Friday, March 13, 2009






We Need a Bank Of the World,The financial crisis is global, and only an international central bank can deal with it.Jeffrey E. Garten NEWSWEEK From the magazine issue dated Nov 3, 2008

If George W. Bush's upcoming global summit on how to fix the world's broken financial system—an event proposed by several European presidents and prime ministers—is to be a serious effort, the leaders should begin laying the groundwork for establishing a global central bank.The idea of such an institution would have been a political nonstarter before the current debacle. The crises of the last several decades—the Latin American debt meltdown in the early 1980s, the stock-market crash in 1987, the savings and loan collapse of the early 1990s, the Asian financial blowup of the late

1990s, the Internet-stock collapse earlier in this decade—did not involve the extent of global linkages among financial institutions or the mind-boggling consequences of complex securities that we are seeing today. In none of these previous blowups did the global credit system shut down, as it did in recent weeks; in none did governments in both the industrialized and developing world intervene so massively, coming close to nationalizing the entire global banking system.And in none was it so clear that there is no effective governing authority at the center of global finance. There was a time when the U.S. Federal Reserve played this role, as the prime financial institution of the world's most powerful economy, overseeing the one global currency. But with the growth of capital markets, the rise of currencies like the euro and the emergence of powerful players such as China, the shift of wealth to Asia and the Persian Gulf and, of course, the deep-seated problems in the American economy itself, the Fed no longer has the capability to lead singlehandedly.After World War II, the IMF was designed to be a central financial institution, too. But over the decades it has had less and less influence on the rich industrialized nations. Its credibility with Asia and Latin America has also waned. It is still involved in bailouts for countries such as Iceland and Pakistan, but its once central role in protecting global stability is clearly over. And most important, its political legitimacy is deeply flawed, because its management structure reflects the 1950s, with Belgium having more voting power than China.In the future, a global central bank is needed to oversee the rudderless global financial system. There are a number of critical functions it could perform.

It could be the lead regulator of big global financial institutions, such as Citigroup or Deutsche Bank, whose activities spill across borders. It could monitor risks that are building in the global market and create an early-warning system that alerts banks and national regulators that trouble is coming, and pushes them to modify their policies.It could act as a bankruptcy court when big global banks that operate in multiple countries need to be restructured. It could oversee not just the big commercial banks, such as Mitsubishi UFJ, but also the alternative financial system that has developed in recent years, consisting of hedge funds, private-equity groups and sovereign wealth funds—all of which are now substantially unregulated.

A new institution could have influence over key exchange rates, and might lead a new monetary conference to realign the dollar and the yuan, for example, for one of its first missions would be to deal with the great financial imbalances that hang like a sword over the world economy.A global central bank would not eliminate the need for the Federal Reserve or other national central banks, which will still have frontline responsibility for sound regulatory policies and monetary stability in their respective countries. But it would have heavy influence over them when it comes to following policies that are compatible with global growth and financial stability. For example, it would work with key countries to better coordinate national stimulus programs when the world enters a recession, as is happening now, so that the cumulative impact of the various national efforts do not so dramatically overshoot that they plant the seeds for a crisis of global inflation. This is a big threat as government spending everywhere goes into overdrive.The IMF could continue to exist, but its board would have to be restructured, its bailout role for smaller nations carefully defined, and its directions—including the severity of the conditions it imposes on borrowers—would have to come from the new central bank.To give it legitimacy, a global central bank would have to be governed in light of political realities. That means that its board would include not only the top financial officials of the United States, the U.K., the euro zone and Japan, but also China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, South Africa and perhaps a few others.

If a global central bank had existed before today's financial crisis, it could have sounded a shrill warning about irresponsible financial transactions much earlier; and if it had been set up with the enforcement teeth it deserves, it would have had the clout to demand, perhaps as early as 2005, that banks and other financial institutions start building reserves when times were booming, rather than allow them to maintain lower reserves precisely because profits were soaring. It would have seen that financial institutions were accumulating debt that was 30 times their capital and imposed—or caused national central banks to impose—more sober leverage ratios.

A global central bank worth its salt would have reined in not just commercial banks but also loosely-regulated investment banks, because all such institutions would have been obligated to adhere to the global banks' regulatory standards or else be blacklisted in global markets. It would have intervened to deal with Lehman Brothers and AIG, both with truly global reach, and thereby put the burden not just on American taxpayers but also taxpayers of other countries who used these institutions' services.Had it existed, a global central bank would have acted without the air of panic that has been exhibited by national central banks and finance ministries in this meltdown. Ideally, it would have gathered its governing board well in advance of a financial blowup to execute a coordinated rescue and global-stimulus plan, part of what should be its ongoing role of preparing for crises.It would be hard to overestimate the political pushback that any official proposal for a global central bank would draw from various constituencies, most especially within the United States. Among their many charges, critics will protest the establishment of world government.But we have a World Trade Organization with legally binding powers over trade disputes. We have a World Health Organization for communicable disease with the ability to quarantine entire countries. And a World Court functions today that has considerable legal and moral clout.

No one should want too much globally centralized oversight. But the world's gathering misery shows that too little leadership from the center can be equally dangerous. The November summit itself won't solve anything, but if it gave instructions to finance ministers and central bankers to explore what a new central bank could do, with a deadline to come back with concrete ideas shortly after a new U.S. president is inaugurated, it will have made real progress on one of the great problems of our times.Garten is the Juan Trippe Professor of international trade and finance at the Yale School of Management.

Geithner embraces G20, IMF, World Bank in global crisis battle plan
March 13, 2009 By Rebecca Christie

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has urged Group of 20 (G20) nations to take forceful action to end the financial crisis. He also called for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to expand its supplementary borrowing programme by about $500 billion (R5.1 trillion).This is a global crisis which requires a global response, Geithner said on Wednesday. G20 countries must take strong macroeconomic and financial sector measures. A reasonable benchmark was the IMF's recommendation for stimulus equivalent to 2 percent of a nation's gross domestic product, he said.

Geithner will make the recommendations at a meeting starting today of finance ministers from 20 of the world's industrial and developing nations, to lay the groundwork for a summit of leaders on April 2 in London.Geithner also proposed expanding the IMF's capacity to borrow extra funds from some of member nations by as much as $500 billion. The fund currently is able to borrow about $50 billion through special supplementary financing arrangements. The US contribution was about 20 percent, indicating a possible new commitment of about $100 billion, Geithner said.

We should consider further ways to strengthen the IMF's capacity to provide support to emerging markets,he said separately.US President Barack Obama would soon push Congress for legislation that would allow the IMF to mobilise its stockpile of gold, Geithner said on Wednesday. Congress would need to approve the IMF funding expansion, although it would not count against the budget deficit, he said.He said the US wanted to support efforts by the World Bank to give a co-ordinated boost to trade financing from governments around the world.At the G20 summit, Geithner plans to compare notes about actions aimed at stemming the global financial crisis. The US was working on a new programme to help banks clear out the toxic assets that were gumming up the system, using a mix of private investment and public financing, Geithner said.

There was consensus among major economies that executive pay levels needed to be reined in, since past practices had contributed to the buildup in leverage and risk that led to the current financial crisis.I do believe that compensation just got way divorced from any meaningful appreciation of risk, Geithner said. We're going to need a much stronger set of standards applied very evenly across the major globally active financial institutions.Geithner said he would go before Congress in two weeks to lay out a new plan to strengthen US financial regulation. This plan would include more carefully designed restraints on leverage and an overhaul of supervision for systemically important financial institutions, he said.Our economy needs a revival of global growth to complement the stimulus we are injecting at home,said Geithner. - Bloomberg.

G-20 Moves Focus From Regulation as Economy Battling For Life
By Simon Kennedy

March 13 (Bloomberg) -- The guardians of the world economy are finding their efforts to revamp the global financial system overwhelmed by the deepening recession and banking crisis. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King and their Group of 20 counterparts meet near London today having originally intended to push along plans to tighten market regulation. Distracting them is a global economy in freefall, pressuring them to instead focus on ways to revive growth and tackle toxic bank assets. It’s like a patient battling for life in an emergency room, said Nouriel Roubini, a professor at New York University. That’s not the time to advise about the benefits of exercise and healthy diet. You have to first make sure the patient survives.The prognosis is worsening and failure to find a cure may disappoint investors as G-20 leaders prepare for their own summit in three weeks. The International Monetary Fund expects the first global contraction in six decades and equity investors are $3 trillion poorer than a quarter ago. The cost of borrowing dollars is rising, Citigroup Inc. fell below $1 and companies from Deere & Co. to Volkswagen AG are axing jobs or investment.


The G-20 remains divided as European governments rebut U.S. overtures to bolster spending, while President Barack Obama’s administration takes heat for lacking the staff to work on an international remedy. That risks an impasse when officials convene tonight and tomorrow at a luxury countryside retreat near Horsham, southern England, that counts Winston Churchill among its former guests. The Europeans want to use this as a forum to discuss global coordination of regulation, and the Americans are more interested in global coordination of firefighting, said Randal Quarles, a former U.S. Treasury undersecretary and now a managing director at the Carlyle Group in Washington.The conflagration of the 19-month crisis is putting policy makers under enormous pressure to take more action and head off further deterioration, said Marco Annunziata, chief economist at UniCredit MIB in London. The U.S. has yet to implement its plan to remove tainted assets from banks and the Federal Reserve’s $1 trillion initiative to prop up the market for consumer and business loans won’t start until later this month. The European Central Bank has lagged behind the Fed in cutting interest rates and the region’s governments have been slow to cut taxes.


Failure by the G-20 to step up efforts to rid banks of damaged securities may delay the recovery beyond 2010, says IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The stimulus will not work without a healthy financial sector, Strauss-Kahn said in an interview March 9. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling said two days later that the crisis needs to be fought with far greater urgency.The London interbank offered rate, or Libor, that banks say they charge each other for three-month funds has climbed back to the highest since Jan. 8 as financial companies stung by almost $1.2 trillion of writedowns and losses hoard money. Policy makers are also under pressure to coordinate their efforts more or risk diluting their individual moves. While governments and central banks have provided more than $495 billion in aid for financial companies and cut rates to record lows, their efforts have been uneven.

Budget Boost

The IMF estimates that only Saudi Arabia, Australia, China, Spain and the U.S. will introduce budget boosts worth 2 percent of gross domestic product this year -- a benchmark Geithner endorses as reasonable.The refusal of some governments to be as generous undermines those efforts and the Fund calculates the U.S. receives twice the boost of higher government spending if it’s matched elsewhere. European ministers argue their social safety nets are bigger than elsewhere and blowing up budgets would create future problems. The appeals from the U.S. were not to our liking, Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker said March 9. French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and Germany’s Peer Steinbrueck of Germany instead want the G-20 to focus more on cracking down on bankers’ bonuses, hedge funds, tax havens and credit ratings companies.All that is froth,” said Richard Portes, a professor at London Business School. The accelerating decline in economic activity has to be dealt with first.


One previous participant says the G-20 doesn’t need to decide between fighting the current crisis and unveiling a long- term solution to rewire the system. It’s quite possible and desirable for the G-20 to pursue both goals, said Daniel Price, President George W. Bush’s G-20 negotiator and now senior partner for global issues at Sidley Austin LLP in Washington. An overhaul of the financial system may nevertheless exceed the group’s reach in the immediate future. Obama has yet to outline a detailed program for regulation, lacks key Treasury advisers and would have to work with Congress. Nor has the European Union formed a plan to improve the rules governing its own 27 members. The most likely outcome is that the G-20 agrees to principles on regulatory reform, said Jim O’Neill, chief economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.That could include an agreement that banks put away money during good times so they have a buffer to fall back on during hard times, he says. Other areas of agreement may include boosting IMF resources and warning against protectionism.

G-20 members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the U.S., the U.K. and the European Union. Officials from Spain and the Netherlands will also be present. To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Kennedy in Paris at

To Sell Or Not To Sell: That Is The Carbon Cap Question
Jay Yarow|Mar. 1, 2009, 3:28 PM|1

Barack Obama is projecting massive revenue from a cap and trade system in his current budget. How will he get that revenue? Presumably by selling off carbon credits. But auctioning credits is a tough sell in a recession, as it equates to a tax on business, which in turn could mean increased energy prices.The revenue the President foresees earning from a cap and trade system will go towards tax breaks for lower and middle income families who might get stung by the cap and trade system. However, that still won't make it easy to pass the legislation or to sell credits. As a result, the government might have to give away, rather than sell, the large majority of its first credits if a system is implemented:Bloomberg: Obama will likely have to cut the amount of allowances sold to about 30-50 percent of the initial total to win support, Abyd Karmali, the London-based head of carbon emissions for Merrill Lynch & Co., the New York investment bank bought by Bank of America Corp., said by phone yesterday.

Under the proposal, companies could trade allowances on an open market, similar to one in force in the European Union, to give them incentives for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and moving toward cleaner technology. The plan aims to cut emissions 14 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050, from 2005 levels.Auctioning all allowances may be a very difficult proposition to push through as lawmakers look to protect the economy and limit power-price rises, Karmali said. The U.S. may reach 100 percent auctioning by about 2020, he said. That’s consistent with the European Union, which has the world’s biggest emissions market.Under that program, factories and power stations will receive about 95 percent of allowances for free in the five years through 2012, Mark Lewis, a Paris-based Deutsche Bank AG analyst, estimated in a Feb. 23 research note. That period is the EU program’s second phase. The first phase ran for the three years through 2007.

Ralph Nader: We need a global carbon tax December 3rd, 2008 · posted in the Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal By RALPH NADER and TOBY HEAPS

If President Barack Obama wants to stop the descent toward dangerous global climate change, and avoid the trade anarchy that current approaches to this problem will invite, he should take Al Gore’s proposal for a carbon tax and make it global. A tax on CO2 emissions — not a cap-and-trade system — offers the best prospect of meaningfully engaging China and the U.S., while avoiding the prospect of unhinged environmental protectionism.China emphatically opposes a hard emissions cap on its economy. Yet China must be part of any climate deal or within 25 years, notes Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, its emissions of CO2 could amount to twice the combined emissions of the world’s richest nations, including the United States, Japan and members of the European Union.According to the world authority on the subject, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it will cost $1.375 trillion per year to beat back climate change and keep global temperature increases to less than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Cap-and-traders assume, without much justification, that one country can put a price on carbon emissions while another doesn’t without affecting trade or investment decisions. This is a bad assumption, given false comfort by the Montreal Protocol treaty, which took this approach to successfully rein in ozone-depleting gases. Chlorofluorocarbons are not pervasive like greenhouse gases (GHGs); nor was the economy of 1987 hyperglobalized like ours today.Good intentions to limit big polluters in some countries but not others will turn any meaningful cap into Swiss cheese. It can be avoided by relocating existing and new production of various kinds of CO2-emitting industries to jurisdictions with no or virtually no limits. This is known as carbon leakage, and it leads to trade anarchy.How? The most advanced piece of climate legislation at the moment, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, contains provisions for retaliatory action to be taken against imports from carbon free-riding nations. Married with the current economic malaise, the temptation to slide into a righteous but runaway environmental protectionism — which Washington’s K Street lobbyists would be only too happy to grease — would almost certainly lead to a collapse of the multilateral trading system. This scenario was presented to the world’s trade ministers last December at the United Nations climate talks in Bali by David Runnalls of the International Institute for Sustainable Development.True, trade anarchy might reduce emissions via a massive global depression. But there would be a lot of collateral damage. Because of the sheer scale of the challenge and the state of the hyperglobalized economy, we will need the same price on carbon everywhere, or it won’t work anywhere.

President Obama can define his legacy in the first 100 days by laying the groundwork for a global tax on carbon dioxide emissions that is effective, efficient, equitable and enforceable. An effective, harmonized tax on C02 emissions must stabilize the growth of atmospheric concentrations of GHGs by no later than 2020. The tax must also be adjusted annually, by a global body, according to this objective.The IPCC has crunched the numbers and says this means a tax of about $50 levied on every metric ton of GHGs, or carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e to use their terminology). In the short-term, consumers would feel the pinch. But the tax would pave the way for cheaper, cleaner energy and ways of getting around.The most efficient way to apply a carbon tax is at a relatively small number of major carbon bottlenecks, which cover the lion’s share of GHGs. The key points where flows of carbon are the most concentrated include: trunk pipelines for gas, refineries for oil, railroad heads for coal, liquid natural gas (LNG) terminals, cement, steel, aluminum and GHG-intensive chemical plants.Collecting and spending the bulk of revenues from a carbon tax must remain the sovereign right of participating nations. For instance, nations could decide to make the tax revenue-neutral by reducing taxes on income or helping finance industrial retooling for a green economy.

However, we in the rich world must recognize our culpability for creating three-quarters of this global warming mess, as well as our greater capacity to finance industrial retooling. Thus, there could be a carrot for developing-world nations which commit to applying the phased-in carbon tax: Access to a portion of the carbon tax levies from rich countries to help preserve forests and to prepare for climate change through flood walls, improved irrigation, drought resistant crops, desalination facilities, and the like. This is no small change: 10% of $50/metric ton CO2e carbon tax levied in all rich countries would be $100 billion per year. The stick for carbon free-riding countries would come in the form of incrementally severe penalties, leading up to countervailing duties on carbon-intensive imports.A global carbon tax levied on a relatively small number of large sources can be monitored by satellite and checked against the annual surveillance of fiscal and economic polices already carried out by IMF staff. Thus, the accounting involved is much more precise and much less subject to the vagaries of corruption and conflict over which industries and companies get their free handouts of carbon credits — carbon pork — than in a cap-and-trade system.There are three reasons why countries, such as China and India, that have traditionally resisted any notion of a common responsibility to make current polluters pay would do well to enlist in this effort.First, while there is no limit on the downside for missing a hard cap, with a carbon tax you just pay as you go. If a fast-growing country like China accepted an emissions cap and then overshot it, they would have to purchase carbon credits on the international market. If they missed their target by a lot, carbon credits would be scarce, and purchasing them would suck dry their foreign exchange reserves in one slurp. That’s why a carbon tax is much easier to swallow and, anyway, through the power of the price signal, it would produce the same desired result as a hard cap.

Second, administering billions of dollars of carbon credits in a cap-and-trade system in an already chaotic regulatory environment would invite a civil war between interest groups seeking billions in carbon credit handouts and the regulator holding the kitty. By contrast, a uniform tax on CO2 emissions levied at a small number of large sites would be relatively clear-cut. During the Montreal Protocol talks in the 1980s, India smartly balked at a suggestion to phase out CFCs in certain products and not in others because of the chaos that would result from the ambiguity.

Third, key people in China read our newspapers. They see the ominous clouds of protectionism under the guise of environmentalism in bills like Lieberman-Warner and they don’t want to be harmed; neither should we, given the trillions of dollars of Treasury bills they hold. Showing compliance with a harmonized carbon tax at a small number of large bottleneck points would be child’s play compared to the chaos of cap-and-trade.If President Obama hits the ground running fast in the direction of a global carbon tax, he can usher in a new dawn that might finally make peace between man and climate.Mr. Nader is a consumer advocate and three-time presidential candidate. Toby Heaps is the coordinator of Option 13, a campaign to help broker a successor to the Kyoto Protocol that includes all major nations.

As Crisis Flu Affects Eastern Europe, Differences among Countries becoming Clearer - An Interview with Orsalia Kalantzopoulos, World Bank Country Director for the EU10 countries March 12, 2009

1: How is the global economic crisis affecting the EU10 countries?

A: There are some key channels that are common, not just for the EU10 countries but for the global community – the collapse of export demand, the stalling of international capital flows, and a burgeoning crisis of confidence.

And there certainly is an important common story for the EU10 countries – ambitious reforms and EU accession, excellent well-educated labor forces, and fairly well-developed infrastructure, which fostered tremendous potential for private sector growth. The opening of the European markets presented very fertile ground for exports from these countries. So, we saw the private sector responding to these opportunities with tremendous foreign direct investment – either through specific economic activities or through the banking sector—and, more recently, rising levels of foreign borrowing, especially by banks. And, now, with the international financial crisis escalating, foreign capital inflows are drying up, and the private sector has become exceedingly risk averse – in some cases, rightly so. First credit, then output, income, and now employment in these countries, as in the rest of the world, are feeling the shock.

2: There was recently a statement put out by several Central European countries that said observers are not differentiating enough between the different countries in the region. Is that true and can you elaborate on that?

A: What is becoming clearer to careful observers as the crisis progresses is that the differences between these 10 countries are as important as the similarities. And these differences are mostly in initial conditions, that is, the situation in each country before the crisis hit, rather than how governments have responded during the crisis.

Some countries, especially the smaller ones, had fostered fast growth driven by very high levels of exports, especially exports to the rest of the EU. For these, the drying up of export markets has been a heavy blow. Others accumulated high levels of foreign borrowing by the private sector, including borrowing in foreign currencies. The mortgage markets in a number of countries were bolstered by this type of borrowing. And, of course, some countries ran much more conservative fiscal and monetary policies.

On one hand, there are several countries in the region that allowed very large imbalances in terms of current account deficits, which were mostly financed with foreign capital. Or they had very large budgetary deficits which again were financed from abroad, and also they preserved very limited foreign reserves. These countries need to adjust their policies sharply and quickly to cope with the crisis. On the other hand, there are countries in the group that implemented strong economic policies and kept high levels of reserves, and now require smaller adjustments in their policies.

And yet, nobody is immune to the crisis – everyone is affected. It is a case of a flu in the region – some people are catching a cold without really having any systemic or policy problems themselves, but they are affected because of what is going on around them.

So it is important to remember that not everybody should be put in the same basket.

3: So which countries are relatively better off at this point in the crisis?

A: Take the case of Poland. This is a country that has a very well-managed economy in terms of macroeconomic policies – both on the fiscal side and on the monetary side, as well as on banking supervision. Its policy mix is very sound, including a highly flexible exchange rate, which is helping to protect growth in this difficult external environment. Poland also has strength in structural areas, such as labor market regulations, pension reform, and health and education. Of course, there are still details that can be improved, but then this is true even in the US or Germany or France.

Poland’s economy has the same potential today as it had six months or a year ago, yet too many observers have lumped Poland into the same basket with weaker neighbors.

Another example of a better-off country is Bulgaria, which is running a fixed exchange rate policy through a currency board, but is compensating with extremely tight fiscal policies. Strong fiscal policy and very large accumulated reserves provide them with a cushion against these external shocks.

Other countries with strong economic management that have been unfairly thrown into the general regional basket include the Czech Republic, as well as Slovakia and Slovenia.

4: What is the World Bank advising these countries to do now to weather the crisis?

A: To some of the good performers, like Poland, where we are financial active, we recommend marginal changes on the economic policy front that would pay off in the long-term. Let me emphasize, not because there is an emergency today, but something that will bear fruit in five and ten years – for example, long-term care for the aging.

In the short-term, we are advising countries to look at their social safety nets. Because of the economic downturn, they will have more people becoming unemployed. Are these countries well-equipped in terms of social safety nets? Are their social safety nets well targeted to make sure that the poor and vulnerable are covered? Can we make sure that there is sufficient money going to health and education, so social systems will survive this difficult period?

In addition, it is critically important to preserve the productive spending that is taking place, so that in a difficult environment like this where you may be forced to cut spending in order to maintain the necessary fiscal discipline, these cuts do not end up being made across the board. Instead, they should be based on the rationalization of inefficient spending programs that will leave enough funding to both finance the ongoing reforms and to protect productive spending in health, education, and infrastructure.

Periods like this are seen very negatively normally, but they also present tremendous opportunities. If we take these as opportunities, we can really help to increase the efficiency of spending, and to do more with less. This is advice we have given to Bulgaria consistently, and that they have taken up through the years. Now one can see that this country has tremendously improved its efficiency of spending in the social sectors, and they have a more effective social safety net, so are able to reach more people with fewer resources.

In addition, there are other ways in which one can alleviate the overall cost of doing business for the private sector. And this is something that many countries are pursuing, but where probably more could be done.

So using this as an opportunity, one can increase the efficiency of the bureaucracy and the efficiency of public spending.

One additional area that we feel quite compelled to be in, together with our development partners, is to inject liquidity through well-managed banks so that the private sector in general is not completely crowded out or suffocated during these difficult periods.

5: The World Bank recently joined forces with the EIB and EBRD on a joint initiative aimed at helping the banking sector in the region. How will this help?

A: This initiative has both public sector and private sector dimensions. While the private sector dimension is likely to take the form of support, in particular, to systematically important banks operating in Central and Eastern Europe, a lot of the attention and the first efforts to help re-energize the economies will happen through the public sector, which is fine provided that it has adequate fiscal space and the focus is on activities that make good economic sense.

At the same time, you want to be able to substitute for the decreased foreign capital that has dragged down the private sector. This is exactly what the initiative tries to address – it tries to address the lack of liquidity towards the private sector and help preserve its role in the economy.

A key part of this new approach is the coordination between institutions, because there’s no doubt that the financial sectors in many of these countries, if not most, are under some degree of pressure. In addition, the financial integration across Europe that has benefited Eastern and Central Europe has also led to great interdependence across the banking sector. All the countries, irrespective of their diverse situations, have an interest in ensuring a regional approach to systemic banking issues. In some countries, the financial sector has expanded very quickly in very aggressive ways; and in others, the financial sector is feeling the impact of the local real economies’ fall into recession. Having a joint response makes sense for everyone because of the heightened impact of coordination, because it’s easier for governments, and because we can leverage resources to different areas to be more effective.

EU10 countries include Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

World Bank Announces Membership of High Level Commission on Modernizing the Governance of the World Bank Group Press Release No:2009/246/EXC
Contacts:David Theis (202) 458-8626

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2009 – The World Bank today announced the membership of an independent, high-level commission tasked with making recommendations on how the institution is governed so that it can better fulfill its mission of overcoming global poverty.The Commission was created by World Bank Group President, Robert B. Zoellick in October 2008 to focus on the modernization of World Bank Group governance so the World Bank Group can operate more dynamically, effectively, efficiently, and legitimately in a transformed global political economy. It will report back at the World Bank Group’s October 2009 Annual Meetings.By bringing the perspectives of a diverse group of leaders from outside the institution, the High-Level Commission will complement the Board’s important work on internal governance reform, said Zoellick. I thank the Commission’s members for their willingness to take on this important task and encourage them to be bold and far-sighted.The 12 members of the Commission, chaired by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, have all held or hold senior positions at an international level and are drawn from developed and developing countries. Announcing the commission’s membership in London, World Bank Group Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: The commission is timely as it further enhances the voice of developing countries in contributing to governance reform within the World Bank Group.Members of the High Level Commission on the Modernization of World Bank Group Governance:
Dr. Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico
Dr. Arminio Fraga, former President of the Central Bank of Brazil
Dr. Rima Khalaf, former U.N. Assistant Secretary General, Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States at the United Nations Development Program, and former Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan.
Mr. John Kufuor, former President of Ghana
Mr. Pascal Lamy, Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Mrs. Sadako Ogata, President of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Mr. John F.W. Rogers, Secretary to the Board, Goldman Sachs
Mr. Herman Wijffels, former World Bank Executive Director and former Chairman of the Board of Rabobank
Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, India
Baroness Shriti Vadera, Minister for Economic Competitiveness and Small Business and former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for International Development, United Kingdom
Mrs. Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany
Dr. Zhou Xiaochuan, Governor of the People’s Bank of China

Background on other recent World Bank Group reform initiatives

Recently, the World Bank’s Board of Governors approved a first phase of reforms to increase the influence of developing countries within the World Bank Group, including adding a seat for Sub-Saharan Africa to allow developing countries a majority of seats on the Executive Board, and expanding voting and capital shares. Since Zoellick became World Bank Group President, 7 of 9 of his senior appointments have been from developing countries.

Development Finance Institution Meeting Seeks Closer Cooperation to Reduce the Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Developing Countries Press Release No:2009/252/IFC World Bank Group Contact:Lotte Pang Tel: +12027584290 Email: Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank AG Contact:Peter GumpingerTel: + 43 (1) 531 27 2441Email: OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) Contact:Sam Ifeagwu Tel: +431-51564139 Email:

VIENNA, AUSTRIA, MARCH 12, 2009 —The world’s largest International Finance Institutions (IFIs) and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) met in Vienna today to discuss closer cooperation in responding to the global financial and economic crisis and to share information on initiatives aimed at supporting banking, trade, infrastructure, agribusiness, and other key sectors in developing countries.The meeting, hosted by the Development Bank of Austria, OeEB, and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, brought together 14 institutions including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), other World Bank Group members IBRD and MIGA, the African Development Bank, the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), the UK’s CDC, Germany’s KfW and DEG, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), the Netherlands’ FMO, Norway’s Norfund, and Spain’s Cofides.Michael Wancata, Member of the Board of OeEB, said, OeEB appreciates IFC´s initiative to bring together a number of DFIs to discuss harmonized activities. In times like this, Development Finance Institutions should assume an active role and demonstrate they are reliable partners to their clients.OeEB announced at the meeting that it will commit €20 million to the Microfinance Enhancement Facility, founded by KfW and IFC. The $500 million fund will boost the available pool of refinancing available to the microfinance industry. The African Development Bank announced that its Board has approved a three point action plan including an emergency liquidity facility of $1.5 billion for the benefit of its medium income member countries, a $1 billion trade finance initiative to support the needs of African DFIs and commercial banks, and an African Development Fund action plan.OFID announced at the meeting that it will commit $30 million to an Africa-focused sub-fund of the IFC Recapitalization Fund. The $5 billion IFC Recapitalization Fund, founded by IFC and JBIC, will help ensure banks in developing countries can continue to lend and support economic recovery and job creation through the financial crisis.

Said Aissi, OFID’s Assistant Director General for Operations, said, “Poor countries in Africa are suffering from a slowdown in economic development and a credit crunch which may bring millions of people to the poverty line. It is important for International Finance Institutions to provide social safety nets to alleviate the effects of this crisis as well as to help poorer sections of the population through microfinance. International Finance Institutions have also agreed to act collectively through providing finance to vulnerable banking systems, increasing investments in vital infrastructure and social sectors, and protecting trade finance. OFID is committed to supporting these initiatives alongside other IFIs. The Governing Board of OFID, which met this week, has approved an investment of $30 million to a sub-fund of the IFC Recapitalization Fund which will make urgently needed investments to banks in Sub-Saharan Africa.Jyrki Koskelo, IFC’s Vice President for Europe, Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Global Financial Markets and Funds, said, We are encouraged to see an emerging global partnership taking shape to support recovery and particularly thank OeEB, OFID, JBIC, and KfW for their partnership on IFC’s initiatives for bank recapitalization, trade, and microfinance. Mobilizing funds and ideas from across the finance and development community will allow us to deliver practical and timely responses to the crisis and limit its impact on the poor.The DFI meeting in Vienna follows a Joint IFI Action Plan announced in February through which the EBRD, the EIB, and World Bank Group pledged €24.5 billion in support of the banking sector and lending to the real economy in central and Eastern Europe.Upcoming events aimed at convening institutions from the multilateral, public, and private sectors, include the Summit of the Americas and the World Bank Group Spring Meetings in April.

About OeEB

Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank AG (OeEB) has an official mandate from the Government of Austria and is specialized in the implementation of private sector projects which need long-term finance and which create sustainable development.OeEB provides tailor-made financing solutions for a diverse set of long-term investments that would otherwise find it difficult to raise funding or borrow money in international capital markets. The bank is mandated to assume higher risks on individual transactions (loan volume, tenors, high-risk countries), compared to commercial banks.Additionally OeEB provides Technical Assistance, so-called Assistant Services which can be used to enhance the developmental impact of projects.

About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information please visit,, and

About OFID
The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) is an intergovernmental Development Finance Institution established in 1976 by member states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The primary aim of OFID is to contribute to the social and economic development of low-income countries. Cumulatively until December 2008, OFID had committed US$ 10.3 billion in development financing to 121 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe.

DANIEL 7:23-24
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast(THE EU,REVIVED ROME) shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth,(7TH WORLD EMPIRE) which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.(TRADE BLOCKS)
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise:(10 NATIONS) and another shall rise after them;(#11 SPAIN) and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.(BE HEAD OF 3 KINGS OR NATIONS).

THE NEW WORLD DISORDER Canada joins Transatlantic Union effort,Working along with U.S for free-trade deal with European Union March 10, 2009 9:39 pm Eastern By Jerome R. Corsi 2009 WorldNetDaily

Canada has decided to join the United States in negotiating a transatlantic free trade agreement with the European Union. According to Canada's daily Financial Post, Canada and the EU have come to an agreement on the areas they would like to negotiate in a free trade deal that Canadian government officials believe could expand Canada's economy by approximately $12 billion. The agreement announced last Thursday concluded scoping exercises between Canada and the EU that began Oct. 17. The exercises determined 14 areas to be placed on the negotiating table, including trade in goods and services, investment, trade facilitation, customs regulation, technical barriers to trade, competition policy and sustainable development. As WND has reported, competition is a key free-trade theme that shows up, for instance, in the 30-member North American Competitiveness Council, the 30-member multinational advisory council selected by the chambers of commerce in the U.S., Mexico and Canada to advise the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. Sustainable development is a code term coined by the United Nations' Agenda 21, which critics have charged outlines a globalist agenda for redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor, on the premise wealth is accumulated at the expense of the poor.

As WND previously reported, a key step in advancing the goal of creating a Transatlantic Union was the creation of the Transatlantic Economic Council by the U.S. and the EU through an agreement signed by President Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel – then the president of the European Council – and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at a White House summit April 30, 2007. The agreement constituted the Transatlantic Economic Council as a permanent body that committed the U.S. to deeper transatlantic economic integration,without ratification by the Senate as a treaty or passage by Congress as a law. The formation of a Transatlantic Common Market between the U.S. and the European Union by 2015 has been targeted by the Transatlantic Policy Network, a non-governmental organization headquartered in Washington and Brussels with a policy advisory board of U.S. congressmen and senators. In February 2007, the Transatlantic Policy Network formed a Transatlantic Market Implementation Group to put in place a a roadmap and framework to direct the activity of the Transatlantic Economic Council to achieve the creation of the Transatlantic Common Market by 2015. The Transatlantic Policy Network is chaired by Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, and advised by a bipartisan congressional policy group consisting of six U.S. senators and 49 U.S. congressmen. Another NGO urging transatlantic integration is the Atlantic Council of the United States, a Washington-based policy group headed by former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., who currently serves as the group's chairman of the board. On April 20, 2007, an Atlantic Council commission co-chaired by Stuart E. Eisenstat, former deputy-secretary of the treasury, and Grant D. Aldonas, former under-secretary of commerce for international trade, issued a report entitled Transatlantic Leadership for a New Global Economy.

The report argued that to deal with a new international economy, the U.S. and EU must lead a major effort to restructure the governing institutions of that economy and seek new ways to reduce barriers to trade and investment.Among the group's recommendations was that the U.S. and EU should establish a barrier-free Enhanced Trade Market as a first step toward moving into a more open global market.As WND previously reported, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger openly called for the Obama administration to manipulate the current financial crisis to create a new world order.Kissinger's commentary in the International Herald Tribune made clear globalists intend to utilize the current financial meltdown. In developing his call for action, Kissinger also made clear that his view of globalism involves a lessening of American power and influence to elevate less-advantaged countries. The economic world has been globalized,Kissinger proclaimed.Its institutions have a global reach and have operated by maxims that assumed a self-regulating global market.Kissinger warned against individual countries taking action through national political institutions to cushion the shock of the current financial decline, with a view to ameliorating their domestic economies.Rather than focus on domestic politics, Kissinger said the solution involves creating global political institutions to better govern and regulate global economic markets and institutions. Every major country has attempted to solve its immediate problems essentially on its own and to defer common action to a later, less crisis-driven point,Kissinger wrote.So called rescue packages have emerged on a piecemeal national basis, generally by substituting unlimited governmental credit for the domestic credit that produced the debacle in the first place – so far without more than stemming incipient panic.Kissinger strongly objected to nation-states action as such to protect their domestic economies. In the end, the political and economic systems can be harmonized in only one of two ways: by creating an international political regulatory system with the same reach as that of the economic world,he suggests,or by shrinking the economic units to a size manageable by existing political structures, which is likely to lead to a new mercantilism, perhaps of regional units.

Race to get end-of-term legislation through EU parliament,Strasbourg hemicycle: The last plenary meeting of the current parliament will take place at the beginning of May (Photo: European Parliament)HONOR MAHONY 12.03.2009 @ 17:43 CET

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - With just three plenary meetings left before the European Parliament finishes its current term, MEPs still have some major legislation to clear before they hit the campaign trail ahead of the June elections.Among the most important are the energy and telecoms bills - flagship liberalisation projects of the current commission. Both are only inching their way through the legislative pipelines.

The telecoms package, which aims to create an EU-level supervisor for telecoms regulators and overhauls the rules for management of radio spectrum, is stalling on the issue of how much power should be given to the European Commission.Three-way talks - between MEPs, member states and the commission - are aiming to finalise a compromise so that the vote can be taken before May, the last session of the current European Parliament.Meanwhile, the energy package, aimed at deregulating the gas and electricity sectors, is in difficulty over the scope of unbundling - the separation of electricity generation from its transmission, breaking the control of large national providers' over both production and supply.Other big chunks of legislation include the working time directive, a controversial law restricting the working week to 48 hours. Late last year, MEPs upset the apple cart by rejecting a recommendation from the member states and voting to end opt-outs from the 48-hour-week within three years. If a joint text can be agreed with member states, the final vote could be held in May.MEPs are also due for first-round votes on an EU bill to make it easier for patients to receive paid medical treatment in other member states (with a first vote in April), one on extending the protection of authors' copyright by 20 years up to 95 years (March), and another law on making buildings more energy efficient.Meanwhile, a bill on the nutritional labelling of food may be postponed until the next legislature because of the sheer number of amendments it has received.

Draft EU laws that have already begun the legislative process in the European Parliament, meaning that they have been voted on in committee, are automatically carried over to the next term.After the final May plenary session, parliament will reconvene in July for its constitutive session following the June elections. Its first legislative meeting will be in September.Meanwhile, the new parliament (2009-2014) will see a major increase in its powers if the Lisbon Treaty is passed in Ireland, which is to hold a second referendum on the pact later this year.

The Lisbon question

The new EU rulebook would give MEPs co-legislative rights in a series of new areas, including agricultural and fisheries policies, judicial co-operation in criminal matters, police co-operation, services of general economic interest, space policy and tourism.Mindful of the upgrade in their powers, the euro-deputies in the constitutional affairs committee earlier this week asked the European Commission to tell them of pending proposals that will be affected by moving from one treaty to another.It also left open the option of changing its opinion on a piece of legislation if it moves from a consultative basis to full co-legislation.Parliament will decide which position it takes regarding opinions that have already been adopted in consultation procedures on matters which have been changed to the ordinary legislative procedure,said a report by German Socialist MEP Jo Leinen.


LUKE 21:25-26
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;(MASS CONFUSION) the sea and the waves roaring;(FIERCE WINDS)
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

Forecasters see chilly spring for U.S. Northeast By Haitham Haddadin – Thu Mar 12, 3:44 pm ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A colder-than-normal start to spring is in the cards for the U.S. Northeast this year, signaling an extended heating season in the world's largest heating oil market, forecasters say.For the remainder of winter and the first half of spring, temperatures will be a little below average in the Northeast ... then in the second half it will start to go above average, said Jeff Johnson, long-range forecaster at DTN Meteorlogix.Forecasters say spring-like temperatures which straddled the 60s Fahrenheit in some areas of the Northeast last week gave way by Thursday to below normal temperatures in the 20s to 40s Fahrenheit (minus 7 to plus 4.5 Celsius) in the region.The milder temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic on Wednesday will be a thing of the past on Thursday, said in its near-term outlook, adding it sees cooler temperatures from New York State to New England with highs running below average.Expect temperatures to range from the teens in far northern Maine to the 20s and 30s over upstate New York and the 40s in southern New England, it said on its website.Forecasters say the intermittent cold this month could even return snow and bitter cold back to parts of the Northeast.Manager of Energy Weather Matt Rogers at EarthSat, a Rockville, Maryland-based private forecaster, says he is looking at highs in the low-to-mid 30s in New England by mid-March, well below last weekend temperature highs in the 60s.March is looking like an extremely volatile month for the Northeast, Rogers told Reuters.There is more cold on the way but it's back and forth ... It will be a little of Chief Long-Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi said in a recent forecast a so-called negative North Atlantic Oscillation Pattern (NAO) is notorious this time of year and could lead to storminess along the Eastern Seaboard.

March and April are predicted to be colder-than-normal months, but by May, the weather will warm above normal across much of the country as true spring finally starts, he said.Each warm surge that we see in the next couple of weeks won't be the true end of winter,he added.Agrees Johnson of Meteorlogix also sees a continuation of the NAO pattern which essentially causes cold air masses from Canada to slide down into the eastern United States.We've seen a lot of that this winter, with a tendency for cold air extending its stay in the Northeast; we are likely to see this pattern hang on,Johnson told Reuters.Johnson, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, also expects a colder-than-normal start to spring for the Northern Plains and Great Lakes region where bitter cold currently holds.(Editing by Christian Wiessner)


GENESIS 6:11-13
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.(WORLD TERRORISM,MURDERS)
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence (TERRORISM) through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.


MATTHEW 24:7-8
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

MARK 13:8
8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:(ETHNIC GROUP AGAINST ETHNIC GROUP) and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

LUKE 21:11
11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

Earthquake shakes Costa Rica; no major damage Wed Mar 11, 5:38 pm ET

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – A strongly felt earthquake shook Panama and parts of Costa Rica on Wednesday, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

The quake hit at 11:24 a.m. local time (1724 GMT, 1:24 p.m. EDT), sending panicked people running out of buildings in the Costa Rica port city of Golfito and knocking items from shelves in several southern towns.The magnitude 5.9 quake was centered 58 miles (94 kilometers) west of David, Panama, more than 200 miles (300 kilometers) from San Jose, the Costa Rican capital, said the U.S. Geological Survey. A preliminary report said the quake's magnitude was 5.7.It was pretty strong and caused a scare but so far we've only had calls to report minor damage from items falling, said Luis Madrigal of the Red Cross in the Costa Rican city of San Vito de Coto Brus, near the epicenter.A magnitude 6.1 earthquake in January left 23 dead in Costa Rica.

USGS: 5.0-magnitude earthquake hits central China Thu Mar 12, 10:31 am ET

CHENGDU, China – A 5.0-magnitude earthquake struck central China's Sichuan province on Thursday near the border with Gansu province, the U.S. Geological Survey said.The agency said the quake's epicenter was 125 miles (200 kilometers) northeast of Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan. Many parts of the province were devastated by a 7.9-magnitude earthquake on May 12 that left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing.There were no reports of casualties from Thursday's tremor, an aftershock of the May earthquake, the official Xinhua News Agency said. However, cell phone service was down in Quhe township of Guangyuan city, the epicenter, it said.The aftershock could be felt in Chengdu for about five seconds, Xinhua reported.

Sichuan's Qingchuan county has registered nearly 1,600 aftershocks from Jan. 1 to March 8 this year, it said.

MEPs urge EU to decide on Macedonia accession talks
ELITSA VUCHEVA 12.03.2009 @ 17:27 CET

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – MEPs adopted a resolution on Thursday (12 March) calling on member states to set a date for opening accession talks with Macedonia this year.

In a resolution adopted by MEPs with 478 votes in favour and 92 against, the European Parliament said it regrets …that, three years after it [Macedonia] was granted the status of candidate for membership of the EU, accession negotiations have not yet started, which is an unsustainable situation having demotivating effects for the country, and risks destabilising the region.The parliament urges the Council [the EU member states] to accelerate this process by deciding on a date for the beginning of accession negotiations, during the current year [provided that other conditions are met].We have to recognise that in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia things are not going worse than in other countries,said Dutch MEP Erik Meijer, referring to the problems with corruption and organised crime in the small Balkan country.He said it would be at least 2017 before Macedonia makes it into the bloc, so negotiation may as well as start now.

Upcoming elections – moment of truth

Macedonia was granted the status of EU candidate in December 2005, but accession talks have not been opened ever since, mainly due to Greece.Athens has refused to recognise its neighbour's constitutional name - the Republic of Macedonia - since it declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. This is because a northern region in Greece is also called Macedonia and Greece believes allowing Skopje to use the name will open the way to territorial claims. It also believes the appellation is part of its own historical heritage.Greece has been blocking Macedonia's NATO bid for the same reason.EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn stressed that free and fair presidential and local elections later this month and in April would be a key condition for Macedonia to be allowed to start accession talks, after violent incidents marked last year's general elections.I share [MEPs'] regret that, three years after the country achieved candidate status, accession negotiations have not yet started,Mr Rehn said in the parliament's plenary in Strasbourg on Wednesday.The key outstanding condition is the ability to meet international standards for the conduct of free and fair elections …The presidential and municipal elections in March and April will be a moment of truth,he added.

Time running out for Croatia

MEPs also approved a Croatia resolution deeply regretting that [Croatia's] accession negotiations have been effectively blocked for a considerable time because of bilateral issues.Due to a dispute between Croatia and Slovenia on their common land and sea border Ljubljana has been blocking almost a third of the chapters of Zagreb's EU accession package.But the parliamentarians said they were confident that the goal of concluding negotiations in 2009 ...can [still] be achieved, provided that the Croatian government implements the needed reforms in fields such as corruption and organised crime, as well as administrative and judicial reform.The Czech EU presidency expressed less optimistic views saying it was concerned about the stalemate between Slovenia and Croatia on solving the dispute and noting that time is running out for Zagreb to finish talks by the end of this year and become an EU member by 2011.

then the angel said, Financial crisis will come to Asia. I will shake the world.

JAMES 5:1-3
1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

REVELATION 18:10,17,19
10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

19 They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity.

16 And he(FALSE POPE) causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:(CHIP IMPLANT)
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.(6-6-6) A NUMBER SYSTEM




09:30 AM +11.80
10:00 AM +45.71
10:30 AM -1.60
11:00 AM +16.09
11:30 AM -2.87
12:00 PM -27.96
12:30 PM -44.53
01:00 PM -8.61
01:30 PM +18.08
02:00 PM +17.52
02:30 PM +10.83
03:00 PM +23.47
03:30 PM +62.68
04:00 PM +53.92 7223.98

S&P 500 756.55 +5.81

NASDAQ 1431.50 +5.40

GOLD 928.90 +4.90

OIL 45.75 -1.28

TSE 300 8303.39 +21.12

CDNX 848.97 +5.55

S&P/TSX/60 505.83 +1.68


Dow -18.30%
S&P -16.88%
Nasdaq -9.57%
TSX Advances 1,083,declines 465,unchanged 262,Volume 2,609,872,894.
TSX Venture Exchange Advances 392,Declines 319,Unchanged 336,Volume 176,819,105.

Dow +10 points at 4 minutes of trading today.
Dow -62 points at low today.
Dow +75 points at high today so far.
GOLD opens at $934.20.OIL opens at $46.89 today.

Dow -62 points at low today so far.
Dow +75 points at high today so far.

NYSE Advances 1,770,declines 1,818,unchanged 106,New Highs 5,New Lows 50.
Volume 3,902,365,362.
NASDAQ Advances 1,288,declines 1,270,unchanged 153,New highs 8,New Lows 28.
Volume 969,010,275.
TSX Advances 653,declines 607,unchanged 248,Volume 1,196,501,518.
TSX Venture Exchange Advances 252,Declines 229,Unchanged 244,Volume 61,612,532.

Dow -62 points at low today.
Dow +75 points at high today.
Dow +0.75% today Volume 479,009,777.
Nasdaq +0.38% today Volume 1,908,888,483.
S&P 500 +0.77% today Volume N/A

-Sept 30,1996 5,882.17
-Oct 30,1996 5,993.23
-Nov 6,1996 6,177.71
-Dec 16,1996 6,268.35
-Apr 15,1997 6,587.16
-Apr 21,1997 6,660.21
-Apr 28,1997 6,783.02
-May 1,1997 6,976.48
-May 7,1997 7,085.65

-Sept 5,1996 649.44
-Sept 6,1996 655.68
-Sept 11,1996 667.28
-Sept 12,1996 671.13
-Oct 1,1996 689.08
-Oct 28,1996 697.26
-Nov 4,1996 706.73
-Nov 5,1996 714.14
-Dec 17,1996 726.04

Dow -17.69%
S&P -16.24%
Nasdaq -9.23%
TSX Advances 874,Declines 638,Unchanged 262 Volume 2,160,557,170.
TSX Venture Advances 348,Declines 336,Unchanged 327 Volume 130,609,639.

Madoff's new home: Cell the size of walk-in closet By TOM HAYS, Associated Press Writer MAR 12,09

NEW YORK – Bernard Madoff's new Manhattan home is the size of a walk-in closet, with cinderblock walls, linoleum floors and a bunk bed. Breakfast will be served before sunrise, and the disgraced financier can stretch his legs outside, but only every other day — in a cage.The Metropolitan Correctional Center, which has housed accused terrorists and reputed mobsters, welcomed the 70-year-old Madoff on Thursday after he pleaded guilty in one of Wall Street's biggest investment swindles and a judge revoked his bail.The federal jail in lower Manhattan stands between a courthouse and a church and holds inmates awaiting trial or serving short sentences. Currently, about 750 men and women are behind bars there.Since his arrest in December, Madoff has been confined to his $7 million penthouse apartment.When inmates first arrive at the jail, they are given physical and psychological exams and instructed on the rules. If cleared to enter the general population, they are issued a baggy brown uniform and assigned to cells measuring 7 1/2-by-8 feet, each fitted with a sink and toilet.Many inmates must share their cells with another prisoner, but it was not immediately clear Thursday whether Madoff would have a cellmate.There's a strict schedule: Lights on at 6 a.m., breakfast at 6:30 a.m., lunch at 11 a.m., dinner at 5 p.m., lights out at 11 p.m. During the day, inmates can watch television, play ping pong, work on their cases in a legal library or volunteer for janitorial duty.

On alternate days, they are allowed up on the caged roof, where from courthouse windows they can be seen playing basketball. For court dates, they are shackled and escorted by deputy marshals through an underground tunnel.The facility alots three hours a week for visits by family or lawyers. Inmates can also spend up to 300 minutes per month making phone calls, which can be monitored.Those who misbehave or present a risk of violence are thrown into a separate unit where they spend nearly all day locked in their cells and must endure strip searches and constant monitoring by cameras.Authorities tightened security in the unit after a guard was seriously injured in 2000 by a terrorist convicted in the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.Notable inmates have included blind sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was sentenced to life in prison for plotting to blow up five New York landmarks and assassinate Egypt's president, and John Junior Gotti, the Gambino crime family scion now jailed in Brooklyn on murder charges.Current inmates include former Florida hedge fund manager Arthur Nadel, who is accused of bilking investors out of up to $350 million.

Stocks rally on good news for banks, GM, retailers By MADLEN READ, AP Business Writer – Thu Mar 12, 6:27 pm ET

NEW YORK – Investors have been clamoring for months for a bit of good news. On Thursday, they got a load of it.The Dow Jones industrials shot up 240 points to a two-week high of 7,170, bringing its gains over the past three days to 622 points, or 9.5 percent. It was the index's biggest three-day jump since last November.Surprisingly positive signals this week from companies across all industries, particularly banks, have made traders think twice about continuing to drive stocks lower. It's too soon to tell whether this week's upturn is the beginning of a bull market or simply a temporary rally within a bear market, but either way there has been a pronounced change in Wall Street's tone.How all this turned around in a week, I don't know, said Scott Bleier, president of CreateCapital Advisors.But it's certainly a better outlook than how it looked two weeks ago.The rally got an extra dose of adrenaline Thursday after an accounting board told Congress it may recommend an easing in financial reporting rules of tough-to-sell assets — a change that banks say would help their bottom lines. Upheaval in the banking industry has been dogging the market since 2007, and hope that banks might finally get relief in how they value their bad assets spurred a flurry of buying on Wall Street.We might find that the banks are not as bad, or not bad at all, if these assets are marked differently, said Doreen Mogavero, president of the New York floor brokerage Mogavero, Lee & Co.Better-than-expected retail sales figures also helped stocks, as did positive news from four Dow companies: Bank of America Corp., General Electric Co., General Motors Corp., and Pfizer Inc.

GE's credit rating was cut by less than expected, GM said it will not need a $2 billion loan it previously requested from the government, and Pfizer reported a successful cancer drug trial. Bank of America's CEO told reporters his bank was profitable in January and February. Citigroup Inc. triggered this week's rally Tuesday with similar remarks.No one is calling the end to the selling on Wall Street. The economic picture is too uncertain, and much of this week's rally has been driven by technical factors. One of those factors is traders' inclination to buy stock to cover short bets, or bets that a stock will fall.But it's been the most reassuring week in months for the stock market. The Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 index, which reflects nearly all stocks traded in America, has jumped 11.2 percent over the past three sessions. That's a paper gain of $900 billion.There's a lot of money on the sidelines, and a lot of people who've been waiting for the turn to come, Mogavero said. I think that probably, people will want to get some of their money in the market.The Dow rose 239.66, or 3.5 percent, to 7,170.06. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 29.38, or 4.1 percent, to 750.74. The Nasdaq composite index gained 54.46, or 4 percent, to 1,426.10.The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 23.82, or 6.5 percent, to 390.12.After a modest decline Monday and three days of buying, the Dow is up 8.2 percent so far for the week. The S&P 500 index is up 9.9 percent and the Nasdaq is up 10.2 percent. Before this week's rebound, the Dow and S&P had tumbled to their lowest levels since 1997 and 1996, respectively.Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners by more than 10 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, where consolidated volume came to 7.2 billion shares, up from 7.1 billion shares Wednesday.

Not all of Thursday's data was positive. The Commerce Department said retail sales dipped by a modest 0.1 percent in February, but the Labor Department reported that first time claims for unemployment benefits rose last week to 654,000 from 639,000 the week before, more than analysts had expected.Investors are also aware that much of this week's rebound can be attributed to covering short positions. Traders have been covering short bets by buying stocks, especially after the Securities and Exchange Commission said it was considering reinstating the Uptick Rule. The rule, eliminated in 2007, aimed at curbing short-selling by only allowing it when a stock edged higher.On Thursday investors grew more optimistic about bank stocks after the chairman of the independent Financial Accounting Standards Board told the House Financial Services subcommittee on capital markets that the board could have the guidance in three weeks on so-called mark-to-market accounting. Frozen demand in the credit markets has sharply lowered the value of assets having anything to do with real estate or consumer credit — even though most of the loans themselves are still getting paid off. Those lower asset values have translated into huge losses for banks.Citigroup rose 8.4 percent, Bank of America rose 19 percent, Wells Fargo & Co. rose 17 percent, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 14 percent. GM rose 17.2 percent to $2.18 after its chief financial officer said it would not need its federal loan for March.GE rose nearly 13 percent to $9.57 after Standard & Poor's downgraded the conglomerate by one notch from "AAA" due to troubles in GE's lending arm. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical stocks soared Thursday on more acquisition news and a positive drug trial at Pfizer Inc.

Pfizer said it ended a successful trial of its cancer drug Sutent early after data showed the drug met its goal of slowing the progression of pancreatic cancer. Shares of Pfizer, a Dow component, rose nearly 10 percent to $14.02. Switzerland's Roche Holding AG agreed to buy the rest of Genentech Inc. for $46.8 billion, while Gilead Sciences Inc. agreed to buy CV Therapeutics Inc. for $1.4 billion. Earlier this week, drugmakers Merck and Schering-Plough agreed to merge in a $41 billion deal.

Government bond prices rose, driving the yield on the 10-year Treasury note down to 2.86 percent from 2.91 percent late Wednesday. The dollar strengthened against other major currencies, gold prices gained, and crude oil surged $4.70 to $47.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.Overseas markets were mixed. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent, Germany's DAX index rose 1.1 percent, and France's CAC-40 rose 0.8 percent. Japan's Nikkei stock average dropped 2.4 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.6 percent. On the Net: New York Stock Exchange:
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Japan PM orders new stimulus package MAR 12,09

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso has ordered top ruling-party officials to put together an additional economic stimulus package to battle the country's deepening recession.Aso asked for a draft of an extra budget that will include stimulus measures spread out over several years, and said he would seek expert advice on how to best tackle the problems in Asia's biggest economy.We should not just do it as a political party alone. Rather we should seek counsel from various people, like scholars, he told reporters.The package is expected to be worth at least 20 trillion yen (204 billion dollars), the Yomiuri Shimbun daily and other media said, quoting unnamed sources within the ruling party.Previous packages have been a mixture of spending and measures such as loan guarantees to help struggling companies.Japan's economy logged its worst performance in almost 35 years in the last quarter of 2008, contracting at an annualised pace of 12.1 percent, according to the latest government estimate released on Thursday.The economy is facing a steep drop-off in exports because of the global downturn.Aso previously announced in December a stimulus package worth 23 trillion yen, in addition to a 26.9 trillion yen boost unveiled in October.The latest package is likely to include fast-tracking express railway construction, earthquake-proofing for school buildings, environmental measures and social welfare programmes such as child and elderly care, reports said.

Centre-left MEPs criticise Europe's recovery plan
ANDREW WILLIS 12.03.2009 @ 09:25 CET

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Centre-left deputies in the European Parliament have strongly criticised the European Commission on how it is dealing with the current economic crisis.Sitting in Strasbourg for one of the few remaining plenary sessions before the European elections in June, MEPs on Wednesday (11 March) passed a report drafted by Portuguese Socialist MEP Elisa Ferreira that warned that national rescue plans may harm Europe's global competitiveness if they are not well co-ordinated at EU level.

Ms Ferreira's report on the commission's European Economic Recovery Plan (EERP) said stimulating the EU economy, improving competitiveness and restoring health to the financial markets are vital if rising unemployment is to be halted. But, she added, member states must be prepared to support each other. The EU is about competition but also cohesion and solidarity. That is why we conferred sovereignty to the EU before embarking on this whole project,she said during the debate. Measures to release EU funds, improve the financial supervisory system and tackle tax havens also feature among the report's recommendations.Attending the debate, commission President Jose Manuel Barroso outlined a number of commission initiatives to fight the recession and said his number one concern was the social impact of the crisis. However both he and Czech deputy prime minister for European affairs Alexandr Vondra, representing member state governments at the meeting, were sharply criticised by Socialist MEPs in particular for doing, in their words, too little, too late. The leader of the Socialist group in the parliament, Martin Schulz, said only the UK, Germany and Spain had met their target of 1.5 per cent of GDP stimulus spending agreed under the EERP, adding that there was a need for solidarity between states. Socialist party president Poul Nyrup Rasmussen said Mr Barroso was painting an overly rosy picture of the spending being carried out under the plan, saying it was closer to 0.9 per cent of GDP rather than the commission estimate of 3.3 per cent.

Mr Rasmussen asked Mr Barroso whether he agreed with the statement by Jean-Claude Juncker - chairman of the 16 eurogroup countries and Luxembourg's prime minister - after a eurogroup meeting on Monday in which he said that Europe had done enough to counter the crisis.You have not done enough,he declared, appealing to the commission to launch a new recovery effort that would include the launch of eurobonds, the issuance of debt at the EU level, a move that would ease the borrowing costs of southern European member states and Ireland.French Socialist MEP Pervenche Beres, who heads the powerful economy committee in the parliament, joined in on the attack. Europe has to put into place the right measure and the European economic recovery plan is not enough,she said.Mr Vondra countered calls for the EU to match US spending levels by pointing out that the US was not seeking financial support packages from the International Monetary Fund. Both Hungary and Latvia have received aid from the multilateral lender so far and Romania is currently in negotiations. Solidarity must be accompanied by government responsibilities,he said. MEPs also approved a report calling on EU leaders to make employment measures a priority at next week's summit meeting and another saying advanced spending on regional projects would help tackle the crisis.

Sarkozy announces France's return to NATO
VALENTINA POP 12.03.2009 @ 09:28 CET

French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday (11 March) announced the return of his country to the military structures of NATO, 43 years after general Charles de Gaulle left the alliance to mark Paris' independence of the US.The time has come to stop excluding ourselves. The absentees are always wrong, Mr Sarkozy said in a speech at the Ecole Militare in Paris.The president said he would formally notify France's allies of its return to the military structures during NATO's 60th anniversary summit on 2-4 April in Strasbourg/Kehl.Apart from the two NATO military commands earmarked for Paris ahead of the announcement, French media reported that US president Barack Obama has also agreed to make a stop at the World War II Normandy landings beaches before the summit to underscore the history of the US-French alliance.The breach with the 43-year old Gaullist tradition was highly contested by the Socialist opposition, as well as some circles within Mr Sarkozy's own centre-right party, the UMP.

Former premier Dominique de Villepin, a longterm Sarkozy rival, has criticised the decision as being a blunder that would dilute the independence of French foreign policy.Socialist leader Martine Aubry spoke about an Atlanticism that becomes an ideology, while centrist presidential candidate Francois Bayrou has called it an amputation.To raise the stakes within the UMP, which holds a large majority in both chambers of the French legislature, prime minister Francois Fillon has scheduled a confidence vote for next Tuesday (17 March) in connection with the return to NATO structures.But it is seen as highly unlikely that even the most Gaullist of UMP members would vote against their own government and risk early elections over this issue.

France already an active NATO member

French defence minister Herve Morin underscored last week that the return will change nothing, in concrete terms.We are in the contradictory position of France taking part in all NATO missions since 1995, of commanding NATO missions, of joining 36 of 38 NATO committees and yet continuing to talk as if we were some kind of exception,he added.Despite general de Gaulle's surprise withdrawal from the military structures, France never left the overarching North Atlantic Alliance, which also has a strong political component.Within a year the practical effect of withdrawing from the integrated command was also watered down. A secret accord between US and French officials, the Lemnitzer-Aillert agreements, laid out in great detail how French forces would dovetail back into NATO's command structure should East-West hostilities break out.In recent times, French forces, the largest in Europe, with 259,000 regulars and 419,000 reservists, have been major contributors to NATO missions. More than 3,000 French soldiers have been dispatched to Afghanistan and, since Mr Sarkozy became president, have expanded their role to include combat missions. We send our soldiers onto the terrain but we don't participate in the committee where their objectives are decided? he said on Wednesday. The time has come to end this situation. It is in the interest of France and the interest of Europe.

Better EU-NATO co-ordination

France's return to the military structures will contribute to soothing EU-NATO relations, leaving the Cyprus-Turkey dispute as the only real problem for co-operation between the two organisations. For a long time, Washington viewed France's strong push behind EU's own security and defence policy (ESDP) as an attempt to counter NATO's weight in Europe. At times, France had also discreetly thrown its weight behind Greece's support for the Cypriot cause in the dispute with Turkey, also to undermine NATO coherence, alliance sources told EUobserver.Now, Mr Sarkozy predicted that the country's return to NATO command will also accelerate development of a European defence force, long a goal of French diplomacy. Previously, he said, Britain and to some degree Germany and other countries were reluctant to co-operate with France on such a force out of fear it would be interpreted as a split from NATO. As a result, the idea of a European defence force was hailed repeatedly at European Union summit meetings, but has produced little in the way of practical results so far.

UN agencies: NKorea plans April satellite launch By JAE-SOON CHANG, Associated Press Writer MAR 12,09

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea told two U.N. agencies it plans to launch a communications satellite between April 4-8 — an unprecedented disclosure seen as trying to fend off international worries that it is really a test of long-range missile technology.The notification to the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization underscores the communist regime is intent on pushing ahead the launch in an attempt to gain greater leverage in negotiations with the United States, analysts say.North Korea specified two danger zones — one close to Japan — in its disclosure of the satellite launch plan. Pyongyang gave the U.N. agencies coordinates where parts of its multiple-stage rocket would fall, making it clear the projectile would fly over Japan toward the Pacific.

One of the zones is in waters off Japan's west coast, less than 75 miles (120 kilometers) from its northwestern shore, according to the agencies. The other lies in the middle of the Pacific between Japan and Hawaii.Though it is an international norm for countries to provide such specifics as a safety warning ahead of a missile or satellite launch, it was the first time the communist North has done so.The U.S. and other governments have said any rocket launch — whether missile test or satellite — would violate a 2006 U.N. Security Council resolution banning North Korea from ballistic missile activity.The U.N. agencies said Thursday that North Korea informed them by letter of the launch details the day before. It is the first time the regime has offered a safety warning ahead of a missile or a satellite launch, according to the South Korean government.They want to do the launch openly while minimizing what the international community may find fault with, said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University. The launch will earn North Korea a key political asset that would enlarge its negotiating leverage.Countries planning a space launch or missile test normally notify maritime or aviation authorities so aircraft and ships can be warned to stay away from affected regions.But North Korea did not do so ahead of its purported satellite launch in 1998 over Japan and a failed 2006 test-flight of a long-range missile, drawing international condemnations.Few buy Pyongyang's claim that it needs a communications satellite when one of the nation's stated top national goals is addressing chronic food shortages.Use of mobile phones, the Internet and international calls are tightly controlled in the totalitarian North.They might put a transistor on the rocket and claim it was a satellite launch, said Hong Hyun-ik, a North Korea expert at the security think tank Sejong Institute, who is skeptical of the North's intentions.

Officials and experts have said even if a satellite is launched, the North's ultimate goal is to test and demonstrate its missile capabilities.U.S. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said Tuesday the North may be planning a space launch, but said the technology is no different from that of a long-range missile and its success would mean the country is capable of striking the U.S. mainland.If a three-stage space launch vehicle works, then that could reach not only Alaska and Hawaii but part of what the Hawaiians call the mainland and what the Alaskans call the lower 48,he told a Senate panel.South Korea, Japan and the United States have warned the North against any rocket launch.It's provocative, it's not helpful and it's destabilizing, U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Thursday. We think the North needs to desist, or not carry out this type of provocative act, and sit down ... and work on the process of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that a launch will threaten the peace and stability in the region.Analysts say a rocket launch would increase the stakes and, more importantly, the benefits the impoverished nation might get from negotiations with the U.S. and other countries trying to persuade it to give up its nuclear weapons program. Associated Press writers Kelly Olsen, Kwang-tae Kim and Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.


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