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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Velocity of Light - Chuck Missler

House prices expected to fall in UK

Surveyors are expecting house prices to dip in the coming months, prompting a call for sellers to be realistic about asking prices.

Some 23% more surveyors asked in a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) expected prices to fall rather than rise in the next three months.

It found that a similar proportion reported that prices fell in July.

A separate index suggested that prices had been relatively stable.

The Office for National Statistics report found that UK house prices were up 2.3% in the year to the end of June, and up 0.5% from May to June.Bad weather

London has largely bucked the trend of price falls and has seen relatively strong price growth, the two reports said.

Surveyors said that price falls were most likely in the west of England, the East Midlands, and Yorkshire and Humberside.

The group said that buyers were still finding it difficult to access mortgage funding, but interest had not dipped as a result of the bad weather in July.

However, the number of homes coming on to the market had dropped.

"If vendors want to sell their homes quickly, they will have to be realistic in their price expectations," said Peter Bolton King of Rics.Geographical differences

The ONS index found that prices in England rose by 2.8% in the year to the end of June, but fell by 1% in Scotland and by 11.9% in Northern Ireland. Prices were unchanged in Wales.

Annual house price increases in England were driven by a 6.5% rise in London, the ONS said, alongside rises of 2.3% in the South West and 2.2% in the South East. The only decrease in England was of 1.3% in the North East, the ONS said.

The surveys come after both the Halifax and the Nationwide house price surveys reported falls in values in July.

The Nationwide said that prices had fallen for four of the past five months. The Halifax predicted that there would be little change in prices during the remainder of this year, unless the recession became worse.

The Land Registry survey of house prices, widely regarded as the most comprehensive, showed a wide geographical difference in house price movement in England and Wales.

It said prices rose by 6.3% in London in the year to the end of June, but fell by 1.9% in Yorkshire and the Humber over the same period.


Syrian rebels armed with 20 Russian made T-62 tanks

The Syrian rebels’ Western and Arab sponsors have ratcheted up their military assistance by giving them tanks, 20 Russian-made T-62 tanks from Libya, DEBKAfile reports. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave the nod for the transfer to the rebels of their first heavy weapons during her brief visit to Istanbul Saturday, Aug. 13, as the prelude to the next step of the war. Qatar is paying for the tanks.

The Obama administration first agreed to Turkey arming the Free Syrian Army with FIM-92 anti-air Stinger missiles, as DEBKAfile disclosed Aug. 11.
Monday, Aug. 13, for the first time in the 18-month revolt against the Assad regime, rebels shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet, a Mig-21, over the northeastern town of Deir al-Zour, using shoulder-carried Stingers. The Syrian government claimed it had crashed because of technical problems, but the rebels quickly released photos of the captured pilot, Col. Rafiq Mohammed Suleiman, surrounded by their guns.

The Syrian conflict has thus entered a new phase, the prelude, DEBKAfile’s military sources report, to the creation of the first safe havens inside the country, which the FSA and other rebel groups will now be armed to defend.

Sources in Ankara report that Turkey has drawn up plans for carving out those safe havens between 5 and 25 kilometers deep inside Syrian territory and on its borders with Turkey and Iraq. Ankara is concerned less with the military aspects of those safe zones than with using them to relieve Turkey of the burden of hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians who have fled and continue to flee across the border into Turkey as destitute refugees.

The supply of tanks and the Stingers lays the ground for the sanctuaries’ defenses against Assad’s warplanes and tanks, which until now had free rein of the skies and the battlefield.

The 20 T-62 tanks from Libya were unloaded last week at the Turkish port of Iskenderun, already painted over with FSA insignia. They were handed to Syrian rebel teams trained in tank warfare and have since crossed into northern Syria.
DEBKAfile’s military sources: Assad is confronted with fateful decisions: The supply of heavy weapons to the Syrian rebels, the downing of a fighter jet by a Stinger missile and the prospect of protected enclaves cutting through the country, threaten to turn the tide of war against him.

Unless he decides to cut and run, the danger is greater than ever before of his turning to unconventional weapons to save his regime. He cannot carry on fighting if his armed forces continually lose face by seeing their warplanes depicted on world television screens blowing up in mid-air and their burning debris falling to the ground amid clouds of heavy smoke, clearly shot down by enemy missiles.
Bracing themselves for the contingency of Syria waging chemical and biological warfare,Israel, Turkey and Jordan have formed teams to work with the US military on setting up counter-measures and emergency medical aid in the event of those countries and US military facilities posted there coming under unconventional attack.

Deciding there was no time to lose, Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak held long consultations through Monday night, Aug. 14, and by Tuesday morning had rushed through the appointment of Avi Dichter, former Shin Beit Director and Internal Security Minister, as home front minister in place of Mattan Vilnai, Israel’s designated ambassador to Beijing.
Dichter was picked because he has the administrative experience and practice in operational tasking needed to step straight into the job and start working without delay, in case it is necessary to grapple with a Syrian chemical attack even before Iran’s nuclear program.


Are we in the End Times?

Commentary & Analysis
L.A. Marzulli

If you scroll down to In Other News Section, you will discover a list of articles that could have come right out of the Guide Book to the Supernatural, i.e. the Bible. The headlines tell us of 7.7 earthquakes, fish die offs, lawlessness, wars and rumors of wars, mutating butterflies and the coming super soldiers that will fight in future wars.

Now when we compare these headlines with the admonishing words of Jesus, who warns us that before the Tribulation there will be, wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilence and earthquakes in diverse places and troublesome times, what are we to think? I would call to your attention to when these words were uttered as then, there was no way to track any of this! In other words not until modernity have we been able to track earthquakes in diverse places, and now I get pinged on my I-phone when a temblor happens!

In my opinion these are the birth pains that Jesus warns us will precede His coming. In my post yesterday I pointed out that I canimagine the day when he will return. It’s not some religious fantasy, or wishful thinking, but it is a reality that I believe will soon manifest here. While almost every generation believes it is the last, in my opinion, we are living in a time that is unique and sets itself apart from any other and here are some reasons that illustrate this.

1. Israel has been gathered from the four corners of the earth and established. This is a partial fulfillment of Ezekiel 37.

2. The desert blooms as the latter rain has fallen on Israel, which didn’t fall for almost 200 years.

3. Jerusalem is a cup of trembling to the whole world. This wasn’t so until recent times.

4. The ancient language of Hebrew is once again spoken.

5. The supernatural is manifesting in ways that are unprecedented. Think the burgeoning UFOs, abductions, implants, and demonic manifestations, like the Miami Cannibal.

6. Wrong is called right and right is called wrong. Our morals and values have been turned upside down. Those of us who hold on to Biblical truths are strangers living in a strange land.

7. Weather patterns and records are being shattered as this year over 4,200 temperature records were broken in the US.

8. There are signs in the heavens, CME’s, Planet X, protuberances with the moon, Saturn loosing its ring and weird anomalies next to the sun.

9. There are false Messiah’s as people who claim to be Jesus keep popping up world-wide. The real Jesus warned us that this would precede His coming and this was well before the church age when He had only a few followers.

10. Prophecies that tell of a group of nations going up against Israel in the later days, to destroy her, seem to be forming in front of our eyes.

In closing todays post: We have to ask ourselves, is it business as usual or something more? When rain does not fall in our land and our crops don’t ripen, is this just a coincidence or is the God of Heaven holding back the rain in judgment? I don’t think what we are seeing is ‘normal’ and I believe these are the birth pains that Jesus warns us will precede His coming.

Be still and know that I AM God. Behold the days are coming when I will show mu strength on the mountains of Israel.

Thousands of Dead fish wash up on Galveston, Texas beaches (Aug 14, 2012)

Assad’s former PM, predicting regime’s imminent collapse

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Syria’s defected prime minister said Tuesday that Bashar Assad’s regime was near collapse and urged other political and military leaders to tip the scales and join the rebel side.

“The regime is on the verge of collapse morally and economically,” Riad Hijab told a news conference in his first public comments since leaving his post and fleeing to Jordan with his family last week. Hijab is the highest-ranking political figure to defect from Assad’s regime.

He said he felt “pain in his soul” over the regime’s shelling and other attacks on rebel strongholds as the government stepped up its military offensive. Activists say more than 20,000 people have been killed in the struggle since March 2011.

“I was powerless to stop the injustice,” he said, speaking in front of the rebel flag.

He called on “honorable leaders” in Syria to defect.

“Syria is full of honorable officials and military leaders who are waiting for the chance to join the revolution,” he said.

“I urge the army to follow the example of Egypt’s and Tunisia’s armies — take the side of people,” he added.

Hijab said he was now backing the rebels, but gave no clue on his plans. There had been speculation that he would travel to the Gulf nation of Qatar, which is one of the rebels’ main supporters.
Times of Israel

China’s Largest Broker Plunges on Rumors Over Losses

Shares of Shanghai-listed Citic Securities, China’s largest brokerage firm, fell by 9.1 percent on Monday after rumors the company had suffered a large 2.9 billion yuan ($460 million) loss on overseas trading.

But a spokesperson for the company denied the rumors and told CNBC that reports the company’s chairman had been arrested by the police were also untrue.

The drop in Citic’s shares also affected other brokers on Monday with shares of Haitong Securities falling 8.6 percent. Reuters reported that traders were worried over earnings in the latest quarter.

Citic securities reports results on August 30th and the firm is currently in a quiet period, during which it cannot discuss its financials.

Dickie Wong, Executive Director of research at Kingston Securities said he had not been able to confirm any of the rumors and that investors would have to wait for a filing with the Hong Kong Exchange for more details.

Wong told CNBC that the shares of China’s brokerages were no longer that attractive based on price-to-earnings ratios when compared to the major bank stocks. He said mainland-listed bank stocks were trading at valuations of between 5 and 6 times forward earnings. On the other hand, shares of Citic Securities are trading at 21 times forward earnings.

Chinese authorities have been trying to boost confidence in the country’s stock market by allowing increased foreign participation. But pessimism over stocks has persisted, hurting brokers. The Shanghai Composite has fallen 13 percent from the year’s peak and trades at just over 9 times earnings.


Investors Prepare for Euro Collapse

Otmar Issing is looking a bit tired. The former chief economist at the European Central Bank (ECB) is sitting on a barstool in a room adjoining the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. He resembles a father whose troubled teenager has fallen in with the wrong crowd. Issing is just about to explain again all the things that have gone wrong with the euro, and why the current, as yet unsuccessful efforts to save the European common currency are cause for grave concern.

He begins with an anecdote. "Dear Otmar, congratulations on an impossible job." That's what the late Nobel Prize-winning American economist Milton Friedman wrote to him when Issing became a member of the ECB Executive Board. Right from the start, Friedman didn't believe that the new currency would survive. Issing at the time saw the euro as an "experiment" that was nevertheless worth fighting for.

Fourteen years later, Issing is still fighting long after he's gone into retirement. But just next door on the stock exchange floor, and in other financial centers around the world, apparently a great many people believe that Friedman's prophecy will soon be fulfilled.

Banks, investors and companies are bracing themselves for the possibility that the euro will break up -- and are thus increasing the likelihood that precisely this will happen.

There is increasing anxiety, particularly because politicians have not managed to solve the problems. Despite all their efforts, the situation in Greece appears hopeless. Spain is in trouble and, to make matters worse, Germany's Constitutional Court will decide in September whether the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) is even compatible with the German constitution.

There's a growing sense of resentment in both lending and borrowing countries -- and in the nations that could soon join their ranks. German politicians such as Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Söder of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) are openly calling for Greece to be thrown out of the euro zone. Meanwhile the the leader of Germany's opposition center-left Social Democrats (SPD), Sigmar Gabriel, is urging the euro countries to share liability for the debts.

On the financial markets, the political wrangling over the right way to resolve the crisis has accomplished primarily one thing: it has fueled fears of a collapse of the euro.

Cross-Border Bank Lending Down

Banks are particularly worried. "Banks and companies are starting to finance their operations locally," says Thomas Mayer who until recently was the chief economist at Deutsche Bank, which, along with other financial institutions, has been reducing its risks in crisis-ridden countries for months now. The flow of money across borders has dried up because the banks are afraid of suffering losses.

According to the ECB, cross-border lending among euro-zone banks is steadily declining, especially since the summer of 2011. In June, these interbank transactions reached their lowest level since the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2007.

In addition to scaling back their loans to companies and financial institutions in other European countries, banks are even severing connections to their own subsidiaries abroad. Germany's Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank apparently prefer to see their branches in Spain and Italy tap into ECB funds, rather than finance them themselves. At the same time, these banks are parking excess capital reserves at the central bank. They are preparing themselves for the eventuality that southern European countries will reintroduce their national currencies and drastically devalue them.

"Even the watchdogs don't like to see banks take cross-border risks, although in an absurd way this runs contrary to the concept of the monetary union," says Mayer.

Since the height of the financial crisis in 2008, the EU Commission has been pressuring European banks to reduce their business, primarily abroad, in a bid to strengthen their capital base. Furthermore, the watchdogs have introduced strict limitations on the flow of money within financial institutions. Regulators require that banks in each country independently finance themselves. For instance, Germany's Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) insists that HypoVereinsbank keeps its money in Germany. When the parent bank, Unicredit in Milan, asks for an excessive amount of money to be transferred from the German subsidiary to Italy, BaFin intervenes.

Breaking Points

Unicredit is an ideal example of how banks are turning back the clocks in Europe: The bank, which always prided itself as a truly pan-European institution, now grants many liberties to its regional subsidiaries, while benefiting less from the actual advantages of a European bank. High-ranking bank managers admit that, if push came to shove, this would make it possible to quickly sell off individual parts of the financial group.

In effect, the bankers are sketching predetermined breaking points on the European map. "Since private capital is no longer flowing, the central bankers are stepping into the breach," explains Mayer. The economist goes on to explain that the risk of a breakup has been transferred to taxpayers. "Over the long term, the monetary union can't be maintained without private investors," he argues, "because it would only be artificially kept alive."

The fear of a collapse is not limited to banks. Early last week, Shell startled the markets. "There's been a shift in our willingness to take credit risk in Europe," said CFO Simon Henry.

He said that the oil giant, which has cash reserves of over $17 billion (€13.8 billion), would rather invest this money in US government bonds or deposit it on US bank accounts than risk it in Europe. "Many companies are now taking the route that US money market funds already took a year ago: They are no longer so willing to park their reserves in European banks," says Uwe Burkert, head of credit analysis at the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, a publicly-owned regional bank based in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg.

And the anonymous mass of investors, ranging from German small investors to insurance companies and American hedge funds, is looking for ways to protect themselves from the collapse of the currency -- or even to benefit from it. This is reflected in the flows of capital between southern and northern Europe, rapidly rising real estate prices in Germany and zero interest rates for German sovereign bonds.

'Euro Experiment is Increasingly Viewed as a Failure'

One person who has long expected the euro to break up is Philipp Vorndran, 50, chief strategist at Flossbach von Storch, a company that deals in asset management. Vorndran's signature mustache may be somewhat out of step with the times, but his views aren't. "On the financial markets, the euro experiment is increasingly viewed as a failure," says the investment strategist, who once studied under euro architect Issing and now shares his skepticism. For the past three years, Vorndran has been preparing his clients for major changes in the composition of the monetary union.

They are now primarily investing their money in tangible assets such as real estate. The stock market rally of the past weeks can also be explained by this flight of capital into real assets. After a long decline in the number of private investors, the German Equities Institute (DAI) has registered a significant rise in the number of shareholders in Germany.

Particularly large amounts of money have recently flowed into German sovereign bonds, although with short maturity periods they now generate no interest whatsoever. "The low interest rates for German government bonds reflect the fear that the euro will break apart," says interest-rate expert Burkert. Investors are searching for a safe haven. "At the same time, they are speculating that these bonds would gain value if the euro were actually to break apart."

The most radical option to protect oneself against a collapse of the euro is to completely withdraw from the monetary zone. The current trend doesn't yet amount to a large-scale capital flight from the euro zone. In May, (the ECB does not publish more current figures) more direct investments and securities investments actually flowed into Europe than out again. Nonetheless, this fell far short of balancing out the capital outflows during the troubled winter quarters, which amounted to over €140 billion.

The exchange rate of the euro only partially reflects the concerns that investors harbor about the currency. So far, the losses have remained within limits. But the explanation for this doesn't provide much consolation: The main alternative, the US dollar, appears relatively unappealing for major investors from Asia and other regions. "Everyone is looking for the lesser of two evils," says a Frankfurt investment banker, as he laconically sums up the situation. Yet there's growing skepticism about the euro, not least because, in contrast to America and Asia, Europe is headed for a recession. Mayer, the former economist at Deutsche Bank, says that he expects the exchange rates to soon fall below 1.20 dollars.

"We notice that it's becoming increasingly difficult to sell Asians and Americans on investments in Europe," says asset manager Vorndran, although the US, Japan and the UK have massive debt problems and "are all lying in the same hospital ward," as he puts it. "But it's still better to invest in a weak currency than in one whose structure is jeopardized."

Hedge Fund Gurus Give Euro Thumbs Down

Indeed, investors are increasingly speculating directly against the euro. The amount of open financial betting against the common currency -- known as short positioning -- has rapidly risen over the past 12 months. When ECB President Mario Draghi said three weeks ago that there was no point in wagering against the euro, anti-euro warriors grew a bit more anxious.

One of these warriors is John Paulson. The hedge fund manager once made billions by betting on a collapse of the American real estate market. Not surprisingly, the financial world sat up and took notice when Paulson, who is now widely despised in America as a crisis profiteer, announced in the spring that he would bet on a collapse of the euro.

Paulson is not the only one. Investor legend George Soros, who no longer personally manages his Quantum Funds, said in an interview in April that -- if he were still active -- he would bet against the euro if Europe's politicians failed to adopt a new course. The investor war against the common currency is particularly delicate because it's additionally fueled by major investors from the euro zone. German insurers and managers of large family fortunes have reportedly invested with Paulson and other hedge funds. "They're sawing at the limb that they're sitting on," says an insider.

So far, the wager by the hedge funds has not paid off, and Paulson recently suffered major losses.


7.7 magnitude earthquake strike northeastern coast of Russia

August 14, 2012 – RUSSIA – A 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck along a deep region of the sea-floor in the Sea of Okhotsk, between the remote island of Poronaysk and the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka. The earthquake struck at a depth of 625 km or 389 miles below the surface of the ocean floor. It was orginally thought the quake was a twin pair. The USGS posted the 7.7 quake, as two separate 7.3 seismic events and then later corrected the listing.
The Extinction Protocol

Ammunition and Shooting Targets

AMENDMENT NOTICE:This is a combined synopsis/solicitation for commercial items prepared in accordance with the format in FAR Subpart 12.6, as supplemented with additional information included in this notice.The solicitation number is DG-1330-12-RQ-1028 and is issued as an invitation for bids (IFB), unless otherwise indicated herein.The solicitation document and incorporated provisions and clauses are those in effect through Federal Acquisition Circular FAC 2005-60. The associated North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code for this procurement is 332992 with a small business size standard of 1,000.00 employees.This requirement is a [ Small Business ] set-aside and only qualified offerors may submit bids.The solicitation pricing on www.FedBid.com will start on the date this solicitation is posted and will end on 2012-08-21 12:00:00.0 Eastern Time or as otherwise displayed at www.FedBid.com.FOB Destination shall be Multiple shipping information.

The DOC NOAA National Weather Service - Western Acquisition Division ? Boulder requires the following items, Purchase Description Determined by Line Item, to the following:
LI 001, 16,000 rounds of ammunition for semiautomatic pistols to be factory-loaded .40 S&W caliber, 180-grain jacketed hollow point (JHP). No reloads may be used with these weapons. All service furnished ammunition for issued firearms will be U.S. factory production.
?Inside Delivery? to locations below:
8,000 rounds to: Ross Lane DOC, NOAA, NMFS, OLE, NED 130 Oak Street, Suite 5, Ellsworth, ME, 04605
8,000 rounds to: Troy Audyatis, DOC, NOAA, NMFS, OLE, NED 53 North 6th Street, Room 214 New Bedford, MA, 02740., 16, Cases;
LI 002, 24,000 rounds of ammunition for semiautomatic pistols to be factory-loaded .40 S&W caliber, 180-grain jacketed hollow point (JHP). No reloads may be used with these weapons. All service furnished ammunition for issued firearms will be U.S. factory production.
?Inside Delivery? to locations below:
24,000 rounds to: Jeff Radonski, A/DSAC DOC, NOAA, NMFS, OLE, SED 263 13th Avenue South, Suite 109, St. Petersburg, FL, 33701., 24, Cases;
LI 003, 6,000 rounds of frangible, 125-grain CFRHT .40 caliber. No reloads may be used with these weapons. All service furnished ammunition for issued firearms will be U.S. factory production.
?Inside Delivery? to locations below:
6,000 rounds to: James Cassin DOC, NOAA, NMFS, OLE, NED 3350 Highway 138, Suite 218, Wall, NJ, 07719, 6, Cases;
LI 004, 500 Transtar II blue 24" x 40" paper targets
?Inside Delivery? to locations below:
200 paper targets to: Ross Lane DOC, NOAA, NMFS, OLE, NED 130 Oak Street, Suite 5 Ellsworth, ME, 04605
200 paper targets to: Troy Audyatis DOC, NOAA, NMFS, OLE, NED 53 North 6th Street, Room 214 New Bedford, MA, 02740.
100 paper targets to: James Cassin DOC, NOAA, NMFS, OLE, NED 3350 Highway 138, Suite 218, Wall, NJ, 07719, 500, Items;



US to Israel: Don’t rely on us to finish the job in Iran

The US would not necessarily join in were Israel to launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, an unnamed source in the Obama Administration told Israel’s Channel 2 News on Monday.

The US feels a profound commitment to the defense of Israel, and so could be relied upon to protect Israel defensively from the consequences of an Israeli attack on Iran, the TV channel quoted the source as saying. But the thrust of the US source’s message to Israel, the TV report said, was “don’t rely on us to finish the job.”

Israeli media has been full of reports in recent days, based on leaks and off-the-record briefings by senior figures, suggesting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are close to deciding on an Israeli attack to thwart Iran — despite opposition from the US, and from current and former domestic security chiefs.

On Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the US was committed to giving talks with Tehran a chance to bear fruit.

“We continue to believe there is time and space for diplomacy, the opportunity remains for Iran to take advantage of this process,” Carney told reporters, AFP reported.

Carney said he believed talks between the five UN Security Council powers plus Germany, and Iran, should continue.

The negotiations were cut off in the spring after failing to produce any breakthroughs in several rounds of meeting.

A second Israeli TV report on Monday night went so far as to specify the ostensible timeframe for a possible Israeli attack, based in part on a tentative meeting scheduled between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama.

Netanyahu is set to meet the president — in Washington, rather than as previously thought at the UN General Assembly in New York — between September 28 and October 1. The prime minister, Channel 10 News reported Monday, could not possibly order an Israeli strike on Iran prior to that meeting, where the Iranian threat would presumably be the main subject of discussion. Neither could he order an attack before his tentatively scheduled address to the General Assembly a few days earlier, on September 27 — his last appeal to the international community for firmer action to thwart Iran, according to Channel 10.

The timeframe for an Israeli attack, the report suggested, would thus be sometime between October 2 and the presidential elections on November 6. Immediately after the US elections, Israel could presumably not defy a newly elected president. And fairly soon after that, it might be too late for Israel to stop Iran because of the Iranians’ progress and the limitations of Israel’s military capacity.

Channel 10 went on predict the likely consequences of an Israeli attack in terms of retaliatory missiles fired by Iran and its allies such as Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

While Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah in 2006 saw 4,500 rockets and missiles fired into Israel, an Israeli attack on Iran would prompt the firing of 50,000 missiles into Israel, the report said, citing what it said were “assessments in Jerusalem.” The death toll would be estimated 500 Israelis, it said, citing a figure mentioned in the past by Barak.

The Maariv daily reported on Monday morning that, were Israel to attack Iran, Washington would provide Israel with an air defense “umbrella” against the anticipated retaliation by Tehran and its proxies.

Messages passed from Republican and Democrat policy makers in Washington to Israeli counterparts suggest that should Israel decide to bomb Iran in advance of the US presidential elections in November, Obama would order the American armed forces to join in the military effort, the paper said.

Such an intervention, the sources explained, would all but guarantee Obama a second term in office. If he chose not to act, the president would likely be handing the office over to the Republicans, they said.

Advisers close to Republican candidate Mitt Romney and Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren were among those who passed the messages between Washington and Jerusalem, Maariv claimed. The Israeli embassy in Washington declined to respond to the report.

The Times of Israel

Greek economy plunges as country faces vital bond auction

The country’s GDP shrank 6.2pc year-on-year in the second quarter of 2012, based on first estimates, underlining the chronic economic crisis which is hampering Greece’s ability to pay its debts.

In its biggest auction for month, Athens plans to auction €3.1bn in three-month bills to meet the repayment deadline of a €3.7bn loan from the European Central Bank.

The auction is being watched as a indication of the level of support for Greece ahead of a make-or-break few months for the eurozone. It comes amid tough warnings from Germany that Athens must honour its bond agreements of face ejection from the eurozone.

A European Commission spokesman said: “We’re not worried. According to our information the T-bill issuance is fully under control.”

Raoul Ruparel head of research at Open Europe said: “The money being raised will largely go straight to Greek banks so we expect the bondmarkets to be happy with that. But the idea of repaying long-term debt with short-term debt is not ideal or sustainable for Greece as it just increases the country’s financing costs. Greece needs a proper solution.”

Fresh data showed that the ECB axed its funding to Greek banks by €49.67bn to just €23.99bn in July from June leaving the Greek central bank to provide emergency liquidity instead. Greek banks borrowed a total of €106.31bn from the Bank of Greece in July - up from €61.94bn in June.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, returned from her summer holiday with Greece top of her agenda.

Michael Fuchs, deputy parliamentary leader of Ms Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), said Germany would not hestitate to veto any extra funding for Greece if Athens failed to stick to its austerity agreements. “We long ago reached the point where the Greeks must show they are capable of delivering a shift,” he told reporters. “A policy of the last, last, last chance won’t work anymore and must come to an end.” He added: “Even if the glass is half-full, that is not enough for a new aid package. Germany cannot and will not agree to that.” German economy minister Philip Roesler said the Greeks had “hardly responded” to effort to help its economy.

Meanwhile, Italy’s public debt tipped €2trillion in June - its highest level on record. Yet there were more signs in Brussels that efforts to help the bigger eurozone economies are losing support.

Luc Coene, an ECB governing council member, told reporters that it “makes no sense” for the ECB to start financing Spain and Italy: “It would only lead to the ECB taking on the whole public debt of Spain and Italy onto its balance sheet.” He added: “We haven’t forgotten what happened in August of last year [when] we bought Italian bonds and right after that the Italian government reneged on its pledges…The conclusion is clear: When you take away the market pressure, you take away the pressure on politicians to act.”

The Telegraph

New coup looms for Egypt

This means that if the Muslim Brotherhood is running out of time, the boys of the new world order must run to place chess pieces in the other countries, rather than collapsing the brotherhood in Egypt.....