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Monday, March 18, 2013

Pope Francis tells Vatican to prepare for change

The Vatileaks scandal of last year, in which Benedict XVI's butler was caught stealing and leaking documents to the press, revealed infighting, nepotism and alleged corruption within the Curia, governing body.

On Saturday, the Pope ruled that senior administrators in the Vatican bureaucracy will temporarily keep their posts while he studies what changes may be required.

Hopes for sweeping reforms of the Curia were bolstered by the language of an announcement that its members would "provisionally stay in their respective posts until it is decided otherwise".

"The Holy Father, wants, in fact, to give himself a certain amount of time for reflection, prayer and dialogue before any appointments or definitive confirmations," the Vatican said.

His predecessor, Benedict XVI, now the Pope Emeritus, commissioned three senior cardinals to investigate the Vatileaks affair amid suspicions that Paolo Gabriele, the butler, did not act alone in trying to expose what he called "evil and corruption" within the administration of the Holy See.

The cardinals presented the full version of their report to Benedict in December, and he handed it over to his successor when he resigned at the end of last month.

Pope Francis was urged to act quickly on reforming the Curia by Claudio Hummes, a Brazilian cardinal whom he counts as an old friend.

"Reform should begin with choosing the right people for the orientation of the Church that the Pope wants – a missionary Church with more dialogue," Cardinal Hummes, the archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo, said. "Many cardinals expect to see reform of the Curia and I'm quite sure that Francis will do it."

The new Pontiff received a rock star welcome on Sunday when he addressed an estimated 150,000 people in St Peter's Square for his first Angelus prayer, which takes place each Sunday at noon.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who surprised the world with his election as pontiff last week, delighted the crowds with his first words – "Brothers and sisters, buongiorno!" – and his last, when he said: "Have a good Sunday and a great lunch".

Shortly after the address, Pope Francis issued his first tweet. "Dear friends, I thank you from my heart and ask you to continue to pray for me," he wrote.

The Twitter account, created for Benedict late last year, had been dormant since his resignation on Feb 28.

The first pope to come from beyond Europe in 1,300 years, and the first Jesuit pontiff, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires told the packed piazza that he had chosen to call himself after St Francis of Assisi because of his "spiritual ties with this land".

He spoke from the same window in the Apostolic Palace from which his successor Benedict XVI used to give his weekly addresses. As soon as he appeared, the crowd erupted into thunderous applause. Among the crowds were nuns in black habits, Irish tourists celebrating St Patrick's Day, British visitors wrapped in Union Flags, Rome marathon runners, and Argentines waving their nation's blue and white flag.

Lucas Fagandini, 24, had travelled from Cordoba, Argentina, with 20 friends, all newly qualified engineers, to see the Pope. He said: "It feels like he's different, the way he talks, it is making people go back to church."

Vincent Mesiano, from Rome, said: "We are really happy with Papa Francesco. He was friendly and simple, nearer to the people."

Francis will be officially installed as Pope at a special Mass on Tuesday, with heads of state and royalty expected to attend from around the world.

The Telegraph

Wall Street: $474 Million, Detroit: 0

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
The more time passes, the more skeletons emerge from the closet.  So what’s the punishment for an industry that has literally destroyed countless communities across the American landscape?  Trillions in taxpayer bailouts and even more control over our government.  They say “it would’ve been much worse without the bailouts.”  Tell that to Detroit.  From Bloomberg:
The only winners in the financial crisis that brought Detroit to the brink of state takeover are Wall Street bankers who reaped more than $474 million from a city too poor to keep street lights working.

The city started borrowing to plug budget holes in 2005 under former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was convicted this week on corruption charges. That year, it issued $1.4 billion in securities to fund pension payments. Last year, it added $129.5 million in debt, 9.3 percent of its general-fund budget, in part to repay loans taken to service other bonds.

“We have no lights, no buses, poor streets and now we’re paying millions of dollars a year on our debt,” said David Sole, a retired municipal worker and advocate for Moratorium Now Coalition, a Detroit group that fights foreclosures and evictions. “The banks said they need to be paid first. But there is no money.”

The debt sales cost Detroit $474 million, including underwriting expenses, bond-insurance premiums and fees for wrong-way bets on swaps, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That almost equals the city’s 2013 budget for police and fire protection. 

Municipal borrowers from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have paid billions to banks to end interest-rate swaps that didn’t protect them.  

As banks were collecting fees from bonds, some targeted city homeowners with subprime loans that led to foreclosures, depressing real-estate values and tax revenue, Sole said. 

Last year, Detroit’s water and sewer utility borrowed to pay more than $300 million to unwind swaps.
The only thing that has recovered is Wall Street’s parasitic business model.  They will never stop until they destroy the entire country.
Zero Hedge

Scientists successfully create living embryo of an extinct species

Scientists from the University of New South Wales are reporting that they have just successfully created a living embryo of an animal which has been extinct for three decades -- a breakthrough which could eventually be used to revive other species previously wiped from existence.

Using non-living genetic material preserved from the gastric-brooding frog, extinct since the mid-1980s, researchers inserted DNA into the eggs of a donor frog of a similar species -- a process not unlike the one famously used to clone Dolly the sheep. And, after several days, the embryo of a gastric-brooding frog sprung to life for the first time in 30 years.

UNSW researcher Mike Archer says that, at first, the egg seemed inactive. "But then, all of a sudden, one of the cells divided, and then it divided again, and again."

"This is the first time this technique has been achieved for an extinct species," conservation biologist Michael Mahony tells the Sydney Morning Herald.

Although the embryo ultimately failed to develop into a tadpole, scientists say that it is only a matter of time before that this process, called somatic nuclear cell transfer, is successful in bringing this or other species back into viable adulthood.

"We do expect to get this guy hopping again," says Archer.

Until recently, the notion of resurrecting non-existant animals was realm of science fiction -- but as cell transfer techniques improve, it could offer a ray of hope for the countless species inching closer to extinction every year, as well as those once thought lost to the ages.

Via the Sydney Morning Herald

Iran tests border patrol drones

“The implementation of this project has begun in South Khorasan and Sistan and Baluchestan Provinces, and multiple daily flights are conducted to evaluate the performance of the drones,” Border Guard Commander Brigadier General Hossein Zolfaqari said on Sunday.

He added that upon the completion of the pilot project, Iranian border guards will use UAVs to patrol borders.

On Tuesday, Iran’s police teamed up with the Border Guard Command to counter narcotics, human trafficking, and gasoline smugglers on the Iran-Afghan border in southeastern Iran.

Iran has a 900-kilometer border with Afghanistan and has frequently been used as the main conduit for the smuggling of Afghan drugs to narcotics kingpins in Europe.

On December 17, 2012, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said Iran had launched the production line of ScanEagle drones, adding that the IRGC Naval and Aerospace Division was employing the UAVs.

Press TV

The Failure of Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West

Banking Chief Calls For 15% Looting of Italians’ Savings

When does the world is going to understand that they going to abuse them to death

Is the financial rape of Cyprus another IMF riot waiting to happen?

Paul Joseph Watson
March 18, 2013

News that the International Monetary Fund initially demanded to loot a shocking 40% of savings from the private bank accounts of Cypriots underscores how residents of the Mediterranean country could be the latest victims of the infamous “IMF riot,” as the chief economist of the German Commerzbank calls for Italians to be similarly plundered for 15% of their savings.

Image: YouTube

The government of Cyprus is set to vote tomorrow on enforcing a “tax,” which in reality is nothing less than a confiscation of private wealth, that would hit savers with between 100,000 to 500,000 euros with a levy of 9.9%. Those with over half a million euros will face an even higher rate of 15%.

However, the scale of the robbery could have been far higher. As Zero Hedge reports, “It appears that the settled-upon 9.9% haircut is a ‘good deal’ compared to the stunning 40% of total deposits that Germany’s FinMin Schaeuble and the IMF demanded.”

Now that the dictatorial EU and IMF have simply set about stealing the privately accrued wealth of lifetime savers in Europe, everyone is asking one question – who’s next?

Joerg Kraemer, chief economist of the German Commerzbank, has called for private savings accounts in Italy to be similarly plundered. “A tax rate of 15 percent on financial assets would probably be enough to push the Italian government debt to below the critical level of 100 percent of gross domestic product,” he told Handelsblatt.

Although many Cypriots reacted with an anger over the theft of their savings, with one man threatening to drive a bulldozer into his local bank, the reaction has so far been noticeably calmer than one would expect in a country like Italy, which has already been hit with violent anti-austerity riots over the past year.

Are we now seeing yet another example of the “IMF riot” – where the banking elite deliberately fosters social dislocation as a ruse to seize control of a nation’s economy and begin the process of asset stripping, just as happened in Greece and Argentina? Are Cyprus and Italy now in the crosshairs?

As respected investigative reporter Greg Palast exposed in 2001, the global banking elite, namely the World Bank and the IMF, have honed a technique that has allowed them to asset-strip numerous other countries in the past – that technique has come to be known at the “IMF riot.”

In April 2001, Palast obtained leaked World Bank documents that outlined a four step process on how to loot nations of their wealth and infrastructure, placing control of resources into the hands of the banking elite.

One of the final steps of the process, the “IMF riot,” detailed how the elite would plan for mass civil unrest ahead of time that would have the effect of scaring off investors and causing government bankruptcies.

“This economic arson has its bright side – for foreigners, who can then pick off remaining assets at fire sale prices,” writes Palast, adding, “A pattern emerges. There are lots of losers but the clear winners seem to be the western banks and US Treasury.”

How long before the crisis engendered by the looting forces Cyprus to sell its precious assets in return for IMF debt, just as Greece has been doing over the last three years?

The looting of Cyprus, erroneously labeled a “tax,” has been spun by the Cypriot government, the IMF, the EU and the establishment financial media as a necessary evil to prevent the country’s banks going bust and the nation collapsing into bankruptcy.

Firstly, as Mark J. Grant explains, describing the maneuver as a “tax” is an insult to reality.

“Let’s be quite clear; the European Union has confiscated the private property of the citizens in Cyprus without debate, legislation or Parliamentary agreement,” he writes.

“A bank account is not a bond or a stock or any sort of investment. This seems to be lost on many people. A bank account is the private property of a citizen or a corporation and does not belong to the government or at least that was the supposition up until now in Europe.”

Secondly, the doomsday proclamation about Cyprus collapsing if the government is not allowed to loot private bank accounts is merely a cover story to justify what represents a brazen act of mass financial rape.

Instead of protecting the bankers responsible for the crisis while pillaging the people who bear no responsibility whatsoever for the debt, Cyprus should be following in the footsteps of Iceland.

Instead of bailing out bankers, Iceland arrested them. Instead of targeting its population with brutal austerity measures, Iceland paid off people’s underwater mortgages. Iceland also allowed people to pay off debts in foreign currency, which were declared illegal, with the devalued krona.

The result was that Icelanders had more money in their pocket, reinvested it into the economy and now the country has enjoyed a miracle financial turnaround.

The Cypriot government has seemingly chosen a different option – selling out its people to the gaping jaws of the European Union and the IMF and setting the stage for years of economic turmoil, civil unrest and dependency on a financial dictatorship which benefits not from stability but from sustained chaos.


North Korea warns world of nuclear war breakout

NORTH KOREA has threatened to target the prime minister of South Korea and told residents to evacuate islands within range of its artillery, warning the world that "a nuclear war may break out".

Military sources in Seoul said the North Koreans test-fired two short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan on Friday, just as the United States announced plans to boost its missile defences against Asian threats.

The Australian

Iran launches destroyer in the Caspian Sea

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran launched a domestically built destroyer in the Caspian Sea on Sunday, its first deployment of a major warship in the oil-rich region, state TV reported.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated the guided missile destroyer Jamaran-2 in the port city of Anzali, about 250 kilometers (150 miles) northwest of Tehran.

He said the deployment aimed to bolster peace and friendship in the region. "The destroyer is there to meet those who want to jeopardize the security of surrounding nations," he said, without elaborating.

There are multiple disputes between the nations that surround the Caspian — Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan — on how the inland sea should be divided.

After final tests, the report said, Jamaran-2 will join Iran's naval fleet in the sea in coming months.

The 1,400-ton destroyer, which has a helicopter landing pad, is 94 meters (yards) long and can cruise at 30 knots. It is equipped with surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles as well as anti-aircraft batteries and sophisticated radar and communications terminals, the report said.

Iran launched a previous version of the Jamaran destroyer in 2010 in the Persian Gulf.

Since 1992, Iran has been building a self-sufficient military, reportedly producing its own jet fighters, tanks, missiles and light submarines as well as torpedoes.

Ahmadinejad said that the West has learned from Iran's technical expertise that the country's nuclear capabilities cannot be eliminated.

Both Israel and the United States have not ruled out military strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities. The West suspects Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.

Yahoo News

Cyprus Bank Holiday Extended Through Tuesday As Confusion Spreads

For those who read the previous article on the topic of last minute chaos and confusion in Cyprus, and Europe, it will come as no surprise that the previously scheduled Monday bank holiday (aka Green Monday) has been extended into Tuesday. So prepare to not be surprised.

From Kathimerini:

The Cypriot cabinet has declared Tuesday a bank holiday, for fear of capital flight, and this may even be stretched to Wednesday, as depositors are certain to withdraw huge sums from the Cypriot banks after the haircut imposed.

Nicosia postponed from Sunday to Monday the tabling in Parliament of the bill including the measures for the Cypriot bailout – including a bank account haircut and a tax hike on interest and corporate earnings – but the European Central Bank insists on a rapid voting because there are already signs a domino effect will follow across European lenders and markets from Monday.

There is genuine fear of market unrest on Monday morning when stocks may crumble in the eurozone and bank accounts in other southern European bank may suffer.

Skai radio reported on Sunday that the Bank of Greece has sent between 4 and 5 billion euros to Cyprus in order to help Cypriot banks respond to cash requirements by their clients.

So, if the official name of the March 18 holiday was "Green Monday", will the March 19th ad hoc holiday be called "Red Tuesday"? Inquiring minds want to know.
Zero Hedge

60,000 British savers face losing millions in 10% bank account tax

George Osborne vowed today that those serving in Britain's military or government in Cyprus will be protected after European finance chiefs ordered an unprecedented raid on personal bank accounts.

Up to 60,000 British savers are to lose thousands of pounds each as expats in Cyprus have their savings decimated in part of a painful bid to bail out the bankrupt island.

The Chancellor said the financial situation in Cyprus was ‘an example of what happens if you don't show the world that you can pay your way’, adding: ‘We are not part of the bailout.’

Panic: A move by Cypriot authorities that could see up to ten per cent of bank deposits seized to bail out the bankrupt sparked panic and violent protests. One disgruntled customer parked a bulldozer in front of a bank in the coastal town of Limassol in protest

Queues: People withdraw money from a cash-point machine in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia today

However he told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: ‘The Cypriot banks in Britain are not going to be included in this bank tax. It's a very difficult situation for people who live in Cyprus.

'But for people serving in our military and government out in Cyprus, we're going to compensate anyone who is affected by this bank tax - people who are doing their duty for our country.’

Britons have about £1.7billion of deposits in Cyprus and could lose up to £170million. The Cypriot government has agreed to seize up to ten per cent of savings and use the money to bail out the island’s crisis-hit banking system.

The move sparked panic and violent protests yesterday as crowds desperately tried to withdraw their money at cash machines.

Warning: Chancellor George Osborne said today on BBC One's Andrew Marr Show that the situation in Cyprus was 'an example of what happens if you don't show the world that you can pay your way'

Restrictions have been imposed to stop people emptying their accounts or moving their money out of the country following the deal with other eurozone finance ministers, under which ordinary citizens’ deposits will be directly raided for the first time.

One furious expat said: ‘This is plain theft. I’d love to hear someone explain to me why it isn’t.’

Furious: Shirley Brooks, 61, who is originally from Manchester, said she stands to lose £18,600 of her retirement money

And one of the 3,000 British service personnel based on the island said: ‘I stand to lose €4,000 [£3,500] We’ve tried to save quite hard while we are here – that’s been thrown back in our faces.’

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades, who agreed to the raid following ten-hour talks with European finance chiefs, said it was necessary because Cyprus was in a ‘state of emergency’ and failure to enact the Brussels plan would be ‘catastrophic’.

Under the deal, all bank deposits over €100,000 will be hit with a levy of 9.9 per cent. Those with smaller savings will pay 6.75 per cent.

The raid will raise €5.8billion, which will be added to a €10billion bailout from Brussels.

But financial experts said the move – designed to stop Cyprus crashing out of the euro, potentially destroying the currency – would send shock waves through the eurozone.

If savers in other troubled nations fear their accounts might be next, they could withdraw their money and spark a catastrophic run on the banks.

Economist Howard Archer from IHS Global Insight said: ‘It is an alarming precedent to hit the man in the street. As much as they say this is a one off, people will say if they can do it once they could do it again.’

Tory MP Douglas Carswell added: ‘We should all be extremely worried about this. It shows that ordinary Europeans are being fleeced by the Continent’s elite in order to rescue foolish banks. Why would you risk putting your money in Greek, Spanish or Portuguese banks after this?’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2294388/Cyprus-bailout-Osborne-vows-protect-Britains-armed-forces-Cyprus-cash-machines-EMPTIED.html#ixzz2NrSOUkt0

The Rape Of Cyprus By The European Union & The IMF

Submitted by Mark J. Grant, author of Out of the Box,
I have been watching articles pour forth about Cyprus all weekend. I am almost as aggravated with the majority of them as I am with what took place. People are dancing around the edges while the propaganda machines of Europe are churning out the usual bunk.

Let's get some things straight and look what has happened directly in the face. There was no tax on the bank accounts in Cyprus. There still is no tax; the Cyprus Parliament has not passed it and will not vote on it until tomorrow so whatever action takes place it is retroactive. Next, this was not enacted by Cyprus. The people from Nicosia did not go to the Summit and ask to have the bank accounts in their country minimized to help pay the bills. Far from it; the nations of Europe, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the rest, demanded that this take place, a "fait accompli," the President of Cyprus said and Europe annexes Cyprus. Let's be quite clear; the European Union has confiscated the private property of the citizens in Cyprus without debate, legislation or Parliamentary agreement.

A bank account is not a bond or a stock or any sort of investment.This seems to be lost on many people. A bank account is the private property of a citizen or a corporation and does not belong to the government or at least that was the supposition up until now in Europe.

Next there is deposit insurance in Europe. Every country has its own version but it is there. It guaranteed the bank accounts of citizens up to one hundred thousand Euros. So much for the meaning of any guarantee in Cyprus or any other country in Europe. Null and Void! If the European Union can dismantle deposit insurance in Cyprus they can damn well do it in whatever country they please and at any time.

Here’s the description of the Cypriot government deposit insurance plan:
"Participation in the DPS is compulsory for all banks authorized by the Central Bank of Cyprus, i.e. banks incorporated in the Republic of Cyprus, including their branches in other countries, and the Cyprus branches of foreign banks, incorporated outside the Republic of Cyprus or the Member-States of the European Union. The DPS does not cover deposits of branches of banks established in European Union Member States. These deposits are covered by the corresponding deposit protection scheme established in the country of incorporation.

The DPS is activated in the event a decision is reached that a member bank is unable to repay its deposits, or as a result of a Court’s order for the winding-up of a member bank. Where a bank is unable to pay its deposits, the relevant decision is adopted by the Central Bank of Cyprus or, where a member bank is incorporated in a country outside the Republic of Cyprus, by the competent supervisory authority of the country of incorporation.

The maximum level of compensation, per depositor, per bank, is €100.000."
Please note that until yesterday all depositors in Cypriot banks were insured up to the value of €100,000 with any one bank. Today that solemn governmental promise has been shown for what it is; a lie. Worse and actually far worse and quite scary in fact is that the European Union and the European Central Bank and the IMF has not just allowed violation of the deposit insurance but demanded it. One thing is certain here; if they can void deposit insurance in Cyprus then they can void it in any country in Europe. Further; if they can void deposit insurance then they can void bond covenants with the scratch of a pen on paper. Nothing now; Nothing is safe!

Pay attention please. The European Union and the European Central Bank and the IMF have just advocated the confiscation of private property for their own indulgence. Bank accounts are not bonds or stocks or some other form of investments. It is private property like your house or your car. Germany, France et al came in and said, "We want it and we are taking it and it is necessary for our government." These countries did not demand it, yet, from their own citizens though they might soon but they demanded it from the citizens of Cyprus in exchange for funds. This is not a European Union this is a European Fourth Reich!

"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence."

          -John Adams
Zero Hedge