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Member since: Wed Oct 7, 2015, 08:51 AM
Number of posts: 2,208

Journal Archives

Wall St. tech rally gets a boost from China rate cut

Source: Reuters

All three major U.S. indexes rose to more than two-month highs on Friday, after a surprise rate cut in China amplified a rally driven by strong results from Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon.

Microsoft's (MSFT.O) shares rose 11.61 percent to $53.61, their highest in 15 years, after the company's adjusted revenue beat expectations for the ninth quarter in a row.

Microsoft gave the biggest boost to the three indexes, accounting for about a third of the near 100-point jump in the Dow and leading a strong rally in technology stocks.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/23/us-markets-stocks-idUSKCN0SH16U20151023

from the article :"Some of the worst fears associated with China were put to bed, at least temporarily," said Ernie Cecilia, chief investment officer of Bryn Mawr Trust."

Good. A stable world economy is in all our interests. Now, if we can elect a Democrat to the White House in 2016, maybe we can avoid the Republicans driving the economy off a cliff like they did under W.

China wants Britain in a united European Union, Xi Jinping tells David Cameron

Source: South ChinaMorning Post (Hong Kong)

China wants a united European Union in which Britain plays a prominent role in promoting Chinese relations with the bloc, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Britain's prime minister in an indirect plea for the nation to remain part of the EU.

Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU, which it joined in 1973, as the "in" and "out" campaigns prepare for battle in a referendum on membership, to be held before 2017.

In a meeting at Chequers, the prime minister's official country residence, late on Thursday, Xi told Cameron that the EU was a strategic partner of China and also its largest trading partner, China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday. "China hopes to see a prosperous Europe and a united EU, and hopes Britain, as an important member of the EU, can play an even more positive and constructive role in promoting the deepening development of China-EU ties," it added, paraphrasing Xi's comments.

China typically does not comment on votes in other countries, viewing it as interference in their internal affairs.

Read more: http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/1871455/chinas-president-xi-jinping-tells-britains-pm-david

"Xi told Cameron that the EU was a strategic partner of China and also its largest trading partner"

That says tons. Is the American Century over? Is all that's left for us just bloated military bluster and adventurism, like the last days of the fading Ottoman Empire at the turn of the last century?

I hope not. It's time to stop wasteful military spending and to rebuild our economy and manufacturing base at home -- before it really is too late.

China cuts rates again as growth engine stalls

Source: Reuters

China's central bank cut interest rates on Friday for the sixth time in less than a year, and it again lowered the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves in a bid to jump start growth in its stuttering economy.

Monetary policy easing in the world's second-largest economy is at its most aggressive since the 2008/09 financial crisis, as growth looks set to slip to a 25-year-low this year of under 7 percent.

Yet underscoring China's drive to deepen financial reforms, which many believe are necessary to invigorate the economy, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said it was freeing the interest rate market by scrapping a ceiling on deposit rates.

The change, which Beijing had promised to deliver for months, will in theory allow banks to price loans according to their risk, and remove a distortion to the price of credit that analysts say fuels wasteful investment in China.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/23/us-china-economy-policy-idUSKCN0SH18W20151023

"Market role and government regulation both essential to China's economic reform
Chinese President Xi Jinping attached importance to two points in his speech during the two sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference this year: Better respecting the law of the market and giving better play to the role of the government.

At the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, he emphasized that the market should play a decisive role in allocating resources and clearly pointed out that China implements a socialist market economy.

He said we should still insist on giving full play to the superiority of the socialist system as well as the positive role of the Party and the government, and that letting the market decide does not mean letting it decide all."

That's been the CCP's stand for years now, and while there are naysayers to their approach to managing the Chinese economy, well, from an outsider's perspective they don't seem to be doing that badly.

Some People claim it's all based on a bubble -- fueled by government spending on under utilized infrastructure projects. That might or might not be true but isn't THAT type of spending to encourage economic growth better than wasting trillions of dollars on war as we seem to have been doing in the US? Surplus infrastructure versus the Military Industrial Complex spending... you tell me which makes more sense.

What America’s lust for Trudeau says about Canada

America’s gushing over our next prime minister is a bit surreal from a Canadian perspective.

Justin Trudeau is a certifiable babe, according to the rest of the world. In Canada, we've been encouraged to see his good looks as negative traits.

Not since Rob Ford smoked crack and made the surprising declaration that he had “more than enough to eat at home” did the United States honour us with their undivided attention.

Americans loved to talk about Ford, the famously rubicund right winger, because in addition to the law, he defied every Canadian nicety known to man. He was a walking ad for finishing school.
But today, our nation is at the forefront of America’s minds — or more accurately, its loins — for a very different reason. In case you hadn’t noticed, Justin Trudeau, our next prime minister, is a charismatic 43-year-old (a toddler in politician years) and judging from the hordes of swooning Americans on social media, he is also a certifiable babe.
In the words of one of a zillion non-Canadians expounding on the PM’s hotness on Twitter: “Canada’s new Prime Minister is a Smoking-Hot Syrupy Fox.” That sounds like something a BBQ joint might serve if it specialized in road kill, but it’s apparently a synonym for Justin Trudeau.

It appears the outside world isn’t merely smitten with the PM: it is straight up hot and bothered — to the point of lechery. The perverted maple syrup puns are never ending: on Tuesday, Entertainment Online, an American celebrity news site, referred to the PM as a “beautiful sticky sweet specimen.” Even Jezebel, the snarky feminist website that gets its rocks off castigating the politically incorrect, took a break from the scolding game to declare Trudeau, “non-controversially f---able” on account of his women friendly policies.

As I write this, Trudeau is leading a hotness poll on Buzzfeed (“Which of These World Leaders Gives You the Most Thirst?”) by a wide margin, beating out the likes of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
This libidinous Trudeaumania is a bit surreal from a Canadian perspective because for the duration of the election, we were encouraged by Stephen Harper to see the Liberal leader’s luscious locks and generous smile as negative traits (how could somebody so cute possibly be capable of running a country?) Trudeau even sported a short haircut throughout the campaign, a sign of his renewed commitment to staid Canadian political life.



lol It's not just his good looks that captivates we Americans (lol) but I think part of the clamor is based on an immense sense of relief that Canada, long looked on as our more reasonable and polite neighbor to the north, has escaped the darkness that was the decade long conservative Harper government. Just knowing that Canada is restoring its national soul seems comforting to us down here, eh? lol

Totem pole stolen by actor John Barrymore returned to Alaska

Source: Toronto Star

HONOLULU—A stolen totem pole that went from the garden decor of two golden-age Hollywood actors to the basement of a Hawaii museum has been returned to Alaska tribal members.

Screen legend John Barrymore was travelling along the Alaska coast by yacht and directed crew members to take the totem pole from an unoccupied village in 1931, said University of Alaska Anchorage professor Steve Langdon, who has long researched the object. They sawed it in three pieces.

Barrymore, star of Grand Hotel and grandfather of actress Drew Barrymore, displayed the pole in the garden of his California estate.
After Barrymore’s death, actor Vincent Price, known for horror flicks such as House of Wax, and his wife bought the item and also used it as a yard decoration. The couple donated it to the Honolulu Museum of Art in 1981.

Read more: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/10/23/totem-pole-stolen-by-actor-john-barrymore-returned-to-alaska.html

Good. Restoring aboriginal/first nations cultural artifacts to their rightful owners is an important acknowledgement of the civil rights and human dignity of these people.


"Fifty years ago, U.S. officials had concerns about a ‘flamboyant’ Liberal leader rising to power and shaking up Canada’s defence and foreign policies. (Sound familiar?) Colin Freeze looks at how their recently declassified daily briefings to the president reveal Trudeaumania caught them off-guard

To the world’s most powerful spy agency, Canada is almost never considered a country worth bothering about.

Unless, say, a Trudeau is elected prime minister. Then the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency starts to raise high-level questions about its northern neighbour’s commitment to continental security and international military coalitions.

“Trudeau’s Liberal Party won handily in yesterday’s election,” reads a CIA briefing note sent to the president. “Trudeau can now move quickly to set in motion his promised review of Canada’s foreign and domestic policies.”

This note is from 1968, and it holds one of the rare mentions of Canada contained in the CIA-written Presidential Daily Briefs of that era. A recently released trove of nearly a decade’s worth of documents can be found on the spy agency’s website."

Pierre Trudeau signs autographs for crowd of admirers in Ottawa on April 20, 1968, the day of his swearing in as prime minister of Canada. Mr. Trudeau, who replaced prime minister Lester Pearson after his resignation, ran in a general election two months later and won a majority government.



Hmmm. With Justin Trudeau's stated plans to scrap the F-35 purchases in Canada and to pull back airs strikes against ISIS, well, I wonder what the buzz at the CIA is right now.

Puerto Rico faces humanitarian crisis without federal action: Treasury

Source: Reuters

U.S. Treasury Secretary counselor Antonio Weiss warned that Puerto Rico faced a humanitarian crisis without federal action, as he appealed to Congress to help the debt-ridden U.S. territory, according to testimony released ahead of a Senate committee hearing on Thursday.

Weiss said that without action by Congress, Puerto Rico's crisis would escalate and reiterated that the Obama administration's policies were "not a bailout" for the island.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/22/us-usa-puertorico-treasury-idUSKCN0SG1TB20151022

This gets so little media attention here at home. Why?

Sweden struggles to cope with migrant tide; Orban warns of threat

Source: Reuters

Sweden said on Thursday it expected up to 190,000 migrants this year, putting unprecedented strain on a country famous for welcoming refugees but planning to house many in tents this winter.

On the opposite pole of the angry debate on the migration crisis, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban urged European leaders to change their immigration policies and consult voters, saying they otherwise faced a threat to the democratic order.

Thousands of refugees continued to pour into Slovenia in the hope of reaching prosperous northern Europe, and the tiny country appealed for other European Union states to send police to help manage the flow.

Europe is struggling to cope with its biggest wave of migrants and refugees since World War Two. According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 670,000 people have arrived by sea this year, fleeing war zones and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/22/us-europe-migrants-idUSKCN0SG1GN20151022

Once again, an article illustrating the difficulties the smaller (which also happen to be poorer) EU nations are having coping with the refugee crisis. Even prosperous and welcoming Sweden's social net is being strained by the numbers seeking asylum.

Special Report: Egypt locks up lawyers in Islamist fight

Source: Reuters

As Egypt cracks down on its Islamist dissidents, many of the country's lawyers are finding themselves on the wrong side of the law as well. Attorney Mohsen al-Bahnasy says so many fellow lawyers have been arrested or charged in recent months that he now spends much of his time defending them in court.

One of the lawyers he represents is accused of distributing leaflets supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group banned by the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. According to Bahnasy, his client, a lawyer, was in a police station with his own clients at the time of the alleged crime. Bahnasy says the lawyer, like others deemed sympathetic to the Brotherhood, has never distributed such leaflets and is the victim of trumped-up charges.

An official in the police station said that the accused lawyer had supported several Brotherhood protests. "It is not logical that we would accuse him of inciting protests" if he had not done so, the official said.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/22/us-egypt-lawyers-special-report-idUSKCN0SG19E20151022

"An official in the police station said that the accused lawyer had supported several Brotherhood protests. "It is not logical that we would accuse him of inciting protests" if he had not done so, the official said."

Ok, if you say so...

Egypt's military regime is a well known beacon of civil rights and the rule of law, after all. /sarcasm

U.N. criticizes Czech detentions and strip-searches of refugees

Source: Reuters

U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein accused the Czech Republic on Thursday of committing systematic human rights violations by detaining refugees for up to 90 days and strip-searching them for money to pay for their own detention.

Human rights violations "appear to be an integral part of a policy by the Czech Government designed to deter migrants and refugees from entering the country or staying there," he said in a statement.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/22/us-europe-migrants-czech-un-idUSKCN0SG14W20151022

Though its considered, perhaps, the most western and modern of the new eastern European members of EU and NATO, the Czech Republic still has a lingering xenophobic streak common to the smaller nations in the region.

These countries have relatively small populations, no history of immigration and assimilation of migrants and are still aggressively defensive of their hard won national sovereignty and national cultures.
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