War On Terror

 
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Anonymous Hackers Plan More China Site Attacks

Anonymous China

WE’RE TRACKING YOU
Police Using Dubious Phone Tracking Tactics With Little Oversight






Microsoft ‘Proof-Of-Concept’ Hacking Code May Have Leaked

Microsoft Proof Of Concept

Hector Xavier Monsegur, 4 Other Reported LulzSec Hackers Arrested By FBI

Hector Xavier Monsegur

Hackers Winning Security War, Said Executives At RSA Conference

Hackers





WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS?

‘DEATH TO AMERICA’ : Fury Flares Over Koran Burning.. 4 Killed, Dozens Wounded In Massive Protests

© PA Images

Anonymous has released what the hacking group claims is a taped conference call between the FBI and UK police discussing a major international cyber-crime investigation.

The conversation discusses the tracking of Anonymous and its various splinter groups, including dates of planned arrests and details of evidence held by police.

The FBI and Scotland Yard have now confirmed that the security of the call was compromised.

People on the call, thought to include someone from MI5, can be heard discussing the joint international inquiry into a cyber-crime case currently going through the British courts.

The case is understood to have links to investigations in New York, Baltimore and Ireland.

Released on the internet, the 17-minute call includes some usernames, although most of the real names of those being investigated have been bleeped out.

Among those discussed are two British men, Ryan Cleary and Jake Davis, who are being pursued by the FBI over their alleged links to Anonymous. It is unclear how Anonymous managed to access and record the call.

An email has also been published by Anonymous which allegedly confirms that the call took place on January 17 this year.

The email invites law enforcement officials in the US, UK, Sweden, Ireland and other countries to “discuss the ongoing investigations related to Anonymous, Lulzsec, Antisec, and other associated splinter groups”.

Writing on a Twitter account linked to Anonymous, the hacking group said: “The FBI might be curious how we’re able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now.”

The FBI confirmed that the information “was intended for law enforcement officers only and was illegally obtained”. The bureau said that it is investigating the breach.

Zulkifli Bin Hir, Southeast Asia’s Most Wanted Terrorist, Reportedly Killed

Zulkifili Bin Hir Killed

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Col. Marcelo Burgos shows a picture of Abu Sayyaf leader Umbra Jumdail during a press conference Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012 in suburban Quezon City, north of Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Pat Roque)

Terrorism ‘Hot Spots’ In United States Pinpointed In New Report

Terrorism

One World Trade Center rises in Manhattan, a decade after 2001’s massive terrorist attacks. Over the past 40 years, New York City has endured 343 terrorist attacks.

ANOTHER DEADLY ATTACK

Bomb Kills At Least 53 Shiite Pilgrims In Southern Iraq

Afghan shrine blasts kill 58 on Shiite holy day

Afghans are seen near the scene of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.
photo: AP / Musadeq Sadeq

Twin blasts at Afghan shrines on the Shiite holy day of Ashura killed at least 58 people on Tuesday with one massive suicide attack in Kabul ripping through a crowd of worshippers including children. The blast in Kabul and another in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif came a day after an international meeting in Germany  meant to further efforts to end the Afghan war, 10 years after US-led forces drove the Taliban from power.

At least 54 people including children were killed in the huge explosion at the entrance to a riverside shrine in central Kabul, where hundreds of singing Shiite Muslims had gathered to mark Ashura, an official said.

“Fifty-four are dead and 150 others are injured,” health ministry spokesman Ghulam Sakhi Kargar Noorughli said.

A young girl, dressed in a green shalwar kameez that was smeared in blood, stood shrieking as she was surrounded by the crumpled, piled-up bodies of children.

“I was there watching people mourning (for Ashura) when there was suddenly a huge explosion,” witness Ahmad Fawad said.

“Some people around me fell down injured. I wasn’t hurt, so I got up and started running. It was horrible,” he said.

Men and women at the scene sobbed as they surveyed the carnage, and screamed slogans denouncing Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Withdrawal From Afghanistan: 40,000 Troops To Leave War Zone By End Of 2012

40000 Troops To Leave Afghanistan By End Of 2012

Boeing delivers first batch of 30,000-pound bombs to Air Force

The Massive Ordnance Penetrator — the Air Force has ordered 20 from Boeing — is nearly five tons heavier than any other bomb in the military’s arsenal and is made to pulverize underground targets.

Massive Ordnance Penetrator

An artist’s rendering of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000-pound bomb. (Boeing Co. / July 15,

At a total cost of about $314 million, the military has developed and ordered 20 of the GPS-guided bombs, called Massive Ordnance Penetrators. They are designed to be dropped on targets by the Boeing-made B-52 Stratofortress long-range bomber or Northrop Grumman Corp.‘s B-2 stealth bomber.

In an age of new emphasis on drones and lightweight weaponry, the Air Force’s purchase highlights the Pentagon’s ongoing need for defense contractors to build the kinds of big bombs and other heavy-duty ordnance they have produced for decades.

Packed with more than 5,300 pounds of explosives and more than 20 feet long, the giant bunker-busting bombs were tested at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the site of the first atomic bomb test during World War II.

Earlier this month, Brig. Gen. Scott Vander Hamm, who oversees the B-2 fleet at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, told Air Force Magazine that there is “no other weapon that can get after those hard and deeply buried targets” like the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. It “is specifically designed to go after very dense targets … where enemies are putting things that the president of the United States wants to hold at risk.”

Al-Qaida plants its flag — literally — in Libya

Mideast Libya

New reports of Islamist influence in war-ravaged Benghazi includes al-Qaida flag sightings

Weapons on way to Somalia broaden scope of war, Kenya says

In this Oct. 20, 2011 file photo, African Union peacekeepers hold their positions in the Deynile district of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, after al-Shabab was chased out of the neighborhood in a dawn offensive by Somali government troops and African Union peacekeepers.
photo: AP / Ali Bashi
MOGADISHU, Somalia • The Kenyan government said Tuesday that aircraft were delivering weapons to Islamist insurgents in southern Somalia, widening the international nature of a war that has already engulfed several African nations. In a statement, the Kenyans said two aircraft landed
Tuesday in the Somali town of Baidoa, which is under the control of al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group that has claimed allegiance to al-Qaida.
The planes carried weapons destined for the group, the statement said, without specifying who had sent them.

One high-ranking East African official later said the shipments had come from Eritrea.

Kenya also warned residents in 10 al-Shabab-controlled towns to avoid contact with the militants, telling them to avoid “being used as conduits for the weapons,” as it would strike those towns soon.

Kenya’s military launched a premeditated assault into Somalia last month with hundreds of troops backed by tanks and gunships to eradicate al-Shabab. Its military joined those of Uganda and Burundi, which are contributing to an African Union peacekeeping force that is fighting the insurgents.

But now some officials have accused Eritrea, often considered the most militarized nation in Africa, of joining the fray on the side of al-Shabab.

Eritrea has long been accused of supporting al-Shabab, and in 2009 the U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on it, demanding that it “cease arming, training and equipping armed groups and their members.”

London hosts cyberspace security conference

William Hague: “We are all linked by the innumberable connections of the networked world”

London has begun a two-day international conference focused on the threat from cyber-security attacks.

Representatives of 60 nations gathered to discuss how to tackle the rising levels of cyber-crime.

Foreign Secretary William Hague convened the London Conference on Cyberspace, and urged a “global co-ordinated response” on policy.

However, Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, warned that ill-advised interventions posed their own risks.

The event came a day after intelligence agency GCHQ warned that cyberattacks on the UK were at “disturbing” levels.

Experts attending the conference included EU digital supremo Neelie Kroes, Cisco’s vice-president Brad Boston and Joanna Shields, a senior executive at Facebook.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been due to attend, but cancelled the trip on Monday night after her 92-year-old mother fell ill.

GUESS WHO’S BACK

U.S. Quietly Reassumes Military Posture In Somalia

Gaddafi Son Saif Al-Islam Headed To Mali, Official Says

Seif Al Islam Mali

 

RUKMINI CALLIMACHI   10/27/11 11:48 AM ET   AP

Senegal — Moammar Gadhafi’s intelligence chief, who is wanted by Interpol, fled to Mali overnight after making his way across Niger where he has been hiding for several days in the country’s northern desert, an adviser to the president of Niger said Thursday.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter, said that Abdullah al-Senoussi entered Mali late Wednesday night via the Kidal region, which shares a border with Niger. He is guarded by a unit of about a dozen people and arrived in a convoy that was piloted by ethnic Tuaregs from Mali.

The official said that Gadhafi’s hunted son, Seif al-Islam, is also on his way to Mali and is traveling across the invisible line separating Algeria from Niger. The area, an ungoverned expanse of dunes stretching for hundreds of miles, has been used for years by drug traffickers as well as by an offshoot of al-Qaida.

“Senoussi is in Mali … he arrived yesterday,” said the adviser, an influential elder in the ethnic Tuareg community which overwhelmingly supported Gadhafi and remained loyal to him despite Niger’s official stance backing the country’s new rulers.

“Seif is going to Mali too. He is right now between Niger and Algeria. He is in the territory at the frontier between the two, heading to Mali,” the adviser said. “For the moment, they do not plan to approach the government. They are protected by the Tuaregs … and they are choosing to stay in the desert.”

The region through which they traveled is the traditional home of the Tuaregs, the desert dwellers whose members live in the nations abutting the Sahara desert from Mauritania in the east, through Mali, Niger, Libya and Chad. The group felt a kinship with Gadhafi who elevated the nomadic life by pitching his tent in the courtyards of four-star hotels in Europe.

Hundreds of Malian and Nigerien Tuaregs were recruited by Gadhafi to fight as hired guns in Libya in the final months of the conflict. The video showing how Gadhafi was manhandled after he was caught has deeply offended Tuareg communities throughout Africa.

MOAMMAR GADHAFI DEAD   October 20, 2011

Secret of the Taliban’s success

In this Dec. 25, 2010 file photo, Spc. Charles Moore, left, of Angleton, Texas.,along with Spc Andrew Vanderhaeghen of Rochester, MN., of 2nd Platoon Bravo Company 2-327 return fire upon a sudden attack by Taliban on Combat Out Post Badel in easteran Afghanistan near the Pakistan border.
photo: AP / Rafiq Maqbool
Ten years ago, Taliban fighters in their thousands abandoned power, fled their military posts and melted away into the countryside, allowing Western-led forces to capture Afghanistan without a fight. 

Today, that rag-tag militia has evolved into a sophisticated guerrilla force which has recently hit several high-value targets and all but derailed American plans for a smooth and successful drawdown of troops.

Significantly, they have achieved this despite the absence of a charismatic leader, a unified chain of command and a politico-economic vision.

So how did they do it?

Until three years after their government was ousted by coalition forces in October 2001, there was little Taliban activity in Afghanistan.

“Taliban were initially welcomed by the Afghan people for bringing a four-year long civil war to an end, but when they started to implement their strict Islamic code, the people got fed up,” says Brig (retired) Mehmood Shah, a former head of security for Pakistan’s north-western tribal areas.

“People welcomed the Americans [because] they saw them as their liberators. There was no room for the Taliban to stage a comeback immediately.”

“Start Quote

I think the Pakistani military… tolerated the Taliban and also helped them”

End Quote Hasan Askari Rizvi Defence analyst

By 2006, however, the Taliban had infiltrated large parts of the south – especially the provinces of Zabul, Kandahar and Helmand.

Islamist cleric Anwar Awlaki ‘killed in Yemen’

File - A Yemeni soldier guards the front of the main entrance of the US Embassy, background, in the capital San'a, Yemen Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008.
photo: AP / Nasser Nasser
The US-born radical Islamist cleric and suspected al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed in Yemen, the country’s defence ministry reported. US administration officials confirmed the reports, according to US media. Awlaki, of Yemeni…

Iraq makes first payment in deal to buy 18 US F-16s

Undated US Air Force handout photo of five US Air Force F-16 jet fighters

US and Iraqi officials say the purchase of the jets will provide the basis for Iraq’s air sovereignty

Iraq has made the first payment in a deal to buy 18 US F-16 fighter jets worth a total of about $3bn (£1.9bn), the US state department has said.

The planes, which are not expected to be delivered until next year, are to protect the country’s air space.

There are currently some 44,000 US troops in Iraq, which are due to leave by the end of this year.

US and Iraqi officials said the purchase of the jets would provide the basis for Iraq’s air sovereignty.

“The air force is considered a vital factor to protect Iraq’s sovereignty and security against external threats,” Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

“Iraq needs to build its air force and to depend on its own capabilities to defend the skies instead of asking other countries to do so – especially if we know that the US forces will leave at the end of this year.”

Mr al-Dabbagh said $1.4bn has already been transferred as a partial payment.

THE GREAT IRAQ GIVEAWAY
U.S. Handing Over Billions In Bases And Equipment To Avoid Shipping Home

Japan defence firm Mitsubishi Heavy in cyber attack

A rocket is fired during a live fire exercise by Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (file photo)

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries makes everything from surface-to-air missiles, to warships, and submarines


Related Stories

Japan’s top weapons maker has confirmed it was the victim of a cyber attack reportedly targeting data on missiles, submarines and nuclear power plants.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) said viruses were found on more than 80 of its servers and computers last month.

The government said it was not aware of any leak of sensitive information.

But the defence ministry has demanded MHI carry out a full investigation. Officials were angered after learning of the breach from local media reports.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Japan’s defence minister Yasuo Ichikawa said the cyber attackers had not succeeded in accessing any important information but MHI would be instructed “to undertake a review of their information control systems”.

“The ministry will continue to monitor the problem and conduct investigations if necessary,” Mr Ichikawa added.

The United State conducts 40 night raids every night in Afghanistan

I hope he’s the right guy

Counter-insurgency is so 2007. Everybody knows that Republicans and Democrats have quietly agreed that flooding some dusty foreign land with U.S. troops is too expensive, and we can’t stomach the casualties any longer.

All the cool kids are into counter-terrorism now. (Note to think tanks: It’s no longer hip to tell reporters things like, “We can’t kill our way to victory.”) Instead we are going to leave small bases of elite troops in Afghanistan to carry out targeted raids aimed at isolated bad guys, and kill our way to victory. It’s cheap. And it sounds so clean. We won’t bother with the whole country, our super-secret guys will put on their ninja suits and take out the bad guys one by one.

But it turns out there is no free lunch. The Open Society Foundations and the Liason Office, an Afghan NGO, have a new report on these counter-terrorism raids, which are mostly conducted at night. “The Cost of Kill/Capture” solidly reports that for some strange reason, people don’t like it when you kick in their doors in the middle of the night and point guns at them, particularly if they haven’t done anything wrong.

The increasing number of raids is stunning. By late 2010, NATO stats showed night raids had increased to 20 raids every night. The latest data suggests that number is now probably more like 40. Not surprisingly, “The escalation in raids had taken the battlefield more directly into Afghan homes, sparking tremendous backlash among the Afghan population,” the report says.

The report dutifully chronicles a series of military initiatives to improve the accuracy of night raids. But the groups’ 77 interviews with Afghans in 8 provinces across Afghanistan shows the U.S. has some splaining to do. It notes that raids have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians, including a 12-year-old girl.

The report also documents the troubling practice of nighttime cordon-and-search operations of entire villages. In one case, 80 to 100 men were tied up in a mosque for 19 hours as U.S. forces questioned some of the men.

Afghan insurgents target Western power in Kabul attack

The sophisticated strikes are aimed at the fortified area containing the U.S. Embassy and the headquarters of NATO forces. The Taliban claims responsibility for the assault, which killed six Afghans.

Damaged vehicle

A vehicle damaged in the siege on the U.S. Embassy after insurgents took over a nearby multistory building that was theoretically under guard. (Omar Sobhani / Reuters / September 13, 2011)

Afghan journalist’s sojourn in ‘strange paradise’

Emal Haidary left the ‘interesting hell’ of Afghanistan to visit the U.S. In Los Angeles, he found that the world’s richest nation has its share of problems, but also the freedoms envied by others.

Afghan journalistEmal Haidary, who spent five months in Los Angeles on a fellowship, wants to pursue peace journalism at home in Afghanistan. Peace journalism, he says, tells about the struggles and triumphs of a place. (Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times / September 14, 2011)

Data Dealing Is A Bigger Scandal Than Phone Hacking

Heather Brooke

Transhumanism and Evolution against Terror

We will get better

Jul 27th 2011,  More Intelligent Life

MANY dystopian writers have imagined worlds in which a singular “human nature” has bifurcated or splintered into a plurality of human natures. They have portrayed societies in which the genetically modified rise above their inferior, natural cousins (“Gattaca”); or different castes of human are selectively bred for accomplishing different tasks (“Brave New World”). In some cases humans from working and middle classes evolve over millennia into two different species (“The Time Machine”), or they experience a reality that is entirely virtual (“The Matrix”).

These dystopias are readily imaginable only because at some level it is obvious that human nature is malleable. There is no reason in principle why creatures like ourselves might not become radically different over time. Until recently, such mutations were simply abstract possibilities, limited to the power of gods, sorcerers and novelists. But lately we have begun to consider the possibility that technology might change us more in a generation or two than evolution has done over millions of years.

Michele’s Migraines
Sexism And Stigma Rage On

Photo Credit: Altemark at Flickr.

Vision: How Hacker Activists Are Risking Jail for Everyone’s Right to Internet Freedom

Disinformation Nation~ evidence of cyber war and sock puppets





Lunch with Julian Assange

— Ever dream of slurping down fettuccine across the table from the most wanted man in the world? You can now bid on lunch with Julian Assange.

Although Assange is being put up in a posh English countryside estate by a supporter, his legal bills are mounting in his fight against extradition to Sweden to face rape charges. So Wikileaks is auctioning off eight seats at a fancy lunch at “one of London’s finest restaurants” hosted by Assange and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, with whom Assange is speaking at the Troxy concert hall in London. Hey, if you’re going to help a man avoid facing rape charges, you may as well do it in style.

According to the eBay listing—one seat is at more than 1,000 pounds with four days to go—the winning bid gets:

  • The cost of the lunch
  • Taxis from the lunch to the event
  • And a front row seat at the event at the Troxy

How much would you pay for this unique opportunity? Doesn’t matter, since you’ll be outbid by every intelligence agency in the world anyway. Guess you’ll have to make do with your Julian Assange tote bag.

HACKERS: WE’VE DONE IT AGAIN!

You feel the Shift in History

Smart is the New Resource

Take a moment and conduct a mini thought experiment. Imagine that you’re from the future many hundreds of years from now, researching what life was like in the early 21st century. You pull up an archive of newspaper headlines from the year 2011 and read the following:

“US Congress To Vote On Declaration Of World War 3 — An Endless War With No Borders, No Clear Enemies”

“Blackwater hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together a secret force of foreign troops”

“10 killed in US drone attacks in northern Pakistan”

“US Officials Warn Terrorism Threat Remains Post-bin Laden”

“TSA Pat Down of Suspicious Baby Is No Big Deal”

“Treasury taps federal pensions as Uncle Sam hits debt ceiling”

“Fed chief Ben Bernanke says he’s not worried about inflation”

“Global Food Prices Hit New All Time High After 8 Consecutive Months Of Gains”

“Over-50s suffer a lifestyle crash: Millions less comfortable than a year ago”

“UK And US Data Shows Stagflation Threat Deepening”

“Greek riot police, protesters clash over austerity “

“IMF: Greece needs more austerity measures”

“IMF Chief no stranger to sexual assault allegations”

“Portugal on brink of bankruptcy”

“Contagion fears high as Italy drawn into crisis”

“Italian PM Berlusconi Faces Prostitution Trial in Italy”

To an observer who is not part of our time, it must all look like a really bad joke, like it just couldn’t possibly be true.  In the same way, we look back upon history and wonder with skepticism and incredulity how our long-lost ancestors have possibly allowed the Inquisition, the Dark Ages, genocide and slavery to occur.

We fancy ourselves so advanced and enlightened… but my guess is that history will view us in the same way that we see those unfortunate brutes of medieval times: misguided, misled, and totally self-deluded.

We might not be burning each other at the stake anymore, or waging war for king and conquest, but the metaphoric comparisons run truly deep. Moreover, our story today is a similar one: there is a very small group of people in power whose decisions affect the lives of billions of people. Those of us not in the elite ruling class allow it to happen.

Their choices drive up food prices, increase war and destruction, bankrupt entire economies, reduce standards of living, degrade social stability, and force everyday people into conditions that look more and more like a police state.

Simultaneously, this elite group uses its position to shower itself with privileges and benefits at everyone else’s expense: hard-core sex parties, handing out free money to their friends, not paying their taxes, hiring private armies to protect them from their own people, etc.

It’s positively disgusting… and I have to imagine that historians of the future will scratch their heads and wonder how we allowed ourselves to be duped into such a system.

Our leaders tell us that these troubles will pass… to sit down, shut up, be patient, and put our faith and confidence in their abilities to right the ship once again. Sounds great… but there’s just one problem. Nobody’s buying it anymore.

We’re in the beginning of a period where people are finally starting to wake up and smell the fraud… and even though the establishment is furiously rearranging the deck chairs and trying desperately to maintain the status quo, the great market singularity is beginning to take hold: that which is unsustainable will not be sustained.

Glance at those headlines one more time. This system is corrupt, perverse, and wholly unsustainable. It will reset. Reasonable, sentient human beings cannot live under such a yoke in the long run.

It’s difficult to say how it will happen, when it will finish, or what it will look like at the end, but rest assured, it’s already happening, and it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Within the youth generation revolution already  in progress

 

 

 


 

 

 

Blood Money

Illustration by Hellovon
Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency since 2008

The Double Mirror

By David Ignatius

How Pakistan’s intelligence service plays both sides

 

 

 

The Taliban Are On Twitter

By Chris Gayomali on May 12, 2011

The Taliban Are On TwitterOBAR SOBHANI / REUTERS

  • Due to a strict adherence to Sharia law, the Taliban have long shunned modern technology, particularly personal televisions and computers. But in the wake of a recent offensive campaign in the Afghan city of Kandahar, the group has emerged on a new, if unlikely, modern platform: Twitter.

At the the time of writing this, the account in question (@alemarahweb) has 363 followers. Most of the messages are broadcasted in the militant sect’s native Pashto. But, as the Guardian points out, on early Thursday morning a message that read in English was sent across the Twitter-sphere. Like most of the tweets posted, the message concerned exaggerated reports of “strikes against the ‘infidel forces'” that typically feature links back to The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan website, a frequently relocated Web headquarters for the splintered Taliban’s makeshift government.

 

 

 

NOW KILL THE DREAM

 

 

 

Real message of S&P downgrade of US debt outlook is threat of another meltdown of finance sector.

 

 

 

S&P MOVES USA OUTLOOK TO NEGATIVE

 

WASHINGTON—Standard & Poor’s cut its ratings outlook on the U.S. to negative from stable while keeping its Triple-A rating on the world’s largest economy.

“More than two years after the beginning of the recent crisis, U.S. policymakers have still not agreed on how to reverse recent fiscal deterioration or address longer-term fiscal pressures,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Nikola G. Swann .

U.S. stock futures plunged on the news, with Dow industrial futures falling 167 points. Bond yields rose.

 

Click here to find out more!

Stocks fall as U.S. credit rating outlook lowered to ‘negative’ by Standard & Poor’s

April 18, 2011

Treasury-blog

The credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s lowered the outlook on the United States’ credit to “negative,” sending leading stock indexes down in early trading.

The report released Monday morning says that the United States has a large debt and deficit compared with other highly rated nations, and unlike with those other nations “the path to addressing [the debt and deficit] is not clear to us.”

The United States kept its AAA rating, but the downgrade to the outlook means that S&P analysts believe there is at least a 33% chance that the agency will have to lower its credit rating on U.S. debt in the next two years.

“More than two years after the beginning of the recent crisis, U.S. policymakers have still not agreed on how to reverse recent fiscal deterioration or address longer-term fiscal pressures,” S&P analyst Nikola Swann said in a statement.

The United States debt is currently approaching the legally set debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion, though the White House and Republican congressional leaders have indicated they are likely to come to an agreement to raise the limit.

Even if that happens, S&P analysts expressed concern in their report that the United States will not succeed in taking longer-term measures to reign in the rising national debt.

 




 

WASHINGTON—Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Republican leaders have assured the White House they are prepared to lift the debt ceiling in time to avoid disruptions to capital markets and a potential credit default.

Treasury Secretary Geithner

geithner0417

In interviews aired on the Sunday talk shows, Mr. Geithner said House Speaker John Boehner and other senior Republicans told President Barack Obama in discussions last week that they were aware of the risk of a credit default and were open to lifting the limit even in the absence of a comprehensive deal to slash the country’s debt load.

The White House has promised to push ahead on a sweeping long-term deal to pare government spending, but officials say that might not come together until late June at the earliest. The Treasury Department says the U.S. will exceed the current limit, now set at $14.3 trillion, by mid-May and could default on its debt in early July if no action is taken to raise the ceiling.

Mr. Geithner said the two pursuits—sealing a long-range deal and lifting the ceiling—may have to run on parallel tracks. “But if by the time we need to raise the debt limit, we haven’t worked all that out, Congress still has to raise the debt limit,” Mr. Geithner said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Republican leadership, he said, “recognizes that.”

 

 

FACEBOOK KNOWLEDGE CENTER

 



Facebook shows green data center; launches Open Compute Project

Facebook has opened its green data center kimono, showing off its high-efficiency servers. It’s also open-sourced the designs, creating the Open Compute Project.
Facebook About to Mark its Entry in the Computer Hardware USA Market News
Facebook to open up technology behind its servers BusinessWeek


The PRECIOUS METAL:  Hitting new highs

Geo-Political Forces Drive Gold to $1456, Silver to $39+,Oil to $121




NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–Worries about global inflation as oil prices hit two-and-a-half-year highs boosted gold futures Monday and sent silver to a 31-year peak.

The most actively traded gold contract, for June delivery, was recently up $8.70, or 0.6%, at $1,437.60 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“Gold is one of the things that people who fear inflation like to buy,” said George Gero, vice president with RBC Capital Markets Global Futures.

Worries about rising consumer and producer prices were heightened as Nymex May crude hit a 2.5-year intraday high of $108.78.

Prices for energy and food have been on the rise in the U.S., although core inflation remains subdued.

Other nations, many of which don’t strip out food and energy prices from their inflation calculations, have been experiencing rising consumer prices as their economies grow. China has been forced to tighten monetary policy to combat the inflation threat. On Monday, the Chilean central bank raised its inflation outlook for this year as a result of the impact on the local economy of higher international prices of crude oil and its derivatives.

The inflation fears have also benefited silver, which is often bought for similar investment reasons as gold. Because it is also widely used in electronics, silver has also become a more attractive investment in recent months as the economy has improved.

Comex May silver was recently up 73.3 cents, or 1.9%, at $38.465 with its intraday high of $38.620 the metal’s highest price since Feb. 13, 1980.

“Silver is a bridge between investment demand and industrial demand,” Gero said.

Both metals have been underpinned in recent months as the combination of ultra-low interest rates–which boost the allure of non interest-bearing gold and silver–and Federal Reserve purchases of Treasurys to stimulate the economy has caused some to believe the Fed won’t be able to sop up extra liquidity in time to avoid problematic consumer- and producer-price increases over the longer term.

Last week, a key Fed official warned against moving prematurely to tighten monetary policy, but his comments contrasted with several others who said in recent days that the central bank needs to start withdrawing monetary stimulus in coming months to tame the inflation threat.



American investors grow wary of government debt

Once considered the safest of safe investments, Treasury bonds are becoming unpopular amongst domestic buyers in the face of massive deficits and inflation concerns

The wisest and most successful bond investor of all time, Bill Gross, has dumped his bond fund’s $150 billion investment in U.S. bonds. One should not ignore the importance of this event. The largest bond fund in America no longer believes that Treasury bonds are a good investment. Moreover, Gross is not alone. Blackrock, the world’s largest money manager, is now underweighting Treasuries overall and reducing the duration of the bonds it still holds. That means they are dumping their long-term bonds, which are the most sensitive to interest-rate changes, in favor of Treasury instruments that mature in a year or less.

Other bond funds, such as the $20 billion Loomis Sayles funds, are also forgoing Treasuries in favor of high-yield corporate bonds. Virtually everywhere you look, from great investors such as Warren Buffett to insurance companies such as Allstate, everyone is dumping their long-term U.S. debt and either buying debt that matures in less than a year or moving their money elsewhere.

So who is still buying U.S. debt? According to Bill Gross, the “old reliables” — China, Japan, and OPEC — are still in the market for 30 percent of all new debt. The rest, however, is being purchased by the Federal Reserve. There is no one in else in the market. For the first time ever, Americans are refusing to purchase their own country’s debt.





JAPAN  MARKETWATCH






Moody’s has cut Portugal’s long-term debt rating by two steps, citing a weaker growth outlook, risks to the government’s deficit- reduction plans and a possible need to recapitalise its banks.

The rating was downgraded to A3, four steps from so-called junk status, according to Moody’s, with the outlook on the grade “negative”.

Portugal is trying to rein in the euro region’s fourth- biggest budget deficit and avoid the bailouts that Greece and Ireland needed. With the economy forecast to contract this year, the government is raising taxes and carrying out the deepest spending cuts in more than three decades, aiming to convince investors it can curb its debt.

“The government faces significant challenges, not least a less supportive economic environment,” Moody’s said in its statement. Gross domestic product is expected to decline this year and experience a weak recovery “at best” in 2012, it said.




The World’s Banks Face $2.5 Trillion In Exposures To Europe’s Fringe

Gregory White | Mar. 14, 2011,







 

A Libyan rebel who is part of the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi sits next to a pre-Gadhafi flag as he guards outside the refinery in Ras Lanuf, eastern Libya, Monday, March 7, 2011. West Shuns Libyan Crude
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JetBlue Airways US airlines hike fares, surcharges for costly fuel
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World Trade Organisation (WTO) director general French Pascal Lamy attends a press conference after crucial trade talks collapsed, during the World Trade Organisation ministerial summit on trade liberalisation, at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters, in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, July 29, 2008. After coming tantalizingly close to a historic trade deal, World Trade Organization talks collapsed Tuesday in a dismaying blow to seven years of efforts to open up the global econo Georgia’s Veto Power Vexes U.S.-Russia Ties
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An Indian child, Kavita, 5, who performs acrobats and begs money at a traffic intersection, looks on, in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, June 27, 2007. There are close to 60,000 beggars in the capital and majority of them are children. Most of them have come from neighboring states and earn USD 1 to USD$ 5 a day, according to a survey conducted by the Indian government's Social Welfare Department. India: Despite Growth, Struggle Continues With Malnutrition Among Children
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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao gestures during a news conference after the closing ceremony of the National People's Congress in Beijing China, Friday, March 13, 2009. Wen acknowledges wealth gap
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First row from left, Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, Hungary Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai, Austria Prime Minister Werner Faymann, Georgia's President Mikheil Saakasvili, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, prime ministers Sergei Stanishev of Bulgaria and Emil Boc of Romania are seen during group photo after the Nabucco Gas Pipeline signing ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, July 13, 2009. Turkey and four European Union countries formally agreed to route a new gas pipeline across their territories in an attempt to reduce Europe's reliance on Russian gas. Dick Lugar, U.S. Senator for Indiana of Republican Party, second row far left, and Richard Morningstar, U.S. special envoy for Eurasian energy issues, third in second row, joined the group. European Pipeline Project Faces Formidable Obstacles
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DealBook: Who Will Take the Stand in Galleon Trial?

Raj Rajaratnam, the principal in the $21 million Galleon Group hedge-fund insider trading case, leaves at Manhattan Federal Court for a bail hearing on conspiracy and securities fraud charges in New York

Shannon Stapleton  /  REUTERS

Raj Rajaratnam, the principal in the $21 million Galleon Group hedge-fund insider trading case. Jury selection begins Tuesday.
New York Times – ?36 minutes ago?
Jury selection in the prosecution of Raj Rajaratnam begins on Tuesday in the most significant insider trading trial in years. Justice Department prosecutors will build their case around the recordings of Mr.



 

Egyptian protesters attend the Friday demonstration at the Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt Arab revolution could trigger foreign investment boom
| Tweet | – Unnerving as it is, the tide of political change sweeping the Arab world may also end up drawing in a fresh wave of foreign capital for the region. | As entrenched monopolies and patronage… (photo: WN / Ahmed Deeb) The Jordan Times
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Demonstrators pray in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Friday Feb. 18, 2011.Tens of thousands of flag-waving Egyptians packed into Tahrir Square for a day of prayer and celebration Friday to mark the fall Hosni Mubarak a week ago and to maintain pressure on the new military rulers to steer the country toward democratic reforms. Is Islam the Problem?
| CAIRO Damon Winter/The New York Times | Nicholas D. Kristof On the Ground | Share Your Comments About This Column | Nicholas Kristof addresses reader feedback and posts short takes from his travels…. (photo: AP / Khalil Hamra) The New York Times
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Libyan rebels who are part of the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi hold a pre-Gadhafi flag as they celebrate after fighting against troops loyal to Gadhafi and capturing the oil town of Ras Lanuf, eastern Libya, Saturday, March 5, 2011. Rebel fighters have captured the key oil port of Ras Lanouf from the forces of Moammar Gadhafi, in their first military victory in a potentially long, westward march from the east of the country to the capital Tripoli hundreds of miles to the west. Arabs Rise, Tehran Trembles
| IN “Garden of the Brave in War,” his classic memoir of life on a pomegranate farm in 1960s Iran, the American writer Terence O’Donnell recounts how his illiterate house servant, Ma… (photo: AP / Kevin Frayer) The New York Times
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The Federal Reserve building in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008, ahead of the central bank's meeting on interest rates and assessment of the country's financial and economic troubles. Stocks pulled well off their lows Tuesday as the financial sector partially recovered from Wall Street's worst session in years and as investors grew hopeful about a Federal Reserve interest rate cut. The Dow Jones industrial average traded in a wide range, sometimes dropping more than 100 after a 500-point slide on Mond It’s Time to Face the Fiscal Illusion
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In this Saturday, March 5, 2011 picture, an anti-Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi rebel, sits with an anti-aircraft machine gun in front an oil refinery, after the capture of the oil town Ras Lanouf in eastern Libya. Libya’s Unrest Risks Major Economic Toll for Italy
| ROME — In response to the murderous tactics of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s militias against unarmed protesters, the United States and the European Union have announced steps to freeze the … (photo: AP / Hussein Malla, File) The New York Times
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Perth,Australia - Housing - Real-Estate - Double Storey House - Investment. Australian housing market most over-valued
| THE Australian housing market has again been named the most over-valued in the developed world in a new study by finance bible The Economist. | In a move highlighting the increasing fragility of Aus… (photo: WN / patricia) The Daily Telegraph Australia
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More News | President Barack Obama says that a slight dip in the unemployment rate to 8.9 percent is a sign of continued progress but that keeping that momentum going is important to the economic reco… (photo: Public Domain / BrokenSphere) Kansas City Star
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| MIAMI – President Barack Obama says that a slight dip in the unemployment rate to 8.9 percent is a sign of continued progress but that keeping that momentum going is important to the economic recove… (photo: Creative Commons / Flickr upload bot) Star Tribune
Economy Obama Photos US wikipedia:Barack obama EADS Chief Executive Louis Gallois looks on during the company's annual New Year's news conference, in Les Mureaux, northwest of Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 12. 2011. EADS won’t challenge Boeing tanker win
St. Louis Business Journal – by Steve Wilhelm Date: Friday, March 4, 2011, 2:15pm CST Related: Related News | parent EADS on Friday conceded the Air Force’s awarding of a to rival , ending a decade-lo… (photo: AP / Christophe Ena) The Business Review
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| VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – March 4, 2011) – Bralorne Gold Mines Ltd. (TSX VENTURE: )(PINK SHEETS: )(BERLIN: )(FRANKFURT: )(WKN A0B75M) (the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update… (photo: Creative Commons / PHGCOM) StreetInsider
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