Friday, 28 January 2011

Davos 2011 - David Cameron

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Davos WEF 2011: Osborne calls time on banker bashing – George Osborne has given a clear signal the Government wants to halt the long period of “banker bashing” by admitting “we need to move on”. >>> Kamal Ahmed, in Davos | Friday, January 28, 2011

What the hell is this chancellor is talking about? Who the hell is he to tell us what we are supposed to think? If this chancellor wants people to stop banker-bashing, then he needs to take action to halt the despicable bonuses which these people are stealing from the system. This is the disgusting face of ‘unbridled’ capitalism. – © Mark

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Davos WEF 2011: Sarkozy Says France and Germany Will 'Never Let the Euro Fail'

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: France and Germany will never turn their backs on the euro, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said in his most robust defence of the troubled single currency to date.

Addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos, he told speculators to be prepared for big losses if they bet against the euro. “[Germany’s] Chancellor Merkel and myself will never – do you hear me, never – let the euro fall,” he said.

“The euro is Europe. And Europe spells 60 years of peace. Therefore we will never let the euro go or be destroyed… To those who bet against the euro, watch out for your money because we are fully determined to defend the euro.”

President Sarkozy’s intervention comes with the single currency under greater strain than at any time in its short history. Davos has been abuzz with talk of a two-speed Europe, with billionaire investor George Soros warning that the “euro could possibly fall apart” under the strain.

Greece and Ireland are implementing painful pay cuts and other deflationary measures because they can not devalue, while Germany powers ahead. Ken Rogoff, the Harvard economist, has suggested Greece should be allowed to fail in an orderly fashion because its debts are insurmountable.

However, President Sarkozy said: “To imagine that we might pull out shows a complete misunderstanding of the European psychology. It has to do with our identities as Europeans.” >>> Philip Aldrick, Economics Editor, in Davos | Thursday, January 27, 2011
Financial Crisis Was Avoidable, Inquiry Finds

The commission’s report finds fault with two Fed chairmen: Alan Greenspan, right, a skeptic of regulation who led the central bank as the housing bubble expanded, and his successor, Ben S. Bernanke, who did not foresee the crisis but then played a crucial role in the response to it. Photograph: The New York Times

THE NEW YORK TIMES: WASHINGTON — The 2008 financial crisis was an “avoidable” disaster caused by widespread failures in government regulation, corporate mismanagement and heedless risk-taking by Wall Street, according to the conclusions of a federal inquiry.

The commission that investigated the crisis casts a wide net of blame, faulting two administrations, the Federal Reserve and other regulators for permitting a calamitous concoction: shoddy mortgage lending, the excessive packaging and sale of loans to investors and risky bets on securities backed by the loans.

“The greatest tragedy would be to accept the refrain that no one could have seen this coming and thus nothing could have been done,” the panel wrote in the report’s conclusions, which were read by The New York Times. “If we accept this notion, it will happen again.”

While the panel, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, accuses several financial institutions of greed, ineptitude or both, some of its gravest conclusions concern government failings, with embarrassing implications for both parties. But the panel was itself divided along partisan lines, which could blunt the impact of its findings.

Many of the conclusions have been widely described, but the synthesis of interviews, documents and testimony, along with its government imprimatur, give the report — to be released on Thursday as a 576-page book — a conclusive sweep and authority. >>> Sewell Chan | Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Bank of England Chief Mervyn King: Standard of Living to Plunge at Fastest Rate Since 1920s

Households face the most dramatic squeeze in living standards since the 1920s, the Governor of the Bank of England warned, as he reacted to the shock disclosure that the economy was shrinking again

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Families will see their disposable income eaten up as they “pay the inevitable price” for the financial crisis, Mervyn King warned.

With wages failing to keep pace with rising inflation, workers’ take- home pay will end the year worth the same as in 2005 — the most prolonged fall in living standards for more than 80 years, he claimed.

Mr King issued the warning in a speech in Newcastle upon Tyne after official figures showed that gross domestic product fell by 0.5 per cent during the final three months last year. The Government blamed the unexpected reduction — the first since the third quarter of 2009 — on the freezing weather that paralysed much of the country last month.

But there were fears that the country was poised to slip back into recession, defined as two successive quarters of negative growth. Economists said the situation was “an absolute disaster”. Read on and comment >>> Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor | Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

George Osborne: Budget Cuts Keep Down Interest Rates

George Osborne has said the Government's austerity package will keep down interest rates for borrowers after economists questioned his strategy following a sharp contraction in the economy

Read on and comment >>>

Related >>>
UK Economy Shrinks 0.5pc

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Britain's economy shrank unexpectedly in the final three months of last year as heavy snow compounded a slowdown in growth.

Gross domestic product fell 0.5pc in the fourth quarter, the most in more than a year, the Office for National Statistics reported on Tuesday. The decline compared with growth of 0.7pc in the third quarter.

George Osborne insisted that the Government will press ahead with planned cuts to public spending, despite warnings from forecasters that the economy may be too weak to withstand the package.

Blaming the growth figures on the cold weather, Mr Osborne maintained that a weakening in efforts to tackle the deficit would pose a greater bigger threat to the nation's future prosperity.

"There is no question of changing a fiscal plan that has established international credibility on the back of one very cold month. That would plunge Britain back into a financial crisis," the Chancellor said.

"We will not be blown off course by bad weather." Read on and comment >>> | Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Friday, 21 January 2011

Inside One Hyde Park

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: The £650 million One Hyde Park development – the most expensive in London's history – has been unveiled for the first time.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Golden Ticket at Goldman Sachs

DealB%k >>>
How Does Goldman Sachs Make Its Profits?

Goldman-Sachs-Gewinn bricht um die Hälfte ein

Zentrale von Goldman Sachs in New York: Einbußen im Anleihegeschäft. Bild: Spiegel Online

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Der spektakuläre Facebook-Deal hat Goldman Sachs den Ruf des Trendsetters eingebracht. Doch jetzt sorgt die US-Investmentbank mit überraschend schlechten Zahlen für negative Schlagzeilen: Das Institut hat im vierten Quartal gut die Hälfte seines Gewinnes eingebüßt - die Aktie rutschte ab.

New York - Mit Spannung haben Börsianer auf die Zahlen von Goldman Sachs gewartet. Doch das Quartalsergebnis der mächtigen Investmentbank enttäuscht die Analysten. Einbußen im Anleihehandel haben der US-Großbank einen kräftigen Dämpfer versetzt. Das Institut büßte im vierten Quartal 2010 gut die Hälfte seines Gewinnes ein. Der Nettogewinn sei auf 2,23 Milliarden Dollar gefallen, teilte die Bank an diesem Mittwoch mit. Zum Vergleich: Im Vorjahresquartal waren es unterm Strich noch 4,79 Milliarden Dollar gewesen. >>> mmq/Reuters/dpa-AFX | Mittwoch, 19. Januar 2011

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Goldman Sachs fourth-quarter profits slide: Goldman Sachs will pay its employees almost 10bn pounds in pay and bonuses even as annual profits at the bank fell. >>> Richard Blackden, New York | Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Merkel Rules Out Return to Deutsche Mark

Chancellor Angela Merkel says there's no going back to the beloved deutsche mark. Photo: Spiegel Online International

SPIEGEL ONLINE INTERNATIONAL: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has snuffed out speculation about reintroducing the deutsche mark in Germany as a response to the current euro crisis. In a magazine interview, she renewed her support for the common currency and rejected the idea of splitting the euro zone in two.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has categorically stated that Germany will not abandon the euro and reintroduce the deutsche mark. Her comments are intended to quell speculation that Germany's love of the common currency is flagging in the wake of expensive bailouts of troubled euro-zone members Greece and Ireland.

In an interview to be published in Germany's weekly Stern magazine on Thursday, Merkel also rejected the idea of splitting the euro zone into north and south zones, reaffirming Germany's commitment to an economically united Europe.

"There can be no return to the deutsche mark," she said, adding that Germany would "continue to do everything necessary to guarantee a stable euro." She told the magazine that, while she took citizens' concerns very seriously, she was convinced that "we in Germany can handle everything." >>> jap - with wires | Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Tunisia Riots Because It Lacks Jobs and Opportunities - Analysts

Jobs Takes Sick Leave at Apple Again, Stirring Questions

THE NEW YORK TIMES: SAN FRANCISCO — Steven P. Jobs, the visionary co-founder and chief executive of Apple, is taking a medical leave of absence, a year and a half after his return following a liver transplant. The leave raises questions about both his long-term prognosis and the leadership of the world’s most valuable technology company.

Mr. Jobs, 55, who recovered from pancreatic cancer after surgery in 2004, has not appeared at public events since October, and has looked increasingly frail in recent weeks, according to people who have seen him.

An Apple spokeswoman, Katie Cotton, said Apple would have no further comment beyond a brief public statement in which Mr. Jobs announced he was turning daily oversight of the company’s operations over to the chief operating officer, Timothy D. Cook. >>> Miguel Helft | Monday, January 17, 2011

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Jordanians March Against Inflation

AL JAZEERA ENGLISH: Thousands vent anger in Amman and other cities against government's inability to rein in prices and poverty.

Thousands of Jordanians have taken to the streets of the capital Amman and other cities to protest against rising commodity prices, unemployment and poverty.

The protesters are calling on the government headed by Samir Rifai, the prime minister, to step down.

Demonstrators, including trade unionists and leftist party members, carried national flags and chanted anti-government slogans in downtown Amman.

They called Rifai a "coward" and demanded his resignation.

"Prices, particularly gasoline and food, are getting out of hand,'' Buthaina Iftial, a 24-year-old civil servant, said.

"We're becoming poorer every day,'' she said, holding a poster with a piece of Arabic flatbread attached.

Police and plainclothes officers formed rings around the demonstrators to contain the protests. There were no reports of arrests or violence. >>> Source: Agencies | Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday, 14 January 2011

PM Is Protecting Banker Bonuses, Claim Lib Dems

THE INDEPENDENT: The Liberal Democrats are making a final attempt to persuade David Cameron to rein in bankers' bonuses amid growing public anger over the imminent payout estimated at £7bn.

Liberal Democrat MPs believe that Mr Cameron, rather than the Chancellor, George Osborne, has emerged as the main obstacle to tough action against the bankers. They are furious that Downing Street signalled a climbdown this week while talks continued with the big banks on a new settlement covering bonuses and lending to small businesses and first-time buyers.

"You don't wave the white flag in the middle of tough negotiations," Baron Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, a Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, told The Independent yesterday. "This is the moment of truth on fairness for our Coalition. We can't allow a bonus bonanza in the age of austerity." >>> Andrew Grice, Political Editor | Friday, January 14, 2011

THE SUNDAY TIMES: Golden goodbye for bank bosses: Outgoing chief executives at HSBC, Lloyds and Barclays will pocket millions from highly lucrative advisory contracts >>> Iain Dey | Sunday, January 16, 2011 (£)

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Bank of London and the Middle East Launches [sic] Sharia'a [sic] Compliant Premier Deposit Account in Sterling, US Dollars and Euros for Investors

iSTOCKANALYST: Bank of London and The Middle East plc (BLME), London's leading wholesale Sharia'a compliant bank whose main shareholders are Boubyan Bank, National Bank of Kuwait, the Securities House and the Public Institution for Social Security, announced today the launch of its Premier Deposit Account (PDA) in Pound Sterling, US Dollars and Euro for Kuwait investors. >>> Source: Middle East Company News | Wednesday, January 12, 2011
New Move to Make Yuan a Global Currency

A Chinese clerk counts yuan next to U.S. dollars. Photograph: The Wall Street Journal

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: China has launched trading in its currency in the U.S. for the first time, an explicit endorsement by Beijing of the fast-growing market in the yuan and a significant step in the country's plan to foster global trading in its currency.

The state-controlled Bank of China Ltd. is allowing customers to trade the yuan, also known as the renminbi, in the U.S., expanding the nascent offshore market for the currency which began last year in Hong Kong.

The decision is the latest move by China to allow the yuan, whose value is still tightly controlled by the government, to become an international currency that can be used for trade and investment.

"We're preparing for the day when renminbi becomes fully convertible," Li Xiaojing, general manager of Bank of China's New York branch, told The Wall Street Journal. He said the bank's goal is to become "the renminbi clearing center in America." >>> Lingling Wei | Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mark Steel: We Owe It to Bankers to Feel Their Pain

THE INDEPENDENT: At last someone has dared to defend the oppressed people of the banking community. Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays, who himself has to suffer the trauma of an £8m bonus, said yesterday that the bankers' "period of remorse and apology should be over". And you feel his pain, because the first words to cross your mind when you see a banker are "remorseful and apologetic". Then you're left worrying, "Oh, how I wish the poor souls were slightly less burdened with remorse about their bonus, and didn't apologise with such agonising sincerity about putting it into their wife's name in a series of untraceable accounts based in uninhabitable islands off Ecuador."

But at last they've learnt to stand up for themselves, and Bob Diamond has emerged as their Martin Luther King. Soon the whole banking community will declare: "Say it out loud, I'm 27 million quid in the black and I'm proud." >>> Mark Steel | Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Barclays Boss Bob Diamond Says Banks Should Be Allowed to Fail

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Bob Diamond, Barclays' chief executive, has told a committeee of MPs that badly-run banks should not be bailed out by taxpayers.

"It is not acceptable for taxpayers to bail out banks," Mr Diamond said during questioning by the Treasury Select Committee. He added that "badly managed" banks should be allowed to fail. >>> Louise Armitstead, and Amy Wilson | Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Banks Given Go-ahead to Pay Unlimited Bonuses

THE GUARDIAN: Ministers cave in to City and reject calls to tackle highest earners as No 10 seeks face-saving deal

Britain's banks were given the go-ahead tonight to pay unlimited bonuses, drawing to a close a two-year political battle to rein in the City.

After months in which a series of government ministers of all parties have threatened a toughening in the stance over City bonuses, Downing Street said the government did not intend to intervene in the pay of the UK's top bankers.

Ministers are instead hoping for a face-saving deal in which the banks agree to lending targets and improve the way they disclose their pay deals. One of the options being discussed is releasing information on the five highest paid individuals at each bank.

"We've made a broad statement which is about the need to see some restraint and some responsibility from the banks, but we are not going to set bonus pools for individual banks," the prime minister's spokesman said. >>> Patrick Wintour, Jill Treanor and Allegra Stratton | Monday, January 10, 2011

THE INDEPENDENT: Tough talk on bank bonuses comes to nought: The Government owns 83 per cent of RBS. So why does it claim to be powerless to halt another round of enormous bank bonuses? >>> James Moore, Deputy Business Editor | Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, 10 January 2011

Cuba Lays-off State Workers in Privatisation Drive

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Cuba has begun the process of laying-off a tenth of its state workforce in a drive to push employees into small businesses that could mark the beginning of the end of the 50-year communist experiment on the island.

The state labour union announced this week that the first of some 500,000 employees could expect to receive "pink slips" immediately, effectively terminating their employment in the public sector where, until now, almost 90 per cent of Cuba's workforce have been employed.

The lay-offs will begin in the ministries of agriculture, sugar, construction, health and tourism, according to Salvador Valdes, the leader of the Workers' Central Union of Cuba (CTC). Workers, who on average earn a monthly wage of $20 (£13), were told to expect compensation of one month's salary for every ten years on the job.

Committees have been set up in each workplace to draw up the list of those jobs to be cut, the CTC said – a process that "will be free of favouritism, nepotism and paternalism". >>> Fiona Govan, Madrid | Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Cameron* Says Banks 'Should Pay Smaller Bonuses'

BBC: Prime Minister David Cameron has called on banks to pay smaller bonuses this year.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show he said banks should be more "socially responsible".

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which is majority-owned by the taxpayer, should not be "leading the way" on bonuses but should be a "back marker", he said.

However "micro-managing" the banks was not the answer, he added. >>> | Sunday, January 09, 2011

* Cameron talking baloney! He’ll never do anything about bankers and their despicable, excessive bonuses. He is weak and cowardly. – © Mark
Terry Murden: Bank Bonuses Are Back as Politicians Roll Over

THE SCOTSMAN: NO-ONE should be surprised that the banks are expected to defy public opinion and once again pay multi-million pound bonuses.

Difficulties in controlling the bonus culture have been made plain by the frustrations felt by politicians across the spectrum and were highlighted here as far back as August 2009 after the then shadow chancellor George Osborne demanded that bonuses should be banned altogether in banks that had been bailed out by the taxpayer.

Well, he's moved a long way from that particular argument and now doesn't even see eye-to-eye with the bite-your-legs business secretary Vince Cable, who has found himself muzzled over the issue.

The bankers believe the Lib Dems who have been making most of the noise on this issue are now a bit of a spent force in the debate and that the slightly more banker-friendly tone emanating from Osborne and Prime Minister David Cameron will leave them free to award themselves the sums they see as their right.

The banks argue that they contributed towards the £53.4 billion paid in taxes last year by the financial services industry, equal to 11.2 per cent of Britain's total tax receipts. No wonder the Treasury should consider it inappropriate to bite the hand that feeds it.

Before Christmas there were more threats of a new bonus tax, an idea revisited by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and warnings from Cable that the banks would be punished if they didn't change their ways. But opinion in the City is that there is not much substance behind them.

The bankers are now said to feel so confident of getting away with paying large bonuses that they see no further need for Project Merlin, the initiative led by Barclays former chief executive John Varley to repair relations with the government. Expect the next round of bonuses to be trimmed, but only marginally, and as an acknowledgement of, rather than a concession to, public outrage. >>> Terry Murden | Sunday, January 09, 2011

THE SUNDAY TIMES: Lib Dems tear into Tories on bonuses: Ministers are furious at George Osborne’s apparent cave-in over unacceptable bank bonuses in a time of austerity >>> Marie Woolf, Whitehall Editor | Sunday, January 09, 2011 (£)

THE OBSERVER: Britain's best-paid bank boss set for showdown with MPs over huge bonus: Barclays chief Bob Diamond is under intense pressure to lead by example and give up payout >>> The Observer | Sunday, January 09, 2011

Friday, 7 January 2011

Europe Unveils Sweeping Plans to Govern Reckless Banks

THEH DAILY TELEGRAPH: Brussels has called for sweeping powers for regulators to seize failing EU banks, sack board members, and impose haircuts on senior bank debt, aiming to ensure that taxpayers are never again held hostage by high finance.

The European Commission’s "Framework for Bank Recovery and Resolution" draws on Scandinavia’s hard-line approach during their banking crises in the early 1990s. The goal is to end the pattern of moral hazard and mispricing of risk that generated Europe’s debt woes.

"Banks will fail in the future and must be able to do so without bringing down the whole financial system," said Michel Barnier, the internal market commissioner Mr Barnier’s consultation paper will lead to a "legislative proposal for a harmonized EU regime" as soon as this summer, with an insolvency structure in place by 2012.

The final phase will be the creation of a European Resolution Authority by 2014, adding a fourth pillar to the EU’s new architecture of financial regulation. EU "authorities" typically have their own permanent staff and powers to override national bodies.

The document said regulators should be given "statutory power" to write down senior bank debt, by any amount necessary, or to convert debt into equity. "Such a power would only apply to new debt (or existing debt contracts renewed or rolled over) after entry into force of the power."

Worries over the exact shape of the bondholder haircuts caused credit default swaps on senior European bank debt to rise sharply earlier in the day, with the Markit iTraxx Senior Financials index rising 16 basis points to 196. >>> Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor | Thursday, January 06, 2011

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Markets Make Portugal Pay Heavy Price for Loan

THE INDEPENDENT: Portugal's cost of borrowing soared by 80 per cent yesterday, as the eurozone's ongoing debt crisis took centre stage again with the festive season barely over.

The Portuguese government successfully sold €500m (£425m) of bonds repayable in six months but the yield – or cost in interest to its taxpayers – was 3.68 per cent. That compares with the 2.04 per cent the country paid for a similar auction in September. The yield was as low as 0.59 per cent as recently as a year ago.

The punitive rates were a reflection of the continued fears that Portugal will be the next domino to fall by following Ireland and Greece in having to seek a bailout from the EU and the International Monetary Fund. The country's Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, has repeatedly said Portugal will be able to continue to finance its debt on the international markets and will not need to take this step, despite the rates it is being required to pay. >>> James Moore, Deputy Business Editor | Thursday, January 06, 2011

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Two-way Eurozone Split Led by Germany Could Solve 'Rolling Debt Crisis'

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Telegraph columnist Roger Bootle tells Robert Miller why the eurozone faces a 'rolling debt crisis' for years to come and why a break-up is now 'more likely than not'.

Watch Telegraph video here
USA: Fears Over Economy Highest Since Recession

MAIL ONLINE: The number of Americans worried about the economy has reached its highest level since the darkest days of the recession two years ago, according to a new survey published today.

The Rasmussen poll showed that 87% of voters view the economy as by far the most important issue facing the government.

The percentage is five points up from an October poll and underlines the task still faced by President Obama to restore confidence in the shell-shocked financial system.

Improving the economy is seen as the highest priority since August 2008, when the scale of the financial crisis was first becoming clear.

Only 24% of voters agree with Mr Obama’s claims that his policies have the economy moving in the right direction. However, halfway into the Obama presidency more voters still believe the Bush White House was more to blame for the financial collapse than the current administration. Welcome home, Mr President: Poll reveals fears over economy at highest level since recession as Obamas return from Hawaii
David Gardner | Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Der Wahnsinn kehrt zurück

ZEIT ONLINE: Goldman Sachs bringt sich mit dem Einstieg bei Facebook in eine strategisch günstige Position. Aber ist die Internetplattform wirklich 50 Milliarden Dollar wert?

Der Chef der Internet-Plattform Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, wirbt bei jeder Gelegenheit für mehr Offenheit: "Die Menschen teilen ihre Informationen immer schneller und offener. Das ist die neue soziale Norm." Nur wenn es um die Zahlen seiner Firma geht, gibt sich Zuckerberg verschlossen. Bis heute hat das Unternehmen keine belastbaren Zahlen über Umsatz, Gewinn oder Cash-Flow vorgelegt. Einen Börsengang, der für mehr Transparenz sorgen würde, lehnte Zuckerberg bisher kategorisch ab.

Die Intransparenz schadet ihm offenbar nicht: 500 Millionen Dollar zahlen die Investmentbank Goldman Sachs und der russische Investor Digital Sky Technologies für ein einziges Prozent an Facebook. Damit verdoppelt Zuckerberg sein rechnerisches Vermögen auf knapp 14 Milliarden Dollar. Das Portal, dessen Gründer und oberster Stratege gerade einmal 26 Jahre alt ist, ist auf dem Papier inzwischen 50 Milliarden Dollar wert - mehr als die Deutsche Bank. Weiter lesen und einen Kommentar schreiben >>> Von Rolf Benders | Klaus Stratmann | Ulf Sommer | Christoph Kapalschinski | Hans-Peter Siebenhaar | Dienstag, 04. Januar 2011
Editorial: Saudization Drive

ARAB NEWS: Call for replacement of expats with Saudis in retail sector is prompted out of necessity

In most countries, a call from a prominent economist to expel foreign workers and replace them with nationals would be met with accusations of racism. But that accusation cannot be leveled at Saudi economist Abdul Rahman Al-Homaid. His call last week to replace foreigners in the retail sector with Saudis is prompted not by fantasies of national purity but by necessity.

As we have pointed out before in these columns, there is a ticking time bomb in Saudi Arabia. It is called unemployment and it threatens to explode with potentially devastating results unless defused. Because of the population growth rate — the highest in the world — every year for the next 20 years an extra 400,000 jobs will be needed to meet the demand from young Saudis coming onto the labor market. That is just the men! The consequences of them not finding work could be serious — economically, politically and socially.

For that simple reason, there are no taboos. There cannot be the same sentiments as elsewhere. Saudi Arabia has to put its own interests first. It is not racist to call for foreigners to be replaced by nationals, which would be the case in France or Germany or the US, because there is not the overriding imperative there of finding jobs for a burgeoning population. They actually need foreigners to fill jobs. >>> Editor | Monday, January 03, 2011

Monday, 3 January 2011

Welfare Bill Soars as Coalition Counts Cost of Austerity Drive

THE GUARDIAN: Slowdown in economic growth makes reducing deficit harder, says Office for Budget Responsibility

Rising unemployment will cost the government £1.5bn more than expected in welfare benefits, according to official forecasts that reveal the hidden cost of the coalition's austerity drive.

As big increases in VAT are due to bite from Tuesday, analysis from the Office for Budget Responsibility shows slowing economic growth will make it harder to reduce the deficit by forcing more people to seek state support.

The Treasury watchdog calculates the government will have to pay out £700m more in unemployment benefit than previously forecast. Similarly, a higher number claiming jobseeker's allowance as well as falling into lower wage brackets will see the government needing to pay out another £700m more in housing assistance over the next four years.

Though the OBR data, released last month, confirms the government is still making substantial savings from its changes to both benefits, the shadow work and pensions secretary, Douglas Alexander, said the OBR's fresh assessment suggested it was government strategy that was leaving these higher numbers exposed.

He said: "The growing cost of the risk the government is running with the economic recovery is now emerging. The result of policies which undermine growth and jobs is a longer dole queue and a higher welfare bill." >>> Allegra Stratton and Julia Kollewe | Sunday, January 02, 2010

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Final Address (January 02, 2011)

New Irish Exodus To America

SKY NEWS: The number of people travelling from Ireland to New York to find work is rising, according to the city's Irish community leaders.

Obama Can Fix It!

MAIL ONLINE: President Barack Obama today set out an ambitious New Year's resolution for 2011 - repair the struggling U.S. economy.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president said recent data showed the economic recovery was gaining traction even though millions of Americans were still out of work.

'Our most important task now is to keep that recovery going,' said Mr Obama, who is currently enjoying a family vacation in Hawaii.

'As president, that's my commitment to you: to do everything I can to make sure our economy is growing, creating jobs, and strengthening our middle class. That's my resolution for the coming year.” 'I CAN fix the economy': Obama reveals his (very ambitious) New Year's resolution >>> Daily Mail Reporter | Saturday, January 1, 2011
Detroit in Ruins

THE OBSERVER: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre's extraordinary photographs documenting the dramatic decline of a major American city

To the photo gallery >>> | Sunday, January 2, 2011

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year! Bonne année ! Gutes Neues Jahr! !Feliz año nuevo! Feliz Ano Novo! Felix sit annus novus! L’Shannah Tovah! S Novim Godom! Hauoli Makahiki Hou! Es guets Neues! Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! ! سنة سعيدة


I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my visitors a wonderful, healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year. May 2011 be your year! Thanking you all for your continued and loyal support. – © Mark