally appear limited to large sand dunes in arid climates with steep faces pointing away from the wind, and seem to require loosely packed, very smooth, almost spherical sand grains.

"In the eastern desert in Egypt, the Bedouins have a long history of hearing booms and avoiding that area — after installing seismometers there, researchers were able to go back and see these sounds seem correlated with small earthquakes that caused booming sands," Hill said.

In the future, after potential artificial sources of mysterious booming sounds are ruled out, such as military exercises and quarry blasts, seismic networks could quickly reveal if earthquakes or volcanoes were responsible. For instance, the USArray, a mobile network of seismometers, is currently moving east across the United States and "it might help resolve the issue of what the sounds on the North Carolina coast are," Hill said.


hostgator coupon 2011

IMF World Economic Outlook says 'keep your chin up'

Stephanie Flanders
From Stephanie Flanders

The global economy is in a scary place - you only need to look at how fast events have moved in Italy to see that.

Policymakers have a difficult, increasingly narrow, line to walk if they are to avoid something very bad happening. But for goodness sake, don't panic.

That, in effect, is the IMF's message to the world in its latest survey of the global economy.

The publication talks of a possible "lost decade" of growth in the advanced economies; of "sluggish growth in wages"; continued high unemployment; housing markets which fail to stabilise; and a "drastic" increase in financial volatility due to the eurozone crisis with threatens even the IMF's downbeat forecasts.

Countries like the US and UK have so far avoided these bond market pressures despite high levels of borrowing, but, say the authors, developments in Italy and Spain show that the mood in markets could turn against those countries too in a heartbeat.

Still, says the report, we should not be too disheartened.

Why? Because policymakers do, just, have it in their power to prevent the situation from becoming even worse. Also, we need to sound cheerful because - surprise surprise - confidence among businesses and consumers is a problem as well.Confidence is key

OK, so the Fund doesn't make that last point, in so many words. But one of the key risks it identifies, especially in the US, is that consumers will look at the diminishing prospects they face and decide they need to save dramatically more.

If that happens, the report says we might seriously be facing a "lost decade". (In the US, of course, many would say they had already had one.)

So, governments must keep their chin up and talk about the decent recovery waiting just round the corner, if only they could grapple with the major challenges they face right now.

But the picture the report paints of the future - short and long term - is not exactly an inspiring one.

This seems especially true for the middle classes, whose benefits will need to be cut under the Fund's "strong policy action" scenario. This involves politicians making long term permanent cuts to entitlement programmes, including pensions, to free up room to give more support to the recovery in the short term.Middle class jobs disappearing

There is a detailed analysis of the decline in the number of middle income and manufacturing jobs in the advanced economies over the past 20 years.

This trend has accelerated during the crisis and, the Fund says, is driven by increased imports from emerging markets as well as structural changes in technology.

In the US, employment in higher paid, higher skilled manufacturing jobs fell by 14% in the US between 2007 and 2009, while employment in services actually rose, by 2%. Employment fell by 2% overall.

The shift is less dramatic in Europe but it is happening there, too. As the Fund points out, productivity in services is generally lower, and grows more slowly, so this structural change could dampen the potential growth rate of these economies, not to mention the incomes of many workers, for many years to come. The authors don't offer many solutions, easy or otherwise, to this long term shadow hanging over a large part of the workforce.Future unlike the past

The shorter term growth forecast has been cut for every country listed - with particularly large downward revisions for the US and Italy.

Among the major advanced economies, the IMF now thinks Germany will be the only country to grow by more than 2% in 2011. In 2012, none will grow that fast, except Japan, which will have seen its economy shrink this year due to the earthquake.

Those growth rates are not high enough to achieve any meaningful decline in unemployment or increase in real consumption or wages by 2013 - and the Fund does not expect any. It thinks that unemployment will stay near 9 per cent in the US, and it is not expected to fall in Europe either, including the UK.Unemployment stays high

And yet, even this forecast explicitly assumes that (a) the crisis in the eurozone is controlled; (b) the US reaches a credible and economically sensible solution to it's fiscal challenges; and the volatility in financial markets does not go up.

In other words, even this downbeat forecast assumes that the next year looks nothing like the last one.

"Unless policies are strengthened", the report warns, "nothing beyond a weak and bumpy recovery is on the cards". But to the untrained eye, things look pretty weak and bumpy already.

We have seen, in recent months, the Fund dance around the "Plan B" issue in its commentary about the UK. The line has been that the policy was "appropriate" for now but might need to change if downside risks materialised and the recovery looked seriously weak.

This was usually said, while simultaneously presenting a new, somewhat lower, forecast for the UK.Step closer to Plan B

In this report the Fund downgrades the UK forecast, again, and says the economy is "expected to struggle".

Its advice now is that if activity undershoots "current prospects", countries like the UK which face historically low government borrowing costs, "should also consider delaying some of their planned adjustment".

The way it is written, the authors of the report are talking about more than allowing the automatic stabilisers to operate in full, as the UK chancellor has already pledged.

Mr Osborne would be deciding to cut the structural deficit more slowly, not just allowing the overall deficit to overshoot, as a result of slow growth. (Though he would say his current plans allow room for that, too, for reasons I discussed in my last post.)

So, the Fund has moved one step closer to saying the downside scenario has arrived. But it has stopped short of saying it. And not just for the UK.

This is entirely understandable, at a time when confidence is at a premium, and politicians, especially in the eurozone, have important work to do if the more catastrophic scenarios around the euro are to be avoided.

hostgator coupon 2011

Bullion Vaults Run Out of Space on Gold Rally

Bullion Vaults Run Out of Space as Gold Rallies

Deep in the 7.4-acre Singapore FreePort next to Changi International Airport’s runways is the bullion vault of Swiss Precious Metals, behind seven-metric-ton steel doors built to survive a plane crash or earthquake.

The rooms are almost full after demand rose fivefold in the year since the Geneva-based company opened the facility. The firm plans an extension, and relocated Chief Executive Officer Jean-Francois Pages to Singapore last month to cope with the surge of investors willing to pay as much as 1 percent of the value of their holdings each year to keep them secure.

“The European debt crisis and its impact on the solvency of European financial players are driving European customers to find refuge in tangible values like physical gold and other precious metals,” Pages said. Demand “is totally compatible with the current financial and political global turmoil.”

Barclays Capital is building a new vault, The Brink’s Co. (BCO) and Deutsche Bank AG (DBK)may add more space, and the Perth Mint may expand for the first time since 2003, a sign they expect demand to keep increasing after the 11-year rally during which prices increased sevenfold. Investors in exchange-traded products backed by gold bought 2,198 tons of bullion since 2003, exceeding all except four countries’ official stockpiles.

Gold climbed to a record $1,921.15 an ounce on Sept. 6. Prices more than doubled since the end of 2007 as stock markets slumped, economies contracted and central banks and governments pumped more than $2 trillion into the global financial system.
Dollar Index
The metal rose 27 percent to $1,800.10 this year as the MSCI All-Country World Index of equities retreated 10 percent, led by financial stocks. Treasuries returned 8.5 percent, a Bank of America Corp. index shows. The U.S. Dollar Index, a gauge of the world’s reserve currency against six major trading partners, slumped 13 percent in the past 15 months.

Gold will exceed $2,000 this year, according to the average estimate of 16 respondents in a Bloomberg survey at the London Bullion Market Association’s conference in Montreal. The metal will peak at $2,268 next year, the survey showed.

Storage companies are responding. The 112-year-old Perth Mint, which refines more than 8 percent of all supply and is owned by the Western Australian state government, may add a new vault within the next year, according to Treasurer Nigel Moffatt. The mint sells everything from gold coins to 400-ounce (12.4- kilogram) bars.
Bullion Carrier
Brink’s, the largest bullion carrier in the U.K., is considering adding more storage after opening a new London vault earlier this year. Barclays, based in London, is building a vault in the city that will open next year, the bank said in a statement last week.

Deutsche Bank, based in Frankfurt, is considering expanding existing facilities and developing new ones to meet demand, Matthew Keen, a director at the bank, said earlier this month.JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) started a vault at the Singapore FreePort location last year and opened another in the financial district of New York.

“With gold prices where they are, we encourage people to keep it in safety-deposit boxes at banks or vaults, which gives that sense of security,” said Scott Carter, chief executive officer of Goldline International Inc., a Santa Monica, California-based precious-metals retailer established a half- century ago.

hostgator coupon 2011

Economy enters 'dangerous phase'

The global economy has entered a "dangerous new phase" of sharply lower growth, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The organisation warned that continuing political and economic woes in the US and eurozone could force them back into recession.

The IMF says the prognosis for economies in the developed world is "weak and bumpy expansion".

It predicts their GDP will expand "at an anaemic pace of 1.5% in 2011".

The IMF believes global growth will shrink to 4% in 2012, from 5% last year, on factors such as "major financial turbulence in the eurozone".

It slashed its growth projections for the 17-nation eurozone to 1.6% in 2011, down from 2% predicted in June. Next year growth will be 1.1%, down from 1.7%, it forecast.

The US - the world's largest economy - is likely to have weak growth "for years to come".UK worries

The Fund has moved one step closer to saying the downside scenario has arrived. But it has stopped short of saying it. This is entirely understandable at a time when confidence is at a premium”

And the UK, the growth forecast for 2011 has also been revised downwards, from 1.5% to 1.1%, while the forecast for 2012 was cut to 1.6%, from 2.3%.

"It would be wise for both governments and businesses [in the UK] to develop contingency plans in case such a double dip scenario does emerge," said John Hawksworth, PwC's chief economist.

Among the major advanced economies, the IMF now thinks Germany and Canada will be the only countries to grow by more than 2% in 2011.

In 2012, none will grow that fast, except Japan, as its economy rebounds from this year after an earthquake and tsunami ravaged the country.

BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders points out that the shorter-term growth forecast has been cut for every country listed - with particularly large downward revisions for the US and Italy.Acting together

The IMF stressed strong leadership would crucial in staving off recession in the US and eurozone.

We have the discipline and the determination to put right the huge deficit and debts we were left by the last government ”William Hague MPUK Foreign Secretary

IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard said that eurozone countries were lagging in the race to solve the sovereign debt crisis.

He said: "There is a wide perception that policymakers are one step behind the action. Europe must get its act together."

The perceived weakness in eurozone governments' response is one of the main factors behind the recent market turmoil.

"Leaders must stand by their commitments to do whatever it takes to preserve trust in national policies and the euro," the report said.

The IMF's statements come after credit rating agency Standard and Poor's downgraded Italy's debt rating amid mounting concerns about the country's finances.

And on Monday, the IMF warned Greece to implement agreed reforms or miss an 8bn-euro bailout instalment set for October, viewed as vital to keeping state finances afloat.

"Fragile" financial institutions needed to get private cash to survive over funds from the public purse, or be "restructured or closed", said the IMF.

In a speech on Tuesday, European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia also warned more banks in the region may need extra cash.

He said: "The worsening of the sovereign debt crisis, its impact on a fragile banking system and the continuing tensions in funding markets all point to the possible needs for further recapitalistion of banks on top of the nine that failed the stress tests earlier this year."


hostgator coupon 2011

Housing starts drop underscores economic woes

(Reuters) - New construction of homes fell more than expected in August, dragging on economic growth and keeping pressure on President Barack Obama to do more to help the sputtering economy.

Housing starts dropped 5 percent, the most since April, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000 units, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast groundbreaking activity would fall to only a 590,000-unit rate in August. Housing starts are at less than a third of their peak during the housing boom.

"The housing market is not only bad, but still missing low expectations," said Sal Catrini, a managing director for equities at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co in New York.

An overhang of previously owned homes on the market has left builders with little appetite to break ground on new projects and is frustrating the economy's recovery from the 2007-09 recession.

The housing market "won't improve until the labor market improves substantially and that doesn't look like that would happen this year," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Housing has been a persistent headwind to the U.S. recovery, although now it only accounts for about 2.4 percent of gross domestic product, down from about 6.1 percent reached during the housing boom.

U.S. stock prices rose as investors shook off the data and turned their focus to a two-day meeting the Federal Reserve that kicked off on Tuesday. The Fed is expected to end its meeting with a decision to take further steps to aid the economy. U.S. Treasury debt prices were little changed.

The ongoing weakness in housing keeps pressure on the White House to provide more support.

Obama, who is struggling with a 9.1 percent unemployment rate that imperils his re-election bid next year, has proposed a $447 billion stimulus package combining tax cuts with infrastructure spending and extended jobless benefits.

The administration is also working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, a regulator, to try to expand a program that helps distressed borrowers with government-backed loans.

Some other government props for the sector, however, are set to fall away. At the end of this month, the size of the loans federal housing agencies can purchase will fall, and next year government-controlled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will begin to raise fees on the loans they purchase.


The fall in new residential construction in August may have been fueled in part by tropical storms, including Hurricane Irene, which pummeled the East Coast at the end of the month. Starts in the Northeast fell 29.1 percent.

Most of the weakness in new construction nationwide was concentrated in the multi-family housing sector, where starts dropped 13.5 percent.

Single-family home construction -- which accounts for a larger share of the market -- slipped 1.4 percent.

With overall economic growth looking less steady, the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday the United States could slip back into recession.

However, the consensus view among economists is that the country will dodge that bullet.

Heavy manufacturer Caterpillar Inc on Tuesday reported a slight acceleration in machinery sales to North American dealers in the three months through August, a sign demand remains steady.

In another upbeat sign, General Motors reached a tentative deal to create more than 6,000 U.S. factory jobs, union officials said.

The housing sector also saw a glimmer of hope in Tuesday's data, with permits for future construction up 3.2 percent in August. A day earlier, home-builder Lennar Corp had forecast a strong fourth quarter.

Still, the sector does not look ready to provide much support to economic growth anytime soon.

"Housing isn't going anywhere fast," said Sean Incremona, an economist at 4Cast in New York. "The permits side is a little bit more positive looking, but it doesn't look like things are really finding their way off the ground."
hostgator coupon 2011

Turkish FM: With Cairo, we will lead new regional axis

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

Turkey and Egypt could lead a new regional axis in the face of apparently diminishing American influence, the Turkish foreign minister said Sunday, and Israel is solely responsible for the deteriorating ties with its erstwhile Mediterranean ally.

“This will not be an axis against any other country — not Israel, not Iran, not any other country, but this will be an axis of democracy, real democracy,” Ahmet Davutoglu toldThe New York Times.

“That will be an axis of democracy of the two biggest nations in our region, from the north to the south, from the Black Sea down to the Nile Valley in Sudan,” he said, before departing for the United Nations to throw his country's support behind the Palestinian statehood bid.

“For the regional balance of power, we want to have a strong, very strong Egypt,” said Davutoglu, who has visited the Egyptian capital five times since Mubarak's overthrow in February. “Some people may think Egypt and Turkey are competing. No. This is our strategic decision. We want a strong Egypt now.”

“Nobody can blame Turkey or any other country in the region for its isolation,” Davutoglu said of Israel. “It was Israel and the government’s decision to isolate themselves.

And they will be isolated even more if they continue this policy of rejecting any proposal," he said, referring to Jerusalem’s refusal to apologize for the May raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla that killed nine people.

Last week Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was given a hero's welcome on his visit to North Africa, enjoying a particularly hearty reception in the Egyptian capital. Crowds thronged Erdogan’s car as it traveled to the Egyptian parliament and Arab League headquarters, and the city’s highways were dotted with billboard- sized portraits of the Turkish premier.

But it is Davutoglu whom many analysts say has been behind Turkey’s transformation from a staunch American and Israeli partner to a self-appointed leader of the Muslim world.

Its new-found status is due in large part to the ruling AK Party's confrontational foreign policy toward Israel, as well as its domestic agenda of reinserted Islamic values into traditionally secular Turkish politics.

Turkey, Davutoglu said, shares a “psychological affinity” with the Arab world, which as the Ottoman Empire it ruled for four centuries from Istanbul.

He said Egypt would become the focus of his government’s efforts, as an older US-backed order consisting of Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Hosni Mubarak-era Egypt begins to unravel.

Davutoglu projected his country's $1.5 billion investment in Egypt to rise to $5 billion within two years, and total trade to jump from $3.5 billion to $10 billion by 2015. Some 280 businessmen accompanied the Turkish delegation to Cairo, and Davutoglu told theTimes they had signed about $1 billion in contracts in a single day.

Turkey’s top diplomat reserved some of his harshest words for its neighbor and former ally Syria, whom he accused of lying and reneging on promises to reform.

After meeting Bashar Assad last month, Davutoglu said the Syrian president had agreed on a road map, including setting parliamentary elections, allowing multi-party rule and drafting a new constitution. Despite Assad's assurances, he said, the Syrian leader did not follow through.

“For us, that was the last chance,” he said, accusing Assad of “not fulfilling promises and not telling the truth.”

Jerusalem Post